USA / Statement On Egyptian Elections

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

USA / Statement On Egyptian Elections

 

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Hillary Rodham Clinton

Secretary of State

Washington, DC

November 30, 2011

 

Yesterday, Egypt concluded the first two-day round of voting in its historic transition to democracy. I congratulate the Egyptian people for a peaceful, successful start to their election process. Egyptians are justifiably proud to begin the process of choosing their new leaders. The United States stresses the importance of Egypt’s transition to democracy continuing in a just, transparent and inclusive manner.

The American people will continue to stand by the people of Egypt as they move toward a democratically elected civilian government that respects universal human rights and will meet their aspirations for dignity, freedom, and a better life.

 

SOURCE 

US Department of State

The afterlife of African studio photography

30.November.2011 · Posted in culture

Is African studio photography, Cape Town art writer Sean O’Toole asks in frieze magazine, dying out? The answer, non-subscribers, is maybe. Everywhere in the modern world the business of professional photography is in decline. O’Tool argues that studio photography has suffered the economies of the ‘digital revolution’ and the rise of the mobile phone camera. According to him the easy publishing of social networking sites has dealt a death blow to the popular African institution.

By Orlando Reade

(more…)

FreeFair DRC Calls for Independent Verification of New Ballot Materials Arriving in DRC

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA

 

FreeFair DRC Calls for Independent Verification of New Ballot Materials Arriving in DRC

 

KINSHASA, Congo, November 29, 2011/PRNewswire via African Press Organization (APO)/ — Reliable sources have confirmed to FreeFair DRC that a shipment of ballot boxes, containing millions of ballots, is currently en route from South Africa to the Democratic Republic of Congo, despite assertions by Congolese election authorities that all ballots have been distributed as of today.

FreeFair DRC calls on the CENI and international institutions monitoring the elections to send observers to meet the cargo planes and verify that the ballots are not pre-prepared.

The plane set off from Johannesburg to drop cargo in Lubumbashi and Kinshasa.

FreeFair DRC is a non-partisan campaign aimed at ensuring the Congolese people have their voice heard freely, fairly and peacefully at these elections.

For more information, please contact us at admin@freefairdrc.com or:

Christopher Cooper, christopher.cooper@potomacsquaregroup.com +1-202-384-8925 (Washington, DC)

Source: FreeFair DRC

 

SOURCE 

FreeFair DRC

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General on Egypt's parliamentary elections

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General on Egypt’s parliamentary elections

 

NEW YORK, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Secretary-General has followed with great interest and expectation the first stage of the parliamentary elections in Egypt. He congratulates the people of Egypt for their determination to achieve a democratic change in their country and for their contribution to the overall democratic transformation in North Africa and the Middle East.

 

He commends the population and authorities of Egypt for the enthusiastic participation in this first stage of the electoral process and for the generally calm and orderly manner in which voting took place.

 

This was the first stage of an electoral process which will continue in the coming weeks and months, as an important step towards the establishment of civilian rule. The Secretary-General reiterates that it is crucial, as part of the democratic transition, for the entire electoral process to continue to be held in a credible and peaceful manner.

 

New York, 29 November 2011

 

SOURCE 

United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General

Nigeria urged to halt bill banning same-sex relationships

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Nigeria urged to halt bill banning same-sex relationships

 

LONDON, United-Kingdom, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Amnesty International today reiterated its call on Nigerian authorities to scrap a harsh bill that if passed into law would attack basic rights and criminalize relationships between people of the same gender.

 

Nigeria’s Senate passed the “Same-Gender Marriage” bill today. It will now go before the House of Representatives for approval, after which it will be sent to the President.

 

By broadly defining “same-sex marriage” as including all same-sex relationships, and targeting people who “witness”, “aid” or “abet” such relationships, the bill threatens the human rights of a large number of people.

 

“Nigeria’s House of Representatives should show leadership and uphold the rights of all in Nigeria by rejecting this reprehensible bill,” said Erwin van der Borght, director of the Africa Programme.

 

“If passed, this measure would target people on the basis of their identity, not merely their behaviour, and put a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions for exercising basic rights and opposing discrimination based purely on a person’s actual or presumed sexual orientation or gender identity.”

 

Under the bill passed by the Senate today, an individual in a same-sex relationship could face criminal penalties of up to 14 years’ imprisonment, an increase compared to the earlier draft. The bill also seeks to impose up to 10 years’ imprisonment and a stiff fine on anyone who “witnesses”, “aids” or “abets” same-sex relationships.

 

Amnesty International and other human rights organizations previously outlined a range of concerns over the bill’s potential human rights impact.

 

It would place a wide range of people at risk of criminal sanctions, including human rights defenders and anyone else – including friends, families and colleagues – who stands up for the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender people in Nigeria.

 

Individuals could face imprisonment based on nothing more than their actual or assumed sexual orientation or gender identity, or stemming from allegations about their relationship status or consensual sexual conduct.

 

Amnesty International also raised concerns that the bill would contravene Nigeria’s efforts to prevent HIV transmission by driving people already suffering stigma for their identity or consensual sexual behaviour still further underground.

“This bill would have a chilling effect on a range of civil society organizations and events while inciting hatred and violence against anyone suspected of practicing same-sex relationships, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people,” said Erwin van der Borght.

 

“By aiming to single out and deprive the rights of one group of people, this bill threatens all Nigerians by violating the country’s Constitution and international human rights obligations.”

 

SOURCE 

Amnesty International

Al-Shabaab Announcement in Somalia

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Al-Shabaab Announcement in Somalia

 

WASHINGTON, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Press Statement

Mark C. Toner

Deputy Spokesperson, Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC

November 29, 2011

 

The United States is extremely concerned by al-Shabaab’s announcement yesterday that it is banning a number of United Nations (UN) agencies and international nongovernmental organizations from providing life-saving assistance in south central Somalia and by its seizure of offices, property and equipment belonging to these organizations. We join the UN Secretary General and the UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief in condemning these actions in the strongest possible terms.

Al-Shabaab’s actions put at even greater risk the lives of the four million people in Somalia who remain in need of emergency assistance and the 250,000 of those who are suffering from ongoing famine.

The only purpose of the humanitarian organizations working in Somalia is to save lives. We join the international community in calling upon all parties to respect international humanitarian principles and immediately allow these organizations full and unhindered access to all who require emergency assistance in Somalia.

 

SOURCE 

US Department of State

Commemoration of World AIDS Day at the African Union, 1st December: Panel discussion on the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive / Theme: “Gettin

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Commemoration of World AIDS Day at the African Union, 1st December: Panel discussion on the elimination of new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive / Theme: “Getting To Zero”

 

ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — Invitation to representatives of the media

 

 

When: 1ST DECEMBER 2011

 

The Panel will be an opportunity for the resource persons and expert in the domain to debate and exchange views on the theme of the 2011 World Aids Day: “Getting to Zero”.

 

Slogans: “No baby will be born HIV positive, No more orphan victim of HIV/AIDS, No More death due to lack of access to treatment…”

 

Where: The African Union Headquarters, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

 

Who: Jointly organized by the Department of Social Affairs and Medical Services Directorate of the African Union Commission (AUC) in collaboration with UNAIDS and other partners dealing with HIV-AIDS issues.

 

Theme: World AIDS Day this year is about “Getting to Zero.” Zero New HIV Infections, Zero Discrimination and Zero AIDS Related Deaths

The theme signifies a push towards greater access to prevention and treatment for all; a call for governments to act now to own and sustain the HIV/AIDS response,

 

Why: Regardless of the commitments by African leaders there is still a lot to be done to achieve universal access to services, reduce incidence and the like. What lessons learned? Where are the gaps? That is why the theme is focused on Getting to Zero, with particular attention on Africa toward the elimination of new pediatric HIV infection and keeping mothers alive.

 

Objectives: The World AIDS Day (1st December) will be an opportunity to popularize the commitment to eliminating new HIV infections (especially among Children) and to disseminate the information about the New Global principle of three Zeros.

 

It will be an occasion to further:

•    Remind and raise awareness among African Union Member States of the achievements and challenges in the fight against the Epidemic.

•    Greater understanding of the three Zeros by African policy makers and to own the vision

•    Obtain commitment to eliminating mother-to-child transmission of HIV

Structure: The panel discussion shall be a moderated session in which each panelist will briefly speak to or shade some light on the issues below followed by a question and answer session from the audience.

Discussion: The panelist will discuss the major reasons why an Africa plan is required; the peculiarity of Africa as far as the incidence of HIV/AIDS is concerned; and Africa’s approach to eliminate new infections.

Challenges: Panelists will highlight some of the major challenges Africa has been facing in general in trying to address the HIV pandemic.

 

Way Forward: Panelists will suggest some recommendations for action but the final set of recommendations will emanate from the discussions that will ensue from the floor.

The final recommendations will be specifically directed to the various stakeholders including AU and its organs, governments, RECs, UN agencies, CSO’s and Development Partners.

 

 

Participants: Participants will include:

–    Staff of the African Union Commission;

–    Representatives of AU Member States;

–     Representatives of the Regional Economic Communities (RECs);

–     Diplomatic Corps;

–    Representatives International Organisation;

–    Representatives UN Agencies;

–     Civil Society

–    NGOs dealing with HIV-AIDs ; and other invited guests.

 

Background:

 

The year 2011marks the 30 years of AIDS epidemic and ten years of high level commitments made by African leaders which have marked a turning point in the continental response to the epidemic.

During the 15th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly held in Kampala in July 2010, the theme of the summit was “Maternal, Infant and Child Health and Development”. AU Heads of States and Government adopted decisions Assembly/AU/Dec.291 (XV) and Assembly/AU/Dec.320 (XV) on the Five-year Review of the Abuja Call and Eradication of mother to child transmission of HIV.

In April 2011, an African Common position on HIV/AIDS to the UN High Level Meeting on AIDS was adopted by the 5th Session of the AU Conference of the Ministers of Health (CAMH5), and endorsed by the AU summit in Malabo, in July 2011, urging AU Member States to implement the AU initiatives and decisions and urging them to step up leadership and ownership by enhancing appropriate responses to HIV and AIDS for implementation of the campaign of zero new infection, zero discrimination and zero death related to AIDS.

On 9 June 2011, World leaders gathered in New York for the 2011 United Nations High Level Meeting on AIDS during which a Global Plan that will make significant strides towards eliminating new HIV infections among children by 2015 and keeping their mothers alive was launched.

This plan covers all low and middle-income countries, but focuses on 21 African countries[1] with the highest estimated numbers of pregnant women living with HIV.

The world has an unprecedented opportunity to make new HIV infections among Children history.Currently nearly every minute, a child is born with HIV.

Providing pregnant women living with HIV with antiretroviral prevention and treatment reduces the risk of a child being born with the virus to less than 5%—and keeps their mothers alive to raise them.

Preventing new HIV infections among children across the globe is truly a smart investment that saves lives and helps to give children a healthy start in life.”

What is needed is leadership, shared responsibility and concerted action among donor nations, recipient countries and the private sector to make an AIDS-free generation a reality.

Journalists are invited to cover opening ceremony of the Panel Discussion and participate at the Press Conference immediately after the opening.

For Further Information consult the AU website: www.au.int

 

SOURCE 

African Union Commission (AUC)

Somaliland Presidential guard Hits Haatuf Reporter on the Face at Hargeysa Airport

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Somaliland Presidential guard Hits Haatuf Reporter on the Face at Hargeysa Airport

 

MOGADISHU, Somalia, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the continued harassment against the journalists in Somaliland, after one of the Somaliland’s presidential guards slapped a reporter for the independent newspaper, Haatuf, on the face on Monday morning around 11:00am local time, amid celebrations to welcome President Siilaanyo’ return was underway at the Hargeysa airport.

 

Journalist Naasir Adan Nawaa, a repoter for an independent Newspaper paper, Haatuf, based in Hargeysa, was trying the cover the event, when one of the presidential guards attacked and slapped him on the face, singling out among dozen journalists at the airport, according to local journalists.

 

“I don’t know why this policeman attacked me in the midst of the dozen journalists,” Naasir Adan Nawa told NUSOJ, “I was taking photographs when the policeman hit me unexpectedly on the face.”

 

“”It was around 11:00am on Monday morning, It was expected the president to arrive from Djibouti.” Mr. Nawaa added.

 

Somaliland is a relative safe regions of nothern SomaliaUnprecedented attacks against journalists have been one of the biggest challenges the journalists face, sometimes facing arrests, intimidation, legal procedures etc. The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) condemns the act and calls the Somaliland Authorities to cease the attacks against the press.

 

“Slapping the Journalist’s face on duty by presidential guard is inhuman and deliberate act of abuse,” Mohamed Ibrahim, the Secretary General of the National Union of Somali Journalists said, “We demand from the Somaliland authorities to end the impunity and call upon to cease the attacks against the journalists.”

 

On Oct. 27, 2011, Mohamed Abdi Kahin, who works for both a Somali new website Ramaas and Royal Television 24 respectively, was seriously beaten by Somaliland police at Shacabka neighborhood in Hargeysa, in proud daylight. The police accused the journalist for taking recently published photographs.

 

SOURCE 

National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ)


 

New suspect in the ICC's custody: Laurent Gbagbo arrived at the detention centre

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

New suspect in the ICC’s custody: Laurent Gbagbo arrived at the detention centre

 

THE HAGUE, Netherland, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — New suspect in the ICC’s custody: Laurent Gbagbo arrived at the detention centre

 

Situation: Côte d’Ivoire

Case: The Prosecutor v. Laurent Koudou Gbagbo

 

Laurent Koudou Gbagbo, national of Côte d’Ivoire, 66 years, arrived today at the International Criminal Court (ICC) detention centre in the Netherlands. He was surrendered to the ICC on 29 November 2011 by the national authorities of Côte d´Ivoire following a warrant of arrest issued under seal by the judges of the Pre-Trial Chamber III on 23 November 2011. The suspect’s initial appearance hearing before the Pre-Trial Chamber III, composed of Judges Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi (presiding judge), Elizabeth Odio Benito and Adrian Fulford, will be held promptly.

 

Mr Gbagbo allegedly bears individual criminal responsibility, as indirect co-perpetrator, for four counts of crimes against humanity, namely murder, rape and other forms of sexual violence, persecution and other inhuman acts, allegedly committed in the territory of Côte d’Ivoire between 16 December 2010 and 12 April 2011.

 

The date and time of the initial appearance hearing will be announced on the ICC Twitter account followed by a press release.

 

Factual allegations

 

Pre-Trial Chamber III found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that in the aftermath of the presidential elections in Côte d’Ivoire pro-Gbagbo forces attacked the civilian population in Abidjan and in the west of the country, from 28 November 2010 onwards, targeting civilians who they believed were supporters of the opponent candidate. Allegedly, the attacks were committed pursuant to an organisational policy and were also widespread and systematic as they were committed over an extended time period, over large geographic areas, and following a similar general pattern. The attacks were allegedly often directed at specific ethnic or religious communities and left a high number of reported victims.

 

The Chamber also found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that a plan existed between Mr Gbagbo and his inner circle and that they were aware that implementing it would lead to the commission of the alleged crimes. Mr Gbagbo, together with others, allegedly exercised joint control over the crimes, and made a coordinated and essential contribution to the realisation of the plan.

 

Mr Gbagbo allegedly engaged his responsibility as “indirect co-perpetrator” (article 25(3)(a) of the Rome Statute) for the above-mentioned charges of crimes against humanity. However, the Chamber highlighted that this issue may well need to be revisited in due course with the parties and participants.

 

Background information on the situation in Côte d’Ivoire

 

The warrant of arrest for Laurent Koudou Gbagbo is the first warrant issued in the situation in Côte d’Ivoire.

 

Côte d’Ivoire is not party to the Rome Statute, but it had accepted the jurisdiction of the ICC on 18 April 2003; more recently, and on both 14 December 2010 and 3 May 2011, the Presidency of Côte d’Ivoire reconfirmed the country’s acceptance of this jurisdiction.

 

On 3 October 2011, Pre-Trial Chamber III granted the Prosecutor’s request for authorisation to open investigations on his own initiative into the situation in Côte d’Ivoire with respect to alleged crimes within the jurisdiction of the Court, committed since 28 November 2010, as well as with regard to crimes that may be committed in the future in the context of this situation. The judges authorised the Prosecutor to open an investigation with regard to crimes against humanity and war crimes allegedly committed by pro-Gbagbo and pro-Ouattara forces, including murder, rape, enforced disappearance, imprisonment, pillage, torture and intentionally directing attacks against civilians.

 

Pre-Trial Chamber III also requested the Prosecutor to revert to the Chamber within one month with any additional information that is available to him on potentially relevant crimes committed between 2002 and 2010. The Prosecutor complied with this request on 3 November 2011. The Chamber is now considering whether or not to grant authorisation to the Prosecutor to investigate crimes committed between 2002 and 2010.

 

The International Criminal Court is an independent, permanent court that tries persons accused of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community as a whole, namely the crime of genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression.

 

Warrant of arrest for Laurent Koudou Gbagbo

Decision Pursuant to Article 15 of the Rome Statute on the Authorisation of an Investigation into the Situation in the Republic of Côte d’Ivoire

QA on the case against Laurent Koudou Gbagbo

ICC Detention Centre

 

SOURCE 

International Criminal Court (ICC)

Italy / Ministry's satisfaction with elections in Morocco

30.November.2011 · Posted in APO-OPA


 

 

Italy / Ministry’s satisfaction with elections in Morocco

 

ROME, Italy, November 30, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ — The Italian foreign ministry noted with satisfaction the orderly and peaceful 25 November legislative elections in Morocco, which provide further proof of the maturity and sense of responsibility that mark the Moroccan people and institutions.Minister for Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi recalled that “Italy is among the top trade partners of Morocco, a market exerting a growing attraction on our businesses, parallel to an increase in diplomatic visit exchanges and political meetings. Another reason for strengthening our relations with Morocco”, Terzi continued, “is the presence of a large resident Moroccan community in Italy, the largest in Europe, with the highest index of private businesses operating in our country”.”Therefore”, Minister terzi assured, “Italy intends to continue to follow Morocco’s modernisation with great interest, which was given a major boost in recent months as a result of the approval, by popular referendum, of deep Constitutional reforms”. In the context of its commitment to stability and growth in the countries of the southern Mediterranean shores”, Terzi concluded, “Italy will continue to support both Morocco’s efforts at greater social and economic development as well as its prospects for strengthened political and economic cooperation with Europe”.

SOURCE 

Italy – Ministry of Foreign Affairs