THE POPE RECEIVES MERIAM, THE SUDANESE CHRISTIAN IMPRISONED FOR APOSTASY

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

VATICAN, Holy See, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Yesterday afternoon, at the Domus Sanctae Marthae, the Holy Father Francis received in audience Ms. Meriam Yahia Ibrahim Ishag, the Sudanese Christian woman imprisoned and condemned to death for apostasy, and subsequently freed with the intervention of the international community.

Meriam was accompanied by her husband Daniel Wani and their two small children, Martin (aged one and a half) and Maya, born in prison two months ago. The family was accompanied by the Italian deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, Lapo Pistelli, who completed negotiations in Sudan yesterday and accompanied Meriam and her family to Italy, where they are preparing to move to the United States.

The meeting lasted for slightly less than half an hour and took place in a serene and affectionate atmosphere. The Pope thanked Meriam and her family for their courageous witness of constancy in faith. Meriam gave thanks for the great comfort and support she received from the prayer of the Pope and many other believers and persons of good will. The Pope’s secretary, Msgr. Yohannis Gaid, acted as interpreter. The Pope then greeted the Italian staff accompanying Meriam and her family in their stay in Italy.

With this gesture, the Pope wished to demonstrate his closeness, attention and prayer for all those who suffer for their faith and, in particular, for Christians who suffer persecution or curtailment of their religious freedom.

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VATICAN / TELEGRAM FOR THE VICTIMS OF THE AIR CRASH OVER MALI

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

VATICAN, Holy See, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Cardinal Secretary of State Pietro Parolin has sent a telegram on behalf of Pope Francis to Archbishop Ghaleb Moussa Abdalla Bader of Algiers, Algeria, in response to yesterday’s tragic accident involving an Air Algerie aircraft above Mali, which claimed many lives. “His Holiness Pope Francis joins in prayer with the suffering of those who have lost loved ones”, he writes. “He wishes to convey his condolences and to assure them of his profound sympathy, and prays that the Lord may receive the souls of the departed and bring consolation and hope to all those affected by the disaster”.

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Joint statement by the President of the European Council, Herman Van Rompuy, and the President of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso,on the crash of the airliner in Mali

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

BRUSSELS, Kingdom of Belgium, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — On behalf of the European Union, we wish to convey our deepest condolences to the families of the victims of the Air Algérie flight that crashed in Mali. We also wish to express our sympathy and solidarity to the governments of all affected nations, including to the French and Algerian Presidents.

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The African Union is encouraged by the successful conclusion of the first stage of the inclusive inter-Malian dialogue

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Chairperson of the Commission of the African Union (AU), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, welcomes the successful conclusion of the first phase of the inclusive inter-Malian dialogue, marked by the signing, today, in Algiers, by all the Parties involved in the negotiation process, of a Consensual Roadmap and a Declaration of Cessation of Hostilities. She stresses that this successful outcome of the initial phase of the negotiations, which took place from 16 to 24 July 2014 and in which the AU was represented by its High Representative for Mali and the Sahel, accompanied by a team of experts, bodes well for the continuation of the inclusive inter-Malian dialogue.

The Chairperson of the Commission urges the Malian Parties to seize the opportunity arising from this significant progress to find a negotiated and consensual solution to the current crisis, on the basis of the respect of the sovereignty, unity, territorial integrity and the secular nature of the Republic of Mali. She reiterates the need for the Parties to do everything possible to maintain the climate of mutual confidence which is necessary for achieving a definite end to all hostilities, as well as for the continuation and successful completion of the negotiations.

The Chairperson of the Commission welcomes the decision taken by all the Parties to launch the second phase of the negotiations from 17 August to 11 September 2014, in Algiers, under the auspices of the Algerian Mediation, in coordination with the AU, the United Nations (UN) the Mediation of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union (EU) and the Organization of the Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and with the accompaniment of the countries of the region (Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Niger and Chad).

The Chairperson of the Commission reiterates the AU’s full support to the efforts of the Algerian Government, under the auspices of President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, in assisting the Malian stakeholders to successfully overcome the challenges facing their country. The AU, which welcomes the sustained engagement of the international partners in support of the ongoing process, will continue to lend its active support to the negotiation.

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AUC Chairperson’s Condolences following Algerian Airlines crash

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — African Union Commission Chairperson, H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, is most saddened by news of the Air Algerie crash flying from Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso to Algiers, in Algeria. With 116 passengers and crew members from Africa and other nationalities on board, the plane was reported missing in the early hours of 24 July 2014.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma expresses her heartfelt condolences to the families, relatives and friends of the bereaved.

In the wake of recent tragic air-travel related accidents, the AUC Chairpersons calls on the concerned authorities to do more in order to maintain and even improve air travel safety records.

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AU Commission Chairperson on official visit to Benin

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

COTONOU, Benin, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — African Union Commission Chairperson H.E. Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has arrived in Cotonou, Benin at the invitation of the President Yayi Boni for an official visit from 24-27 July 2014, as well as to deliver a statement at a Ministerial Conference of Least Developed Countries on Monday 28 July.

The AUC Chairperson will meet with President Yayi Boni at State House during which they will discuss regional and continental issues ranging from agriculture and food security, infrastructure, regional integration projects, peace, security and development, particularly, but not limited to issues emanating from the 23rd AU Summit in Malabo.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma and President Yayi Boni will also discuss preparations of the upcoming 1stUS-Africa Leaders Summit scheduled to take place in Washington DC, US from the 4-6 August 2014. President Yayi Boni will offer a State Dinner in honour of the AUC Chairperson.

Beyond her engagements with Government Officials, Dr. Dlamini Zuma will be engaging and discussing with women’s groups, on their contributions to Africa’s development.

Dr. Dlamini Zuma will travel to Benin’s capital city, Porto-Novo during which she will visit the Business Promotion Center, the “Ecole du Patrimoine African”, and also meet with a cross-section of women beneficiaries of Benin’s micro-credit schemes. She will visit the Songhai Project (for Agri-business and agricultural entrepreneurs), which hosted the 3rd batch of AU Volunteer programme in December 2012.

Following the official visit the AUC Chairperson will on Monday, 28 July 2014 deliver an opening statement at the Ministerial Conference on New Partnerships for Productive Capacity Building in Least Developed Countries (LDCs) scheduled to take place in Cotonou from 28-31 July 2014.

According to the organisers (UN-OHRLLS), the conference aims to identify new and innovative partnerships to strengthen productive capacities in the LDCs identified as a priority area in the Istanbul Programme of Action. It will also discuss cross-cutting issues such as gender equality, women empowerment, employment and sustainable development.

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Burundi Engages Diaspora in Development

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM is supporting the Government of Burundi in its efforts to increasingly engage with the Burundian diaspora in national development. A key initial IOM intervention is support for the Ministry of External Relations and International Cooperation in organizing the first Diaspora Week, which will take place in Bujumbura between 28 and 31 July.

The first Diaspora Week aims at promoting skills transfers and investment opportunities, and will specifically consist of a multi-dimensional workshop that is intended to bring together key Burundian stakeholders to share experiences through debates, including on investment opportunities, discussions on national and regional migration policies and diaspora policies, exhibitions, networking, and the presentation of the newly created Diaspora Directorate and its roles and functions.

Key actors will include representatives from government ministries, private sector institutions, civil society and diaspora associations. Over 150 individual members of the Burundian diaspora will participate in an event that will also count on the participation of the directors of government diaspora departments from Rwanda and Senegal, who are expected to share their experiences of diaspora engagement.

Key recommendations and results from the workshop will be included in the existing draft national policy on migration, as well as the national diaspora policy soon be developed with IOM support.

Other future initiatives to be supported by IOM in Burundi include the capacity-building of the recently created Diaspora Directorate, and the design of a framework for identifying and prioritizing government sectors that will receive IOM-sponsored training, primarily in the mental health sector. IOM will also work with the Government of Burundi to assist with the drafting of a National Diaspora Policy.

In February 2014, IOM supported a one-week exchange visit of Burundi’s new Director of Diaspora to Nairobi, Kenya, where he met with the Kenyan diaspora-related institutions and over 300 members of the Burundian diaspora living in Nairobi.

Recent research estimates that over 350,000 Burundians live in the diaspora. Most migrated due to socio-political crises between 1960 and 2003. The majority of Burundians abroad reside in the East African region (Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania, and Uganda), as well as in Europe (Belgium, Scandinavia, and United Kingdom) and North America (Canada and United States).

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IOM, Community Partners Act to Prevent Child Trafficking in Ghana

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — In August 2014 IOM Ghana will roll out a series of community-based child protection and counter-trafficking training sessions as part of a UNICEF-backed project.

The project, entitled “Technical Support to the Government of Ghana to Address Child Trafficking and Other Child Protection Abuses: Phase II” will focus on the Ketu South Municipality, and North and South Tongu Districts of the Volta Region.

These community awareness sessions follow the recent training of 16 community volunteers and three district representatives on the “Free To Be Me” Child Protection Toolkit developed in Phase I of the project.

The community focused sessions will continue through October 2014, facilitated by community volunteers and the IOM counter-trafficking team.

Protection and prevention modules will focus on the harsh realities of child labour; the legal implications of child trafficking; parenting techniques; and children’s rights.

All members of the community including elders, local council members, residents and children will be targeted as part of outreach efforts.

“The ‘Free To Be Me’ toolkit empowers communities to combat child trafficking. We hope that this second phase will contribute to efforts to break the cycle of harmful practices against children. All parents want the best for their children. With this initiative, we give them a chance to collectively revisit traditional values of good parenting,” says Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

With support from UNICEF and in cooperation with national, regional and local authorities, IOM developed a 12-module child protection toolkit and piloted the first six modules in 2013. A total of 7,389 individuals participated in 104 community training activities in six communities within three districts/municipalities.

An internal evaluation revealed a three- to four-fold increase in knowledge among community members regarding child protection and counter-trafficking issues following the pilot sessions held in 2013. There has also been an observed reduction in the number of children given to fisherman in the months following the trainings, and three children were returned to one community.

IOM has over ten years of experience with the rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of children forced to work under hazardous conditions in the fishing industry along Volta Lake, as well as outreach in both sending and receiving communities. To date, 732 children have been assisted and over 48,000 community members, including fishermen, have been sensitized to human trafficking and children’s rights.

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IOM Backs Sudan Malaria Prevention Campaign

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — IOM, as part of the Sudan’s National Flood Taskforce, which coordinates emergency response operations throughout the country, has been asked by the country’s Federal Ministry of Health to contribute to the country’s malaria prevention programme ahead of the upcoming wet season.

IOM, with funding from the UN Common Humanitarian Fund, has responded with a contribution of six tons of permethrin EC 25%, an insecticide with low toxicity to humans which prevents the spread of malaria and dengue. The insecticide, which is biodegradable and lasts between 3 and 8 months, is sprayed over stagnant water and used for indoor residual spraying.

The insecticide will be used by the Ministry of Health to cover 30 per cent of its needs countrywide during the rainy season. It will primarily target internally displaced, returnee and host communities in malaria-affected areas and will help to protect an estimated 450,000 – 600,000 families or between 2.25 and 3.6 million people.

Malaria is a major cause of death in Sudan, especially among young children and pregnant women. In the north of Sudan, 16 per cent of hospital deaths are attributed to the disease.

According to WHO, 5 per cent to 12 per cent of malaria-infected people die from the disease, with children under three years of age four times more likely to die than others. The annual estimated number of malaria cases in Sudan is 5.5 million, and nearly 75 per cent of the total population is at risk of malaria.

Increased rainfall, the spread of irrigation within city limits, and construction of new urban colonies without proper facilities for drainage, as well as an influx of refugees and internally displaced persons have all contributed to the spread of malaria in the region.

The rainy season in Sudan usually begins in July and runs through October. The National Flood Task Force is a government-led body established in August 2013 that coordinates emergency response. It is comprised of government institutions and humanitarian actors, including IOM, UN agencies and NGOs.

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IOM Organizes Safe Return from Cameroon of Chadian Migrants Displaced from CAR

25.July.2014 · Posted in APO-OPA

GENEVA, Switzerland, July 25, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Thousands of Chadian migrants fleeing violence in the Central African Republic (CAR) have been stranded in Cameroon since the beginning of 2014.

This week, IOM Cameroon and Chad completed the return by road of almost 500 Chadian migrants from the town of Garoua Boulai, Cameroon, to the newly established temporary site in the village of Djako located 40 km from the town of Moundou in Chad.

Two more IOM convoys will bring home an estimated 2,000 Chadian migrants still stranded on the Cameroon-CAR border in the coming weeks.

The operation was carried out at the request of the Chadian government and was made possible with funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration. The Chadian Embassy in Cameroon issued the returnees with travel documents prior to their return home.

The temporary site in Djako was set up by humanitarian agencies including IOM, WFP, UNICEF and IRC. The Chadian government allocated the land. IOM is responsible for the provision of shelter and site management, WFP for nutrition, and UNICEF for water, sanitation and hygiene. IRC will provide medical services.

The families now in Djako not only experienced atrocities in CAR, but also endured tough living conditions while in transit on the Cameroon border. They will need emergency and post-emergency aid to meet their basic needs while durable solutions are identified. This will include psychosocial support, medical care, food, non-food relief items, water, sanitation, livelihoods, as well as family member tracing and reunification.

“IOM and our humanitarian partners have been able to help migrants arriving back in Chad thanks to funding from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and others. But the remaining funds are only enough to kick start this new operation,” says IOM Chad Chief of Mission Dr. Qasim Sufi.

“We need considerable additional funding to continue to provide the necessary humanitarian aid to Chadians who are continuing to return to the country,” he adds.

Since December 2013, the CAR crisis has displaced hundreds of thousands of people internally and across borders, notably into neighboring Chad and Cameroon. They have included nationals of both countries, CAR nationals and nationals of third countries.

As of 21 July, IOM had registered more than 106,000 arriving in Chad from CAR either independently or with the assistance of the Chadian government and IOM by road and air.

This influx led to the reactivation in May 2014 of the Shelter-Camp Coordination Camp Management (CCCM) cluster led by UNHCR and IOM. The aim of the cluster is to manage both transit and temporary sites established to accommodate the new arrivals and to provide them with emergency assistance prior to their reintegration in the country.

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