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ReliefWeb - Updates

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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    02/27/2013 20:28 GMT

    Par Christophe KOFFI

    YAMOUSSOUKRO (Côte d'Ivoire), 27 fév 2013 (AFP) - Le Tchad a affiché mercredi son impatience de voir les troupes ouest-africaines et maliennes se déployer dans le nord du Mali face aux jihadistes, alors que l'Afrique de l'Ouest, jugée à la traîne, a invoqué un manque de financements.

    Dans le cadre policé d'un sommet des chefs d'Etat de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao) dont il était un invité, le président tchadien Idriss Deby Itno a parlé sans ambages.

    "L'heure n'est plus aux discours (...) mais plutôt à l'action", a-t-il exhorté à l'ouverture de la réunion à Yamoussoukro, devant la plupart des présidents de la région.

    "Nous appelons l'état-major de la Cédéao à plus de célérité en accélérant l'envoi des troupes dans la zone libérée", a-t-il déclaré. A l'intention des soldats maliens, M. Deby a lancé, sous les applaudissements: "votre place est au front".

    Le chef de l'Etat tchadien a précisé que son pays a envoyé "au-delà de 2.000" hommes au Mali - le plus fort contingent africain - et déplore dans les rangs de son armée "27 morts et 50 blessés", principalement lors de violents combats le 22 février, soit le plus lourd tribut payé par les troupes alliées.

    Le Tchad est en première ligne aux côtés de l'armée française dans le massif des Ifoghas, dans l'extrême nord du Mali, voisin de l'Algérie. C'est là que se sont retranchés le gros des islamistes armés alliés à Al-Qaïda, après avoir été chassés des grandes villes du Nord depuis l'intervention française débutée le 11 janvier.

    Le déploiement de la force de la Cédéao, la Mission internationale de soutien au Mali (Misma), à laquelle n'appartient pas le Tchad, est en revanche jugé lent.

    Le président en exercice de la Cédéao, le chef de l'Etat ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, a cependant assuré de la détermination de la région à porter ses effectifs à "8.000 hommes". La Cédéao assure que quelque 6.000 de ses soldats sont déjà au Mali, mais côté français on parle plutôt d'environ 3.500. Dans tous les cas, l'essentiel de ces troupes n'est pas présent sur les points chauds.

    Elections

    Le président ivoirien a reconnu implicitement que la Misma rencontrait des difficultés en appelant à la mobilisation urgente des fonds promis lors d'une conférence internationale à Addis Abeba fin janvier, et à l'apport des "ressources additionnelles indispensables".

    Alors que la communauté internationale s'est engagée fin janvier sur une enveloppe de plus de 455 millions de dollars (338 M EUR), destinée à la Misma, à l'armée malienne et à l'aide humanitaire, la Côte d'Ivoire a affirmé lundi que les besoins globaux se montaient à 950 millions de dollars (715 M EUR), soit plus du double.

    L'enjeu est de taille, au moment où le conflit change de nature avec des accrochages violents et une série d'attentats-suicides, dont le dernier a fait entre quatre et sept morts mardi à Kidal (1.500 km au nord-est de Bamako), où sont présents soldats français et tchadiens.

    Les armées africaines sont censées prendre à terme le relais de la France mais, pour de nombreux observateurs, les troupes maliennes et la Misma ne sont pas pour le moment en mesure de contrôler à elles seules l'immense moitié nord du Mali, que les islamistes avaient conquise l'an dernier.

    La France, qui a engagé 4.000 hommes et avait évoqué un début de retrait à partir de mars, a dû faire preuve de prudence, assurant ne pas vouloir "partir de manière précipitée".

    La durée de l'opération française passe notamment par la transformation de la Misma en "opération de maintien de la paix" sous mandat de l'ONU, ce qui pourrait se faire avant l'été, a estimé mercredi le Premier ministre français Jean-Marc Ayrault.

    Le ministre français des Affaires étrangères Laurent Fabius a jugé comme une "nécessité absolue" que les élections présidentielle et législatives puissent se tenir en juillet, comme annoncé, pour permettre la stabilisation du pays.

    Mais, vu l'ampleur des tâches à accomplir dans un Mali encore en guerre, ce calendrier paraît à beaucoup difficilement tenable.

    bur-tmo/de


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Austria, Mali

    02/27/2013 12:10 GMT

    VIENNA, Feb 27, 2013 (AFP) - Austria's parliament gave the green light on Wednesday for sending a small number of troops to conflict-torn Mali to provide medical assistance and help with possible evacuations.

    The medical personnel will join a German contingent travelling to Mali in mid-March to assist a nine-person EU Training Mission (EUTM), the defence ministry said in a statement following the parliamentary vote.

    Austria said it might send about 20 troops and a C-130 Hercules plane to help with air cargo and evacuations.

    None of the troops from the small neutral country will be involved in combat, the defence ministry noted.

    The EUTM has a 15-month mandate to shape up the ramshackle Malian army in its effort to fight Islamist rebels who last year seized control of the country's vast arid north.

    The idea of an EU training mission was already approved in December but its deployment was accelerated after France's surprise intervention in its former colony on January 11 to halt the insurgents' march on the capital.

    ssw/mlr

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali

    N°: 042/2013 24 février 2013 [Abidjan - Cote D'Ivoire]

    La 42ème session ordinaire de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de la CEDEAO se tiendra les mercredi 27 et jeudi 28 février 2013 à Yamoussoukro, en Côte d’Ivoire, à l’effet d’examiner diverses questions d’intérêt majeur pour la sous-région et adopter des mesures relatives à la bonne marche de l’organisation communautaire.

    La situation au Mali, marquée par l’offensive militaire en cours dans le nord du pays contre des groupes terroristes armés, fera l’objet d’un examen approfondi de la part des leaders régionaux sur la base du mémorandum qui sera présenté à cet effet par le président de la Commission de la CEDEAO, M. Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo.

    Le président burkinabè Blaise Compaoré, médiateur dans la crise malienne, fera un exposé sur la situation à la lumière du rapport de la session extraordinaire du Conseil de médiation et de sécurité de la CEDEAO, qui se sera réunie le 25 février 2013, toujours dans la capitale économique ivoirienne.

    La Guinée-Bissau, autre Etat membre de la CEDEAO confronté à une crise interne, fera l’objet d’attention de la part des chefs d’Etat avec, également, un mémorandum du président de la Commission de la CEDEAO, un exposé du président du groupe de contact régional et un rapport de la réunion du Conseil de médiation et de sécurité.

    Concernant la vie de l’organisation sous-régionale, les chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement se pencheront sur le rapport de la 69ème session ordinaire du Conseil des ministres de l’organisation, qui s’était tenue le 2 décembre 2012 à Abidjan et qui avait pris d’importantes décisions parmi lesquelles l’augmentation de neuf à douze du nombre des commissaires de la Commission.

    En prenant une telle décision, les ministres affichaient leur souci de placer la CEDEAO au plus près des préoccupations des peuples de la sous-région.
    Cependant, ils avaient décidé de laisser aux chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement le soin de déterminer la nature et le contenu des départements à créer.

    «Le principe de cet élargissement est une opportunité visant à faire de notre instrument d’intégration un outil opérationnel au service de nos populations pour la concrétisation de notre idéal commun de faire de la CEDEAO une organisation des peuples, en un mot une entité plus proche des réalités quotidiennes de nos populations», avait expliqué le ministre ivoirien de l’Intégration africaine, M. Ally Coulibaly.

    L’ordre du jour du prochain sommet de Yamoussoukro prévoit, pour la séance d’ouverture, l’allocution de bienvenue du président Alassane Ouattara de Côte d’Ivoire, président en exercice de la Conférence des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement, suivie des déclarations du président de la Commission de la CEDEAO, du représentant spécial du secrétaire général des Nations unies pour l’Afrique de l’Ouest et de la présidente de la Commission de l’Union africaine.

    Auparavant, précisément le lundi 25 février, une session extraordinaire du Conseil de médiation et de sécurité de la CEDEAO (CMS) se réunira pour examiner de près la situation au Mali et en Guinée-Bissau et adopter des propositions de sortie de crise à soumettre aux chefs d’Etat. A noter que le CMS regroupe les ministres chargés des Affaires étrangères et de la Défense des 15 Etats membres de la CEDEAO.

    Sont attendus comme invités à la conférence de Yamoussoukro les représentants des chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement de plus de 20 pays d’Afrique, d’Europe et d’Amérique, ainsi que des responsables d’institutions de coopération multilatérale et diverses autres personnalités d’envergure internationale.


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    Source: ECOWAS
    Country: Guinea-Bissau, Mali

    N°: 043/2013

    24 February 2013 [Abidjan - Cote d’Ivoire]

    Regional peace and security issues including the situations in Mali and Guinea-Bissau will dominate the 42nd Ordinary Session of the Summit of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government scheduled for 27 and 28 February 2013 in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire.

    The leaders will consider a Memorandum to be presented by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency Kadré Désiré Ouédraogo on developments in Mali, in the wake of on-going military offensive against armed terrorist groups in the North of the country.

    President Blaise Compaoré of Burkina Faso, the regional Mediator on the Mali crisis, will also make a presentation to the summit, which will be preceded by an Extraordinary Session of the ECOWAS Mediation and Security Council, scheduled for 25th February 2013 also in the Ivorian capital.

    In addition, the summit will consider a memorandum by the ECOWAS Commission President, a presentation by the Chairman of the Regional Contact Group, and report of the Mediation and Security Council meeting.

    The regional leaders will also consider the report of the 69th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Council of Ministers held in December 2012 in Abidjan, which took important decisions notably on the mechanism for enlarging the Commission from nine to twelve Commissioners.

    By this decision, the Council seeks to ensure that ECOWAS reflects the concerns of the community. The Authority of Heads of State and Government, is expected to decide the nature and content of the departments to be created.

    According to Ivorian Minister of African Integration and Chairman of the Council of the Ministers, Honourable Ally Coulibaly “the idea behind this increase is to provide an opportunity to use our integration instrument as an operational tool in the service of our community for the realization of our common ideal of a people-centred ECOWAS.”

    The opening ceremony of the Abidjan summit will feature among others, a welcome address by President Alassane Ouattara of Cote d’Ivoire, current Chairman of the Authority of ECOWAS Heads of State and Government, followed by statements by the President of the ECOWAS Commission, the Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary General for West Africa, and the President of the African Union Commission.

    Some 25 non ECOWAS Member States from Africa, Europe and America as well as international institutions are expected to attend the summit.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Austria, Mali

    02/27/2013 12:53 GMT

    VIENNE, 27 fév 2013 (AFP) - Le Parlement autrichien a approuvé mercredi l'envoi d'un contingent de huit soldats au Mali pour assurer une assistance médicale et pour aider à de possibles évacuations.

    L'envoi de troupes a été approuvé par les députés des deux partis de la grande coalition qui dirige le pays depuis l'automne 2008, les sociaux-démocrates du SPÖ et les démocrates-chrétiens de l'ÖVP, ainsi que par les députés du parti populiste et d'extrême droite BZÖ.

    Le personnel médical rejoindra un contingent allemand au Mali au sein de la Mission de formation de l'Union européenne (EUTM) à laquelle participent plusieurs pays européens, a expliqué le ministère de la Défense dans un communiqué.

    En plus de ce contingent de huit soldats, dont des officiers en charge de la logistique, l'Autriche pourrait envoyer 20 soldats en plus ainsi qu'un avion C-130 "Hercules" pour aider à l'évacuation de blessés.

    Aucun soldat d'Autriche, pays neutre, ne prendra part à des combats, a précisé le ministère de la Défense.

    La France est intervenue militairement au Mali le 11 janvier, à la demande des autorités de ce pays, face à l'avancée vers Bamako des groupes armés islamistes extrémistes qui occupent le nord depuis mi-2012.

    Les ministres européens des Affaires étrangères ont décidé le 17 janvier l'envoi de la mission de l'UE, destinée à former et à réorganiser l'armée malienne. Cette mission va déployer quelque 450 Européens: 200 instructeurs et 250 personnes pour la protection et l'appui administratif. Une dizaine de pays européens ont annoncé leur intention d'y participer.

    ssw/tba/pfe/bbc


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    Source: CARE
    Country: Lesotho

    Michelle Carter, Country Director of CARE South Africa/Lesotho talks about the current food crisis in the small kingdom of Lesotho

    The small kingdom of Lesotho is experiencing a severe food crisis for many months. But first of all: where is Lesotho located?

    Most people do not know where Lesotho is. Lesotho is called the Mountainous Kingdom and is surrounded by South Africa. It is known for diamonds, skiing (yes, skiing in Africa!) fantastic pointy hats and the wool blankets that people wear.

    Given its mountainous terrain, it is tough to eke out a living through farming. It is a small country but 725,000 people, roughly 40 percent of the population, do not have enough to eat right now. Lesotho’s food security has declined alarmingly for the second year in a row. The consecutive impact of drought and late rains during this last cropping season has added to the increasingly vulnerable situation of rural Lesotho. The combined production of cereals in Lesotho represents only some 32 percent of the average harvest of the last ten years, a decade already highly impacted by climate change impacts. CARE has worked in Lesotho since 1968, we have a deep relationship with the communities here and we are well-respected by the government. We have been compelled to act given the gravity of the situation.

    Which groups have been the most vulnerable during this food crisis?

    This emergency is pushing a large number of already vulnerable people over the edge. The Government of Lesotho has estimated that 275,000 need urgent assistance. Some people in Lesotho are already malnourished – 39 percent of children for example are chronically malnourished. Women are experiencing higher levels of violence as their men can no longer handle the anger and frustration of not bringing home money for the family. Also, given the high levels of HIV, women-headed households, children-headed households and grandparents taking care of young children are at a particular risk unless we urgently act to give them a boost to survive this difficult period.

    Do you see this year’s poor harvest as an isolated event, or as part of a larger trend?

    People in Lesotho have already had experienced a very difficult economic situation over the last few years, since the main forms of income – remittances from miners – has dried up. The country’s men used to work in the mines in South Africa but many mines have closed. Unfortunately, like the poor in many other parts of the world, these families also face rising food prices and an increasing cost of living.

    Just as buying food at the market has become more difficult, farming has become more unpredictable. Many farmers in Lesotho speak about how they cannot predict the seasons like they used to: the effects of climate change are already being felt.

    The country also has the world’s third-highest prevalence of HIV, 23.9 percent of the population is affected with the deadly virus. This has devastated many families, leaving them more vulnerable during the current food crisis. Unfortunately this threatens to become a dangerous cycle, as insufficient nutrition also makes HIV medicines less effective.

    What has been done so far to support those affected? What gaps remain?

    CARE – along with our partners, World Vision and Catholic Relief Service – was one of the first organizations to ring the alarm bells and raise awareness that this would be a bad year for Lesotho given the rainfall situation. Recognizing that something needed to be done early on, CARE was the first one to distribute seeds. There was incredible joy when people felt that their pleas for help were being heard. At the beginning of February we also distributed cash vouchers so the most vulnerable people could buy food in the markets, and we saw people dancing because they would be able to buy some maize and corn. We also use these distributions as an opportunity to educate men and women about the dangers of violence in the homes or of young women having to sell the only thing they have left – their bodies – so that they can eat.

    CARE will continue distributing vouchers and we plan to distribute cash to 2,000 together with the World Food Program (WFP) to the most vulnerable households following their participation in a number of environmental rehabilitation activities.

    But there are many gaps: we have plans to assist the more affected households by establishing vegetable gardens, promoting conservation agriculture, raising awareness on gender based violence, and distributing more cash vouchers to help people buy food. We are also doing everything possible to share what is going on in Lesotho so that everybody can help!

    Do you feel this crisis has been overlooked?

    Unfortunately, there are so many demands and emergencies in the world today that it is extremely difficult to attract people’s attention on this tiny country. CARE and other organizations have gone to various governments for support to the emergency but many of them have either given too little or the funding primarily went to the United Nations and the Government, not to NGOs like CARE. And most of the money that has been given is for immediate food. While this is important, we also need sustainable, long-term support to help people recover and get back on their feet.

    ABOUT CARE

    Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty and providing lifesaving assistance in emergencies. CARE places special focus on working alongside poor girls and women because, equipped with the proper resources, they have the power to help lift whole families and entire communities out of poverty.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Somalia
    preview


    Issued on 27 February

    Situation overview

    The number of people in ‘crisis’ reduced by 50 percent to 1 million in the last half of 2012 based on the latest data from the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) and the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWSNET). However,

    1. the humanitarian situation remains fragile and gains could reverse without continued humanitarian assistance. An additional 1.7 million people who emerged from crisis in the past year are in a ‘stressed food security’ situation, and at risk of falling back into ‘crisis’ without continued support to meet basic needs and enhance their livelihoods. Most parts of Somalia are classified as ‘stressed’ or in phase two of food insecurity, which means that at least one in five households can meet minimum food needs, but are unable to cover some essential non-food needs and have reduced ability to invest in livelihoods. About 215,000 children under five remain acutely malnourished, two-thirds of them in southern Somalia. While this is a reduction of 21,000 since August 2012, the ratio of one in seven children malnourished remains among the highest in the world.

    2. Humanitarian partners continue to deliver assistance in Kismayo despite the volatile security situation. Food assistance resumed in the district after four years as a result of improved access. In addition, a second round of polio vaccination campaigns was also conducted in January, reaching over 17,000 children under five years


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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali, Mauritania
    preview


    Une insécurité alimentaire saisonnière minime pour la plupart de la population

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • Dans la plupart des zones de mode d’existence, la disponibilité alimentaire est bonne dû à une production céréalière locale meilleure qu’une année moyenne, la reprise des flux internes et maliens avec intensité dans la zone de cultures pluviales, des importations commerciales régulières, les revenus saisonniers normaux, et la continuité des boutiques de solidarité.

    • Toutefois, dans la zone d’oueds et oasis, où la mauvaise pluviométrie annuelle a entrainé une importante baisse des superficies exploitables et des revenus qui en découlaient, on estime que 5 000 ménages pauvres agricoles sont déjà en situation de Stress (IPC Phase 2).

    • Pour le moment, le conflit malien n’affecte les flux commerciaux et humains entre les deux pays que dans la moughataa de Bassikounou, où plus de 13, 000 maliens sont venus se refugier depuis mi-janvier. Partout ailleurs, les commerçants maliens et les céréaliers mauritaniens continuent d’alimenter les marchés mauritaniens des zones de cultures pluviales et agropastorales.


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

    Avant propos
    Les articles sélectionnés dans cette revue de presse ont pour but d’informer sur la situation humanitaire au Tchad ou sur le contexte général. Cette sélection d'articles ne reflète pas nécessairement la position d’OCHA-Tchad. Merci de tenir compte de cette réserve.

    LES TITRES

    • Tchad : Une campagne de vaccination contre la fièvre jaune dans l'est du pays (Xinhua, 23 fév.)
    • How to build resilience in the Sahel (Guardian, 27 Feb.)
    • Il ne faut pas oublier les bébés au Sahel (PAM, 26 fév.)
      * Mali: le Tchad appelle les armées ouest-africaines à hâter leur déploiement (AFP, 27 fév.)
    • Le Tchad pas « démotivé » par la mort de 23 de ses soldats au Mali (APA, 26 fév.)
    • Afrique : Vers la mise en place d’une assurance maladie dans la zone CIPRES (Xinhua, 26 fév.)
    • Le Premier ministre nigérien met en garde contre une éventuelle disparition du lac Tchad (Xinhua, 26 fév.)
    • Tchad : les évêques interpellent les autorités (RFI, 24 fév.)
    • African migrants pay high prices to send money home (IRIN, 27 Feb.)
    • Le Nigeria connectera sa frontière par satellite afin de contrôler les déplacements de personne (Xinhua, 22 fév.)

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    Source: Famine Early Warning System Network
    Country: Mali
    preview


    La situation sécuritaire continue d’affecter les flux commerciaux

    MESSAGES CLÉS

    • La faiblesse des flux commerciaux entre les régions du nord et les marchés habituels du sud et des pays voisins ne permet pas un approvisionnement correct des populations en denrées alimentaires. Des insuffisances en denrées importées d’Algérie sont toujours signalées sur les différents marchés. La mévente du bétail met les pasteurs dans une situation de Stress (IPC Phase 2).

    • La hausse du prix du mil en début février (y compris 20 à 40 pour cent depuis mi-janvier), est observée au nord. Les achats institutionnels des pays voisins pour la reconstitution des stocks nationaux et d’intervention se poursuivent sur les principaux marchés d’approvisionnement du sud du pays. Ces demandes supplémentaires pourraient exercer une pression sur les prix des céréales.

    • L’ouverture officielle des voies d’accès aux régions du nord permet une relance timide des échanges commerciaux et des activités économiques. Cependant, la poursuite de l’insécurité est susceptible de poser des contraintes d’accès aux populations à risque d’insécurité alimentaire, et de conduire les populations pastorales à Crise (IPC Phase 3) dès avril.


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger
    preview


    Highlights

    • Improved access continues to be observed in central regions while in northern regions the threat of mines, recent violence and on-going military operations restrict humanitarian activities. Despite this challenge, WFP opened a new land route from Niger to reach northern Mali and a first convoy of trucks delivered 200 tons of food to Menaka.
    • The protection of civilians and the respect for human rights remain among the top priorities. Risks related to the explosive remnants of war and mines, gender based violence and child protection are still of concern.
    • The education of 700,000 children is disrupted and 200,000 among them still with no access to school both in the North and South of the country.
    • According to the Committee for Population Movement, there were 260,665 IDPs in Mali as of 20 February, compared to 227,206 as of 31 December 2012.


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    Source: Caritas
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Senegal

    L’été dernier, la région sahélienne a été touchée par une grave crise humanitaire. Plus de 16 millions de personnes ont souffert de la faim selon l’organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture. En 2013, la situation tend à s’améliorer, mais la guerre au Mali fait peser une nouvelle menace sur la zone.

    Au Sahel, les pluies tombées à la fin de l’année 2012 ont fait du bien. Plus de 310 mm d’eau à certains endroits, cela ne s’était pas vu depuis près de dix ans. « En Mauritanie, les prairies sont vertes, les récoltes s’annoncent bien, les marchés sont bien approvisionnés, et vendent en quantité importante les produits agricoles de la campagne hivernale », explique Camille Fauvet, chargée de mission au pôle Urgence International du Secours Catholique, qui s’y est rendue en décembre dernier.

    Le constat est similaire dans le reste de la bande sahélienne, de la Mauritanie au Niger, en passant par le Sénégal, le Mali et le Burkina-Faso. En plus de l’amélioration des conditions climatiques de cette région sub-saharienne, l’intervention des ONG, dont le Secours Catholique, pour répondre à l’urgence humanitaire de l’année passée commence donc à porter leur fruit. En effet, les populations du Sahel reprennent espoir.

    Pour autant, selon Camille Fauvet, il ne faut pas baisser la garde. « Si la situation générale s’améliore, il y a des disparités climatiques selon les régions » constate-elle. Pour échapper à la famine, certains habitants ont dû « décapitaliser », c’est-à-dire se séparer de leurs biens, de leurs bêtes. Ils ont tout vendu pour pouvoir subvenir à leurs besoins. D’autres se sont même endettés, en pré-vendant leurs récoltes, sans savoir quels seraient leurs rendements. Les populations restent donc fragilisées, même si les indicateurs reviennent peu à peu au vert.

    Rester au plus près du terrain

    La vigilance est de mise pour guetter les premiers signes de détérioration de la situation humanitaire au Sahel. C’est là la force du réseau Caritas. « Nos partenaires locaux sont présents sur le terrain au quotidien, ajoute Camille Fauvet. Ils nous font remonter des informations de première main, et nous alertent en cas de problème. En fonction de leur analyse, nous déterminons la réponse à apporter. » Ce maillage important, vigie au plus près des populations, va être renforcé dans les prochains mois. Un programme doit en effet permettre la formation d’une trentaine de responsables des Caritas du Mali, du Sénégal, du Burkina Faso et du Niger à l’analyse des Marchés.

    La compréhension des dynamiques de marché (fonctionnement des filières céréalières, comportement des commerçants, etc.) est un préalable à toute intervention dans le domaine de l’assistance alimentaire. Elle permet également de justifier des choix en termes de modalités d’interventions (vivres, transferts monétaires et/ou coupons marchandises/ monétaires). Cela s’impose également tout au long de la mise en œuvre des projets, à la fois pour connaître les effets potentiels des transferts réalisés sur le fonctionnement des marchés, et pour détecter d’éventuels points de blocage nécessitant une réorientation du programme.

    « Cela pourra également contribuer à une compréhension plus globale des mécanismes d’approvisionnement des marchés sahéliens et des phénomènes de spéculation, souligne Camille Fauvet, et ainsi aider les acteurs de développement à identifier des potentiels axes d’intervention en matière de régulation et d’appui au fonctionnement des marchés. »

    La situation au Mali, un facteur de risque supplémentaire

    Cette année, selon l’organisation des Nations Unies pour l’alimentation et l’agriculture (FAO), plus de 10 millions de personnes sont encore menacées d’insécurité alimentaire dans l’espace sahélien. Et l’intervention militaire au Mali fait peser le risque de voir la région basculer de nouveau dans une crise humanitaire généralisée. La situation géopolitique dans ce pays bloque les flux transfrontaliers des marchandises, ce qui empêche un transfert des produits alimentaires des zones excédentaires vers les zones déficitaires.

    Gautier Demouveaux


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    Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    Country: Mali
    preview


    Faits saillants

    • L'accès continue de s’améliorer dans les régions du centre tandis que les activités humanitaires restent limitées dans les régions du nord du fait de la menace des mines, des récentes violences et les opérations militaires en cours. Malgré ces difficultés, le PAM a ouvert un nouvel itinéraire terrestre depuis le Niger pour atteindre le nord du Mali et un premier convoi de camions parti de Niamey a livré 200 tonnes de nourriture à Menaka.
    • La protection des civils et le respect des droits de l'homme restent des priorités. Les risques liés aux restes explosifs de guerre et aux mines, les violences basées sur le genre et la protection des enfants restent préoccupantes.
    • L'éducation de 700.000 enfants est perturbée et 200.000 d'entre eux n’ont toujours pas accès à l'école, tant dans le nord que dans le sud du pays.
    • Selon la Commission « Mouvements de population », il y avait 260.665 personnes déplacées au Mali au 20 février, contre 227.206 au 31 décembre 2012.


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    Source: Caritas
    Country: Burkina Faso, Mali

    Goudébou se trouve au Nord Est de la région de Dori, située à 268 km au Nord de Ouagadougou, et à une centaine de kilomètres de la frontière malienne.

    Cette bourgade abrite un camp de réfugiés qui s’étend sur 120 ha. Selon Guillaume Coulibaly, ce camp pourrait bien être redimensionné à cause de l’arrivée de plus en plus massive des réfugiés maliens depuis le déclanchement de l’opération Serval.

    A l’entrée du camp, encerclé doté de grilles de protection, se trouve un poste de police. C’est un camp qui répond aux normes d’un camp planifié, selon les spécialistes de l’humanitaire. Il est placé sous la responsabilité de Guillaume Coulibaly.

    Guillaume Coulibaly est un jeune burkinabé d’une trentaine d’années, spécialiste du droit humanitaire, doublé d’un grand humaniste. Il se sent toujours interpellé par la fragilité humaine. La preuve, il a quitté un cabinet d’avocats pour assurer la gestion de ce camp depuis son ouverture en octobre 2012, soit plus de neuf mois après celui de Mentao.

    Avant l’intervention de l’armée française et de ses alliés, ce camp ne comptait que 5.000 réfugiés. Aujourd’hui, il est à plus de 10.000 réfugiés pris en charge chaque jour. Guillaume prévoit que d’ici quelque mois, ce camp pourrait devenir l’un des plus grands à accueillir les réfugiés de la crise malienne aux pays des hommes intègres.

    Parmi ces réfugiés, les plus nombreux sont des touaregs mais on y trouve aussi des Sonraï et d’autres ethnies africaines du Mali. En plus clair, il y a aussi des noirs qu’on ne retrouve presque pas dans les camps de Mentao. Des maires de communes, des conseillers nationaux et autres autorités sont aussi là…

    Les réfugiés sont installés sous des tentes qui sont organisées en blocs. Un bloc est tout simplement un ensemble de 16 tentes pour 16 ménages. Ces blocs sont comme des îlots dans ces camps. La liberté est entièrement laissée aux réfugiés de choisir leur bloc d’installation sur la base des affinités et de la confiance. La vie sous les tentes n’est pas aisée et comporte beaucoup d’exigences.

    La gestion du camp se fait avec les leaders naturels des groupes de réfugiés. L’un des principes d’administration que les intervenants se sont imposés dans ce camp est de ne jamais entrer dans le jeu des considérations ethniques ou raciales ou encore politiques. Tous les réfugies sont égaux. Les intervenants doivent rester professionnels et se mettre à l’écoute de tous, sans considération aucune.

    Depuis l’installation de ce camp à Goudebou, aucun cas d’agression ou d’hostilité n’a été enregistré ni de la part des réfugiés maliens ni de la part des populations locales. La cohabitation est presque parfaite. A l’entrée du camp se trouve un marché, dont l’approvisionnement est assuré par les populations locales.

    Guillaume renseigne que les réfugiés enterrent même leurs morts dans le cimetière de la localité sans aucun problème.

    Roger GOMIS

    Chargé de Communication

    Caritas Sénégal


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    02/27/2013 23:38 GMT

    NEW YORK (Nations unies), 27 fév 2013 (AFP) - Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a demandé au secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon de présenter un rapport avant fin mars sur la faisabilité d'une opération de maintien de la paix au Mali, a annoncé mercredi l'ambassadeur français à l'ONU Gérard Araud.

    Ces Casques bleus doivent prendre le relais de la Misma (Mission internationale de soutien au Mali) "quand les conditions de sécurité le permettront", a précisé à la presse M. Araud.

    "La France a fait adopter (par les 14 autres membres du Conseil) un projet de lettre au secrétaire général pour lui demander de présenter un rapport préliminaire avant fin mars sur les modalités et les conditions de création d'une opération de maintien de la paix", a déclaré M. Araud à l'issue de consultations au Conseil sur le Mali.

    L'ONU va entretemps "envoyer sur le terrain dans les semaines qui viennent une mission d'évaluation".

    Une fois le rapport de l'ONU présenté et sur sa base, a précisé M. Araud, il faudra encore, avant de déployer les Casques bleus, une résolution du Conseil et une "demande officielle des autorités maliennes".

    A ce propos, M. Araud a indiqué que le président intérimaire malien, Dioncounda Traoré, avait déjà envoyé une lettre à M. Ban lui indiquant qu'il était prêt à "considérer la mise en place d'une opération de maintien de la paix" de l'ONU au Mali "lorsque les conditions de sécurité le permettront".

    Selon les termes de cette lettre citées par M. Araud, M. Traoré demande le soutien de M. Ban à "la mise en place rapide de la Misma pour restaurer l'autorité et la souveraineté de l'Etat malien sur l'ensemble du territoire".

    "La réalisation de ces objectifs nous conduira vers la transformation de la Misma en une opération de stabilisation et de maintien de la paix des Nations unies", ajoute la lettre.

    Interrogé sur les conditions de sécurité qui seront nécessaires pour déployer les Casques bleus, M. Araud a reconnu qu'il s'agirait d'une "décision politique" prise par le Conseil.

    Au cours des consultations mercredi, a-t-il dit, les membres du Conseil ont insisté sur la nécessité de mener un processus politique de réconciliation au Mali et de faire respecter les droits de l'homme.

    M. Araud a dit avoir une nouvelle fois demandé à l'ONU "d'accélérer le déploiement d'observateurs des droits de l'homme" au Mali.

    Les soldats maliens sont accusés de commettre des exactions dans le nord du pays contre les populations arabe et touareg, soupçonnées de soutenir les islamistes.

    "Les forces françaises sont prêtes à assurer la sécurité des observateurs des droits de l'homme si nécessaire", a-t-il souligné.

    Selon M. Araud, la transition de la Misma aux Casques bleus devrait prendre "environ deux mois"à partir du moment où la mission de maintien de la paix de l'ONU sera formellement créée par une résolution du Conseil.

    avz/are

    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN News Service
    Country: Mali, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    27 February 2013 – Top United Nations officials today urged world leaders to promote tolerance and respect, adding that these principles can contribute to resolving conflicts, such as those in Syria and Mali, as well as addressing a host of other global challenges.

    “Durable solutions need long-term mutual understanding that transcends religious, national, cultural and ethnic boundaries. Such understanding comes from responsible leadership – the theme of this forum,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his remarks to the opening of the Fifth Global Forum of the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

    “From the world stage to local communities, leaders need to speak the language of tolerance and respect, not division and defamation,” he added. “Wherever tensions divide communities, the opportunity exists for the Alliance to build bridges and to help people move from conflict to collaboration.”

    Launched in 2005 through the initiative of Spain and Turkey, and under the auspices of the UN, the Alliance seeks to promote better cross-cultural relations worldwide. The theme for this year’s forum, which comprises decision-makers, experts, and a variety of stakeholders in the field of intercultural and interreligious dialogue, is ‘Responsible Leadership in Diversity and Dialogue.’

    Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations, said he believed responsible leadership can create the necessary social cohesion, where every man and woman feel included.

    “I believe that the Alliance can enhance international cooperation and contribute to the efforts of the United Nations to address the challenges facing humanity today, particularly when they are rooted in identity and cultural underpinnings,” he stated.

    Mr. Ban noted that among the areas where the Alliance is “well placed to contribute” is the conflict in Syria. As the situation there continues to worsen, he said he is “extremely concerned about the risk of sectarian violence and mass reprisals” in a country that is an “extraordinary mosaic of tribes, ethnicities, languages and religions.”

    He said Syrians will need help from the Alliance, particularly from religious leaders from all denominations, to foster healing and to rebuild damaged relationships.

    The Alliance, he continued, could also help “to re-stitch Mali’s tattered tapestry” by engaging religious and community leaders, grassroots organizations and youth in the country, which has been beset by fighting since January 2012.

    Mr. Ban also said that Israelis and Palestinians remain polarized, while movement in the Middle East peace process is “overdue.” He added that he was particularly concerned about the region’s youth, who are at risk of growing up with a “demonized, dehumanized – and utterly false – concept of their neighbours.”

    He urged the Alliance to support peacemakers on both sides, such as Aziz Abu Sarah. A Palestinian whose brother was killed, Mr. Sarah leads tours of the conflict areas that show both sides of the conflict and plans to expand to Egypt and Jordan, with the Alliance’s support.

    The Secretary-General, in separate remarks to the media, said there is a growing understanding that the politics of division, hatred and misperceptions, particularly the language of hatred, “tear the fabric of our society.”

    Also addressing the opening session, the President of the UN General Assembly, Vuk Jeremic, called the Alliance a ‘soft-power tool of preventive diplomacy’, which contributes to overcoming tensions among cultures, faiths and societies, while also guarding against globalization.

    “It is my deeply-held view that enlarging the common denominator of values and principles which bind us to each other truly serves the cause of peace,” Mr. Jeremic told the more than 1,200 participants gathered for the two-day event.

    Mr. Ban also addressed the Alliance’s Intercultural Innovation Award Ceremony, organized by the BMW Group and held last night at Vienna’s Opera House. Noting the work of the ten finalists, Mr. Ban said: “The creative solutions being showcased tonight hold lessons for all communities and for organizations such as the United Nations.”

    The first place winner, Puerta Joven of Mexico, received a $50,000 prize for ‘Lenguas Jóvenes’ or Languages of Youth, which brings together indigenous youth groups who are discriminated because of their cultural identity or language.

    While in Vienna, the Secretary-General has held a series of bilateral meetings with visiting dignitaries, including the Emir of Qatar, the Spanish Foreign Minister and the Turkish Prime Minister.

    He also met with the Armenian Foreign Minister, Edward Nalbandian, with whom he discussed the situation in Syria and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

    In a meeting with the President of former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gjorge Ivanov, Mr. Ban exchanged views on the status of negotiations regarding the “name” issue between Athens and Skopje.


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    Source: Government of the Republic of Mali
    Country: Mali
    preview


    1. INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Contexte et Justification

    L'atteinte des Objectifs du Millénaire pour le Développement à l'échéance de 2015 nécessite de disposer de données fiables, régulières et actualisées pour faire un suivi rapproché des indicateurs de progrès sur la survie et le développement de l'enfant.

    Dans le cadre du programme de coopération Gouvernement du Mali-UNICEF pour la période 2011-2012, il est prévu de renforcer le système d'information nutritionnelle afin de disposer d'une base de données fiables. Aussi, il est nécessaire de disposer régulièrement de données de base pour pouvoir suivre et évaluer l'impact des interventions et également le niveau des indicateurs sur la survie et le développement de l'enfant.

    On a constaté que le Mali était confronté à l'existence de multiples données d'évaluations nutritionnelles provenant de différentes institutions nationales et organisations, locales et internationales, utilisant chacune des méthodes et expertises propres à elles. On peut citer entre autres les plus récentes :

     Enquête nutritionnelle dans le cercle de Baraouéli région de Ségou, réalisée par le Secrétariat Exécutif de la Croix-Rouge malienne en mars 2011 ;

     Enquête Anthropométrique et de Mortalité SMART dans la région de Kayes cercle de Kita commune de Kokofata et Koulou réalisée par ACF-Mali en juin 2011 ;

     Enquête nutritionnelle dans le cercle de Baraouéli, région de Ségou, réalisée par la Croix-Rouge malienne en octobre 2011 ;

     Enquête SMART dans la commune VI du district de Bamako, réalisée par ACF-Mali en 2012.

    Cependant, la comparaison, d'une évaluation nutritionnelle à une autre, était donc rendue difficile. Ceci a soulevé un besoin d'harmonisation des méthodologies pour assurer une meilleure analyse et comparaison des données recueillies sur l'ensemble du pays.

    C’est ainsi que Le Gouvernement du Mali a eu à mener avec l’appui financier et technique de l’UNICEF et du PAM une enquête nutritionnelle nationale SMART dans le pays de juin à juillet 2011, pour corriger les insuffisances des enquêtes SMART localisées. La plus importante de ces insuffisances était le manque de niveau de représentativité nationale, régionale et par milieu de résidence permettant d’avoir une image réelle de la situation nutritionnelle et d’identifier les régions les plus à risque de malnutrition.

    La situation de crise que vit le Mali a engendré un déplacement de population qui a dû avoir un impact sérieux sur l'état nutritionnel des enfants dans les autres régions du pays et plus particulièrement au niveau des régions frontalières de la zone sahélienne (Mopti, Ségou, Koulikoro, et Kayes).

    Compte tenu de cette situation et du fait que la première enquête nutritionnelle nationale basée sur la méthodologie SMART a été réalisée au Mali en juin 2011(début de la période de soudure), il a été opportun de pouvoir en faire une deuxième en août-septembre 2012 (toujours en période de soudure). Ainsi si cet effort est maintenu et soutenu, cela va permettre de mettre en place une base de données temporelle à intervalles réguliers et de façon annuelle dans un premier temps et semestrielles par la suite. Les résultats de la première enquête ont été rendus disponibles tant dans les versions préliminaires que définitives.

    Le Gouvernement du Mali, fort de sa première expérience d'enquête nutritionnelle nationale de type SMART, a souhaité avec ses partenaires techniques, entreprendre et exécuter une deuxième enquête nutritionnelle dans cette période de soudure en 2012. Aussi cela permis aux partenaires qui évoluent dans l'humanitaire, de bien mener leurs interventions sur des bases réelles.


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    Source: World Food Programme
    Country: Mali
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    • With recent military strikes, physical and economic access to markets is expected to be further limited in the North, with potential upward pressure on food commodity prices there.

    • Coarse grain price levels in Q4-2012 remain above average in Mali, especially in the conflict affected northern Mali, which is a food deficit area. Coarse grain prices have nonetheless eased in the aftermath of the recent above-average harvest in Mali, after reaching very high levels during the 2012 lean season.

    The 2011/12 cereal price hikes eased with the end-2012 harvest in Mali...

    Mali is usually near to self-sufficiency in coarse grains supplies. However, the country suffered a drought in 2011 which affected local cereal production and led to a spike in prices in 2011-2012. From late 2011 onwards, coarse grain prices increased sharply by 80-100% above average in many markets during the lean season (June-September 2012). In late 2012 and early 2013 cereal prices eased due to good harvest following the good seasonal rains in 2012. CILSS estimates that 2012/13 local grain production is 36%above the five year average*. As a result, grain prices have trended downward with the arrival of new crops on the markets. As of early January 2013 – before military operations resumed - grain prices had been returning to historic levels in most markets in Mali.


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    Source: Agence France-Presse
    Country: Mali

    02/28/2013 14:36 GMT

    YAMOUSSOUKRO (Côte d'Ivoire), 28 fév 2013 (AFP) - Les dirigeants d'Afrique de l'Ouest ont apporté jeudi leur soutien au projet de transformer à terme la force africaine déployée au Mali, la Misma, en une mission de paix de l'ONU.

    "Il est essentiel de créer les conditions de transformation de la Misma (Mission internationale de soutien au Mali, ndlr) en opération de maintien de la paix", a déclaré le chef de l'Etat ivoirien Alassane Ouattara, reconduit pour un an à la tête de la Communauté économique des Etats d'Afrique de l'Ouest (Cédéao).

    "Je souhaite à ce titre une étroite coordination entre la Cédéao, l'Union africaine, les autorités maliennes et le Conseil de sécurité pour définir un mandat conforme à nos objectifs de maintien de la paix et de lutte contre le terrorisme", a-t-il ajouté en clôture d'un sommet des chefs d'Etat de la Cédéao qui s'était ouvert mercredi à Yamoussoukro.

    Le Conseil de sécurité de l'ONU a demandé au secrétaire général Ban Ki-moon de présenter un rapport avant fin mars sur la faisabilité d'une opération de maintien de la paix au Mali, a annoncé mercredi l'ambassadeur français à l'ONU Gérard Araud.

    Si l'idée d'une transformation de la Misma en opération onusienne a été soutenue lors du sommet de Yamoussoukro, plusieurs responsables ont souligné que la question du mandat d'une telle force - "maintien" ou "imposition de la paix" - devait être examinée attentivement.

    La Misma est censée prendre à terme le relais de l'armée française qui, depuis son intervention le 11 janvier en soutien aux forces armées maliennes, a réussi à chasser les groupes jihadistes des grandes villes du Nord malien qu'ils occupaient depuis l'an dernier.

    Mais le déploiement de la force africaine - qui a envoyé au Mali quelque 3.500 soldats, selon Paris - est jugé lent, et seuls les troupes françaises (4.000 hommes) et le contingent du Tchad (environ 2.000 hommes), qui ne fait pas partie de la Misma, sont en première ligne face aux islamistes dans l'extrême Nord du Mali.

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    © 1994-2013 Agence France-Presse


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    Source: UN Human Rights Council
    Country: Mali, occupied Palestinian territory, Syrian Arab Republic, World

    MORNING

    28 February 2013

    The Human Rights Council this morning concluded its high-level segment after hearing statements from 13 dignitaries who expressed their concerns about the situation in Mali, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Syria, and highlighted some of the achievements that their countries and organizations had made in the promotion and protection of human rights.

    Speaking were Amina Kodjiyana, Minister for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Chad; Emmanuel Issoze Ngondet, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Gabon; Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu, Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation; Alberto Nkutumula, Deputy Minister of Justice of Mozambique; Anwar Mohammad Gargash, Minister of State for Foreign Affairs of the United Arab Emirates; Mohammad Mehdi Akhondzadeh Basti, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran; Sakina Binti, Vice-Minister for Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo; Mohamed Bushara Dousa, Minister of Justice of Sudan; Luís Brites Pereira, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal; Adama Dieng, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide; Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV and AIDS; Kamalesh Sharma, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat; and Anders B. Johnsson, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union.

    During the meeting, many speakers expressed concern about the situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Mali, and Syria. One speaker said that the violation of human rights in Syria was widespread and systematic and that the international community had a duty towards the victims of the conflict to hold accountable those responsible for heinous crimes. Particular reference was made to the violation of the human rights of vulnerable groups, such as women and persons with disabilities, the importance of education in combating discrimination and racism, and the dangers posed by hate speech and incitement to racial hatred.

    Speakers praised the work carried out by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the promotion and protection of human rights worldwide, and noted the progress which had been made in several parts of the world. Nevertheless, significant challenges remained, and in that regard the international community and the Council in particular should play a full role in ensuring the universal enjoyment of human rights.

    At the end of the meeting Egypt, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Iran, Azerbaijan, Japan, Armenia, Morocco, Rwanda, and the Republic of Korea spoke in right of reply.

    The Human Rights Council will resume its work this afternoon at 3 p.m., when it will hold its general segment, to be followed by the presentation of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ annual report and an interactive dialogue with High Commissioner Navi Pillay.

    High-level Segment

    AMINA KODJIYANA, Minister for Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms of Chad, said that Chad had made human rights a priority and since 1994 had started setting up a number of institutions for the promotion and protection of human rights. Chad held consultations with the majority and opposition political parties, which reinforced the democratic process. Chad had also begun a process of rehabilitation of its prisons to bring them in line with international standards. Efforts had also been made to combat corruption, improve infrastructure and access to education and drinking water, and create development. Special protection measures had been taken for persons with disabilities and persons living with HIV/AIDS. Paying attention to the implementation of international instruments, Chad created in 2005 a Ministry for Human Rights, which organized a Forum on HIV/AIDS in 2012; it had also set up an inter-ministerial technical committee to prepare periodic reports on human rights submitted to international organizations. Chad had also given its agreement for the opening of an office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. In the area of foreign policy, Chad was pursuing fruitful cooperation with countries supporting peace and justice, and had sent a military contingent to Mali. Ms. Kodjiyana highlighted Chad’s candidacy for election as a non-permanent member to the Security Council and for election to the Council of Human Rights for the period 2014-2016.

    EMMANUEL ISSOZE NGONDET, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Gabon, said that Gabon had always given pride of place to the universality of human rights and had signed, acceded or ratified various instruments of human rights. The President of Gabon had committed the country to a number of reforms, through the building of strategic infrastructure and the consolidation of a rule of law State. Gabon had set up a mechanism that involved free healthcare for the elderly and also covered pre-natal and maternal care for all women infected by HIV/AIDS. Gabon welcomed the cooperation of States with the Universal Periodic Review as well as the constructive character of exchanges. Attention should now be paid to the follow-up of recommendations. What appeared to be more than ever essential was to give concrete content to the issues of the right to development and Chad encouraged the Council to spare no effort to go into more depth on the right to sustainable development. The question of hostage tacking and their impact was also of major concern. Gabon encouraged the Human Rights Council Advisory Committee to go more into depth in this respect. Gabon was in favour of any measure to strengthen the budget of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to allow for the steady financing of its activities. Gabon also welcomed the initiative of the High Commissioner of organising informal consultations on the reform of treaty bodies. However, the dialogue should be more constructive and not be politicised.

    EKMELEDDIN IHSANOGLU, Secretary-General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that the Independent Permanent Human Rights Commission had been established at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and it had identified the rights of women and children, human rights education and the right to development as its priorities. The situations in Syria, Mali and Myanmar were of particular concern and Mr. Ihsanoglu stressed the importance of the protection of civilians in armed conflict and the need to ensure that international humanitarian law was not being violated. There was an urgent necessity for the Council to address the long standing and permanent suffering of the Palestinian people and this session must focus on the exacerbating situation of Palestinian prisoners. Further, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation was concerned about the human rights situation in Indian-occupied Kashmir and it condemned the aggression of Armenia against Azerbaijan. Mr. Ihsanoglu called for the urgent implementation of the United Nations Security Council resolutions and the withdrawal of the armed forces of Armenia from the occupied regions of Azerbaijan, including from Nagorny Karabakh. Islamophobia as a contemporary form of racism was a continuing concern and that was why Mr. Ihsanoglu called for an observatory at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to act as an early warning system monitoring instances of Islamophobia, Christianophobia, Judeophobia and all other religions.

    ALBERTO NKUTUMULA, Deputy Minister of Justice of Mozambique, speaking on behalf of the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries, said that the eight countries which made up the Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries had taken many initiatives in the field of the promotion and protection of the full enjoyment of human rights, including a training programme for combating trafficking in human beings, a project relating to the Millennium Development Goals, the University Challenge, the Street Children Project, and the political and institutional capacity-building of government officials and non-governmental organizations to promote and protect the rights of persons with disabilities. Strategic plans had also been approved in the areas of health and gender equality. One of the remaining challenges was nutritional security in the community space and access to adequate food. Particular importance was attached to the Universal Periodic Review and its cooperative approach of the universal human rights issues. The Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries had adopted a resolution on the abolition of the death penalty in their respective countries and encouraged a global abolition of the death penalty. Concern was expressed at the political developments taking place in Guinea-Bissau, where constitutional order should be restored. The impact of armed conflicts, the prevalence of democratic weaknesses in societies, and the uncertainty caused by the international economic situation were matters of serious concern. Further efforts were needed to promote the rights of minorities, women, persons with disabilities, and children.

    ANWAR MOHAMMED GARGASH, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs of the United Arab Emirates, said that the United Arab Emirates had a stable political system characterised by a strong relationship between the citizens and the Government. Its legislative and institutional framework had evolved over time in response to the aspirations of its citizens in the light of a modern contemporary State, while staying consistent with its traditions. It had developed specific national strategies, which focused on the empowerment and enhancement of women, motherhood and childhood, and the provision of social services, housing programmes and care for the elderly. It had also made great efforts to bring its national legislation in line with the best international standards, as was shown by the great progress made in improving and expanding labour regulations, human trafficking laws, as well as empowerment of women, protection of children’s rights and the promotion of equality before the law. The United Arab Emirates underlined that the Council should conduct its work in a manner that was transparent, a-political, aiming to achieve cooperation instead of confrontation and it would work with all its partners towards this goal. The establishment of United Nations Women was also commended and the United Arab Emirates had affirmed its strong support through a donation of $ 5 million. It was extremely concerned with the deteriorating situation in Syria. The international community was called upon to assume its humanitarian responsibility.

    MOHAMMAD MEHDI AKHONDZADEH BASTI, Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs of Iran, said that Iran’s Constitution gave explicit emphasis to all intrinsic pillars of human rights and was an ultimate guide to build a democratic modern society. The Human Rights Council played a critical role in the improvement of the functioning of the United Nations human rights machinery and in creating an environment for constructive dialogue and cooperation to move beyond the prevalent atmosphere of confrontation among Governments. The conclusion of the first cycle of the Universal Periodic Review gave hope that confrontation might be replaced with a more cooperative approach at the service of human rights and dignity. The Middle East was now at a highly critical moment and it was not for the outsiders to meddle or manipulate destiny and future which should be a free and democratic one. They needed to avoid repeating the mistakes made in the past to serve their narrow political and economic interests through supporting extremists and terrorists, and foreign military interventions would not yield democracy or respect for human rights. The depth and expanse of the gross and systematic violations of human rights of the Palestinian people in blatant defiance of international law, numerous United Nations resolutions and human rights principles remained a matter of deep concern for all. The Council could rise to the challenge only through relying on the cherished principles of objectivity, impartiality, transparency and consensus, stressed Iran.

    SAKINA BINTI, Vice-Minister for Human Rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, said that a large number of persons were suffering in the East of the Democratic Republic of the Congo because of continuing warfare in the region of the Great Lakes. War incited by the Group M23, with the support of neighbouring Rwanda, was responsible for the killings and rapes of civilians and had caused almost 2 million internally displaced persons. The Democratic Republic of the Congo had implemented a number of measures to consolidate democracy and promote and protect human rights. Those included setting up an inter-ministerial technical committee for elaborating and following up on human rights reports, a unit that would examine all human rights matters relating to international instruments, various provincial liaison units, a commission responsible for the preparation and follow-up of the Universal Periodic Review, and a unit for the protection of human rights defenders, activists, and witnesses. Furthermore, an action plan had been devised to combat the recruitment and use of children in armed conflict, and an independent Human Rights Institution in line with the Paris Principles was being established. The national justice system had a zero tolerance policy vis-à-vis violations of human rights in the country and there was no impunity in that regard. The war which had been imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo was the main obstacle in the full enjoyment of human rights by its people. The political and financial mobilization of the international community was necessary in order to ensure peace and cooperation in the country and in the region of the Great Lakes.

    MOHAMED BUSHARA DOUSA, Minister of Justice of Sudan, said that Sudan had devised a legislative institutional framework for human rights and attached priority to some segments, including women’s rights, combating violence against women and the rights of the child. It was one of the very first countries that had signed both protocols to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, on the involvement of children in armed conflict, and on the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography. Sudan still called on the international community to honour its obligations in accordance with the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and assist developing counties to address numerous and intertwined challenges to their advancement in this field. In accordance with the decision to renew the mandate of the Independent Expert on Sudan, the Government had embarked on devising a strategy and work plan to implement recommendations made, and it appealed for support for assistance, particularly in areas affected by conflict and under reconstruction. The Government had taken exceptional measures with a view of the promotion and protection of human rights in areas affected by the conflict. The situation in Darfur had witnessed significant developments in the context of the Doha peace agreement. Arrangements were currently underway to hold a donor conference in Doha this year. The realisation of justice was also one of the major preoccupations for the Government. Events in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in terms of systematic violations of human rights and international law should not be just condemned and denounced, but seized and perpetrators should be held to account.

    LUÍS BRITES PEREIRA, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Portugal, said that during its mandate in the United Nations Security Council which had ended last December, Portugal consistently strove to forge dialogue and consensus and this had always been its priority in the Human Rights Council too. Portugal paid special tribute to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights whose impartial and dedicated work embodied the objectives that had led to the creation of her Office 20 years ago. This session of the Human Rights Council must address a number of challenging issues, said Mr. Pereira and focused on the systematic violation of human rights and the deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Syria which continued to cause suffering to millions of Syrians and innumerable loss of innocent lives. The international community had a duty to the victims of the conflict to ensure that those responsible for heinous crimes committed in Syria were held accountable for their acts. It was essential that this session of the Human Rights Council adopt a resolution on Syria with strong language on accountability and on preventing impunity. Portugal was a candidate for the 2015-2017 mandate of the Human Rights Council and hoped to receive support for its bid to serve on the Council. In closing, Mr. Pereira expressed hope that this session would decisively contribute to the promotion and protection of the human rights of all human beings.

    ADAMA DIENG, Special Advisor to the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide, said that the Human Rights Council was a privileged forum for discussion and action on the matter of genocide, which was not a crime relegated to the past. Lessons from the Holocaust, Cambodia, Rwanda, and Sebrenica had not been learnt, and in the face of atrocities still being committed today, the international community had failed to fulfill its promise of “never again”. Both United Nations members and non-United Nations partners should be mobilized to respond to ongoing challenges, and the United Nations system should enhance its collective capacity to respond to genocide crimes. The Office of the Secretary-General on the Prevention of Genocide had sharpened its methodology to detect hate speech and to prevent incitement to racism, while it was also investigating the deeper causes of genocide and of relating atrocities. Alerts issued by the Office were taken seriously by the United Nations system and influenced policies and decisions. The responsibility to protect had its rules in the international community and States were responsible for protecting their own population from genocide, among other things, and the factors leading to genocide. The international community must be ready to assist whenever States manifestly failed to prevent such crimes, and action should be taken in accordance with international law. Deep concern was expressed at the dangerous increase in ethnic and religious tensions in Syria, Mali, Sudan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Iraq. The Council had to continue to find ways in order to address the present and future crises that posed a serious threat to populations.

    MICHEL SIDIBE, Executive Director of Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS and Under Secretary-General of the United Nations, said that the lessons of AIDS response could lead into the post-2015 era, shaping a new paradigm for development, one centred on and fuelled by human rights. The Human Rights Council was thanked for its tremendous contributions to the AIDS response, having spoken out against HIV-related discrimination, and its call for the right to health and for access to treatment, among others. HIV continued to shine a harsh light on the inequalities of this world. It was outrageous that in 2013, when there were all the tools to beat this epidemic, 1.7 million persons still died each year because they did not have access to treatment. Babies were still born infected in poor countries, but not in rich ones. AIDS was still the leading cause of death among young women. Much more work needed to be done to overcome inequality and exclusion. AIDS response was an instrument for attacking social injustice and for addressing inequalities against the rich and the poor. It had taught that including and participation got development done. Those affected and most at risk could be learned from. Even the most marginalised should be included in AIDS response, even where this was unpopular. The post-2015 development agenda had a lot to learn from the AIDS response. It should explicitly embrace the human rights framework, as well as a rights-based approach to development. Ending AIDS was a human rights legacy for all. AIDS could be halted and reversed if momentum and commitments were maintained through and after 2015.

    KAMALESH SHARMA, Secretary General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, said that in 2011, its Heads of Governments had authorized the Commonwealth Ministerial Group to become more proactively engaged in situations of persistent or serious violations of core Commonwealth political values, including human rights. Over the next four years, the Commonwealth Secretariat intended to deepen its strategic partnership with the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, strengthen its contribution to the work of the Council and the treaty bodies system, and increase the capacity of Governments, national human rights institutions, parliaments and civil society organizations to engage constructively with the Universal Periodic Review process. It would focus on providing technical assistance to States for the implementation of Universal Periodic Review recommendations and would aim to strengthen national human rights institutions not yet fully compliant with the Paris Principles. Raising standards of conduct by law enforcement agencies and the protection of human rights defenders would continue to be areas of focus, with special attention paid to the very serious issues of extra-judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, of police accountability, infringements on the rights of freedom of expression, and undue curtailment of the rights to freedom of peacefully assembles and association. Above all, the Secretariat aimed to contribute to practical action, to work inclusively, and to seek advances in a climate of respect and trust with its Member States.

    ANDERS B. JOHNSSON, Secretary-General of the Inter-Parliamentary Union, said that the popular movement across the Arab World gave the world reason to hope, because it demonstrated that people were not prepared to stand by and watch while their rights were being violated, but demanded greater transparency, social justice, and democracy. Democracy advanced equality between men and women, enhanced the participation of women in political life, and ensured transparency and accountability. Democracy did not necessarily mean a complete absence of conflict but, rather, the reconciliation of opposing views in a peaceful manner, not through armed conflict. Basic human rights principles such as participation, accountability, and transparency must underpin any human rights framework. Mr. Johnsson stressed that it was one thing to come up with a plan and another to bring about meaningful change. Today’s shortcomings in sustainable development were the result of a lack of participation, transparency, effective decision-making, insight, and democratic governance. The Inter-Parliamentary Union proposed a new framework which contained a comprehensive goal relating to the capacities and functions of governments. That universal goal should be applied to developed and developing countries, with specific qualitative and quantitative indicators which would help to make progress. The Inter-Parliamentary Union had established global criteria for a democratic parliament and had published tools for parliaments to evaluate their performances against those criteria. Parliaments today were far from egalitarian, with just over 20 per cent of parliament members being women, who continued to face discrimination. Therefore, parliaments should become more sensitive to gender equality issues.

    Right of Reply

    Egypt, speaking in a right of reply to statements made by Norway and the Czech Republic, said Egypt was astonished by criticism delivered by Norway, which was well aware that the exercise of human rights was a long-term process. Egypt was in a transition period towards democracy and faced many challenges at this stage. It refused an intervention in its internal affairs, particularly concerning the development of the Constitution. With regards to the statement by the Czech Republic, there were more than 30,000 non-governmental organizations working in different sectors in Egypt. Certain foreign agencies were intervening in the application of Egyptian law.

    Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, said that it deeply regretted and rejected the allegations of Ireland. The resolution and inquiry mechanism were only a product of political confrontation pursued by those taking sides with the United States’ hostilities. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea also had strong reservations about the inappropriate behaviour of the Republic of Korea. It advised the authorities of the Republic of Korea that this Council was not a place to pursue confrontation against the brothers and sisters of the north and urged them to apologise for hostilities during the great national mourning and abolish the draconian security law, rather than name and shame.

    Iran, speaking in a right of reply, rejected allegations made during the high-level segment and reiterated its belief in cooperation on the issue of human rights. Iran continued to report to treaty bodies and had already presented its third periodic report under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The appointment of the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran came about as a result of a broken system and this inappropriate decision had brought the credibility of the Council in question.

    Azerbaijan, speaking in a right of reply, said that allegations against Azerbaijan made by Armenia were absurd. Just two days ago, Azerbaijan had marked the anniversary of the 1992 Khojaly Genocide in which hundreds of civilians had been killed by Armenia, and wondered how it was possible to understand the statement that the Armenian President had given to a British journalist during the recent interview, justifying the necessity of such upheavals and the related killings of people.

    Japan, speaking in a right of reply, said that it acknowledged that it had caused damage and suffering to people in many countries, particularly to other Asian nations. Japan had expressed deep remorse and a heartfelt apology for victims of the Second World War. The matter of offering realistic relief to former comfort women had been addressed through the Asian Women’s Fund.

    Armenia, speaking in a right of reply to Azerbaijan, said that Armenia regretted being involved in a polemical exchange of statements with Azerbaijan, and cited an interview of the Head of State of Azerbaijan on atrocities committed by his country’s armed forces.

    Morocco, speaking in a right of reply, said that the Minster of Foreign Affairs of Algeria had raised the question of the Sahara and the latest report of Secretary-General on the protection of human rights there. Quoting paragraph 106 of the observations and recommendations section, that all parties had responsibilities in the area of the protection of human rights, the recommendation was also addressed to Algeria as the host country of the Tindouf camps. On the situation of human rights in Moroccan Sahara, it was fulfilling its international commitments to guarantee the human rights of all the citizens in its territory. Morocco made a fraternal appeal to Algeria to seriously look into the political solution.

    Rwanda, speaking in a right of reply to the statement made by the Vice Minister for human rights of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, specifically with reference to the alleged role of Rwanda in the conflict in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, said it wholly rejected this. Rwanda was wholly committed to a peaceful solution to the conflict and said that blame was not where the solution lay. The signing of the Democratic Republic of the Congo peace agreement on 24 February 2013 was an important step in the right direction. Rwanda remained firmly committed to playing a positive role in its implementation and called on the international community to support this implementation.

    Republic of Korea, speaking in a right of reply, reiterated its concern over the deteriorating human rights situation in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea which was one of the worst, but least reported cases in the world, and the political prison camps which were a showcase of systematic human rights violations in this country. Japan was ignoring tremendous pain inflicted on sexual slaves, which had never been properly addressed in international agreements and therefore never properly settled. Japan should shoulder its international responsibility and pay compensation to the victims.

    Azerbaijan, speaking in a second right of reply, said it was very unfortunate that Armenia had not listened to the earlier statement of Azerbaijan and said that their remarks would not yield any results. Armenia should comply with the provisions of its own resolution on genocide that it would present during this session.

    Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, speaking in a second right of reply to the statement made by the Republic of Korea, said that the continuous allegations of the Republic of Korea would continue to face increasing resistance and rejection because they had nothing to do with human rights. The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea called on the Republic of Korea to put an end to the politicization of human rights issues and to address the extra-territorial violations committed by the United States military in the area.

    Japan, speaking in a second right of reply to the statement made by the Republic of Korea, said that it would refrain from repeating the statement which it had previously made.

    Armenia, speaking in a second right of reply, said that it would not revert to the events of the Khojaly genocide. It was not understood what was meant by the delegation of Azerbaijan about the initiatives of Armenia in the area of the prevention of genocide. Why did Azerbaijan co-sponsor the first resolution co-sponsored by Armenia?

    Republic of Korea, speaking in a second right of reply, reiterated that it remained deeply concerned about the gravity of the human rights situation in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea and urged it to respect all human rights and fundamental freedoms. It also called upon Japan to recognise its responsibilities and take appropriate measures acceptable to victims as recommended by the international community, and work towards a historical truth of the issue in a civil manner, to help prevent recurrence of such a tragic act.

    For use of the information media; not an official record


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