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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    12/31/2012 22:40 GMT

    BAMAKO, Dec 31, 2012 (AFP) - Mali's interim president said Monday his administration could not wait several months before launching an offensive to wrest the north of the country back from Islamist groups linked to Al-Qaeda.

    The United Nations in December approved a plan by regional bloc ECOWAS to help Bamako oust the extremists, who have occupied the north for nine months, but officials have warned any intervention was unlikely before September.

    "The legitimate, legal, quick and clean war we want to wage with the international community's support... needs more time for all technical, strategic and legal aspects to be fine-tuned," Dioncounda Traore said in a New Year address.

    "However I can tell you one thing: Mali will not wait months, as some seem to advocate. We will not wait for the cancer to spread. The war against the terrorists will happen sooner than expected and the Malian army will be at the forefront."

    The UN Security Council approved the deployment of a 3,300-strong African force but no timetable was agreed and the world body insisted mediation efforts led by Burkina Faso should be supported even as military preparations progressed.

    str-cs/mrb/jmm

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/01/2013 21:00 GMT

    OUAGADOUGOU, 01 jan 2013 (AFP) - Ansar Dine, l'un des groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali, a remis mardi une "plateforme politique" au président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur régional dans la crise malienne, a-t-on appris de source proche de la présidence.

    "Une délégation d'Ansar Dine est venue aujourd'hui (mardi) remettre une plateforme politique au médiateur", a indiqué à l'AFP cette source.

    Le contenu de ce document d'une trentaine de pages n'a pas été révélé, pas plus que la composition de la délégation, qui a quitté le jour même le Burkina Faso.

    Ansar Dine (Défenseurs de l'islam) est l'un des groupes islamistes armés dominant le nord du Mali depuis juin, avec Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) et le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao).

    Ce mouvement, surtout composé de Touareg maliens, est engagé dans des discussions depuis plusieurs mois avec le président Compaoré, médiateur pour la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao), ainsi qu'avec l'Algérie, l'autre pays médiateur.

    Sous l'influence de ces deux pays, Ansar Dine a officiellement renoncé à imposer la charia (loi islamique) dans tout le Mali, mais a exigé de pouvoir continuer à le faire dans les zones sous son influence dans le Nord malien, et s'est dit prêt à négocier avec Bamako.

    Le 20 décembre, le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a adopté une résolution approuvant le déploiement d'une force armée internationale au Mali pour déloger les islamistes armés. Aucun calendrier précis n'a toutefois été décidé pour ce déploiement, programmé par étapes selon les Nations unies, qui ont aussi appelé au dialogue avec les groupes armés rejetant le terrorisme et la partition du pays.

    roh-tmo/jpc

    © 1994-2012 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: Government of the United States of America
    Country: Malawi, United States of America (the)

    Posted by Kate Snipes, Agricultural Counselor, U.S. Embassy Nairobi, Kenya

    School children in the rural communities of Malawi will soon have access to more qualified primary school educators, thanks in part to the Foreign Agricultural Service’s (FAS) Food for Progress (FFP) program.

    The Dowa Teacher Training College opened its doors on Nov. 30 and was built through a unique public-private partnership led by Planet Aid, a non-profit international development organization, with the help of FFP funds. Future primary school teachers will board at the college and learn core subjects, nutrition and health education and community development with a focus on the skills needed to teach in resource-limited schools. More than 250 teachers are expected to graduate from the college annually.

    “This college stands as a testament to the strong cooperation and growing partnership between the United States and Malawi,” said U.S. Ambassador to Malawi Jeanine Jackson, during the college’s opening ceremony. “It reflects our shared commitment to quality education and the promise of a bright and prosperous future.”

    More than 3,000 community members were in attendance, including the Honorable Vice President of Malawi, Khumbo Kachali, and the Honorable Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Eunice Kazembe.

    In addition to the college, FAS supported farmer community groups throughout the country to provide education, training and resources in order to boost the income of rural communities and agricultural development in Malawi. FAS also donated 30,000 metric tons of wheat over the past three years through FFP to support Planet Aid and the organization Development Aid from People to People (DAPP) in Malawi on various capacity building projects.

    The Dowa Teacher Training College helps satisfy an urgent need for qualified educators in Malawi and brings the country closer to meeting the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goal of universal primary education. Helping fund the college showcases USDA’s commitment to assist rural communities worldwide through rural development and education in Africa.

    There are currently more than 100 active FFP projects underway in developing countries worldwide. To learn more about FFP, visit the FAS website.


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    Source: World Bank
    Country: Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the), Nigeria, Senegal
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    LATEST SITUATION

    • 19 million people remain affected by the food and nutrition crisis in West Africa’s Sahel region due to a combination of drought, poor accessibility to food, high grain prices, environmental degradation and displacement due to conflict. The effects of the drought continue to impact the following number of people per country:
      Burkina Faso 2.8
      Chad 3.6
      Mali 4.9
      Mauritania 700,000
      Niger 6.4
      Nigeria 100,000
      Senegal 739,000
      West Africa food security situation (with flooding shown):

    • Even though crisis levels of food insecurity have stabilized and/or improved in certain areas of the Sahel, immediate humanitarian assistance is still needed.

    • The agro-pastoral zones between Mauritania and Chad as well as the zones in east-central Niger and Chad are seeing improvements and the region returning to a normal food security phase. However, the longer term affects of the drought will be felt for several years due to a lack of coping mechanisms, loss of harvests and the inability to recover from the affects of high food prices and environmental degradation due to climate change.

    • Most of the major flooding in the Sahel has subsided with the exception of Niger and Nigeria which are dealing with a second flood stage of the Niger River due to heavy Guinean rains from early December.


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    Source: Guardian
    Country: Kenya

    Researchers in Kenya are testing a new device that transmits data on handpumps in areas with scarce water supply

    Read the full blog post by Paige McClanahan in the Guardian's Poverty Matters Blog.


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    Source: World Food Programme, Government of Senegal
    Country: Senegal
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    FAITS SAILLANTS ET PERSPECTIVES

    · Deux mois après la mise en marché des produits issus de la campagne agricole 2012/13, les offres et les stocks se sont notablement améliorés dans tous les marchés du pays (ruraux/urbains, consommation/regroupement).


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, World Food Programme, Government of Niger
    Country: Niger (the)
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    Points saillants pour novembre 2012

    • Une faible incitation aux importations du mil en provenance des marchés transfrontaliers avec un différentiel de prix favorable aux marchés nationaux sauf entre Diffa et le Nord Est du Nigéria ;

    • Des prix nominaux et constants légèrement en hausse avec des hausses significatives dans certaines régions ;

    • Des termes de l’échange Bouc/Mil qui se sont légèrement améliorés en novembre 2012 améliorant l’accessibilité du mil aux éleveurs et pasteurs nomades. Mais restent en baisse par rapport à novembre 2010 ;

    • Une légère baisse des termes de l’échange niébé/mil qui sont à des niveaux supérieurs à ceux de novembre 2010 et inférieur à ceux de la moyenne des cinq dernières années. Autrement dit les cultures de rente ont plus facilité l’accès au mil en octobre qu’en novembre 2012


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    Source: IFRC
    Country: Kenya, Somalia
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    Appeal target (current): CHF 10,439,107

    Appeal coverage: 45% against previous budget

    Appeal history:

    • A preliminary emergency appeal was launched on 19 October 2011 for CHF 27,618,017 (plus an estimated CHF 3,050,000 for emergency response units) to assist 60,000 beneficiaries for 12 months.

    • Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF): CHF 500,000 was initially allocated from the Federation’s DREF to support the national society set up the operations in Dadaab.

    • An Emergency Appeal was launched on 29 November 2011 for CHF 26,154,197 for 12 months to assist 76,000 beneficiaries for 12 months.

    • Partner National Societies (PNS) have provided specific support by their Emergency Response Unit (ERUs) through the provision of human resources, training and equipment totalling to CHF 700,000. This includes Information Technology (IT) and Telecom (CHF 50,000), Health care (CHF 250,000), Base Camp (CHF 325,000) and Logistics (CHF 75,000). Including ERU support, the total value under the appeal amounts to CHF 26,854,197.

    Summary: The Kenya Red Cross Society (KRCS) took over the newly established IFO 2 refugee camp at the peak of a humanitarian crisis that followed displacement of populations from Somalia due to escalating violence and the effects of Drought that affected the Horn of Africa during the first half of 2011. The Humanitarian Crisis was evidenced by crude and under five (5) mortality rates that were higher than the emergency thresholds, and a Global Acute Malnutrition (GAM) more than twice the emergency threshold.

    The humanitarian space was rapidly shrinking as a result of the increase in security related incidents, which forced UNHCR to halt Non Life Saving activities in the camps. Life saving activities included Health and Nutrition, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene and Food Distribution.

    With support from IFRC, PNS and other partners, KRCS has been able to respond to the needs of the refugees and host communities in the areas of emergency response, water and sanitation and health interventions.


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    Source: Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development
    Country: Kenya

    Poor access to water and sanitation facilities is a key challenge faced by many communities in the arid and semi-arid lands of Kenya, contributing to high levels of water-borne diseases particularly during the rainy seasons. In order to improve the health of these communities, good hygiene practices are promoted with a particular focus on the importance of the use of soap, hand washing, and hygienic water handling and consumption in order to reduce the risk of water-borne diseases. Through this project, ACTED is targeting 20 women’s groups and 20 working groups with the aim of equipping beneficiaries with the knowledge and tools to effectively combat water borne diseases. The relevance of targeting women is that they are often the ones to educate their family and as such hold the key to good health for future generations. ACTED is implementing this project with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

    Communities in Samburu County have very limited knowledge about good hygiene practices and the implications of poor sanitation conditions on their health. Members of these communities often tell ACTED teams that they do not have the means to buy soap and that they do not think that it is important to use. Communities are generally not aware that water - which in this region can easily be contaminated by human and animal waste, as 84% of community members either do not have access to or do not use latrines - can cause disease and ill health. In response to this situation, ACTED is providing dry-land communities with the knowledge and tools for sustainable and cost-effective water treatment, transport, storage, and sanitation. This is critical for many families, as disease contributes to poor health, including high malnutrition rates in this part of Kenya as well as onerous hospital bills.

    23-year old Mayanai, the mother of four children, has benefited from ACTED’s hygiene promotion and sanitation training and was provided with a hygiene kit including a jerry can, a bucket with lid and tap, a scrubbing brush, and bars of soap. Before, Mayanai was not aware of the harmful effects that not washing her hands and utensils before cooking could have on her children’s health. “I now understand that I was responsible for my child’s diarrhea”, she reflects.

    For Mayanai, this simple training and the tools received in the hygiene kit have all contributed to the improved well-being of her entire family. Other women have also benefited from the same support and are beginning to change their hygiene habits, cooking practices, and sanitation with a significant, positive impact on their children’s health.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, US Agency for International Development
    Country: Angola, Burundi, Kenya, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Africa, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), Zambia, Zimbabwe
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    1) Seasonal moisture deficits and below- average vegetative conditions remain following a mid-season dry spell that occurred in early November in northern Kenya and southern Somalia and below-average rains in November and December for much of eastern Africa. With an extended period of dryness for southern Kenya and northeastern Tanzania, this could result in a deterioration of pastoral and agro-pastoral conditions. Recent rains during the last few weeks, though, have provided improvement across southeastern Kenya.

    2) An extended delayed start to the monsoon season across eastern parts of southern Africa has resulted in a 1-3 dekad delay in seasonal rains across southern Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Consistent rainfall, spatially and temporally, has yet to occur across this region resulting in poor vegetative conditions at the start of the season. Below-average rains have occurred during five of the last six weeks. With rains expected to be limited and below-average during the next week, continued dryness and increasing seasonal deficits could negatively impact cropping activities.


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    Source: Government of Eritrea
    Country: Eritrea

    Massawa, 1 January 2013 – The Administration of the Northern Red Sea region indicated that significant development accomplishments have been registered in the year 2012 in collaboration with the inhabitants. It made the statement at an assessment meeting conducted over the weekend in the port city of Massawa, during which it was stated that some of the projects put under implementation are pertinent to potable water supply, educational facility and soil and water conservation.

    Accordingly, a number of micro-dams, ponds, terraces and water catchments have been constructed, while efforts as regards horticultural activities have made positive impact. The participants further scrutinized environmental conservation activity as one demanding further integrated venture on the part of pertinent bodies and the inhabitants.

    Moreover, major accomplishments were made regarding environmental hygiene and control of communicable diseases, as around 10 schools have been upgraded to Junior and Secondary level, and that community participation in education is on the rise. Seminars and training were also organized for members of fishery associations, besides the provision of boats and fishing equipment to 30 traditional fishermen.

    The participants of the meeting put forth views as regards various issues and expressed readiness to enhance participation in the implementation of social service programs.

    In closing remarks, the Administrator of the Northern Red Sea region, Ms. Tsigereda Woldegiorgis, pointed out that endeavors exerted on the basis of popular undertaking towards enrichment of water resources, as well as soil and water conservation have become effective. Furthermore, she called for the reinforcement of activities within the framework of development programs and the new investment prospects.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali, Niger (the)
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    Au sommaire
    - Environ 10 milliards de F CFA de perte agricole, conséquence des inondations à Diffa
    - 1336 élèves des camps des réfugiés de Tare-barey et Mangaizé ont retrouvé le chemin de l’école


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    Source: Assessment Capacities Project
    Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Chad, Democratic People's Republic of Korea (the), Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Djibouti, Dominican Republic (the), Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Iraq, Jordan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lesotho, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Niger (the), Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Philippines (the), Samoa, Senegal, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan (the), Swaziland, Syrian Arab Republic (the), United Republic of Tanzania (the), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe, South Sudan (Republic of)
    preview


    Tropical Storm Wukong (Quinta) made landfall over the island of Leyte in the Philippines on 26 December, affecting more than 240,000 people.

    Seleka rebels in the Central African Republic have halted their advance on the capital to allow for peace talks. The Seleka rebels took up arms against the Government on 10 December and subsequent fighting has led to large scale displacement. Amid worsening fighting, Myanmar’s army has reportedly used air strikes against the Kachin Independency Army in Kachin state. The fighting which re-ignited in June 2011 already displaced more than 100,000 people. The situation in Syria continues to escalate, with unconfirmed reports of the use of chemical weapons by the Government. According to UN analysis, the increasingly sectarian conflict has resulted in more than 60,000 deaths, which is significantly higher than the previously estimated death toll of 45,000.

    Pakistan has seen a dramatic increase in measles deaths, from around 60 in 2011 to more than 300 in 2012, due to consecutive years of flooding and a weak immunisation system. Meanwhile, a militant campaign of violence against aid workers is continuing, particularly targeting vaccination- and health workers.

    Global Emergency Overview web interface


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Mali

    SEVARE, 3 January 2013 (IRIN) - Malians forced to live under strict religious rules since Islamist groups captured the country’s northern region nine months ago, and those who fled south, are frustrated by perceived central government inaction.

    Some who fled have expressed their despair.

    “I don’t understand the government’s inaction and the response by the international community. Everybody is speaking, every day there are nice speeches, but no action on the ground,” said 38-year-old Amidou Maïga, who fled from Timbuktu, a UNESCO-listed site now in the hands of the Islamists who have destroyed ancient tombs and mosques there.

    “The occupiers are violating people’s basic rights. They rape, steal, amputate and destroy property. In the meantime the politicians are fighting over positions in Bamako. It’s very unfortunate. We in the north have been totally forgotten.”

    The Islamists have banned secular music, football and alcohol and reportedly meted out harsh punishments, including amputations, to those accused of flouting the prohibition.

    Moumouni Damango, head of a crisis committee in the central town of Mopti, said the army should be given time to prepare for an offensive against the Islamist groups in the north. “I perfectly understand the anger and the need to go to war, but they [people in the north] should know that an intervention is under way.”

    Meanwhile, some civilians are considering joining a group offering combat training in the central town of Sévaré in the hope that it might push the government to act.

    “As our army doesn’t want to fight, if I get the chance I wouldn’t hesitate to join a self-defence group doing training. At least they know what they want -and they want to fight,” said Oumar Maïga, a resident of Gao, one of the key northern towns under Islamist control.

    “I believe that if the government was doing more to help the displaced that would calm down the anger. But the NGOs are helping the displaced more than the authorities in Bamako,” said Moussa Cissé, of the aid group Fondation Orange.

    The UN Security Council on 20 December 2012 authorized a military intervention in Mali, but troops are not expected on the ground until later this year. Mali’s interim government established after the 22 March coup is grappling with internal wrangles, not least of which was the forced resignation of the prime minister in December.

    Former coup leader Amadou Haya Sanogo who forced Cheick Modibo Diarra from the premiership for allegedly blocking “political transition”, said preparations were under way to recapture the north. Sanogo retains political influence despite handing over to a civilian authority after ousting former President Amadou Toumani Touré.

    “Rest assured we are working on retaking the occupied regions. I cannot reveal the military strategy we are working on now. I understand that people are impatient and they are right. The army is preparing and we are working to boost the morale of the troops. Going ahead and later making tactical retreats is out of the question. If we go to war, there’s no turning back,” Sanogo told reporters on 25 December.

    Host families struggle

    Families in southern Mali towns hosting northern relatives who fled insecurity and a severe drought that ravaged the Sahel region in 2012 are struggling to cope.

    At Mohamed Touré’s home in the central town of Mopti, 21 people, including 14 members of his brother’s family, now live together. “I swear to you, I go to bed but I can’t get to sleep anymore,” Touré told IRIN.

    “How do you feed 21 people, take care of their health and house them on a salary of 100,000 [CFA] francs (US$200)?” said the government worker. “As a host family, I’ve receive only two sacks of millet and 5kg of sugar since I took charge of these people.

    “I never thought that liberating the north would take such a long time. The authorities and the army are giving too much time to the armed bandits. In reality, it has never been a priority. It’s nothing but talks without concrete actions.”

    The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) is trying to resolve Mali’s months-long crisis which allowed Islamist groups to hold sway in the north. The regional body, which has been pressing for the deployment of an intervention force, has also opened talks with the Islamist group Ansar Dine and the separatist Tuareg National Movement for the Liberation of Azawad.

    “Our army should be the first on the ground. It should not be waiting for ECOWAS troops or the UN’s green light. If we wait for the UN, the north will never be liberated because some countries are only looking after their own interests,” said Timbuktu resident Al Hamdoum.

    For imam El Hadj Oumar Bocoum in Sévaré a peace agreement with the Islamists would spare civilians the dangers of war.

    “Our wish is that blood is not spilled again in this country. It would be ideal if the occupiers of the north and the authorities in Bamako can come to an agreement without firing a single bullet.”

    sd/ob/cb


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Central African Republic (the), Chad, Libya, Nigeria
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    LES TITRES

    • Santé publique : « La situation est sous contrôle » (ATP, 28 déc.)

    • Chad Education Sector Reform Project: Implementation completion and Results Report (World Bank, 3 Jan.)

    • Tchad: le budget général de l’Etat 2013 voté (Journaldutchad.com, 3 jan.)

    • Centrafrique: Le Tchad rapatrie ses ressortissants pour assurer leur sécurité (RFI, 2 jan.)

    • Afrique Centrale: Le président tchadien hausse le ton (AllAfrica, 1er jan.)

    • Des heurts entre l'armée nigériane et Boko Haram font 14 tués (Reuters, 2 jan.)

    • Libye : Deux morts lors d’affrontements tribaux dans le sud (Le Soleil, 3 jan.)

    • Wonderbag offers slow-cooking with right ingredients for developing world (The Guardian, 2 Jan.)


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/03/2013 20:48 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, Jan 3, 2013 (AFP) - One of the armed Islamist groups occupying northern Mali, Ansar Dine, said on Thursday that it had revoked a pledge to end hostilities, accusing the government of giving nothing in return.

    Ansar Dine, or "Defenders of the Faith", made the pledge a day after the UN Security Council approved the deployment of an international force to reclaim northern Mali, which was seized by Islamists in the wake of a March 22 coup.

    The group's December 21 announcement that it was ready to put down its guns and hold talks with the government had raised hopes of a negotiated settlement to end the nine-month crisis.

    But Thursday's reversal came as a setback for efforts to find a political solution.

    "Ansar Dine has decided to revoke the offer to stop hostilities together with the negotiations being conducted in Ouagadougou," said Ansar Dine leader Iyad Ag Ghaly, in a statement to Mauritanian news agency Sahara Medias.

    The Ouagadougou talks are being led by Burkina Faso President Blaise Compaore, west Africa's chief mediator for the crisis.

    The Ansar Dine statement lashed out at the Malian government, saying it had given nothing in return for the promise to end hostilities and was instead busy "recruiting mercenaries" to fight in the north of Mali.

    Ag Ghaly said the pledge to end hostilities had been "torn out" of his delegation during "rough negotiations" in Algeria.

    He said he was still open to "new negotiations, even if (Ansar Dine) has never detected a willingness from the other party to reciprocate".

    African nations have 3,300 troops on standby for a mission to reclaim northern Mali.

    The UN Security Council on December 20 approved the deployment of an international force, but in stages and without a precise timetable.

    The Security Council also insisted on the need for dialogue with armed groups in the north that reject terrorism and the partition of the country.

    Ansar Dine and another armed group in the north, the Azawad National Liberation Movement -- an ethnic-Tuareg separatist group -- announced they were ready to cease hostilities and negotiate with Mali's transitional government.

    The groups are both homegrown movements seen as more moderate than their sometime allies in the vast desert north, the jihadist groups the Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa and Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.

    The Islamist groups seized northern Mali in the wake of the March coup, and have since imposed a brutal form of sharia, or Islamic law.

    Their occupation of the Texas-sized territory has raised fears they could use the north as a base to launch attacks on the region and Europe.

    Mali's interim president said Monday that his administration could not wait several months before launching an offensive to retake the north.

    "I can tell you one thing: Mali will not wait months, as some seem to advocate. We will not wait for the cancer to spread," said in a New Year address.

    "The war against the terrorists will happen sooner than expected and the Malian army will be at the forefront," he said.

    Under pressure from Burkina Faso and Algeria, Ansar Dine has also announced it no longer wants to impose sharia across Mali, saying it will limit itself to applying the strict Islamic law in territory under its control.

    Witnesses say the harsh application of sharia has continued unabated in the north. On Wednesday a woman accused of having sex out of wedlock was publicly beaten until she fainted and had to be taken to hospital.

    hos/rm-jhb/dc


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    \01/03/2013 18:13 GMT

    NOUAKCHOTT, 03 jan 2013 (AFP) - Ansar Dine, l'un des groupes islamistes armés occupant le nord du Mali, "décide de retirer l'offre de cessation des hostilités" faite en décembre à Alger, a annoncé son chef, Iyad Ag Ghaly dans un communiqué publié jeudi par l'agence privée mauritanienne Sahara Médias.

    "Ansar Dine décide de retirer l'offre de cessation des hostilités concomitamment avec les négociations menées à Ouagadougou" autour du président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur pour l'Afrique de l'Ouest dans la crise malienne, a déclaré Iyad Ag Ghaly dans ce texte.

    Le 21 décembre à Alger, Ansar Dine et le Mouvement national de libération de l'Azawad (MNLA, rébellion touareg) s'étaient dits prêts à cesser les hostilités au Mali et à négocier avec les autorités, au lendemain du feu vert du Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU pour l'envoi d'une force internationale pour chasser les jihadistes occupant le nord du pays.

    Dans son communiqué, Iyad Ag Ghaly a accusé le gouvernement malien "de mépriser cette offre à laquelle il n'a jamais répondu positivement", alors que cette proposition a été "arrachée" par des intermédiaires au terme de "rudes négociations".

    Il s'est dit toutefois disponible pour "l'ouverture de nouvelles négociations même si (Ansar Dine) n'a jamais décelé une volonté réciproque chez l'autre partie", en référence au gouvernement malien.

    Selon lui, Bamako "mène une campagne sans précédent" et "recrute des mercenaires" pour écraser les populations du nord du Mali, dans une allusion à l'intervention militaire en préparation.

    Le 20 décembre, le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a adopté une résolution approuvant le déploiement d'une force armée internationale au Mali pour déloger les islamistes armés, sans préciser de calendrier. L'ONU a toutefois indiqué que ce déploiement était programmé par étapes, et a appelé les autorités maliennes au dialogue avec les groupes armés rejetant le terrorisme et la partition du Mali.

    Le communiqué d'Iyad Ag Ghaly est publié deux jours après qu'une délégation d'Ansar Dine a remis au président burkinabè à Ouagadougou une "plateforme politique", selon une source proche du médiateur burkinabè. Le contenu de ce document n'a pas été révélé, pas plus que la composition de la délégation, qui a quitté le jour même (mardi) le Burkina Faso.

    Ansar Dine est l'un des groupes islamistes armés dominant le nord du Mali depuis juin, avec Al-Qaïda au Maghreb islamique (Aqmi) et le Mouvement pour l'unicité et le jihad en Afrique de l'Ouest (Mujao), tous prônant l'application de la charia (loi islamique) au nom de laquelle ils commettent diverses exactions dans leurs zones d'influence.

    Ces groupes islamistes et le MNLA avaient pris ensemble le contrôle de ces vastes régions désertiques fin mars-début avril, après deux mois et demi d'attaques contre l'armée malienne et quelques jours après un coup d'Etat militaire à Bamako le 22 mars. Les jihadistes ont ensuite évincé du Nord, fin juin, leurs ex-alliés rebelles touareg.

    Sous l'influence du Burkina Faso et de l'Algérie, autre pays médiateur, Ansar Dine avait annoncé avoir renoncé à imposer la charia dans tout le Mali, mais avait exigé de pouvoir continuer à le faire dans les zones sous son influence.

    Sur le terrain, les exactions contre les populations se poursuivent, selon des témoins. Mercredi à Tombouctou (nord-ouest), une femme accusée de concubinage a été battue en public puis transportée évanouie à l'hôpital.

    Les islamistes obligent les femmes à se recouvrir la tête et tout le corps, et les hommes à porter des pantalons courts. Des jihadistes ont été vus ces derniers jours procédant eux-mêmes à la coupe de bas de pantalons d'habitants en pleine rue, en usant de ciseaux ou de lames.

    hos-sd-cs/mrb/de


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    Source: Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de I'Homme
    Country: Mali

    After the forced resignation of the Diarra government and Django Sissoko’s nomination, FIDH condemns the interference of military forces into political affairs, and calls upon the Malian authorities to ensure the stability and the good functioning of the national institutions, and the international community to actively support the fulfillment of the ECOWAS roadmap aimed at resolving the political crisis and conflict.

    On Tuesday morning, 11 December Cheikh Diarra, the Malian Prime Minster, announced his resignation and that of his government via national television. The day before, Mr. Diarra had been arrested at home by armed men and led, in the middle the night, to the Kati Camp, headquarters of the National Committee for the Recovery of Democracy and the Restoration of the State (CRNDRE).There he had a discussion with the Captain Amadou Haya Sanogo, head of the junta that took power on 22 March 2012. No information regarding the reasons for the detention, or for that of the subsequent resignation of the Prime Minister were communicated.

    “Our organisation can only condemn the doubtful circumstances that lead to the Malian Prime Minister’s resignation” declared Sidiki Kaba, FIDH Honorary President. “The national unity between all stakeholders must be guaranteed in order to find a resolution to the current political crisis in Mali which cannot be solved by a military interference”, he added.

    On 20 August of 2012, Dioncounda Traoré, Mali’s President, had signed a decree that proclaimed the formation of the new national unity government, in accordance with the Economic Community of West African States’s (ECOWAS) request related to the formation of a new executive branch stable enough and capable of managing the political transition and to regain the Northern part of the country. Amadou Haya Sanogo, former head of the junta, was nominated President of the Committee following the reform of the Army, and a kind of balance was found by forming a triumvirate composed of Sanogo, the President and the Prime Minister. “Despite the fact that the national unity’s reinforcement willing is praisworthy, the Malian authorities struggle to translate this unity into reality through political decisions in favour of a quick exit of this crisis”, declared Paul Nsapu, FIDH Secretary General.

    The FIDH presented its positions, on 12 December 2012, at a public hearing before the African Union Peace and Security Council (PSC) at which African Union’s Ambassadors were present and underlined the importance and the fundamental place of human rights in conflict resolution (see the PSC press release : www.peaceau.org/uploads/psc....). Following this intervention, the PSC expressed its views on Mali and reasserted the need for "organising, as quickly as possible and with he required inclusiveness conditions, free, transparent, and credible elections, [as well as] national consultations that would lead to the adoption of a roadmap for the management of the transition".

    Since the beginning of the crisis, FIDH warned the international community about the serious crimes committed in the North and South of the country. [All the press releases of FIDH and AMDH concerning Mali are available at: http://www.fidh.ORG/-Mali,69-]. Furthermore, FIDH and its member organisation in Mali, AMDH, published a fact-finding report entitled “War crimes in North Mali” that highlighted human rights violations suffered by civilians in the North. More than eight months after the conquest of the northern regions by joint forces of the Movement for the Liberation of Azawad (MNLA) and armed Islamist groups, civilians still suffer various human rights violations.

    This political change occurs while a military international intervention and an international support requested by the Malian authorities and the ECOWAS is being discussed. Unanimously adopted on 12 October 2012 according to Chapter VII of United Nations Charter, resolution 2071 requests the General Secretary of the United Nations to present a report, in consultation with the ECOWAS and the African Union, on which basis the Security Council will be able to authorise the deployment of an African operation in Mali which would enable Mali to regain the sovereignty and the integrity of its territory, and to fight against international terrorism. This report was presented at the Security Council on 5 December, and discussions regarding resolution on Mali continue.

    In order to avoid the pitfalls of human rights violations committed during previous military interventions, such as what occurred in Somalia, FIDH stressed the importance of putting human rights at the heart of any dialogue for an end to the crisis and so to strictly guarantee human rights during potential military intervention. Thus, a joint open letter has been addressed to the members of United Nations Security Council m in which, in the event of the deployment of a military intervention, it was asked that Malian and foreign security and defence forces’ will be trained in human rights, humanitarian and refugee laws, establish a civilian contingent human rights observer is incorporated, to check the respect of those rights on the field, and the support of the national and international efforts to prosecute authors of serious human rights and humanitarian law violations in Mali, which is under preliminary examination of the ICC.

    The FIDH calls upon Malian authorities to take all necessary steps to ensure the transitional authorities’ stability, to end the political crisis and find a way out of the conflict within the respect of human rights that requires the legitimacy of the institutions and thereby the organisation of free, fair and transparent elections. Furthermore, our organisation calls upon the international community, and especially members of United Nations Security Council, to adopt a resolution on Mali, to increase efforts in favour of political solutions for Mali’s democratic future, and to guarantee a substantial human rights component of training and protection in event of a deployment of an armed international force.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Kenya

    Crisis (IPC Phase 3) continues in the southeastern and coastal marginal mixed farming areas

    FEWS NET estimates that nearly one million people will remain in Crisis (IPC Phase 3) in the southeastern and coastal marginal mixed farming livelihood zones between January and April. These areas are dependent on rainfed agriculture, and the October to December short rains season, on average, contributes over 65 percent of annual production. In some pockets, this season will be the fourth or fifth consecutive below-average season. Due to the poor start of season, poor distribution of the rains, and dry spells, some crops have already failed.

    Contracting incomes from below average casual labor availability and persistently high staple food prices are reducing food access. Assistance that supports food consumption and protects livelihoods will be necessary between now and April when short-cycle vegetables become available.


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    Source: UN Security Council, UN Department of Public Information
    Country: Burundi, Central African Republic (the), Côte d'Ivoire, Democratic Republic of the Congo (the), Haiti, Libya, Mali, Pakistan, Sudan (the), Syrian Arab Republic (the), Yemen, South Sudan (Republic of)

    Watch the press conference video

    The Security Council would focus in January on comprehensive strategies to stamp out global terrorism and bolster the effectiveness of United Nations peacekeeping operations, the Permanent Representative of Pakistan, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for the month, said today.

    Military action was not enough to stop the terrorist acts of demented ideologues that were tearing apart civilized societies, Masood Khan told correspondents at Headquarters during the regular monthly briefing on the Council’s agenda. “This is a difficult issue. Collective measures have to be taken,” he said.

    On 15 January, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister would chair a ministerial debate on that topic and propose a draft presidential statement on a holistic, multi-stakeholder approach to end terrorism, address its root causes and reintegrate both its victims and perpetrators into mainstream society, Mr. Khan said.

    His Government, a long-time contributor of troops and equipment to the Organization’s peacekeeping operations, also intended to introduce a draft text on ways to capitalize on peacekeeping’s growing links to peacebuilding during the Council’s 21 January public debate on that matter. The same day, a photographic exhibit on Pakistan’s “blue helmets” would open.

    In addition, the situation in Sudan and South Sudan would be at the forefront of attention, with consultations scheduled for 8 and 22 January, featuring briefings by Haile Menkerios, the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for those countries. On 8 January only, the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs would brief on the humanitarian situation in the border states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile. Later in the month, on 24 January, the Council would examine the Secretary-General’s latest progress report on the African Union-United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID).

    The brewing crisis in the Central African Republic and the renewal of the United Nations mission there, known as BINUCA, would be discussed today in a private briefing with Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman, and on 9 January in a public briefing followed by consultations with BINUCA Head Margaret Vogt. On 24 January, BINUCA’s mandate, set to expire on 31 January 2013, should be extended for one year.

    The situation in Cyprus and the expiring mandate of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP) would be the focus of three meetings. The Council would meet with troop-contributing countries to UNFICYP on 16 January, hold consultations the next day and renew the Force’s mandate on 24 January.

    Other highlights of the month, he said, included briefings followed by consultations concerning: the United Nations Operation in Côte d’Ivoire (UNOCI) on 17 January; the United Nations Office in Burundi on 24 January; the United Nations Office for West Africa (UNOWA) on 25 January; and the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) on 29 January. On 30 January, Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson would brief the Council about ongoing efforts to strengthen the rule of law.

    Additionally, Council members would consult in private meetings with Mariano Fernandez, outgoing Special Representative for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), on 22 January, and with Miroslav Jenca, Special Representative and Head of the Regional Centre for Preventive Diplomacy for Central Asia (UNRCCA) on 29 January. On 23 January, they would hold their monthly public debate on the Middle East and, on 31 January, a private “wrap-up” session of the month’s activities.

    Other hot-button issues, including non-proliferation and the situations in Mali, Syria, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Yemen would be on the Council’s radar, Mr. Khan said, pledging to alert correspondents of related developments.

    Asked several questions about Syria, Mr. Khan said it remained a Council priority and that all members, notably the United States and Russian Federation, were making “sustained and intense” efforts to reach middle ground on a viable solution to the crisis. He lauded the efforts of United Nations-Arab League Special Envoy Lakhdar Brahimi and expressed hope for a trilateral meeting next week between him and United States and Russian leaders to break the current diplomatic deadlock. And he expressed hope that the killings — the Syrian death toll now topped 60,000, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights — would end and national reconciliation would occur.

    Concerning civilian casualties in Pakistan from counter-terrorism activity and the use of drones as weapons of war there and elsewhere, he said it was a matter of concern and that Pakistan’s Foreign Minister would comment during the Council’s debate on the matter. As the war against terrorism was not a conventional war, different systems must be employed to fight it. Poverty, while a factor in terrorism, was not its direct cause and could not be used to justify it.

    Asked if the Council would issue a statement or resolution in response to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea’s 12 December rocket launch, he said some Council members wanted follow-up and others had called for more intense engagement between the United States, China, and the Republic of Korea, as well as regional actors, to help move towards peace and stability on the Korean peninsula.

    Concerning Mali, he said the Secretary-General’s report on the Council’s resolution last month to authorize deployment of an African-led support mission in that country should be issued the third week of January. The Council remained concerned about extremist elements in Mali and was working with the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union to respond concretely to such challenges.

    Asked about the ceasefire proposed by Congolese rebel groups as a prerequisite for holding peace talks with the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, he said it was a positive step and would hopefully spur continued engagement towards peace, security and stability. Council members were consulting, in line with operative paragraph 9 of Council resolution 2076 (2012), of 20 November, on options for possible reinforcements for the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) in order to better protect peacekeepers, humanitarian actors and civilians.

    For information media • not an official record


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