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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    Bruxelles, le 22 janvier 2013

    Avec 20 millions d'euros supplémentaires, la Commission européenne accroît encore son aide humanitaire au Mali pour faire face à l'escalade de la crise qui frappe ce pays, où nombre d'habitants fuient le conflit et des milliers d'enfants souffrent de malnutrition grave.s

    Mme Kristalina Georgieva, commissaire européenne responsable de la coopération internationale, de l'aide humanitaire et de la réaction aux crises, est à nouveau au Mali, un mois après sa précédente visite. Elle y évalue la situation, afin de déterminer la manière la plus efficace de dépenser l'aide.

    Elle s'est exprimée en ces termes: «Depuis l'an dernier, les Maliens ont été victimes d'une triple crise: d'abord la sécheresse et de mauvaises récoltes, puis une crise politique et enfin les combats qui ont éclaté lorsque des groupes islamistes radicaux ont pris le contrôle du Nord.

    Grâce à une action rapide et à la coordination de la réponse internationale, nous avons pu éviter les pires effets de la crise alimentaire, ici comme dans l'ensemble du Sahel, et apporter un soutien à quelque 18 millions de personnes.

    Toutefois, l'ampleur croissante de la violence et des combats au nord du pays a eu pour effet de contraindre plus de 350 000 personnes à fuir vers le sud et les pays voisins, exode à l'origine de besoins humanitaires considérables. Nous avons accru notre aide de 20 millions d'euros pour soutenir les actions de nos partenaires humanitaires au Mali et dans les pays voisins, que j'ai rencontrés lors de ma visite à Bamako en décembre dernier. Depuis lors, toutefois, la situation s'est encore détériorée, des besoins supplémentaires apparaissant au fur et à mesure que les affrontements entre forces islamistes et armée malienne se rapprochent du Sud. Nous avons donc mobilisé 20 millions d'euros de plus pour faire face à une vulnérabilité humanitaire croissante.

    J'appelle les autres donateurs à agir rapidement, car les populations sont affaiblies par des mois de privations. J'invite aussi toutes les autres parties à assurer la protection des civils et à veiller au respect du droit humanitaire international».

    La nouvelle aide d'urgence permettra de venir en aide aux enfants souffrant de malnutrition grave, ainsi qu'aux quelque 100 000 Maliens réfugiés dans les pays voisins, et de procurer nourriture et services de base aux victimes des combats en cours au Mali, dont le nombre pourrait atteindre 150 000.

    La situation humanitaire au Mali est de plus en plus instable: l'intensité des combats entraîne des mouvements de population et les organisations humanitaires luttent pour accéder à certaines zones.

    L'intensification du conflit aggrave la crise alimentaire et nutritionnelle en cours et des millions de Maliens risquent de se trouver en situation d'insécurité alimentaire en 2013. En dépit d'une bonne récolte, le prix des denrées alimentaires de base reste élevé, ce qui les rend inaccessibles pour les plus démunis. Dans certaines régions du Sud, les taux de malnutrition grave restent supérieurs aux seuils d'alerte, aucune enquête n'ayant pu être menée dans le Nord.

    Contexte

    Une intervention d'urgence de grande échelle doit être menée sur deux fronts, en vue de satisfaire aux besoins supplémentaires engendrés par le conflit, d'une part, et de circonscrire les ravages causés par l'insécurité alimentaire et la malnutrition, d'autre part.

    Aux Maliens déplacés par les combats de l'an dernier – 145 000 réfugiés et 200 000 personnes déplacées à l'intérieur du pays – sont venus s'ajouter de nouveaux arrivants dans les camps dressés au Burkina Faso, en Mauritanie, au Niger et dans les villages et les villes du sud du Mali. Cette situation met encore plus sous pression les communautés d'accueil qui souffrent déjà de la crise alimentaire de grande envergure qui sévit toujours au Sahel. Au total, on estime à 10,8 millions le nombre de personnes menacées par la faim au Sahel en 2013, dont 4,2 millions de Maliens. Dans le nord du Mali, 510 000 personnes auraient besoin d'une aide alimentaire d'urgence.

    En 2012, la Commission européenne a alloué 73 millions d'euros aux Maliens victimes de la crise alimentaire et du conflit politique qui frappe leur pays. Les États membres de l'Union européenne ont, pour leur part, octroyé 38 autres millions d'euros, ce qui porte la contribution totale de l'UE en 2012 à 111 millions d'euros.

    L'aide humanitaire fournie au Mali par la Commission européenne a permis aux agences des Nations unies, au Mouvement international de la Croix-Rouge et du Croissant-Rouge et aux ONG internationales de faire rapidement face aux besoins humanitaires grandissants. Malgré une situation délicate sur le plan de la sécurité, les organisations humanitaires ont continué de fournir soins et produits médicaux, services d'alimentation, aide alimentaire et soutien en matière d'eau et d'assainissement, tout en menant des campagnes de prévention et de traitement des épidémies dans les régions de Kidal, de Gao et de Tombouctou.

    À l'issue de la réunion des ministres des affaires étrangères convoquée la semaine dernière par Mme Catherine Ashton, haute représentante de l'UE, M. Andris Piebalgs, membre de la Commission européenne chargé du développement, a fait part de la décision de la Commission de consacrer 50 millions d'euros de la facilité de soutien à la paix pour l'Afrique à l'appui du déploiement de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali sous conduite africaine (MISMA).

    Compte tenu des difficultés éprouvées par les populations civiles maliennes, et pour appuyer les efforts du gouvernement malien vers la transition démocratique, un certain nombre de programmes de développement pourraient être relancés avec le Mali dès que possible. Une enveloppe d'environ 250 millions d'euros pourrait être mobilisée à cet effet. Par ailleurs la poursuite des programmes existants permettra de renforcer la société civile et la sécurité alimentaire et d'améliorer l'approvisionnement en eau potable de la ville de Bamako à partir de la localité de Kabala, entre autres.

    Le 17 janvier, les ministres des affaires étrangères de l'UE ont approuvé un certain nombre de mesures concrètes destinées à venir en aide aux autorités maliennes: lancement de la mission de formation de l'UE en vue de former et de réorganiser les forces armées maliennes, soutien politique à l'élaboration d'une feuille de route visant à rétablir la démocratie et l'ordre constitutionnel, nomination d'un représentant spécial de l'UE pour le Sahel. Le 5 février, l'UE organisera à Bruxelles une réunion ministérielle consacrée au soutien international et au groupe de suivi de la situation au Mali.

    Pour en savoir plus:

    Aide humanitaire de l'UE au Mali:
    http://ec.europa.eu/echo/aid/sub_saharian/mali_fr.htm

    Site web de Mme Georgieva:
    http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_fr.htm

    Service d’aide humanitaire et de protection civile de la Commission européenne:
    http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_fr.htm

    Contacts:

    Irina Novakova (+32 22957517)
    David Sharrock (+32 22968909)


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    Brussels, 22 January 2013

    The European Commission is boosting again its humanitarian aid for the Mali crisis with €20 million – a needed increase that will help respond to the escalating crisis in the country where large numbers of people are fleeing from the conflict and thousands of children are severely malnourished.

    The European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response, Kristalina Georgieva, is in Mali now, returning after her last visit a month ago. She is assessing the situation to determine how the aid can be spent to reach maximum impact.

    She said: "Since last year, the Malian people have been hit by a triple-crisis: first a drought and crops failure, followed by a political crisis and then the outbreak of fighting when Islamist radical groups took control of the north.

    "By acting early and coordinating the international response we were able to avert the worst effects of the food crisis, here and in the rest of the Sahel, bringing relief to some 18 million people".

    "However, the increasing impact of violence and fighting in the north has forced more than 350,000 people to flee to the south and to neighbouring countries and caused massive humanitarian needs. We increased our response by 20 million euros to support the operations of humanitarian partners in Mali and in neighbouring countries whom I met during my visit in Bamako last December. But since then the situation has further deteriorated with combats between Islamist forces and Malian army coming closer to the South, resulting in additional needs. We have therefore mobilised an additional 20 million euros to meet the increased humanitarian vulnerability".

    "I appeal to other donors to act swiftly as the populations have been weakened by months for hardship. I also appeal to all parties to ensure the protection of civilians and the respect for international humanitarian law".

    The new emergency funding will be used to help severely malnourished children, to assist about 100,000 refugees from Mali in neighboring countries, and to provide up to 150,000 people in Mali affected by the ongoing fighting with food and basic services.

    The humanitarian situation in Mali is increasingly volatile: intense fighting is causing population displacements while humanitarian organisations are struggling to access certain areas.

    The intensification of the conflict is aggravating the on-going food and nutritional crisis with millions of Malians at risk of food insecurity in 2013. Despite a good harvest, prices of staple foods remain high, making them inaccessible to the poorest. Severe malnutrition rates remain above emergency thresholds in certain areas in the south while surveys could not be carried out in the north.

    Background

    A large-scale emergency response is needed on two fronts: to address additional needs caused by the conflict and to limit the toll of food insecurity and malnutrition.

    Malians displaced by last year's fighting – 145,000 refugees and 200,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) – are joined by newcomers in camps set up in Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and in villages and towns of southern Mali. This situation is adding even more pressure to host communities who are already suffering from a major nutrition crisis which continues to affect the Sahel. In all an estimated 10.8 million people will be at risk of hunger in the Sahel region in 2013, including 4.2 million Malians. In northern Mali, 510,000 people are estimated to be in need of immediate food assistance.

    In 2012 the European Commission allocated €73 million to Malians who were victims of the food crisis and political conflict in the country. In addition, the Member States of the European Union provided another €38 million (bringing the EU's total contribution in 2012 to €111 million).

    The European Commission’s humanitarian aid to Mali has enabled UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and international NGOs to react rapidly to the growing humanitarian needs. Despite a challenging security situation, emergency organisations have continued to provide health care, medical supplies, nutrition services, food assistance, water and sanitation support, prevention and treatment of epidemics in Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu regions.

    Following the meeting last week of the Foreign Affairs called by the EU High Representative, Catherine Ashton, the European Commissioner for Development Andris Piebalgs announced the European Commission decision to allocate €50 million from the Peace Facility for Africa to support the deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA).

    In view of the difficulties endured by the civilian population and in an effort to support the Malian government’s efforts to bring about the transition to democracy, a number of development programmes in Mali may also be resumed as soon as possible. Some €250 million may be mobilised for this purpose. Pursuing existing programmes will, among other things, help to build civil society, strengthen food security and improve Bamako’s supply of drinking water taken from Kabala.

    On 17th January, EU foreign ministers agreed a number of other concrete measures to assist the Malian authorities: the launch of the EU Training Mission to train and reorganise the Malian Armed Forces; political support for the development of a Roadmap for the restoration of democracy and constitutional order; the appointment of an EU Special Representative for the Sahel. On February 5, the EU will host in Brussels a ministerial meeting of the international Support and Follow-up Group on the situation in Mali.

    For more information:

    The EU's humanitarian assistance to Mali:
    http://ec.europa.eu/echo/aid/sub_saharian/mali_en.htm

    Commissioner Georgieva's website:
    http://ec.europa.eu/commission_2010-2014/georgieva/index_en.htm

    The European Commission's humanitarian aid and civil protection:
    http://ec.europa.eu/echo/index_en.htm

    Contacts :

    Irina Novakova (+32 2 295 75 17)
    David Sharrock (+32 2 296 89 09)


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    Source: UN Committee on the Rights of the Child
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Committee on the Rights of the Child

    21 January 2013

    The Committee on the Rights of the Child today reviewed the initial reports of Burkina Faso on the implementation of the provisions of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, and on the implementation of the provisions of the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict.

    Dieudonné Marie Désiré Manly, Technical Advisor, Ministry for Social Action and National Solidarity of Burkina Faso, introducing the report presented under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, said that the 2009 project on child labour in artisanal mines and quarries had removed more than 11,000 children working in the mines. The Government had launched a help line for child victims of violence in 2011 and had adopted the national plan for combating the worst forms of child labour in 2012. Burkina Faso had drafted a general bill on the definition and prohibition of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, while a General Code for the protection of children was being elaborated.

    Concerning the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, Mr. Manly said it was important to note that Burkina Faso was not a conflict or post-conflict country and no armed groups operated in the country. Many of the issues relative to the involvement of children in armed conflict, such as recruitment by armed groups or reinsertion and reintegration of children involved with armed groups, were not applicable in Burkina Faso. Since 2012, Burkina Faso had been receiving refugees escaping the conflict in Northern Mali and in October 2012, some 35,000 had been hosted in six Burkinabe provinces, most of them children under the age of 17.

    In the discussion on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, the Committee Experts noted that the legislative efforts undertaken by the State party were rather limited in nature, while no reform of the criminal legislation had taken place, and asked whether the legislation currently being drafted would include the provisions of the Optional Protocol. The Committee expressed concern about the widespread practice of child labour and about some customs and traditions that opened the door to the harmful treatment of women and girls and led to their exploitation and abuse, including early and forced marriages, polygamy, inheritance and land ownership and others.

    On the involvement of children in armed conflict, the Committee Experts welcomed the peace in Burkina Faso and cautioned that the situation in neighbouring Mali might cause the recruitment of children in armed conflict. The delegation was asked about the ongoing revision of the Criminal Code and whether it would criminalize the conscription of children, about prevention of the recruitment of children on Burkinabe territory, further information about military schools and academies, a mechanism to identify children involved in armed conflict in Mali among the arriving refugees and the training of border officials to this effect, and the services offered to the children.

    In concluding remarks, Hatem Kotrane, Committee Expert acting as Rapporteur for the report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, noted that very little reform of penal and civil legislation had been undertaken and that all the crimes and offences mentioned by the Optional Protocol must be included in the domestic legislation.

    Bernard Gastaud, Committee Expert acting as Rapporteur for the report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, noted the efforts made by Burkina Faso in dealing with the influx of Malian refugees and reiterated the concern about the lack of criminal legal provisions in line with international standards.

    Also in concluding observations, Mr. Manly of Burkina Faso, expressed satisfaction with the discussion and reiterated the openness of Burkina Faso to receive and consider recommendations of the Committee to improve the rights of children in the country.

    Yanghee Lee, the Committee Vice-Chairperson, in closing remarks said that Burkina Faso knew where the challenges were and emphasized that the Optional Protocol on the sale of children went beyond the narrow scope of trafficking and expressed hope that the delegation would go back to Burkina Faso with that understanding.

    The delegation of Burkina Faso consisted of representatives of the Ministry for Social Action and National Solidarity, the National Council for Survival, Protection and Development of the Child, the Directorate for the management and protection of children and adolescents, the Ministry for Human Rights and Civic Promotion, and the Permanent Mission of Burkina Faso to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

    The next public meeting of the Committee will be on Tuesday, 22 January at 9 a.m. when it will consider the initial report of Niue (CRC/C/NIU/1) via teleconference.

    Reports

    The initial report of Burkina Faso under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography can be read here: (CRC/C/OPSC/BFA/1) and Burkina Faso’s initial report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict can be read here: (CRC/C/OPAC/BFA/1).

    Statements by the Delegation

    DIEUDONNE MARIE DESIRE MANLY, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity of Burkina Faso, said that both reports presented by Burkina Faso had been prepared as per the Committee’s technical guidelines and in a participative manner.

    Concerning the report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, Burkina Faso had launched in 2009 a project on child labour in artisanal mines and quarries, which had allowed for the removal from the mines of more than 11,000 children. It had also launched a help line in 2011 for child victims of violence. The Government had adopted a national plan for combating the worst forms of child labour in 2012 and had implemented several campaigns on the sale and exploitation of children. The data collection system currently in place could not provide all the data required by the Optional Protocol, but it was known that in 2012, there were 1,910 children victims of trafficking. A number of laws had been adopted to enable the implementation of the provisions of the Optional Protocol, including the decree on conditions to open centres for children in distress, the decree on the placement and monitoring of children in institutions and foster families, and the decree of 2010 on the creation of a central adoption agency. Information campaigns to disseminate the provisions of the Optional Protocol had targeted cinema and Internet café managers, persons working in the area of children’s rights, persons in charge of child victims of violence, and students. Burkina Faso had drafted a general bill on the definition and prohibition of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, while a General Code for the protection of children was being elaborated. The country was part of the regional cooperation process to combat trafficking in children, and was scheduled to sign a cooperation agreement with Côte d’Ivoire on the fight against cross-border trafficking in children this January.

    Turning to the report presented under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the involvement of children in armed conflict, Mr. Manly said that the recruitment of children into armed forces had already been prohibited in Burkina Faso and that the age of recruitment had been increased to 20 years in 2012. The National Council for the Survival and Development of Children had a permanent secretariat which played a key role in disseminating the provisions of the Optional Protocol and played a coordinating role in its implementation. Some legal texts had been adopted to ensure the implementation of the provisions of the Optional Protocol in domestic legislation, such as the 2012 decree on the organization of operations following contingency calls. Burkina Faso was not a conflict or post-conflict country and there were no armed groups operating in the country; therefore the reinsertion of children involved in armed conflict or recruitment of children by armed groups was not an issue. Since 2012, Burkina Faso had been receiving refugees escaping the conflict in Northern Mali and in October 2012, some 35,000 had been hosted in six Burkinabe provinces, most of them children under the age of 17.

    The implementation strategy of the two Optional Protocols was inscribed in the global framework for the promotion of the rights of the child. A clear political commitment to children’s rights was evident in a number of key policy documents, such as the 2010 Accelerated Growth and Sustainable Development Strategy and in child policies adopted by the Ministry for Children. The country faced a number of difficulties in achieving the set goals in the promotion and protection of children’s rights, such as the lack of resources, lack of domestic standards to implement the provisions, and the lack of legal norms for the implementation of certain provisions. In closing, Mr. Manly reiterated the importance of continued technical assistance and international cooperation to ensure an environment conducive to the growth and development of children in Burkina Faso.

    Examination of the Report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Sale of Children, Child Prostitution and Child Pornography

    Questions by Experts

    HATEM KOTRANE, Committee Vice-Chairperson and the Rapporteur for the Report of Burkina Faso under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, expressed the satisfaction of the Committee with the fruitful relationship with Burkina Faso which was very punctual in submitting its reports. The Country Rapporteur noted the participative method in the preparation of the reports and asked the delegation to provide more information about the measures undertaken to disseminate the provisions of the Optional Protocol. The legislative efforts undertaken by the State party were rather limited in nature, while no reform of the criminal legislation had taken place. The provisions of the Optional Protocol were not directly applicable in the domestic law in Burkina Faso. Did the legislation that was currently being drafted, such as the general bill on the definition and prohibition of sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography and the General Code for the Protection of Children, include the provisions of the Optional Protocol? Did the Criminal Code explicitly prohibit and punish child pornography and child prostitution, and how was a child considered to be a victim of prostitution? Acts committed outside of the State party were not criminalized in domestic law; were there plans to amend this legislation and ensure it was in line with the Optional Protocol? How would the criminal legislation be amended to bring it in line with the provisions of the Optional Protocol?

    Another Expert asked what campaigns were envisaged or carried out to ensure that the provisions of the Optional Protocol were well known by the population, which was in large part illiterate. Activities undertaken to combat early marriage made quite a long list, said another Expert, and asked whether there were any plans to increase the minimum age of marriage and how the laws on early marriage and forced marriage were implemented in practice. Could the delegation provide more information about the help line, how it was resourced, managed and operated and how many calls it received?

    The Committee was rather concerned that the knowledge about the two Optional Protocols among the population was rather low, particularly among girls who were the principal victims of the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. There was little research and data gathering on those issues that affected the Burkinabe children and the implementation of the two Optional Protocols was rather inadequate. What concrete measures were being undertaken to increase the knowledge of the Protocols among the population?

    Some customs and traditions had opened the door for the harmful treatment of women and girls, such as polygamy, marrying brothers of deceased husbands, inheritance, land ownership and others that led to the abuse and exploitation of girls. What was being done in practice to change norms and legislation and to bring about cultural change in the understanding of the role of women and girls? How did legislation regulate the private sector to ensure that their actions did not have a negative impact on the rights of children, including in protecting children from child labour?

    The delegation was asked to elaborate on the implementation of the national action plan to combat the worst forms of child labour, the findings of the national study into the causes and nature of sexual exploitation and child pornography in the country, coordination on the implementation of the Optional Protocol, measures to address deep rooted traditions concerning talibé children, child labour, early marriage and others, exercising of extra-territorial authorities, international adoptions, and birth registration and the reasons why rates were low.

    Mr. Zermatten, Committee Chairperson, asked about criminal responsibility of legal persons for crimes of child pornography and child prostitution, for example companies that manufactured and sold this kind of material. Could the current laws on the media ensure the adequate protection of the image of children?

    What resources were being dedicated specifically to meet the requirements of the implementation of the Optional Protocol, either through the National Poverty Reduction Plan or through some other mechanism?

    Response by Delegation

    In response to these questions and comments and others, the delegation said the various provisions of the two Optional Protocols were spread out in various texts which condemned the sale of children, child pornography and child prostitution, and the involvement of children in armed conflict. Burkina Faso had never interrupted international adoption in course and had strengthened the local capacity by setting up a central authority in charge of international adoption in line with the provisions of the Hague Convention. The authorities were not aware of adoptions taking place outside of the legal framework; all adoptions had to take place through the State structures and using the Hague procedures. Illegal practices in international adoption were considered as criminal offences and were punishable under the criminal code. The Government was providing support to orphanages and foster parents, who received some compensation. When a child was intercepted as a victim of trafficking, he or she was taken to a care centre prior to a reunion with the parents. The child had to have a lawyer and depending on the age of the child and nature of the offence, proceedings could take place in public or could be filmed by camera, and the judge could also decide upon the need for the victim to face the perpetrator.

    Civil society was a partner of the Government and their efforts to promote the rights of children were well appreciated, as were the activities to disseminate and raise awareness about the Convention and the Optional Protocols. The Government was very open to participation and input of the civil society, which was involved from the start in the preparation of the reports. Mines did not employ children under the age of 18, but children could be involved in small-scale gold washing activities in remote areas.

    Child labour was widespread in the country and child labourers had even formed associations to further their interests. Many forms of hard labour were prohibited by law and the Government was investing efforts in protecting children from exploitation and worst forms of labour. There were parents who sent their children to work in the fields of Côte d’Ivoire, but this was an illegal practice which was considered as a form of sale of children and trafficking in children. Distinction needed to be made between child labour in the country and abroad, as those were considered differently under the law. “Confiage” was a traditional practice of sending the children to paternal or maternal grandparents to take care of them but with increased school enrolment rates this practice was about to die off. There had been cases of trans-border trafficking of children to Mali and Côte d’Ivoire and Burkina Faso was aware of the need to strengthen regional cooperation to successfully tackle this problem.

    The minimum age for marriage was 17 for girls and currently there was a draft law which would bring the minimum age to 18 for both girls and boys. The call to abolish polygamy had caused a public outcry and it would not be possible to do away with this practice overnight. The hotline for child victims of violence was operational and was manned with trained multidisciplinary teams which operated 24/7. A person who received the call made a complaint and contacted the intervention team directly. Those working with children had a duty to report, but it was usually other professionals or other people in contact with children who reported violence. In known cases of forced marriage, sentences were handed down to perpetrators; but this phenomenon often took place inside the family and it was very hard to identify the practice and undertake legal action. Legally, forced marriages did not exist in Burkina Faso, but forced free unions existed.

    School drop out rates for girls were rather high and were mainly due to girls being kept home to take care of household chores. The Government and its partners had increased assistance for school enrolment and retention for girls, and school drop out rates were now decreasing. In 2010, Burkina Faso had been involved in drafting the General Protection Code for Children, but had been told that it did not comply with the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. The general code had been abandoned and had been turned to the code on children in conflict with the law.

    The Committee Experts noted that forced marriage, even if did not exist in the law, was a practice and a reality for children and asked what were the intentions of the Government to address this problem. Responding, the delegation said that it was usually the parents who arranged the early marriage or union. As a part of reviewing the Family Code, the age of marriage for boys and girls would be raised to 18 years of age. The schooling rates were on the rise and the young people themselves often reported that they would be married off. It was hard to change these practices and it would take time. Awareness raising on early and forced marriages was being undertaken with traditional and customary authorities and sensitisation was undertaken for people in remote areas.

    The National Human Rights Commission could receive complaints of violations of the rights of the child. The new Commission had been established as a national human rights institution under the Paris Principles in 2010; it was independent in terms of financial resources and its management, and could monitor the activities of the Government and undertake the necessary investigations. The Commission had the Chamber for the Rights of the Children which was in charge of children’s rights and their violation.

    Birth registration rates were on the rise thanks to the increase in the number of health centres, the 2007 sensitization campaign and the issuing of the replacement birth certificates for voters without one. Children under the age of 13 could not be prosecuted. Children offenders were placed in protective custody and were assisted throughout the process.

    Legislation on the media protected human rights and penalties had been established, for example in December 2012 a daily had been suspended because it had published pictures of children living in the streets. Measures taken by the Government showed the commitment to avoid publishing and using any images that might compromise the rights of children.

    On the legal basis for decisions on extradition for offences against children, Burkina Faso adhered to international legislation; extraditions were undertaken for acts considered offences under international legislation and the Criminal Code. This excluded the principle of dual criminality. One of the failings of the system was evident in this, if someone committed an offence towards a child abroad, and the country where the offence took place did not criminalize that act or did not ratify the Optional Protocol, then it was very difficult to extradite. In case of female genital mutilation for example, heavy sanctions were accorded by the domestic legislation, and so the transnational aspect of the practice was on the increase, with the people going abroad. If a perpetrator was a national of Burkina Faso and committed a crime abroad, domestic courts could deliver sanction upon return to the country; the problem was in establishing the facts of the crime and identifying the perpetrator.

    Legal entities had the obligation to protect children from exploitation, and in the tourism sector the Government sensitized both legal and physical persons about the provisions of the Optional Protocol. There were no specific budget lines allocated to combating violence against children, but the financial and technical resources were provided thorough the budget of the Ministry for Children.

    Trafficking of children was clearly defined in the law and the Government worked with its partners to operate the helpline. One of the priorities of the Poverty Reduction Strategy was child protection, and given the numbers of young people in the population, the child was a focus for the Government. The Ministry for Social Action was the focal point for all the child protection activities of the Government. Caring for the taléb children was part of the activities for children living in the street and the Government had established a technical committee for their protection.

    Concerning the legislative framework, it was important to say that there was an inter-ministerial Committee looking into the overhauling of the Criminal Code to bring it in line with international instruments that Burkina Faso had ratified. With regard to coordination issues, the National Council for the Survival and Development of Children was an intern-ministerial unit composed of all the ministries that had rights of children in their mandates, while members of civil society were involved as technical and financial partners. The Council conducted the National Children’s Forum which took place every three years to look into children’s issues, and held regular meetings at the national and regional levels. The Council was in charge of coordinating the Convention on the Rights of the Child and its Optional Protocols and the African Charter on the Rights and the Welfare of the Child.

    Examination of the Report under the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict

    Questions by Experts

    BERNARD GASTAUD, Committee Expert acting as Rapporteur for the Report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, welcomed the progress in Burkina Faso, a country that lived in peace, but situations in several neighbouring countries, such as Mali at the moment and earlier Côte d’Ivoire, should be observed. According to the law, conscription into the army or foreign armed groups was a crime, but it was not sufficiently defined in the law. What was the status of the revision of the Criminal Code and would it define those elements? The conflict between the armed groups and the national army in Mali made it very likely that children would be recruited. How would Burkina Faso prevent any recruitment of the children on its territory? What measures were being taken and what means were been mobilized to strengthen the knowledge of children’s rights? Children aged 11 and older could be schooled in military-type schools, could the delegation provide more information about this?

    Other Experts asked the delegation about the mechanism to identify children involved in armed conflict in Mali among the arriving refugees, training of border officials to this effect and the services offered to the children; the increase in the involvement of girls in the military schools; and the training of peacekeepers in the two Optional Protocols.

    Response by Delegation

    Le Prytanée Militaire de Kadiogo (PMK) was a military school that had the authority to recruit children coming out of the primary school, aged 11, and provide them with an education for both military and civilian careers. At the end of their schooling, they had to pass a test to join the military. There had been no cases of abuse in those settings. With regard to the presence of women in the army, the Government was promoting recruitment of both young men and young women and training them according to international standards to ensure they could be sent to other countries. The Unit for Children’s Rights was in charge of training and dissemination of the Convention and the Optional Protocols among the soldiers.

    Concerning the prevention of recruitment of children beyond the borders, the delegation said that a committee had been set up to work with the regions where a problem was identified to assist them in ensuring that the rights of children were not violated and that cross-border conscriptions did not take place. Schools had been set in refugee camps to ensure that they continued their education and to provide a more secure environment for the children.

    The ratification of the Rome Statute meant the overhauling of several legal statutes and the inter-ministerial Committee had set up a special law to implement the Rome Statute. There were no cases of Burkinabe children conscripted into armed conflict in the country or abroad. Armed forces were trained in international humanitarian law and on the Optional Protocols; training was done in universities, while various training activities were organized by several ministries. An inter-ministerial Committee on international humanitarian law was in place and was in charge of providing training courses in the subject matter.

    The Committee Experts asked about a complaint mechanism that children or their parents had at their disposal to report the involvement of children in armed conflict; whether the recruitment of children was a crime under the law; and the means and resources for providing care for refugees.

    The delegation said that it would be very difficult to be certain that there was no cross-border recruitment of children. The crisis in Mali was still ongoing and it shared 2,000 kilometres of border with Burkina Faso. The law on the implementation of the Rome Statute was being drafted at the moment and it was important to disassociate the provisions of the Rome Statute and look separately into the offences.

    No one had brought to the attention of the Government the presence of Burkinabe children in any armed forces. Caring for refugees started with the National Refugee Council identifying them and providing basic services such as food, shelter and health, as well as psychosocial services. School aged children were sent to school and those of university age were sent to the capital and enrolled in public universities. Concerning punishment of those found guilty of the recruitment of children in armed conflict, the delegation said that the international provisions needed to be transposed in domestic laws and that was one of the purposes of the ongoing revision of the laws.

    Burkina Faso intended to apply a holistic approach to children’s rights, including those guaranteed by the Optional Protocol; budgets were not allocated specifically for this purpose, but budgetary lines existed in relevant ministries, and some resources were being provided by partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund.

    The responsibility for the prevention of the recruitment of children for the conflict in Mali had been devolved to the provinces which had been informed of measures they could undertake, and about the ways to deal with the refugees. Provincial authorities were supported by partners such as the United Nations Children’s Fund. With regard to the monitoring of the cross-border recruitment, the military was involved as well, and its officers had received training in children’s rights and had in place the military security mechanism to protect civilians in times of crisis.

    In addition to social protection measures for refugees entering Burkina Faso, there were sensitization activities for refugees and the local population on a number of subjects. Assisting refugees was not a simple undertaking, from their identification and registration, to the identification of children in special circumstances. Measures were effective but were not enough given the number of refugees and the scope of the crisis. The staff of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees were working on sites in the north of the country and assisting the authorities in providing services and assistance to the refugee population.

    Concluding Remarks

    HATEM KOTRANE, Committee Vice-Chairperson and the Rapporteur for the Report under the Optional Protocol on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography, said that Burkina Faso was making significant efforts to align its legislation with the spirit of the Convention and the Optional Protocol, but the fact was that the very little reform of penal and civil legislation had been undertaken. All the crimes and offences mentioned by the Optional Protocol must be included in the domestic legislation. The focus must be on prevention too, in the tourist industry, international adoption and alternative care, children living in the street and other areas. The Committee recommended further efforts in sensitization and awareness raising among the population on children’s rights and the provisions of the Optional Protocol.

    BERNARD GASTAUD, Committee Expert acting as Rapporteur for the Report under the Optional Protocol on the involvement of children in armed conflict, noted the efforts made by Burkina Faso in dealing with the influx of Malian refugees given the scarce resources the country had, and reiterated the concern about the lack of criminal legal provisions in line with international standards.

    DIEUDONNE MARIE DESIRE MANLY, Technical Advisor, Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity, expressed satisfaction with the discussion with the Committee and reiterated the openness to recommendations of the Committee to improve the rights of children in Burkina Faso without any discrimination.

    YANGHEE LEE, Committee Vice-Chairperson, said that Burkina Faso knew where the challenges were and emphasized that the Optional Protocol on the sale of children went beyond the narrow scope of trafficking and expressed hope that the delegation would go back to Burkina Faso with that understanding.

    For use of the information media; not an official record


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)
    preview


    Oxfam publishes report on situation of refugees as thousands more flee their homes: aid effort will not cope with increasing numbers without changed approach

    The aid effort to help over 147,000 Malian refugees could be overwhelmed as conflict escalates, unless there is a significant shift in the way aid operations are carried out, international agency Oxfam warned today.

    With aid agencies already struggling to meet all refugees' basic needs, Oxfam says it is extremely concerned about the conditions faced by Malians who have fled their homes over the last year and are living in neighboring countries. Host communities in these countries were already struggling to deal with food shortages and the consequences of drought and food crisis last year.

    With the escalation of the conflict, including an offensive by armed groups controlling the north, the recent intervention of French and Malian armed forces and with the UN mandated African-led International Support Mission to Mali (AFISMA) operation set to be deployed, Oxfam is warning in a report published today that the already dire situation for tens of thousands of Malians could get much worse.

    Insecurity increasing in host countries

    Since January of last year, over 147,000 civilians have fled northern Mali and found refuge in neighboring countries such as Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. In its report, Mali's Conflict Refugees: Responding to a Growing Crisis, Oxfam says that Malian refugees also face a number of threats including forced recruitment by armed groups crossing from northern Mali. Even before the recent escalation in fighting, the report highlights that insecurity was increasing in host countries, leaving refugees and host populations at great risk. There are also thousands newly displaced people in southern Mali during the most recent outbreak of fighting – in addition to nearly 220,000 people displaced over the last year – and limited information from the north means there could be many more people who have left their homes but remain in territory held by armed groups.

    “After nearly a year of assisting tens of thousands of people across four countries in extremely tough conditions, the aid community is struggling to meet their needs. It is paramount now that we ensure that aid will continue to be provided to people who are leaving everything behind,” said Mamadou Biteye, Oxfam West Africa Regional Director. “We call on countries neighboring Mali to continue to keep their borders open to allow refugees a safe haven, and for the UN to show the leadership that is needed to deal with the impact of this conflict on Malian refugees and their hosts.”

    Scale-up of response has been slow

    Oxfam also points to the difficulties in responding to the crisis over the last months. Host governments and communities, and humanitarian organizations have provided vital assistance to refugees, but the scale-up has been slow due to logistical challenges, limited experience of in-country humanitarian organizations in dealing with refugee emergencies, and a small UNHCR presence in the region in the early days of the response. Almost one year since the start of the conflict in the north of Mali “basic needs are still not uniformly covered, particularly with regard to nutrition, protection, and education,” according to Oxfam’s report.

    “Operating a major refugee response in the Sahel region is extremely difficult and it is clear that it will become even harder if there is a significant influx of refugees into Mauritania, Burkina Faso and Niger. At the same time, in Mali, those who have not made it out also need access to life saving aid. All those involved in the conflict need to ensure that we have access to the areas where these people are,” said Caroline Baudot, author of the report.

    The aid agency highlights child malnutrition rates in some refugee camps that are already well above the 15 per cent emergency threshold set by the World Health Organisation. For example in Niger, malnutrition rates among children under five years stand at 21 per cent.

    Host communities need better support

    Oxfam says that ahead of a probable increase in refugee flows, aid groups need to rapidly adapt their programs to better support host communities and pastoralist refugees – who have arrived with tens of thousands of cattle putting further pressure on limited resources and igniting tensions with local communities. At some sites, the report says, refugees outnumber host populations, such as in Mauritania where in Bassikounou – a town of some 42,000 inhabitants – there are now 54,000 refugees at a nearby camp.

    “What people want is to be able to go home. But refugees are clear that after decades of being displaced, they will not go back unless there is a lasting-peace in Mali. Ultimately, they tell us, the real causes of Mali’s conflict need to be solved before they return,” concluded Aime Lukelo, Oxfam’s Country Director in Mauritania.


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    Source: European Union
    Country: Somalia

    Brussels, 22 January 2013 5578/13 PRESSE 26

    The Council today extended the EU training mission in Somalia (EUTM Somalia) for two years. The mission will continue to contribute to the strengthening of the Somali armed forces so they can ultimately take over security responsibilities. But given the changing situation in Somalia, EUTM will refocus its activities.

    The mission will provide political and strategic advice to the Somali ministry of defence and the chief of defence forces, advise on security sector development as well as provide specialised military training and mentoring in the training domain. This is to lay the foundations of a Somali-owned military training system, with basic and specialised military training taking place in Somalia.

    EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton said: "EUTM Somalia has provided great assistance to the Somali armed forces. All those who have been trained by EU military experts make a real difference on the ground."

    The mission will gradually move training activities from Bihanga (Uganda) to Somalia, depending on security conditions. Brigadier General Gerald Aherne from Ireland will take over the command. The common costs of the operation until 31 March 2015 are estimated at EUR 11.6 million.

    EUTM Somalia, first launched in February 2010, has contributed to training about 3,000 Somali troops so far. It is part of the EU's comprehensive approach for a stable, democratic and prosperous Somalia and embedded in the EU strategic framework for the Horn of Africa.

    More information: www.consilium.europa.eu/eutm-somalia


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    This is a summary of what was said by the UNHCR spokesperson at today’s Palais des Nations press briefing in Geneva.

    As air bombing and fighting continue in Mali, refugees are continuing to cross into neighbouring countries.

    In Mauritania, 4208 Malian refugees have arrived since January 11. After being registered at the Fassala transit centre, they are being transported further inland to the Mbera refugee camp which is already hosting 55,221 people from earlier displacements.

    In Niger there are now 1,300 new refugees, mainly from Menaka and Anderamboukane.

    During the same period, Burkina Faso has received 1,829 new refugees. These are mainly Tuaregs and Songhai from the regions of Gossi, Timbuktu, Gao and Bambara Maoude. To help receive people we have erected two hangars in Inabao, at the border with Mali, which is currently the main entry point for new refugees. Our partner Plan Burkina has also rehabilitated a hand water pump and has constructed emergency latrines. In part, this is aimed too at easing any possible tensions with the local population.

    New arrivals continue to tell us they left their homes because of air strikes and fighting, as well as fears over the application of Sharia law. They also speak of increasing shortages of food and fuel, with traditional markets unable to operate. A lack of cereal is pushing breeders to either kill some of their animals as they have nothing else to eat, or to try to sell them. Some refugees are travelling by private car or by truck, while others have arrived from Mali on foot or by donkey. Many newly arrived refugees are expecting additional members of their families to join them in the next days from Mali.

    UNHCR and partners continue to assist those refugees who are in camps in Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania by providing clean water, sanitation and hygiene structures, food, adequate shelter, healthcare and education.

    In Burkina Faso, vehicles are going back and forth at the border to collect those who are unable to walk. We are also continuing to relocate refugees from the border to safer sites inland. On January 19th, a convoy with 568 refugees left the Ferrerio and Gandafabou refugee sites, in Burkina’s northern Sahel region to be relocated to Goudebou camp near Dori. Ferrerio will from now only be used as a transit center for the new arrivals before they are transported to Goudebou. As of today, and since October, we have relocated 4,737 refugees from the border. In total, Burkina Faso is hosting 38,776 Malian refugees.

    Including those displaced this month, some 147,000 Malians have found refuge in neighbouring countries since the Mali crisis started in January 2012. Inside Mali, 229,000 people are displaced – mainly from Kidal, Timbuktu, and Gao.

    For the internally displaced as well as for refugees, the immediate needs are for water, food, shelter and medical care. Living conditions are particularly precarious for the internally displaced who are in dire need of food, but also need help with education, health, lodging as well as schooling for young children. UNHCR and our partners are working to address the situation through income-generating activities in Bamako. Currently, humanitarian access to other areas of Mali is severely restricted by the security situation.

    CORRECTION: In UNHCR’s January 15 briefing note we reported that 2013 funding needs were $195.6 million. This is incorrect. The correct figure is $111.9 million.

    UNHCR Mali media team:

    Spokesperson: (Bamako) - Helene Caux +221 77 333 1291 caux@unhcr.org Regional Representative: (Bamako/Dakar) – Valentin Tapsoba - +221 77 529 5014
    Spokesperson: (Bamako as of Wednesday) – William Spindler +33 623 316 11 78 In Burkina Faso: Hugo Reichenberger on mobile + 226 66 61 94 94
    In Niger: Charlotte Arnaud on mobile + 227 92 19 19 03
    In Mauritania: Nada Merheb on mobile + 222 33 49 26 26 In Geneva: Adrian Edwards on mobile +41 79 557 91 20
    Fatoumata Lejeune-Kaba on mobile +41 79 249 3483


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    Source: Oxfam
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)
    preview


    Avec l’escalade des combats, la situation des refugiés maliens risque de se détériorer

    Oxfam publie un rapport sur la situation des réfugiés maliens, alors que des milliers d'entre eux ont dû fuir leur domicile. L'aide humanitaire ne pourra faire face à cet afflux sans changements d’approche.

    L’effort humanitaire en faveur de plus de 147 000 réfugiés maliens pourrait être perturbé avec l’intensification des combats, sans un changement significatif dans la façon dont les opérations d’aide sont organisées prévient aujourd’hui l’organisation internationale Oxfam.

    Avec les difficultés rencontrées par les organisations humanitaires pour satisfaire les besoins élémentaires des populations, Oxfam affirme qu’il est préoccupé quant aux conditions de vie des réfugiés maliens qui ont fui leurs foyers depuis l’année dernière, et vivent dans les pays voisins. Les communautés hôtes dans ces pays étaient déjà elles-mêmes confrontées à des pénuries de vivres, aux conséquences de la sécheresse et de la crise alimentaire survenue en 2012.

    Avec l’escalade des combats, et l’offensive des groupes armés contrôlant le nord, l’intervention récente des forces armées françaises et maliennes et le déploiement en cours de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma) autorisée par les Nations unies, Oxfam souligne dans un rapport publié aujourd'hui les conditions particulièrement difficiles dans lesquelles vivent des dizaine de milliers de Maliens et Maliennes et met en garde contre une possible détérioration de leur situation. De plus en plus d'insécurité dans les pays d'accueil

    Depuis un an, quelque 147 000 civils ont fui le nord du Mali et trouvé refuge dans les pays limitrophes tels que le Burkina Faso, le Niger ou encore la Mauritanie. Dans son rapport intitulé « Les refugiés du conflit au mali : Répondre à l’aggravation de la crise », Oxfam affirme que les réfugiés doivent faire face à un certain nombre de menaces telles que l'enrôlement forcé par les groupes armés actifs dans le nord du Mali. Le rapport souligne que, avant même la récente escalade des combats, l'insécurité était grandissante dans les pays hôtes, faisant courir des risques importants aux réfugiés et aux populations hôtes. Il y aurait aussi des milliers de nouveaux déplacés dans le sud, et avec plus de 220 000 déplacés depuis l’année dernière, et compte tenu du manque d’information en provenance du nord, il pourrait y avoir plus de gens qui auraient fui mais se trouveraient encore dans les territoires tenus par les groupes armés.

    « Après plus d'un an d'assistance à des dizaines de milliers de personnes dans quatre pays dans des conditions extrêmement difficiles, les organisations humanitaires peinent à répondre à leurs besoins. Il est capital de garantir que l'aide continuera à être disponible pour les personnes contraintes de fuir et de tout abandonner, souligne Mamadou Biteye, Directeur régional d'Oxfam en Afrique de l'Ouest. Nous appelons les pays voisins du Mali à ne pas fermer leurs frontières afin de permettre le passage des réfugiés et l'ONU à faire preuve du leadership nécessaire pour gérer les conséquences du conflit sur les réfugiés maliens et leurs hôtes. » Une réaction lente et difficile

    Oxfam souligne également les difficultés éprouvées ces derniers mois pour répondre à cette crise. Bien que les communautés hôtes, les pays voisins et les organisations humanitaires aient fourni une assistance vitale aux réfugiés, l'augmentation des capacités a été particulièrement difficile et lente en raison de difficultés logistiques, de l'expérience limitée des organisations humanitaires sur place en matière de crise de refugiés et de la faible présence du HCR dans la région, dans les premiers moments. Près d'un an après l'éclatement du conflit dans le nord du Mali, le rapport d'Oxfam affirme que « les besoins essentiels ne sont toujours pas couverts de façon uniforme, en particulier dans les domaines de l'alimentation, de la protection et de l'éducation ».

    « Mettre en œuvre une importante réponse pour les refugiés dans la région sahélienne est particulièrement difficile et il est évident que cela sera encore plus ardu s’il y a un nouveau flux significatif de refugiés en Mauritanie, au Niger et au Burkina Faso. Dans le même temps, au Mali, celles et ceux qui n'ont pas réussi à fuir ont besoin d’une aide vitale. Il faut que les parties impliquées dans le conflit garantissent notre accès aux régions où ces personnes vivent », explique Caroline Baudot, auteure du rapport.

    Oxfam souligne que le taux de malnutrition infantile dans certains camps de réfugiés dépasse largement la limite de l'urgence de 15 % fixée par l’Organisation mondiale de la santé. Au Niger par exemple, la malnutrition chez les enfants de moins de cinq ans atteint 21 %. Les communautés d'accueil doivent être aidées

    En prévision de l’augmentation probable du flux de réfugiés et de l’augmentation des besoins inhérents, Oxfam affirme que les organisations humanitaires doivent rapidement adapter leurs programmes afin de soutenir les communautés hôtes et les réfugiés issus de communautés pastorales, lesquels sont arrivés avec des dizaines de milliers de têtes de bétail, augmentant considérablement la pression sur les ressources locales déjà limitées et les tensions entre réfugiés et communautés locales. En certains endroits, le nombre de réfugiés est plus important que celui des membres de la communauté d’accueil, comme par exemple en Mauritanie, à Bassikounou, une ville qui compte 42 000 habitants, tandis que le camp de réfugiés voisin accueille 54 000 personnes.

    « Les gens aspirent à pouvoir rentrer chez eux. Mais les réfugiés sont également déterminés : après avoir été déplacés pendant des décennies, ils ne rentreront pas chez eux sans paix durable. En fin de compte, ce qu'ils nous disent c'est que les causes profondes du conflit doivent être résolues avant qu'ils puissent envisager un retour », conclut Aimé Lukelo, directeur d'Oxfam en Mauritanie. En savoir plus

    Télécharger le résumé du rapport « Les refugiés du conflit au mali : Répondre à l’aggravation de la crise »

    Voir le diaporama : Des milliers de Maliens fuient les combats

    Crise alimentaire au Sahel

    Notes aux rédactions

    Des photos et vidéos peuvent être fournies sur simple demande.

    Contacts


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    Source: Plan
    Country: Mali

    Country faces double crisis as conflict continues

    Bamako, Mali (22 January 2013) – Mali is on the verge of a major humanitarian crisis, the global organisation Plan International has warned. Tens of thousands of displaced people together with those trapped in the conflict areas are unreachable. In addition, the conflict is preventing farmers sowing the 2013 crop and there are fears that up to two million people will be affected a food crisis this year.

    Since fighting started on 10 January 2013, an estimated 10,000 people have fled, according to UN figures. Approximately 376,000 people have been displaced since the crisis started in March 2012. Of this, almost quarter of a million people is internally displaced and the remainder have fled to neighbouring countries such as Niger and Burkina Faso.

    As fighting continues, aid agencies are expecting the numbers of displaced people to rise to nearly three-quarters of a million in the coming next months.

    “The newly displaced need almost everything. They need food, shelter, water, sanitation and psychological support. We need adequate funding to be able to scale up our response as the numbers go up”, the Plan Mali Emergency Response Manager, Anthonin Ngarukiye said.

    Already, Plan has been responding to the humanitarian needs of the internally displaced people in Mali by distributing dignity kits and by providing psychological support, protection and education services to children impacted by the conflict.

    Plan is also concerned about the impact of the conflict on food availability.

    Plan Mali Country Director William Michelet said the fighting is interfering with agricultural activities and crop production.

    “Farmers usually start preparing their fields in February however in the current climate it means that many of them are not able to work and this will have a big impact on food production,” he said.

    Before the military action began on 10 January, more than two million people were at risk of food insecurity in Mali especially in northern Mali. It is estimated that 660,000 children are now at risk of acute malnutrition and about 1.5 million people are at risk of epidemics due to weak water and sanitation facilities in the north.

    “Time is of the essence to the response to the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Mali,” said, Dr Unni Krishnan, Head of Disaster Response and Preparedness at Plan International.

    “Displaced people, especially children are impacted both physically and psychologically. Along with lifesaving measures such as water and health care, emotional first aid and recreational activities should be taken up immediately,” he added.

    Plan’s experience at working in such humanitarian situations shows that relief work that balances provision of life saving needs such food, water and psychosocial support helps to hasten children’s recovery.

    Plan’s emergency response operation is estimated to cost US$3.2 million over the next six months.

    Further details please contact: Edwige Depagne-Sorgho Emergency Communications Officer, Plan Mali Mobile: +223 74 18 96 91 Edwige.Depagne-Sorgho@plan-international.org

    Thiekoro Coulibaly, PR and Communications Advisor, Plan Mali Mobile: +223 76 29 40 42 Email: coulibaly.thiekoro@plan-international.org

    Florence Cisse, Regional Media Specialist, Senegal, Mobile: +221 777 403 600, Email: Florence.cisse@plan-international.org

    Terry Ally, Press Officer, Emergencies and Disasters, Plan International HQ, UK, Mobile: + 44 7720 736 884 Email: terry.ally@plan-international.org

    Note to the Editor: A Dignity Kit comprises basic needs items such as towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste, rubber slippers, paracetamol and mosquito nets.


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    Source: IRIN
    Country: Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania (the), Zambia

    NAIROBI, 22 janvier 2013 (IRIN) - Selon une étude de l'Institut international de recherche sur les politiques alimentaires IFPRI, l'Afrique pourrait réduire son niveau de pauvreté plus rapidement en privilégiant la production d'aliments de base plutôt que les cultures d'exportation.

    Les auteurs de l'étude réalisée dans 10 pays au sud du Sahara ont indiqué : « L'une des conclusions importantes du rapport est qu'une plus grande production de cultures de base, telles que le maïs, les légumes secs, les racines, ainsi que davantage de produits d'élevage, tend à réduire plus efficacement la pauvreté que la production supplémentaire de cultures d'exportation comme le café ou les fleurs coupées ».

    Selon l'étude, si davantage de ressources publiques sont nécessaires pour générer plus de croissance agricole, « un tel investissement public dans le secteur des aliments de base est assurément rentable ».

    Les auteurs ont affirmé que la croissance dans le secteur des aliments de base pouvait être plus bénéfique pour les pauvres que la croissance dans le secteur des exportations agricoles.

    Enoch Mwani, un économiste agricole de l'université de Nairobi, partage cette théorie. « Le secteur des exportations agricoles est généralement associé à de grandes sociétés, mais les pauvres dépendent essentiellement des aliments de base pour survivre ».

    M. Mwani a ajouté que la croissance de la production des aliments de base n'avait pas seulement pour conséquence de réduire la pauvreté, mais permettait également d'assurer la sécurité alimentaire.

    « [Les gouvernements qui] investissent dans les aliments de base ont la possibilité d'augmenter la disponibilité alimentaire et, dans le même temps, de créer de la richesse pour les petits exploitants », a déclaré à IRIN M. Mwani.

    Pour encourager le développement en Afrique subsaharienne, les conclusions de l'étude font ressortir la nécessité de se concentrer sur : l'accélération de la croissance agricole, la promotion de la croissance dans les grandes filières agricoles, le soutien de la croissance dans plusieurs filières agricoles, et la promotion de la croissance dans les filières étroitement liées à l'économie d'ensemble et ayant un impact direct sur les pauvres.

    ko/rz-fc/amz

    [FIN]


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    01/22/2013 13:44 GMT

    by Serge Daniel

    DIABALY, Mali, Jan 22, 2013 (AFP) - Mali's army chief Tuesday said his French-backed forces could reclaim the northern towns of Gao and fabled Timbuktu from Islamists in a month, as the United States began airlifting French troops to Mali.

    Malian forces patrolled Diabaly, about 400 kilometres (250 miles) north of Bamako, to buttress their presence after rolling into the central town on Monday along with French forces and getting a red carpet welcome by locals.

    They also recaptured the strategic crossroads town of Douentza, which was seized by the Islamists in September.

    The US military said meanwhile it has started airlifting French troops and equipment from France into Mali to assist their operation.

    "We expect the mission to last for the next several days," an AFRICOM spokesman, Chuck Prichard, told AFP in Germany. "As of yet we've had two flights that have landed and we anticipate more in the coming days."

    Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Netherlands, Spain and the United Arab Emirates are also providing transport planes or helicopters required to help move the African and French troops around Mali's vast expanses.

    France began its military operation on January 11 and has said it could deploy upwards of 2,500 troops which would eventually hand over control to a UN-sanctioned African force set to number some 6,000 soldiers.

    General Ibrahima Dahirou Dembele said the French-backed army was forging ahead for "the total liberation of northern Mali," in an interview with French radio station RFI.

    "If the support remains consistent, it won't take more than a month to free Gao and Timbuktu," he said, referring to two of three main cities along with Kidal, in the vast, semi-arid north which has been occupied for 10 months.

    The Al Qaeda-linked Islamists have subjected these towns to strict sharia law, whipping smokers and drinkers, banning music, forcing women to wear veils and long robes, amputating the limbs of thieves and stoning adulterers to death.

    A fabled caravan town on the edge of the Sahara desert, Timbuktu was for centuries a key centre of Islamic learning and has become a byword for exotic remoteness in the Western imagination.

    Today it is a battlefield, overrun by Islamist militants who have been razing its world-heritage religious sites in a destructive rampage that the UN cultural agency has deplored as "tragic".

    Dembele said troops from Niger and Chad were expected to come through Niger, which borders Mali on the east, and head to Gao, a key Islamist stronghold which has been pounded by French airstrikes.

    "The intention of the enemy fighters is to withdraw into the hills around Aguelhok," a far northern town near the Algerian border, he said.

    The army chief said soldiers found guilty of rights abuses would be summarily punished, after Human Rights Watch and Arab and Tuareg groups alleged that they were committing "atrocities" including murder.

    "Any soldier committing atrocities against the civil population will be immediately withdrawn from the ground and taken to Bamako to be judged in a military tribunal," he said.

    A major boost to the African force is a pledge by Mali's neighbour Chad to deploy 2,000 soldiers there.

    The Chadian troops are battle-hardened, having quelled rebellions at home and in nearby countries such as the Central African Republic.

    "They are seasoned soldiers in the desert contrary to the armies of the Economic Community of West African States" regional bloc, said Philippe Hugon from the well-known French think-tank, the Institute of International and Strategic Relations.

    France swept to Mali's aid 10 months after it lost over half its territory to Islamists, amid rising fears that the vast northern half of the country could become a new Afghanistan-like haven for Al-Qaeda.

    The crisis erupted when the nomadic Tuaregs, who have long felt marginalised by the government, launched a rebellion a year ago and inflicted such humiliation on the Malian army that it triggered a military coup in Bamako in March.

    The Tuaregs allied with Islamist groups including Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) and seized control of huge swathes of territory including the main northern towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu but they soon fell apart.

    Their success in seizing a vast stretch of desert territory raised fears they could use northern Mali as a base to launch attacks on the region, Europe and beyond.

    bur-ach/fb/lc/jz


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    As part of Burkina Faso’s Independence Day celebrations, WFP received a national honor for social action from the President Blaise Kampaore.

    Ouagadougou – The Minister of Social Action and National Solidarity Clemence Traore, who is in charge of disaster management and humanitarian assistance, presented the award to WFP on behalf of the Government of Burkina Faso.

    “This award represents the hard work of each WFP staff member in Burkina Faso,” said WFP Burkina Faso Country Director Angelline Rudakubana, who received the award on behalf of WFP.

    The award, conferred in December, comes at the end of a year when WFP and the Government have worked especially closely together, coordinating the response to the food and nutrition crisis as well as the food needs of the Malian refugees.

    During the opening remarks of the ceremony, the Director of Human Resources of the Ministry of Social Action and National Solidarity Nestor Paré stated that this recognition is “an invitation to redouble our efforts to help the most vulnerable.”

    “WFP will continue working hard alongside the Government to tackle the many challenges facing the country – poverty, malnutrition and food insecurity,” said WFP Burkina Faso Country Director Angelline Rudakubana.


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    Source: Voice of America
    Country: Mali

    A reporter on the ground in northern Mali says most Islamist militants have fled the city of Gao since last week, when French warplanes bombed their positions.

    The VOA reporter in Gao said Tuesday that some militants have been spotted in the area - driving in trucks or riding motorbikes or hiding out in trees. But he adds it is clear the Islamists are not numerous or organized enough to continue applying the strict Sharia law they imposed after taking control of the city last April.

    Local youths have taken up smoking again, the VOA reporter says, and girls without head coverings can be seen in the streets.

    The journalist in Gao says the French airstrike on Gao 10 days ago did not kill any civilians, but the city is suffering shortages of food and medical supplies because all deliveries from Niger and Algeria have been interrupted.

    Gao has no communications links to the rest of the world. The reporter told VOA he had to travel 180 kilometers outside Gao to file his report.

    French and West African military forces are expected to retake the city in the coming weeks.

    Meanwhile, Malian forces are patrolling Diabaly, a town in central Mali where Islamist militants were beaten back Monday by French and Malian forces.

    Residents in Diabaly, too, said the militants who formerly held power there have either fled or are attempting to blend in with civilians. The town is 400 kilometers north of the capital, Bamako.

    The correspondent leading the VOA reporting team in Mali, Idrissa Fall, says calm is also returning to Douentza, a town militants had taken over in September.

    Fall spoke with residents Tuesday who expressed relief that Malian forces and their allies are now in charge of local affairs.

    "They confirmed that the Malian army, the French soldiers, they arrived yesterday morning at 9 a.m. and the whole population in Douentza went out celebrating their arrival," he reported.

    French forces intervened in Mali one and one-half weeks ago, when fears were growing that militants who still control much of northern Mali were pushing toward the capital. The United States has helped the French intervention force in Mali with transportation and equipment.

    ECOWAS, the West African regional bloc, is building a 3,300-troop force that will eventually take the lead in helping Malian forces push back rebels. Pentagon spokesman George Little said Tuesday the U.S. military has flown five C-17 cargo flights into Bamako.

    United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the terrorist threat in Mali has "global repercussions." In a speech to the General Assembly Tuesday, Mr. Ban said addressing the unrest in Mali and the Sahel region is one of his top priorities this year.

    During the past few days, the secretary-general said, he had dispatched an advance team of U.N. multidisciplinary officials to Bamako as part of U.N. efforts to help stabilize Mali.

    "My Special Representative for West Africa has been in close dialogue with the Malian authorities and our regional partners. Our humanitarian agencies are working to meet the growing needs of a crisis that has forced 350,000 people to flee their homes," he said.

    Ban said the U.N. would work with its African and international partners to fully restore Mali's constitutional order and territorial integrity.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Mali

    Un bataillon de 500 soldats burkinabé sera mis à la disposition de la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (MISMA), a annoncé vendredi 18 janvier 2013 à Abidjan, en Côte d’Ivoire, le ministre d’Etat, ministre des Affaires étrangères et de la Coopération régionale du Burkina, M. Yipèné Djibrill Bassolé.

    Dans une déclaration à l’occasion de la session extraordinaire du Conseil de médiation et de sécurité de la CEDEAO (CMS), ouverte le même jour, M. Bassolé a notamment souligné la nécessité de faire face à l’urgence qui est d’aider les forces armées du Mali à garantir la stabilité et la sécurité de l’Etat malien.

    «Le Burkina Faso, en plus des dispositions militaires prises pour sécuriser sa frontière avec le nord du Mali, déploiera un bataillon de 500 hommes pour prendre part à la MISMA», a dit le ministre d’Etat burkinabé, ajoutant que son pays se tient également disponible pour apporter l’assistance nécessaire aux partenaires qui se sont engagés à soutenir les opérations militaires de sécurisation du Nord malien.

    La CEDEAO «doit faire preuve de la plus grande fermeté pour éradiquer le terrorisme et la grande criminalité transfrontalière qui sont de nature à compromettre irrémédiablement la paix et le développement dans notre région», a-t-il souligné, plaidant cependant pour le maintien de l’option du dialogue en vue de renforcer les fondements de la démocratie, de la justice, de l’équité et de la bonne gouvernance.

    A cet égard, le ministre d’Etat burkinabé a fait le point sur le mandat de médiateur pour la crise malienne confié par l’organisation sous-régionale au président Blaise Compaoré du Burkina Faso. Dans la mise en œuvre de ce mandat, le médiateur s’est fortement investi en vue d’obtenir le retour à l’ordre constitutionnel et de créer les conditions d’un dialogue fructueux entre les autorités maliennes et les groupes armés.

    M. Bassolé a énuméré les résultats positifs obtenus tout au long du processus ainsi enclenché, notamment la réunion de concertation tenue du 2 au 4 décembre 2012 à Ouagadougou, au Burkina, entre une délégation du gouvernement malien, le groupe islamiste Ansar Eddine et le MNLA (Mouvement national pour la libération de l’Azawad), à l’issue de laquelle les trois parties se sont engagées pour une cessation définitive des hostilités.

    Mais, a-t-il expliqué, les offensives militaires effectuées dans la deuxième semaine du mois de janvier 2013 ont perturbé le processus de dialogue politique en cours, les groupes armés qui ont décidé de reprendre les hostilités en s’associant aux extrémistes et aux terroristes ayant ainsi gravement violé l’engagement pris le 4 décembre 2012 à Ouagadougou avec le gouvernement de transition du Mali.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Somalia
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    The livestock sector is central to the economic and cultural life of the Somali people. The sector provides food and income to over 60 percent of the country’s population. Burao and Galkayo are the largest livestock markets in the Horn of Africa especially for export sheep and goats from the Somali region of Ethiopia and parts of southern Somalia. The majority of the livestock exported through Berbera and Bosasso seaports transit or pass through these markets. Burao and Galkayo are two important reference markets for key pastoral livelihood zones of Hawd, Sool Plateau, Nugaal valley, and the Adun in the northeast and central regions. Beled Weyne connects the south and central regions of the country, and is the supply source of export cattle through Bosasso port. Dinsor, Bardera, and Afmadow are important cattle markets in the agro pastoral livelihood zones in southern Somalia. Significant number of the cattle trekked to Garissa, Kenya transit these markets. Afmadow is largest cattle market in southern Somalia. It is the reference market for the largest cattle belt in the Juba valley. It is the main source of the cross border cattle trade to the Garissa, Mombasa, and Nairobi markets in Kenya.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Somalia
    preview


    Maize, sorghum, rice, and cowpea are the most important staple foods for Somalis. Maize and sorghum are the preferred staple in agriculture areas, while rice is more popular in pastoral and urban areas. Cowpea is an integral component of all households’ diets. Mogadishu is Somalia’s largest market with links to most markets in the country. Baidoa is a significant sorghum producing and consuming area. Qorioley is a large maize production area. Burao, Galkayo, and Dhusamareb are exclusively pastoral where people depend on purchases of domestically produced sorghum and imported rice. Togwajale is a sorghum producing area with links to Ethiopian markets; most cereal flows from Ethiopia pass through this market. Hargeisa is the capital of Somaliland and an important reference market for livestock trade with Ethiopia. Buale, located in an important maize production area in the southern region supplies most nearby markets. El Dhere and Merka are areas of cowpea production: the principal source of income. Bossasso and Kismayo are both port towns and entry points of imports. Beled Weyn connects the south and central regions of the country, and also has linkages with Ethiopia. Belet Hawa is an important cross-border market with Kenya.


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    Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)

    BAMAKO, Mali, 22 janvier (HCR) – Près de 7 500 réfugiés ont fui vers les pays voisins, depuis que les forces françaises et maliennes ont lancé une contre-offensive contre les militants islamistes il y a presque deux semaines. L'exode se poursuit.

    En Mauritanie, 4 208 réfugiés maliens sont arrivés depuis les tout derniers combats ayant commencé le 11 janvier dernier. Après avoir été enregistrés au centre de transit de Fassala, ils sont transportés plus à l'intérieur du pays vers le camp de réfugiés de Mbéra, qui accueille déjà quelque 55 000 personnes depuis les précédentes crises de déplacement de population.

    Au Niger, on compte désormais 1 300 nouveaux réfugiés, originaires principalement des régions de Ménaka et Andéramboukané. Durant la même période, le Burkina Faso a reçu 1 829 nouveaux réfugiés. Ce sont principalement des Touaregs et des Songhaïs des régions de Gossi, Tombouctou, Gao et Bambara Maoudé.

    « Pour aider à héberger ces personnes, nous avons construit deux hangars à Inabao, à la frontière avec le Mali. C'est actuellement le principal point d'entrée pour les nouveaux réfugiés. Notre partenaire, Plan Burkina, a également réhabilité une pompe à eau et construit des latrines », a indiqué Adrian Edwards, un porte-parole du HCR. « En partie, cela vise aussi à éviter d'éventuelles tensions avec la population locale », a-t-il ajouté.

    Les nouveaux arrivants continuent de témoigner au HCR qu'ils ont quitté leur maison à cause des frappes aériennes françaises et des combats, ainsi que du fait de leurs craintes sur l'application de la charia. Ils témoignent également de la pénurie croissante de nourriture et de carburant, car les marchés traditionnels ne peuvent se tenir. Un manque de céréales pousse les éleveurs à tuer quelques têtes de bétail car ils n'ont rien d'autre à manger ou à essayer de les vendre.

    Certains réfugiés ont fait le voyage en voiture ou en camion, alors que d'autres sont arrivés en provenance du Mali à pied ou à dos d'âne. De nombreux réfugiés nouvellement arrivés attendent que d'autres membres de leur famille les rejoignent depuis le Mali dans les prochains jours.

    Le HCR et ses partenaires continuent d'aider les réfugiés qui se trouvent dans des camps au Burkina Faso, au Niger et en Mauritanie en leur fournissant des structures pour la distribution d'eau potable, l'assainissement et l'hygiène ainsi que de la nourriture, des abris, des soins de santé et l'éducation.

    Au Burkina Faso, des véhicules font l'aller et retour à la frontière pour transporter les personnes qui ne peuvent pas marcher. « Nous continuons également à transférer les réfugiés depuis la frontière vers des sites plus sûrs à l'intérieur du pays », a déclaré Adrian Edwards.

    Samedi, un convoi transportant 568 réfugiés a quitté les sites de réfugiés de Ferrerio et de Gandafabou, dans la région du Sahel au nord du Burkina Faso pour un transfert vers le camp de Goudébou près de la ville de Dori. Ferrerio sera désormais utilisé comme centre de transit pour les nouveaux arrivants, avant qu'ils ne soient transportés à Goudébou. Au total, le Burkina Faso accueille 38 776 réfugiés maliens.

    En additionnant les personnes déplacées ce mois-ci, près de 150 000 Maliens ont trouvé refuge dans les pays voisins depuis l'éruption de la crise au Mali en janvier 2012. A l'intérieur du Mali, 229 000 personnes sont déplacées – essentiellement depuis les zones de Kidal, Tombouctou et Gao.

    Pour les personnes déplacées ainsi que les réfugiés, les besoins immédiats concernent l'eau potable, la nourriture, l'abri et les soins de santé. Les conditions de vie sont particulièrement précaires pour les personnes déplacées. Le HCR finance des activités génératrices de revenus pour les personnes déplacées à Bamako, la capitale du Mali.

    Toutefois, l'accès humanitaire à d'autres régions du Mali est fortement limité par la situation sécuritaire. Abdullah, 41 ans, séjourne dans une petite pièce de la maison de son père dans la capitale, après avoir fui vers le sud du pays avec sa famille la ville de Diabali, qui a été prise par les islamistes le 14 janvier dernier et brièvement occupée.

    Abdullah travaillait comme chauffeur pour une compagnie privée à Diabali et il a indiqué au HCR qu'il était allé chercher son patron à son domicile le 14 janvier « quand nous avons été attaqués par six hommes. Ils nous menaçaient avec leurs fusils et leurs kalachnikovs. Ils ont demandé les clés de la voiture avant de voler le véhicule. » Il est rentré chez lui et y est resté avec sa famille, pendant que les bruits des tirs et des explosions retentissaient dans la ville.

    Le lendemain matin, il a décidé de partir à pied avec son épouse et leurs quatre enfants, en direction du sud vers la capitale. « Nous avons rejoint de nombreuses autres personnes qui quittaient Diabali. Je portais mon plus jeune fils sur les épaules. Nous avons rejoint directement Bamako », a expliqué Abdullah.

    A l'étroit dans leur domicile temporaire, son épouse et leurs quatre enfants dorment sur le lit, tandis qu'Abdullah dort à même le plancher. « C'est normalement une pièce utilisée pour le stockage », a-t-il dit, en ajoutant : « Je veux juste rentrer à Diabali et retourner au travail pour subvenir aux besoins de ma famille. »

    Par Hélène Caux à Bamako, Mali


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    Source: UN Security Council
    Country: Mali

    SC/10892

    Security Council
    6905th Meeting (PM)

    In Briefing, Political Affairs Head Says, as UN Looks for Solutions, Must Remember Factors that Led to Collapse of Democracy 10 Months Ago ‘Run Deep’

    With French and Malian forces carrying out joint military operations to regain control of areas seized by armed extremists over the past 10 months, a senior United Nations official today said that the crisis in Mali could be at a potential turning point, and as the Security Council now prepared to consider long-term solutions, it must examine the deep-seated challenges that had led to the shocking eruption of violence in the once vaunted West African democracy.

    “Solutions will not likely come quickly or simply. Dangers line the path ahead,” said Jeffrey Feltman, Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, as he warned the Council during a briefing on the situation in Mali that the factors behind the country’s sudden collapse — and the swift takeover of its northern half by extremists — ran deep. Though the military struggle for Mali was now engaged, he said that those operations must take place in a framework of a political process that ensured sustainable peace, stability and national reconciliation.

    “Vigorous military actions must be matched by an equally strong focus on the political challenges in Mali,” he continued, underscoring that whether the international community would be successful in helping Mali restore its democracy and recapture its territory would depend on the breadth of its vision and the comprehensiveness of its response. Such actions must be carried out with full attention to human rights concerns, and should be reinforced by strategies to address the many transnational threats that combined to breed extremism and weaken governance not just in Mali, but across the wider Sahel.

    He went on to report that deployment of AFISMA and Headquarters staff had begun on 18 January, and as of 20 January, some 855 troops were dispatched from Benin, Nigeria, Senegal and Togo, as well as a full Nigerian battalion, to the border with Mali. Key stakeholders all generally agreed that the envisaged AFISMA strength of 3,300 personnel needed to be increased if it was to engage effectively in offensive operations and enhance force protection. “AFISMA is currently facing critical gaps, including communications capacity, air mobility and medical capabilities,” he said, adding that it was expected that the deployed contingents would have only very limited capacities for self-sustainment. Malian defence and security forces also had capacity gaps that needed to be addressed immediately.

    Mr. Feltman also drew the Council’s attention to the Secretary-General’s recent letter detailing several funding options for United Nations logistical support for the Mission, as well as several concerns regarding capacity, human rights, and the safety and security of United Nations personnel and facilities. He also reported that the start-up team for the establishment of the United Nations multi-disciplinary presence had arrived in Bamako and renewed contacts with stakeholders to continue discussion on implementation of all aspects of Security Council resolution 2085 (2012), including political and security processes.

    “The United Nations will continue to impress upon Malian leaders the need to agree quickly on a road map to restore effectively constitutional order,” and he urged others to reinforce that message, for reliance on an exclusively military approach would not allow for the building of a lasting solution for Mali. Indeed, he said, the full spectrum of Mali’s problems — severe political, security, humanitarian and human rights challenges — must be seen in the context of the broader Sahel region.

    The meeting also heard Ambassadors from among the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and other countries in the region applaud the decision by the French Government nearly two weeks ago to deploy troops to help stop “the troubling push” southward by extremists. They also made strong appeals for broader international assistance, which would allow the Malian Government to implement a road map towards stability and reconciliation, with the representative of Mali assuring that Council that, while the armed groups continued to defy the international community, Malian authorities, at the highest levels, had constantly sought a political solution and deployed “unflagging efforts” to achieve peace.

    Unfortunately, given the jihadist attitudes of the combatants, armed aggression continued along with the further seizure of territory, under a scorched earth policy. That, he continued, had inflicted great suffering on the Malian people and caused the President to declare an emergency situation throughout the nation. He had requested and obtained, under international law, France’s military support, to halt the advance of terrorists, not only to Mali, but to other countries in the region.

    Speaking on behalf of ECOWAS, the representative of Côte d’Ivoire noted that that recent events in Algeria had thrown into stark relief the ongoing “savage” threats posed by terrorists, as well as the need for international solidarity to deal with those threats. He went on to update the Council on recent activities carried out by ECOWAS, including the appointments to AFISMA’s military command, as well as the establishment of a joint mechanism to monitor implementation of resolution 2085 (2012).

    He said that the ECOWAS presidency, along with the African Union, had called for the holding in Addis Ababa on 29 January a Donors’ Conference that would focus on that Mission’s immediate needs. With AFISMA facing ongoing funding and equipment gaps, there was concern that the Mission would not be able to deploy in a sustained manner much beyond Bamako and a few other areas. He reiterated ECOWAS’ appeal to the Secretary-General to remain personally involved in activities regarding the financing and equipping of AFISMA. Further, he urged the Secretary-General to consider chairing the upcoming Donors’ Conference, which would heighten international awareness and add urgency to the matter.

    Also speaking were the representatives of Senegal, Chad, Burkina Faso, Niger, Benin and Nigeria.

    The permanent Observer of the African Union also addressed the Council, as did the head of the delegation of the European Union.

    The meeting began at 3:17 p.m. and adjourned at 5:15 p.m.


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    Source: European Commission Humanitarian Aid department
    Country: Algeria, Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger (the)
    preview


    Humanitarian situation and needs

    Key messages

    • Intense fighting followed by military intervention has resulted in a volatile humanitarian situation involving population displacements and restricted access for humanitarian organisations in certain areas.

    • The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and several NGOs have called on all parties to the conflict to respect the safety of civilians as prescribed by International Humanitarian Law and to allow humanitarian organisations unrestricted access to people in need.

    • In July 2012, humanitarian organisations working in Mali agreed on a Code of Conduct providing guidance on how to try to maintain secure access to beneficiaries and prevent the diversion of humanitarian aid.

    • The intensification of the conflict is aggravating the on-going food and nutritional crisis with millions of Malians at risk of food insecurity in 2013. Despite a good harvest, prices of staple foods remain high, making them inaccessible to the poorest. Severe malnutrition rates remain above emergency thresholds in certain areas in the south while surveys could not be carried out in the north.

    • The European Commission’s humanitarian aid of €78 million since last year has enabled UN agencies, the Red Cross/Red Crescent movement and international NGOs to react rapidly to the growing humanitarian needs. Despite a challenging security situation in the north and centre of Mali, emergency organisations have continued to provide health care, medical supplies, nutrition services, food assistance, water and sanitation support, prevention and treatment of epidemics in Kidal, Gao and Timbuktu regions.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali

    1 . The Extra-Ordinary Session of the Authority of Heads of State and Government of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) took place on 19 January 2013 in Abidjan, Republic of Côte d’Ivoire, under the chairmanship of H.E. Alassane Ouattara, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire and Chairman of the Authority.

    2 . The Summit was convened to review the latest political and security developments in Mali, in particular the modalities for the accelerated deployment of the African-led International Support Mission in Mali (AFISMA) in the light of the deteriorating security situation in the north of Mali in the aftermath of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2085 (2012). The Summit also reviewed the latest political and security developments in Guinea Bissau.

    3 . The following Heads of State and Government, or their duly accredited representatives, attended the Summit:

    • H.E. Thomas Boni YAYI, President of the Republic of Benin
    • H.E. Blaise COMPAORE, President of Burkina Faso
    • H.E. Alassane OUATTARA, President of the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire
    • H.E. John Dramani MAHAMA, President of the Republic of Ghana
    • H.E. Alpha CONDE, President of the Republic of Guinea
    • H.E. Manuel Serifo NHAMAJO, Interim President of the Republic of Guinea Bissau
    • H.E. ELLEN JOHNSON-SIRLEAF, President of the Republic of Liberia
    • H.E. Dioncounda TRAORE, Interim President of the Republic of Mali
    • H.E. Mahamadou ISSOUFOU, President of the Republic of Niger
    • H.E. Goodluck Ebele JONATHAN, President of the FederalRepublic of Nigeria
    • H.E. Macky SALL, President of the Republic of Senegal
    • H.E. Ernest Bai KOROMA, President of the Republic of Sierra Leone
    • H.E. Susan WAFFA-OGOO, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of The Gambia
    • H.E. Charles Agba KONDI, Minister of Health of the Togolese Republic
    • H.E. Francisco Pereira DA VEIGA, Ambassador of the Republic of Cape Verde to Coté d’Ivoire

    4 . H.E Idriss Deby ITNO, President of the Republic of Chad and H.E. Laurent FABIUS, Minister of Foreign Affairs of France participated in the Summit as Special guests.

    5 . The following States participated in the Summit as observers:

    • Germany, Belgium; Burundi; Canada; Egypt; Germany; Italy; Libya; Mauritania;
      Morocco; South Africa; Spain; Tunisia; United Kingdom and United States of America.

    6 . The following Organizations also participated in the Summit as observers:

    • The African Union Commission, represented by the High Representative for Mali and Sahel, H.E. Pierre BUYOYA;
    • The United Nations, represented by the Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for West Africa, H.E. Saïd Djinnit and;
    • The European Union.

    7 . The Heads of State and Government took note of the Memoranda of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the situations in Mali and Guinea Bissau and the Report of the Extra-Ordinary Session of the Mediation and Security Council of 18 January 2013 by the Chairman of the Council. They also took note of the briefings by H.E. Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso and Mediator in Mali, and H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Associate Mediator in Mali and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau.

    8 . The Heads of State and Government expressed deep concern about the gravity of the security situation provoked by the entrenchment of separatist movements and terrorist and criminal networks in the north of Mali, and the debilitating impacts of their activities on the unity and territorial integrity of the country, as well as on regional and international peace and security.

    9 . After careful deliberations, the Heads of State and Government reaffirmed their determination to assist Mali in the resolution of its security and institutional crisis within the framework of the norms and principles underpinning Community Protocols. To this end, the Heads of State and Government endorsed the main recommendations contained in the various reports and took the following specific Decisions:

    10 . The Heads of State and Government express their deep gratitude to France for launching operations in Mali, within the framework of respect for the sovereignty of Mali and the International legality, to halt the advance of the terrorist and extremist groups, thus paving the way for the implementation of Resolution 2085 (2012).

    11 . Authority welcomes the adoption of Resolution 2085 by the UN Security Council on 20 December 2012, congratulates the members of the Council on the achievement, and underscores the need for the expeditious implementation of the Resolution.

    12 . Authority congratulates Benin, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria and Togo on the speed with which they have prepositioned their contingents for urgent deployment in Mali. It welcomes the decision taken by Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana,
    Liberia, Senegal and Sierra Leone to contribute to the deployment of AFISMA.

    13 . Authority urges all troop-contributing Member States to make their contingents immediately available to the Force Commander and instructs the President of the Commission to ensure the follow-up.

    14 . Summit authorizes AFISMA contingents to engage in operations with their organic units, and the formation of reserve units from the troops pledged by Member States but not immediately deployed under AFISMA.

    15 . The Heads of State and Government endorses the appointment of Major General Shehu Usman Abdulkadir (Nigeria) and Brigadier General Yaye Garba (Niger) as Force Commander and Deputy Force Commander of AFISMA respectively.

    16 . Authority instructs the President of the Commission to intensify consultations with the Government of Mali, the AU and the UN on the speedy establishment of a functional Mission Headquarters to facilitate coordination and deployment of AFISMA.

    17 . Summit welcomes the decision taken by Chad to expedite the deployment of troops in support of the AFISMA operations and calls upon other Member States of the African Union to also make contributions. In this regard, Summit directs the President of the Commission to take the necessary measures to ensure that the other African contingents are taken into account by the AFISMA Command.

    18 . Authority directs the President of the Commission to expedite high-level consultations with the Government of Mali, the AU and UN towards the establishment of a Joint Coordination Mechanism on Resolution 2085 to facilitate regular consultations on political leadership, resource mobilization, reporting, monitoring and evaluation.

    19 . Authority requests the United Nations to provide immediate logistical and financial support for the deployment of AFISMA pending a UN Security Council decision on a UN logistical support package, consistent with UNSC Resolution 2085 (2012), and bearing in mind the unfolding situation on the ground in Mali that necessitated the accelerated deployment of AFISMA. In that regard,
    Authority welcomes the steps already taken by the UN Secretary-General to present to the UNSC, in the coming days, options on the logistical support that could be provided to AFISMA.

    20 . Authority instructs the President of the Commission to initiate all necessary actions to convene, in close consultation with the AU, a donor conference for the mobilization of financial, material and logistical resources for the deployment of AFISMA.

    21 . Authority instructs the President of the Commission to take all necessary measures to mobilize internal resources in support of AFISMA operations. In this regard, Authority calls on all Member States to fulfill their Community Levy obligations as a matter of urgency, and directs the President of the Commission to ensure a follow-up. Authority also expresses gratitude to the Government of Nigeria for the financial assistance to Mali.

    22 . The Heads of State and Government authorize the ECOWAS Commission to use a special dispensation outside the normal ECOWAS procedures in order to accelerate the procurement of logistical resources, other goods and services, with respect to the deployment of AFISMA.

    23 . Authority instructs the President of the Commission to take necessary and urgent steps to strengthen the human resource and operational capacities of the Office of the Special Representative in Mali, and to ensure the deployment of a robust civilian component within the framework of AFISMA.
    Consequently, Authority approves a special waiver to the Commission for the recruitment of additional staff. Authority also instructs the President of the Commission to apply the same dispensation for the recruitment of essential staff to the Department of Political Affairs, Peace and Security, to further enhance its capacities in the face of the new political and security challenges facing the Region.

    24 . Authority stresses the need for the ECOWAS Standby Force to be strengthened and prepositioned for rapid deployment to face challenges that could arise in the region.

    25 . The Heads of State and Government also express gratitude to international partners for the timely intervention to support the Government of Mali to defend its territorial integrity within the framework of Resolution 2085.

    26 . Summit welcomes the announcement by international partners, particularly the European Union and the United States of America, to provide urgent logistical and financial assistance in support of AFISMA operations.

    27 . Summit calls on humanitarian agencies and Partners to intensify assistance to Mali and the neighbouring countries to meet the humanitarian consequences of the deployment, including assistance to affected populations, protection of humanitarian corridors/spaces, and actors. Summit calls on the Partners to coordinate their efforts to facilitate the implementation of the humanitarian aspects of Resolution 2085.

    28 . With regard to the institutional crisis facing Mali, Authority reiterates its unflinching support to the on-going transition, and to the Interim Transitional authorities, particularly the Interim President and Prime Minister. Authority urges the President to take all necessary measures to chart a transitional roadmap and establish mechanisms for its implementation, including preparations for an inclusive, free, fair and transparent electoral process, national dialogue, and the extension of state authority throughout the territory of Mali.

    29 . Authority commends President Dioncounda Traoré for his courage and resilience in the face of adversity and challenges in his country.

    30 . The Heads of State and Government reaffirm its determination to take all appropriate measures to strengthen the Transition.

    31 . The Heads of State and Government express gratitude to the Mediator, H.E. Blaise Compaoré, President of Burkina Faso, and the Associate Mediator, H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for their sterling mediation efforts, and encourage them to persevere in their undertaking until the resolution of the institutional and security crises in Mali.

    32 . On the issue of the political and security challenges in Guinea Bissau,
    Authority expresses its commitment to accompany the country in accomplishing the tasks of the transitional process, including the conduct of urgent multi-sectoral reforms and the holding of inclusive, free, fair and transparent elections in the course of the transition.

    33 . Authority welcomes the accession of all political parties in Guinea Bissau to the Transitional Pact, including the PAIGC, and commends them for their efforts in deepening internal dialogue. Authority welcomes the setting up of the Parliamentary Commission within the People’s National Assembly to review the transitional roadmap with a view to determining a technically feasible date for the holding of the next Presidential and Legislative elections.

    34 . Authority directs the President of the Commission to take all appropriate measures to expedite action on the commencement of the implementation of the Defence and Security Sector Reform Programme (DSSRP), and to this end welcomes the upcoming high-level consultations in Abuja between the ECOWAS Commission and the Government of Guinea Bissau on the modalities for the take-off of the programme.

    35 . Summit takes note of the Joint Assessment Mission undertaken by ECOWAS, the CPLP, the AU, the UN and the EU in December 2012, and welcomes the new spirit of cooperation among the Stakeholders.

    36 . The Heads of State and Government reiterate the call on the AU to urgently consider the recognition of the on-going transition and the lifting of sanctions against Guinea Bissau. They further urged the UN, CPLP, the EU and other international partners to resume cooperation with Guinea Bissau and to support efforts aimed at ensuring a more inclusive transition in the country.

    37 . Authority decides to extend further financial support to the Government of Guinea Bissau to assist in the running of government.

    38 . Authority expresses gratitude to the troop-contributing Member-States to ECOMIB, and commends ECOMIB troops for their efforts at ensuring security in Guinea Bissau. Authority approves the creation of a reserve force of 140 troops in support of ECOMIB.

    39 . Summit directs the Commission to expedite action on strengthening the capacities of the Office of the Special Representative in Guinea Bissau in order to facilitate the effective discharge of its additional responsibilities.

    40 . Authority expresses deep appreciation to H.E. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan,
    President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Chairman of the Regional Contact Group on Guinea Bissau, and Member States of the RCG-GB, for their assistance to Guinea Bissau and their commitment to ensuring a successful inclusive transition.

    41 . Authority decides to remain seized by the matter of Mali and Guinea Bissau.


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Senegal
    preview


    Rice, millet, sorghum, and maize are the primary staple foods in Senegal. Groundnuts are both an important source of protein and a commonly grown cash crop. Imported rice is consumed daily by the vast majority of households in Senegal particularly in Dakar and Touba urban centers. Local rice is produced and consumed in the Senegal River Valley. St. Louis is a major market for the Senegal River Valley. Millet is consumed in central regions where Kaolack is the most important regional market. Maize is produced and consumed in areas around Kaolack, Tambacounda, and the Senegal River Valley. Some maize is also imported mainly from the international market. High demand for all commodities exists in and around Touba and Dakar. They are also important centers for stocking and storage during the lean season. The harvests of grains and groundnuts begin at the end of the marketing year in October; and stocks of locally produced grains are drawn down throughout the marketing year. Senegal depends more on imports from the international market for rice than from cross border trade which mainly includes cattle from Mali and Mauritania that supply Dakar and surrounding markets.


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