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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: US Department of State
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, United States of America

    Press Statement

    John Kerry, Secretary of State
    Washington, DC
    March 25, 2013

    I am pleased to announce that the United States is providing an additional $51 million in humanitarian assistance to the people of the Sahel region.

    The Sahel is one of the poorest regions of the world, and is experiencing a complex crisis of drought, flooding, failed harvests, and disrupted livelihoods, all of which are exacerbated by the conflict in Mali.

    Our support is addressing food insecurity across the entire Sahel region and the protection and assistance needs of refugees and internally displaced persons.

    In 2012, an estimated 18.7 million people in the Sahel were at risk of food insecurity, including one million children at risk of severe acute malnutrition. Since the beginning of the conflict in Mali in January 2012, nearly 450,000 Malians have been displaced internally or across borders as refugees.

    This new humanitarian assistance will assist food insecure and conflict-affected populations in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger. We remain deeply concerned about the humanitarian crisis in the Sahel and urge others to contribute generously for humanitarian operations.

    This brings our total humanitarian contribution to the region to nearly $520 million since fiscal year 2012.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Mme Ertharin Cousin, Directrice Exécutive du PAM, a effectué une visite officielle au Burkina Faso du 13 au 15 mars 2013, sur invitation du Président Blaise Compaoré. Cette visite intervient un an après la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle doublée par l’afflux des réfugiés pour lesquels le PAM a apporté une assistance alimentaire d’urgence à 1,5 million de personnes.

    En dépit du fait que les résultats de la récolte agricole soit meilleurs cette année par rapport à l’année dernière, la situation alimentaire demeure préoccupante au Burkina Faso.

    «Le Sahel se trouve confronté à une double menace : l’instabilité provoquée par un conflit qui a poussé des réfugiés à traverser ses frontières et la faim chronique provoquée par des cycles récurrents de sécheresse et de mauvaises récoltes. L’année dernière, l’appui de la communauté internationale a permis d’éviter une crise au Sahel mais il nous reste encore beaucoup à faire», a déclaré Mme Cousin.

    Au cours de sa mission, Mme Cousin a rencontré le Président du Faso, les ministères partenaires du PAM, les représentants des donateurs, l’équipe de coordination humanitaire ainsi que le personnel du PAM dès le premier de sa visite.

    Résister aux futurs chocs

    Le lendemain, Mme Cousin et la délégation qui l’accompagne se sont rendues au camp de réfugiés de Mentao qui est le plus grand du pays, où elle a assisté à une distribution de vivres. Ensuite elle a visité un programme de cantines scolaires assisté par le PAM où des élèves réfugiés bénéficient aussi des deux repas servis par jour, une activité d’«espèces contre actifs productifs» soutenue par le PAM pour réhabiliter 125 ha de terres dégradées au profit des populations hôtes, grâce à la technique de demi lune qui permet au sol de garder l’humidité plus longtemps.

    «Il ne s’agit pas de se demander «si il y aura une nouvelle sécheresse mais plutôt quand est-ce qu’elle aura lieu», a indiqué Mme Cousin, en faisant référence au programme «d’espèces ou vivres contre actifs productifs» destiné à aider les communautés à mieux résister et faire face aux futurs chocs.

    Mme Cousin a visité également un centre de nutrition, où le PAM fournit une assistance aux enfants de moins de cinq ans malnutris modérés ainsi qu’aux femmes enceintes et allaitantes malnutries. A tous les niveaux, elle a eu l’opportunité de s’adresser directement aux bénéficiaires et d’écouter leurs préoccupations.

    A Ouahigouya, dans la région du Nord, où elle devait prendre son avion pour se rendre au Mali, la Directrice Exécutive a visité l’association AMMIE, une ONG partenaire qui en 2012, a mis en œuvre une activité de sensibilisation sur les questions de Genre pour le compte du PAM, et qui poursuit l’assistance du PAM aux personnes vivant avec le VIH ainsi qu’aux orphelins du Sida.

    En 2013, le PAM a besoin de 36 millions de dollars pour son programme d’intervention au Burkina Faso.


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    Source: Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone, World

    Le développement durable dépend des modes de production et de consommation des aliments

    25 mars 2013, Pollenzo/Bra - Les petits exploitants, les circuits locaux de production et de consommation et la réhabilitation des cultures traditionnelles ont un rôle majeur à jouer pour réduire la faim dans le monde, a déclaré aujourd'hui le Directeur général de la FAO José Graziano da Silva aux professeurs et aux étudiants de l'Université des études des sciences gastronomiques (UNISG) de Bra, en italie.

    M. Graziano da Silva a également fait état des nombreuses possibilités de coopération entre la FAO et l'université pour réaliser la vision d'un monde pérenne, d'où la faim serait exclue.

    Le Directeur général de la FAO a ajouté que la Révolution verte des années 60 avait augmenté les vivres disponibles par habitant de plus de 40 pour cent, mais au prix d'une perte de la diversité alimentaire. L'attention a en effet été concentrée sur quelques cultures seulement, sans compter les répercussions qu'a eu sur l'environnement l'usage intensif d'intrants chimiques.

    Mais aujourd'hui on observe une tendance à produire et à commercialiser des aliments traditionnels, à améliorer les infrastructures et les marchés locaux et à aider les petits producteurs, toutes ces actions étant favorables à l'environnement et à l'économie des zones rurales, où la faim est la plus extrême.

    Face à l'audience réunie à l'Université, M. Graziano da Silva a précisé: «Des cultures actuellement sous-exploitées peuvent avoir un impact positif sur la sécurité alimentaire. Les réhabiliter est une manière de renforcer cette sécurité alimentaire. C'est aussi une façon de redécouvrir des saveurs perdues et d'en identifier de nouvelles. Voilà ce qui vous lie, vous tous, aux agriculteurs pauvres du monde entier.»

    Le Directeur général a donné l'exemple du manioc en Afrique et en Amérique du Sud, et du quinoa andin. Ces cultures commencent en effet à s'imposer, pour le bien des agriculteurs pauvres et de leurs familles. M. Graziano da Silva a d'ailleurs encouragé l'assistance à promouvoir de l'Année internationale du quinoa que nous célébrons cette année.

    Les sciences gastronomiques et Slow Food

    L'Université des études des sciences gastronomiques a été fondée en 2004 par le mouvement Slow Food que préside M. Carlo Petrini, également présent dans l'assemblée. Slow Food travaille avec la FAO sur un projet qui aide à cartographier la biodiversité alimentaire dans quatre pays africains: Guinée-Bissau, Mali, Sénégal et Sierra Leone. Ce projet permet aux agriculteurs de commercialiser des produits alimentaires traditionnels dans les pays développés dans le cadre d'un événement annuel.

    «Ce lien avec les marchés complète un cercle vertueux: réhabiliter des cultures traditionnelles, soutenir la production locale et la relier aux marchés, donnant ainsi aux petits producteurs les moyens d'accroître leurs revenus», a poursuivi M. José Graziano da Silva.

    Et de conclure: «L'intérêt que vous attachez à redécouvrir différents aliments est une manière de reconnaître la valeur culturelle de l'alimentation, une valeur souvent oubliée en cette ère de mondialisation, où tout va vite.»


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Mali
    preview


    Le Mali est touché par une crise multidimensionnelle (politique, sécuritaire et humanitaire) et est apparu comme un des pays les plus fragiles du Sahel en 2012. Deux millions de Maliens sont encore considérés en insécurité alimentaire (selon la dernière enquête d’urgence sur la sécurité alimentaire (EFSA) conjointe PAM/SAP aout/Sept 2012).

    Depuis janvier 2012, plus de 430.000 Maliens ont fui le conflit au nord du pays. Plus de 170 000 personnes, dont une majorité de femmes et d’enfants, se sont réfugiées dans les pays voisins, principalement au Burkina Faso, en Mauritanie et au Niger. Sur le territoire malien, la majorité des 260 000 personnes déplacées internes vit dans des conditions difficiles, dans des maisons louées ou des centres urbains surpeuplés et dépend principalement de l’aide de leurs proches et de l’assistance humanitaire.

    Depuis l’intensification des combats en janvier 2013, le nombre de personnes déplacées fuyant les régions du nord vers le sud s’est accru de 15 973 en moins d’un mois, dont 2 441 personnes dans la région de Ségou1. Ces personnes s’ajoutent aux déplacés venus depuis mars 2012 des régions du nord, la région de Ségou comptant désormais un total de 46 582 déplacés2, dont 9 841 dans le cercle de Niono.

    La zone affectée par le conflit dans le cercle de Niono est classée dans le profil Household Economy Approach (HEA) comme une zone clé pour les moyens d’existence en raison du riz irrigué. 18% de la population du cercle de Ségou y est très pauvre et 36% y est pauvre. Ces ménages dépendent de l’agriculture vivrière pour se nourrir et en tirer des revenus en vendant une partie de leur production agricole. Toute la zone est ainsi dépendante du riz, que ce soit pour les revenus ou pour l’alimentation.

    La situation humanitaire est fragile et peut se détériorer rapidement, en particulier pour les couches de la population les plus vulnérables. L’accès aux zones affectées par le conflit demeure limité, les routes commerciales ne sont pas toutes accessibles et certaines sont considérées peu sécurisées Le libre passage des biens et des personnes est entravé par les opérations militaires et les marchés ont été fortement affectés. De nombreuses infrastructures ont également été détruites, notamment pour 7 des 23 villages de la commune rurale de Diabaly. Le conflit a également provoqué une dégradation évidente de la situation de protection des populations.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Lesotho

    MBABANE, 25 March 2013 (IRIN) - It’s a chilly autumn morning and Ntja Mphale, 62, and his wife, Malehlohonolo, are hoeing a dew-covered field just outside their village of Machache, 43km from Lesotho’s capital, Maseru. They are among thousands of unemployed Basotho who depend on seasonal work weeding smallholder farmers’ fields to earn a little cash.

    The job will provide some temporary relief for Mphale and his family. “Some farmers are generous - they can give you as much as 40 maluti (US$4.40) per day, while others give you only 20 ($2.20), but we cannot decline any money, no matter how small. We need to survive,” said Mphale.

    Such work was scarce in the previous two planting seasons. Heavy rains and flooding during the 2010-11 season caused losses that were compounded by a prolonged drought at the start of the 2011-12 season. Many smallholder farmers chose not to plant at all rather than risk incurring further losses. The total area planted to maize, Lesotho’s staple crop, dropped by 40 percent, and piece-work labouring in fields dried up. “In previous years, the hoeing jobs were hard to come by because few farmers had the guts to compete with the weather,” said Mphale. “However, this time around I bought shoes for my four grandchildren with the wages I got from hoeing.”

    Government steps in

    Realizing that the 82 percent of Basotho who rely on agriculture for a living could not weather another poor harvest, the government declared the food security situation an emergency in August 2012 and called for donor support to help address the immediate needs of 725,000 people facing hunger, as well as the longer-term need to boost agricultural productivity. For the 2012-13 planting season, the government set aside 117 million maloti ($13 million) for agricultural subsidies, tractors and other related costs. In selected villages all over the country, the government paid the full cost of seed, fertilizer and tractors for ploughing. In return, they will receive 70 percent of the harvest, leaving farmers with the remaining 30 percent.

    Early rains helped the government’s interventions and the result has been that thousands of hectares of arable land which had lain fallow in recent farming seasons have now been planted. The prospect of a greatly improved harvest has brought hope to thousands of subsistence farmers. “The last time my crops looked so healthy, it was a decade or so ago - I am so relieved,” said Tsepo Masupha, a farmer in Roma, 40km from the capital, Maseru.

    “I am tired of buying mealie-meal [maize flour, a staple food] - it’s so expensive. However, this year I will even be able to feed my animals”. Informal traders in Maseru are already benefiting from this year’s better planting season. Ahead of the main harvest in May-June, when dried maize cobs are gathered for milling and turned into mealie-meal, some farmers sell green maize (corn on the cob) to traders like Thabang Seetsa. In recent years, Seetsa was sometimes forced to travel to South Africa to buy green maize because it was in such short supply in Lesotho, but now he can get it from local farmers at a much lower price.

    Army worm outbreak

    However, Sekhonyana Mahase, the Senior Crop Production Officer in the Ministry of Agriculture, warned that the outlook was not as positive as it had seemed at the beginning of the year. Initial predictions of good yields were bound to be revised downwards after a lack of rain during February and an unprecedented outbreak of crop-eating army worms. The worms, in fact the caterpillar of a moth, eat the leaves of the maize plants, which are critical for photosynthesis causing the stalks to dry up, so no maize cobs are formed.

    Reports about the impact of the army worms are still trickling in, but Mahase indicated that the government target of harvesting two tonnes of maize per hectare now looked unlikely to be met. “Roughly, the worms have destroyed over 30,000 hectares of maize crops all over the country [equivalent to nearly 25 percent of the planted area], including fields in the most fertile parts of the land,” he told IRIN.

    The caterpillars started appearing in January 2013, forcing the government to hire helicopters for spraying from neighbouring South Africa at a cost of M4 million (US$444,000) in addition to the expense of hiring ground-sprayers in mountainous areas where the use of helicopters is too risky. According to Mahase, the crops that fell victim to the worms were those planted at the end of December 2012 and in early January 2013. “When the army worms came, they were successful in destroying those crops with soft and greenish leaves. As for those that were planted much earlier, very little damage was done,” he said.

    Tsepo Masupha lost half of his crops to army worms, but hopes he will still be able to get a harvest from the maize he planted earlier. “Though I am very hurt with the loss, I did not plough my crops at the same time. In some of my fields, the crops are almost ready for harvesting; at least I will have something to eat.”

    The lack of rain and intense heat during February caused more problems for farmers, but Mahase said it was still too soon to estimate the full extent of the combined damage from the army worms and lack of rain.

    ms/ks/he


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/26/2013 13:21 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, March 26, 2013 (AFP) - An armed Islamist group which occupied northern Mali last year vowed Tuesday to continue its fight to drive out the French and African troops that routed it in a lightning military operation in January.

    Ansar Dine, Arabic for "defenders of the faith", was one of three militant organisations to take advantage of the disarray following a coup to claim control of Mali's vast northern desert, imposing a brutal form of sharia law in its cities.

    "We reassure our parents in Mali, particularly in Azawad (northern Mali), that their sons within Ansar Dine are in a good situation, resist by the grace of Allah and continue to lead the fighting under the command of Iyad Ag Ghaly, who is doing well," the group said in a statement published by Mauritanian news portal Sahara Media.

    Ag Ghaly, an ethnic Tuareg rebel who gave up a career as a high-level diplomat to take up arms, founded Ansar Dine early last year, but unconfirmed reports claim he has fled abroad.

    His fighters, along with Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb and the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa, are accused of committing atrocities in the Malian cities of Gao, Timbuktu and Kidal, including amputations and summary executions.

    They were driven out by a French military action that began on January 11, supported by African troops, and are being hunted down in an ongoing French-led mission to flush them out of the remote northeastern Ifoghas mountains.

    The statement said Ansar Dine had managed to inflict damage on the French army and "Chadian mercenaries" in the mountain range, "despite the siege imposed on us".

    France said in early March that "dozens" of rebels had been killed in fighting in the Ifoghas.

    But Ansar Dine said the death toll ascribed to the group by the French was "totally false and intended only to improve the low morale of their troops".

    "The truth that the press still hides is that the French soldiers, and with them the Chadian mercenaries, continue to suffer all kinds of punishment from (our) youths (who) are hunted on land and from the air," the statement said.

    hos/stb/cs/ft

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Somalia

    MOGADISHU, 26 March 2013 (IRIN) - Since the August 2011 withdrawal of Al-Shabab insurgents from the Somali capital, Mogadishu, security has improved, allowing for the gradual resumption of government functions. But sporadic suicide attacks, conflict-related population displacement and socio-economic problems persist, exemplifying some of the daunting challenges still ahead.

    On 18 March, for example, a car bomb in Mogadishu left several people dead.

    Somalia's President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud responded in a statement: "We can only presume at this stage that this cowardly attack is the work of Al-Shabab. They have been severely weakened and now resort to terrorism and murder of innocent Somali citizens. Al-Shabab/Al-Qaeda forces have no place in this world, and we will not allow them to have [a] place in Somalia."

    Al-Shabab has since claimed responsibility for the attack.

    Below, IRIN provides an overview of Somalia's recent progress and the many challenges that remain.

    What does relative stability look like in Somalia?

    Recent gains by the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Somali forces against the Al-Shabab insurgents have given the government some breathing space. Members of the Somali diaspora are now returning due to the increased stability.

    "We are no longer scared of the heavy shelling exchanged by Al-Shabab and African Union forces," Abdullahi, a businessman in the Bakara Market, told IRIN. The market was previously an Al-Shabab stronghold.

    "More children are going to school, businesses are opening, and there been a construction boom," added another Mogadishu resident. "There has been a really big change."

    According to the mayor of Mogadishu, Mohamed Ahmed Nur Tarsan, there has been a significant improvement in the security situation there.

    "When Al-Shabab was ruling parts of Mogadishu, all government MPs [members of parliament] and politicians could not rent houses but were all caged in the presidential palace. Now, they live in various neighbourhoods of Mogadishu," he said.

    The lighting up of two arterial roads in Mogadishu has allowed businesses there to remain open after dark; children can also be seen playing in the streets. "I am playing football with my friends until late at night," Mohamed Hassan, 12, told IRIN in the Mogadishu district of Howlwadag.

    There are plans to gradually light up other major roads in Mogadishu in a bid to boost business.

    What are the remaining security threats?

    But "insecurity remained a key challenge throughout the country in February," according to an update by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), issued on 6 March.

    "An explosion occurred in Mogadishu's Abdiaziz District. The vehicle-borne improvized explosive device [VBIED] attack was carried out by a suicide bomber. One person was confirmed dead and three others were injured.

    "In Kismayo, 11 people were killed in clashes between rival pro-government and clan-based militias. The clashes may be related to the long political tension in the Juba region over the formation of a regional state," the update said, adding that a suicide attack on 11 February in Gaalkayo had killed one person and wounded 27 others.

    Dozens of households also fled areas in the Bay and Bakool regions to the town of Luuq, and others fled to Dollo Ado refugee camp in Ethiopia, fearing armed clashes in Diinsoor and the onset of the lean season, it said.

    Meanwhile, an Al-Shabab blockade in Bakool has led to a rise in the cost of basic foodstuffs.

    "The cost of 50kg of rice was 400,000 Somali shillings (US$24) a year ago, and it is 800,000 Somali shillings ($48) today," Osman Ali, a father of eight, told IRIN by telephone. "I have spent all I had. Now, I am almost about to sell my houses to get food for my children."

    Mohamed Moalin, the commissioner of Bakool's regional capital of Hudur, said that Al-Shabab is preventing food from reaching the town.

    "Al-Shabab controls the main roads that lead to Hudur, and they would not allow vehicles carrying food to enter the [areas] we control, and this has resulted [in] hardships for the people." Residents there now rely on food brought in by donkey carts.

    In a 21 March press release, following the withdrawal of Ethiopian troops from Hudur, AMISOM sought to reassure residents, stating it "is working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia in their efforts to re-establish a security presence in the area."

    AMISOM Force Commander General Gutti said, "We have in place contingent measures to ensure that areas in Bay and Bakool remain stable and secure in the event of further Ethiopian troop withdrawals."

    The Somali government is also grappling with acts of criminality by its armed forces.

    Several hours after the execution of three soldiers for killing civilians, the chairman of Somalia's Supreme Military Court, Hassan Mohamed Hussein Mungab, told IRIN: "We will not tolerate killers and rapists within the armed forces. We will kill them because they denied the very people they were supposed to protect the right to life."

    Armed, uniformed men have also been accused of robbery. "I have had my mobile phone forcibly taken by two uniformed men," Abdikafi Mohamed, a resident of Mogadishu, said.

    International focus on the security sector was reflected in the March partial lifting of a UN arms embargo on Somalia, which will allow the government to continue to train and equip its armed forces.

    How have development efforts fared?

    The Somalia government also struggles to ensure access to health and education.

    The lack of experienced health professionals and supplies is a challenge, said Mohamud Moallim Yahye, the deputy minister for development and social services.

    "Most of our doctors are junior and they do not have access to the right equipment to carry out their work. With the help of our Turkish brothers [through Turkish NGOs], we want to rebuild the country's health institutions and gradually get free public hospitals," Yahye told IRIN, adding that the ministry hopes to engage more with development partners.

    "Donors and aid organizations used to engage with local NGO and private individuals while providing services, but now things are changing - health interventions across the country will be conducted through the Ministry of Social Services [and] Development."

    An estimated four million Somali children are also missing out on schooling, according to the social services ministry. The ministry hopes to send at least one million children to school in 2013, even as former government schools are currently housing hundreds of internally displaced persons.

    A standard syllabus must also be developed. "There are various syllabuses in use in the country which impart different cultures and values among Somalis, so developing a standard curriculum is a challenge," said Yahye.

    Has peace affected the economy?

    Financial issues remain paramount. The Somali shilling has been strengthening against the US dollar over the last couple of months, with adverse effects.

    At present, $100 is being exchanged for 1.7 million Somali shillings, compared to 2.2 million in the recent past.

    "My brother in Britain sends me $100, but it buys less shillings than before, which means I can buy less goods or services. It's good to have our money strengthened, but it does not have increased purchasing power," said Liban Galad, a student in Mogadishu.

    "We used to eat three times a day, but we have reduced [this to] two," Fatima Rashid, a mother of five, told IRIN.

    Somalia does not have a functioning central bank to regulate the supply and demand of currencies.

    "For the last two decades, no legal sufficient money has been printed, so there [are] less shillings in Somalia, and the rise in demand for the shilling has devalued the dollar," Mohamed Sheikh Ahmed, an economics lecturer at the SIMAD University, told IRIN.

    Investors and returnees have also flooded the market with dollars. "Somali investors are coming home with dollars. All salaries are paid in dollars. Tax is paid in dollars. And agencies, especially [the] Turkish, are paying in dollars - huge amount[s] of dollars," he added.

    Some business people could also be hoarding Somali shillings leading to a higher demand.

    To help to stabilize the fluctuating exchange rate, Ahmed suggests printing more 1,000 shilling notes, but says longer-term measures are needed. "The most practical [solution] in the long term is the printing of new money with [a] strong central bank, which can control the demand and the supply [of currency]," he said, adding that the government should also start paying salaries and collecting taxes in Somali shillings.

    amd/aw/rz


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Mali

    Accelerate Deployment of Gendarmes in Conflict Zones

    (Nairobi, March 26, 2013) – The government of Mali should investigate allegations that Malian soldiers tortured seven suspected supporters of Islamist armed groups in Léré, near Timbuktu, Human Rights Watch said today.

    The seven men, all of whom showed visible signs of torture, described to Human Rights Watch being beaten and kicked, burned, injected with a caustic substance, and threatened with death while in army custody between February 15 and March 4, 2013. One said he was subjected to simulated drowning akin to “waterboarding.”

    “The use of torture by the very soldiers mandated to restore security in northern Mali will only make a difficult situation worse,” said Corinne Dufka, senior West Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The Malian government should promptly and impartially investigate these and other allegations of abuse or face an increasingly unaccountable military and deepening communal tensions.”

    All of the seven detainees were ethnic Tuareg men between the ages of 21 and 66 who said that soldiers had detained them in or near the animal market in Léré after they went there from nearby villages to sell their cows. Two were detained while hiding in a house near the animal market. All seven were taken to a house that appeared to be serving as an ad hoc military headquarters. The Malian army had retaken Léré in late January as part of a French-led offensive to recapture northern Mali from Islamist armed groups.

    The torture and other ill-treatment of the men caused lasting injuries, Human Rights Watch said. One man went blind in one eye after being clubbed in the face with a gun butt, while another had gone partially deaf after being kicked repeatedly in the head. Two of the men described being beaten until unconscious, one of whom later vomited blood and bled from his nose. Another suffered a broken or dislocated shoulder after being hurled to the ground while bound, while another said he suffered at least one broken rib. Most were hogtied – their wrists and ankles tied tightly behind the back – for hours at a time, in some cases for over 12 hours. All had scars on their wrists from the tight cords and two had lost movement and feeling in one or both arms, suggesting possible nerve damage.

    The military appeared to be torturing the men as punishment for suspected support for Islamist armed groups, Human Rights Watch said. While they were not formally interrogated while in military custody, the men said that on a few occasions there were informally questioned about alleged associations with armed groups, including while being mistreated. On March 5, the men were taken from Léré to Markala, 265 kilometers away, where they were photographed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, ammunition, motorcycles, and other alleged proof of their association with armed groups. The men denied any such association and said the arms and other items were not theirs.

    All described being subjected to persistent death threats. The only language most of the men spoke was Tamashek, the Tuareg language, which the soldiers did not speak, thus the death threats were communicated through gestures. The soldiers would frequently run a finger across their neck and, on a few occasions, sharpen knives in front of the room in which the men were detained.

    The detainees said that after they were transferred to the custody of the Malian gendarmerie on March 5, they were well-treated and had been receiving regular medical attention. They are undergoing further interrogation and have not had access to family members or legal counsel.

    Human Rights Watch has previously documented numerous incidents in which Malian soldiers had detained without basis members of Tuareg, Arab, and Peuhl ethnic groups because of their alleged support of Islamist and Tuareg armed groups. Two of the Léré detainees told Human Rights Watch that they were aware of possible targeting by Malian soldiers, but believed they could safely go to the market because French soldiers were reportedly also in the town.

    “It is in the interests of every government involved in Mali to ensure that all abuses cease and those responsible are appropriately punished,” Dufka said. “Doing nothing in the face of reports of torture should not be an option.”

    A 31-year-old detainee told Human Rights Watch:

    We had heard about the Malian soldiers doing bad to Tuaregs and know they suspect us, but what are we to do? We live in camps (campements) far from any towns and had no other choice but to sell our animals to survive. That day I felt confident both because I have proper identification papers and my brother in Timbuktu told me the French are always with the Malians…. That’s why I took the risk to come to Léré that day.

    The abuses in Léré were documented during a Human Rights Watch research trip to Mali from March 11 to March 23. Other findings of human rights abuses will be made public in the coming weeks.

    “Transferring the seven men tortured in Léré to the gendarmes appears to have eased their immediate plight, but not the concerns about the lawfulness of their detention,” Dufka said. “They should be released if there is no basis for holding them and compensated for their injuries.”

    For detailed accounts of the torture and recommendations to the Malian government, please see below.

    For more Human Rights Watch reporting on Mali, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/africa/mali


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    Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Malawi
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    Introduction The TWG on M&E tracks sector performance and ASWAP implementation using a consolidated indicator set comprising of:

    1. ASWAP high-level indicators.

    2. Selected indicators adopted from the Food and Nutrition Security working group of the Information Systems subcommittee of the Food and Nutrition Security Joint Task Force/Technical Secretariat (FNSJTF/TS).

    3. Sector-level performance indicators that align ASWAp with the Comprehensive African Agricultural Development Programme (CAADP).

    This initial indicator set was adopted in June 2012 to enable the TWG on M&E to meet expectations that it was to monitor sector performance using 18 high-level indicators as proposed in the ASWAp document. The indicators are primarily focused on measuring the outcomes of activities carried out by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security (MoAFS).

    However, the concept of the ASWAp is sector-wide in nature. As such, it requires additional indicators that will capture the performance of the entire sector. Given these considerations, the TWG on M&E expanded the indicator set to go beyond the outcomes of MoAFS activities, and included indicators that capture the outcomes of a broad spectrum of actors within the sector. Indicators from the Food and Nutrition Security Joint Task Force and CAADP noted above were added. These specifically capture aspects of investment volumes, market prices, economic growth, poverty rates, nutritional outcomes, and the enabling environment for agricultural growth and development.

    The consolidated indicator set has indicators with different data collection frequencies. Therefore, although this note reports on the performance during the period from September 2011 to September 2012 where possible, some indicators pertain to a different time period.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Malawi
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    The food security situation in the south is expected to improve as harvests begin

    KEY MESSAGES

    • In February, national retail maize prices continue to rise. Average prices were 216 percent above the five-year average and 211 percent higher than last year’s price levels. Since harvests have already begun in some parts of the country, prices are expected to decrease but are likely to remain above last year and current year levels.

    • Spot price checks in markets in southern Malawi showed that by mid - March some informal maize imports from Mozambique has started flowing into Malawi, and this coupled with the start of harvests has started relaxing retail maize prices in Chikhwawa and Nsanje districts.

    • In the south there is an increased availability of maize, beans, sorghum, millet and green leafy vegetables from own production in the month of March. Consumption of these foods is filling food gaps in southern Malawi, including Chikhwawa district. During March, FEWS NET expects mainly Stressed (IPC Phase 2) food insecurity outcomes for poor households in the south that are currently receiving humanitarian assistance, including Chikhwawa district.

    • The food security situation will continue to improve as food and cash crops continue to be harvested. Sale of cash crops is expected to allow most rural households to meet their livelihood protection and food needs, and Minimal (IPC Phase 1) food security outcomes are expected across the country between April and June (Figure 2).


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Nigeria, World

    Mariama Diallo March 26, 2013

    WASHINGTON, DC — Biofortification is becoming the new way to tackle what some call micronutrient malnutrition. Various biofortification projects are underway in many parts of the developing world. They’re adding iron, zinc, and vitamin A in crops such as rice, beans, sweet potato, maize and cassava.

    According to the World Health Organization, between 250,000 and 500,000 vitamin A-deficient children become blind every year, half of them dying within 12 months of losing their sight.

    Paul Ilona is the country director for Harvest Plus - a global program that improves nutrition and public health through biofortified foods. Ilona tells V-O-A’s Mariama Diallo that in addition to blindness, the consequences of not having enough micronutrients in a daily diet are devastating and can result in stunting and disease.

    Listen to an interview on biofortification efforts in Nigeria


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/26/2013 21:14 GMT

    Par André VIOLLAZ

    NEW YORK (Nations unies), 26 mars 2013 (AFP) - Les Nations unies envisagent de déployer au Mali une mission de maintien de la paix forte de 11.200 hommes au maximum, accompagnée d'une "force parallèle" pour combattre les extrémistes islamistes.

    "Etant donné le niveau et la nature de la menace résiduelle, il y aura absolument besoin d'une force parallèle opérant au Mali (et potentiellement dans la sous-région) aux côtés de la mission de l'ONU afin de mener des opérations importantes de combat et de contre-terrorisme", souligne un rapport du secrétaire général de l'ONU Ban Ki-moon présenté mardi.

    L'exigence d'une "force parallèle", non précisée, semble indiquer que l'ONU souhaite le maintien d'une présence militaire française en appui à sa "mission de stabilisation". La présence de cette force "sera nécessaire pour un certain temps".

    Le texte ne fait pas référence explicitement aux troupes françaises et présente ce dispositif comme une des "deux options possibles soumises à l'examen du Conseil de sécurité".

    L'autre option consiste à "renforcer la mission politique" de l'ONU au Mali tout en laissant à la Misma, la force panafricaine, le soin d'assurer la sécurité. La Misma serait assistée par "des efforts militaires bilatéraux, en soutien aux forces maliennes". Elle aurait alors un rôle "offensif et de stabilisation centré sur les groupes extrémistes armés".

    Dans l'option Casques bleus, la "majeure partie" des troupes qui composent la Misma "seraient transférées dans une mission de stabilisation de l'ONU" qui comprendrait également 1.440 policiers. Elle serait déployée "essentiellement dans le nord, avec pour base logistique possible Gao ou Sevaré".

    "Examiner soigneusement les risques"

    Les Casques bleus seront juste assez nombreux pour sécuriser "les zones de population considérées comme présentant le plus grand risque", précise le rapport, qui a été soumis aux 15 pays membres du Conseil.

    Avant de déployer ces Casques bleus, souligne le texte, il faudra d'abord que "les conditions politiques et de sécurité nécessaires soient en place" et il reviendra au secrétariat général de l'ONU d'en juger.

    Sur ces "conditions politiques et de sécurité", Ban Ki-moon se montre très pessimiste dans son rapport.

    "Même quand l'intégrité territoriale du Mali aura été pleinement restaurée, de nombreux risques subsisteront", souligne-t-il, citant "les attaques terroristes, la prolifération des armes, le trafic de drogue et d'autres activités criminelles". "Il faudra examiner soigneusement les risques" pour les Casques bleus, note-t-il.

    "Le processus politique accuse un retard dangereux", constate aussi le secrétaire général, qui laisse entendre que "les conditions ne sont pas mûres pour la tenue dans le calme d'élections libres et crédibles et paisibles" au Mali.

    "En l'absence de réconciliation, il y a peu de place pour un débat politique constructif et les élections pourraient provoquer un regain d'instabilité et même des violences", affirme-t-il.

    A l'issue d'une visite d'une semaine au Mali à la mi-mars, Edmond Mulet, sous-secrétaire général aux opérations de maintien de la paix de l'ONU, avait lui aussi brossé un tableau sombre, estimant "peu probable que les élections puissent se tenir d'ici juillet" comme prévu.

    Dans le compte-rendu confidentiel de sa mission, dont l'AFP a eu copie, M. Mulet jugeait que l'influence que continue d'avoir l'ex-putschiste Amadou Sanogo "va rendre plus compliqué de mener des réformes significatives".

    Il concluait que l'ONU se prépare à affronter au Mali "des menaces inédites, jamais rencontrées dans un contexte de maintien de la paix".

    avz/mdm

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Somalia
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    Protect Displaced People at Risk

    New Government Should Tackle Past Injustice, Abuses

    (Nairobi) – Members of state security forces and armed groups have raped, beaten, and otherwise abused displaced Somalis who have arrived in Somalia’s capital fleeing famine and armed conflict since 2011, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. The new Somali government should urgently improve the protection and security of Mogadishu’s internally displaced population.

    The 80-page report, “Hostages of the Gatekeepers: Abuses against Internally Displaced in Mogadishu, Somalia,”details serious violations, including physical attacks, restrictions on movement and access to food and shelter, and clan-based discrimination against the displaced in Mogadishu from the height of the famine in mid-2011 through 2012. Interviews with 70 displaced people documented the ways in which government forces, affiliated militia, and private parties, notably camp managers known as “gatekeepers,” prey upon the vulnerable community.

    “Instead of finding a safe haven from fighting and famine, many displaced Somalis who came to Mogadishu have found hostility and abuse,” said Leslie Lefkow, deputy Africa director. “The new Somali government should quickly remedy the failures of the previous government, improve protection of displaced people, and hold to account members of the armed forces and others responsible for abuses.”

    Somalia is slowly emerging from two decades of conflict. In 2011 a combination of fighting involving Somalia’s Transitional Federal Government and African Union forces (AMISOM) against the armed Islamist group al-Shabaab, unrelenting drought, and obstruction of civilian access to humanitarian assistance caused a devastating famine. Tens of thousands of people fled south-central Somalia for Mogadishu where many are living in camps.

    Rape and sexual abuse of displaced women and girls, including by government soldiers and militia members, has been an enormous problem in the unprotected environment of the camps, Human Rights Watch found. Many victims of sexual violence don’t report their experiences to the authorities because they fear reprisals from their attackers, are wary of the social stigma, and have little confidence in the justice system. The father of a young woman who was allegedly raped by four soldiers told Human Rights Watch, “We didn’t try to go to justice, because the commander was harassing us at the time my daughter was raped. So how I can trust anyone here? We must keep silent.”

    Gatekeepers and militias controlling the camps have also diverted and stolen food aid intended for famine-stricken camp residents. A 30-year-old camp resident described her family’s dire situation: “There is nothing worse than the situation we are in. Now all we want is to get a car and return to our villages, because if I can die here because of lack of food, I might as well die in my village, because death is death.”

    Gatekeepers sometimes have kept camp residents from leaving to attract greater humanitarian assistance, which the gatekeepers would then siphon off for their own benefit. One woman told Human Rights Watch: “If we try to move from the camp, she [the gatekeeper] takes the tents from us. We don’t have a plastic sheet, we don’t have other shelter, and we don’t have a place to sleep. So until we get rescued we must stay there as hostages.”

    The communities from the regions most affected by the famine, the Rahanweyn and Bantu, have been particularly vulnerable to abuses. Gatekeepers and members of armed groups, including government-affiliated militias, treat them as second-class citizens, beat and insult them, and otherwise treat them repressively.

    The Transitional Federal Government was primarily responsible for the failure to protect the displaced and to hold accountable those responsible for abuses, but donor governments involved in Somalia have not made these issues a priority. International donors, including humanitarian agencies, should be ensuring greater accountability of their assistance.

    “The new government should turn the page on the transitional government’s failures and provide accountable protection to the displaced, who are among Somalia’s most vulnerable citizens,” Lefkow said. “Donors should stress that holding the security forces accountable for abuses against displaced people is key for improving security and the rule of law in Mogadishu.”

    The new Somali government, which replaced the Transitional Federal Government in August 2012 following a United Nations-sponsored election process, announced plans to relocate the capital’s tens of thousands of displaced people in 2013. The government should ensure, in accordance with international law, that relocations are voluntary, that they are conducted safely and with dignity, and that competent police forces can provide security at the relocation sites.

    Humanitarian organizations estimate that between 180,000 and 370,000 displaced people are in Mogadishu but precise data is not available because the displaced people were never officially registered. The lack of information about the displaced community heightens the need for the government, the UN, and aid agencies to carry out a profiling exercise to determine people’s needs. The effort should identify the most vulnerable people – such as female-headed households, unaccompanied children, the elderly, and the disabled – before any plans for relocation and resettlement are carried out.

    The government’s response to the key issues affecting the displaced has so far been mixed. While high-level government officials, including President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, have made commendable public commitments to tackle abuse, including rape by government forces, these commitments have yet to be translated into concrete action. The criminal prosecution in recent weeks of a displaced woman – who alleged that she was raped by government soldiers – and of a journalist who interviewed her sent a deeply troubling message.

    The government’s stated aim of completing relocation of displaced people by August 20, the one year anniversary of the end of the transitional government, despite the tremendous challenges of providing assistance and protection at the new resettlement sites, will put the displaced at greater risk of abuse and neglect.

    “The government faces daunting challenges, though it appears committed to tackling the dire situation of the displaced in Mogadishu,” Lefkow said. “But if the rights, needs, and wishes of the displaced themselves are not addressed, then they are likely to face even more suffering and abuse.”


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Mali

    Il faut accélérer le déploiement de gendarmes dans les zones de conflit

    (Nairobi, le 26 mars 2013) – Le gouvernement du Mali devrait enquêter sur les affirmations selon lesquelles des soldats maliens ont torturé sept personnes soupçonnées d’être des partisans de groupes islamistes armés à Léré, près de Tombouctou.

    Les sept hommes, qui portaient tous sur le corps des traces visibles de torture, ont affirmé à Human Rights Watch avoir été battus à coup de poing et de pied, brûlés et soumis à des injections forcées d’une substance corrosive ainsi qu’à des menaces de mort, alors qu’ils étaient détenus par l’armée entre le 15 février et le 4 mars 2013. L’un d’eux a affirmé avoir subi une torture avec de l’eau comparable à la technique du « simulacre de noyade » (« waterboarding »).

    « Le recours à la torture par des soldats qui ont précisément pour mandat de restaurer la sécurité dans le nord du Mali ne peut qu’aggraver une situation déjà difficile », a déclaré Corinne Dufka, chercheuse senior sur l’Afrique de l’Ouest à Human Rights Watch. « Le gouvernement malien devrait enquêter rapidement et de manière impartiale sur ces accusations et sur d’autres allégations d’exactions, sous peine de se retrouver dans une situation où son armée échapperait à tout contrôle et où les tensions intercommunautaires s’aggraveraient. »

    Les sept détenus, appartenant tous à l’ethnie touarègue et âgés de 21 à 66 ans, ont affirmé que les soldats les avaient arrêtés à proximité du marché aux bestiaux de Léré, où ils s’étaient rendus, venant de leurs villages, pour vendre des vaches. Deux d’entre eux ont été arrêtés alors qu’ils se cachaient dans une maison proche du marché. Tous les sept ont été emmenés dans un bâtiment qui semblait servir de quartier général militaire temporaire. L’armée malienne avait repris Léré fin janvier, dans le cadre d’une offensive dirigée par la France pour reconquérir le nord du Mali, qui était tombé aux mains de groupes islamistes armés en 2012.

    Les tortures et autres sévices infligés à ces hommes leur ont occasionné des blessures durables, a indiqué Human Rights Watch. L’un d’eux a perdu l’usage d’un œil après avoir reçu un coup de crosse de fusil au visage et un autre est devenu partiellement sourd du fait de nombreux coups de pied à la tête. Deux des hommes ont décrit comment ils avaient été brutalisés jusqu’à perdre connaissance, ce qui a entraîné chez l’un d’eux des vomissements sanglants et des saignements de nez. Un autre a affirmé avoir eu l’épaule brisée ou disloquée après avoir été violemment projeté au sol alors qu’il était ligoté, tandis qu’un autre a eu au moins une côte cassée. La plupart ont été ligotés – poignets et chevilles attachés derrière le dos – pendant des heures, parfois pendant plus de douze heures d’affilée. Tous avaient des cicatrices aux poignets causées par ces liens serrés et deux d’entre eux avaient perdu motricité et sensations dans un bras ou dans les deux, ce qui fait craindre la possibilité que des nerfs soient endommagés.

    Il semble que les soldats aient infligé des tortures à ces hommes pour les punir de leur soutien présumé aux groupes islamistes armés, a relevé Human Rights Watch. Bien qu’ils n’aient pas été soumis à des interrogatoires formels pendant leur détention par l’armée, les sept hommes ont indiqué avoir parfois été interrogés de manière informelle sur leurs prétendus rapports avec les groupes armés, y compris alors qu’ils étaient maltraités. Le 5 mars, les sept hommes ont été emmenés de Léré à Markala, à 265 kilomètres de distance, où ils ont été photographiés avec des fusils d’assaut Kalachnikov, des munitions, des motos et d’autres prétendues preuves de leur association avec les groupes armés. Les sept hommes ont nié une telle association et affirmé que les armes et les autres équipements ne leur appartenaient pas.

    Tous ont affirmé avoir subi des menaces de mort de manière persistante. La seule langue parlée par ces sept hommes est le tamashek, la langue des Touaregs, que les soldats ne parlaient pas, et les menaces de mort leur étaient donc signifiées par gestes. Les soldats passaient fréquemment un doigt sur leur gorge devant eux et, parfois, aiguisaient leurs couteaux devant la pièce où ils étaient détenus.

    Les détenus ont indiqué qu’après avoir été remis aux mains de la gendarmerie malienne le 5 mars, ils avaient été bien traités et avaient reçu régulièrement des soins médicaux. Cependant, ils ont été soumis à de nouveaux interrogatoires et n’ont pas pu contacter leurs familles ou recevoir une assistance judiciaire.

    Human Rights Watch a déjà documenté de nombreux incidents lors desquels des soldats maliens avaient arrêté sans motif des membres des groupes ethniques touaregs, arabes et peuls en raison de leur prétendu soutien aux groupes armés islamistes ou touaregs. Deux des détenus de Léré ont affirmé à Human Rights Watch qu’ils étaient conscients de la possibilité que les soldats maliens s’en prennent à eux, mais qu’ils pensaient pouvoir se rendre au marché sans danger car ils avaient entendu dire que des soldats français étaient aussi présents dans la ville.

    « Il est de l’intérêt de tous les gouvernements impliqués au Mali de faire en sorte que toutes les exactions cessent et que leurs auteurs soient punis de manière appropriée»,a ajouté Corinne Dufka. « L’inaction face à des informations faisant état de cas de torture ne devrait même pas être une option. »

    Un des détenus, âgé de 31 ans, a raconté à Human Rights Watch:

    Nous avions entendu dire que les soldats maliens maltraitaient les Touaregs et nous savions qu’ils nous soupçonnaient, mais que pouvons-nous y faire? Nous vivons dans des campementsà l’écart des villes et nous n’avions pas d’autre choix que de vendre nos animaux pour survivre. Ce jour-là, j’étais confiant, à la fois parce que j’ai des papiers d’identité en règle et parce que mon frère, qui vit à Tombouctou, m’avait dit que les Français étaient toujours avec les Maliens…. C’est pourquoi j’ai pris le risque d’aller à Léré ce jour-là.

    Les exactions commises à Léré ont été documentées lors d’une visite effectuée au Mali par des chercheurs de Human Rights Watch du 11 au 23 mars. D’autres constats de violations des droits humains seront rendus publics au cours des prochaines semaines.

    « La remise des sept hommes torturés à Léré entre les mains des gendarmes semble avoir atténué leur détresse, sans toutefois dissiper les préoccupations concernant la légalité de leur détention», a conclu Corinne Dufka. « S’il n’y a pas de fondement juridique à la poursuite de leur détention, ils devraient être libérés et indemnisés pour leurs blessures.»

    Récits de tortures et d’autres mauvais traitements

    L’un des détenus a indiqué à Human Rights Watch que lui et un co-détenu avaient été sortis de leur cellule en pleine nuit par des soldats, poignets et chevilles attachés dans le dos, et jetés au sol « comme des sacs de riz », ce qui lui a brisé ou disloqué une épaule. Après que cet homme eut été frappé et menacé de mort, un autre soldat a ordonné à ses camarades de remettre les deux détenus dans leur cellule.

    Deux des détenus ont affirmé à Human Rights Watch que le 16 février, des soldats leur avaient injecté dans les poignets une substance corrosive non identifiée qui, au bout de quelques heures, leur a donné des cloques, puis leur a progressivement « rongé » les chairs. Le soldat qui leur a fait les piqûres a utilisé la même aiguille pour les deux hommes. L’un d’eux, âgé de 36 ans, a raconté à Human Rights Watch:

    Après avoir vendu deux vaches pour 315 000 francs CFA (environ 620 dollars), je me suis dirigé vers le marché pour acheter des provisions avant de retourner au village. Sur le chemin, un ami m’a averti que les soldats arrêtaient les Touaregs et j’ai couru pour me cacher chez un ami jusqu’à ce qu’ils soient passés. Mais ils m’ont vu, m’ont traîné dehors et ont immédiatement commencé à me donner des coups de botte et de crosse de fusil. Alors que j’étais à terre, l’un d’eux m’a violemment frappé à la tête avec son fusil, me touchant à l’œil droit. (…) La douleur était si forte que j’ai perdu connaissance.

    Je suis revenu à moi alors qu’on me traînait sur le sol, mes mains ayant été attachées avec mon turban. Le lendemain soir, un soldat est venu, a pris mon bras et y a injecté une substance. J’ai cru que c’était peut-être pour la douleur. (…) Je ne parlais pas sa langue, donc je ne pouvais pas le lui demander. Puis il a fait une piqûre à mon ami qui partageait ma cellule. Cela a commencé à cloquer et le lendemain matin, cela avait rongé la chair. J’ai cru que j’allais mourir de douleur (…). Tout ce que je veux, c’est retourner dans mon village.

    Un détenu dont les mains avaient été attachées derrière le dos a affirmé que des soldats avaient placé des torsades de papier enflammé sur son dos. Un soldat le maintenait au sol alors qu’il tentait de se débarrasser du papier qui brûlait. Il a dit à Human Rights Watch:

    Mes mains étaient attachées et ils m’ont fait allonger sur le sol. Je les ai vus tordre des morceaux de papier qu’ils ont placés sur le haut de mon dos et enflammés. (…) Alors que cela me brûlait la peau, j’essayais de remuer dans tous les sens pour le faire tomber mais ils me plaquaient au sol.

    Deux autres détenus ont affirmé avoir eu les oreilles brûlées avec un briquet.

    Un homme, un chauffeur âgé de 30 ans, a affirmé avoir subi un simulacre d’exécution rappelant la technique du simulacre de noyade (« waterboarding »). Il a déclaré:

    Ils m’ont dit de m’accroupir, ils m’ont projeté violemment la tête contre un mur, l’ont tirée en arrière, puis ils ont pris un seau d’eau et me l’ont déversé dans le nez et dans la bouche (…). Pendant ce temps, ils me demandaient : « Dis-nous quel travail tu faisais pour eux et pourquoi tu avais de l’argent sur toi.»

    Quatre des hommes ont affirmé que l’argent de la vente de leurs vaches leur avait été volé. Un négociant de 66 ans a indiqué à Human Rights Watch qu’il avait vendu 32 vaches et que les soldats lui avaient dérobé 3 300 000 francs CFA (6 520 dollars) pendant qu’ils le gardaient à vue.

    « Ils m’ont frappé, m’ont donné des coups de pied au visage et dans le dos [et] l’un d’eux m’a frappé au cou», a-t-il dit. « Alors que je perdais peu à peu connaissance sous les coups, je réalisais qu’ils fouillaient mes poches et m’ôtaient mes vêtements. (…) L’argent a complètement disparu.» Les soldats auraient également dérobé 1 440 000 francs CFA (2 845 dollars) aux autres hommes.

    Human Rights Watch a recommandé au gouvernement malien de :

    • Mener des enquêtes et poursuivre en justice, dans le respect des normes internationales en matière d’équité des procès, les membres des forces de sécurité impliqués dans les tortures et dans les autres exactions commises à Léré, quel que soit leur grade, y compris les responsables ayant fait preuve de leur incapacité à empêcher les exactions perpétrées ou à en punir les auteurs, en vertu du principe de la responsabilité du commandement.

    • Accélérer le redéploiement de fonctionnaires de police, de gendarmerie et du ministère de la Justice dans les villes et villages du nord du Mali, en particulier là où des opérations militaires se poursuivent, notamment dans et autour des villes de Gossi, Gourma-Rharous et Bourem.

    • Garantir le traitement humain de toute personne placée en détention dans le cadre d’opérations militaires, faire en sorte qu’elle soit rapidement traduite devant une instance judiciaire afin d’assurer la légalité de la détention et lui permettre contacter sa famille.

    • Mettre en place une permanence téléphonique 24 heures sur 24 assurée par les autorités maliennes compétentes et du personnel de la Mission de soutien international au Mali (AFISMA) à destination des victimes et des témoins d’exactions, y compris celles commises par les membres des forces de sécurité.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Afghanistan, Haiti, Malawi, Mali, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tajikistan, United Republic of Tanzania, World, Zambia
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    KEY MESSAGES

    • Across most of West Africa, food prices remained stable or decreased in January as staple food availability continued to improve with the ongoing marketing season. Staple food prices increased in areas affected by flooding in Nigeria as well as in areas with market disruptions linked to conflict in northern Mali (Pages 4-6).

    • In East Africa, staple food prices continued to decline seasonally in most markets in January. However, maize prices increased unseasonably in Rwanda due to late harvests, and in Tanzania, due to below-average Vuli season production in the bimodal areas (Pages 7-9).

    • In Southern Africa, food prices increased in January as the lean season progressed. Localized production shortfalls, high fuel costs, and strong export and institutional demand continued to exert upward pressure on food prices in markets Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia, and Mozambique (Pages 10-12).

    • In Haiti, black bean prices continued to increase due to domestic production deficits. Imported rice and wheat prices remained stable at high levels in January due to consistent supplies. In Central America, red and black bean prices were seasonally stable in January while maize prices started to increase seasonally (Pages 12-13).

    • In Afghanistan and Tajikistan, wheat flour and grain prices were stable in January. High-priced regional imports and local marketing constraints put upward pressure on prices in some markets (Page 14).

    • International maize and wheat prices remained stable at high levels in January due to tight global supplies and strong import demand (Figure 1). Rice export prices were stable (Pages 2-3).


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Malawi, Mozambique, South Africa, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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    Most households in Southern Africa depend on maize as their main source of food and energy, given the high volumes and ease with which it is produced. Alternative food crops that are consumed as substitutes include rice, wheat, sorghum, millet, and tubers such as cassava and potatoes. Consumption of these substitutes occurs mainly when maize is not available or among those households in areas where such substitutes are more easily available (for example, cassava in northern Mozambique). The majority of rural households do grow the other cereals — especially sorghum and millet, which are more drought resilient — in relatively small quantities as a buffer in bad production years for maize. Furthermore, wealthier households (especially in urban areas) with access to a variety of costlier cereals (such as rice and wheat) do consume them to diversify their diets. While wheat is widely consumed in the form of bread, it is produced in relatively small quantities in the region. South Africa is the only country that produces substantial amounts, but still in quantities insufficient to meet domestic requirements. South Africa is also the region's major producer of maize and acts as a major supplier and exporter. In years of relative maize surplus, sizable amounts of both formal and informal cross border trade occurs between neighboring countries.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    03/27/2013 08:07 GMT

    By Tim Witcher

    UNITED NATIONS, March 26, 2013 (AFP) - Up to 11,200 troops could be needed for a UN peacekeeping mission in Mali but a "parallel" military force will have to battle radical Islamists, UN leader Ban Ki-Moon said Tuesday.

    The 11,200 troops could only cover main towns "assessed to be at highest risk," Ban said in a grim report on conditions in Mali that the UN Security Council will discuss Wednesday.

    The UN leader said there would be a "fundamental requirement for a parallel force" in Mali and possibly neighboring countries -- in a clear signal that France will have to maintain a strong military involvement in the conflict.

    The second force would "conduct major combat and counter-terrorism operations and provide specialist support beyond the scope of the United Nations mandate and capability," the UN secretary general said.

    France sent troops to Mali in January to prevent an advance by Islamist forces on the capital Bamako. The Islamists and Tuareg separatists overran northern Mali a year ago, taking advantage of a vacuum left after a military coup.

    Having been beaten out of Timbuktu and other Malian cities, the Islamists have retreated to desert and mountain hideouts from where they launch guerrilla attacks on French, Chadian and Malian forces.

    "Terrorist groups and tactics, the proliferation of weapons, improvised explosive devices, unexploded ordnance and landmines are expected to pose significant threats" in Mali, Ban warned in his report.

    France wants the 15-member council to pass a resolution in April setting up a peacekeeping force that could be in place by July.

    The bulk of it would come from a West African force, known by the acronym AFISMA, which is already in Mali.

    Ban said a peacekeeping force could only be deployed when the UN secretariat had decided that it would be safe enough.

    He added that if the Security Council were to reject a peacekeeping force, the UN could set up an expanded political office and let AFISMA do security and peacekeeping duties outside UN control.

    Ban's report and a separate document prepared by a top UN peacekeeping official portray a dark picture of the challenges ahead in Mali.

    While the militant groups have gone underground, Ban's report said there was a "crisis of governance" marked by "endemic corruption" and a lack of state authority.

    A political roadmap adopted by the transitional government calls for elections to be held by July 31.

    But UN peacekeeping deputy chief Edmond Mulet said in a confidential report to Ban, obtained by AFP, that he thought it "unlikely" the elections could be held on time. Mulet has just returned from a mission to Mali to draft the options for the peacekeeping force.

    Ban's report said that with the weak central government and no sign of reconciliation between the northern and southern halves of Mali, "elections could provoke further instability or even violence."

    The UN leader added that there was a "worrying human rights situation."

    Rights groups say there have been widespread reprisal killings of Tuaregs and other minorities by the Malian army as they retake northern towns.

    "With tensions between communities running high and Malian soldiers committing very serious crimes, including killings and brutal torture, the future UN mission will have to play a key role in monitoring and reporting on human rights," said Jean-Marie Fardeau, director of Human Rights Watch's Paris office who has just come back from a trip to Mali.

    The United Nations also highlighted the political divisions in Bamako, which it says cloud hopes for a return to peace.

    The coup one year ago was led by Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, who nominally handed over power to the transitional government.

    But Mulet's report said "Captain Sanogo and his entourage maintain a low profile, but remain influential figures with a firm hold on key ministries and continue to enjoy popular support."

    "Captain Sanogo's continued presence will complicate meaningful reform," said Mulet.

    tw/vlk


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Somalia
    preview


    Issued on 27 March

    Situation overview

    1. Malnutrition continues to be a challenge in Somalia despite the continuous improvement in the humanitarian situation. The Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) highlights that improvements in food security do not imply immediate reduction of malnutrition rates due to several contributing factors such as disease, limited sanitation structures and inadequate food intake. Nutrition partners are continuing to strengthen their preventive programmes to address these underlying causes, while they continue working on emergency response. As with all other humanitarian partners, one of the main challenges remains access to beneficiaries especially in parts of southern Somalia.

    2. Humanitarians are concerned about the steady increase in cases of acute watery diarrhoea in Banadir and Lower Shabelle regions. In February alone, 565 suspected cases were reported and the number is expected to increase with the start of the rainy season in April. Health partners are working on pre-positioning of medical supplies to be able to respond rapidly to the foreseen cyclical increase of needs during the rainy season especially in the riverine areas in the south.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia

    1) Political and Security

    South-central:

    Following the Ethiopian Defence Force’s (EDF) withdrawal from Xudur town, Bakool district, Al-Shabaab (AS) militants seized control of the town. A large number of EDF as well as families/relations of Somali National Armed Forces (SNAF) residing in Xudur also followed suit. As of 21st March 2013, approximately 2,500 people (mostly adolescent and adult males) have been displaced to Ceel Barde. The people who fled first primarily consisted of members of the local administration, government sympathizers, local NGOs, health workers, and their families who fear AS persecution. Further displacement of civilians may occur.

    The Representative and UNHCR Mogadishu team had a series of meetings with the Technical Assessment Mission (TAM) Team as well as high level delegations/donor missions (a Norwegian delegation, and a donor mission (ECHO, USAID, DfID and AusAID). Discussions with the donors centered on IDP relocation and IDP returns and the relevant durable solutions for the returning populations. The prospect of a tripartite agreement between the governments of Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia (regional strategy) on refugee returns and ongoing discussions around durable solutions planning and IDP policy in Somalia were also discussed.

    The security situation in the Jubas remains stable with no major incidents reported. The negotiations of the community stakeholders on the establishment of a federal state of “Jubaland” are ongoing and the conference is expected to resume this week in Kismayo.


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    Source: Action Against Hunger
    Country: Mali, Mauritania

    As violence in northern Mali continues, people afraid for their safety are taking refuge in the neighboring country of Mauritania. Many of them fled with nothing, leaving their belongings and livestock behind. Without access to milk and meat from livestock, an alarming number of refugees are suffering from malnutrition. So far, 74,000 displaced people have sought refuge in Mauritania, and more are arriving by the hundreds each day, in desperate need of help.

    Emergency Relief for Displaced People

    Action Against Hunger emergency response teams have rushed to the aid of thousands of displaced Malians. So far, our efforts have helped to reduce malnutrition rates in the area, but the situation is still very serious. Our teams continue to work in the refugee camps, providing emergency nutrition provisions, basic health education, and proper water storage techniques. We have also launched an innovative cash-based initiative that will help pregnant and nursing women earn money to buy food and other staple goods for their families.

    “We promote breastfeeding, because suddenly stopping breastfeeding can cause children younger than two years old to become malnourished in a very short time. Our programs prioritize breastfeeding and basic health care. We also teach water storage techniques, because although the water is chlorinated, contamination arises from problems with storage.”

    – Montse Escruela, Nutritionist, Action Against Hunger Emergency Response Team, Mauritania

    Supporting an Already Fragile Mauritania

    While our work with the Malian refugees is critical, we also support communities in Mauritania, where we have been working to treat and prevent rising outbreaks of malnutrition caused by the recent food crisis in the Sahel region. The area’s already limited resources are being stretched thin by the growing number of displaced Malians entering the country. Equal access to resources like food, water and land is crucial for the health and safety of both groups.

    Though displaced Malians hope to return to their homes soon, instability in the region may keep them from returning for months, or even years. In the meantime, we will continue to run programs in Mali and Mauritania that provide both countries’ citizens with security during difficult times.


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