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    Source: Society for Threatened Peoples
    Country: Mali

    Mali's Prime Minister resigns after being arrested by putschists

    Göttingen, December 11, 2012

    The Society for Threatened Peoples (STP) demands that – because the Malian Prime Minister Sheik Modibo Diarra resigned after being arrested – the planned European training mission for the Malian army should be put on hold immediately. "The European Union must now clarify if the soldiers who are supposed to be trained really believe in democratic principles and respect the internationally approved transitional government", said the STP's expert on questions regarding Africa, Ulrich Delius, in Göttingen on Tuesday. The dramatic escalation of the political crisis in Mali shows that the latent tensions between the army and the government of the north-west African country must be settled before starting a European training mission. It would be a risk to begin an international military intervention, because Mali's army and government are hopelessly divided.

    "Mali's armed forces are currently more of a security risk than being able to stand in for the constitution – not exactly a suitable partner for an international military intervention to try to end the terror reign of the radical Islamists in the north of the country," warned Delius. "It is strange that the European foreign ministers – who met in Brussels on Monday to agree on a EUTM mission in Mali – didn't even discuss any possible objectives and limits of the mission. There are more questions than answers to this matter. Are EU-soldiers supposed to accompany Malian army personnel in combat? What are the planned scopes of the defense-consultations for Mali? Why does the EU not insist on a complete reform of the security sector in Mali, when it is obvious that parts of the army are not willing to follow their own government?"

    In the EUTM mission, around 250 soldiers from Germany, Belgium, France, Great Britain, Spain, Italy, Ireland and Slovenia are supposed to train four Malian battalions in anti-terror measures and to advise the Ministry of Defense in Mali. The country is to be supported in its effort to re-gain two-thirds of the national territory in northern Mali, which is being controlled by radical Islamic forces since the summer of 2012.

    On Tuesday morning, the Malian Prime Minister Sheik Modibo Diarra had resigned after being arrested by soldiers who belong to the rebel leader Amadou Sanogo. On March 21, 2012, Sanogo had overthrown the elected President Amadou Toumani Touré, starting a political crisis that caused large areas to be occupied by Islamist rebels.

    Ulrich Delius can be contacted by phone: +49 (0)551-49906-27.

    Translated by Robert Kurth

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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Kenya

    MARALAL, Kenya [ACTED News] - In the Arid Lands of Kenya, livestock provides the principal source of revenue for most families. The loss of cattle due to contracted diseases is frequent and damaging for many.

    ACTED teams in Kenya are currently working to support the establishment of a participatory epidemiologic surveillance system in the Arid Lands that will allow livestock keepers to play a greater role in assuring the health of their animals. This initiative is carried out in close collaboration with the district veterinary officers, who will ensure that the lessons learned during this project are documented in order to reduce the spread of disease and as such the number of deaths among livestock, better securing the livelihoods of pastoralists in this region. This initiative is part of a European Commission Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection funded consortium.

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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali

    More than 200,000 people have fled from their homes since conflict erupted in northern Mali earlier this year, worsening an existing hunger crisis brought on by the Sahel drought. Despite the logistical challenges and insecurity, WFP is managing to get food to many of the displaced families. MOPTI -- They come in long, narrow boats across the Niger river, fisher folk who fled from the conflict in northern Mali arriving at a WFP food distribution point on the bustling quayside at Mopti.

    Just a few metres away, porters wade past their waists with boxes of food assistance on their heads, loading brightly-decorated local boats, or pinasses, with badly-needed food supplies and nutrition products for Timbuktu in the north.

    Picking up her entitlement of fortified flour, split peas and cooking oil, was Rokiyatou, heavily pregnant with her second child. Her husband was beaten and detained by armed groups in the town of Nafounkeh, near Timbuktu so she left and now lives on an island in the river. “I know how important the WFP food is for my new baby, and this food assistance is my only hope,” she said.

    The conflict which erupted in Mali in 2012 has seen the north of the country taken over by armed groups. More than 200,000 people have fled from their homes and the same number again have left the country altogether to become refugees in neighbouring West African states.

    "It was war"

    Most of the internally displaced people (IDPs) in Mali are staying with host families, but some are in makeshift settlements such as the one at Sevare near Mopti. A mother of young twins, Oumou (see photo above left), was sweeping the sand out of her tent. "I had to leave because of the shooting," she says. “It was war. At least here I get rice and peas.”

    A few hundred metres away, at Wailirde School, they have had to construct a makeshift tent extension to cope with the influx of displaced families – 272 displaced children and eight displaced teachers.

    Amadou Niangaly, Director of the Mopti education authority, said he was grateful to WFP for providing children with breakfast as well as lunch, as part of an emergency school feeding programme. “They were coming here hungry and when you have nothing in your stomach you have nothing in your head and you can’t study,” he said.

    Meanwhile the country is recovering from a severe drought, and malnutrition rates are high. In the last year, WFP reached 1.2 million people throughout Mali, including more than 270,000 in the north of the country, where the security situation makes access for humanitarian workers difficult. Partnering with nine nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) in the north, WFP is concentrating on preventing and combatting malnutrition among mothers and children under the age of 5.

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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Mali

    BAMAKO, 12 December 2012 (IRIN) - Mali’s coup-triggered political crisis that has seen half the country seized by Islamist militias deepened with the arrest and resignation this week of interim Prime Minister Cheick Modibo Diarra - something which could complicate international peace efforts, say analysts and observers.

    Nine months ago, renegade troops overthrew President Amadou Toumani Touré, making possible an Islamist conquest of the north. Under international pressure and mediation by the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the junta turned over power to a civilian leadership, but political wrangling and the influence of ex-coup leader Amadou Sanogo have often hobbled negotiations to resolve the crisis.

    Diarra, a 60-year-old astrophysicist appointed prime minister in April, was arrested by troops on the evening of 10 December as he was about to leave for Paris. The soldiers are reported to have been acting on Sanogo’s orders.

    Diarra was accused of jeopardizing a planned national dialogue on restoring democracy. In a televised address, he did not specify why he quit, but relations between him, Sanogo and interim President Dioncounda Traoré had been strained.

    Less than 24 hours after his resignation, the president appointed the country’s former ombudsman and a seasoned public administrator, Diango Cissoko, as the new prime minister.

    “The removal of Diarra complicates the resolution of the Malian crisis…There is a big risk that this week's events could delay the talks now under way with some rebel groups, and the prospect of military intervention which had been acting as a lever on the rebels, encouraging them to negotiate,” said Paul Melly, a journalist and associate fellow of the Africa Programme at Chatham House, a UK think tank.

    Bakary Mariko, Sanogo’s spokesman, said Diarra had been “doing everything to block the national dialogue...

    “There is an institutional deadlock at the top level of government. It’s difficult to understand that a prime minister of a country in crisis cared only about himself. He works alone, doesn’t consult the president and makes pronouncements that go against those of the president and the people of Mali,” Mariko said.

    “He causes confusion in and outside Mali. We wanted a unifying prime minister, but Cheick Modibo was the opposite.”

    Gilles Yabi, of the International Crisis Group (ICG) think tank, said Diarra’s departure would not be regretted much, although it indicated the extent of the military’s sway in Malian politics.

    “Very few people within the political class in Mali and within the international community will regret the departure of Modibo Diarra who discredited himself by showing that he was more interested in building a basis for his own presidential future than focusing on managing a transition in a country in deep crisis,” Yabi told IRIN.

    Mali’s former colonial power France voiced worry over Diarra’s resignation: “We condemn the circumstances under which Cheick Modibo Diarra was forced to resign,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

    ECOWAS role

    ECOWAS has been urging the UN Security Council to authorize an urgent military intervention to retake northern Mali from the Islamist Ansar Dine militia which controls swathes of territory alongside the Movement for Unity and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO) and Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQMI).

    The regional body has also opened talks with the some of the forces in the north. On 4 December, ECOWAS mediator and Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaoré led talks in Ouagadougou between Mali government representatives and those of Ansar Dine and the National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), a separatist Tuareg movement that initially captured key towns in northern Mali before being uprooted by Islamist forces.

    While the UN and ECOWAS seem to disagree on the timing of a military intervention, the threat of force may have already helped in opening up talks with Ansar Dine and the MNLA, according to analysts who stress that diplomacy and force are mutually inclusive.

    “There isn’t a choice to be made between a military option to retake the north and a negotiated settlement,” said the ICG’s Yabi. “The crisis is complex and calls for a strategy that combines the different security, military and political aspects. What’s important is having a comprehensive strategy.”

    The ECOWAS Council of Ministers on 1 December said it was “disturbed by the seeming lack of urgency” in deploying forces to Mali. The comments were in response to UN chief Ban Ki-moon’s report days earlier in which he said a military solution should be a “last resort” to deal with hardline extremists and criminals in the north and that negotiations should take precedence.

    Compromise possible?

    “It is possible to imagine an agreement over enhanced autonomy and development spending for the north that could satisfy the MNLA, which is the latest manifestation of a decades old pattern of Tuareg uprisings to support demand for better treatment of the north,” Chatham House’s Melly said. “Such a compromise could also have attractions for Ansar Dine's leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, who has long been a major figure in northern Malian affairs.”

    MUJAO and AQMI are not involved in the negotiations.

    ECOWAS says it has 3,300 troops from regional countries it plans to deploy to Mali, but the UN has raised questions about how such a mission would be led, sustained, trained, equipped and financed.

    In his report, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said that “if a military intervention in the north is not well conceived and executed, it could worsen an already extremely fragile humanitarian situation and also result in severe human rights abuses.”

    At the start of December, 353,745 Malians still remained displaced due to the crisis and a severe drought that struck the Sahel region this year which forced them to flee to other regions of the country or to neighbouring states.


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    Source: Washington Post
    Country: Mali

    By Sudarsan Raghavan\

    SEGOU, Mali — On a sweltering afternoon, Islamist police officers dragged Fatima Al Hassan out of her house in the fabled city of Timbuktu. They beat her up, shoved her into a white pickup truck and drove her to their headquarters. She was locked up in a jail as she awaited her sentence: 100 lashes with an electrical cord.

    Read the full report on the Washington Post.

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    Source: ICRC
    Country: Mali, Syrian Arab Republic (the), World

    À partir de quel moment une situation de violence est-elle qualifiée de conflit armé ? Quelle différence cela fait-il pour les acteurs ou les victimes de cette violence ? L'enjeu est important : la qualification de la situation va déterminer les règles de droit applicables.

    En cas de conflit armé non international, ou conflit interne, c’est le droit international humanitaire qui s’applique. Celui-ci vise à limiter les méthodes et moyens qui peuvent être utilisés pour faire la guerre, et à protéger les personnes qui ne participent pas ou plus aux hostilités.
    Lors d'une situation de violence collective survenant dans un pays, le CICR évalue s’il s’agit d’un conflit armé sur la base de critères juridiques bien établis. Si ces critères sont remplis, cela lui permet de rappeler aux parties au conflit les règles de droit applicables.

    Les hostilités qui ont éclaté début 2012 dans le nord du Mali entre des groupes armés et les forces armées maliennes, de même que celles qui opposent, en Syrie, des groupes armés aux forces gouvernementales syriennes, sont des exemples récents de conflits armés non internationaux.

    "Ceux qui prennent part à un conflit armé doivent notamment respecter les règles suivantes : interdiction de mener des attaques directes contre les civils et des attaques sans discrimination , obligation de respecter le principe de proportionnalité dans l’attaque et obligation de prendre toutes les précautions pratiquement possibles en vue d’épargner les civils. "


    Qu’est-ce qu’un conflit armé non international ?

    Kathleen Lawand est la cheffe sortante de l’unité du CICR chargée de formuler des recommandations sur le droit applicable aux conflits armés et autres situations de violence dans le cadre desquels l’institution mène des activités humanitaires. Elle répond à quelques questions récurrentes concernant la qualification juridique des conflits armés non internationaux.

    Quand une situation de violence devient-elle un conflit armé non international et en quoi cette qualification est-elle importante ?

    Un conflit armé non international (ou conflit armé « interne ») désigne une situation de violence dans laquelle des affrontements éclatent de manière prolongée entre les forces gouvernementales et un ou plusieurs groupes armés organisés, ou entre de tels groupes, sur le territoire d’un État.

    Contrairement à un conflit armé international, qui oppose les forces armées de plusieurs États, un conflit armé non international compte au moins un groupe armé non étatique parmi les deux camps qui s’affrontent.

    L’existence d’un conflit armé non international entraîne l’application du droit international humanitaire (DIH), également appelé droit des conflits armés, qui fixe les limites que les parties doivent respecter dans la conduite des hostilités et octroie une protection à toutes les personnes touchées par le conflit. Le DIH impose des obligations égales aux deux parties au conflit, sans pour autant conférer un statut juridique aux groupes d’opposition armés impliqués.

    Quels critères doivent être remplis pour pouvoir parler de conflit armé ?

    Aux termes du DIH, deux critères doivent être remplis pour qu’il y ait conflit armé non international : les groupes armés impliqués doivent montrer un degré minimum d’organisation, et les confrontations armées doivent atteindre un certain niveau d’intensité. Une analyse au cas par cas doit être effectuée pour déterminer si ces critères sont remplis, sur la base de plusieurs indicateurs concrets.

    Le niveau d’intensité de la violence est déterminé au regard d’indicateurs tels que la durée et la gravité des affrontements armés, le type de forces gouvernementales intervenant, le nombre de combattants et de troupes impliqués, les types d’armes utilisés, le nombre de victimes et l’étendue des dommages causés par les combats. Le degré d’organisation du groupe armé est évalué sur la base de facteurs comme l’existence d’une chaîne de commandement, la capacité de donner et de faire exécuter des ordres, la capacité de planifier et de lancer des opérations militaires coordonnées, et la capacité de recruter, former et équiper de nouveaux combattants. Je souligne que la motivation d’un groupe armé n’entre aucunement en ligne de compte.

    Un conflit armé non international est à distinguer des formes moins graves de violence collective telles que troubles civils, émeutes, actes isolés de terrorisme ou autres actes sporadiques de violence.

    Quelle est la différence entre un conflit armé non international et une « guerre civile » ?

    Il n’y a pas véritablement de différence. Le terme de « guerre civile » en tant que tel n’a pas de signification juridique. Il est employé par certains pour désigner un conflit armé non international. L’article 3 commun aux Conventions de Genève – dit « commun » parce qu’il est identique dans les quatre Conventions – n’emploie pas ce terme de « guerre civile », renvoyant plutôt à la notion de « conflit armé ne présentant pas un caractère international ».

    Le CICR évite généralement d’employer le terme de « guerre civile » lorsqu’il communique publiquement ou avec les parties à un conflit armé, et parle de conflits armés « non internationaux » ou « internes », car ces expressions reflètent les termes de l’article 3 commun.

    Quels traités et quelles règles les parties à un conflit armé non international doivent-elles respecter ?

    Les parties à un conflit armé non international doivent au minimum se conformer à l’article 3 commun aux Conventions de Genève et aux règles du DIH coutumier. Ces règles garantissent un traitement humain à toute personne qui tombe au pouvoir de l’ennemi, et disposent que les personnes blessées pendant les hostilités, y compris les combattants ennemis blessés, doivent être recueillies et soignées sans discrimination.

    L’éclatement d’un conflit armé a d’importantes conséquences au niveau des obligations juridiques qui incombent aux parties, en particulier en ce qui concerne l’usage de la force. En effet, le DIH autorise le recours à une force de plus grande intensité dans les conflits armés que dans les autres situations de violence, ce bien sûr contre des cibles légitimes et dans des limites strictes destinées à protéger les civils.

    Les parties à un conflit armé doivent notamment respecter les règles suivantes dans la conduite des hostilités : l’interdiction de mener des attaques directes contre les civils ; l’interdiction de mener des attaques sans discrimination ; l’obligation de respecter le principe de proportionnalité dans l’attaque ; et l’obligation de prendre toutes les précautions pratiquement possibles dans la planification et l’exécution des opérations militaires en vue d’épargner les civils.

    Que se passe-t-il si les parties à un conflit armé non international ne respectent pas les obligations qui leur incombent au titre du DIH ?

    Toute personne qui participe à un conflit armé doit respecter le DIH et veiller à ce qu’il soit respecté par toutes les personnes agissant sous ses instructions, ou sous ses directives ou sous son contrôle. Il faut souligner que toute partie doit respecter le DIH, même si la partie adverse ne le fait pas ; en d’autres termes, l’obligation de respecter le DIH ne repose pas sur la réciprocité.

    S’agissant des graves violations du DIH se produisant dans des conflits armés non internationaux – appelées également crimes de guerre –, les États doivent engager des poursuites pénales à l’encontre des personnes soupçonnées d’avoir commis de tels actes. Sous certaines conditions, les criminels de guerre présumés peuvent également être traduits devant la Cour pénale internationale.

    Je devrais souligner que le CICR, conformément au statut spécial que lui confère le droit international et en sa qualité d’institution humanitaire neutre et indépendante, n’intervient d’aucune façon dans les enquêtes et procédures pénales relatives aux crimes de guerre, qui relèvent de la seule responsabilité des États.

    Dans un conflit armé non international, les combattants ennemis capturés sont-ils considérés comme des prisonniers de guerre ?

    Non. Le terme de « prisonnier de guerre » renvoie à un statut spécial octroyé par la troisième Convention de Genève aux soldats (« combattants ») ennemis capturés dans des conflits armés internationaux uniquement. Les prisonniers de guerre ne peuvent pas être poursuivis pour des actes licites en vertu du DIH (comme avoir attaqué les forces ennemies). À l’inverse, dans un conflit armé non international, le DIH n’interdit pas de poursuivre les combattants rebelles capturés pour le simple fait d’avoir pris les armes, bien qu’il encourage les gouvernements à accorder l’amnistie la plus large possible au terme d’un conflit armé, sauf pour les personnes soupçonnées ou accusées de crimes de guerre, ou ayant été condamnées pour crimes de guerre.

    Le fait que des groupes armés puissent être parties à un conflit armé ne leur donne-t-il pas à tort une forme de légitimité ?

    Comme cela est rappelé dans l’article 3 commun aux Conventions de Genève, le simple fait qu’un groupe armé – qu’il soit dit « criminel », « de libération », « terroriste » ou autre – soit partie à un conflit armé ne lui confère aucun statut particulier au titre du DIH. Cela lui crée par contre des obligations juridiques, comme à toute partie à un conflit armé, plus particulièrement l’obligation de veiller à ce que ses membres respectent le DIH en tout temps.

    L’application du DIH ne porte en aucun cas atteinte à la souveraineté d’un État ou au droit d’un gouvernement de réprimer une rébellion par la force armée et de poursuivre les insurgés selon la législation nationale.

    Le droit international humanitaire a pour seul objectif de limiter le plus possible les souffrances causées par les conflits armés. Il réglemente uniquement la manière dont les hostilités sont conduites et non pas les motifs pour lesquels elles ont lieu. Dans les conflits armés internes en particulier, le DIH impose des obligations à chaque partie belligérante, quel que soit son statut juridique – cette question est régie par d’autres branches du droit.

    En vertu de quelle autorité le CICR détermine-t-il si une situation de violence constitue un conflit armé ?

    Pour s’acquitter de son mandat humanitaire dans une situation de violence donnée, le CICR évalue s’il s’agit ou non d’un conflit armé, ce qui lui permet de rappeler les règles applicables dans le cadre du dialogue qu’il entretient avec les personnes participant à la violence.

    Bien que la qualification juridique d’une situation de violence par le CICR ne soit pas contraignante pour les États, le mandat spécifique conféré à l’institution par les Conventions de Genève et le rôle historique joué par celle-ci dans l’élaboration du DIH donnent un poids tout particulier à ses qualifications, que les États doivent prendre en compte de bonne foi.

    Comment le CICR détermine-t-il si une situation de violence constitue un conflit armé ?

    Le CICR analyse très soigneusement les situations de violence concernées afin de déterminer le cadre juridique applicable. Il effectue sa propre évaluation indépendante, s’appuyant de préférence sur les informations de première main collectées par ses délégations sur le terrain ou, faute d’informations de ce type, sur des sources crédibles et fiables de seconde main.

    Lorsqu’il détermine qu’il y a conflit armé, comment le CICR communique-t-il sa qualification ?

    En principe, une fois qu’il a conclu qu’une situation de violence atteint le seuil du conflit armé, le CICR va en premier lieu et dès que possible communiquer son appréciation juridique aux parties au conflit, sur une base bilatérale et dans la stricte confidentialité. Ce faisant, il vise à initier le dialogue avec chacune des parties sur les mesures qu’elles prennent pour respecter le DIH. Dans un deuxième temps, l’institution communiquera publiquement sa qualification. Dans des cas exceptionnels, le CICR peut décider de ne pas communiquer immédiatement sa qualification aux parties ou au public, par exemple dans les situations d’urgence où les besoins humanitaires sont énormes et où la priorité est d’accéder à la population pour lui porter assistance.

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    Source: ReliefWeb, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Gambia (the), Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Senegal

    Severe food insecurity and malnutrition in the Sahel have presented CERF and the humanitarian community with one of the biggest challenges in 2012. More than 18 million people in eight countries face food insecurity, and 1 million children under age 5 are at risk of dying. Successive droughts, combined with conflict, displacement and cholera outbreaks, have exacerbated the crisis. Since the crisis began, CERF has allocated more than US$111 million to countries in the Sahel to tackle food insecurity and nutrition needs, and to address displacement and prevent disease outbreaks.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Togo


    • As of 1 December, the total number of Malian refugees in Niger, Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Cote d’Ivoire, Algeria, Togo and Guinea is 155,187 persons. The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali as a result of the crisis is estimated at 198,558. The current number of Malian refugees and IDPs is 353,745 persons.

    • On 11 November in Abuja, ECOWAS Heads of State adopted a harmonized Concept of Operations for the deployment of the proposed African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) in Mali for an initial period of one year.

    • Following the outcome of the Level 2 Registration of Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, UNHCR, partners and the Burkina Faso authorities have adjusted and re-aligned funding and operational requirements in line with the new figures. The 2012 Supplementary Budget for the Mali situation has been officially decreased by USD 30.2 million.

    • In Niger, the Level 2 Registration, which will provide comprehensive data for enhanced protection and assistance delivery for Malian refugees, started in Niamey on 12 November, and proceeded in Abala, Mangaize and Tabareybarey camps on 22 November. The registration exercise is expected to be completed in Niger by the end of January.

    • In Mauritania, the Level 2 Registration exercise which started in Mbera camp on 18 September, ended on 29 November. The current number of Malian refugees in the camp is 54,117, a decrease of approximately 50% compared to previous figures of an estimated 108,000 persons obtained through Level 1 Registration. UNHCR, partners and the Mauritanian authorities will start the process of adjustment and re-alignment of funding and operational requirements in line with the new figures.

    • The Assistant High Commissioner for Refugees for Operations, Ms. Janet Lim, the Deputy Executive Director of the World Food Programme, Mr. Ramiro Lopes da Silva, and the Deputy Executive Director of UNICEF, Ms. Yoka Brandt, undertook a mission in Mauritania from 18 to 22 November to visit programmes implemented by UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF in Mauritania and to conduct strategic discussions on ways to reinforce the collaboration between the three agencies.

    • From 10 to 14 November, the First Secretary of the Political Affairs Division of the Permanent Mission of Japan in Geneva, Ms. Satoko Toku, visited Malian refugees in Burkina to help increase visibility in their situation.

    • From 26 to 28 November, UNHCR organized a workshop in Dakar to finalize the Mali Regional Contingency Plan in order to prepare for a well-coordinated refugee response to a further mass influx of Malian refugees into neighbouring countries in the event of a possible international military intervention in the north of Mali.

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

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  • 12/12/12--17:24: Kenya: Kenya’s Cash Cows
  • Source: US Agency for International Development
    Country: Kenya

    By Robin Johnson

    Mary Rono used to fit the mold of the archetypal Kenyan dairy farmer. The 56-year-old retired government social worker living in the village of Kibomet in Kenya’s Rift Valley would milk her family’s herd of eight cows once a day. If an informal trader happened to pass by, she would sell the milk for a mere 18 shillings (or 22 cents) per liter. This, and the sale of vegetables from her garden, generated her only cash income.

    In 2004, a sequence of events transformed her profession and her life. Rono visited a dairy cooperative in Nyala town that was receiving assistance from the now completed USAID/Kenya Dairy Development Program. She was introduced to simple, yet affordable techniques to increase her milk yield, such as milking her cows several times a day and growing her own fodder to feed the cows instead of letting them graze.

    Thrilled by the improvements, Rono set out to find a better market for her fresh milk. She continued to receive advice from the subsequent USAID/Kenya Dairy Sector Competitiveness Program, and she helped form a cooperative so she could bulk her milk with other farmers. She was able to purchase two more heifers. In 2009, she started a self-help group with 15 members: Today, she is the chairperson of the 365-member Koitogos Dynamic Cooperative Society.

    “We are now bulking more than 1,000 liters of milk per day, and receiving double the price per liter. We have been able to do a lot with the profits we get from the dairy. We are able to contribute to the school fees of our children. We are able to pay our loans with ease,” says Rono.

    In Kenya, keeping cows has always been a way of life, but not a business. Now an emerging class of entrepreneurs like Rono is transforming the status quo with USAID support, fueling the drought-prone country’s dairy sector as an engine of economic growth and food security.

    Land O’Milk

    Since it began in mid-2008, the dairy program—implemented with agribusiness cooperative giant Land O’Lakes—has assisted more than 319,000 smallholder milk producers, as well as hundreds of processors, retailers and exporters up and down Kenya’s dairy value chain.

    The result has been startling: an average income boost of $675 per rural farming family—more than $167 million overall. In a country where the average yearly income is $509, the extra cash goes far.

    According to Mary Munene, a business development services specialist with the ongoing USAID/Kenya Dairy Sector Competitiveness Program, as Kenya’s dairy farmers become more entrepreneurial, they create a demand for new and better services. “Thousands of private-sector service providers have emerged as the Kenya dairy sector grows,” said Munene.

    After running his petrol station on the main road in Kangema, in Muranga County, for 30 years, 52-year-old Joseph Githahu understands the limitations of the informal milk traders—Rono’s former milk merchants. Known locally as hawkers, many of them operate on motorbikes, stringing the plastic liter jugs of the milk they buy across the saddle and handlebars. The largest amount of milk some hawkers can collect, transport and sell in a day is around 20 liters. After that point, spoilage diminishes returns, and creates unhappy customers. With a profit margin of 10 shillings (12 cents) per liter, many hawkers found it difficult to pay expenses and feed their families, and, too often, Githahu reported, would fail to pay the farmers for the milk.

    In 2009, Githahu decided to invest in professionalizing the milk-collection process that so many families in his rural community depend on for cash. He turned to the competitiveness program for information on the proper handling of fresh milk.

    He took out a bank loan to buy his first truck. “In three years, I’ve worked up to having seven pick-up trucks, two 3-ton trucks and a 5-ton truck. My staff is trained on how to test the milk for bacteria and to ensure that no water has been added by farmers desperate for a few extra shillings,” says Githahu.

    Githahu’s Kirere Dairy Services buys 8,000 liters of milk per day from smallholder farmers and sells it to large processors such as Brookside Dairy or New KCC. Every morning at 6 a.m., the Kirere fleet fans out to collect the milk along the routes that radiate from the dairy. Farmers wait at designated points with one, two or more liters of milk to sell. By 8:30 a.m., fresh milk arrives at the dairy to be transferred, can by can, to the cooler. Githahu began by investing in one, and then two, agitation coolers, at a cost of $20,000 each. But he has upgraded to a more high-tech—and, at $62,000, considerably more expensive—cooling system that cools the milk to the required 4 degrees Celsius rapidly.

    Through the USAID dairy program, Githahu had access to advice on borrowing and supported the development of his business plan. Now, he is paying that knowledge forward. As he travels the different collection routes, he educates local farmers in the proper handling of the fresh milk and encourages them to buy nutritious feed to supplement the farm fodder they feed the cows.

    “I keep investing my profits into the dairy,” Githahu explains. “This is a long-term investment in my community.”

    Now, in addition to his milk collection, Githahu also offers the farmers feeds and artificial insemination services. “Purchasing and maintaining a high-quality bull is beyond the means of these farmers. But artificial insemination offers an affordable alternative,” he says.

    Artificial insemination had previously been the sole domain of the Kenyan Government. “Today, 951 entrepreneurs are registered with the government as private providers of artificial insemination services,” says Julius Kiptarus, director of livestock production at Kenya’s Ministry of Livestock Development. “This is in line with our policy to foster a … modern agriculture sector that has the potential to pump an additional $1 billion into the economy.”

    Getting Credit

    Along with these new dairy value-chain entrepreneurs, private capital is also warming to the dairy sector. Kenya Commercial Bank (KCB) is the largest of several private banks and microfinance institutions to invest in its growth. Over the past two years, USAID’s Financial Inclusion for Rural Microenterprises project helped KCB develop an agriculture strategy and create a dairy lending business line, backed by $5 million in USAID loan guarantees and technical assistance to show them how lending to smallholders can be profitable.

    In Kenya’s northern Rift Valley, KCB’s Eldoret West branch is offering dairy herd improvement loans, which Elseba Ndiema, a loan officer there, says is exactly what clients want. “We call it the ng’ombe loan, or dairy herd loan,” she says.

    According to Ndiema, dairy farming only becomes profitable once a farmer is able to maintain a herd of six or more cows. The ng’ombe loan allows smallholder farmers to achieve that scale. Ndiema manages a portfolio of 30 dairy loans valued at $290,000. Approximately $9 million in dairy-related loans have been issued since January 2012 across the 32 KCB branches.

    “For us at KCB—a large and conservative bank—lending into agriculture at the smallholder level and to others in the value chain that are not corporations was a major shift in thinking for us. Doing so would not have been possible without USAID’s research, product development and training,” says Wilfred Musau, director of retail banking.

    KCB determines a dairy farmer’s creditworthiness based not on the traditional assessment of collateral, but rather by examining the purchase records of milk collection centers and processors. Milk purchasers are more than willing to share the information knowing that it will result in larger herds and more milk to buy.

    Moving Toward Exports

    According to the Kenya Dairy Board, the volume of milk going to the processing plants has increased nearly three-fold, from 144 million liters in 2002 to 549 million liters in 2011. Although there are 35 commercial processors, the three largest—New KCC, Brookside Dairy and Githunguri Dairy—control about 75 percent of the market.

    “About 92 percent of Kenya’s dairy production is consumed locally and 8 percent is exported in the form of powdered milk and other long-lasting products,” says Machira Gichohi, managing director of the Kenya Dairy Board. “To continue to achieve the 7-percent growth rate envisioned in the government’s agricultural strategy, the dairy sub-sector is going to need to move towards exporting fresh dairy products and that’s going to require a greater investment in quality controls and cold storage facilities.”

    Going Commercial

    Since 1990, the number of smallholder farmers producing milk has increased by 260 percent. Today, dairy is responsible for 14 percent of Kenya’s agricultural GDP and 4 percent of the country’s total wealth, and supports 1.5 million smallholder farmers. Over 12 years, the sector has spawned more than 1.25 million private-sector jobs in milk transportation, processing, distribution and other industry support services.

    “The dairy subsector has potential to improve the livelihoods of the majority smallholder family farmers and realize transformation from subsistence farming to a competitive, commercial and sustainable dairy industry for economic growth and wealth creation,” says Mohamed Abdi Kuti, minister for livestock development.

    “I expect to see these transformational approaches to smallholder dairy farming continue to expand, even after the USAID-funded program is completed, to all 1.5 million rural Kenyan families that keep cows,” said Munene.

    The dairy sector is a key part of the United States’ global hunger and food security initiative, also known as Feed the Future, in the East African country.

    “The dairy sector is crucial in order to increase the incomes of rural farming families and contribute to the nutritional diversity of the nation’s diet. By producing more than they can eat and selling it on the market, rural farming families attain the resiliency to withstand crises such as drought, flooding or price spikes in staple foods,” says Mark Meassick, director of the agriculture office at USAID/Kenya.

    Mary Rono says the cooperative model helped stave off hunger in Kibomet. During 2010 and 2011, some of the worst droughts in decades hit the Horn of Africa, resulting in famine in parts of Kibomet. However, Rono’s cooperative society was able to weather the dry period without losing income. “During that drought, most of the farmers did not have enough feed for their cows, so the cows could not produce enough milk to be sold and the farmers’ incomes dropped tremendously. A few families starved,” Rono remembers.

    Said Rosaline Niega, a cooperative member: “Being in a cooperative, our milk had a higher price, and that helped us to earn money to feed our families.”

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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Ethiopia, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Tajikistan, World, Zambia

    No child should be denied their right to immunisation – but millions still are

    One child in five misses out on basic vaccinations.

    Immunisation for All identifies country-level strategies to reach the unreached. And it identifies factors at the global level that will help to create a more conducive environment for countries to achieve and sustain universal immunisation coverage.

    Finally, the report makes a series of recommendations to governments, development partners, the private sector and civil society. It urges all actors to seize the opportunity we have this decade to achieve universal access to immunisation.

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    Source: Refugees International
    Country: Mali

    Since hard-line Islamist groups took control of northern Mali earlier this year, regional and international attention has focused on plans for an African-led military force to drive out the insurgents. But this focus has distracted from the unmet and growing needs of displaced Malians, the majority of whom have fled to the country's south. Although easily accessible, they have received only limited assistance to date. With both the civilian government and the Malian army in a state of disarray, it will take time to get the political process on track and the army in shape to retake the north. In the meantime, meeting the needs of those displaced in the south must be prioritized. In addition, given the likelihood of a further deterioration of humanitarian conditions in both the north and south, coordination of the humanitarian response must be improved and far more emphasis must be placed on ensuring that well-developed and resourced humanitarian contingency plans are in place and ready for implementation.


    Over the past year, a complex humanitarian emergency has been unfolding in Mali with wide-ranging political and security implications for the broader region. In January, Tuareg separatists, long marginalized by the civilian government in the south, launched a rebellion to establish an independent state in northern Mali. The Malian government’s weak response to the rebellion sparked a military coup d’état in the capital, Bamako. Under international pressure, the junta’s leaders handed power over to an interim government in April, but political instability persists. In December, the military forced the resignation of the prime minister and the dissolution of his government. Meanwhile in the north, the power vacuum provided an opportunity for insurgents to seize control of vast areas and key population centers. Over the past eight months, the situation has rapidly deteriorated as the Tuareg separatists were pushed out by hard-line Islamists groups, including Ansar Dine, Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (a regional, criminal terrorist network), and its splinter group, the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa (MUJAO).

    The eruption of violence in Mali has had significant humanitarian impacts. Civilians in the north have been subjected to wide-spread human rights abuses, including killings, targeted executions, mutilations, rape and other forms of violence against women, and recruitment of child soldiers. In addition, approximately 400,000 people have been forced to flee and are now displaced either internally or as refugees in neighboring countries. Compounding the problem is the fact that when the conflict broke out earlier this year, Mali and its neighbors were already struggling to cope with a food crisis affecting 18 million people across the Sahel – including 4.6 million Malians. The presence of illegal armed groups has seriously hindered humanitarian access to already food-insecure populations in the north. In March, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Assistance (OCHA) activated seven clusters to coordinate the humanitarian response to the unfolding emergency: food security, nutrition, health, protection, logistics, emergency telecoms, education, and water & sanitation (WASH). The shelter cluster was activated in November.

    As of writing, it appears most likely that the UN Security Council will approve plans by ECOWAS (a West African regional organization) to launch an African-led military operation with the goal of restoring Mali’s territorial integrity. For that to occur, however, the splintered and disorganized Malian army will need to be reassembled, trained, equipped, and brought under civilian authority – a process that in and of itself could take six months to a year. In addition, the U.S. and other western governments have requested – and rightfully so – that any military deployment be accompanied by a parallel political process that includes elections and the restoration of a democratically-elected, civilian government.

    There is a real chance that the deployment of a military force to northern Mali will be accompanied by a dramatic worsening of the humanitarian situation. Civilians are likely to be caught in the crossfire, additional forced displacement could occur, and insecurity may further hinder humanitarian access. But it is also likely that in the time it takes to ready a military force, the situation could deteriorate further; further political upheaval or the expansion of the insurgency south are two of the many scenarios that could play out. As discussed below, the UN humanitarian country team (HCT) is struggling to properly organize itself and respond to growing needs, including those of displaced populations in the south. Without immediate improvements, the HCT will be ill-prepared for political or humanitarian contingencies.

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    Source: Save the Children
    Country: Nigeria

    by David Olayemi

    The GAVI Partners’ Forum meeting in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, has come and gone. I almost missed it, but I am glad I did not, as it contained some important lessons for the world and for my beloved country, Nigeria.

    It is no longer news that polio remains endemic in Nigeria. In fact, Nigeria is the only country in Africa where it is still so prevalent. This is surprising given that Nigeria is surrounded by nations with less funds and fewer health resources.

    Out of reach

    Of the 22 million children around the world who are not currently reached by GAVI’s global immunisation campaign, 3.1 million (14%) are in Nigeria.

    As a nation, Nigeria is second only to India, where 7.2 million children are not vaccinated. And when we consider that India has a population more than six times as large, in Nigeria there are actually more children per thousand who are not immunised.

    Political will

    At the moment, only 47% of Nigerian children receive DTP3 (three doses of diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis vaccines – the standard measure of immunisation coverage). This is unacceptable.

    As at the time of writing, polio cases in Nigeria this year have risen above 108. That is in spite of the President’s interest in seeing Nigeria join the polio-free league of nations. This clearly demonstrates that political will, evidenced by injecting a lot of money into polio eradication, may not be the answer after all. In fact, there is a sense in which pumping in more money without a robust accountability mechanism is becoming counterproductive.

    Reviewing the strategy

    Polio must be eradicated from Nigeria. But is it time to review the strategy? If we focus on routine immunisation (RI), and if we can reach 80% RI coverage, as most parts of the world have done, I believe it is possible to eliminate polio from Nigeria by the time the world gathers for another GAVI partners’ forum in 2015.

    Save the Children’s recent report, Immunisation for All, makes a number of key recommendations which have particular relevance for Nigeria:

    • Governments need to develop strategies to address inequalities in immunisation that are integrated into national health plans and that strengthen systems – in this context, I am advocating for the rapid passage of the National Health Bill and adoption of Primary Health Care under One Roof by every state Government in Nigeria.

    • Empower communities and engage them meaningfully as strategies are developed, implemented and monitored – the strategies we have been using thus far have gaps that need to be addressed. The approach must move to one in which the community is empowered to own the programme. We must also review the monitoring mechanism, as there is a possibility that vaccines may not be getting to a large number of children – potency and reliability of vaccinators have been called into question.

    GAVI and other donors should also have a clear exit strategy in place for governments to increase support over time until Nigeria takes over its own immunisation programme.

    Support for immunisation from important partners like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, given in the context of strengthened primary healthcare, is commendable.

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    Source: Government of Austria
    Country: Austria, Haiti, Niger (the)

    Vice-Chancellor Michael Spindelegger announces humanitarian help for Haiti and Niger

    Vienna, 11 December 2012 - "Austria is making 800,000 euros from the Foreign Disaster Relief Fund available to alleviate humanitarian distress in Niger and Haiti", Vice-Chancellor and Foreign Minister Michael Spindelegger said after the session of the Ministerial Council on 11 December 2012. "We want to help people whose lives have been shattered by extreme environmental conditions and natural disasters", and he continued:

    "We are donating 400,000 euros to the International Federation of the Societies of the Red Cross and Red Crescent to help the people in Haiti hit by hurricane Sandy. The funds will be mainly used to supply food and water and medical aid to the people."

    The natural disaster hit a country that is still struggling to come to terms with the consequences of the severe earthquake. The torrential rain following the hurricane destroyed some 90,000 hectares of arable land and the harvest in nearly 40% of all communities of the country. According to the World Food Programme, 450,000 people suffer from acute shortage of food. The flood also damaged water supply systems.

    "The humanitarian situation in the Sahel is still critical, and Niger is one of the countries affected. Large parts of the population suffer from food shortage caused by the drought and the flooding that followed. We are therefore going to support the work of Austrian NGOs in the field of food security by making 400,000 euros available."

    Millions of people in the Sahel belt are still starving. Niger, Chad, Mali and Mauritania are the countries that are most seriously affected. According to estimates of the European Commission, there is a shortage of 2.6 million tons of food. The current crisis in Mali, epidemics and political instability further aggravate the situation. More then 19 million people in the region are still suffering under moderate to acute food insecurity, more than one million little children among them. The Federal Government has provided 2.7 million euros for humanitarian aid, including food aid for the people in the Sahel in 2012.

    Federal Ministry for
    European and International Affairs
    Press Department
    Tel.: ++43 (0) 50 1150-3320
    Fax: ++43 (0) 50 1159-213
    e-mail: abti3(at)

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    Source: International Food Policy Research Institute
    Country: Burundi, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Malawi, Rwanda, Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

    A global review of the literature with a focus on the application of integrated pest and vector management in East Africa and Uganda

    Malaria is one of the top five causes of death worldwide, and roughly half the world’s population lives at risk of the disease. This health problem disproportionately affects the poor, particularly those in Africa south of the Sahara, where the disease is widespread. Many of those most afflicted are part of farming households; therefore agriculture, poverty, and health are intimately linked through malaria. Uganda has the highest malaria parasite transmission in the world and is an important case study due to the role agricultural development has played in increasing malaria transmission within the country, according to the literature reviewed here.

    This review brings together current research from agricultural economics, environmental science, and epidemiology to provide a foundation for research directly addressing how malaria relates these fields to one another in malaria-endemic settings such as the East African highlands. While each field has addressed malaria within existing academic frameworks, this literature review should support further interdisciplinary research by providing a detailed and well-documented account of integrative work on malaria to date.

    More than 280 published articles and reports were included in the final review, and many more were included in the selection process. Due to the massive volume of literature published on malaria, the selection has been limited to those articles found to fill particular gaps in interdisciplinary understanding.

    Ambiguities on the causal relationships between malaria and poverty, climate change, irrigation, and land use changes are discussed in the light of high local variation in impact on malaria transmission. Integrated pest management is explored due to its utilization of farmers’ vocational skills and success in reversing the pesticide resistance now threatening malaria interventions worldwide. In particular, integrated pest and vector management (IPVM) interventions are assessed as a potential option to reduce the malaria burden in agricultural communities. Farmer field schools and IPVM may provide a cost-effective and integrated solution for improving both health and poverty outcomes. Such programs can foster collaboration between the health and agricultural sectors, and draw on the expertise of each in contributing to rural development in malaria-endemic areas.

    Wielgosz, Benjamin
    Mangheni, Margaret
    Tsegai, Daniel
    Ringler, Claudia

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    Source: World Food Programme, Government of Senegal
    Country: Senegal


    • Le mois d’octobre correspond à la mise en marché des premiers produits de la campagne agricole en cours. Du coup, les offres en produits locaux augmentent légèrement dans les marchés ruraux de collecte. Toutefois, du fait du taux d’humidité élevé des produits, cette amélioration ne s’accompagne pas de transferts significatifs vers les marchés urbains de consommation pour permettre un renouvellement des stocks.

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    Source: Government of Thailand
    Country: Senegal, Thailand

    Dec 13, 2012 13:58:19

    On 27 November 2012, H.E. Mrs Busaya Mathelin, Ambassador of Thailand to Senegal together with Mrs. Ingeborg Maria Breuer, Representative and Country Director of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Senegal, visited the WFP’s “Food for Assets” activities in Bicol, Fatick.

    During the visit, Ambassador Busaya Mathelin paid a courtesy call on the Governor of Fatick and discussed about the current food security situation in Fatick. The Ambassador and the Thai delegation also observed the rice cultivation site and the multi-purpose gardens in Bicol, which are the resilience-building projects run by local women’s associations under the support of the WFP.

    The Thai delegation’s field visit to the WFP’s “Food for Assets” activities in Bicol, Fatick follows from Thailand’s contribution to Senegal – WFP emergency relief operation in response to the food crisis in Senegal in 2012. In October 2012, the Royal Thai Embassy in Dakar, on behalf of the Royal Thai Government and the people of Thailand, made a contribution of 8 tonnes of Thai rice worth more than 3.5 million FCFA together with the associated cost of 1.75 million FCFA to support the Operation. The Thai rice donated forms part of the WFP’s Food for Assets activity in Mabo, Kaolack. The project provides food assistance to vulnerable communities in exchange for the construction of gabions, which are walls made of wire and filled with rocks or broken concrete, to help restore tracks used in agriculture that became impassable due to water erosion and to improve access to and from the villages. The 8 tonnes of Thai rice will reach 936 beneficiaries in over 156 households in the rural community of Mabo where 176 meters of gabions are expected to be constructed.

    Thailand’s contribution in this occasion is an impetus for greater trilateral cooperation between Thailand, Senegal and the WFP. Thailand is committed to further strengthen this partnership, especially to build resilience for the Senegalese communities in order to fight against food insecurity and malnutrition in the long run, as food security and sustainable development remains high on Thailand’s priority for development cooperation.

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