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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Government of Burkina Faso
    Country: Burkina Faso

    Des mortalités importantes de volailles ont été enregistrées courant février- mars 2015 au niveau des élevages traditionnels et modernes dans les provinces du Kadiogo, région du Centre et du Sanguié, région du Centre-Ouest.

    Les investigations des services vétérinaires ont abouti à une forte suspicion de l’Influenza Aviaire Hautement Pathogène ou grippe aviaire, confirmé par un laboratoire de référence de l’Organisation Mondiale de la Santé Animale et de l’Organisation des Nations Unies pour l’Alimentation et l’Agriculture.

    Nous sommes donc en mesure de déclarer la circulation de la souche hautement pathogène H5N1 de l’Influenza aviaire au Burkina Faso.

    Rappelons qu’il s’agit d’une maladie infectieuse, très contagieuse, affectant la volaille domestique et les oiseaux sauvages. Elle est causée par un virus, et entraine une mortalité très importante et rapide dans les élevages infectés et contre laquelle il n y a pas de traitement à nos jours.

    Il s’agit également d’une maladie pouvant affecter les personnes en contact étroit avec les oiseaux malades ou morts.

    Des mesures de riposte sont prises par mes services pour la gestion et le contrôle de l’infection.

    Je lance un appel à toute la population, et en particulier aux aviculteurs et commerçants de volailles, pour une franche et entière coopération avec mes services pour la gestion de cette crise sanitaire notamment par la déclaration de toutes mortalités suspectes de volailles.

    Je puis vous rassurer que toutes les mesures idoines sont prises par le gouvernement pour garantir la sécurité sanitaire des aliments pour les consommateurs.

    Le Ministre des Ressources Animales.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    MAROUA, 13 April 2015 (IRIN) - How do you vaccinate women and children against polio in remote areas prey to attack from Boko Haram militants? Arm the soldiers with vaccine. This is exactly what has happened with great success in northern Cameroon.

    Following a series of abductions last year by Boko Haram groups, military escorts have been joining vaccination drives in Cameroon’s Far North Region to protect both local and international humanitarian workers.

    In addition to acting as a security presence, officers, who normally patrol the frontlines and at-risk border communities, are also trained to administer polio vaccines – a tactic UNICEF says has been key to the successful campaign.

    It allowed children in even the most dangerous areas to be vaccinated, as well as refugees the moment their families crossed the border.

    “It is our role to protect the population and prevent them from whatever danger, including health threats,” a Cameroonian commander, who wished to remain anonymous, told IRIN. “So we are simply adding more value to the work that we are already doing.”

    Military personnel also engaged with community leaders and radio stations to spread word of the importance of the vaccinations.

    “In my locality, I make sure that my people get excited and look for the vaccinators,” said a chief called Lamido from Guidiguis in far northern Cameroon.

    Turning the corner after 18 months

    As a result of the military involvement, the polio vaccination drive in the Far North Region has surpassed this year’s goals in spite of the challenges posed by Boko Haram and the massive influx of refugees from Nigeria.

    The latest campaign, which took place 27-29 March, reached 1.4 million children under the age of five – nearly 100,000 more than initially targeted, according to the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

    “Despite the security challenges, polio vaccination campaigns have been registering better results over the past months as a result of increased military presence and [military] participation in the vaccination process,” said regional health ministry official Flaubert Danbe.

    Recent progress comes after more than 18 difficult months trying to contain polio, which broke out again in Cameroon in October 2013

    At least 13 previous immunization campaigns were at least partially thwarted by Boko Haram-related violence, or resistance from refugees from neighbouring Nigeria, where polio is endemic.

    In 2014, childhood immunization rates in Cameroon stood at just 60 percent, according to the Ministry of Health – a figure well below the 90 percent minimum needed to eradicate the disease.

    Cameroon has had no new cases of polio in more than six months and was downgraded from a polio-exporting country on 31 March, but the World Health Organization (WHO) still considers it to be at “high risk” due to the challenges in administering the vaccination and the ongoing refugee problem.

    The number of Nigerian children not vaccinated against polio increased from 778,000 in November 2014 to 1.1 million in January 2015, according to UNICEF. Just one cross-border case could restart an outbreak in Cameroon, authorities say.

    Overcoming the challenges

    Immunization campaigns in the region have been plagued by insecurity since the beginning of 2014, when Boko Haram began to extend its attacks from Nigeria into Cameroon.

    At least nine of the 30 health districts in the Far North Region have been affected, with women and children the ones most likely to miss out.

    “Access to health care systems by the local population is difficult as some clinics have been closed as a result of the [insecurity],” UNICEF’s Antoine Ntapli told IRIN.

    The influx of Nigerian refugees into northern Cameroon has also put a strain on local health care services, which are not well enough equipped or staffed to handle large caseloads. Many local health workers have fled the area, further straining already limited resources.

    “The exodus of Nigerian refugees across communities and the internal displacement of the population are among the challenges… coupled with the inaccessibility of population still living in risky areas,” Ntapli said.

    More than 74,000 Nigerians have taken refuge in Cameroon due to Boko Haram attacks, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

    Eastern Cameroon is also host to the largest number of refugees from the Central African Republic – around 200,000 people, according to the latest figures from UNHCR.

    An estimated 117,000 Cameroonians living in border communities have also been displaced within the country’s Far North Region, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says.

    This constant movement of people makes administering the vaccination to children particularly difficult. The oral vaccine requires three two-drop doses, usually given four weeks apart, in order to be fully effective. As people flee one attack to the next, it is challenging for health workers to keep track of their whereabouts and follow up on the booster doses.

    Cultural resistance from Nigerian refugees

    For Nigerian newcomers not vaccinated upon arrival in Cameroon, campaigns are conducted on a near constant basis in the refugee camps.

    “The vaccination of the displaced is an ongoing process and vaccines must be available to be given to every new arrival,” Ntapli said.

    Each refugee who enters a camp is vaccinated against both polio and yellow fever, among other diseases.

    But polio vaccination has faced strong resistance within conservative Islamic communities in northern Nigeria due to a deep distrust of the West, persistent rumours that the vaccine is harmful, and the house-to-house approach taken by immunization campaigners, which many see as intrusive.

    Garba Dauda, a vaccination agent at the Minawao refugee camp, said many Nigerians there originate from places where polio immunization has a bad name.

    “Some refugees used to oppose vaccination at first, but we have managed [with education campaigns] to change people’s mentality and now they are more receptive,” Dauda said.

    UNICEF and Cameroon’s health ministry say they now plan to extend this type of vaccination campaign to the east of the country.

    mkn-jl/ag


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    Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime
    Country: Iraq, Nigeria, World

    SOC/CP/361

    Thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice,
    Plenary — 3rd, 4th & 5th Meetings (AM, PM & Night)

    Iraqi Minister Calls for Comprehensive Security Structure to Squash Terror Networks

    Doha, 13 April — As criminals became ever more sophisticated and brutal, swift and collective action was needed to stamp out new and emerging threats, delegates heard today as the thirteenth United Nations Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice continued its high-level segment.

    Strengthening legal frameworks and launching targeted programmes to tackle crimes — from hacking and online identity theft to terrorist groups recruiting foreign fighters — were parts of the toolkit needed to build resilient societies, some ministers said as more than 50 speakers discussed their crime prevention and criminal justice efforts alongside proposals for solutions.

    Ministers and other government officials described recent horrific attacks by terrorist groups, including Al‑Shabaab and Da'esh. Some speakers appealed to the Congress to send a strong message to all terrorists groups that the international community stood united against them.

    “We need to have a comprehensive security structure to combat the terrorist structure,” Iraq’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said, pointing to his country’s current on-the-ground combat against Da’esh. Such a structure must, among other things, ensure that terrorists’ funds were “dried up” and must end their practice of using the Internet to broadcast their heinous criminal acts, he said, calling on all judicial authorities to punish perpetrators. All continents were home to Da’esh fighters and no State was immune to terrorism; all countries should support Iraq and other countries that were battling the scourge.

    To fight the growing threat of Boko Haram in West Africa, a coalition comprising Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger had deployed troops, enabling the region to reclaim all territories occupied by insurgents or terrorists, Nigeria’s Minister for Foreign Affairs said. For its part, Nigeria had adopted a national counter-terrorism strategy in 2014 and a new national security strategy had been formulated to address emerging related crimes. Côte d’Ivoire’s Minister for Justice, Human Rights and Public Liberties said his country had crafted a counter-terrorism legal project to restrict and prevent the proliferation of terrorist groups.

    Speakers agreed that laws and regional agreements could help in the fight against several aspects of terrorism. The Minister for Home Affairs of the Maldives said Governments must unite and act against terrorists’ recruitment campaigns by making it a criminal offense for any person to leave his or her country with the intent to participate and fight alongside those groups.

    Many speakers, including ministers from Afghanistan and Nicaragua, shared concerns over pervasive online crimes, which affected all countries and required new and coordinated measures.

    “Cybercrime deserves special attention,” Brazil’s representative said, pointing to his country’s balanced Internet regulations. As authorities from every country faced complex challenges in investigating and obtaining evidence in digital environments, a truly global legal framework that balanced repressive measures and respect for human rights, especially the right to privacy, was essential. Echoing that sentiment, South Africa’s Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development said the initiative to negotiate a United Nations Convention against Cybercrime should be supported and fast tracked.

    In an effort to make further inroads in rooting out and prosecuting cybercriminals, speakers described challenges, experiences and best practices. Lebanon’s Minister for Justice suggested that cybercrime required specific targeted programmes. For its part, his country had taken a number of forward steps, including amending its Penal Code to criminalize hacking. Taking a similar approach, Kuwait’s Minister for Justice and Minister for Awqaf and Islamic Affairs said his Government had adopted laws, including one specifically targeting online crimes, and had also signed regional agreements to combat the illegal use of technology and the Internet.

    Encapsulating the goals of some of those measures, the “Doha Declaration” (document A/CONF.222/L.6), adopted by acclamation at the opening meeting of the Congress on Sunday, weighed in on online criminality. Member States, by the Declaration, sought to ensure that the benefits of economic, social and technological advancements enhanced efforts in preventing and countering new and emerging forms of crime. (See also Press Release SOC/CP/359 of 13 April.)

    Addressing a range of related issues on Internet crime, among them identity theft, recruitment for the purpose of trafficking in persons and the online exploitation and abuse of children, Member States sought to explore ways to create a secure and resilient cyberspace environment, prevent and counter criminal activities over the Internet and provide long-term technical and capacity-building aid to strengthen national authorities’ ability to deal with cybercrime.

    During the day, speakers raised a range of issues, with some offering success stories stemming from policy changes and new approaches. Finland’s representative pointed to her country’s criminal justice policy’s accomplishments in addressing prison overcrowding. Applying community sanctions and fines in lieu of jail time, the country’s prison population had been halved between the 1960s and 1970s. Georgia’s Minister for Justice said that through one crime prevention initiative, 65 youth prisoners had used a special programme to have their body tattoos removed, eliminating the social stigma that prevented them from becoming full-fledged members of society.

    By the evening, several common threads had emerged, including that no one country could combat crime alone and that international cooperation was needed to both overcome cross-border challenges and to share best practices to ramp up the fight against crime.

    Also delivering statements were Ministers, Government officials and representatives of Croatia, Angola, Ecuador, Uganda, Sudan, Bahrain, Tunisia, Algeria, Botswana, Guatemala, India, Morocco, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Nepal, Zambia, Gambia, United Republic of Tanzania, Somalia, Belarus, Mexico, Spain, Republic of Korea, Mongolia, United States, Armenia, Saudi Arabia, El Salvador, United Kingdom, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Belgium, Malaysia, Kenya, Viet Nam, Canada, Burkina Faso, Cuba and the Philippines, as well as the State of Palestine and the Holy See. The United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights also addressed the Congress, as did the Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate. The representatives of Turkey and Armenia also spoke in exercise of the right of reply.

    The Crime Congress will reconvene at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, 14 April, to conclude its high-level segment.

    Statements

    ORSAT MILJENIĆ, Minister for Justice of Croatia, associating himself with the European Union, stressed that fair and effective criminal justice systems should be based on respect for and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. In that regard, Croatia continued to actively seek effective ways to promote tolerance, equality and to combat all forms of discrimination. The country had shown readiness to embrace international standards and to introduce innovative legal and institutional mechanisms to those ends. Reiterating the importance of integrating children and youth issues into the overall rule of law, he said Croatia also supported measures to integrate a gender perspective into legal systems in order to fully protect women and girls from all acts of violence, in accordance with obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women and Security Council resolution 1325 (2000). Croatia also welcomed the decision by an increasing number of Member States to apply a moratorium on the death penalty or to limit its application. His country had developed a systematic approach to bear down on corruption, especially in the areas of criminal law, conflict resolution and public procurement, and had adopted a new anti-corruption strategy. Croatia strongly supported initiatives that increased international cooperation in criminal matters, and condemned most strongly all acts of terrorism.

    RUI JORGE CARNEIRO MANGUEIRA, Minister for Justice and Human Rights of Angola, said that his country was a democratic State founded on popular suffrage, the primacy of the constitution and the law, the separation of powers, the interdependence of functions, national unity, pluralism of expression and political organization, as well as a representative and participatory democracy. The Government had taken consistent steps in implementing the principles of the Salvador Declaration, namely concerning legislation, mechanisms for prevention, application of the law, penalty and promotion of international cooperation. He went on to describe a number of specific laws, including on combating money-laundering, terrorism financing, crimes committed by public office holders, search orders and seizures, and combating corruption. Policies for the rehabilitation for prison inmates were also being developed. Following the implementation of the Salvador Declaration, the Government had created the Inter-ministerial Committee against Trafficking in Human Beings, which had as its main task the formulation of a comprehensive, integrated programme to prevent and suppress the trafficking of persons.

    SAMUEL SANTOS LÓPEZ, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nicaragua, said his country’s experience and best practices spanned a number of areas. The current model, which included open communication between police forces and communities, and the creation of a crime prevention programme, was being shared with other States. However, challenges such as drug trafficking and organized crime plagued the country and region. Richer States should play a responsible role with financial assistance to address those issues. For its part, Nicaragua had taken a number of steps to combat terrorism financing and money-laundering, and its national crime prevention and criminal justice system had incorporated United Nations standards on human rights and the treatment of prisoners. Yet, new and emerging crimes were a concern, including cybercrime, environmental violations and the trafficking of cultural property. Condemning the United States Government’s executive order against Venezuela, he applauded that country’s new relationship with Cuba and hoped that a similar rapprochement would occur with Venezuela.

    GALO CHRIBOGA ZAMBRANO, General Prosecutor of Ecuador, aligning with the “Group of 77” developing countries and China, said his country’s Constitution was designed to strengthen the rule of law and create a society that respected human dignity. It had facilitated strengthening of the judicial and penal system and the fight against impunity. The Public Defender’s Office, set up in 2008, gave legal aid to citizens without the financial resources to pay for counsel. The legal system provided for justice and protection of minors and restorative justice. It addressed such concerns as victims of torture, violence against women, drug trafficking, transnational organized crime, terrorism and corruption. A new Penal Code that extended protections for women and minors had taken effect in 2014. A policy to fight cybercrime was being developed. Steps had been taken to fight the illegal trafficking of migrants, drugs and human organs. Recommendations set forth by the Open-Ended Interim Working Group on the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children had been incorporated into national action plans towards that end. In 2013, Ecuador had ratified the Protocol against the Illicit Manufacturing of and Trafficking in Firearms, Their Parts and Components and Ammunition.

    ASHRAF RIFI, Minister for Justice of Lebanon, aligning with the Group of 77 and China, said the Congress was pivotal, epitomizing consolidated international crime-fighting efforts at a time when criminals had become more sophisticated and adept. Addressing economic and social challenges and shaping plans for development would fall short of its goals in the absence of the rule of law and stability. Crime prevention and reducing crime rates were essential. Transnational organized crime, terrorism, kidnapping for ransom and other crimes were serious concerns and consolidated efforts were needed. It was also necessary to find an efficient framework to tackle trafficking in cultural property. Similarly, cybercrime required specific targeted programmes. For its part, Lebanon had made headway in amending its Penal Code to consider hacking a crime. Cooperation at all levels was required to truly combat crime. The oppression and injustice suffered by communities must be addressed, he said, condemning terrorist attacks. He hoped the Congress would include fruitful discussions about issues important to all.

    TEA TSULUKIANI, Minister for Justice of Georgia, said the Declaration set a global agenda for upholding the rule of law and strengthening commitments in accountable, fair and humane criminal justice systems. As Georgia entered its fourth wave of reforms, juvenile justice, bolstering confidence in the judiciary and overhauling the legal aid initiative were among targeted areas. Through a set of cross-cutting reforms in areas such as civil service, public procurement and whistle-blower protection, Georgia had become one of the least corrupt countries in the world. Owing to sweeping reforms, Georgia’s prison population had dropped to below the European average. Innovative approaches were also being used, she said, pointing to a crime prevention centre that was targeting high-risk groups, including juveniles. Under one initiative, 65 youth prisoners used a special programme to have their body tattoos removed, thus overcoming the social stigma that prevented them from becoming full-fledged members of society. Georgia’s model of probation services had become a best practice that was now widely being shared and explored by many Eastern European countries.

    MAMADOU GNÉNÉMA COULIBALY, Minister for Justice, Human Rights and Public Liberties of Côte d’Ivoire, said his country had developed a legal anti-terrorism project that restricted and prevented the proliferation of terrorist groups in West Africa, a region which had been confronted by terrorism for several years. The country had also adopted a law to combat human trafficking and related practices, which constituted the third largest form of trafficking in the world after the trade in drugs and arms. Justice was an integral part of the country’s economic and social development initiatives. Efforts were being undertaken to ensure a judicial system that was equitable and well respected, and which satisfied all citizens. Cooperation with the United Nations had allowed Côte d’Ivoire to put in place a programme to combat transnational crime, in line with the plan of action of the Initiative on the Fight against the Illicit Trafficking of Drugs and Transnational Organized Crime in West Africa. Turning to the trafficking of cultural objects and artefacts, as well as flora and fauna, he said that the reinforcement of international cooperation was urgent, and expressed his hope that a United Nations instrument would be created to better coordinate international engagement in the fight against those phenomena.

    HENRY OKELLO ORYEM, Acting Minister for Foreign Affairs of Uganda, said the rule of law, democratic governance and fundamental human rights were the cornerstones of his country’s Constitution and foreign relations policy. Uganda was a signatory of and scrupulously abided by key international legal instruments on transnational organized crime, corruption, drug control and other areas. Concerted efforts were needed to stamp out the demand and supply chain of illegal drugs, and cut the trade’s links to money-laundering and narco-terrorism. The General Assembly’s special session on drugs in April 2016 should produce solutions that fully encompassed the social, cultural and security interests of all concerned, taking into account the experiences from the debate over the development agenda. Developing countries like Uganda needed international support — including information sharing to boost counter-terrorism efforts and combat the illegal trafficking in arms, drugs, women and girls, human organs, and wild flora and fauna. He called upon developed partners to increase technical aid in the interest of common security and well-being.

    MOHAMMED BUSHARA DOUSA, Minister for Justice of Sudan, said the holding of the Congress was timely and important as the evolving nature of crime could only be dealt with through regional and international cooperation. Instruments of criminal justice must be linked to socioeconomic development, as a healthy society could only be established when the rule of law was upheld. Sudan, which had one of the oldest legal systems in the world, underpinned by tolerant Sharia law, was keen on upholding the rule of law and ending impunity. Indeed, there was no crime in Sudan which was not reported and prosecuted. Sudan was modernizing its legal system by adapting national legislation in line with the country’s international commitments. Sudan believed in legal pluralism, and warned against attempts to impose a single legal culture reflecting one civilian that controlled others through imperialism and the imposition of force. Sharia law and human rights were complementary. He called for the implementation of all legal conventions that reflected the need for international cooperation, but said such conventions should take into account State sovereignty and the diversity of legal systems. Sudan had hosted the African Union Regional Conference for Combating Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa in 2014. Turning to the “revolting phenomenon” of terrorism, which was rejected by all religions, he called on the international community to examine the root causes of terrorism and said that Sudan was combating the phenomenon at the national level through several laws and policies.

    SAYED YOUSUF HALIM, Acting Minister for Justice of Afghanistan, said there was a clear link between various forms of crime and socio-economic development. As such, he welcomed the inclusion of the rule of law and criminal justice in the sustainable development agenda. Despite collective global efforts, crime still threatened societies. Cooperation and a comprehensive approach were needed to tackle those scourges, as well as new threats such as cybercrime. His country continued to suffer from challenges posed by terrorism, narcotics and organized crime and had taken steps to address them, including initiating justice sector reforms, acceding to relevant international instruments and adopting laws targeting money-laundering, terrorism and corruption. Ongoing efforts were combating trafficking and the smuggling of migrants. More effective efforts were required at all levels to counter those crimes and protect the victims’ human rights. Major concerns included trafficking in cultural property as many historical items had been stolen, trafficked or destroyed during times of conflict. In that regard, a national law had been revised and continued international cooperation under relevant instruments by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and the International Criminal Police Organization (INTERPOL) were required. Afghanistan had, for its part, been actively involved in judicial cooperation at bilateral, regional and international levels. However, inadequate capacity to implement international instruments was a major challenge for many countries, including Afghanistan.

    GHANIM BIN FADHEL AL-BUAINAIN, Minister for Shura Council and House of Representatives Affairs of Bahrain, said peace was based on combating crime and establishing justice, and was closely linked to social and economic development. International conventions in the area of crime prevention and criminal justice had helped many countries draft laws in those areas. Underscoring the legislative foundations of his country — which sought to comply with all international conventions on the protection of human rights — he said that Bahrain had also adopted laws ensuring the right to a fair trial, to express complaints and to seek legal assistance. The criminal justice system was integrated into all sectors, including those dealing with children, women and labour, and bodies had been set up to serve those different groups. Bahrain was also working to further develop its organs and capacities by gaining new experiences and keep up with new developments in crime prevention. In combating crime and establishing criminal justice, States were the main implementing parties; however, civil society was also crucial as it acted as a link between Government and society. From that standpoint, Bahrain hoped that civil society would play a key role in the Congress.

    MOHAMED SALEH BEN AISSA, Minister for Justice of Tunisia, associated himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, especially with regard to the latter Group’s position on “burden sharing” in combating terrorism. That phenomenon had taken a dangerous turn lately, including a vicious attack on the Bardo Museum only weeks earlier. Tunisia was among the countries most threatened by terrorism and crime; as such, it coordinated closely with neighbouring countries and with regional and international organizations. He noted several recent achievements in combatting terrorism, among them the elimination of several leaders of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb. He described a new draft law on combating terrorism and money-laundering, which UNODC had helped formulate. The Government had several initiatives to combat corruption. He called on UNODC to complete its analytical summary for Tunisia so that the country could review it in Vienna in June. The recovery of stolen assets transferred abroad was one of Tunisia’s top priorities. Despite great efforts to cooperate with neighbouring countries to identify the location of such assets, many requests submitted by Tunisia to other countries had gone unanswered. He thanked Lebanon, one of the first countries to return assets belonging to the ousted Tunisian President. On new forms of transnational crime, he said that “we must combine our efforts under the leadership of the United Nations” to combat those phenomena.

    TAYEB LOUH, Minister for Justice of Algeria, said that while the rule of law was about exercising power nationally and internationally, it was also about providing adequate living conditions and education, which would help to establish a rule-abiding culture and transform individuals into actors in pursuit of the goals of crime-prevention policies. Terrorism was the most dangerous crime threatening life, security, stability and development of people worldwide, and there was an increasing link between terrorism and other transnational crimes. Algeria had faced that phenomenon and had worked to fight it without any assistance. Terrorism and organized crimes such as drug trafficking were coming together and feeding off one another; such links should be taken into consideration in national and international policies. In Algeria, national legislation had been adapted in line with the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime and the Convention against Corruption, and training systems had been modernized. Citing cybercrime as a dangerous emerging threat, he said that it would require the development of mechanisms to ensure a rapid and effective response. Algeria welcomed the General Assembly’s adoption of the Guiding International Principles on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Concerning the Trafficking in Cultural Properties and Related Offences, and called on States Parties to strengthen cooperation in that field.

    PELONOMI VENSON-MOITOI, Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Botswana, said that to achieve the post-2015 development agenda, a high premium must be placed on the education of young people and the promotion of a culture of peace. She praised the UNODC report for clearly identifying gaps and challenges for Member States and the need for concerted international action to fight crime. In an effort to comply with international legal instruments, Botswana had enacted laws to counter human trafficking, chemical weapons, cyber- and computer-related crimes and terrorism. It also had become host to the Commonwealth Africa Anti-Corruption Centre, but it needed the support of regional and international partners, and was committed to efforts by the Southern African Development Community (SADC), African Union and UNODC. Botswana had joined forces and established frameworks with neighbouring countries to fight the rise of poaching of wildlife, especially elephants and rhinos. The Congress must commit to an outcome that affirmed goal 16 of the sustainable development goals, which focuses on peaceful and inclusive societies and universal access to justice.

    THELMA ALDANA, Attorney General of Guatemala, said her Government had created robust programmes to prevent violence and protect human rights. The Peace, Security and Justice Pact aimed to confront such challenges as trafficking in persons, migrants, organs, intellectual property and arms, as well as cybercrime , narco-trafficking, domestic violence, femicide and violence against children. Modern methods had replaced investigation based purely on testimony, thus strengthening the National Institute for Forensic Science’s crime-investigation procedures. The increase in drug busts in the last three years illustrated the seriousness of Guatemala’s anti-drug efforts and sent a serious message to traffickers using Guatemala as a transit point. Guatemala’s cooperation with authorities in Nicaragua, El Salvador and Honduras had produced positive results in that regard. The Public Prosecutor had restructured and bolstered staff in its offices dealing with administrative offences and corruption. A national policy to prevent violence and protect public security had been developed; it involved Government offices, the private sector and civil society.

    YAACOUB ABDULMOHSEN AL-SANAA, Minister for Justice and Awqaf and Islamic Affairs of Kuwait, said the threat seen in the rising prevalence of organized crime must be contained, as it jeopardized the security of all countries. Kuwait was dedicated to democracy, which was in line with Sharia law, and believed that cooperation would enable the strengthening of international security to create an environment that was conducive to economic and human development. Pending threats and challenges had led the international community to adopt a number of conventions, including on combating organized crime, narcotic drugs and corruption, he said, pointing to a rise in close regional and bilateral cooperation based on the common goal of upholding crime-prevention principles. For its part, Kuwait had taken many measures to implement relevant international instruments in order to tackle a range of crimes, including human trafficking, migrant smuggling and corruption. Kuwait’s Ministry of Justice had shared experiences and lessons learned in information exchanges with other States. Turning to cybercrime, he said to combat the illegal use of technology and the Internet, Kuwait had, with a strong belief that such crime was linked to organized crime, signed regional agreements and adopted laws, including one specifically to combat Internet crime.

    SHRI D. V. SADANANDA GOWDA, Minister for Law and Justice of India, said his country of 1.2 billion people, the world’s largest democracy, firmly believed in the principles of the rule of law, which was the bedrock for survival of democratic processes and institutions. The Indian criminal justice system had gained strength and matured over time. An independent judiciary worked as a watchdog over the executive branch and the country had ratified the United Nations Convention on Transnational Organized Crime and its three protocols, as well as the Convention against Corruption. Such actions demonstrated India’s resolve to fight transnational organized crime and its constructive and active contribution to global efforts towards that end. However, more action was required by the world community. Greater cooperation was needed to tackle heinous crimes such as human, drug and arms trafficking and money-laundering. Operational and cutting-edge partnerships were crucial for the success of such conventions and protocols. Terrorism had emerged as the most serious scourge of our time. “The whole world has been the victim of an undeclared war by epicentres with the aid of well-knit and resourceful terrorist organizations,” he said. Terrorism, in all its forms and manifestations, must be condemned in the strongest terms, and the international community must have a zero-tolerance policy towards terrorism and those who aided and abetted terrorist acts or provided safe havens to their perpetrators.

    IBRAHIM AL JAAFARI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iraq, said terrorism had not started in the Middle East, but had appeared throughout history and, if left unaddressed, the scourge would only spread. Modern terrorism targeted humans, the young and old, houses of worship, schools and hospitals, making it history’s ugliest form of that threat, as could be seen by Da’esh. The Internet could have fulfilled great needs, but Da’esh had used that medium to promote the most heinous forms of crime. Even though the East was the cradle of all religions that preached love and peace, Da’esh had attacked those principles. To counter that threat, Iraq was fighting for itself and for all people, as not a single country was immune to terrorism. Every continent had Da’esh fighters, and all countries should shoulder their responsibilities and stand by Iraq in its fight against terrorism. Iraq had acceded to all relevant conventions on crime and criminal justice, and had been among the first countries to adopt laws to combat terrorism. But going forward, he said, “we need to have a comprehensive security structure to combat the terrorist structure”. Their funds must be “dried up” and used to help victims and those living in poverty, he said, calling upon judicial authorities to examine that phenomenon and to punish and to stand by all countries confronting terrorism. His country was now a model of democracy and a land of diversity. He hoped the Congress would make great progress, sending a message to Da’esh that the international community were united to fight against terrorism.

    EL MOSTAFA RAMID, Minister for Justice of Morocco, said the enormous evolution of crime presented serious threats to societies and nations, and grave challenges to justice systems. Prevention and deterrence was needed, with efforts to target the root of crime and provide equal justice to all citizens. Morocco was committed to international efforts to achieve agreed upon crime prevention and criminal justice goals. In that vein, the Constitution had made judicial powers independent and impartial, including recommendations stemming from a national dialogue on reforms. Taking a new approach had allowed Morocco to develop policies, including protecting vulnerable groups in society. Several steps had been taken to combat terrorism, including implementing strategies to address growing threats. With criminal, separatist and terrorist factors plaguing parts of the Sahara-Sahel region, aid was needed to fight those scourges. Human trafficking was also a concern. Morocco had enacted legislation on issues that included the smuggling of migrants. On drug control, his country had developed a comprehensive, long-term multidimensional strategy and the legal system had been developed in that regard. Other efforts included strengthening human development, including through education, and fighting corruption.

    JOSÉ EDUARDO AYÚ PRADO (Panama) said his country’s Supreme Court judges enforced a range of laws, including terrorist financing, money-laundering, smuggling persons and arms trafficking, in order to create safe communities. On drug control, Panama seized more drugs than all other countries of the region combined. The new criminal justice system reflected substantial changes, including restorative justice for victims, and it had taken steps to combat corruption by advocating for transparency and requesting audit hearings for various Government departments. Through another initiative, since January 2014, the Court had been meeting with civil society groups and the media in an effort to maintain closer contact with the administration of justice and the system’s users. The Court was working to prevent crime and see that justice was served, he said, adding that efforts must be pooled to ensure that the rule of law dealt with all the modalities of organized crime in order to produce better results.

    GARVIN EDWARD TIMOTHY NICOLAS, Attorney General of Trinidad and Tobago, said his country’s fight against domestic, regional and transnational crime was foremost on its legislative agenda. The country’s location made it an attractive transhipment point for drug traffickers and other illegal ancillary activities, such as money laundering, illegal trafficking in firearms and ammunition, and offenses related to corruption and human trafficking. As such, it was also in an ideal position to offer help to combat transnational crime. Describing a number of national laws aimed at achieving those ends, he said that, since the formation of Trinidad and Tobago’s Counter Trafficking Unit in early 2013, 13 victims had been rescued and 11 people charged with human trafficking. A national task force against trafficking in persons had been created to establish policies and develop a national plan of action against human trafficking. Safe houses and shelters for victims were also being designed. Trinidad and Tobago had taken the initiative to co-sponsor the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty, and the first Preparatory Meeting towards the first Conference of States Parties to the Treaty had been held in Trinidad and Tobago in February 2015. His country had created and implemented several social programmes aimed at youth development and training with a view to steer young adults away from the path of crime.

    BAMDEV GAUTAM, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs of Nepal, said low-income and least developed countries were disproportionately affected by national and transnational crime. Policies, strategies and methods of combating existing and newly emerging forms of crime were of major importance. Today, those were further complicated by the use of modern technology and the emergence of a “formless enemy”. An enhanced understanding of the new forms and dimensions of transnational organized crime was needed at the national, regional and international levels. Nepal was committed to the principles of a fair, impartial and accountable justice system, and had worked to put in place the policies, plans, programmes and institutions needed to effectively prevent crime and provide criminal justice. In addition, it had enacted various laws, including on mutual legal assistance, extradition and the elimination of organized crime and money-laundering. Bills had been submitted on a Penal Code, a Criminal Procedures Code and a Sentencing Act, among others. Efforts were under way to address gaps concerning all forms of criminal activities, thereby addressing the needs of criminal justice in a holistic manner. Education on human rights and criminal justice had been part of training for security agencies and other related officials. The country had established a truth and reconciliation commission, as well as a commission on investigation of disappeared persons.

    DAVIES MWILA, Minister for Home Affairs of Zambia, said his country had developed a national strategic plan 2013-2016 on crime prevention. It was in the process of amending its anti-terrorism act of 2007 to provide for the establishment of a counter-terrorism centre, which would investigate acts of terrorism and ensure that perpetrators were prosecuted and brought to justice. The country had also set up a financial intelligence centre through an act of parliament to monitor financial transactions in order to prevent possible funding of terrorist activities. With regards to criminal offenders, he said that “a prisoner does not lose his or her inherent dignity and value as a human being”. Zambia had therefore built female prisons and reformatories, as well as approved schools for juvenile offenders. Female offenders were given the full range of reproductive health services. On human trafficking, Zambia had enacted an anti-human trafficking act and put in place a national action plan on combating human trafficking and smuggling 2012-2015, and it had embarked on establishing interview centres for victims of trafficking. In addition, he described laws and policies on drug trafficking, as well as anti-corruption measures.

    UMAR NASEER, Minister for Home Affairs of the Maldives, said his small island nation was being challenged by a wave of crime fuelled by drug abuse. The Government was taking a two-sided approach in the fight against crime and for criminal justice. While catching criminals and prosecuting them took place, there was now a wider emphasis on stopping crime before it occurred. In that regard, the country was engaging leaders such as teachers, shop owners, religious scholars, youth organizations and parents. Remoteness and disconnection from urban centres, which resulted in strong family ties and a hierarchy of community leaders, had helped the Maldives maintain a “cheap and quick” criminal justice system that prevented crime and kept island communities safe for hundreds of years. Rebranding and reintroducing that system would add strength to efforts to change the culture of violence that pervaded society today. Governments must unite and act against terrorism and its recruitment on the Internet. They must make it a criminal offense for any person to leave the country with the intent to participate and fight alongside terrorist organizations. On human trafficking, child exploitation and human rights abuses, the Maldives was working with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to introduce a pilot project called the Safe Island Model on two selected islands. That project included camps, programmes, awareness sessions and workshops focusing on the individual, family and community.

    AMINU BASHIR WALI, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Nigeria, said his Government was committed to a fair, effective, transparent criminal justice system. The system was under constant review to address trends and emerging challenges and to improve the capacity of criminal justice administrators to prevent, prosecute and punish offenders. The National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons had made commendable progress in carrying out its mandate. Nigeria strongly condemned terrorism at home and abroad, and was determined to work with the international community to fight it. The terrorism prohibition act of 2011 had established the requisite legal framework for the war on terrorism and terrorism financing. Before Parliament was the Terrorism Prevention Bill of 2012, which addressed gaps in the current anti-terrorism regime. A West-African coalition comprising Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Chad and Niger had deployed troops to fight the growing regional threat of Boko Haram. All territories occupied by insurgents or terrorists had been reclaimed. The national counter-terrorism strategy 2014 and a new national security strategy had been formulated to address emerging related crimes. He cited recent successes in recovering stolen assets both within the country and abroad, and noted that anti-corruption agencies had successfully prosecuted corruption cases.

    NENEH MACDOUALL-GAYE, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gambia, reiterated her country’s commitment to creating a vibrant criminal justice system through its courts, in line with the 1997 Constitution. Human trafficking was high on Gambia’s agenda. The country was a party to the Palermo Protocol supplementing the efforts of the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and it had enacted the Trafficking in Persons Act of 2007, which provided for the prevention, prosecution and punishment of offenders, as well as the protection, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims back into society. Transnational crime called for collaborative efforts among countries in the area of information sharing, investigation and prosecution. In that context, Gambia, through the National Agency against Trafficking in Persons, had signed memoranda of understanding with several countries in the region. Negotiations were ongoing with other countries beyond the African region for the signing of bilateral agreements in the fields of cooperation and information-sharing to combat transnational organized crime. In addition, international drug crime, terrorism and other ills of society required strong partnerships, collaboration and cooperation.

    FATMA ABDULHABIB FEREJI, Minister of State of the United Republic of Tanzania said that the root causes of most crimes were poverty, geo-political location and cultural and socioeconomic dynamics. Her country, as an outlet for six landlocked countries and as a bridge connecting Eastern, Central and Southern Africa, was experiencing an increase of criminal acts relating to human trafficking and illegal migration, piracy, money-laundering and corruption, as well as illicit drug trafficking and the transhipment of wildlife poaching. Due to those trends, the United Republic of Tanzania had adopted or ratified a number of international instruments, including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crimes. Describing domestic legislation in areas such as piracy, terrorism, money-laundering and drugs, she said the country was also a signatory to several joint efforts to prevent and combat crimes at the regional level. Instead of increasing the number of prisons as a measure to reduce prison congestion, the United Republic of Tanzania had devised a system that encouraged courts to give non-custodial sentences and community service, as well as extending parole to entitled prisoners. Apart from such successes, however, the country was facing challenges, including limited financial resources, inadequate infrastructure, and coping with the technological advancements used by criminal networks.

    ABDULLAHI AHMED JAMA, Minister for Justice of Somalia, said his country was slowly starting to recover from a disastrous, very painful near quarter century of civil war. Criminality was still prevalent in many Somali areas, police services were not yet professional and the criminal justice system was still undergoing a national constitutional dialogue and review. The country was therefore at a critical juncture of rebuilding and reform, while at the same time fighting many national and transnational crimes, including terrorism, piracy and human trafficking. The single most difficult criminal challenge facing Somalia today was terrorism. The Government was committed to winning the war against Al-Shabaab and returning full control of all Somali territories to the legitimate State and its people. Piracy off the Somali coast in the past had heavily impacted the global economy and local communities; today, due to the Government’s determination and international efforts and cooperation, that piracy had radically diminished. “However, we cannot be complacent,” he said in that regard. On offering hope and alternatives to the most vulnerable, who were sometimes lured into criminality, he strongly supported the Qatari Prime Minister’s generous initiative to fund youth education and professional development, which would make an enormous difference in the lives of a generation of displaced children. In that vein, he said, combating all crimes required the creation of economic opportunity and hope at home. It also required confronting the violent ideology that indoctrinated young people to commit heinous criminal acts.

    VALENTIN RYBUKORR, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Belarus, said the world was fast approaching a “rare critical juncture” that would determine the course of the future, which was the upcoming summit on the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. That agenda should adequately reflect the issues of crime prevention and criminal justice. A large amount of financing would be needed to implement that agenda, he said, while organized crime continued to steal resources away from States. Crime must therefore be addressed in a holistic way, with a twin-track approach: crime prevention and criminal justice. Conventional crimes must continue to be addressed, but so too should emerging crimes such as cybercrime and the trafficking in persons and human organs. International cooperation would be needed to implement the Declaration adopted on 12 April.

    ROBERTO CAMPA CIFRIAN, Under-Secretary of Prevention and Citizen Participation in the Ministry of the Interior of Mexico, said his country was transitioning to an accusatory and oral criminal justice system, which represented a paradigm shift away from incarceration and restorative justice schemes. Through the National Programme for Social Prevention of Violence and Crime, the Government had worked to reduce the risk factors that led to violence and crime. Mexico sought to address their structural causes, focusing on 3,000 priority localities through 51 federal programmes and 99 specific programmes. In addition, the country had invested resources into reclaiming public spaces, strengthening community cohesion and providing children, youth and women with a sense of community ownership. Communication committees focusing on crime prevention had been created in each federal entity. The Government had also promoted various initiatives such as the creation of a proximity police and others aimed at providing comprehensive care for women and young victims of violence and crime, the design of alternative projects and the economic reactivation of productive projects for young people and the imprisoned population. Mexico had published a law to prevent, punish and eradicate human trafficking, and adopted a framework providing the necessary protection for victims, those affected by the crimes and witnesses to them.

    AUREA ROLDAN MARTIN, Undersecretary, Ministry of Justice of Spain, aligning herself with the European Union, said that, in recent years, Spain had reformed its criminal justice system and those reforms would help to improve life for the country’s citizens. In crime prevention and criminal justice, it was critical to strike a balance between State resolve and the rights of those affected by crime. The updating of the criminal justice response to new and emerging types of crime was a priority matter. Spain had adopted a new correctional philosophy in which criminal sentences were constantly under review. The country was also criminalizing new offenses, such as online grooming and the training of foreign fighters, and appropriate responses were being established. She called for a specialized international mechanism to combat the “barbarism” and “mindlessness” of global extremism and other transnational crimes. Spain was also working to foster tolerance and respect for diversity through its work with the Alliance of Civilizations and similar initiatives. The country welcomed initiatives geared towards creating international strategies to combat emerging crimes such as cybercrime. Special attention must be paid to victims, especially those who were most vulnerable, such as victims of gender-related crimes and terrorism, children and those with disabilities. Spain was also working to confiscate assets of illicit origin and was developing an office of asset recovery and management.

    KIM JOO-HYUN, Vice Minister for Justice of the Republic of Korea, pointed to his Government’s initiative to promote the rule of law and root out corruption and structural irregularities. The Government had strengthened its legal system and the department responsible for recovering illegally obtained assets. It had designated sex crimes, domestic violence, school violence and crimes related to food safety as the “four evils of society”, and focused efforts on stamping them out. The Ministry for Justice’s crime prevention through environmental design initiative worked to eliminate environmental factors that could contribute to crime. As of late 2014, about 1.3 million people had visited the “law education theme park”, which gave citizens of all ages the chance to learn about the law through various activities. The Government had signed extradition treaties with 32 countries and mutual legal assistance treaties with 29 countries, as well as built a platform to combat transnational organized crime. The Republic of Korea was working closely with other Asian countries combat such crimes through the Recovery Interagency Network – Asia Pacific.

    JOHN JEFFERY, Deputy Minister for Justice and Constitutional Development of South Africa, associating himself with the African Group and the Group of 77 and China, said that, with its pre-democracy history of oppression and human rights violations under apartheid, it was of particular importance for South Africa to continue to play an active role in the protection and promotion of human rights. Fighting crime and corruption and promoting the rule of law was central to that aim. While challenges remained, efforts to build better and safer communities in South Africa were gaining momentum. Since the adoption of the Salvador Declaration, the country had made strides in reducing the level of crime, especially organized crime. That could be attributed to improved law enforcement efforts, socioeconomic intervention, reduced levels of poverty and improved quality of life in general. He went on to describe his country’s national and international efforts in the areas of transnational organized crime, illegal mining, the illicit trafficking in precious and non-precious metals and trafficking in persons. Cybercrime remained a global threat, and the initiative to negotiate a United Nations convention against cybercrime should be supported and fast tracked. Further, the illicit trafficking in endangered species, in particular rhino poaching, remained a challenge in South Africa and other countries. “There is no doubt that we need to increase international cooperation and coordination efforts in countering this scourge,” he said.

    MOHAMED ABDGHANIIWAIWI, Attorney General of the State of Palestine, said crime had flourished to a point of affecting all countries and its danger had stemmed from new forms of crime, including those affecting the environment and the trafficking of cultural property. He urged Member States to set up an effective mechanism financed from the regular budget to review the United Nations Convention on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice and its implementation. For its part, the State of Palestine had acceded to a number of international conventions and treaties, and had adopted measures to achieve relevant goals, including fighting corruption and organized crime. The promotion of the rule of law was essential to growth and sustainable development, necessary for eradicating poverty and hunger, and bolstering human rights, he said, noting that the Palestinian Government supported the link between the rule of law and development, which should be part of the post-2015 agenda. However, prosecuting transnational crime and fighting it in the State of Palestine was more difficult than other parts of the world due to Israel’s occupation, which included the imposition of colonial laws. Still, the rule of law helped establish confidence between a State and its citizens, he said, noting that the State of Palestine had aligned its laws with the guiding principles for criminal justice.

    TIINA ASTOLA (Finland) said the rule of law had only recently been considered part of the development landscape. That notion had already had a large impact on Finland, which had turned from a poor, war-torn and rural society into an egalitarian, secure and prosperous welfare State. United Nations standards and norms had a significant role to play in the global effort to prevent crime and ensure criminal justice by providing practical guidance to States in their conduct. The Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners were an important complement to national legislation and international conventions. Rules should be updates to reflect advances in correctional science and good practices. For its part, Finland had implemented an effective criminal justice policy to address prison overcrowding. Between the 1960s and 1970s, the prison population had been halved by applying community sanctions and fines. Community sanctions had since been widely used, as their effects were less harmful than those of imprisonment and they supported the sentenced person’s individual growth and development.

    BETO VASCONCELOS (Brazil) said efficient strategies aimed at countering crime should include preventive policies as central elements, especially those promoting social and economic development. Fighting organized crime was among Brazil’s priorities and it was committed to implementing international conventions in that regard. In other areas, a national system was aimed at reining in the manufacture and trafficking of illicit arms. Strides had also been made in preventing and combatting corruption, but more remained to be done. International cooperation and mutual legal assistance were essential to fighting such crimes. Turning to the death penalty, he said the Declaration should include a call for a moratorium on the practice. Turning to the Internet, he said “cybercrime deserves special attention”. Authorities from every country faced complex challenges in investigating and obtaining evidence in digital environments where traditional international cooperation was often limited. As such, it was essential to develop a truly global legal framework focusing on tools for international cooperation, with adequate attention paid to the necessary balance between repressive measures and respect for human rights, especially the right to privacy. He said that balance had been ensured by Brazil’s domestic Internet regulations.

    IVAN ŠIMONOVIĆ, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, said crime prevention and criminal justice were deeply related to all three pillars of the United Nations work. Lack of respect for civil and political as well as social and economic rights eroded the rule of law and led to crime. In today’s interdependent world, corruption and organized crime hurt everyone, he said, adding that “we must do more to exchange information and ensure joint and coordinated action”. The world could not afford to see criminals and traffickers do better than criminal justice systems. There was a “vicious cycle” between lack of human rights, crime and conflict. After a conflict, if the root causes were not addressed, and if there was a sense of powerlessness or injustice, more conflict or new crime could be triggered. States had a duty to take the steps needed to deliver justice, but all such measures must be anchored in respect for international human rights law. That approach was not only the right one, but was also more effective.

    On combating terrorism, he urged States that were revising their counter-terrorism legislation to recognize that human rights violations, such as arbitrary arrest and torture, could lead to more crime and terrorism, and jeopardized the support of populations. There was no scientific evidence that the death penalty deterred crime any more than a sentence of life without parole. The best deterrent lay in efficient justice systems which ensured that criminals faced a high chance of punishment within a reasonable amount of time. A Government that respected rights at all times and for all individuals would go a long way towards avoiding feeding feelings of injustice that could lead to crime.

    UUGANGEREL TSOGOO, Vice Minister for Justice of Mongolia, said that with the advancement of globalization, legislators and law enforcement agencies faced greater challenges than ever before to deter highly motivated and increasingly sophisticated, better-funded criminal organizations. That required creating a legal environment to thwart criminals. Mongolia had seen a rise in crimes related to human trafficking, narcotics, money-laundering and smuggling cultural property, and had accordingly acted to strengthen its legal system by improving the effectiveness of law enforcement agencies. Legislative, judicial and institutional reforms had enhanced the human rights protection and strengthened the rule of law, with the country’s Criminal Code and Crime Prevention Act revised in accordance with United Nations standards. Victims of crime were now supported and protected, and a national legal aid system provided services to those with financial difficulties. Other progress could be seen in efforts to encourage public participation in crime prevention, he said, calling on Member States to intensify their efforts to prevent national and transnational crime.

    LUIS E. ARREAGA (United States) said strong criminal justice institutions established the conditions for citizens to pursue economic activities. President Barack Obama had recently requested $1 billion from Congress to support the efforts of Central American Governments to promote prosperity, security and good governance. In other regions, such as West Africa, Central Asia and the Caribbean, the United States was similarly committed to working with international partners to address security-sector reform at the community level and among the police, courts and corrections facilities. For example, the United States also supported the West Africa Cooperative Security Initiative and the West African Network of Central Authorities and Prosecutors, which was a UNODC initiative. Noting that “human rights” was one of the goals outlined in the preamble to the United Nations Charter, he stressed that it was the primary responsibility of States to promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, including legal protection for vulnerable populations such as women, children, and lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals. Economic growth was only sustainable in an environment where civil society and media held Governments accountable and eliminated impunity. The United States encouraged Member States to consider ways to strengthen the role of civil society, including non-governmental organizations, in all bodies that supported and guided the work of the United Nations Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Programme.

    ASHOT HOVAKIMIAN, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia, said that despite significant achievements on national and international levels to develop fair, accountable justice systems and institutions, in many parts of the world, people were still being deprived of protection and were persecuted by those motivated by hatred and intolerance. The crime of genocide needed to be addressed, he said, emphasizing that a century ago the Security Council had characterized the Armenian massacres as a “crime against humanity and civilization”. As a country that had survived genocide, it had a moral responsibility towards the protection of the collective and individual rights of religious and ethnic groups where their survival was at stake. As such, Armenia had sponsored a resolution recently adopted by the Human Rights Council on genocide prevention. Impunity was a breeding ground for new crime, he said, pointing at cybercrime as an example. Regulations for cybersecurity must, however, comply with all human rights. International cooperation was essential to success in addressing global threats as the borders of national responsibility were becoming blurred. Turning to the phenomenon of modern slavery, he said human trafficking was a contributing factor. For its part, Armenia had achieved significant results in countering trafficking, and had revised its national Criminal Code towards that end.

    SAEED BIN ABDULLAH AL-QAHTANI (Saudi Arabia) said his country had always been aware of its collective responsibility to provide humanitarian assistance. He also supported all measures likely to improve the standards of living and delivery of basic services. Saudi Arabia had adopted initiatives to ensure education and improve the social safety net. Appropriate planning with sustainable objectives in mind was essential. The post-2015 agenda should also take into consideration societal and environmental aspects, he said, adding that crime prevention and the criminal justice system was a cornerstone to those goals. As crime was a threat to stability, it was important to recognize the need for criminal justice. For its part, Saudi Arabia had adopted a host of legislative measures in line with the Convention on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice. His country had also adopted measures to combat human trafficking and other related crimes, as multidimensional policies were essential to combat that scourge. The exchange of best practices covering a number of crimes was helpful. However, new forms of criminality required new cooperative approaches.

    CARLOS ALFREDO CASTANEDA MAGAÑA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Relations, Integration and Economic Promotion of El Salvador, said the Congress was an ideal forum for promoting the role of the rule of law in the post‑2015 development agenda, as well as migration, education, citizen security and human rights. The 2014‑2019 development plan titled “El Salvador: productive, educated and safe” promoted a culture of dialogue, rule of law, family and community. The National Council of Citizen Security and Cohabitation had been set up in 2014 to spearhead plans to improve citizen safety and well-being. The anti-extortion law aimed to prevent, investigate, prosecute and sanction extortion. He called for international support towards that end. With UNODC support, the national police had set up a cybercrime unit, which enabled it to share best practices with other interested countries. Technical aid and the development of institutional capacity would help strengthen crime prevention systems and penal codes, thus enabling an adequate response to cybercrimes. Protecting the human rights of migrants, which comprised an important percentage of the Salvadoran population, was a top foreign policy priority, as many migrants fell victim to kidnapping, extortion and murder by criminal organizations.

    JEAN-PAUL LABORDE, United Nations Assistant Secretary-General and Executive Director of the Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate, said the rule of law was making progress, albeit very, very slowly. “Terrorists and other criminal organizations are taking us to the very edge of horror,” he said, and they were undermining the rule of law. Such acts were often linked to organized crime or clearly identifiable violations of human rights and international humanitarian law. Indeed, transnational crime had reached a zenith over the past few years and represented a threat to the security of all human beings. The Security Council had set up strategies to counter terrorist organizations, and had adopted, in December 2014, a resolution on the links between organized crime and terrorism. It had further resolved that human rights and the rule of law were key elements in peace and security throughout the world. All activities must be well coordinated within the United Nations system, he said, recalling that, in February, the Secretary-General had launched a global action campaign against terrorism. Despite great efforts, it did not seem that the results of those actions lived up to expectations. He went on to propose stronger cooperation among magistrates and supreme courts, which often were isolated from each other within their own chambers, to create a “real dialogue” on the rule of law. That was the only possible way to work effectively against the phenomenon of terrorism, within the parameters of the rule of law.

    SUSAN LE JEUNE D'ALLEGEERSHECQUE (United Kingdom) said criminals and terrorists exploited and exacerbated the conditions that allowed crime to thrive and created a cycle of destruction. Crime and terrorism threatened national security and could act as an obstacle to prosperity and development in affected States. The rule of law existed where order was prevalent, where there was equal treatment before the law, where public authority was bound by and accountable to pre-existing, clear and known laws, and where human rights were protected. In the United Kingdom alone, approximately 40,600 people were involved in organized crime, and the country was committed to fighting such crimes — including the illegal drugs and firearms trade, fraud and financial crime, money-laundering, organized illegal immigration and human trafficking, and cybercrime — as well as the corruption that enabled and perpetuated them. That commitment had most recently been demonstrated through the passage of a new modern slavery act against human trafficking and a new serious crime act that improved the ability to investigate and prosecute crime. The United Kingdom was committed to working with Member States to tackle transnational crime and terrorism, for example the pervasive threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant/Sham (ISIL/ISIS). The international reach of that group drew comparison with powerful organized crime groups, in that they moved money illicitly and exploited vulnerable people. “Together we must disrupt this activity, in particular by taking steps to prevent our young people turning to crime and terrorism,” she said.

    DRAGANA KIPRIJANOVSKA, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia said priorities of the post‑2015 agenda must encompass all human rights and aim at combating all forms of crime and eliminating gender-based violence. Trends and situations could easily be reversed if necessary actions were not taken, she said, underlining a need for a balanced, integrated approach to preventing new, sophisticated forms of crime. However, trafficking, including in cultural property, and cybercrime were no longer new phenomena, but were part of a landscape of growing challenges that demanded new strategies based on preventive actions. The identified shortcomings in criminal law and justice systems had inspired a wave of reforms to address those new challenges. Her country had worked towards strengthening its legal machinery and developing preventive mechanisms. Reforms included designing a new conceptual model and set of provisions for combatting organized and financial crime, including cybercrime. Her Government had also instituted reforms in its penitentiary system, including reducing overcrowding. With regard to an emerging threat, her country’s Criminal Code had been amended to include sanctioning participation in foreign armies, police and paramilitary forces.

    CHRISTOPHE PAYOT (Belgium) said democracy gave the required legitimacy to a Government, which ensured the rule of law was respected. Corruption, meanwhile, eroded that legitimacy. Even convicts had human rights and Belgium dissociated itself from any position that supported the death penalty. Recent reforms in his country included greater autonomy for the judiciary and modernization of the penitentiary system. Measures had been taken to address issues concerning prisoners, including efforts to prevent recidivism. After all, imprisonment should lead to reinsertion into society. Human trafficking was another grave concern and Belgium was taking action in that regard. Countering terrorism and radicalism was another concern and work needed to be coordinated to tackle those threats. Peace in the long run and sustainable development could not happen without the rule of law. The rule of law was essential to eradicate poverty and ensure all human rights and freedoms.

    DATO’ SRI ADENAN BIN AB RAHMAN (Malaysia) said the rise of new and emerging forms of transnational crime was a constant challenge to many States. Malaysia recognized the centrality of crime prevention and criminal justice systems, as well as the need to ensure a functioning, efficient and humane system. Recently, a new preventive law aimed at combating threats from ISIL and included provisions that provided rehabilitation to neutralize those individuals that were being radicalized and influenced by extremists. Transnational crime prevention was a mammoth task and no single country could do it alone, he said, noting his country's participation in regional efforts. Bilaterally, Malaysia continued to form security arrangements with like-minded countries to forge strategic cooperation in eliminating crime syndicates. "We need to expand the existing international cooperation beyond the current practices," he said, adding that States should share best practices and regularly exchange information.

    MUTHONI KIMANI (Kenya) said that, earlier in the month, Kenya had faced a terrorist attack at the Garissa University College leaving 152 innocent young Kenyans dead. Terrorists killed indiscriminately without an iota of conscience or remorse, and left a trail of death and destruction in all corners of the world. Kenya was committed to stopping that growing menace, as well as other transnational crimes. “We shall neither shy away nor back down from defending our people and resources within our borders and beyond,” she said in that regard. Kenya shared concern at the increased challenges faced in addressing violence against women and children, transnational crimes and emerging forms of crime at the national, regional and international level. Of additional concern to national security were such crimes as human trafficking, poaching, trafficking of wildlife trophies and forestry products, cybercrime and corruption. Regrettably, the proceeds of such crimes were laundered in and out of Kenya, compounding the complex offense of money-laundering. On wildlife crime, she said Kenya had marked World Wildlife Day on 3 March 2015 by burning 15 tons of confiscated ivory and other wildlife trophies. “Kenya is committed to combating the menace robustly and persistently until we dismantle the entire vile economy,” she said in that respect.

    KHANH NGOC NGUYEN, Vice Minister for Justice of Viet Nam, said that as the world was witnessing the increasing sophistication of transnational criminal activities, it was critical that nations acted collectively to prevent and minimize the negative human and financial effects. New developments in the criminal world were impairing sustainable development, damaging rule of law efforts and were a threat to the maintenance of peace and security. Building the rule of law and having in place a fair, effective crime prevention and criminal justice system was of utmost importance. Viet Nam had progressed in that direction, with significant developments in its national legal system, strengthened law enforcement capacities and enhanced international cooperation. Emerging crimes, such as wildlife trafficking and cybercrime, were concerns, he said, highlighting that Viet Nam would make every effort to continue to enhance its legislation to effectively prevent those new threats.

    LUCIE ANGERS (Canada) said the Congress should be a point of departure, not a point of arrival. Previous congresses had adopted inward-looking agendas focused on how States defined and responded to specific forms of crime. The time had come for the Congress to adopt a broader approach to crime, including how crime prevention and criminal justice fit within the broader United Nations agenda. Canada strongly believed in the crucial importance of the rule of law, public safety and respect for fundamental freedoms. However, freedoms could only flourish where there was also a sense of security. Development and prosperity depended on the ability of populations to exercise free choices in a secure environment. Turning to the important role played by victims in strengthening crime prevention and criminal justice, she said Canada believed in the need to have the right tools to protect the most vulnerable members of society, and more significantly to ensure that voices of the victims — too often silenced in justice systems — were clearly heard. All countries needed to do more to protect women and girls from violence, including sexual violence and early and forced marriage. The exclusion or oppression of any group of people based on gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability, race or religion from the full and equal protection of the law was not acceptable, and could in fact create fertile ground for recruitment or exploitation by organized criminal groups or terrorists.

    SEM OUNTANA (Burkina Faso) said transnational organized crime was a major challenge to all States with damaging social, economic, political and security consequences that could, if unaddressed, threaten countries’ development. The fight against that scourge must be swift, global and integrated. Burkina Faso had taken a number of steps to counter transnational crime, as well as terrorism. However, the war against terrorism should not be seen as a battle of religions or civilizations. Having signed almost every relevant international, regional and subregional instrument, his country had adopted laws on a range of related issues. In addition, it had ratified instruments on children’s and women’s rights, adopting measures nationally for their benefit. The transitional Government in place since October 2014 had supported other efforts to address public concerns, including a fair justice system that guaranteed fundamental freedom and respect for human rights. He hoped the Congress would result in intensified cooperation on issues such as strengthening the capacity of vulnerable States against criminal networks.

    ERNESTO PLASENCIA (Cuba) said that over the last five years, his country had made significant strides in crime prevention and criminal justice, including signing international instruments and passing national legislation. Access to justice was a fundamental right; there could be no fair society without sustainable development or the protection of the environment. Poverty was the driving force behind crime, which was also fuelled by an unfair international economic order. In his region, millions lived in poverty, lacked health care and had no access to clean water. Governments, civil society and the private sector had clear roles to play in addressing those concerns. A mechanism to review the Convention on Transnational Organized Crime should be impartial, transparent and inclusive, among other things. International cooperation must also be strengthened to implement that and other related conventions in order to tackle drug trafficking and other scourges.

    REYNALDO A. CATAPANG (Philippines), aligning with the Group of 77 and China and the Asian Group, said his country had passed three important laws to amend and fortify the existing money-laundering law. Apart from banks, institutions such as foreign exchange corporations, money changers and jewellery dealers were now required to report to the Anti-Money Laundering Council all transactions involving a threshold amount. The 14 predicate crimes mentioned in the original law had also been expanded to cover other acts, such as trafficking in persons, bribery, extortion and financing of terrorism, to discourage the use of the country as a money-laundering site. The terrorist financing prevention act had been passed in 2012, which criminalized the financing of terrorism and authorized the Anti-Money Laundering Council to investigate funds and property of persons suspected of financing terrorism. He went on to describe other recently strengthened laws, including the juvenile justice act and the welfare act, and the passage of the cybercrime prevention act, which specifically penalized cybercrimes involving illegal access, illegal interception, data interference, system interference, misuse of devices, cybersquatting, computer-related fraud, identity theft and cybersex. The Philippines had also passed the expanded anti-trafficking in persons act of 2012, which widened the definition of trafficking in persons to include such acts as recruitment for organ removal and recruitment under the guise of domestic or overseas employment for sexual exploitation.

    CHRISTINE JEANGEY, representative of the Holy See, said Pope Francis had recently made numerous appeals against transnational organized crime, notably the trafficking of migrants. Slavery went against international rights norms and was considered to be a war crime and crime against humanity. To tackle that crime, international cooperation was indispensable, including with civil society organizations. Despite international strategies and agreements, thousands of people continued to live in conditions comparable to slavery, trafficked for various reasons, including recruitment for prostitution or to work as child soldiers. Current treaties, while necessary, were not alone capable of putting an end to those scourges. The deeper causes of those phenomena must be addressed, including poverty and a lack of employment opportunities. A purely security-based approach was not the solution, she said. Armed conflict and terrorism often resulted in people forced to migrate. Armed groups also abducted people to recruit them. Appealing to the international community to refresh diplomacy to end all conflicts and all terrorism, silence the guns and embark on the path of reconciliation and peace, she said in doing so “we would save thousands of human lives”.

    Right of Reply

    Speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Turkey said she was saddened to take the floor at such a late stage in the meeting, but she felt she needed to address the reference made by Armenia to the events of 1915. During the First World War, many people had suffered immensely, and that had been a “shared suffering”. While that period needed to be understood in its entirety, the term “genocide” referred to a crime clearly defined by international law and which required high standards of evidence. The term should not be used randomly. Indeed, there was no legal or scholarly consensus on the nature of the 1915 events. She reiterated that the proposal of a joint historical mission remained on the table.

    Also speaking in exercise of the right of reply, the representative of Armenia said he would not react to the comment made by the representative of Turkey. It was because of its commitment to improving justice jointly with the international community that Armenia had joined the consensus on the adoption of the Doha Declaration. However, he expressed his disappointment that the Declaration contained no single reference to the United Nations Charter. Moreover, it was regrettable that certain principles were expressed in a way as to have priority over other purposes and principles of the Charter. All principles of the Charter were equal, he stressed.


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    Source: Amnesty
    Country: Nigeria

    Abducted women and girls forced to join Boko Haram attacks

    At least 2,000 women and girls have been abducted by Boko Haram since the start of 2014 and many have been forced into sexual slavery and trained to fight, said Amnesty International on the first anniversary of the abduction of the Chibok school girls.

    Based on nearly 200 witness accounts, including 28 with abducted women and girls who escaped captivity, a new 90-page report, 'Our job is to shoot, slaughter and kill': Boko Haram’s reign of terror, documents multiple war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Boko Haram, including the killing of at least 5,500 civilians, as it rampaged across north-east Nigeria during 2014 and early 2015.

    The Amnesty International report sheds new light on the brutal methods used by the armed group in north-east Nigeria where men and boys are regularly conscripted or systematically executed and young women and girls are abducted, imprisoned and in some cases raped, forcibly married and made to participate in armed attacks, sometimes on their own towns and villages.

    “The evidence presented in this shocking report, one year after the horrific abduction of the Chibok girls, underlines the scale and depravity of Boko Haram’s methods,” said Salil Shetty, Amnesty International’s Secretary General.

    “Men and women, boys and girls, Christians and Muslims, have been killed, abducted and brutalized by Boko Haram during a reign of terror which has affected millions. Recent military successes might spell the beginning of the end for Boko Haram, but there is a huge amount to be done to protect civilians, resolve the humanitarian crisis and begin the healing process.”

    The report contains graphic evidence, including new satellite images, of the scale of devastation that Boko Haram have left in their wake.

    Abductions
    The 276 schoolgirls abducted from Chibok gained global attention with the help of the #BringBackOurGirls campaign. But the missing schoolgirls are only a small proportion of the women, girls, young men and boys abducted by Boko Haram.

    Boko Haram would take the women and girls they abducted directly to camps in remote communities or to makeshift transits camps such as one established in Ngoshe prison. From transit camps Boko Haram would move them to houses in towns and villages and indoctrinate them with their version of Islam in preparation for marriage.

    Aisha, aged 19, spoke to Amnesty International about how she was abducted from a friend’s wedding in September 2014 along with her sister, the bride and the bride’s sister. Boko Haram took them to a camp in Gullak, Adamawa state, home to approximately 100 abducted girls. One week later, Boko Haram forced the bride and the bride’s sister to marry their fighters. They also taught Aisha and the other women and girls how to fight.

    “They used to train girls how to shoot guns. I was among the girls trained to shoot. I was also trained how to use bombs and how to attack a village,” Aisha told Amnesty International. “This training went on for three weeks after we arrived. Then they started sending some of us to operations. I went on one operation to my own village.”

    Aisha said that during the three months that she was held captive, she was raped repeatedly, sometimes by groups of up to six fighters. She also saw more than 50 people killed by Boko Haram, including her sister. “Some of them refused to convert. Some refused to learn how to kill others. They were buried in a mass grave in the bush. They’ll just pack the dead bodies and dump them in a big hole, but not deep enough. I didn’t see the hole, but we used to get the smell from the dead bodies when they start getting rotten.”

    Mass killings Since the start of 2014, Amnesty International documented at least 300 raids and attacks carried out by Boko Haram against civilians. During their attacks on towns, they would systematically target the military or police first, capturing arms and ammunition, before turning on the civilian population. They would shoot anyone trying to escape, rounding up and executing men of fighting age.

    Ahmed and Alhaji, aged 20 and 18, were seated with other men, waiting for their throats to be cut after Boko Haram took over Madagali on 14 December 2014. Ahmed told Amnesty International that even though his instinct told him to run, he could not. “They were slaughtering them with knives. Two men were doing the killing...We all sat on the ground and waited our turn.” Alhaji only managed to escape when a Boko Haram executioner’s blade became too dull to slit more throats. “Before they got to my group, they killed 27 people in front of me. I was counting every one of them because I wanted to know when my turn would come.” He said that at least 100 men who refused to join Boko Haram were executed in Madagali on that day.

    In Gwoza, Boko Haram killed at least 600 people during an attack on 6 August 2014. Witnesses told Amnesty International how anyone trying to escape would be pursued. “The motorcycles went to surrounding areas, each street corner, where they will shoot you. They are only shooting the men.”

    Thousands fled to nearby mountains where Boko Haram fighters hunted them down and forced them out of the caves where they were hiding with tear gas canisters. The women were then abducted. The men were killed.

    Burning and looting: new satellite images of the destruction of Bama

    Satellite imagery commissioned by Amnesty International has enabled the organization to document the scale of devastation wreaked by Boko Haram.

    This includes new before and after images of Bama commissioned for the report. These show that at least 5,900 structures, approximately 70 percent of the town, were either damaged or destroyed, including the hospital, by retreating Boko Haram fighters as the Nigerian military regained control of the town in March 2015.

    Witnesses interviewed by Amnesty International described how Bama’s streets were littered with bodies and how people were burned alive in buildings. One woman said: “When the military got close to the barracks [in Bama] and almost took over, they [the military] later withdrew. Then the insurgents started killing people and burning houses.”

    Life under Boko Haram
    The report documents the reign of terror for those under Boko Haram rule. Soon after taking control of a town, Boko Haram would assemble the population and announce new rules with restrictions of movement, particularly on women. Most households became dependent on children to collect food or on visits by Boko Haram members who offered assistance, distributing looted food.

    Boko Haram enforced its rules with harsh punishments. Failure to attend daily prayers was punishable by public flogging. A woman who spent five months under Boko Haram control in Gamborou told Amnesty International how she had seen a woman given 30 lashes for selling children’s clothes and a couple executed publicly for adultery.

    A 15-year-old boy from Bama, spared by Boko Haram due to his disability, told Amnesty International that he had witnessed 10 stonings. “They stone them to death on Fridays. They will gather all the children and ask them to stone. I participated in the stoning… They will dig a hole, bury all the body and stone the head. When the person dies, they will leave the stones until the body decays.”

    The report also highlights growing tensions between Christians and Muslims. Many Christians interviewed by Amnesty International believe that Muslims have informed Boko Haram of their whereabouts or failed to share information about impending attacks and this has left a legacy of distrust between some communities that previously lived harmoniously side-by-side. Whilst Boko Haram has destroyed churches and killed Christians who refuse to convert to Islam, they have also targeted moderate Muslims.

    Amnesty International is calling on Boko Haram to stop killing civilians and for the Nigerian government to take all possible legal steps to ensure their protection and restore security in the north-east. The international community should also continue to assist the new government of Nigeria in addressing the threat posed by Boko Haram.

    “The change of government in Nigeria provides an opportunity for a new approach to security in Nigeria after the dismal failure of recent years,” said Salil Shetty.

    “The abducted must be rescued, war crimes and crimes against humanity must be investigated. Bodies must be disinterred from mass graves, further killings must be prevented and those guilty of inflicting this unspeakable suffering must be brought to justice.”

    The information on Boko Haram documented by Amnesty International should be considered by the International Criminal Court as part of its ongoing preliminary examination of the situation in north-east Nigeria.

    For more information or to arrange an interview please contact: Stefan Simanowitz + 44 (0) 20 7413 5729/99 or 07778 472126 press@amnesty.org, stefan.simanowitz@amnesty.org

    Background

    Amnesty International has raised concerns on a number of occasions that security forces are not doing enough to protect civilians from human rights abuses committed by Boko Haram. There have been very few effective investigations and prosecutions of Boko Haram members for crimes under international law.

    The report draws on 377 interviews, including 189 with victims and eye-witnesses to attacks by Boko Haram; 22 with local officials; 22 with military sources; and 102 with human rights defenders. The testimony comes from women, men and children, both Muslims and Christians. Almost all people interviewed asked not to be identified for security reasons; therefore all names used in the report are pseudonyms.

    Amnesty International collected this evidence in the course of four research trips in 2014 and 2015 to Maiduguri, camps for internally displaced people in north-east Nigeria and a refugee camp in northern Cameroon. Numerous interviews were also conducted by phone from London.

    Amnesty International has documented 38 cases of abduction by Boko Haram. It has gathered 77 testimonies on abductions, including with 31 eyewitnesses and with 28 women and girls who were abducted by Boko Haram and escaped.


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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Mali

    Government Needs to Restore Security, Justice System

    (Bamako) – The Malian government should act to curtail rising violent crime and abuses by armed groups and state security forces that threaten the security of the population in northern and central Mali, Human Rights Watch said today. Two years after a French-led military intervention in the embattled country, there remains widespread lawlessness and insecurity.
    In the north, a brief renewal of fighting in mid-2014 provoked the withdrawal of Malian soldiers and civil servants, including judicial officers. This left large swaths of territory devoid of state authority in which Tuareg separatists, Islamist armed groups, pro-government militias, and bandits have committed abuses with impunity. Since January 2015, a new Islamist armed group has committed a spate of attacks against civilians in central Mali.

    “Rampant criminality and attacks by armed groups and abuses by the security forces are putting ordinary people in central and northern Mali at risk,” said Corinne Dufka, West Africa director at Human Rights Watch. “Armed groups need to stop their abuses and Mali’s government should take urgent steps to reverse this trend, which threatens the security and rule-of-law gains of the past two years.”

    Over two weeks in February and March, Human Rights Watch conducted interviews with over 150 victims and witnesses in the northern town of Gao and in the capital, Bamako, including with drivers, traders, shepherds, and bandits; detainees; local government, security, and Justice Ministry officials; aid workers; victims’ groups; diplomats and United Nations officials; and religious, youth, and community leaders. Human Rights Watch’s findings build on research conducted in the country since 2012.

    Human Rights Watch found an upsurge in violent crime since mid-2014 by criminal bands and armed groups in the north, with little or no government response. Animal herders said that armed men on motorcycles have driven off entire herds of livestock, while petty traders described being ambushed and robbed on their way to local village markets. Truck drivers described being stopped by armed men, some well-organized, who robbed vehicles, drivers, and passengers, and, on several occasions, killed drivers and set their vehicles on fire.

    In central Mali, an Islamist armed group sometimes referred to as the Macina Liberation Movement, has committed serious abuses in the course of military operations against Mali’s security forces. The attackers summarily executed at least five men believed to have worked as guides or to have provided information for the army.

    Witnesses described how fighters with this group dragged a chief of a village near Dioura from his home and executed him, and gunned down another man on a village market day near Nampala. The group also burned several local government buildings and downed a communication tower. In public meetings and flyers distributed in towns and villages, the group threatened the local population with death if they collaborated with French forces, the government, or the UN peacekeeping mission.
    The Malian army and other security forces have responded to the attacks with military operations that have resulted in torture and other mistreatment, theft, and allegations of arbitrary arrest, numerous victims and witnesses told Human Rights Watch.

    A Quranic teacher in his late 60s showed Human Rights Watch his bloodstained robe and said that soldiers had beaten him in detention: “From the moment I was arrested in my field, I was mistreated … in the truck, and in the camp – they [the soldiers] kicked and pummeled me, and forced 18 of us to drink urine. On account of the beating, I passed blood for several days.”
    In the north, armed groups have deliberately targeted UN peacekeepers mandated to protect civilians. Attacks against the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) have escalated since mid-2014; since MINUSMA was created in July 2013, it has been the target of at least 79 hostile attacks, in which 35 peacekeepers have been killed and more than 130 wounded. Islamist armed groups have taken responsibility for many of these attacks.

    Bandits, and in a few cases armed groups, have attacked at least 13 vehicles of humanitarian aid organizations since November 2014, seriously undermining their ability to deliver assistance to populations in need. The motive for most of the banditry attacks appeared to be theft.
    Numerous people described the use of child soldiers, some as young as 12, by rebel groups, and to a much lesser extent, by pro-government militias. Armed groups in Mali are prohibited under international law from recruiting or using in hostilities children under 18.

    The government should work with MINUSMA to provide better security for civilians outside major towns, especially on market days, such as by increasing patrols, Human Rights Watch said. The government should also investigate and prosecute members of the security and pro-government forces and non-state armed groups implicated in recent serious abuses and accelerate deployment of police, gendarmes, and Justice Ministry personnel to towns and villages in the north. Armed groups should halt their abuses and threats against civilians and humanitarian workers.

    “Mali is awash with arms and bandits, and the pace of attacks is intensifying,” Dufka said. “The Malian government needs to re-establish its presence in the north so everyone has the basic security needed to go on with their lives.”

    Killings and Threats by Islamist Armed Group in Central Mali

    Since January 2015, an Islamist armed group has attacked several towns and villages in the central regions of Mopti and Ségou. Towns that have come under attack include Nampala, Tenenkou, Dioura, Boulkessi, Gathi-Lemou, and Dogofry.

    Witnesses told Human Rights Watch that the vast majority of its fighters appeared to be ethnic Peuhl from an Islamist armed group allied to either the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) or Ansar Dine. A few said they heard the armed men refer to themselves as the Macina Liberation Movement (La Force de libération du Macina), a reference to a region in central Mali*.*
    This new area of operation for an Islamist armed group has generated considerable fear among the population and led to the flight of numerous local government officials including administrators, mayors, chiefs, teachers, and judges. A local mayor said:

    My people are afraid; these armed men move through the villages all the time trying to recruit our youth and turn us to their religion. Even yesterday people called me in alarm to say the jihadists had come because God had directed them to this or that village. My people feel under pressure from all sides – if they tell the army, they will be executed as informants; if they don’t, the army will think they are collaborators.

    Most of the group’s attacks targeted the security forces. However, Human Rights Watch documented the execution-style killing of five men and threats against several others. Local residents and administrators said they believed that the people executed had at some point worked as local guides or informants for the security services.

    There have been numerous other killings of alleged informants by Islamist armed groups elsewhere in the north. The human rights section of MINUSMA documented over 10 such killings in 2014. Most recently, credible sources reported that on March 19, 2015, in the Timbuktu region, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Mahgreb (AQIM) killed and then decapitated an ethnic Tuareg man accused of collaborating with French forces.

    An elderly Peuhl herder described the January 14 execution of a middle-aged man in the town of Tolladji, 17 kilometers east of Nampala:

    It was about 3 p.m. on market day. I was selling my animals. They arrived on two motorcycles – two armed jihadists on each – and went straight for a petrol vender named M’barré Dembélé. It was like he knew they were after him because as they arrived, he started running. One of the jihadists jumped down and ran after him. M’barré threw his arms around an older man, saying “please, save me,” but the jihadist went straight up and shot M’barré in the side, then again in the head after he fell down. The jihadist, who was speaking our language [Pulaar] turned to the older man and asked if he was ok. They fired in the air to disperse those who had gathered, then drove off. They were dressed in grey – in short pants and turbans. They didn’t steal anything; it was M’barré they were after.

    Two residents of the village of Wouro Tiéllo said that a local chief named Nouhoum Diall was killed on January 7. Armed Islamists summoned him out of his house at night and dragged him 200 meters. One explained why he believed Diall had been targeted:

    Many of the youth in this movement are the sons of our own villages – we know them. They joined MUJAO in 2012 and are now part of a new movement. The village chief didn’t like what was happening and, being a local authority, informed the army that they had been passing through. These people wanted Nouhoum to push their own version of Islam, but he refused. That is why they killed him.

    A local official from the region explained what appeared to be a campaign of fear to empty the area of state officials and those considered close to the military:

    These people burned the mayor’s building, destroying the birth and marriage certificates – and since the attack they’ve gone to the houses of the mayor, his deputy, people who have helped out the military, and those who don’t like their version of Islam and told them to leave, lest they be killed. One man told me in early February, the jihadists arrived on two motos [motorbikes] and fired several rounds into his door, yelling for him to leave. He was cowering inside with his family; he got the message and immediately fled. He is now in hiding. And he isn’t the only one this has happened to.

    Abuses by Malian Security Forces and Pro-Government Groups

    Human Rights Watch interviewed 34 men who had been detained by the security forces in the course of operations in northern and central Mali from December 2014 to late February 2015. The majority were ethnic Peuhl detained in central Mali in reaction to recent attacks there.

    The detainees described numerous incidents of mistreatment including physical and psychological abuse – notably death threats, torture, and denial of food, water, and medical care. The most frequent and serious abuse was meted out by army soldiers, and occurred in the first few days after they were detained. Most detainees said the abuse stopped after they were handed over to gendarmes.

    Eleven men showed Human Rights Watch physical signs of mistreatment, including scars on their heads, faces, wrists, legs, and chests. A 32-year-old herder said the beating by soldiers resulted in the loss of a tooth. A 45-year-old leather worker who had visible scars above his right eye said: “They [the soldiers] kicked me in the head and side. My eyes were covered with my turban but I felt the blood flowing down my chest for a long time.”

    In one case, soldiers from the Nampala army base allegedly committed serious abuses against 18 detainees held over two days in late January or early February. From the moment of their arrest from several surrounding villages, the men described being kicked, beaten, pummeled with rifle butts, and, during one night, forced to drink urine and threatened with death.

    A 31-year-old man with a 2-inch scar on the back of his head described what happened to the detainees:

    We were all in one cell, seated with our hands bound and eyes banded. They [the soldiers] came in every so often and kicked and whapped us so many times. They said, “You are rebels … we will take you out this night and kill all of you.” At one point we heard them urinating in a bottle in front of our cell; they came inside, positioned themselves on either side of each of us, and forced us to drink it … those who refused were beaten, and forced, by holding our heads back, to drink … others had it poured into their noses. Later, they threw dirty water on us, and throughout the night walked around the cell beating and insulting us.

    Two Tuareg men, ages 25 and 27, described being detained in a private house in Gao in mid-February by the pro-government Self-Defence Group of Imrad Touareg and Allies (Le Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et allies, GATIA) militia, who accused them of selling ammunition to armed groups in the north. The Tuareg men said the militiamen stole a cell phone and money before handing them over to soldiers the detainees identified as elite Red Berets. They said the soldiers severely mistreated them overnight inside the Gao military base of Camp Firoun, then handed them over to gendarmes. The men’s hands had deep scars on the wrists from the tight cords, and were still swollen when Human Rights Watch interviewed them two weeks later. One of the men said:

    The soldiers bound our hands and feet tightly behind our backs – hogtied us – with electric wire, so tightly it cut deep through our skin. They left us on the floor in a room like this from 9 p.m. until 9 a.m. the next morning. They beat and kicked us. We cried out for water to drink but instead they threw water over us saying, “The mosquitos will eat you nicely tonight.”

    A 31-year-old Peuhl herder told Human Rights Watch in a hospital that in late 2014, he and about 30 other Peuhl men accused of supporting Islamist rebels were taken from a village west of Douentza, and ordered by the National Guard to lie down on top of one another in the back of two pickup trucks. His legs had been severely injured and burned from the weight of the other detainees and a metal chain on which he had been ordered to lie. The national guardsmen beat him and the others for several hours in a base in Mondoro.

    At least 11 other detainees were mistreated by a group of gendarmes in Sévaré. Two detainees said the gendarmes briefly beat or slapped the detainees and then “ordered [the detainees] to beat and punch each other for several minutes.”

    Several men said that as they were detained, soldiers and sometimes gendarmes robbed them of money, cellphones, jewelry, and other belongings. One elderly man arrested by soldiers in a village near Niono, said soldiers had stolen over 1.2 million CFA (US$1,990) from his home.

    Human Rights Watch interviews with scores of detained men accused of supporting armed groups in 2013 and 2014 found that virtually everyone taken into custody by the Malian security services had been beaten and that many were badly mistreated. In contrast, of the 34 detainees Human Rights Watch interviewed in 2015 in Bamako, only about half said that they had been mistreated in custody.

    Use of Child Soldiers by Armed Groups in the North

    Numerous traders, herders, businessmen, and residents of villages and towns under the control of armed groups in the north described the use of child soldiers, some as young as 12, by the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), the High Council for the Unity of Azawad (HCUA), and factions of the Arab Movement of Azawad (MAA). A man detained in early February said that among his captors from a pro-government militia were two unarmed children about age 15. Two children, ages 14 and 15, were among a group of eight arrested by gendarmes in late March in connection with the March 23 explosion that destroyed a house in Gao allegedly used to construct improvised explosive devices.

    A dozen people described seeing child combatants staffing checkpoints and sitting around with older combatants in and around the towns of Djebock, Ménaka, Imnaguel, Adran Tikilite, Tinabacor, Anafis, Inalabrabya, and Tinfadimata in the Gao and Kidal regions. They said most children were either of Arab or Tuareg ethnicity.

    A driver who regularly transports goods from Gao to Anafis said, “Last time I was there, I saw at least five of them, the youngest about 15.” A trader who travels frequently to Djebock said, “Even last Sunday, I saw five of these youth … 13, 14, 15.” A herder grazing his sheep near Djebock said: “Kids? I see them all the time … there are fewer than during the 2012 war, but they’re still there.”

    Several people said older combatants hid the presence of children in their ranks from international aid groups and the UN. A civil servant in Ménaka’s account was typical:

    The kids are there, even a few days ago, on February 28, I saw several of them manning a checkpoint; one was about 13 and so young his gun was dragging. But every time foreigners, MINUSMA, or aid agency people come, they yell at them to run, hide behind a building, and get out of sight. But we know the kids are there!

    UN sources told Human Rights Watch that about 10 schools in the Gao, Timbuktu, and Kidal regions are occupied by members of armed groups.

    Unchecked Criminality in the North

    While banditry and other violent crime has long been a problem in northern Mali, residents, members of the security forces, and community leaders said it had become particularly acute since mid-2014, after state security forces stopped patrolling.

    The government has obligations to ensure that all Malians have security and that their rights are respected. International law recognizes state accountability for failing to protect people from rights abuses and violence by private actors. The UN Human Rights Committee says that a state must not only protect individuals against violations of rights by government officials, but also against abusive acts by private persons or entities. In fact, a government may be violating human rights by failing to protect the population, including by failing to take appropriate measures “to prevent, punish, investigate or redress the harm caused by such acts by private persons or entities.”

    In Gao, Human Rights Watch spoke with about 50 victims and witnesses to recent incidents of banditry by criminals and armed groups in the north including drivers, transport owners, passengers, petty traders, animal herders, and merchants. The attacks were concentrated on market days and along several key strips of highway and overland routes used by traders.

    An administrator in the public hospital in Gao said that since May 2014, “the number of wounded from banditry has dramatically increased,” noting that the hospital had treated at least 10 people from banditry incidents over the previous three months. Witnesses and local community leaders said they knew of several people killed in banditry incidents.

    Most attacks were by small groups of men using motorcycles and armed with military assault rifles. Several victims, however, described attacks as “operations” involving larger groups of uniformed or partly uniformed men armed with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades and in pickup trucks with large, mounted machine guns. These attackers usually mentioned a political motive such as targeting MINUSMA forces, or the intention to establish a separatist state known as Azawad.

    Victims and witnesses believed many of the attackers were current or former fighters with one of several armed groups operating in the north. They believed they had been emboldened by a depleted state security presence and a dysfunctional justice system. The vast majority of attackers were described as young men of Tuareg, Arab – and to a lesser extent, Peuhl – ethnicity.

    Organized Theft of Animals

    Human Rights Watch spoke with 10 herders whose cattle, sheep, goats, and camels had been stolen since July 2014; a local human rights group said it had documented numerous other cases. The herders described a modus operandi in which several men on motorcycles drive into the grazing area shooting into the air to frighten the animals, then corral and drive them off with their motorcycles. Some believed their animals were then herded into trucks waiting some kilometers away.

    One herder described an “operation” in December involving two truckloads of uniformed men who tied his hands, wound his turban around his eyes, and forced him to the ground as they drove off his 70 sheep and 20 cows. The incident occurred 25 kilometers north of Djebock in an area the victim and several witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch believed was controlled by the MNLA. Human Rights Watch could not confirm if the group was responsible, however.

    The herder said: “There were many soldiers. Their pickups had big 2-7 machine guns … they said the animals were theirs because I was in their zone, Azawad. My animals were everything to me … since then I have been forced to live in this town [Gao] where I have nothing.”

    The other herders, all from the Bellah and Peuhl ethnic groups, described the devastating effect the loss of their animals has on their ability to provide for their families. Most described searching for their animals in markets in Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and Burkina Faso. One herder and his father, whose 11 cows were stolen in mid-February 2015 near Tinassemed, some 55 kilometers from Gao, described his loss:

    Each cow is worth at least 250,000 CFA ($415) … my father has gone crazy with anger and frustration … he’s spent weeks trudging from market to market following rumors of our cows sighted here and there. He’s still out there looking for them. In each market we listen for their bray … we know what each sounds like. My friends tell us to drop it; that the bandits will kill us. My hope is to negotiate with the local boss of the MNLA … there are good people in every organization; maybe we can get at least a few back.”

    A 43-year-old herder whose entire herd of over 100 goats was stolen in July 2014 about 80 kilometers south of Gao said:

    They took every last one. I worked my entire life to have a flock of that size. I followed the animal and moto tracks for hours, and looked everywhere in vain. It was with my animals that I fed and clothed my family of 12, but now I’m left with but two donkeys to fetch water. For us, losing your animals is akin to losing your future and that of your family. Now, I am nothing.

    Robbery of Traders

    Traders who travel from village to village buying and selling their wares described frequent and, in their view, rising incidents of banditry costing them money or their motorcycles. A representative of the Gao chapter of the Malian Association of Human Rights said he had documented 52 cases of banditry, most targeting small traders, in the first two months of 2015. By comparison, he documented 100 cases in all of 2014.

    Several traders said they had been robbed several times in the past year. A young man said he was robbed in December and again in January 2015, when four armed men dressed in mixed camouflage and civilian attire forced him and a friend to stop 70 kilometers from Gao on the road back from the Amasarakate market, and stole their money and motorcycles:

    My friend and I went to market on two brand new motorcycles. We sold one and I collected a debt owed to me of 450,000 CFA [$745] but on our way back, we were ambushed; they beat us, laughing as they stole the bike and found the money in my pocket saying, “Azawad 1, Mali zero” like it was a football game. But it’s not a joke; it’s my life. Instead of getting ahead, I’m now heavily in debt.

    Two other traders who were robbed on January 5, about 35 kilometers from Djebock, and lost 2.2 million CFA ($3,650) and 1.5 million CFA ($2490) said: “We’re demoralized. We work and work to have a future, maybe even a family of our own, but we feel abandoned by the state to the men with turbans and guns. Honestly, what can we do?”

    Banditry on Transport Vehicles

    Nearly 20 drivers and transport company owners in Gao told Human Rights Watch that the number of banditry attacks had increased in frequency and violence since mid-2014 after the state security forces had decreased patrols along major highways. Many drivers said they had been the victims of up to five attacks, while a transport company owner with 15 trucks said, “One [of my trucks] hit a landmine, another has been torched, and I’ve lost count of how many times my trucks have been hit by bandits.” Several said bandits had previously not shot at vehicles to force them to stop, but that it is becoming more common.

    Outside the Gao region, local newspapers monitored by Human Rights Watch reported numerous other incidents of banditry in the Timbuktu and Ségou regions.

    Drivers said the bandit attacks were typically by small groups of men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles, who fired in the air to force drivers to stop, and then proceeded to rob the vehicle and the many passengers who typically use transport vehicles as public transport, of money and goods. These goods would then be loaded onto a waiting truck. Victims said the bandits, who at times kept them for hours at a time, did not appear to feel concerned that they might be stopped.

    A driver transporting goods from Algeria said he was stopped 140 kilometers from Kidal in late February 2015 by four armed men in a land cruiser. After forcing him to drive off the main road, “they held us from 5 a.m. until 4 p.m., taking their time to unload all our goods … tea, fabric, fruit, even motorcycles, we were bringing. We’re disappointed in our own soldiers and gendarmes. MINUSMA is trying but they can’t do everything.”

    Another driver described how in August 2014, armed men stopped four large transport trucks and murdered one of his colleagues. “After lining us up, the bandits who spoke Arabic and Tamashek counted us – one, two, three, and four, and then just shot the Tuareg driver in the fourth position,” he said. “They stole everything from us, and drove off in his vehicle.”

    The drivers said the security forces had not provided regular and adequate patrols to prevent attacks, or to investigate and bring those responsible to account. Transport owners had filed reports with the gendarmerie primarily to facilitate reimbursement for losses from their insurance company. None said the incidents had been credibly investigated by gendarmes, and many, like this driver, said they felt “abandoned” by the state:

    We’re on our own out there. There is no army to defend us, the gendarmes don’t go beyond the city limit. There are so many armed groups we don’t know who is who. MINUSMA guard mostly themselves…. Our trucks get burned, we lose money to extortion left and right. As we get in our trucks and hit the road, it is only God who protects us and brings us home safely.

    Extortion at Checkpoints

    Drivers, businessmen, and residents in Gao interviewed by Human Rights Watch complained of being forced to pay money at checkpoints manned by armed groups and, to a lesser extent, government security forces. They described the extortion by the armed groups as being more systematic and organized, with set fees to enter and exit all major towns and many villages. In contrast, extortion by the police, gendarmes, and soldiers was more informal, with different amounts asked, and less frequently. Receipts were rarely provided, and drivers said that failure to pay would result in being beaten, detained, or, as described by one driver, “hours if not days of wasted time we can’t afford.”
    Drivers of large transport trucks were typically asked to pay from 5000 to 10,000 CFA ($8.30 to $16.60) at each major checkpoint. Four transport company owners and three drivers bringing goods from Gao to the northern towns said the extortion placed a heavy economic toll on them. Drivers transporting food and other goods from Gao to Agelhouk said they each pay a total of 120,000 CFA ($200) at eight checkpoints controlled by several different armed groups and one state-backed militia.
    Attacks on MINUSMA

    Peacekeepers with MINUSMA have been deployed in Mali since July 2013 and mandated to protect civilians and create conditions conducive to the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The peacekeepers have come under frequent attack and as a result have suffered heavy casualties: 35 killed and over 130 wounded. MUJAO, AQIM, and Al Mourabitoune have claimed responsibility for many of these attacks.

    While a few deaths occurred when MINUSMA bases close to bases for the Malian army or French troops came under attack, the vast majority of attacks and resulting casualties took place when MINUSMA was on patrol or was escorting convoys carrying fuel, food, medicine, and other supplies. In most cases, peacekeepers appeared to have been deliberately targeted.

    The single most deadly incident against peacekeepers in Mali – an October 3, 2014 ambush that killed nine peacekeepers from Niger – targeted a patrol taking gasoline from Ménaka to Ansongo. A September 18 attack that killed five Chadian peacekeepers targeted a convoy of troops rotating out of their base in Agelhouk. Chadian peacekeepers have been most heavily affected, with 19 deaths.
    Since late 2014, armed men have been burning commercial cars and trucks, including several transporting food and gasoline for MINUSMA, and two used for humanitarian assistance. A gendarme in Gao said that since January 2015 at least six vehicles had been burned, in some cases even before the contents were looted. He characterized the attacks as “acts of sabotage.”

    Several witnesses said attacks on their vehicles appeared to be well-organized military operations. The driver of a truck bringing supplies to the MINUSMA base in Agelhouk in late 2014 described one such attack:

    Fifteen kilometers before Agelhouk, men suddenly fired at my tires, forcing me to stop. I saw a land cruiser with a mounted rocket launcher and one guy I saw giving orders; eight men on the ridge and a motorcycle with three armed men carrying jerry cans of petrol. They were speaking Arabic…. They took out petrol, poured it over the car, and set it on fire. They didn’t steal the contents, or ask any questions. They knew what they wanted to do.

    A driver of a truck bringing food and supplies to a MINUSMA base described another well-organized attack in early 2015:

    About 55 kilometers before Ménaka, the men jumped out and shot to force me to stop. They ordered my apprentices and me to lie face ground on the side of the road. Then they sprayed petrol on the truck and without saying anything, threw a few small bombs to set it alight. All that stuff in our truck but they didn’t steal anything.

    Attacks on Humanitarian Workers

    Bandits and armed groups have increasingly attacked the vehicles of humanitarian agencies, particularly in the north, but more recently around Tenenkou, in Mopti region, affecting aid deliveries. Aid workers said the motive for most attacks appeared to be theft. Since November 2014, there have been at least 13 attacks on humanitarian vehicles in the north during which aid workers were robbed, or their vehicles stolen or burned. Generalized insecurity and these attacks have made it increasingly difficult for humanitarian organizations to carry out their health, nutrition, education, and other programs. Aid workers told Human Rights Watch that assistance to thousands of beneficiaries has been undermined by the rising insecurity and lack of consistent access by humanitarian workers to communities in need.

    A few incidents have led to deaths. In late May, two aid workers with the Norwegian Refugee Council were killed when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device near Timbuktu. On March 30, a driver with the International Committee of Red Cross (ICRC) was killed and a colleague wounded in an ambush between Gao and Ansongo. The ICRC said in a statement that they were heading to Niger to collect medication for the Gao hospital in a truck clearly marked with the Red Cross emblem. The Islamist armed group MUJAO claimed responsibility for the attack.


    0 0

    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Cameroon, Chad, Niger, Nigeria

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • UNHCR launched the 2015 Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRRP) for the Nigeria situation on 9 April in Dakar. US$174,409,920 are being requested by 23 sister UN agencies and NGO partners to meet the needs of over 240,000 refugees and host communities in Cameroon, Niger and Chad.

    • Following the successful conclusion of the 28 March Presidential and National Assembly elections, the Nigerian people peacefully participated in the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections across the country, on Saturday 11 April 2015.

    • The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres visited Cameroon from 23 to 25 March. He was accompanied by Ms Liz Ahua, Regional Refugee Coordinator for the Nigeria and CAR situations and Ms. Monique Sokhan, Senior Legal Adviser UNHCR. The HC expressed his appreciation to the Cameroonian Government and people and showed support to refugees and host populations.

    • The HC also visited Chad from 25 to 26 March and in his meeting with HE Mr. Déby Itno, President of the Republic of Chad, he expressed solidarity with Chad in its regional role in combatting the insurgents, and his appreciation for Chad’s hosting of refugees for more than a decade despite the security, social, and economic challenges facing the country.

    KEY FIGURES

    1,235,294 IDPs in Nigeria

     1,188,018 IDPs in North East States

     47,276 IDPs in North Central States (NEMA/IOM DTM Report,
    February 2015)

    192,131 Total number of Nigerian refugees in neighbouring countries

    FUNDING

    USD 98,352,789*

    IMMEDIATE PRIORITIES

     Nigeria:

    • Protection and assistance to most vulnerable groups amongst the IDPs and host communities

     Niger:

    • Relocation from hosting communities in Diffa region to Sayam Forage camp

     Cameroon:

    • Transfer of refugees from insecure border areas to Minawao camp

     Chad:

    • Relocation of refugees from Lake Chad islands to Dar Es Salam site

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    Source: Human Rights Watch
    Country: Mali

    Le gouvernement devrait agir pour rétablir la sécurité et le système judiciaire

    (Bamako, le 14 avril 2015) – Le gouvernement malien devrait prendre des mesures pour stopper les crimes violents et les abus de plus en plus fréquents, commis par les groupes armés et les forces de sécurité de l’État, qui menacent la sécurité de la population dans le nord et le centre du Mali, a déclaré Human Rights Watch aujourd’hui. Deux ans après l’intervention militaire menée par la France dans le pays en crise, il règne toujours une anarchie et une insécurité généralisées.

    Dans le Nord, une brève reprise des combats à la mi-2014 a provoqué le retrait des soldats et des fonctionnaires maliens, notamment des fonctionnaires de justice. Ainsi, de vastes portions de territoires se sont retrouvées sans autorité étatique et ont été le théâtre d’abus commis en toute impunité par les séparatistes touaregs, les groupes armés islamistes, les milices progouvernementales et les bandits. Depuis janvier 2015, un nouveau groupe armé islamiste a lancé une vague d’attaques contre des civils dans le centre du Mali.

    « La criminalité endémique, les attaques perpétrées par les groupes armés et les abus commis par les forces de sécurité constituent un risque pour les citoyens ordinaires au centre et dans le nord du Mali » a déclaré Corinne Dufka, directrice de recherches sur l’Afrique de l’Ouest à Human Rights Watch. « Les groupes armés doivent cesser les violences et le gouvernement malien devrait prendre des mesures urgentes pour inverser cette tendance, qui menace les progrès en matière de sécurité et d’État de droit des deux dernières années. »

    Pendant deux semaines en février et en mars, Human Rights Watch a mené des entretiens avec plus de 150 victimes et témoins dans la ville de Gao, dans le nord du Mali, et dans la capitale, Bamako, notamment avec des chauffeurs, des commerçants, des bergers et des bandits ; des détenus ; des représentants du gouvernement local, de la sécurité et du ministère de la Justice, des travailleurs humanitaires ; des associations de victimes ; des diplomates et des représentants des Nations Unies ; ainsi que des leaders religieux, de la jeunesse et des communautés. Les conclusions de Human Rights Watch s’appuient sur les recherches menées dans le pays depuis 2012.

    Human Rights Watch a constaté une recrudescence des crimes violents commis depuis la mi-2014 par des bandes criminelles et des groupes armés dans le Nord, avec peu, voire pas de réaction de la part du gouvernement. Des bergers ont affirmé que des hommes armés circulant à moto s’étaient emparés de leurs troupeaux de bétail, et des petits commerçants ont décrit avoir été victimes d’embuscades et de vols alors qu’ils se rendaient aux marchés des villages locaux. Des chauffeurs de camion ont indiqué avoir été stoppés par des hommes armés, certains bien organisés, qui volaient les véhicules, les conducteurs et les passagers et qui, à plusieurs reprises, ont tué des chauffeurs et mis le feu à leurs véhicules.

    Dans le centre du Mali, un groupe armé islamiste, parfois appelé la Force de libération du Macina, a commis de graves abus au cours d’opérations militaires contre les forces de sécurité maliennes. Les assaillants ont exécuté sommairement au moins cinq hommes soupçonnés d’avoir travaillé comme guides ou d’avoir fourni des informations à l’armée.

    Des témoins ont raconté que des combattants de ce groupe ont traîné le chef d’un village près de Dioura hors de sa maison avant de l’exécuter, et qu’ils ont abattu un autre homme un jour de marché dans un village près de Nampala. Le groupe a également incendié plusieurs bâtiments du gouvernement local et a détruit une tour de communication. Lors des réunions publiques et dans des tracts distribués dans les villes et les villages, le groupe a menacé de mort la population locale si elle collaborait avec les forces françaises, le gouvernement ou la mission de maintien de la paix de l’ONU.

    L’armée malienne et les autres forces de sécurité ont répondu aux attaques par des opérations militaires qui ont entraîné des actes de torture et d’autres mauvais traitements, des vols et des allégations d’arrestation arbitraire, selon les témoignages de nombreux témoins et victimes recueillis par Human Rights Watch.

    Un enseignant coranique âgé d’environ 70 ans a montré à Human Rights Watch sa robe tachée de sang et a raconté que les soldats l’avaient battu en détention : « Dès le moment où j’ai été arrêté dans mon champ, j’ai été brutalisé... dans le camion et dans le camp. Ils [les soldats] m’ont donné des coups de pieds et de poings et ont forcé 18 d’entre nous à boire de l’urine. À cause des coups, j’ai eu du sang dans les urines pendant plusieurs jours. »

    Dans le Nord, des groupes armés ont délibérément pris pour cible les Casques bleus des Nations Unies mandatés pour protéger les civils. Les attaques visant la mission des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation du Mali (MINUSMA) se sont intensifiées depuis la mi-2014. Depuis la création de la MINUSMA en juillet 2013, elle a fait l’objet d’au moins 79 attaques hostiles, dans lesquelles 35 Casques bleus ont trouvé la mort et plus de 130 ont été blessés. Des groupes armés islamistes ont revendiqué la responsabilité de bon nombre de ces attaques.

    Des bandits et, dans quelques cas, des groupes armés ont attaqué au moins 13 véhicules des organisations humanitaires depuis novembre 2014, compromettant sérieusement la capacité de ces organisations à venir en aide aux populations dans le besoin. La plupart des attaques de banditisme semblaient être motivées par le vol.

    De nombreuses personnes ont décrit l’utilisation d’enfants soldats, certains à peine âgés de 12 ans, par les groupes rebelles et, dans une moindre mesure, par les milices progouvernementales. En vertu du droit international, il est interdit aux groupes armés au Mali de recruter des enfants de moins de 18 ans ou de les impliquer dans des combats.

    Le gouvernement devrait travailler avec la MINUSMA pour garantir une meilleure sécurité aux civils résidant hors des grandes villes, notamment les jours de marché, par exemple en augmentant le nombre de patrouilles, a déclaré Human Rights Watch. Le gouvernement devrait également mener des enquêtes et traduire en justice les membres des forces de sécurité, des forces progouvernementales et des groupes armés non étatiques impliqués dans les récents abus graves, et devrait accélérer le déploiement de la police, des gendarmes et du personnel du ministère de la Justice dans les villes et les villages du Nord. Les groupes armés devraient cesser leurs violences et leurs menaces à l’encontre des civils et des travailleurs humanitaires.

    « Le Mali est inondé par les armes et les bandits, et le rythme des attaques s’intensifie », a expliqué Corinne Dufka. « Le gouvernement malien a besoin de rétablir sa présence dans le Nord afin que tout le monde bénéficie de la sécurité élémentaire indispensable pour vivre normalement. »

    Meurtres et menaces par un groupe armé islamiste dans le centre du Mali

    Depuis janvier 2015, un groupe armé islamiste a attaqué plusieurs villes et villages dans les régions de Mopti et Ségou, dans le centre du Mali. Parmi les villes attaquées figurent Nampala, Tenenkou, Dioura, Boulkessi, Gathi-Lemou et Dogofry.

    Des témoins ont raconté à Human Rights Watch que la vaste majorité de ses combattants semblaient être des Peuls venant d’un groupe armé islamiste allié soit au Mouvement pour l’unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l’Ouest (MUJAO), soit à Ansar Dine. Certains témoins ont dit avoir entendu les hommes armés se désigner comme la Force de libération du Macina, en référence à une région du centre du Mali.

    Cette nouvelle zone d’opérations d’un groupe armé islamiste a suscité une peur considérable au sein de la population, et a conduit à la fuite de nombreux représentants du gouvernement local, y compris des administrateurs, des maires, des chefs, des enseignants et des juges. Un maire local a raconté :

    Mon peuple est effrayé ; ces hommes armés se déplacent de village en village en permanence, tentant de recruter nos jeunes et de les convertir à leur religion. Hier encore, des personnes m’ont appelé, alarmées, pour me dire que les djihadistes étaient venus parce que Dieu les avait orientés vers ce village-ci ou celui-là. Mon peuple se sent sous pression de tous côtés : s’ils informent l’armée, ils seront exécutés en tant qu’informateurs ; s’ils ne le font pas, l’armée pensera que ce sont des collaborateurs.

    La plupart des attaques du groupe visaient les forces de sécurité. Cependant, Human Rights Watch a documenté le meurtre de cinq hommes, s’apparentant à des exécutions, et des menaces à l’encontre de plusieurs autres personnes. Les résidents et les administrateurs locaux ont indiqué qu’ils pensaient que les personnes exécutées avaient, à un moment donné, travaillé comme guides locaux ou informateurs pour les services de sécurité.

    De nombreux autres meurtres d’informateurs présumés ont été commis par des groupes armés islamistes ailleurs dans le Nord. La section des droits de l’homme de la MINUSMA a documenté plus de dix meurtres de ce type en 2014. Plus récemment, des sources crédibles ont rapporté que le 19 mars 2015, dans la région de Tombouctou, Al-Qaïda au Magreb islamique (AQMI) a tué puis décapité un homme de l’ethnie touareg accusé de collaboration avec les forces françaises.

    Un berger peul âgé a décrit l’exécution d’un homme d’âge moyen le 14 janvier, dans la ville de Tolladji, située à 17 kilomètres à l’est de Nampala :

    Il était environ 15 heures le jour du marché. Je vendais mes animaux. Ils sont arrivés sur deux motos, deux djihadistes armés sur chaque moto, et sont allés directement chez un vendeur d’essence nommé M’barré Dembélé. Il avait l’air de savoir qu’ils le cherchaient parce que, dès qu’ils sont arrivés, il s’est enfui en courant. Un des djihadistes a sauté de sa moto et lui a couru après. M’barré a jeté les bras autour d’un homme plus âgé, en l’implorant « S’il te plaît, sauve-moi », mais le djihadiste est venu droit sur M’barré, lui a tiré une balle dans le flanc, puis dans la tête après qu’il soit tombé. Le djihadiste, qui parlait notre langue [pulaar], s’est tourné vers l’homme âgé et lui a demandé s’il allait bien. Ils ont tiré en l’air pour disperser ceux qui s’étaient rassemblés et sont repartis. Ils étaient vêtus de gris, en shorts et en turbans. Ils n’ont rien volé ; ils en avaient après M’barré.

    Deux résidents du village de Wouro Tiéllo ont indiqué qu’un chef local du nom de Nouhoum Diall a été tué le 7 janvier. Des islamistes armés l’ont forcé à sortir de sa maison durant la nuit et l’ont traîné sur 200 mètres. L’un des résidents a expliqué pourquoi, selon lui, Diall était visé :

    Beaucoup de jeunes de ce mouvement sont les fils de nos propres villages – nous les connaissons. Ils ont rejoint le MUJAO en 2012 et font maintenant partie d’un nouveau mouvement. Le chef du village n’aimait pas ce qu’il se passait et, en tant qu’autorité locale, il a informé l’armée de leurs allers et venues. Ces personnes voulaient que Nouhoum impose leur propre version de l’Islam, mais il a refusé. C’est pour ça qu’ils l’ont tué.

    Un responsable local de la région a parlé de ce qui s’apparentait à une campagne de peur pour faire fuir les fonctionnaires et ceux considérés comme proches de l’armée.

    Ces personnes ont brûlé le bâtiment du maire, ont détruit les certificats de naissance et de mariage. Et depuis l’attaque, ils se sont rendus aux domiciles du maire, de son adjoint, des personnes qui ont aidé les militaires et de ceux qui n’aiment pas leur version de l’Islam et leur ont dit de partir, sinon ils les tueraient. Un homme m’a raconté au début du mois de février que les djihadistes sont arrivés sur deux motos et ont tiré plusieurs salves sur sa porte, en lui hurlant de partir. Il s’était mis à l’abri à l’intérieur avec sa famille ; il a compris le message et a fui immédiatement. Maintenant il vit caché. Et ce n’est pas le seul à qui c’est arrivé.

    Abus commis par les forces de sécurité maliennes et des groupes progouvernementaux

    Human Rights Watch a interrogé 34 hommes qui ont été arrêtés par les forces de sécurité au cours d’opérations dans le nord et le centre du Mali entre décembre 2014 et fin février 2015. La majorité d’entre eux étaient des Peuls arrêtés dans le centre du Mali suite aux récentes attaques dans la région.

    Les détenus ont décrit de nombreux cas de mauvais traitements, y compris des abus physiques et psychologiques, notamment des menaces de mort, des actes de torture et la privation de nourriture, d’eau et de soins médicaux. Les abus les plus fréquents et les plus graves ont été infligés par des soldats de l’armée durant les premiers jours suivant les arrestations. La plupart des hommes arrêtés ont indiqué que les abus ont cessé lorsqu’ils ont été remis aux gendarmes.

    Onze hommes ont montré à Human Rights Watch des signes physiques de mauvais traitements, notamment des cicatrices à la tête, au visage, aux poignets, aux jambes et à la poitrine. Un berger de 32 ans a déclaré avoir perdu une dent sous les coups des soldats. Un artisan du cuir de 45 ans qui présentait des cicatrices visibles au-dessus de l’œil droit a raconté : « Ils [les soldats] m’ont frappé à la tête et sur le côté. Mes yeux étaient couverts par mon turban mais j’ai senti le sang couler sur ma poitrine pendant un long moment. »

    Dans un cas, des soldats de la base militaire de Nampala ont vraisemblablement commis des abus graves contre 18 personnes détenues pendant deux jours à la fin du mois de janvier ou au début du mois de février. Depuis le moment de leur arrestation dans plusieurs villages voisins, les hommes ont expliqué qu’ils ont été frappés à coups de pieds, de poings, de crosses de fusils et que, pendant une nuit, ils ont été forcés de boire de l’urine et ont été menacés de mort.

    Un homme de 31 ans avec une cicatrice de 5 centimètres à l’arrière de la tête a décrit ce qui est arrivé aux hommes arrêtés :

    Nous étions tous dans une seule cellule, assis avec les mains liées et les yeux bandés. Ils [les soldats] venaient souvent pour nous donner des coups de pieds et nous frapper à de nombreuses reprises. Ils nous ont dit : « Vous êtes des rebelles... Cette nuit, nous vous emmènerons dehors pour vous tuer tous. » À un moment donné, nous les avons entendu uriner dans une bouteille devant notre cellule ; ils sont entrés, se sont placés de chaque côté de chacun de nous et nous ont forcé à boire... Ceux qui refusaient étaient roués de coups et forcés à boire, en leur maintenant la tête en arrière... D’autres ont eu de l’urine versée dans le nez. Plus tard, ils nous ont arrosés avec de l’eau sale et pendant la nuit, ils marchaient dans la cellule en nous frappant et en nous insultant.

    Deux hommes touaregs, âgés de 25 et 27 ans, ont raconté qu’ils ont été arrêtés à un domicile privé à Gao, à la mi-février, par la milice progouvernementale appelée Groupe autodéfense touareg Imghad et alliés (GATIA), qui les accusait de vendre des munitions aux groupes armés dans le nord du pays. Les hommes touaregs ont expliqué que les miliciens leur ont volé un téléphone portable et de l’argent avant de les livrer à des soldats, identifiés par les deux Touaregs comme des Bérets rouges d’élite. Ils ont dit que les soldats les ont sévèrement brutalisés jusqu’au lendemain dans la base militaire de Camp Firoun à Gao, avant de les remettre aux gendarmes. Les poignets des hommes présentaient de profondes cicatrices à cause des cordes serrées et leurs mains étaient toujours gonflées lorsque Human Rights Watch s’est entretenu avec eux deux semaines plus tard. L’un des hommes a déclaré :

    Les soldats nous ont lié les mains et les pieds ensemble derrière le dos avec un câble électrique, en serrant tellement que le câble nous cisaillait la peau. Ils nous ont laissés sur le sol dans une pièce comme ça de 21 h à 9 h le lendemain matin. Ils nous ont battus et frappés à coups de pieds. Nous avons supplié pour avoir de l’eau à boire mais, à la place, ils nous ont arrosés d’eau en disant « Les moustiques vont vous dévorer cette nuit ».

    Un berger peul de 31 ans interrogé par Human Rights Watch à l’hôpital a expliqué qu’à la fin de l’année 2014, il avait été arrêté avec environ 30 autres hommes peuls accusés de soutenir les rebelles islamistes dans un village situé à l’ouest de Douentza et que la Garde nationale leur avait donné l’ordre de s’allonger les uns sur les autres à l’arrière de deux pick-ups. Ses jambes avaient été gravement blessées et lésées par le poids des autres hommes arrêtés et par une chaîne métallique sur laquelle il avait été forcé de s’allonger. Les hommes de la Garde nationale les ont battus lui et les autres pendant plusieurs heures dans une base à Mondoro.

    Au moins 11 autres personnes arrêtées ont été brutalisées par un groupe de gendarmes à Sévaré. Deux détenus ont expliqué que les gendarmes frappaient ou giflaient brièvement les détenus puis « ordonnaient [aux détenus] de se battre et se frapper les uns les autres pendant plusieurs minutes ».

    Plusieurs hommes ont indiqué que pendant leur détention, les soldats et parfois les gendarmes les dépouillaient de leur argent, leurs téléphones portables, leurs bijoux et autres possessions. Un homme âgé arrêté par des soldats dans un village près de Niono a raconté que les soldats avaient volé plus de 1,2 million de francs CFA (1 990 USD) trouvés dans son domicile.

    Les entretiens menés par Human Rights Watch avec des dizaines d’hommes arrêtés, accusés de soutenir les groupes armés en 2013 et 2014, ont montré que quasiment tous les individus placés en détention par les services de sécurité maliens avaient été frappés et que nombre d’entre eux avaient été sévèrement brutalisés. À l’inverse, parmi les 34 détenus interrogés par Human Rights Watch en 2015 à Bamako, seule la moitié environ a déclaré avoir subi des mauvais traitements en détention.

    Utilisation d’enfants soldats par les groupes armés dans le Nord

    De nombreux commerçants, bergers, hommes d’affaires et résidents des villages et des villes sous le contrôle des groupes armés dans le Nord ont évoqué l’utilisation d’enfants soldats, dont certains à peine âgés de 12 ans, par le Mouvement national pour la libération de l’Azawad (MNLA), le Haut-conseil pour l’unité de l’Azawad (HCUA) et les factions du Mouvement arabe de l’Azawad (MAA). Un homme arrêté au début du mois de février a signalé que, parmi ses ravisseurs faisant partie d’une milice progouvernementale, deux étaient des enfants non armés d’environ 15 ans. Deux enfants, âgés de 14 et 15 ans, étaient présents dans un groupe de huit personnes arrêtées par les gendarmes à la fin du mois de mars, suite à l’explosion du 23 mars ayant détruit une maison à Gao suspectée d’être utilisée pour fabriquer des engins explosifs improvisés.

    Une dizaine de personnes ont indiqué avoir vu des enfants soldats aux points de contrôle et aux côtés de combattants plus âgés dans et autour des villes de Djebock, Ménaka, Imnaguel, Adran Tikilite, Tinabacor, Anafis, Inalabrabya et Tinfadimata, dans les régions de Gao et Kidal. Ils ont dit que la plupart des enfants étaient de l’ethnie arabe ou touareg.

    Un conducteur qui transporte régulièrement des marchandises de Gao à Anafis a raconté : « La dernière fois que j’y suis allé, j’ai vu au moins cinq d’entre eux, les plus jeunes ayant 15 ans environ ». Un commerçant qui se déplace souvent à Djebock a dit : « Même dimanche dernier, j’ai vu cinq de ces jeunes... de 13, 14, 15 ans ». Un berger qui faisait paître ses moutons près de Djebock a raconté : « Des enfants ? J’en vois tout le temps... Ils sont moins nombreux que pendant la guerre de 2012, mais ils sont toujours là. »

    Plusieurs personnes ont expliqué que les combattants plus âgés dissimulaient la présence des enfants dans leurs rangs aux groupes d’aide humanitaire internationaux et aux Nations Unies. Ce récit d’un fonctionnaire de Ménaka était typique :

    Les enfants sont là ; il y a quelques jours même, le 28 février, j’ai vu plusieurs d’entre eux gérer un point de contrôle ; l’un d’eux avait environ 13 ans, il était tellement jeune que son arme traînait par terre. Mais chaque fois que des étrangers, la MINUSMA ou des personnes d’organismes d’aide humanitaire arrivent, on leur crie de courir se cacher derrière un bâtiment et de rester hors de vue. Mais nous savons que les enfants sont là !

    Des sources de l’ONU ont indiqué à Human Rights Watch qu’une dizaine d’écoles dans les régions de Gao, Tombouctou et Kidal sont occupées par des membres des groupes armés.

    Criminalité non contrôlée dans le Nord

    Alors que le banditisme et les autres crimes violents constituent un problème de longue date au Mali, les résidents, les membres des forces de sécurité et les chefs de communauté ont expliqué que le problème était devenu particulièrement aigu depuis la mi-2014, après que les forces de sécurité étatiques ont cessé les patrouilles.

    Le gouvernement a l’obligation de garantir à tous les Maliens sécurité et respect de leurs droits. Le droit international reconnaît la responsabilité de l’État en cas de non-protection des populations contre les violations des droits et les violences perpétrées par des acteurs privés. Le comité des droits de l’homme de l’ONU précise qu’un État a l’obligation de protéger les individus non seulement contre les violations de droits commises par des représentants du gouvernement, mais aussi contre les actes violents commis par des personnes ou entités privées. En l’occurrence, un gouvernement peut se trouver en situation de violer les droits humains par le fait de ne pas protéger la population, y compris par l’absence de mesures appropriées « pour prévenir, punir, mener des enquêtes ou réparer les torts causés par de tels actes commis par des personnes ou des entités privées ».

    À Gao, Human Rights Watch a mené des entretiens avec environ 50 victimes et témoins des récents incidents de banditisme menés par des criminels et des groupes armés dans le Nord, y compris des conducteurs, des propriétaires d’entreprise de transport, des passagers, des petits commerçants, des bergers et des marchands. Les attaques étaient concentrées sur les jours de marché et le long de plusieurs portions de grande route et de routes secondaires empruntées par les commerçants.

    Un administrateur de l’hôpital public à Gao a affirmé que depuis mai 2014, « le nombre de personnes blessées du fait du banditisme a considérablement augmenté », en soulignant que l’hôpital avait traité au moins 10 personnes suite à des incidents de banditisme sur les trois derniers mois. Des témoins et des chefs de communauté locaux ont expliqué qu’ils connaissaient plusieurs personnes ayant été tuées dans des incidents de banditisme.

    La plupart des attaques étaient menées par des petits groupes d’hommes se déplaçant à moto et armés de fusils d’assaut militaires. Plusieurs victimes, cependant, ont décrit les attaques comme des « opérations » impliquant de plus grands groupes d’hommes en uniforme intégral ou partiel, armés de fusils et de lance-grenades et utilisant des pick-ups équipés de grosses mitraillettes. Ces assaillants mentionnaient habituellement un motif politique, tel que la prise pour cible des forces de la MINUSMA ou l’intention d’établir un État séparatiste connu sous le nom d’Azawad.

    Des victimes et des témoins pensaient que bon nombre des attaquants étaient d’actuels ou d’anciens combattants d’un des groupes armés opérant dans le Nord. Selon eux, les attaquants avaient été enhardis par la présence limitée des forces de sécurité étatiques et par un système de justice dysfonctionnel. La grande majorité des assaillants étaient décrits comme de jeunes hommes des ethnies touareg, arabe et, dans une moindre mesure, peule.

    Vol organisé de bétail

    Human Rights Watch s’est entretenu avec 10 bergers dont le bétail, les moutons, les chèvres et les chameaux ont été volé depuis juillet 2014 ; un groupe de défense des droits humains local a déclaré avoir documenté de nombreux autres cas. Les bergers ont décrit un mode opératoire selon lequel plusieurs hommes à moto entrent dans la zone de pâturage en tirant en l’air pour effrayer les animaux, avant de les regrouper et de les emmener en les encadrant avec leurs motos. Certains pensaient que leurs animaux ont ensuite été embarqués dans des camions stationnés à quelques kilomètres.

    Un berger a décrit une « opération » en décembre impliquant deux camions remplis d’hommes en uniforme qui lui ont lié les mains, lui ont enroulé le turban sur les yeux et l’ont obligé à rester allongé pendant qu’ils emmenaient ses 70 moutons et ses 20 vaches. L’incident s’est produit à 25 kilomètres au nord de Djebock dans un secteur vraisemblablement contrôlé par le MNLA d’après la victime et plusieurs témoins interrogés par Human Rights Watch. Human Rights Watch n’a cependant pas pu confirmer si ce groupe était à l’origine du vol.

    Le berger a précisé : « Il y avait beaucoup de soldats. Leurs pick-ups étaient équipés de grosses mitrailleuses 12.7... Ils ont dit que les animaux leur appartenaient parce que j’étais sur leur territoire, l’Azawad. Mes animaux étaient tout pour moi... Depuis, je suis obligé de vivre dans cette ville [Gao] où je n’ai rien. »

    Les autres bergers, tous issus des groupes ethniques bellah et peul, ont mentionné les conséquences dévastatrices de la perte de leurs animaux sur leur capacité à subvenir aux besoins de leurs familles. La plupart ont indiqué qu’ils cherchaient leurs animaux sur les marchés au Mali, en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Burkina Faso. Un berger et son père, à qui 11 vaches ont été volées à la mi-février 2015 près de Tinassemed, à environ 55 kilomètres de Gao, ont expliqué leur perte :

    Chaque vache vaut au moins 250 000 francs CFA (415 USD)... Mon père est devenu fou de colère et de frustration... Il a passé des semaines à marcher péniblement d’un marché à l’autre en suivant les rumeurs selon lesquelles nos vaches avaient été vues ici et là. Il est toujours là-bas à les chercher. Sur chaque marché, nous guettons leur meuglement... Nous connaissons le meuglement de chacune. Mes amis nous ont dit d’abandonner, que les bandits nous tueront. Mon espoir est de négocier avec le chef local du MNLA... Il y a de bonnes personnes dans chaque organisation ; peut-être pourrions-nous au moins récupérer quelques bêtes.

    Un berger de 43 ans, dont le troupeau entier de plus de 100 chèvres a été volé en juillet 2014 à environ 80 kilomètres au sud de Gao, a indiqué :

    Ils les ont toutes prises. J’ai travaillé ma vie entière pour avoir un troupeau de cette taille. J’ai suivi les traces des animaux et des motos pendant des heures et j’ai cherché partout en vain. C’est grâce à mes animaux que je pouvais nourrir et vêtir les 12 membres de ma famille, maintenant il me reste deux ânes pour aller chercher de l’eau. Pour nous, la perte de nos animaux équivaut à perdre tout espoir d’avenir pour vous et votre famille. Maintenant, je ne suis rien.

    Vols prenant pour cible des commerçants

    Des commerçants qui se déplacent de village en village pour vendre et acheter des marchandises ont décrit des incidents de banditisme fréquents et, selon eux, de plus en plus nombreux, leur faisant perdre de l’argent ou leur moto. Un représentant de la branche de Gao de l’Association malienne des droits de l’homme a indiqué avoir documenté 52 cas de banditisme, la plupart visant des petits commerçants, au cours des deux premiers mois de l’année 2015. À titre de comparaison, il a documenté 100 cas sur toute l’année 2014.

    Plusieurs commerçants ont rapporté qu’ils avaient été dévalisés plusieurs fois l’année dernière. Un jeune homme a expliqué qu’il avait été volé en décembre 2014 puis en janvier 2015, lorsque quatre hommes armés portant des vêtements militaires et civils les ont forcé lui et un ami à s’arrêter à 70 kilomètres de Gao alors qu’ils revenaient du marché d’Amasarakate, et leur ont pris leur argent et leurs motos :

    Mon ami et moi sommes allés au marché sur deux motos flambant neuves. Nous en avons vendu une et j’ai récupéré une dette que l’on me devait de 450 000 francs CFA (745 USD), mais sur le chemin du retour, nous sommes tombés dans une embuscade ; ils nous ont frappés, tout en rigolant alors qu’ils volaient la moto et prenaient l’argent dans ma poche, en disant « Azawad 1, Mali zéro » comme si c’était un match de foot. Mais ce n’est pas une blague, c’est ma vie. Au lieu d’avancer, je suis maintenant lourdement endetté.

    Deux autres commerçants qui ont été volés le 5 janvier à environ 35 kilomètres de Djebock et ont perdu 2,2 millions de francs CFA (3 650 USD) et 1,5 million de francs CFA (2 490 USD) ont raconté : « Nous sommes démoralisés. Nous travaillons dur pour avoir un avenir, peut-être fonder notre propre famille, mais nous nous sentons abandonnés par l’État entre les mains de ces hommes en turban et armés de fusils. Honnêtement, que pouvons-nous faire ? »

    Banditisme contre des véhicules de transport

    Près de 20 chauffeurs et propriétaires d’entreprise de transport à Gao ont raconté à Human Rights Watch que le nombre d’attaques par des bandits a augmenté et leur violence s’est intensifiée depuis la mi-2014, après que les forces de sécurité étatiques ont diminué le nombre de patrouilles le long des grandes routes principales. Beaucoup de chauffeurs ont expliqué qu’ils avaient été victimes de une à cinq attaques, tandis qu’un propriétaire d’entreprise de transport possédant 15 camions a indiqué : « Un [de mes camions] a touché une mine, un autre a été incendié et je ne compte plus le nombre de fois où mes camions ont été endommagés par des bandits. » Plusieurs ont précisé qu’auparavant les bandits ne tiraient pas sur les véhicules pour les forcer à s’arrêter, mais que cela devient de plus en plus courant.

    En dehors de la région de Gao, les journaux locaux consultés par Human Rights Watch ont signalé de nombreux incidents de banditisme dans les régions de Tombouctou et de Ségou.

    Les chauffeurs ont expliqué que les attaques de bandits étaient généralement menées par de petits groupes d’hommes armés de fusils d’assaut Kalachnikov, qui tiraient en l’air pour forcer les chauffeurs à s’arrêter, puis ils pillaient le véhicule et volaient l’argent et les marchandises des nombreux passagers qui utilisent généralement les véhicules de transport comme transport public. Ces marchandises étaient chargées sur un camion qui attendait. Des victimes ont raconté que les bandits, qui les gardaient parfois pendant plusieurs heures, ne semblaient pas craindre d’être arrêtés.

    Un chauffeur transportant des marchandises depuis l’Algérie a raconté qu’il a été stoppé à 140 kilomètres de Kidal à la fin du mois de février 2015 par quatre hommes armés, circulant à bord d’un Land Cruiser. Ceux-ci l’ont forcé à quitter la route principale, puis, a-t-il expliqué : « Ils nous ont gardés de 5 h à 16 h, prenant leur temps pour décharger toutes nos marchandises... du thé, des tissus, des fruits, même des motos, que nous transportions. Nous sommes déçus par nos propres soldats et gendarmes. La MINUSMA essaie [de nous protéger], mais ils ne peuvent pas tout faire. »

    Un autre chauffeur a raconté qu’en août 2014, des hommes armés ont arrêté quatre gros camions de transport et ont tué un de ses collègues. « Après nous avoir mis en ligne, les bandits qui parlaient arabe et tamashek nous ont compté, un, deux, trois et quatre, et ont tout simplement tué le chauffeur touareg en quatrième position » a-t-il expliqué. « Ils nous ont tout volé et sont partis avec son véhicule. »

    Les chauffeurs ont indiqué que les forces de sécurité n’avaient généralement pas effectué de patrouilles régulières et adéquates pour empêcher les attaques ou pour enquêter et traduire en justice les auteurs de ces actes. Les propriétaires d’entreprise de transport avaient déposé plainte auprès de la gendarmerie, essentiellement pour faciliter le remboursement des pertes par leur compagnie d’assurance. Personne n’a indiqué que les incidents avaient fait l’objet d’enquêtes dignes de foi par les gendarmes et beaucoup, comme ce chauffeur, ont expliqué se sentir « abandonnés » par l’État :

    Nous sommes seuls sur les routes. Il n’y a pas d’armée pour nous défendre, les gendarmes ne sortent pas des limites des villes. Il y a tellement de groupes armés que nous ne savons pas qui est qui. La MINUSMA se protège essentiellement elle-même... Nos camions sont incendiés, nous perdons de l’argent par extorsion à droite et à gauche. Lorsque nous montons dans nos camions et prenons la route, seul Dieu nous protège et nous ramène sains et saufs à la maison.

    Extorsion aux points de contrôle

    Des chauffeurs, des hommes d’affaires et des résidents de Gao interrogés par Human Rights Watch se sont plaints d’être obligés à verser de l’argent aux points de contrôle tenus par des groupes armés et, dans une moindre mesure, par les forces de sécurité gouvernementales. Ils ont raconté que l’extorsion par les groupes armés est plus systématique et plus organisée, avec des prix définis pour entrer et sortir des principales villes et de nombreux villages. À l’inverse, l’extorsion par la police, les gendarmes et les soldats était plus informelle, avec des variations dans les sommes exigées, et moins fréquente. Des reçus étaient rarement fournis, et les chauffeurs ont dit que s’ils ne payaient pas, ils étaient battus et arrêtés pendant « des heures sinon des jours de temps perdu, ce que nous ne pouvons pas nous permettre », comme décrit par un des chauffeurs.

    Les chauffeurs de gros camions de transport devaient généralement payer de 5 000 à 10 000 francs CFA (8,30 à 16,60 USD) à chaque point de contrôle important. Quatre propriétaires d’entreprise de transport et trois chauffeurs conduisant des marchandises de Gao vers les villes du Nord ont précisé que l’extorsion avait un lourd impact économique sur leur activité. Les conducteurs transportant de la nourriture et d’autres marchandises de Gao à Agelhouk disaient que chacun payait un total de 120 000 francs CFA (200 USD) à huit points de contrôle gérés par plusieurs groupes armés différents et un point de contrôle tenu par une milice soutenue par l’État.

    Attaques contre la MINUSMA

    Les Casques bleus de la MINUSMA ont été déployés au Mali en juillet 2013 et ont été mandatés pour protéger les civils et créer des conditions propices à l’apport de l’aide humanitaire. Les Casques bleus font l’objet de fréquentes attaques et ont, par conséquent, subi de lourdes pertes : 35 morts et plus de 130 blessés. Le MUJAO, AQMI et Al Mourabitoune ont revendiqué bon nombre de ces attaques.

    Même si quelques décès ont eu lieu lors d’attaques de bases de la MINUSMA situées à proximité des bases de l’armée malienne ou des troupes françaises, la grande majorité des attaques et, par conséquent, des victimes ont été recensées lorsque la MINUSMA effectuait des patrouilles ou escortait des convois transportant du carburant, des denrées alimentaires, des médicaments et d’autres fournitures. Dans la plupart des cas, il semble que les Casques bleus ont été délibérément pris pour cible.

    L’incident le plus meurtrier contre des soldats de maintien de la paix au Mali est une embuscade menée le 3 octobre 2014 qui a tué neuf Casques bleus du Niger et qui ciblait une patrouille acheminant de l’essence de Ménaka à Ansongo. Une attaque le 18 septembre qui a tué cinq Casques bleus tchadiens visait un convoi de troupes qui venait prendre la relève sur leur base à Agelhouk. Les Casques bleus tchadiens ont été les plus lourdement touchés, avec 19 morts.

    Depuis la fin de l’année 2014, des hommes armés ont incendié des voitures commerciales et des camions, y compris plusieurs véhicules transportant des denrées alimentaires et de l’essence pour la MINUSMA et deux utilisés pour l’aide humanitaire. Un gendarme à Gao a indiqué que depuis janvier 2015 au moins six véhicules ont été incendiés, dans certains cas, avant même que leur contenu soit pillé. Il a qualifié ces attaques d’« actes de sabotage ».

    Selon plusieurs témoins, les attaques contre leurs véhicules semblaient être des opérations militaires bien organisées. Le conducteur d’un camion transportant des fournitures pour la base de la MINUSMA d’Agelhouk à la fin de l’année 2014 a décrit une de ces attaques :

    Quinze kilomètres avant Agelhouk, des hommes ont soudain tiré dans mes pneus pour me forcer à m’arrêter. J’ai vu un Land Cruiser équipé d’un lance-roquette et un gars qui donnait les ordres ; huit hommes sur la plate-forme et une moto avec trois hommes armés portant des jerricanes d’essence. Ils parlaient arabe... Ils ont pris l’essence, l’ont versée sur le véhicule et y ont mis le feu. Ils n’ont pas volé le contenu, ni posé de questions. Ils savaient ce qu’ils voulaient faire.

    Le conducteur d’un camion transportant des denrées alimentaires et des fournitures jusqu’à une base de MINUSMA a raconté une autre attaque bien organisée commise début 2015 :

    Environ 55 kilomètres avant Ménaka, des hommes ont surgi et ont tiré pour m’obliger à m’arrêter. Ils ont ordonné à mes apprentis et à moi-même de nous allonger face contre terre sur le bord de la route. Ensuite ils ont aspergé le camion d’essence et sans rien dire, ils ont jeté quelques petites bombes pour mettre le feu. Il y avait plein de choses dans notre camion mais ils n’ont rien volé.

    Attaques contre des travailleurs humanitaires

    Des bandits et des groupes armés s’en prennent de plus en plus aux véhicules des organisations humanitaires, en particulier dans le Nord, et plus récemment près de Tenenkou, dans la région de Mopti, affectant les livraisons humanitaires. Les travailleurs humanitaires ont expliqué que le motif de la plupart des attaques semblait être le vol. Depuis novembre 2014, il y a eu au moins 13 attaques contre des véhicules humanitaires dans le Nord, au cours desquelles les travailleurs humanitaires ont été dévalisés ou leurs véhicules ont été volés ou incendiés. Du fait de l’insécurité généralisée et de ces attaques, il est de plus en plus difficile pour les organisations humanitaires de mener à bien leurs programmes de santé, de nutrition et d’éducation, entre autres. Les travailleurs humanitaires ont indiqué à Human Rights Watch que l’assistance à des milliers de bénéficiaires a été compromise par l’insécurité croissante et par la difficulté pour les travailleurs humanitaires d’accéder régulièrement aux communautés dans le besoin

    Quelques incidents ont entraîné des morts. À la fin du mois de mai 2014, deux travailleurs humanitaires pour le Conseil norvégien pour les réfugiés ont été tués lorsque leur véhicule a percuté un engin explosif improvisé près de Tombouctou. Le 30 mars 2015, un chauffeur du Comité international de la Croix-Rouge (CICR) a été tué et un collègue blessé dans une lors d’une embuscade entre Gao et Ansongo. Le CICR a indiqué dans une déclaration qu’ils se dirigeaient vers le Niger pour collecter des médicaments pour l’hôpital de Gao, à bord d’un camion clairement identifié par l’emblème de la Croix-Rouge. Le groupe armé islamiste MUJAO a revendiqué l’attaque.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Djibouti, Somalia, Yemen

    Obock, Djibouti | | Tuesday 4/14/2015 - 09:54 GMT

    by Colin COSIER

    Refugees from war-torn Yemen describe the terror of intense airstrikes as they arrive in the Horn of Africa, where aid agencies are fearing an influx of people.

    On the sun-blasted shores of Djibouti, those who have taken a perilous boat ride across the Gulf of Aden describe the horror of the airstrikes that pounded their homes in Yemen.

    "Suddenly the planes came and airstrikes hit," said Murisala Mohamed Ahmed, a community leader from Yemen's Bab al-Mandeb region, the key shipping channel at the entrance to the Red Sea that separates Africa from Arabia.

    "The military positions were near, and we feared for the children... we had to come to Djibouti," he added, crossing the narrow straits to the Horn of Africa, only 30 kilometres (20 miles) wide at its narrowest point.

    "We came on small boats, our own boats. Whole families came - 30 families with 200 people."

    Iran-backed Shiite Huthi rebels have seized swathes of territory in Yemen since they entered the capital Sanaa in September 2014, forcing government forces to flee.

    'Terrifying'

    While just a few hundred refugees from Yemen have registered in Djibouti in recent weeks, the UN refugee agency UNHCR says preparations are being made for many more.

    Djibouti, a key port for the Horn of Africa, is already stretched with the refugees it hosts: the tiny nation of some 850,000 people looks after some 28,000 mainly Somali refugees.

    "Djibouti has a long tradition of hosting refugees from the different countries in the region," said UNHCR spokesman in Djibouti Frederic Van Hamme.

    "It is a big pressure for a small country like Djibouti to receive a large number of refugees."

    Many are now being looked after in the small port of Obock, on Djibouti's northern shores, bringing with them "terrible stories linked to war," Van Hamme said.

    "The journey was on a diesel tanker boat... for two days with no proper seats," said Abdallah Mourad Abdo, a journalism student from Yemen's southern key port of Aden. "We could see airstrikes. It was terrifying."

    Yemen slid deeper into turmoil after a Saudi-led air campaign began on March 26 to push back the rebels' advance after they forced President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi to flee the country.

    "I love my country, I don't want to leave it but the situation is terrible," said Shahira Shehbaz, a university student from Aden. "We just ran away from there by the boat."

    In Yemen, more than 600 people have died and 2,000 been wounded in the fighting, according to UN figures.

    The war in Yemen, pitting supporters of the president against Shiite rebels, has reversed the refugee flow in the region, which has seen refugees flee the Horn of Africa for Yemen, where they accounted for nearly all the 250,000 refugees registered in the Middle East country.

    'More trying to leave'

    Almost a thousand Somali refugees have landed in northern Somalia this month, according to the UN refugee agency.

    "Though numbers are not big so far, we anticipate they could grow and we are preparing accordingly," said Carlotta Wolf, UNHCR Somalia spokeswoman. "All groups that arrived in Somalia say more people are trying to leave from Yemen."

    After almost three weeks of the Saudi-led air campaign, the situation is rapidly deteriorating, particularly in Aden where humanitarian groups are struggling to deliver aid.

    UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon warned on Sunday of a huge humanitarian crisis as "civilian casualties are mounting and public infrastructure is being destroyed".

    But as people flee the war, refugees apparently unware of the violence in Yemen still continue to arrive.

    UNHCR says that the Yemeni Red Crescent is "registering hundreds of asylum-seekers who continue to arrive on Yemen's shores", describing how "these desperate people, mostly Somalis and Ethiopians, are either unaware of the situation or in the hands of smugglers and unable to escape their journeys."

    But in Djibouti, the refugees who have reached safety mourn the loss of their old lives, unsure of what they will do next.

    "Our complaints to Allah is against those who made us flee and put us in this situation," Ahmed said. "Now we feel lost and we don't know what is going to happen to us."

    str-pjm/yad

    © 1994-2015 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization
    Country: Niger

    Plus de 18 000 ménages très pauvres sans terres auront accès à des terres cultivables pendant la prochaine saison hivernale grâce à un projet de redistribution des terres du Programme alimentaire mondial et de la FAO soutenue par USAID.

    Tahoua – Houe à la main parmi un groupe de femmes, Binta Issah, 40 ans, mère de 8 enfants, creuse activement le sol. La splendeur de son visage contraste avec la rudesse du sol qu’elle s’efforce de percer. Un sol dégradé et rocailleux dans la zone de Alakaye que les communautés ont choisi de réhabiliter à travers les travaux à haute intensité de main d’œuvre du PAM.

    « Le sol ici n’a jamais été exploité. Il est dégradé et pierreux. Mais les populations ont exprimé leur désir de le récupérer pour en faire usage ;» a expliqué Zayaba Ango chargée de programme du PAM à Tahoua.

    Binta construit des demi-lunes, des cordons de pierres et muret pour retenir l’eau et favoriser la culture de produits vivriers. Elle fait parties des très pauvres que le PAM assiste à travers ses projets de distribution d’argent contre la production d’actifs durable comme la confection de ces demi-lunes, pendant la saison de pré-hivernale où les greniers sont vides.

    «Je suis soulagée. Avant, il me fallait chercher du bois pour vendre ou aller piler le mil pour d’autres personnes avant d’espérer nourrir mes enfants. Mais avec l’argent que je reçois actuellement, je suis bien à l’aise. Je peux assurer au moins deux repas par jour aux enfants.»

    Binta n’a jamais été propriétaire terrienne. Chaque année, de bonnes volontés lui prêtent un lopin de terre pour cultiver. Elle doit, en retour, payer avec une partie de ses maigres récoltes.

    Mais l’activité à laquelle elle participe lui apporte une solution. Une partie des terres récupérées lui sera gratuitement allouée pour une exploitation pendant 5 ans.

    «Nous avions discuté et signé des accords avec les autorités locales et les grands propriétaires fonciers pour que la terre profite à ceux qui la mettent en valeur;» a déclaré Benoit Thiry représentant du PAM au Niger.

    « L’innovation de ce projet c’est que les terres récupérées seront redistribuées aux ménages très pauvres pour une exploitation pendant 5 ans. Ils doivent tirer bénéfice de leur travail » a conclu M Thiry.

    La collaboration entre le PAM et la FAO permettra à ces ménages de bénéficier d’un appui de la FAO qui fournit les semences, l'engrais et un appui technique pour un bon rendement agricole.

    Pour Binta, l’eau est le seul problème. Et elle prie dieu pour une abondance de pluie. Avec l’appui financier de l’USAID, de grands ouvrages de maitrise d’eau comme des mini-barrages seront construits pour favoriser l’infiltration de l’eau dans le sol, permettant ainsi aux populations de faire de cultures maraichères, en vue de diversifier leur régime alimentaire et les sources de revenu.

    Ce projet se déroule dans des communes où il y a un paquet intégré d’activités (cantines scolaires, prise en charge nutritionnelle, projet de sécurité alimentaire) qui, mis ensemble, renforce leur résilience.


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

    HIGHLIGHTS:

    • Two health districts are affected by a meningitis epidemic; 11 are affected by measles.

    • 44 per cent of households interviewed in Diffa during February need immediate food assistance.

    • One quarter of Niger’s population is living in areas affected by a cereal deficit this year.

    Meningitis and measles cases increase

    Following the vaccination campaigns in 2010 and 2011 against meningitis caused by the meningococcal A, no cases from this serogroup have been recorded. However, a resurgence of meningitis cases has been recorded this year. An increase in measles cases was also observed in several regions. 345 meningitis cases registered. Health facilities recorded 345 cases of meningitis, including 45 deaths (case fatality rate of 15 per cent) from 1 January to 29 March. These cases were recorded in all regions except Diffa. The two health districts that have reached the epidemic threshold are in Niamey (Niamey 2) and Dosso (Dogondoutchi in the health district of Maikalgo), where 80 per cent of the cases were recorded.

    2,041 measles cases registered

    According to the Ministry of Public Health (MSP), 2,041 cases of measles, including two deaths (case fatality rate of 0.1 per cent), were recorded from 1 January to 29 March. About 71 per cent of people affected are between 0 and four years, and 20 per cent are between 5 and 14 years. These cases were reported in all eight regions of Niger. However, epidemic outbreaks are identified in 11 of the country’s 44 health districts. Zinder region is the most affected, with 77 per cent of cases.


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

    Snapshot 9–14 April 2015

    Afghanistan: Security incidents have spiked in early April, after the announcement that more NATO troops would remain in the country than originally scheduled. NATO convoys were targeted in Nangarhar and Kabul on 10 April. On the same day, five NGO staff were found dead, having been abducted in Uruzgan province in early March.

    Kenya: Following Al Shabaab’s attack on Garissa University, Kenyan officials said they had asked UNHCR to repatriate almost 350,000 refugees from Dadaab camp, though UNHCR said it had not received any official request. The Central Bank of Kenya has closed 13 Somali remittance firms based in Nairobi.

    Yemen: Fighting continues to escalate. 650 people are reported dead, and nearly 2,000 people have been injured. Airstrikes have hit 18 of 22 governorates. In Aden, electricity and water supplies have been cut for days at a time. Al Dhale’e is inaccessible. Some 30% of armed group fighters are thought to be minors.

    Updated: 14/04/2015. Next update: 21/04/2015

    Global Emergency Overview Web Interface


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    Source: UN Children's Fund
    Country: Chad, Nigeria

    Situation of displaced people in Lake region in numbers

    18,889 TOTAL NUMBER OF NIGERIAN REFUGEES; 4,909 REGISTERED AND LIVING IN DAR ES SALAM SITE (UNHCR, 9 APRIL 2015)

    14,500 TOTAL NUMBER OF INTERNALLY DISPLACED PERSONS (IDPS) (OCHA, MARCH 2015)

    8,500 ESTIMATED NUMBER OF CHADIAN RETURNEES (LOCAL AUTHORITIES, MARCH 2015)

    68,000 ESTIMATED AFFECTED POPULATION IN 5 MOST AFFECTED PREFECTURES (OCHA, MARCH 2015)


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Nigeria

    KEY FIGURES

    1,235,294
    Internally Displaced People(agreed upon by both IOM and NEMA)

    2,120 refugees/ asylum seekers
    Refugees and Asylum seekers of mixed nationalities as of 17 January 2015

    HIGHLIGHTS

    • Following the successful conclusion of the March 28 Presidential and National Assembly elections, Nigerians are preparing for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections across the country, coming up next Saturday 11 April 2015.

    • President-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari uses the Easter season to appeal for forgiveness among Nigerians for excesses experienced during the just ended election.

    • The protection strategy has been validated by the Humanitarian Country Team setting the stage for an effective implementation of activities by the Protection Sector Working Group (PSWG) in favour of the IDPs.


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Burkina Faso, World

    Résumé

    Malgré l‟abondance de la production alimentaire mondiale, les populations du Sahel et de l‟Afrique de l‟Ouest souffrent fréquemment de faim et de malnutrition. En 2012, tous les pays de la région ont été de nouveau exposés à une insécurité alimentaire massive, en raison de la sécheresse, des pluies rares, des piètres récoltes, de la flambée des prix des aliments et des déplacements intensifs de populations. Selon les estimations des Nations Unies, cette crise avait condamné plus de 18 millions de personnes à l‟insécurité alimentaire et nutritionnelle (FAO, 2012 : 9).

    Comprendre pourquoi les populations souffrent d‟insécurité alimentaire et analyser les causes sous-jacentes est fondamental pour planifier des interventions appropriées. Dans la pratique, la mesure et l‟analyse de la sécurité alimentaire présente un défi technique en raison de la complexité et de la multi-dimensionnalité de ce concept. Actuellement, l‟analyse de la sécurité alimentaire en situations d‟urgence repose sur trois piliers: i) les disponibilités alimentaires, ii) l‟accès à l‟alimentation et iii) l‟utilisation des aliments (PAM, 2009).

    L‟Approche de l‟Economie des Ménages (AEM/HEA), développée dans les années 90 par l‟ONG internationale Save the Children-UK, est actuellement l‟un des outils les plus utilisés par le système d‟alerte précoce dans la région du Sahel pour appréhender le pilier d‟accès. En partant du principe que les ménages ont un accès plus ou moins difficile aux aliments en fonction de leur niveau de pauvreté, cet outil cherche à comprendre leur économie alimentaire et à mesurer l‟impact des chocs sur celle-ci, en vue d‟orienter l‟aide vers ceux qui seraient les plus vulnérables. Seulement, le HEA, ne s‟intéresse pas à la situation spécifique de chaque individu à l‟intérieur du ménage, étant donc incapable d'analyser la manière dont les chocs touchent les femmes et les hommes et comment chacun d'entre eux essaie d‟y faire face. Cette lacune représente l‟une des grandes faiblesses de ce système puisqu‟il néglige une dimension clé dans la compréhension de « qui, aujourd‟hui, risque le plus d‟être exposé à l‟insécurité alimentaire et à la malnutrition au Sahel et pourquoi » -pour reprendre les termes de la brochure du projet HEA-SAHEL-.

    Ce rapport, structuré en trois parties, est le résultat d‟une étude lancée par Oxfam Intermón, dans le cadre du projet de recherche SARAO (Sécurité Alimentaire et Résilience en Afrique de l‟Ouest), qui cherche à apporter des réflexions critiques et des pistes d‟action pour perfectionner le cadre d‟analyse HEA grâce à une démarche qui tient compte des Inégalités de Genre.

    La première partie du rapport est consacrée à l‟approche méthodologique adoptée et aux techniques employées pour la collecte et l‟analyse de l‟information. D‟un côté, l‟analyse Genre a été au cœur de la démarche suivie et a consisté à examiner de nouvelles dimensions telles que la répartition et l'organisation des rôles, des responsabilités et des ressources entre les femmes et les hommes afin de mettre en lumière leur importance dans l‟analyse de la sécurité alimentaire. De l‟autre côté, la collecte des informations sur le terrain s‟est faite au Burkina Faso, à travers des entretiens semi-dirigés et des questionnaires auprès de profils différents, en fonction de l‟objectif recherché dans chaque étape de l‟étude.


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project, Start Network
    Country: Nigeria

    Crisis Overview

    • There are 1.2 million IDPs in Nigeria, most of whom were displaced by Boko Haramrelated violence. The majority are in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe states, in the far northeast, but 47,276 IDPs are in Plateau, Nasarawa, Abuja, Kano, and Kaduna states. Little to no assistance has been provided to the IDPs in the periphery of areas directly hit by the Boko Haram insurgency and current military operations.

    • This Briefing Note focuses on Benue, Kaduna, Taraba, Plateau, Federal Capital Territory and Nasarawa states.

    • These IDPs are facing IPC Phase 3 (Crisis) food insecurity and high levels of malnutrition.

    • Inter-communal violence has also caused displacement in some of these states, although its exact extent is unknown.

    • Current needs, in terms of both magnitude and severity, remain higher in the northeast: humanitarian emergency thresholds have been exceeded and access is a significant obstacle.


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    Source: International Federation of Red Cross And Red Crescent Societies
    Country: Cameroon, Nigeria

    Summary:

    Since July 2014, a large number of Nigerian refugees have been crossing the border into Cameroon, fleeing armed clashes. So far, about 35,000 refugees have been registered by UNHCR. About 30,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have also been reported, following clashes at the border where some villages and towns have been attacked. In a bid to assist these vulnerable persons, this emergency appeal was launched for 25,000 beneficiaries (5,000 refugee families that have fled Nigeria to Cameroon, Cameroon-based IDPs, and host communities in the Far North Region). Targeted sectors of intervention include health activities that specifically focus on the chronically ill, pregnant women, the disabled, and the elderly, WASH activities, hygiene promotion and awareness campaigns in communities and inside Minawao camp to equally benefit refugee and host communities, food security, nutrition and livelihoods support for 1,000 families in order to improve their agricultural capacity, and various training sessions covering planned intervention topics aimed at building the capacity of volunteers.

    So far, a regional disaster response team (RDRT) member has arrived Maroua to oversee the implementation of planned activities. He has started briefing by IFRC, NS and ICRC staff. The French Red Cross, sole partner national society in the country and present on the ground has been informed of his presence. This briefing will continue on the field to finalize details of actions. The NS has designated a resource person at headquarters to serve as national focal point of the operation and with whom the RDRT member will work in the field.

    Furthermore, at regional level, a regional focal point of the divisional committee will accompany them in the implementation of activities. So far, training tools are being printed and a health coordination mission to launch the training is already on the ground. Furthermore, the disaster manager of the national society is on mission in Maroua to brief local committee focal points concerned by this operation on the implementation of activities. In coordination with the ICRC, local committee volunteers are also undergoing refresher training on first aid in a bid to update their knowledge. These volunteers are providing first aid to the target population. NFI procurement arrangements are underway and arrangements are being made for their transportation to the field.

    This update requests an additional allocation of CHF 20,754 to help set up a computer room at the Cameroon Red Cross headquarters, train NS staff in the use of radio frequency and radio equipment and in security and Elearning.

    The major donors to this appeal include the British, Canadian (from Canadian Government) Japanese, Monaco and Swedish Red Cross Societies. Details of all donors can be found on: http://www.ifrc.org/docs/appeals/Active/MDRCM021.pdf


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    Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
    Country: Mali, Yemen

    Spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights: Ravina Shamdasani
    Location: Geneva
    Date: 14 April 2015
    Subjects: (1) Yemen & (2) Mali

    (1) Yemen

    The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein today issued a call to all sides to the conflict in Yemen to ensure that attacks resulting in civilian casualties are promptly investigated and that international human rights and international humanitarian law are scrupulously respected during the conduct of hostilities in the country.

    In addition to hundreds of fighters, at least 364 civilians are reported to have lost their lives since March 26, including at least 84 children and 25 women. Another 681 civilians – possibly more – have been injured. Dozens of public buildings, including hospitals, schools, airports and mosques have been destroyed in airstrikes, through shelling and other attacks.

    High Commissioner Zeid urged all sides to negotiate a swift end to the bloodshed and devastation in Yemen. The full press release is available in English and in French on http://www.ohchr.org/FR/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=15836&LangID=F.

    (2) Mali

    We are deeply disturbed at the series of violent attacks that have occurred in the Gao and Kidal regions of northern Mali, making an already precarious security situation more volatile. We also deplore the continued targeting of UN personnel and humanitarian workers in the country.

    The increasing use of Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and mines is very worrying.

    Mostly recently, on April 6, two peacekeepers were injured when a vehicle of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) escorting a supply convoy hit an IED in Kidal. Last Friday, April 10, a civilian vehicle hit a mine or IED near Almoustarat in the Gao Region, seriously injuring two people. Also, on April 5, four rockets struck the town of Gao, causing the death of one woman and wounding three others, including a four-year-old boy.

    Last Saturday, April 11, two MINUSMA national staff members were assaulted in Kidal town by three unidentified armed men. On 30 March, a group of armed men conducted a targeted attack against an International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle in Gao, resulting in the death of one staff.

    Since its establishment in 2013, MINUSMA has been attacked more than 60 times, causing more than 35 peacekeepers to be killed and a total of more than 200 casualties.

    We urge all parties to the conflict in Mali to ensure the protection of civilians, including UN personnel and humanitarian workers. We also call on Government security forces to ensure that counter-terrorism operations are conducted in line with international human rights standards, and to avoid the excessive use of force, so as not to stoke further tensions and resentment among local inhabitants.

    We are following up closely with the Malian authorities on allegations of human rights violations and abuses which may have been committed during such operations. It is particularly important during the ongoing peace process for action to be taken to ensure that any human rights violations or abuses are promptly investigated and perpetrators brought to justice. For peace to be secured and sustainable, there must be no impunity for any acts of violence, regardless of the perpetrators.

    ENDS

    For more information, please contact Ravina Shamdasani (+41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org) or Cécile Pouilly (+41 22 917 9310 / cpouilly@ohchr.org).


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    Source: World Health Organization
    Country: Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ghana, Guinea, Iraq, Jordan, Liberia, Mali, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, Sierra Leone, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    Preface

    Beginning in 2011, WHO underwent a restructuring of its emergency work to align it with the ongoing reform of the global humanitarian system led by the Inter-agency Standing Committee (IASC). This report describes the emergency risk and crisis management work of the Organization in 2013 and 2014, in the wake of this restructuring, and provides examples of how its new policies and procedures guided the implementation of specific activities for risk management and emergency response.

    The scale and frequency of humanitarian emergencies in 2013 and 2014 overwhelmed response and preparedness systems globally. From 2013 through the end of 2014, WHO responded to more than 40 graded emergencies, six of which were classified as Grade 3: the conflicts in Central African Republic and the Republic of Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic regional crisis, South Sudan’s civil conflict, Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, and the Ebola outbreak in West Africa. In addition, WHO has provided technical advice and assistance to over 100 countries to help them strengthen their national capacities for disaster risk reduction in the health sector.

    Disasters can have devastating and wide-ranging health impacts in any country. In those with limited capacity to prepare and respond effectively, the results may be truly catastrophic, undoing decades of population health gains, weakening health systems and damaging precious health infrastructure. In all types of emergencies, the poorest and most vulnerable people are affected disproportionately. Over the last two years, this has been shown repeatedly, whether in conflict situations, natural disasters or disease outbreaks.

    Every crisis highlights the need for a consistently strong and coordinated response, as well as the critical importance of risk reduction and preparedness. As a technical, development, operational and humanitarian agency, and the lead agency of the Health Cluster, WHO plays a key role in emergency risk management for health.

    The lessons learned from the mega crises of the past years, especially from the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, have prompted Member States to call for a reform of WHO’s capacity to respond to future large-scale and sustained outbreaks and emergencies. This will better enable the Organization to support and build Member States’ capacity to prevent, detect, prepare for and respond to such outbreaks and emergencies.


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    Source: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Sweden

    When the armed conflict in Mali flared up in 2012, many people ended up in the middle of the contending parties. Alhader Ag Azar was one of many who took his entire family and fled to the neighbouring country Burkina Faso. He appreciates the safety in the refugee camp, but misses the ability to move around freely.

    “The escape from Mali was very long and exhausting. We paid a man a lot of money to drive the family's women and children 80 km to the border in his car. At the same time, us men were on foot with the sheep, goats and cows,” says 72 year old Alhader, as he sits on a soft rug on the middle of the floor in his large tent in the refugee camp Goudebo in northern Burkina Faso. The rest of the family is sitting and lying around him: his wife Asseytou Wallet Otkel, nine children and a couple of grandchildren.

    Several courses of events resulted in the turbulent situation, he explains. First the revolt in the north, the coup d'état and then the fighting between Islamist independendists and the military, in which Tuaregs also became affected. It was when his daughter's husband was killed that they decided to leave, before it was too late.

    After one year in the refugee camp Ferrerio in northern Burkina Faso, they were moved here to Goudebo, outside the city Dori, fifty kilometres from the border to Niger. The drought and lack of pasturage has forced him to send his animals home to Mali again, where a shepherd now gets paid to take care of them.

    As most Tuaregs, Alhader owns livestock, the animals are their “bank account,” he explains. But in contrast to many others, his family has not lived a nomadic life in Mali. He has worked as a compulsory school teacher in his home village in the Gao province, up until retirement five years ago. The fact that there is a school in the camp is something he particularly appreciates, as many children have never had the opportunity of education in the past.

    “Most Tuaregs are hostile towards schools. They do not see the value of education, but are scared that the children will lose their roots and culture. Some believe that if you teach children French, then they will lose their religion.”

    Appreciated shelter

    The nomads' long lifestyle in close harmony with nature has taught them to adapt to the forces of weather. Their traditional shelter protect them against seasonal variations and are easy to move. When the refugees arrive at the camp, they receive material for shelter that are distributed by the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), whose contribution is funded by Sida among others. The material and design of the tents have been prepared in dialogue with the refugees, in order to suit their needs.

    “Norwegian Refugee Council is our best collaboration partner here in the camp, together with the organisation that is responsible for safety of course,” he says with a laugh and points to a man in a uniform outside the tent opening.

    The nights in the Sahel region can be very cold in January, even if the temperature goes well above 30 degrees during the daytime. The strong rays of sun are also utilised in the solar collector connected to a large pan, which the family has received and uses for cooking.

    The food which is distributed in the camp is good, but not sufficient according to Alhader. 12 kg per person and month is the normal World Food Programme ration – which makes two meals a day for Alhaders family. The entire ration was previously distributed as food, but after many people sold parts of it to purchase other necessities, the refugees together with the camp administration decided to distribute half as food items, and half as money for making purchases.

    “The reason we are not suffering is because many of us have animals back in Mali, which we can return and get if necessary. But also because us Tuaregs respect solidarity very highly. If my neighbour doesn’t have food, I share what I have with him, and if his children want to join our meal, they are always welcome.”

    Conditional return

    At present the crisis in Mali does not appear to be close to changing for the better, and consequently the refugee situation can be long-term.

    “There are refugees here in the camp who will never return to Mali; some of the ones you see, they were already here when I previously came here as a refugee, 1994-1997.”

    His greatest desire is to travel back home again, but the return must be conditional:

    “There must be peace, with a peace agreement in place, but also the conditions that enable us to return. Houses, wells, schools, health centres – everything must be rebuilt again, only then can we return to our former life,” concludes Alhader.


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    Source: Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Sweden

    The UNHCR currently manages three refugee camps in Burkina Faso for refugees from the neighbouring country Mali. Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) has been assigned to provide shelters to the refugees, and their work is partly funded by Sida.

    If a country's government does not have the resources to take care of refugees from another country, the UN refugee agency UNHCR can intervene and help manage the task. Through the refugee organisation CONAREF, the Burkinese state decides where in the country the camps should be located.

    The two largest camps, Mentao (11,000 people*) and Goudebo (9,000 people) are situated in northern Burkina Faso. One third smaller camps outside the capital Ouagadougou will be closed in 2015.

    A large problem in many refugee catastrophes is when the emergency humanitarian crisis has passed, the funding declines and the issue of where the refugees should end up arises. If the Burkinese people now welcome their neighbours with open arms, the situation can change if the visitors decide to remain, and bring their animals. This entails greater competition for pasturage in the dry region, and more people to share resources such as schools, water and health care.

    The UNHCR sees three scenarios for the refugees in Burkina Faso: - returning (which is difficult if the refugees do not want to return, or if the conditions in the home country are poor), - integration in the host country - transfer; that some can be received as quota refugees in, for example, Europe or the US.

    WHO?

    The activities to cover the needs in the camp are divided into several sectors that are coordinated in clusters. Different organisations are assigned to assist with different aspects: for example, water and sanitation, food security, education, waste management, health, non-food items or logistics.

    Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is responsible for providing shelter to the refugees. In dialogue with the refugees, they have developed a tent that is similar to the ones used by nomadic Tuaregs, who comprises approximately 60 per cent of the refugees in the camp. Each family can collect an emergency tent on arrival, which is gradually replaced with a more permanent tent, 4 x 5 metres, that is supported by iron bars and reed roofs and plastic sheets on top. The walls comprise of plastic mats, and the same kind of mats are also used for sleeping . The refugees who choose to return to Mali are allowed to bring their tents with them, to have a roof over their head when they arrive.

    UNHCR collaborates with all organisations in the camp in order to continuously receive updated information about how many have received a tent, where they live and which refugees have received food. If a household has been absent from three food distributions in a row, one can assume that they have left the camp and returned home.

    The refugees’ rights and opinions are respected as they can participate in and influence different committees in the camp. For example, the committee of women, of children or of wise men, which discusses legal issues and provides advice on minor conflicts, for example within the families.

    HOW MUCH?

    In 2014, Sida contributed with three million SEK to NRC's efforts to assist refugees from Mali with shelter in Burkina Faso. For 2015, the support is planned to increase to four million SEK.

    RESULTS

    In 2014, NRC reached 535households (approximately 1920 people) with shelter and the target for 2015 is 400 households. In total, shelter for 5000 households have been completed since the NRC's efforts started in 2012.

    • in January 2015

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