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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Mali

    STORY HIGHLIGHTS

    • Farmers in Mali struggle to obtain agricultural loans as they are considered by banks to be too risky.
    • Commercial banks rarely propose financing options adapted to farmers which significantly impacts agricultural production.
    • The World Bank is providing support to both Malian farmers and commercial banks alike as they work together to advance agricultural development in the country.

    BAMAKO, March 31, 2015 - In Mali, a smallholder farmer is refused a loan seven times out of ten. In the eyes of most commercial banks, agricultural loans for small scale farmers seeking to grow their businesses are regarded as high risk given the constraints of agricultural planting seasons, unpredictable weather conditions, low production rates, and limited technical or management skills of farmers and livestock breeders.

    In addition to this, creating guarantees for this kind of credit remains challenging in an environment where the land property system is poorly defined and the judicial system discourages guarantees. Financial products proposed by banks in Mali are often not adapted to the needs of farmers, one example being the lack of access to long term credit which is often necessary for farmers starting out in the orchard industry producing mangos, papayas, bananas, or cashew nuts. Financing is more often than not provided at the end of an agricultural campaign, when farmers need it the least.

    “Malian banks have a commercial focus and not an agricultural one which is why they struggle to accompany agricultural activities. A lack of knowledge in the domain also makes banks hesitant to provide agricultural lending. For farmers, the cycles of repayment and credit present a challenge as they require financing and receive income on a seasonal basis,” explains Moussa Sylvain Diakité, a mango producer and exporter based in Bamako.

    To scale up the financial needs of smallholder farmers in Mali, boost agricultural production, and increase the number of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in the country, the World Bank and the Malian government have teamed up to implement the Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project, which aims to provide support to both Malian farmers and commercial banks as they work together to advance agricultural development in the country.

    The project’s main objective is to enhance the performance of supply chains for a range of agricultural, livestock, and fishery products for which Mali has a strong comparative advantage. It focuses more specifically on private sector development, scaling up investments, and creating access to funding and commercial infrastructure.

    In order to best achieve this, World Bank financing will provide technical support to entrepreneurs as they apply to commercial banks for funding, strengthen the financial management capacity of these entrepreneurs, and build the capacity of commercial banks' staff so that they better understand agriculture development

    "The Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project aims to reduce the risk of investing in agriculture endeavors through technical assistance, new technologies, and greater knowledge of the supply chain and key actors"
    Yeyande Kasse Sangho
    Agribusiness Specialist at the World Bank

    According to project coordinator Sory Ibrehima Diarra, the project is using two financial instruments to tackle the challenge of guaranteeing agricultural credit: the Innovation and Investment Fund and the Guarantee Fund.

    “Through the Innovation and Investment Fund (IIF), the Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project can grant financing to beneficiaries at a shared cost based on a three tiered system. The first tier is reserved for micro-enterprises who require an investment under 15 million West African francs. The project subsidizes 75 % of the investment and the beneficiary contributes the remaining 25% using personal funds. The second tier is for small and medium enterprises in which case the project finances 50% of the investment and the beneficiary finances the other 50%. The last tier is for large enterprises whose investments are superior to 50 million West African francs. In this case, we support them through technical assistance or expertise that does not go over 30 million West African francs,” explains Mr. Diarra.

    This system works much like a bank in that the financial risk is shared between the beneficiary and the project. The financial contribution made by the beneficiary with personal funds ensures commitment and ownership of the loan, as well as the risk it entails.

    The Guarantee Fund, with a deposit of 500 million West African francs held in two commercial banks, provides up to 50% of the guarantee.

    “The Agricultural Competitiveness and Diversification Project aims to reduce the risk of investing in agriculture endeavors through technical assistance, new technologies, and greater knowledge of the supply chain and key actors,” explains Yeyande Kasse Sangho, Agribusiness Specialist at the World Bank.

    The project will also help improve other aspects of the industry such as commercialization and business management. The subsidies and technical surveys provided by the Innovation and Investment Fund will contribute to putting entrepreneurs in contact with banks, building management skills of agricultural developers, and familiarizing bankers with real agriculture risks.


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    Source: Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian Demining
    Country: Mali

    Executive Summary
    Introduction

    This case study forms part of a broader GICHD study on national capacities and residual contamination and is based on both desk - top research and findings from a GICHD mission to Mali in March 2014. A full list of meetings held during th at mission is available in Annex I.

    The purpose of the report is to document Mali’s experience of developing national cl earance capacities to address residual contamination and to identify and present good practices and lessons learnt.
    Given the ongoing conflict in the northern part of the country, this case study focuses on capacity development of national mine action - rel ated stakeholders to manage mine/explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination more broadly, rather than on developing national capacities to manage residual contamination specifically.

    As a consequence of the armed conflict that erupted in northern Mali in January 2012, Mali currently fac es a contaminat ion problem of anti - vehicle mines (AV mines) , unexploded ordnance (UXO) and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Contamination is primarily in the northern and central regions (see map below). As of March 2014 no reports have confirm ed the presence of anti - personnel (AP) mines.


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    Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
    Country: Mali

    Hier lundi en fin d’après-midi, un véhicule de la MINUSMA qui escortait un convoi de sous-traitants a heurté une mine à environ 30 km de Kidal alors qu’il se rendait en direction de Gao.

    Suite à l’explosion, 2 Casques bleus ont été blessés, dont l’un sérieusement, et ont immédiatement été évacués par la MINUSMA pour recevoir des soins médicaux appropriés à Gao.

    La MINUSMA condamne fermement cet acte terroriste ayant pour but de paralyser les opérations de la Mission dans cette partie du Mali et de toucher indistinctement le personnel des Nations unies ou des civils innocents.

    La MINUSMA, au travers notamment du service de la lutte antimines des Nations Unies (UNMAS) continue de repérer, nettoyer et marquer les zones minées prioritaires au Mali afin de protéger au maximum les populations civiles contre de tels actes.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Mali, Niger


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    Source: UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali
    Country: Mali

    Bamako, April 7, 2015 – Yesterday, Monday late afternoon, a MINUSMA vehicle hit a mine about 30 km from Kidal on the way towards Gao. The vehicle was escorting a convoy of contractors.

    Two peacekeepers got injured in the explosion, of which one seriously. The 2 peacekeepers were immediately evacuated to Gao, to receive appropriate medical care.

    MINUSMA strongly condemns these terrorist acts, aimed at paralyzing MINUSMA-operations in this part of Mali and effecting United Nations staff or innocent civilians. MINUSMA, in particular through the United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS), continues to identify, mark and clean-up Mali’s main mine areas in order to provide maximum protection to the population against these acts.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Colombia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea, India, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kiribati, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Myanmar, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Turkey, Uganda, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

    Snapshot 1–8 April 2015

    Iraq: Violence, looting and serious human rights violations were reported as Iraqi forces and affiliated groups recaptured Tikrit. There are numerous booby traps and tensions are reportedly rising between government forces and militias. Elsewhere, IDPs are returning: tens of thousands have gone home to Diyala, Ninewa and Al Alam in Salah al Din since February.

    Syria: Islamic State has taken large parts of Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp after days of intense fighting. 2,000 of the 18,000-strong population are thought to have escaped the camp. 15,000 people have fled Idleb since its takeover by Jabhut al Nusra and Ahrar al Sham.

    Yemen: More than 100,000 are reported displaced since the Saudi-led coalition began airstrikes on 26 March. Access, already difficult, is worsening. It is very difficult to move within the country, and port and airport access is restricted.

    Kenya: An Al Shabaab attack on Garissa University left 147 dead and 79 injured. The Kenyan Government ordered the recruitment of 10,000 more police, and sent fighter jets to bomb Al Shabaab bases in Somalia. In Dadaab refugee camp, Garissa, suspected Al Shabaab stormed the premises of an NGO, killed one person and injuring three.

    Updated: 08/04/2015. Next update: 14/04/2015

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, India, Liberia, Nigeria, Peru, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Vanuatu, World, Yemen

    Maghreb & Middle East

    Yemen crisis

    On the 25th March, a Saudi Arabian led coalition commenced a campaign of heavy airstrikes across much of Yemen. More than 60% of the population is already reliant on aid and this escalation will result in food and fuel shortages and hasten Yemen’s descent into a worsening humanitarian crisis. Instability and the government's decision to lift subsidies have driven up fuel prices. Without diesel, farmers struggle to power their water pumps and take food to the market. Continue reading. Grace Ommer, Oxfam’s country director in Yemen, said: “It is heartbreaking to watch conflict escalate in a country that is already grappling with a humanitarian crisis. Yemen's economy is on the brink of collapse. It is vital that supplies of food and fuel coming into Yemen are maintained to help those struggling to get clean water and enough to eat. International donors should increase their support at this critical time. Failure to do so will result in a humanitarian catastrophe unfolding throughout the country”. Oxfam continues to provide critical assistance to help those caught up in the crisis. Read our press release and for more information see OCHA update on the humanitarian situation. (Photo: Inside a house destroyed inYemen. Before the crisis more than 10m Yemenis did not have enough food to eat. Abbo Haitham, March 2015)


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo

    The 2014-2015 Cereal production, revised in March 2015, for the Sahel and West Africa stands at 61,612,000 metric tons. It is 7 % higher than the one for last year and 10 % higher than the average production for the last five (5 ) years. Maize ranks number one with a production estimated to 20, 385,000 tons, followed by rice (17,325,000 tons), sorghum (13,664,000 tons) and millet (9,183,000 tons). Except for millet the production of which declined by 12 % , the productions of the main crops have been increased as compared with the average for the last five (5) years ( 3 % for sorghum, 15 % for maize , and 25 % for rice ).

    In the Sahel, cereal production is about 21, 027, 000 tons. This production has been increased by 7.3% and 7.4% as compared with last year and the average for the last five (5) years, respectively. However, significant decreases in production have been recorded in several countries , mainly in Senegal (-16 % ), in the Gambia (-16 % ) ,in Guinea Bissau ( - 33 % ) and in Cape Verde ( -83 %)

    In the Gulf of Guinea countries, cereal production is estimated to 40,589,000 tons, i.e. an increase of 6,8% as compared with last year and of 12 % as compared with the average for the last five ( 5) years .

    The other productions such as tubers, groundnut, and cowpea have also been increased in the region respectively by 18, 15, and 4 % comparatively with the average of the last five (5 ) years.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme, Permanent Interstate Committee for Drought Control in the Sahel, Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Sudan, Togo

    La production céréalière 2014-2015, révisée en mars 2015, pour le Sahel et l’Afrique de l’Ouest se chiffre à 61 612 000 tonnes. Elle est supérieure de 7% à celle de l’année dernière et en hausse de 10% par rapport à la moyenne des cinq (5) dernières années. Le maïs occupe la première place avec une production estimée à 20 385 000 tonnes, suivie du riz (17 325 000 tonnes), du sorgho (13 664 000 tonnes) et du mil (9 183 000 tonnes). A l’exception du mil qui accuse une baisse de 12%, les principales spéculations enregistrent une augmentation comparativement à la moyenne des cinq (5) dernières années (3% pour le sorgho, 15% pour le maïs et 25 % pour le riz).

    Au Sahel, la production céréalière est d’environ 21 027 000 tonnes. Cette production est en hausse de 7,3% et 7,4% par rapport respectivement à l’année dernière et à la moyenne des cinq (5) dernières années. Toutefois, par rapport à l’année dernière et à la moyenne des 5 dernières années, des baisses de production sont enregistrées respectivement au Sénégal (-2% et -16%), en Gambie (-23% et -16%), en Guinée Bissau (-38% et -33%) et au Cap Vert (-82% et -83%).

    Dans les pays du golfe de Guinée, la production céréalière est estimée à 40.589.000 tonnes, soit une hausse de 6,8% par rapport à l’année dernière et de 12% par rapport à la moyenne des cinq (5) dernières années.

    Les autres productions, à savoir les tubercules, l’arachide et le niébé sont également en hausse dans la région respectivement de 18, 15 et 4% comparativement à la moyenne des cinq dernières années.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Niger, Nigeria

    Plus de cas méningite et de rougeole qu’en 2014

    A la suite des campagnes de vaccination contre la méningite à méningocoque A organisées en 2010 et 2011, aucun cas de méningite à méningocoque A n’a été enregistré dans le pays. Toutefois, une résurgence des cas de méningite causés par la souche Neisseria meningitidis (N.m.) W 135, le N.m. C et le Streptococcus pneumoniae est observée cette année. Parallèlement à la méningite, une augmentation des cas de rougeole est également constatée dans plusieurs régions du Niger. 345 cas de méningite notifiés

    Les structures sanitaires ont enregistré 345 cas de méningite dont 45 décès1 (soit un taux de létalité de 15 pour cent) du 1 er janvier au 29 mars 2015. Ces cas ont été enregistrés dans toutes les régions du pays, à l’exception de Diffa. Les deux districts sanitaires qui ont atteint le seuil épidémique2 se trouvent dans les régions de Niamey (Niamey 2) et de Dosso (Dogondoutchi dans l’aire de santé de Maikalgo) où 80 pour cent3 des cas ont été enregistrés.

    2 041 cas de rougeole notifiés

    Selon le Ministère de la Santé publique, 2 327 cas de rougeole dont 02 décès4 (soit un taux de létalité de 0,1 pour cent) ont été enregistrés du 1er janvier au 29 mars. Environ 71 pour cent des personnes touchées ont entre 0 et quatre ans et 20 pour cent entre 5 et 14 ans. Ces cas ont été notifiés dans les huit régions du Niger. Cependant des foyers d’épidémie sont identifiés dans 11 districts sanitaires5 sur les 44 que compte le pays. Avec 77 pour cent des cas totalisés, la région de Zinder est la plus affectée.


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    Source: Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict
    Country: Benin, Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    In early March, Nigeria agreed – with Niger, Cameroon, Chad and Benin – to send an 8,700-strong regional “Multinational Joint Task Force” (MNJTF) to fight Boko Haram which has killed thousands in northeastern Nigeria and has carried out attacks in some neighboring countries.

    In 2014, Watchlist documented grave child rights violations including recruitment and use of children by Boko Haram and members of the Civilian Joint Task Force as well as detention of children suspected or found to be associated with Boko Haram.

    Watchlist urges Nigeria and other countries participating in the Multinational Joint Task Force (MNJTF) to ensure protection and legal safeguards for children encountered during conflict. The MNJTF should establish clear policies and protocols for the identification, treatment, and transfer to child protection civilian actors of children below the age of 18, who are suspected or found to be affiliated with Boko Haram. Special attention should be given to the initial period of military custody where children should be separated from adults and no interrogation should be conducted for intelligence purposes.

    The government of Nigeria should also publicly denounce the recruitment of children by civilian self-defense militias, and local authorities should end any support to armed groups which are found to have recruited children. On this, the commitment made by the Attorney-General of Nigeria to produce an advisory that recalled the prohibition of recruitment and use of children by government-affiliated self-defense groups is welcomed as a step in the right direction.[1]

    Meanwhile in Geneva, the Human Rights Council mandated the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to prepare a report on violations and abuses of human rights and atrocities committed by Boko Haram.[2] While it is unfortunate that the scope of the mandate was limited to violations committed by Boko Haram, Watchlist welcomes this significant development and encourages the investigation team to include in the report a section looking specifically at violations committed against children.

    [1] See https://childrenandarmedconflict.un.org/press-release/urgent-action-to-protect-children-in-north-east-nigeria/

    [2] See http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15790&LangID=E


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Cameroon

    Moki Edwin Kindzeka

    MORA, CAMEROON—Cameroonian refugees displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency in northern Cameroon say they are living in desperate conditions — going without food, water and medicine for days at a time. They complain the government and U.N. agencies are focusing solely on Nigerian refugees and ignoring their needs.

    Displaced school children sing here at a government school in Mora in northern Cameroon, some 25 kilometers from the Nigerian border. Their teacher, Feyou Alice, said the children studed under very difficult conditions.

    "That one is an overcrowded classroom as you can see. I am just managing. There is no way to even pass [move] in class but I am trying my best. There are illnesses [like] you have cough, fever and since the class room is crowded, they are having wounds on their legs," said Alice.

    Lawan Detakone, head teacher of the government school in Kolofata, not far from Mora, said his school was finding it difficult to cope with Cameroonian children displaced by Boko Haram activity in their own country.

    He said the more than 500 students in his school had just one portable water source and they did not have even a single latrine. He said they were living under desperate conditions.

    The government of Cameroon said at least 70 000 school children and 100 000 people have been displaced by the Boko Haram insurgency. Fekoue Ngaha Joseph, chief of Amang village near Mora, said he has been asking well wishers to contribute and take care of internally displaced persons seeking refuge in his village.

    He said for eight months running, they have been moving from mosque to mosque and from church to church asking people to contribute maize, sorghum and millet to feed the hundreds of internally displaced people living in their village.

    Moussa Ibrahim, whose three wives and 9 children were displaced from Fotokol two months ago after an attack by Boko Haram fighters left at least 500 dead, said the food they received from the chief, Fekoue Ngaha Joseph, was largely insufficient.

    He said because of acute food shortages, they kept the little they had for the sick and children and that they drank pap without sugar and shared each tablet of soap among many people. He said he was pleading with Cameroon authorities, the international community and United Nations agencies to immediately come to their rescue.

    The vice president of Cameroon's national assembly, Joseph Mbah Ndam, said Cameroon has been concentrating on fighting Boko Haram and not taking proper care of internally displaced persons.

    "The UN high commissioner for refugees takes care of foreigners who have drifted into Cameroon, but who takes care of Cameroonians who have been displaced. I think that the government is not taking care of the displaced. We are thinking about soldiers and we are not thinking of those who are going hungry, homeless and have been driven from their area of subsistence," he said.

    Najat Rochdi, coordinator of the United Nations system in Cameroon, said the assistance was urgently needed to save lives of people suffering from the Boko Haram insurgency.

    "We need to work on the early recovery of the economy here and you know that the security situation unfortunately is really really having huge impacts on the economy. We have villages of 5 000, 7 000 people so again, thanks to them for their solidarity and generosity, but somehow we need to have a number of accompanying measures so we make sure that social cohesion is there," said Rochdi.

    Last month when he visited refugees and internally displaced persons in northern Cameroon, United Nations refugee chief António Guterres said masses of people fleeing the terrorist group Boko Haram have created a crisis comparable to the refugee situation caused by Syria's civil war and a shortfall of international funding was hampering the UN’s ability to help the situation.


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Nigeria

    By Gerida Burikila and Geoffrey Njoku

    Children in Maiduguri, Nigeria, are devouring their lessons. They are packing into classrooms and practising their A-B-Cs and maths, a cohort of eager students deprived of an education and hungry to learn.

    MAIDUGURI, Nigeria, 6 April 2015 – These days, in camps for internally displaced persons in Maiduguri, Borno State, children are collecting eagerly in cramped spaces, eyes trained on the front of the room. They are learning to read, count and write – many for the first time.

    These children are among the thousands of families who have fled conflict and sought refuge in Maiduguri. Even if they attended school, at some point, the security situation has of late been dire. Most schools closed after attacks on the teachers and buildings. Other children have not been permitted to attend school that provides Western education. All told, thousands of children have been denied their right to an education.

    School, in the camps

    In Borno State, schools are open in only 8 of the 27 local government areas and remain closed where conflict between the military and armed groups is most active.

    UNICEF has established catch-up lessons for children living in the camps in Maiduguri. Trained teachers run the classes, which can be packed. More than 30,371 children aged 6–15 have enrolled.

    In one class of 106 girls aged 6–15, only six children have ever been to school. When we visit, the girls are eager to show that they can count from 1 to 100. Classes are giving them a chance to learn. Classes are giving them a chance to play, sing and socialize. Classes are keeping them safe.

    Hadiza’s story

    Hadiza* is in this class.

    At the age of 13, she has experienced things most people never have to suffer in a lifetime. She has seen her father shot in the head, and she has helped bury him. She has been detained in a prison yard, where she witnessed the execution of men and teenage boys, daily. She has scaled a barbed-wire fence to escape. She has seen her sister married off to a member of Boko Haram.

    These days, in the safety of Maiduguri, she cares for her mother, who is suffering from trauma-induced hypertension, and two younger sisters. At night, as she rests, what she has been through becomes all too vivid. “I see my father being shot and bleeding. I also dream about people who were killed in front of me in prison. I also dream that Boko Haram is chasing and arresting me.”

    Every day, Hadiza finds a spot in the more peaceful part of the camp to recite the alphabet and work out the basic maths she is being taught in the camp’s makeshift school. She thrills at the opportunity to learn. “I have never been to school before. Here, they allowed me to go to school. My young sisters were also enrolled. I can read a, b, c, d, e – and I can count. I have been in school for two months now. My best subjects are mathematics and English.

    “I love school. I have made new friends in school.”

    A chance, for children

    Hadiza is in good company. According to Fatma, one of the teachers, “Students are very enthusiastic. They are very happy to be in school for the first time in their life. Within a month, they are able to recognize alphabets, count and write the letters. It is very exciting.”

    And the excitement spreads beyond the children. “Mothers are bringing in their daughters so that they can get the education they, themselves, were denied as children. We even have some mothers begging us to teach them how to read and write and are demanding classes, too,” says Fatma.

    Hadiza has plans for the future – plans that UNICEF and partners aim to enable, by supporting Nigeria in a Safe Schools Initiative to mitigate the impact of conflict on education. Rapid assessments, mapping and profiling of affected communities, schools, children and teachers have been conducted. Strategies include enhancing security in schools, transferring students to lower-risk areas and supporting them in locations in which there are internally displaced persons.

    The initiative is working hard to make schools safer for children like Hadiza, so she can realize her dreams. “When I grow up, I want to be a teacher, so that I can teach young children how to read and write. I also want to be a teacher to earn money to look after my mother and my young sisters.”

    *Name has been changed.


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Central African Republic, Mali, Somalia, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    Introduction

    1. In its resolution 2167 (2014), the Security Council requested that I prepare, in close consultation with the African Union Commission and the European Union, and no later than 31 March 2015, an assessment report and recommendations on the progress of the partnerships between the United Nations and relevant regional organizations in peacekeeping operations. Within the framework of Chapter VIII of the Charter of the United Nations, the assessment and recommendations included in the present report build on and complement my previous reports on cooperation with regional organizations, including, more recently, my reports on United NationsAfrican Union cooperation in peace and security (S/2011/805) and on cooperation between the United Nations and regional and other organizations (S/2014/560) and my letter to the President of the Security Council on the transitions from the African Union peace operations to United Nations peacekeeping operations in Mali and the Central African Republic (S/2015/3). They are also guided by the positions and areas of interest of the Council as outlined in resolution 2167 (2014) and in its presidential statements on cooperation with the African Union (S/PRST/2014/27) and the European Union (S/PRST/2014/4).

    2. The scope of the present report covers primarily the partnership with regional organizations and arrangements in peacekeeping, rather than the whole spectrum of peace and security actions. It is focused largely on the partnerships with the African Union and the European Union, the two organizations that are explicitly mentioned in paragraph 28 of resolution 2167 (2014) and are currently the closest partners of the United Nations in respect of peacekeeping efforts. Other regional and subregional organizations and arrangements are mentioned in relevant areas, where they have engaged on peacekeeping issues and in peacekeeping operations.


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    Source: UN Human Rights Council
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    The atrocities committed by Boko Haram have had a critical impact on the human rights situation in Nigeria and at the borders with its neighbouring countries in the Lake Chad Basin, namely Cameroon, Chad and Niger, said UN Human Rights Chief Zeid.

    Speaking at the Special Session convened by the Human Rights Council on 1 April 2015 to address the terrorist attacks and human rights abuses and violations committed by Boko Haram, Zeid highlighted that since 2009, at least 15,000 individuals had died because of the actions of that insurgent group.

    “Countless more children, women and men have been abducted, abused and forcibly recruited, and women and girls have been targeted for particularly horrific abuse, including sexual enslavement,” Zeid added. “Villages and towns have been looted and destroyed… and [Boko Haram] attacks have destroyed or severely damaged at least 300 schools, killed numerous students, and ended with the abduction of hundreds of schoolgirls.”

    Zeid stressed that the authorities and the international community should step up their efforts to respond to the needs of the victims. “Responses to these massive violations must be strong, coordinated and principled,” he said, adding that security forces should take measures to protect civilians, and conduct their counter-insurgency operations in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian law.

    “Vanquishing this threat to peace will require sustained attention that extends beyond the use of military force,” he continued. “Strengthening the rule of law, repealing discriminatory legislation, and implementing inclusive and non-discriminatory policies must be part of the response to the horrific violations being committed by Boko Haram.”

    Mireille Fanon Mendes France, speaking on behalf of the Coordination Committee of Special Procedures, highlighted that counter-terrorism measures often pose serious challenges to economic, social and cultural rights even though, she stressed, the protection of human rights is not incompatible with security.

    “The experience of the last decade shows that to be effective counter-terrorism policies or measures should also address the root-causes and conditions that are conducive to the emergence and spread of terrorism,” she said. “These include for instance poverty and unequitable economic development, marginalisation of minority groups, political oppression, deficits in good governance, and polarizations of ethnic and religious characteristics.”

    The High Representative of the African Union for Mali and the Sahel, and former President of Burundi, Pierre Bouyoya, said that the nature of terrorism in Africa had evolved over the past decade, and variants of transnational organized crime had become closely linked to the activities and funding of terrorist groups. He highlighted that the countries of the Lake Chad Basin had formed a multinational force in order to coordinate their efforts to combat Boko Haram.

    “Boko Haram is a threat that goes beyond the Nigerian borders. Judging by the chaos it has created and that it seems determined to carry on, and the indiscriminate nature of its targeting of victims, the terrorist group is more than a regional threat, it is also a global one,” Bouyoya said. “Its recent allegiance to the group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) can only attest to this. Thus, the fight against that group and others must concern the entire international community.”

    Speaking as the representative of a concerned country, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Cameroon, Pierre Moukoko Mbonjo, said that Cameroon was firmly committed to respecting international humanitarian and human rights law. He confirmed that the incident whereby 75 Boko Haram militants had been killed in a Cameroonian prison was being investigated and that those responsible will be prosecuted.

    The Minister of Justice and Human Rights of Chad, Mahamat Issa Halikimi, urged African countries to strengthen their voice in the global fight against terrorism and improve coordination among them.

    The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, Danjuma Nanpon Sheni, called for support to the internally displaced and refugees, and more concern about the networks that Boko Haram had created with groups such as Al-Shabab and ISIL.

    The Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution urging those who provide support and resources to Boko Haram to end that support; and requesting the UN Human Rights Office to prepare a report on the human rights violations committed by the group, to be presented at the Council’s September session.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    Baga Sola, Tchad | | jeudi 09/04/2015 - 08:06 GMT

    Par Célia LEBUR

    Visages ensanglantés, corps sans tête, maisons brûlées: au camp de réfugiés de Dar-es-Salam, près du lac Tchad, quand les enfants rescapés de Boko Haram dessinent les atrocités qu'ils ont vécues au Nigeria, le résultat est saisissant.

    Devant la grande tente blanche de l'Unicef, c'est la cohue. Des dizaines de garçons en haillons poussiéreux se poussent des coudes, s'esclaffent, avant de se faire rappeler à l'ordre par les animateurs. Tous veulent participer à l'atelier de dessin organisé à l'espace "Amis des enfants" en ce lundi de Pâques, férié au Tchad.

    Mais une fois devant la grande feuille de papier blanc, un feutre à la main, le silence s'installe. Le thème du jour est douloureux, et chacun se concentre pour reconstituer le fil des évènements dont il a été témoin lorsque les islamistes ont attaqué leur village.

    Soumaïla Ahmid dit avoir 15 ans, mais on lui en donnerait à peine 12.

    "Le jour de l'attaque on était devant notre porte quand on a vu les Boko Haram. Ils sont allés vers les gens qui se trouvaient au bord de l'eau et les ont fusillés, ils tiraient dans la tête", raconte le garçon aux yeux en amande.

    A quatre pattes, il dessine avec application une forme gondolée et des cadavres flottant dans une rivière: "Il y a ceux ont pu monter dans les pirogues, ils sont en train de fuir. Les autres sont morts", dit-il sans sourciller.

    Oublier le quotidien

    Autre dessin, autre scène à faire froid dans le dos. "Cet homme est dans sa maison. Il est en train de la réparer mais il a entendu les fusillades dehors. Quand il sort pour voir ce qui se passe, un Boko Haram vient devant sa maison, tire et met le feu", explique Nour Issiaka, 15 ans lui aussi.

    Comme s'il récitait une histoire banale, il conclut: "l'homme essaie de sortir mais ne trouve pas d'issue: toute la maison est en flammes". Il sera brûlé vif.

    "Depuis qu'on a commencé cette activité (le dessin), ils se précipitent pour s'inscrire", explique le responsable de la structure, Ndorum Ndoki.

    "Ils dessinent, et ensuite nous pouvons en discuter. Il a fallu les pousser à s'ouvrir, ce n'était pas évident au début. Aujourd'hui ils sont fiers d'être écoutés", explique M. Ndoki.

    L'équipe qui les encadre essaie d'"identifier" ceux qui s'isolent, ou qui semblent trop familiers avec la tragédie vécue afin de pas laisser le traumatisme s'installer, précise-t-il.

    Chaque après-midi, les ateliers de dessin sont aussi l'occasion d'aborder d'autres thèmes comme l'amour ou l'école, entre deux parties de football, de tricot, ou de ludo.

    Une parenthèse durant laquelle les enfants trompent l'ennui et oublient un peu le quotidien du camp, rythmé par les rationnements alimentaires et la chaleur infernale de cette étendue désertique, à une dizaine de km des rives du lac.

    'Jamais tenu un stylo'

    Près de 800 enfants sont par ailleurs scolarisés à "l'école d'urgence", huit grandes tentes ouvertes en janvier par l'Unicef.

    "Avant ils ne connaissaient rien de l'école, même si certains suivaient un enseignement coranique. Beaucoup n'avaient jamais tenu un stylo, mais ici ils apprennent vite", assure Oumar Martin, un animateur camerounais vivant au Nigeria depuis des années, qui s'est retrouvé pris dans le flot des 18.000 réfugiés venus au Tchad.

    Dans le nord-est du Nigeria principalement musulman et longtemps délaissé par le pouvoir central, ces jeunes ne parlant que haoussa ou kanuri "construisent déjà des phrases en anglais, et baragouinent quelques mots de français", dit-il.

    Sur les bancs de l'école, on trouve de "grands enfants" qui ont dépassé la vingtaine mais veulent, eux aussi, apprendre à lire et à écrire.

    En pirogue ou à pieds, ces jeunes ont pour la plupart vécu une fuite éperdue, pourchassés par les insurgés nigérians jusque dans les eaux tchadiennes. Plus de 140 d'entre eux sont arrivés là sans leurs parents, perdus dans la confusion ou tués par Boko Haram.

    Mahamat Alhadji Mahamat, 14 ans, a mis près d'une semaine à rejoindre le camp de Dar-es-Salam, adossé à la sous-préfecture de Baga Sola.

    D'île en île, avec ses oncles, il se cachait la journée et progressait la nuit. Ses parents, eux, sont restés au Nigeria.

    Sur son dessin, quelques oiseaux volent à côté d'un camion rempli de fusils aux dimensions variées. "Je ne pourrais jamais oublier ce que j'ai vu là-bas", dit-il avec un sourire timide. "Il y a même des enfants qui sont nés en route, pendant la fuite. Quand je croise ces enfants (dans le camp), je ne peux pas m'empêcher d'y repenser..."

    "Mais, dit-il, je veux apprendre et un jour je rentrerai chez moi, au Nigeria".

    cl/mc/fal

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    United Nations, United States | | Thursday 4/9/2015 - 16:05 GMT

    Mali's foreign minister asked the UN Security Council on Thursday to ratchet up pressure on a holdout rebel group standing in the way of a landmark peace deal.

    Abdoulaye Diop urged the 15-member council to endorse the Algerian-brokered draft peace accord and to threaten sanctions against those who block it.

    The Malian government last month initialed the peace accord reached with armed groups in the north, as did the Plateform coalition representing some of the factions.

    But the main Tuareg rebel alliance, known as the Coordination, has yet to sign on.

    "Malians are ready for peace. They are tired of war," Diop said.

    "They want to close this dark chapter in the history of our nation, as one and undivided."

    Algeria has scheduled a ceremony on April 15 during which the Coordination's representatives are due to initial the accord, with a formal signing to follow soon after.

    Diop sounded a cautious note about prospects for that event, saying he was taking a wait-and-see attitude toward the holdout rebels.

    The accord negotiated under UN auspices provides for greater regional autonomy for the north in line with long-standing demands by Tuaregs and other groups.

    The deal, which has been under negotiations for eight months, would bring to an end a conflict that culminated with an Islamist takeover of northern Mali in 2012.

    Islamist militants seized control of northern Mali for more than nine months until a French-led military intervention in 2013 that partly drove them from the region.

    Diop said the failure to clinch the deal would have "enormous risks for peace in Mali, in the region and even beyond" and said hopes for peace were being "held hostage by a group of radicals and extremists."

    "Those who, despite everything, choose to block the path to peace will leave the international community with no other choice but to isolate them and treat them as such by imposing sanctions," Diop said.

    Violence has continued in Mali, with attacks targeting peacekeepers in the north and a deadly assault on a Bamako nightclub last month that left five dead.

    UN peacekeeping chief Herve Ladsous told the council that once a deal is reached, a firm timetable must be set for it to be implemented with a "clear and robust mechanism."

    The Security Council later went into closed-door consultations on the crisis in Mali.

    cml/jm

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: International Peace Institute
    Country: Nigeria

    The strong victory of Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress in Nigeria’s March 30 election was in and of itself a remarkable event—the first time in 55 years that a ruling party in the country has been voted out of power rather than being toppled by a military coup. The peaceful transfer of power alone would make this election a major achievement for the forces of democracy and constitutional rule.

    It was a crushing defeat for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) led by Goodluck Jonathan, which had ruled Nigeria without interruption since 1999. Buhari’s APC took almost 55% of the popular vote, the PDP 45%. The election also was remarkably well run, peaceful, and featuring few charges of fraud. This was in sharp contrast to 2011 and other previous elections, which were marred by voting irregularities and significant post-electoral violence.

    The large margin of victory for Buhari and the APC was due overwhelmingly to large popular dissatisfaction with Jonathan’s PDP-led government. Since its electoral victory in 2005, Jonathan’s government has proven itself unable to stem the advance of Boko Haram insurgents in northern Nigeria, to deal with Nigeria’s faltering economy in the face of declining oil revenues, and to stem the tide of widespread corruption in the country. Most notably, Boko Haram’s kidnapping and disappearance of 250 girls in April 2014 and the more recent attacks on civilians in a number of towns in the north had destroyed public confidence in the military. The notable failure to defeat Boko Haram, and Nigeria’s dependence on forces from Chad—a much smaller country—to liberate northern towns underscored the army’s poor leadership and declining effectiveness.

    A second important factor was the perception of widespread corruption throughout the bureaucracy and the widening economic and social disparity between the more prosperous Christian south and the more impoverished Muslim north. After the death of president Yar’Adua in November 2009 Goodluck Jonathan took over and continued the national political trend of domination by a leader from the south, instead of allowing an alteration of power with the north. Jonathan’s decision to delay the elections, originally scheduled for February, for four weeks, and last ditch efforts to defeat Boko Haram, had little impact on altering popular dissatisfaction.

    With 173 million people, Nigeria is far and away West Africa’s largest and most important country, with huge oil reserves as well as other mineral resources. Moreover, Nigeria has been at the forefront of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) since its inception in 1975.

    Nigeria took the lead in mounting ECOWAS interventions in Liberia and Sierra Leone in the 1990s, bringing an end to civil wars in both countries. In the last decade, however, the capacity of Nigeria’s army has significantly deteriorated. Nigeria has played little role in more recent conflicts in Cote d’Ivoire, Mali, and now the Central African Republic. Its weakness has left a leadership vacuum in seeking peaceful solutions to these West African conflicts.

    What Lies Ahead

    Nigeria’s political history since independence in 1960 has been characterized by alteration between weak, often corrupt, civilian rulers and authoritarian military rule. Buhari himself carried out a military coup 30 years ago. Expectations for his new term are high. Whether they should be is a matter for debate. Buhari is now 73 years old, notably taciturn, and uncharismatic. He does not offer a vision as much as a figure of some rectitude. He is described by some as a “born-again democrat,” after his previous rule as a military dictator.

    It remains to be seen whether Buhari can carry out a major reform of the army or carry through on his pledge to defeat Boko Haram. Even more problematic is whether he can attack deeply entrenched patterns of corruption in the army, the Parliament or the civilian bureaucracy. A few post-electoral speeches will be insufficient to provide answers to these important questions. As the Centre for Conflict Resolution Executive Director Adekeye Adebajo has indicated, what is new is that an incompetent government has been voted out of power by the citizenry. There is now for the first time in Nigeria’s history an opportunity to link performance with accountability—a point which may also have reverberations elsewhere in Africa.

    Originally Published in the Global Observatory


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    Nations unies, Etats-Unis | jeudi 09/04/2015 - 17:23 GMT

    Foreign Minister of Mali on Thursday urged the UN Security Council to increase pressure on the rebels in northern Mali that are still dam at the Algiers Peace Agreement.

    Peace talks on Mali engaged in Algiers in July resulted March 1 by an unfinished agreement, signed by the Malian government, but not by northern rebels who claimed a "reasonable time" to get their base.

    "Malians are ready for peace. They are tired of war. They want to turn this dark page in the history of our nation, one and indivisible," said Abdoulaye Diop, while asking the Council to adopt sanctions if necessary.

    Algeria, which leads mediation, has planned a new deadline April 15, during which the rebels must sign the peace agreement with an official signing by both parties is to follow soon after.

    The head of Mali's diplomacy was cautious about the deadline and looked a sign of the rebels.

    The agreement negotiated under the auspices of the United Nations provides greater autonomy in the north, long called for, including the Tuareg.

    It would especially to end a conflict that split the country since 2012.

    If he failed, it would generate "enormous risks for peace in Mali and in the region, and beyond," he adds Mr Diop, who believes that the agreement is "held hostage by a group of individuals radicals and extremists. "

    "Those who, despite everything, have chosen to stand in the path to peace will not leave the international community that the choice to isolate and treat them as such imposing sanctions them," he has still continued.

    Violence continues in Mali, with attacks that have recently targeted peacekeepers also responsible for the fatal shooting of three demonstrators in the northern end of January countries.

    Northern Mali in 2012 fell under the control of jihadist groups linked to al-Qaeda, which were partly driven by the military operation "Serval" launched at the initiative of France in January 2013, at which succeeded in August 2014 "barchan" operation, whose range extends throughout the Sahel-Saharan zone.

    cml / jm / sha / gde

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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