Articles on this Page
- 11/06/12--04:31: _Déclaration du Coor...
- 11/06/12--05:08: _Somalia Flood Watch...
- 11/06/12--05:12: _Islamic Militancy i...
- 11/06/12--05:17: _Humanitarian Bullet...
- 11/07/12--00:13: _USG Humanitarian As...
- 11/07/12--00:27: _Mali Complex Emerge...
- 11/07/12--00:28: _Mali Urgence Comple...
- 11/07/12--01:52: _Une intervention se...
- 11/07/12--02:08: _Les chefs d'état-ma...
- 11/07/12--03:11: _Mali's Ansar Dine I...
- 11/07/12--03:54: _Funding flows from ...
- 11/07/12--04:06: _A snapshot of human...
- 11/07/12--04:59: _Kenya Red Cross Tan...
- 11/07/12--07:13: _West Africa army ch...
- 11/07/12--12:07: _Mali CAP Funding St...
- 11/07/12--16:34: _Security Council, A...
- 11/07/12--17:19: _Secretary-General d...
- 11/07/12--17:59: _Harvest time in Bur...
- 11/07/12--19:35: _La capacité de répo...
- 11/07/12--22:34: _As Conflicts Multip...
- 11/06/12--05:08: Somalia Flood Watch - Issued: 6th November, 2012
- 11/06/12--05:12: Islamic Militancy in Africa
The rise of Islamic militancy in parts of the Sahel and Horn of Africa poses growing threats to regional stability. The appeal of these militants stems from their ability to tap into and persuade marginalized communities, particularly youth, that their grievances can be rectified by the establishment of a more pure Islamist culture.
Despite breakthroughs, Islamic militants in Africa typically do not possess great military power and may not seek to govern at the state level. Rather, they tend to be homegrown phenomena, focused on local concerns.
Islamic militant organizations in Africa generally only command the support of small minorities within Muslim communities. However, ill-considered interventions, especially those involving Western forces, can reinforce the militants’ narrative, thereby strengthening their credibility and recruitment.
Humanitarian needs in Syria have continued to deteriorate in the last two months. There are now an estimated 2.5 million people in need of assistance and over 350, 000 registered refugees.
The UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Yemen talks to the media in Cairo and calls for greater focus on addressing the humanitarian crisis.
The Arab Humanitarian Portal is launched in Kuwait at the third Annual Conference on Effective Partnership and Information Sharing for Better Humanitarian Action.
Consolidated and flash appeals in the MENA region are currently 45% funded, with additional requirements totalling over 1.2 Billion.
11 countries from the MENA region have contributed funds to appeals in 2012. These total 75 Million with Somalia, Yemen, Lebanon, and oPt the largest recipients.
- 11/07/12--00:27: Mali Complex Emergency Situation Report No. 19, 6 November 2012
4.6 million people remain at risk of food insecurity in Mali and access to food for people living in the north is deteriorating.
Mali is faced with a big challenge in terms of education. Access to education remains a major challenge for thousands of children in the north, and more than a 130 schools in the south of the country have been damaged following recent floods in September and October.
Funding remains insufficient with only 49 % of funding requirements covered under the CAP 2012. $ 108.8 million is still required to meet the urgent needs identified in the 2012 Mali CAP.
Environ 4.6 millions de personnes sont estimées d’être à risque d’insécurité alimentaire à cause de la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle, et le conflit au nord. L’accès à la nourriture pour les personnes vivant dans le nord se détériore.
Le Mali est confronté à un défi de taille en termes d'éducation. L'accès à l'éducation demeure un défi majeur pour des milliers d'enfants dans le nord et plus de 130 écoles dans le sud du pays ont été endommagées à la suite des récentes inondations en septembre et octobre.
Le financement du CAP 2012 reste insuffisant. Jusqu’à maintenant seulement 49 % du financement requis a été reçu dans le cadre des projets soumis dans le CAP Mali 2012. $ 108.8 millions sont encore nécessaires pour répondre aux besoins urgents identifiés dans le CAP 2012 au Mali.
- 11/07/12--01:52: Une intervention se précise malgré l'offre de dialogue d'islamistes
- 11/07/12--03:11: Mali's Ansar Dine Islamists in humanitarian aid deal
- 11/07/12--03:54: Funding flows from Central Asia, January- October 2011
- 11/07/12--04:06: A snapshot of humanitarian challenges
- 11/07/12--07:13: West Africa army chiefs adopt Mali intervention strategy
- 11/07/12--12:07: Mali CAP Funding Status as of 7 November 2012 (EN/FR)
- 11/07/12--17:59: Harvest time in Burkina Faso
Le Coordonnateur de l’action humanitaire, Fodé Ndiaye et l’ensemble de la communauté humanitaire au Niger expriment leur soulagement pour la libération le samedi 03 novembre 2012 des cinq travailleurs humanitaires enlevés le 14 octobre 2012 mais déplorent la mort en captivité d’un de leurs collègues. Au nom de la communauté humanitaire au Niger, le Coordonnateur de l’action humanitaire transmet ses sincères condoléances à la famille éplorée.
Il remercie tous ceux qui ont pu contribuer au dénouement de la situation et renouvelle l’engagement de la communauté humanitaire à continuer d’apporter l’assistance nécessaire aux populations dans le besoin, malgré les difficultés grandissantes liées à l’insécurité.
The 7-day cumulative satellite rainfall estimate (RFE) image (Map – 1) indicates moderate rains were received within the Juba and Shabelle basins both in Somalia and within the Ethiopian highlands. The rainfall forecast for the coming week (Map – 2) is pointing towards continued rainfall activities of light to moderate rains within the Shabelle and Juba basins both in Ethiopia and Somalia.
There remains a moderate risk of flooding along the lower reaches of Shabelle River in Somalia. The situation could be worsened by artificial breakages of river banks in these areas. There is however minimal risk of flooding during the coming week along the Juba River.
By Terje Østebø
FAITS SAILLANTS/PRINCIPALES PRIORITES
11/07/2012 12:30 GMT
Par Serge DANIEL
BAMAKO, 07 nov 2012 (AFP) - Les dirigeants ouest-africains doivent prochainement entériner un plan d'intervention militaire pour reprendre le nord du Mali occupé par des groupes islamistes armés, au moment où l'un de ces groupes affirme rejeter "toute forme de terrorisme" et être prêt "au dialogue".
Réunis mardi à Bamako, les chefs d'état-major de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) ont adopté ce qu'ils appellent un "concept stratégique", en réalité un plan de reconquête armée du nord du Mali.
"Nous sommes très satisfaits", a déclaré le chef d'état-major de l'armée malienne, le colonel-major Ibrahim Dembélé. "Globalement, le concept a été adopté" et des "troupes amies vont venir ici aider le Mali à reconquérir le Nord', a-t-il ajouté.
Le "concept stratégique" précise la composition de la force qui interviendra au Mali avec l'aval de l'ONU et le soutien logistique de pays occidentaux, le niveau de participation des pays de la Cédéao qui en constitueront le noyau, le financement et les moyens militaires dont elle devra disposer.
Aucun détail n'a cependant été rendu public à l'issue de la rencontre des chefs d'état-major.
"C'est un plan ambitieux, il faut prévoir un peu plus de 4.000 personnes en cas d'intervention militaire. Nous avons étudié tous les paramètres, maintenant, nous attendons les directives de nos chefs d'Etat", a simplement déclaré un officier béninois participant à la rencontre.
Le concept, qui prévoit aussi la présence au Mali de militaires non africains, va être soumis aux chefs d'Etat de la Cédéao au cours d'un sommet qui devrait avoir lieu ce week-end à Abuja, selon une source proche de la réunion de Bamako.
S'il est approuvé, il sera alors transmis d'ici le 26 novembre au Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU qui devra à son tour se prononcer pour, éventuellement, voter une résolution donnant le feu vert définitif au déploiement de la force.
"J'espère vraiment que les choses vont avancer. Il ne faut pas lâcher la pression sur les groupes terroristes, il faut convaincre tout le monde", a déclaré le général guinéen Sékouba Konaté, chargé par l'Union africaine (UA) de superviser la préparation de la force de la Cédéao au Mali.
Doutes sur la sincérité d'Ansar Dine
La réunion de Bamako s'est tenue au moment où, à Ouagadougou, Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam), un des groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali avec Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi), affirmait rejeter "toute forme d'extrémisme et de terrorisme" et appelait au dialogue avec Bamako.
"Une intervention étrangère, ce n'est pas seulement le Mali qui va en pâtir, c'est toute la sous-région qui va s'embraser. Tout le monde doit s'y mettre pour qu'il y ait la paix", a dit mercredi à l'AFP Mohamed Ag Aharid, porte-parole de la délégation de ce groupe présente au Burkina Faso.
L'annonce d'Ansar Dine, une prise de distance de ses alliés jihadistes d'Aqmi et du Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao), avec lesquels il contrôle le nord du Mali depuis sept mois, a été accueillie avec prudence à Bamako.
"L'intégrité territoriale est non négociable, mais à partir du moment où des Maliens décident de déposer les armes et de venir à la table de négociations, nous sommes disposés à les écouter s'ils sont véritablement sincères", a affirmé un conseiller à la présidence de la République, Makan Diarra.
Pour Bineta Diakité, membre de l'Alliance pour la démocratie au Mali (Adéma), parti du président de transition Dioncounda Traoré, les membres d'Ansar Dine "sont nos frères". "S'ils veulent discuter, pourquoi ne pas les écouter? Mais on ne va pas discuter cette fois pour s'attendre à la reprise d'une rébellion dans un mois ou même dans deux ans" dans le nord du Mali.
"Il faut donner une chance aux négociations. C'est utile et nécessaire", a de son côté affirmé Oumar Touré, membre du Collectif des organisations patriotiques du Mali (Copam), une organisation qui avait soutenu le coup d'Etat du 22 mars ayant renversé le régime du président Amadou Toumani Touré.
Les islamistes armés imposent dans le Nord la charia (loi islamique) avec une extrême rigueur, (lapidations de couples non mariés, amputations de présumés voleurs, coups de fouets au buveurs d'alcool) et y commettent de nombreuses exactions et destructions de monuments sacrés.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
7 novembre 2012 [Bamako - Mali]
Réuni en session extraordinaire ce mardi 6 novembre 2012 à Bamako, au Mali, le Comité des chefs d'état-major de la CEDEAO (CCEM) doit examiner et entériner les conclusions de la rencontre d’harmonisation du concept d’opération de la force internationale devant libérer le nord du Mali.
Cette dernière rencontre, tenue du 29 octobre au 4 novembre 2012 dans la capitale malienne, avait regroupé des experts militaires du Mali, de la CEDEAO, de l’Union africaine, de l’Union européenne, des Nations unies, de France, d’Allemagne, du Canada, d’Algérie et de Mauritanie. Elle avait pour objectif de faire des propositions concrètes pour l’adoption d’un concept stratégique harmonisé.
La réunion extraordinaire du CCEM de ce jour consacre l’ultime étape d’un long processus destiné à l’adoption d’un concept d’opération stratégique conjoint devant permettre le rétablissement de l’intégrité territoriale du Mali, a indiqué le chef d’état-major général des armées maliennes, le colonel-major Ibrahima Dahirou Dembélé.
Celui-ci a salué l’engagement et le professionnalisme des officiers planificateurs qui n’ont ménagé aucun effort, a-t-il souligné, pour élaborer un concept d’opération stratégique novateur, flexible et consensuel demandé par la communauté internationale.
Pour sa part, le président du Comité des chefs d’état-major de la CEDEAO, le chef d’état-major général des Forces républicaines de Côte-d’Ivoire, le général de corps d’armée Soumaïla Bakayoko, a réaffirmé la volonté et la détermination des membres du CCEM à jouer leur rôle, tant sur le plan politique que sécuritaire, dans toutes les initiatives visant à rétablir au plus vite l’intégrité territoriale du Mali.
Il s’est réjoui de la présence à cette rencontre de toutes les parties prenantes, notamment de l’Algérie, de la Mauritanie, de l’Union africaine et des Nations unies ainsi que des différents partenaires au développement pouvant contribuer à trouver une issue rapide à la crise malienne.
Abondant dans le même sens, le Haut représentant de l’Union africaine pour l’opérationnalisation de la Force africaine en attente pour la reconquête du nord du Mali, l’ancien président de la transition en Guinée, le général Sékouba Konaté, a remercié la CEDEAO, les pays du champ tels le Niger, l’Algérie et la Mauritanie, et exprimé sa reconnaissance aux Nations unies et aux partenaires multilatéraux pour leurs efforts soutenus en faveur de la recherche d’une solution au problème malien.
Quant au président de la Commission de la CEDEAO, M. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo, il a rappelé à l’assistance l’importance de cette session extraordinaire des chefs d'état-major de la CEDEAO.
« Votre réunion d’aujourd’hui revêt une importance toute particulière et constitue une étape décisive dans la planification de notre intervention conformément à la résolution 2071 du Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies. Vos conclusions seront décisives dans la suite que réservera le Conseil de sécurité pour l’adoption d’une nouvelle résolution autorisant le déploiement tant attendu », a-t-il indiqué.
En procédant à l’ouverture des travaux, le ministre malien de la Défense et des Anciens combattants, le colonel-major Yamoussa Camara, a fait savoir que les forces de défense et de sécurité maliennes, dans la logique du contrat moral qui les lie à leur peuple, doivent demeurer le fer de lance de toute stratégie de sortie de crise.
Il a exprimé la sympathie et la reconnaissance du gouvernement et du peuple maliens à la CEDEAO, à l’Union africaine et à la communauté internationale pour leur engagement et leur disponibilité dans l’élaboration d’un concept d’opération stratégique harmonisé pour la reconquête du Nord-Mali.
En effet, ce concept doit définir clairement les étapes, les modalités opérationnelles tout comme les moyens financiers et logistiques du déploiement envisagé pour la libération du Nord-Mali.
Une fois approuvé par le CCEM, ce concept sera transmis pour validation et adoption par le Conseil de médiation et de sécurité et le Sommet extraordinaire des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO dont les réunions sont prévues à Abuja, au Nigéria, respectivement les 9 et 11 novembre 2012.
Il sera alors transmis par l’entremise de l’Union africaine, avant le 15 novembre 2012, au Conseil de sécurité des Nations unies, qui, le 12 octobre 2012, avait voté une résolution donnant à la CEDEAO quarante cinq (45) jours pour préciser ses plans de reconquête du Nord-Mali.
One of the Islamist groups in northern Mali has agreed to allow humanitarian aid groups into its territory.
Read the Full Report
MOGADISHU, 7 November 2012 (IRIN) - After two decades of civil war, Somalia is finally seeing hope for lasting peace. After the August departure of Al-Shabab insurgents, thousands of people have returned to the capital, Mogadishu, looking to rebuild their lives, and in September, the election of a new president was widely viewed as the start of a new era for the country.
Below, IRIN highlights some of Somalia's key health and socio-economic indicators, obtained from local experts and other sources, that will influence the country's progress as it seeks to leave conflict behind.
Health infrastructure: Somalia faces numerous health challenges, central among them the absence of an effective national health system, according to former acting health minister Abdiaziz Sheikh Yusuf. After the 1991 overthrow of the former government, hundreds of doctors and nurses fled the country, and medical services were taken over by the private sector, the UN and NGOs. Under a new cabinet structure announced on 4 November, the health ministry will now fall under the Social Development Services Ministry, which will be led by Maryan Qasim. This new ministry will also cover education, youth and sports.
Malnutrition: At least 28 percent of Somalia's population - some 2.12 million people - are currently food insecure, a drop from the peak of over 4 million people in 2011. An estimated 236,000 people are acutely malnourished and in need of specialized nutrition treatment, according to a 26 September Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit report.
While exact figures on national undernutrition prevalence are not available from the government, poor nutrition is recognized as a major problem. Lul Mohamud Mohamed, a Mogadishu-based paediatrician, told IRIN that malnutrition there is worsened by diseases such as measles.
Child mortality: Somalia ranks first in the world in under-five mortality, according to the UN Children's Fund's (UNICEF) 2012 State of the World's Children report. Children face poor healthcare coverage and quality, low immunization rates, high levels of malnutrition and frequent disease outbreaks.
Potable water: Only 30 percent of Somalia's population has access to improved drinking water sources and only 23 percent has access to improved sanitation facilities, according to UNICEF's report. While the government does not know the exact number of Somalis without access to clean drinking water, Yusuf, the former acting health minister, told IRIN that there are insufficient water wells in the country, describing this as one of the most important challenges facing the new government.
Refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs): Somalia continues to be the leading refugee source country in the Horn of Africa, mainly due to its insecurity. As of 31 October, over 1 million people had fled Somalia to neighbouring countries; about half of them are being hosted in Kenya, mainly in the eastern Dadaab camps. The rest of the refugees are spread out in countries such as Yemen, Ethiopia and Uganda, according to the UN's Refugee Agency (UNHCR). An estimated 1.36 million Somalis are internally displaced, mainly in the south-central regions. According to UNICEF, an estimated 27 percent of Somalia's population (or about 2 million people), half of whom are children, remain in a state of humanitarian crisis.
Press freedom: The Committee to Protect Journalists has labelled Somalia one of the most dangerous places in the world to be a journalist, 18 journalists having been killed there this year alone, and 20 others have been wounded in attacks, according to the National Union of Somali Journalists. The killings have been blamed on Al-Shabab militants, who still control many rural parts of south-central Somalia, although the insurgent group has yet to claim responsibility for the killings.
Women and politics: The constitution mandates women comprise 30 percent of Somalia's parliament, but that number currently stands at only 15 percent. In the recently unveiled new cabinet, two of the 10 ministers announced were women: Qasim will be the new Social Development Services Minister, and Fauzia Yusuf Haji Aden will head the high-profile foreign ministry. The nominations have yet to be ratified by Somalia's parliament.
Agriculture: Somalia has a land area of about 637,657sqkm, of which 70 percent is considered 'agricultural land', or land suitable for farming and pasture, according to World Bank data. But only 1.6 percent of the total land area is arable, according to Hussein Haji, an agricultural expert and the executive director of the Somali Agricultural Technical Group. And only 10 percent of arable land is currently being cultivated, with farmers in the sorghum- and maize-growing Bay and Bakool regions depending on rain-fed agriculture.
Haji estimates that agriculture contributes about 40 percent of Somalia's Gross National Product; tomatoes, onions and sesame are some of Somalia's cash crops, and cereal yields include wheat, rice, maize, barley, oats, rye, millet, sorghum, buckwheat and mixed grains harvested for dry grain only. But production is very low because farmers lack access to quality inputs and irrigation, Haji said. For example, from 2007-2011, the cereal yield in Somalia was 432kg per hectare of harvested land, compared to Austria's 5,358kg and Ethiopia's 1,674kg, according to World Bank data.
Livestock: Somalia has about 60 million heads of livestock, according to estimates from the Ministry of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry. Somalia exports livestock, mainly goats, to the Arabian Peninsula, and the meat is also locally consumed. Raising livestock is the main economic activity in most central regions, as well as in the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland, in northeastern Somalia, and in the self-declared republic of Somaliland.
Fishing and tourism: Somalia has about 3,300km of coastline, which, if well utilized, could help improve the country's economy. If Somali fishermen could access the right training and equipment, the country could feed itself, Mohamed Sheikh Ahmed, an economist and lecturer at the Mogadishu-based SIMAD University, told IRIN. Ahmed also noted the coastline could also be used to develop a tourism sector, as the country enjoys pristine beaches. "In some parts of the country, you can see forests almost mingling with the sea while camels graze nearby. This is beautiful and can be a tourist attraction, if utilized," he said. Rampant insecurity, however, remains a major challenge.
Youth: The country has a significant youth population, with about 42 percent of Somalis being aged 14 to 29. But the youth are mainly idle; unemployment among them stands at a high of 67 percent - one of the highest such rates in the world, according to the 2012 UN Development Programme's Somalia Human Development Report. Youth must be given opportunities, "as their exclusion, resentment and grievances are fuel for conflict escalation and risky behaviours," the report says.
The situation in Tana-Delta remains calm with rains having begun on 2nd November 2012, forecast by KMD indicated that the rains would begin in the 4th week of October. The intensity is yet to be ascertained. Should the forecast be as stated, then then rains may affect the situation of the area especially the internally displaced persons who are still staying in camps in various parts of the district.
The displaced persons are yet to go back as there is still lack of confidence on security from the affected people. The village leaders of Nduru are also yet to permits to harvest trees for shelter construction and this is causing a slow progress in building of emergency shelters.
KRCS personnel attended a European Union fact finding meeting at Dide Waride and Tarasaa on 30th October 2012. Participating in the mission were Ambassadors and High Commissioners from Belgium, Denmark, the EU, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden and the UK. Their main objective was to listen and learn more about social and economic development and security at the Coast. The EU ambassador, His Excellency Ambassador Lodwejik Briet promised to assist the communities affected by the conflict through other organizations liken the Kenya Red Cross Society. He promised to get in touch with the Kenya Red Cross once in Nairobi in regard to the same. Leaders who spoke during the meetings appreciated the work done by the KRCS.
Nduru primary school still remains closed and so are other neighbouring schools that are within areas that were directly affected. KRCS staff attended a meeting held on 31st October 2012 between teachers and parents of Nduru and Furaha. The agenda of the meeting was to discuss where the candidates who are living in IDP camps in Tana-Delta will do their exams. Present at the meeting were parent representatives, teachers, head teacher and a Knut representative. Through majority votes, it was agreed that the pupils would do their exams in Furaha Primary School which is in Odha. The exams are to begin in December 4th, 2012. A request was passed to KRCS to assist in transporting the candidates who are in Malindi, Marereni Hola and Garsen to the school. KRCS was also requested to provide rice and beans for the four days that the candidates will be staying for the exams. The total number of people expected to be present is 40 including the teachers who will be with the candidates. It was however noted that the parents and teachers had not exhausted avenues for support to schools and that a decision would be made on areas requiring support.
A team from the Regional Tracing Department joined the operation in Tana-Delta on 29th October 2012. Four volunteers from Garsen Branch were trained on 29th October 2012 on tracing skills as preparedness/ branch capacity building.
KRCS personnel conducted an assessment at Manono village that is a few kilometres from Nduru village to ascertain the needs of children attending school in the neighboring village and challenges in food access since return. The personnel found that a few households who had fled from the village (34hh) had returned. The team witnessed children living in the village crossing a river as they left school -Onwardei Primary School is situated across the river and is said to be the only available school as the others are temporarily closed for lack of teachers.
11/07/2012 22:05 GMT
by Serge Daniel
BAMAKO, Nov 07, 2012 (AFP) - West African army chiefs have adopted a military plan to expel Islamist rebels controlling northern Mali, as one extremist group pushes for a negotiated solution to the crisis.
Mali has slid into chaos since a March 22 coup overthrew the government of president Amadou Toumani Toure, creating a power vacuum that enabled Islamist rebels to seize the vast desert north.
The military blueprint, reached at a meeting of army top brass in Bamako that wrapped up late Tuesday, will next be studied by regional heads of state for approval before being presented to the UN Security Council on November 26.
"We are very satisfied," Malian army chief Ibrahim Dembele said at the close of the meeting.
"On the whole, the strategy was adopted (and) friendly troops will come here to help Mali reconquer the north."
The details of the plan as adopted by the military chiefs have not been made public.
The UN wants clarification on the composition of the proposed force, the level of participation from the various west African nations, the financing of the operation and the military means to carry it out.
"It is an ambitious plan, we should expect a little over 4,000 people in case of military intervention. We have studied all the parameters, now we await instructions from our heads of state," said an officer from Benin who attended the meeting.
Presidents from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) will study the plan during an upcoming meeting in Abuja, a source close to the meeting told AFP.
"I really hope things will advance. We must not release pressure on the terrorist groups, everyone must be convinced," Guinean General Sekouba Konate -- who is in charge of the standby force -- told AFP.
On Tuesday Ansar Dine, one of the groups occupying the vast arid zone, called for all armed movements to halt hostilities and join in peace talks.
The occupation of an area larger than France by Islamists linked to the north African Al-Qaeda branch has triggered fears in the region and among Western powers that the zone could become a haven for terrorists.
Ansar Dine (Defenders of Faith, in Arabic) along with the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) have implemented an extreme form of sharia in cities they control, stoning, whipping and amputating transgressors.
-- Ansar Dine 'talking the talk' --
However Ansar Dine said Tuesday it "rejects all forms of extremism and terrorism" after meeting the chief regional mediator, Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore.
They urged "all the armed movements" to follow their lead with the aim of establishing "an inclusive political dialogue."
US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington welcomed "Ansar al-Dine's announcement rejecting extremism and declaring the group's willingness to engage in a process of honest political dialogue."
The group was saying "good things about the possibility for political reconciliation with the transitional government," she said.
"So they're talking the talk. Now they need to walk the walk and work on an actual reconciliation deal that others can join into as well."
German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle meanwhile said allowing a terrorist refuge in northern Mali would threaten global security.
Westerwelle, whose country has said it will support any military operation in the African country, held talks with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Security Council ambassadors on Mali and Syria at UN headquarters.
"The destabilization of the north of Mali is a very important issue for the whole world, especially for Europe," he said.
A "safe haven for terrorists" in northern Mali "would be a threat to the security of the whole world, especially of the neighbors," Westerwelle added.
"We have to stabilise the north of Mali, and it is necessary to support the Mali government in the south. There are a lot of measures which we are considering at the moment but it is too early to decide now."
Burkina Faso's Foreign Minister Djibrill Bassole, a key mediator in the Malian crisis, joined calls for Ansar Dine to turn words into actions and "refrain from unnecessary provocations."
He stressed that the Islamist group had made no reference to the issue of Islamic law.
In Bamako, where interim authorities have struggled to assert authority, politicians were favourable to negotiations with the Islamists.
"Territorial integrity is non-negotiable but from the moment that Malians decide to lay down arms and come to the negotiating table, we are available to listen if they are really sincere," said Makan Diarra, presidential adviser.
Bineta Diakite of the Malian Democratic Alliance, the party of transition leader Dioncounda Traore, said the members of Ansar Dine "are our brothers."
"If they want to talk, why not listen to them? But we are not going to talk this time and wait for another rebellion in one month or two years," she told AFP.
© 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse
6854th Meeting (AM)
The Security Council this morning reauthorized the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) to maintain its deployment for four months, until 7 March 2013, while deciding to expand the United Nations support package for the Mission to additional civilian personnel.
Unanimously adopting resolution 2073 (2012), the Council authorized AMISOM to maintain its presence in the areas set out in its strategic concept of January 2012 for countering the threat still posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups in coordination with Somali national security forces, in order to establish secure conditions for legitimate governance, reconciliation and the provision of humanitarian assistance across Somalia, which, the Council said in a resolution of 18 September, had recently made great strides in security and governance but still faced great challenges in both areas (See Press Release SC/10768).
Today’s move came exactly one week after the Council met under “unusual circumstances” in the immediate aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, which had ripped through New York, paralysing the city and forcing an unprecedented three-day shut-down of United Nations Headquarters. With AMISOM’s mandate set to expire at midnight on 31 October, the Council had quickly adopted resolution 2072 (2012), which had authorized a short-term extension of the Mission — 7 days — under the terms of its existing mandate (See Press Release SC/10804).
With the current text, the Council decided to extend the logistical support package to a further 50 civilian personnel for a period to be determined by assessment and “on an exceptional basis and owing to the unique character of the mission”, underlining the importance of swiftly deploying them to areas recently liberated from Al-Shabaab in line with a request from the African Union. In line with previous resolutions, it also requested the Secretary-General to continue to provide support to 17,731 uniformed personnel until the end of the authorization period, along with providing advice to the African Union on implementation of the Mission’s strategic concept.
In his most recent report on AMISOM (document S/2012/764), the Secretary-General recommended a four-month continuation of the current support package, with slight adjustments, awaiting the results of a thorough assessment of the Mission in view of the challenges ahead, to be conducted by the African Union working together with the United Nations.
Following the vote, the representative of the United Kingdom, which sponsored the resolution, welcomed its adoption, commending AMISOM and its troop contributing countries in their role in helping to “free Somalis from the dark shadow of Al-Shabaab,” and helping to restore their faith in governmental structures. He said that today’s attack on the Somali Parliament showed the difficulties that remained in that context, but he firmly told the armed groups: “You will not succeed.”
The Council, he added, must now re-examine some of its positions, including those on the arms embargo and the charcoal embargo in Kismayu, in consultation with the Somali Government and other partners, to give the Government the space to make progress on key priorities. The review of AMISOM would allow the Council to set clear divisions of responsibilities and further readjust support. The Council must do all it could to turn Somali hope into reality, he stressed.
Also welcoming the adoption and commending AMISOM and its troop contributing countries, the representatives of South Africa, Germany, Guatemala and India, regretted, however, that a more sustained extension of the support package was not approved through the text, and that the resolution did not address support for a maritime component of the Mission, as requested by the African Union, which they said was important for countering Al-Shabaab and piracy off the coast of Somalia. They awaited the results of the assessment and work on the next resolution on Somalia to address such issues.
South Africa’s delegate, in addition, regretted that the lifting of the arms embargo, as it affected Somali national security forces, was not addressed. Germany’s representative added that he would have preferred more sustainable funding be provided for AMISOM and that the proposed guard force for officials be addressed.
The representative of Somalia, finally, took the floor to stress the country’s progress in governance in recent months, including the appointment of an inclusive cabinet which included a woman as Foreign Minister. All such progress had been achieved with the unfailing support of AMISOM and the Ethiopian forces, supported by the Security Council and the international community. Now nation-building must begin for a country that had had no effective Government for over two decades. He, therefore, welcomed the strengthening of AMISOM and additional support. He had hoped, however, that the authorization and support would have been approved for one year, to better support the Government’s efforts, but nevertheless looked forward to working together with the Council on meeting future challenges.
The meeting began at 10:12 a.m. and ended at 10:35 a.m.
The full text of resolution 2073 (2012) reads as follows:
“The Security Council,
“Recalling its previous resolutions on the situation in Somalia, in particular resolution 1772 (2007),
“Reaffirming its respect for the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia and reiterating its commitment to a comprehensive and lasting settlement of the situation in Somalia,
“Recalling its decision in resolution 2036 (2012) to expand the logistical support package for AMISOM to include the reimbursement of certain contingent owned equipment including force enablers and multipliers,
“Determining that the situation in Somalia continues to constitute a threat to international peace and security in the region,
“Acting under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations,
“1 . Decides to authorise the Member States of the African Union to maintain the deployment until 7 March 2013 of AMISOM, which shall be authorized to take all necessary measures, in compliance with applicable international humanitarian and human rights law, and in full respect of the sovereignty, territorial integrity, political independence and unity of Somalia, to carry out the following tasks:
(a) To maintain a presence in the four sectors set out in the AMISOM Strategic Concept of 5 January 2012, and in those sectors, in coordination with the SNSF, reduce the threat posed by Al-Shabaab and other armed opposition groups in order to establish conditions for effective and legitimate governance across Somalia;
(b) To support dialogue and reconciliation in Somalia by assisting with the free movement, safe passage and protection of all those involved with the peace and reconciliation process in Somalia;
(c) To provide, as appropriate, protection to the Somali authorities to help them carry out their functions of government, and security for key infrastructure;
(d) To assist, within its capabilities, and in coordination with other parties, with implementation of the National Security and Stabilization Plan, in particular the effective re-establishment and training of all-inclusive SNSF;
(e) To contribute, as may be requested and within capabilities, to the creation of the necessary security conditions for the provision of humanitarian assistance;
(f) To protect its personnel, facilities, installations, equipment and mission, and to ensure the security and freedom of movement of its personnel, as well as of United Nations personnel carrying out functions mandated by the Security Council;
“2 . Decides on an exceptional basis and owing to the unique character of the mission to extend the United Nations logistical support package for AMISOM civilian personnel for a further 50 civilian personnel, on a temporary basis to be reviewed in light of the upcoming AU and United Nations strategic reviews, underlines the importance of these civilians deploying swiftly to areas recently liberated from Al-Shabaab, in line with the letter dated 18th October from the Chairperson of the African Union Commission to the United Nations Secretary-General;
“3 . Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide technical, management and expert advice to the African Union in the planning and deployment of AMISOM, through the United Nations Office to the African Union, including on the implementation of the AMISOM Strategic Concept and the AMISOM Concept of Operations;
“4 . Requests the Secretary-General to continue to provide a logistical support package for AMISOM referred to in paragraphs 10 and 11 of resolution 2010 (2011) and paragraphs 4 and 6 of resolution 2036 (2012) for a maximum of 17,731 uniformed personnel until 7 March 2013, ensuring the accountability and transparency of expenditure of the United Nations funds as set out in paragraph 4 of resolution 1910 (2010);
“5 . Requests the African Union to keep the Security Council regularly informed, through the Secretary-General, on the implementation of AMISOM’s mandate, and report to the Council, through the provision of written reports, 60 days after the date of this resolution;
“6 . Decides to remain actively seized of the matter.”
For information media • not an official record
7 November 2012 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today discussed the ongoing crisis in Mali in a meeting with Germany’s top foreign affairs official, stressing the need to find a political solution to the conflict.
During his meeting with the German Foreign Minister, Guido Westerwelle, Mr. Ban highlighted the importance of redoubling efforts to find a political solution in the northern part of the country.
Separately, in a meeting on Tuesday with the Nigerian Foreign Minister, Olugbenga Ayodeji Ashiru, the UN chief focused on regional efforts to address the crisis.
Mali has been dealing with a range of security, political and humanitarian problems since the start of the year. Fighting between Government forces and Tuareg rebels broke out in the country’s north in January. Since then, radical Islamists have seized control of the north, where they have imposed an extremist version of Muslim Sharia law as well as restrictions that target women in particular.
The violence has forced thousands to flee their homes. Last week, the Office of the UN High Commissioner Refugees (UNHCR) estimated that there are at least 203,845 internally displaced persons in the land-locked West African country.
Mr. Ban also touched on other issues during his two meetings. He thanked Mr. Westerwelle for Germany’s generous contribution to humanitarian activities inside Syria and in neighbouring countries, stressing the dire humanitarian consequences resulting from heavy fighting in recent weeks, and thanked Mr. Ashiru for Nigeria’s contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the Sudanese region of Darfur.
By Alistair Dutton, Caritas Internationalis Humanitaian Director
After what has been a very trying and anxious time for the people of Burkina Faso this year, it is a great pleasure to be with them at harvest time. The rains have been much better than recent years and the country is buzzing with life; the ponds, lakes and reservoirs are full with copious water lilies in bloom; the land is lush and verdant, the animals are healthy and lively; the crops, those that haven’t been harvested yet at least, are tall and heavy with grain. The roads are full of motorbikes loaded up with crates of vegetables being taken to market, while lorries from Ghana trawl the villages to buy grain and vegetables to take down to the markets of Tamale, Kumasi and Accra.
Thanks to Caritas this year, Jean Baptiste Kinda is preparing to harvest his tomatoes, aubergines and other vegetables, and sell them in the local market in Fada to buy some of the things his family have waited for throughout the lean season. With Caritas’ help Jean Baptiste was able to double the amount of land he farmed this year and, with well chosen seeds and appropriate fertilisers, he looks forward to a bumper harvest. Meanwhile Florence and Veronique are pounding the corn that they have harvested.
Looks can be misleading and exploring beyond first impressions reveals a more complicated story. While the early rains were good and the seeds germinated and grew well, the final rains finished early, preventing the plants from maturing fully. While the animals have recovered now, it is only a few months since they were very weak and sickly; many died and many were sold for pitiful prices, greatly reducing people’s already scarce assets.
Much more needs to be done to improve people’s resilience in the face of the increasingly hostile and erratic climate and enable them to develop more sustainable and durable livelihoods.
Most of the agriculture in Burkina Faso and the Sahel region still relies on direct rainfall to water the crops. There are many simple techniques to catch the rain, raise the water table and increase the water available to the crops. These methods extend the agricultural season and enable crops to germinate and mature, even when the rains themselves are too short. Similarly, much can be done to improve the fertility of the soil and select seed varieties which are better suited to the climate.
People face a perennial problem that they have to sell their crops as soon as they are harvested, both to repay the debts they have incurred during the lean season and because they don’t have adequate storage facilities. At a time of such high supply the prices are necessarily lower and so people receive less for their produce than if they stored it and sold it in subsequent months. Credit facilities enable people to borrow money and save their crops until they can get a higher price. Similarly, granaries and other stores enable them to keep their crops in good condition until such time as they chose to sell them.
Animal husbandry is precarious during the dry season. Techniques for managing watering points and animal feed can greatly improve the availability of both. Culturally conveying social status, animals are rarely sold even if they are weak and sick, or doing so would release much-needed money to provide for the family or the rest of the herd.
Working with pastoralists and agro-pastoralists can, over time, help people to see their animals as economic assets and use them accordingly, particularly in times of crisis. Caritas has worked in close collaboration with communities of all ethnicities and religions to provide for people’s immediate needs, inculcate new techniques and develop the people’s skills and assets, and will continue to do so. In cooperation with the government, Caritas has helped link farmers – arable and livestock alike – to technical services which provide knowledge, skills and materials.
At the same time, Caritas members throughout the world report that it is becoming increasingly difficult to raise money, notably government funding, for international cooperation, particularly for longer-term development activities. The global financial crisis, austerity policies and greater linking of development objectives and funding with national (donors’) interests are eroding international commitment. Government commitments to the Millennium Development Goals have all but evaporated and, with few exceptions, international development assistance of 0.7 percent of GDP seems a distant memory.
If, as Cardinal Michael Mahony among others has observed “any society, any nation, is judged on the basis of how it treats its weakest members: the last, the least, the littlest”, I fear that at the international level the people of this age may not be judged well.
Meanwhile, life in Burkina goes on, and the energy and hope is palpable. With the good harvest the people are enjoying now they will be able to recover some of the losses they incurred in bad years and they are bouncing back. Caritas will be with them as they do.
32e et 33e séances – matin et après-midi
Le Haut-Commissaire des Nations Unies pour les réfugiés, M. António Guterres, a aujourd’hui devant la Troisième Commission, chargée des affaires humanitaires, sociales et culturelles, alerté les États Membres sur le défi que constitue la gestion des crises humanitaires relatives aux réfugiés dans le monde. Selon lui, la capacité des Nations Unies de répondre à ces défis est soumise à une pression inédite.
M. Guterres, qui présentait son rapport annuel*, a rappelé qu’en 2011, 800 000 réfugiés avaient traversé des frontières, soit 2 000 chaque jour. En outre, plus de 750 000 personnes ont fui le Mali, la Syrie, le Soudan et la République démocratique du Congo (RDC).
L’accroissement des situations entraînant des afflux de réfugiés est le résultat, selon lui, des évolutions profondes de l’organisation géopolitique mondiale. « Aujourd’hui, le monde n’est plus bipolaire ou unipolaire mais nous n’assistons pas pour autant à l’émergence d’un monde multipolaire. Nous n’avons toujours pas de système de gouvernance globale efficace et les relations de pouvoir restent obscures », a-t-il estimé.
Cette situation, combinée à des ressources limitées, place le Haut-Commissariat pour les réfugiés (HCR) devant un dilemme. Comment, en effet, choisir entre intervenir dans les situations d’urgence et le traitement à long terme de situations telles que celles prévalant en Afghanistan, en Érythrée, au Myanmar ou en Somalie, s’est-il interrogé.
Il a par ailleurs réitéré son appel aux États Membres à appliquer le principe de non-refoulement, en vertu duquel les réfugiés doivent pouvoir être en mesure de fuir des situations humanitaires parfois dramatiques.
Il a tenu à souligner que ce principe ne contraignait pas les pays de destination ou de transit à garder ces réfugiés sur leur territoire indéfiniment, mais insisté sur la nécessité de s’y conformer afin d’offrir à ces personnes un accueil provisoire.
Autre thème dont le rapport de M. Guterres fait l’étude, la différence existant entre le statut de réfugié et la qualité de migrant. Ces deux catégories, a-t-il expliqué, ne représentent pas le même défi et doivent apporter des réponses différentes. Le représentant de l’Union européenne a partagé la préoccupation du Haut-Commissaire en ce qui concerne « le nombre alarmant d’apatrides » et de la nécessité de favoriser la prise en charge et l’intégration locale de ces personnes.
Il s’est néanmoins félicité des réformes opérées par le HCR qui ont permis de maintenir une situation financière solide tout en intervenant sur un nombre plus important de terrains dans un délai de 72 heures dans 92% des interventions aéroportées.
Les délégations ont salué le travail accompli par le HCR, notamment à la lumière des nombreuses crises et conflits qui ont secoué l’année 2011 et le premier semestre de l’année 2012.
Plusieurs délégations, à l’instar de l’Égypte, ont noté que l’Afrique concentrait 50% du nombre des réfugiés dans le monde et devait de ce fait recueillir l’essentiel des efforts déployés en la matière.
Le représentant du Kenya, M. Maina, a souligné la situation particulière de son pays en ce qui concerne l’accueil de centaines de milliers de réfugiés somaliens. Il a notamment fait référence au camp de Dadaab, qui compte actuellement plus de 600 000 réfugiés, ce qui en fait le plus vaste camp de réfugiés du monde et la troisième plus importante implantation humaine au Kenya.
« Nous attirons l’attention du monde sur le fait que la plus grande concentration humaine dans notre pays -après les villes de Nairobi et Mombasa- n’est pas une ville, mais un camp de réfugiés de plus de 600 000 âmes », a insisté M. Maina. Il a enjoint M. Guterres et les États Membres à tenter de parvenir à une solution pérenne à cette situation.
Les conséquences de la situation prévalant en Syrie ont également été abordées par les délégations de l’Union européenne et des États-Unis. Des dizaines de milliers de Syriens ont en effet été poussés à l’exil en raison des troubles et des violences qui secouent le pays depuis plus de 18 mois.
La représentante syrienne a, à ce titre, appelé « tous les fils de la Syrie à rentrer dans leur pays » en les assurant qu’ils recevraient de la part de leur gouvernement toute l’assistance humanitaire et sociale dont ils ont besoin.
La Troisième Commission poursuivra ses travaux demain matin, à partir de 10 heures.
Sixty-seventh General Assembly
32nd & 33rd Meetings (AM & PM)
António Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Presents Report; Some 40 Speakers Express Strong Support for Agency’s Work, Professionalism
As new conflicts multiplied in 2011 - especially in Africa and the Middle East – the collective capacity to respond to people uprooted by violence and persecution was “being put to the test in unforeseen ways” amid increased demand for humanitarian relief and an uncertain operating environment, the United Nations top refugee official told the Third Committee (Social, Humanitarian and Cultural) today.
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) António Guterres issued a strong appeal for support for his Office, whose budget was already stretched. Whereas the biggest humanitarian emergencies in the years prior to 2010 had stemmed from natural disasters, the most significant situations in 2011 and 2012 were refugee emergencies, requiring UNHCR to assume a global coordination role and step in as a provider of last resort. “This puts enormous pressure on our human and financial resources,” he said.
To be sure, he said that in Côte d’Ivoire, the Horn of Africa, Libya and Yemen, an average of 2,000 people crossed borders daily in search of refuge – higher than at any time in the last decade. So far, more than three quarters of a million people had fled as refugees from Mali, Syria, Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo. Those situations were “radically” testing UNHCR’s ability to deliver on its mandate. The millions of people who had been stateless for generations also required solutions. Their plight could be resolved in the next decade by working together.
“We live in dangerous times,” he said, with growing numbers of people forced to flee in search of refuge. The roots of the crises lay, in part, in demographic, climatic and social trends. But, they also stemmed from the absence of an effective global governance system and unclear power relations.
Such pressures – demands rising, with resources remaining at the same level - had not forced the agency to choose between emergency response and care for those living in protracted exile, he said. It had, however, required it to strike the right balance between those equally compelling needs. In the coming year, UNHCR would work with States to address protection gaps and reinforce its own capacity with an updated strategy to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence. UNHCR would also invest in robust measures that enabled his staff to operate safely around the world.
When the floor was opened for questions and comments, delegates from around the world underlined their strong support for UNHCR’s work and professionalism in the most trying of circumstances. Many drew attention to their country’s financial support to the Geneva-based body, saying that UNHCR also must regularly evaluate its performance, and further strengthen its organizational capacity by pursuing a human resources policy.
Many other delegates outlined the precarious situations of refugees and internally displaced persons, both in their countries and among those seeking refuge elsewhere around the world. On that point, Afghanistan’s representative said Afghan asylum seekers awaiting safe refuge in other countries were often attacked by xenophobic and racist gangs. At home, the country was struggling to absorb the nearly 6 million people who had returned home, 60 per cent of whom lacked basic services like healthcare and education.
Similarly, Kenya’s delegate said his country was home to the world’s largest camp, with more than 600,000 refugees. Kenya had repeatedly asked UNHCR to formulate a lasting solution to the Somali refugee problem, as it had housed those refugees for the last 20 years and the strain was apparent.
Cameroon’s delegate recalled the sacrosanct principle that refugee care should be shared by the host Governments and the international community.
Responding to those comments, Mr. Guterres underlined the importance of Afghanistan’s voluntary repatriation plan, expressing hope that a concentration of action and investment would allow Afghan communities to better handle those returns. Afghans also had become global refugees and had often fallen into the hands of criminal gangs and smugglers. “They have not always found the protection they deserve,” he said. UNHCR was working with Governments to ensure their safety.
Addressing performance issues, he said support from the United States had been crucial to UNHCR’s survival, especially its resettlement programme. UNHCR was also engaged in the transformative agenda of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to improve the humanitarian response through greater predictability, accountability, responsibility and partnership. It also had changed its training programmes and financial rules in order to increase its ability to deliver quickly.
He rounded out his comments by echoing the need for shared responsibility in ensuring that refugees and internally displaced persons were cared for and afforded all of their inalienable human rights.
Speaking in the general discussion on the report of the High Commissioner was the Director of Multilateral Affairs Directorate, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Kenya.
The representatives of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Liechtenstein, Senegal, South Africa, India, China, Thailand, Russian Federation, Japan, Egypt, Kenya, Kuwait, Syria, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Angola, Sudan, Canada, Kyrgyzstan, Iran, Algeria, Croatia, Serbia, United Republic of Tanzania, Republic of Korea, Morocco, Ukraine, Ireland, Iraq, Montenegro, Georgia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Ethiopia and Azerbaijan also spoke.
A representative of the European Union also spoke.
Also speaking were representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Speaking in exercise of the right of reply were the representatives of Myanmar, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Iraq.
The Committee will reconvene at 10 a.m. Thursday, 8 November, to continue its consideration of the report of the High Commissioner for Refugees.