Libya: EU and Member States call for immediate ceasefire and return to political dialogue

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

European External Action Service (EEAS)

The EU and its Member States today called on the parties to the conflict in Libya to immediately implement a ceasefire and to engage with the United Nations to ensure a full and comprehensive cessation of hostilities. The situation in Libya was discussed at the Foreign Affairs Council held today in Brussels in the presence of United Nations Special Representative for Libya Ghassan Salamé.

“If there is one interlocutor, one regional player,  global player on which the United Nations and the Libyan people can count upon today is the European Union”, said Mogherini at the press conference following the Council.

Before the Council, EU High Representative Federica Mogherini held a bilateral meeting with Libya Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj.

The High stressed that the European Union speaks with one voice to say that “the LNA military attack on Tripoli and the subsequent escalation in and around the capital constitutes a very serious threat to international peace and security and that it opens the way for terrorist activities to pose more threats to the international community and obviously to the Libyan people.”

The High Representative recalled that “there is no military solution for the crisis in Libya but there is a solution to the crisis in Libya; and that goes through recommitment to the U.N. facilitated political dialogue.”

“The last message I want to pass as a united message from all the Member States is our full and determined support to the work of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General Ghassan Salamé, and our determination to support his work .” concluded Mogherini.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of European External Action Service (EEAS).

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The United Nations Refugee Agency Second Annual Ramadan Iftar

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

UN Information Centre in Pretoria (UNIC)
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WHO: Valentin Tapsoba, Regional Director, Southern Africa, UNHCR; Amb. Mohamed Abdi Affey, Special Envoy, Horn of Africa, UNHCR; Leanne Manas, UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador
 
WHAT: UNHCR Second Annual #BeTheLight Ramadan Iftar
 
WHEN: Friday, 17 May 2019 (17:00 – 19:00)
 
WHERE: UNHCR Regional Office for Southern Africa (Pretoria)
 
Senior members of the Diplomatic Corps in Pretoria and the South African Muslim business community will gather at UNHCR’s offices in Pretoria on Friday, 17 May 2019 for the #BeTheLight Iftar to show solidarity for families displaced from their homes. Iftar is the evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.

Furthermore, the 2019 theme of the African Union is “Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa’’.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN Information Centre in Pretoria (UNIC).
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Sudan: Omar al-Bashir must face justice for recent and past crimes

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Amnesty International
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Following the announcement by Sudan’s Public Prosecutor that he will charge former president Omar al-Bashir with the recent killing of protestors, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes, Seif Magango said:

“While this promises to be a first step towards holding al-Bashir accountable for his heinous crimes, the Sudan authorities must hand him over to the International Criminal Court to answer charges of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide. Al-Bashir must face justice not only for recent crimes, but also for the crimes under international law he allegedly committed while he was in power.

“This announcement is all the more significant coming off the back of yet another night of bloody violence in Sudan during which at least four people were killed, and about 90 sustained gunshot injuries. The prosecutor must also investigate and charge everyone else responsible for the continued use of excessive lethal force against peaceful protestors.

“It should not be forgotten that the Sudan Transitional Military Council also bears responsibility for failing to protect peaceful protestors. They must hold to account any security officer who fired live bullets on the protestors camped out at the military headquarters and in other parts of the country.”

Background

At around midday on 13 May uniformed security officers were captured on a widely circulated social media video whipping protestors. The onslaught escalated from around 6pm when live shots were fired resulting in at least four deaths, one of whom was a military officer, and more than 90 people injured, according to the Central Committee of Sudan Doctors. The doctors said they had also treated 40 injuries arising from whipping and suffocation by tear gas.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Amnesty International.
Source: Apo-Opa

QS World Grad School Tour Accra 2019

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of France in Accra, Ghana

QS is a company that links high achievers from the graduate, MBA and executive communities around the world with leading business schools, postgraduate departments at universities and with employers, through websites, events, e-guides and technical solutions.

The aim is to enable prospective candidates or students to have a one-on-one interaction with the world’s top universities and afford them the chance to access the best tools and expert information before making a decision regarding their educational trajectory.

This years event which took place at Kempinski Hotel in Accra, addressed a wide range of topics including; The difference between an MBA & Masters, preparing for GMAT & GRE exams and Tips for writing a CV that suits the current job market.
Some of the schools present at the event include, Ivey Business School, Audencia Business School, Henley Business School, George Washington University and Campus France Ghana among many others.

Participants were eligible to gain access to a platform of scholarships worth up to US$ 7 Million.

QS organizes the largest business education events in the world; the QS World MBA Tour, the QS World Executive MBA Tour and the leading postgraduate studies information event, “The QS World Grad School Tour”

The QS World MBA Tour travels to 70 cities in 39 countries enabling over 50,000 ambitious MBA candidates to meet face-to-face with high calibre business schools. The QS World Grad School Tour visits 47 cities in 31 countries, bringing the complete A to Z of postgraduate programs to over 40,000 prospective master’s and PhD students

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of France in Accra, Ghana.

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Wonders and challenges of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed’s first year in office

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, London, UK

It has been a very good year for Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed who was elected to lead Ethiopia’s ruling coalition, the Ethiopian Peoples’ Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) following a long and widespread protest movement.

The then ruling party decided to accept a no-nonsense reappraisal wherein it admitted that it had made mistakes during its long tenure of office, offered a public apology and made an unflinching pledge to rectify mistakes and to usher in reform in order to broaden the political playing field, to ensure the flourishing of an unbridled press and to restore investment confidence.

Buoyed up by a prevailing feel-good factor and the support he received from the EPRDF, Prime Minister Abiy quenched the public’s thirst for reassurance concerning the stability of the Ethiopian state. In his inaugural speech, he told Parliament, in a unequivocal manner, “not to have any doubt about the sanctity of Ethiopian Unity”, and advised “against resting on past laurels but to instead redouble efforts to escape the divisive politics of the past by embracing his vision of “Medemer”– PM Abiy’s vision of unity and diversity.

The Prime Minister embarked on a series of reforms aimed at righting past wrongs and addressing the fault-lines of Ethiopian politics. After forming what he called a “reformist cabinet” – fifty percent of whom are women – he introduced a bill removing the Oromo Liberation Front and Ginbot 7 from Parliament’s List of Terror Organisations – two organisations which, until the emergence of Abiy Ahmed, were hell-bent on the violent overthrow of the EPRDF-led government.

Then followed an avalanche of reforms: release of all political prisoners, measures to ensure the independence of the judiciary, reform of the National Electoral Board (NEBE) headed by a former judge known for her critical stand against government interference in the judiciary, and the setting up of a Ministry of Peace, commissioned to ensure the maintenance of peace and the restoration of law and order.

But it is with a sceptical Ethiopian diaspora – which until then was a hot-bed of die-hard opposition to EPRDF – that Prime Minister Abiy managed to make formerly unthinkable inroads by assuring his Government’s commitment to maintaining the growth momentum and durable peace.

His rallies in Washington DC, Los Angeles and Frankfurt, not only succeeded in bringing together thousands of Ethiopians from various socio-political backgrounds, who had never imagined they would live to see themselves attending an EPRDF rally anywhere in the world but they fully embraced Abiy’s clarion call for “A Dollar A Day For Ethiopia” campaign.

Mindful of the fact that “the no peace, no war” status between Ethiopia and Eritrea was unsustainable, and a liability to both nations, Abiy made peace overtures that Asmara could ill afford to ignore, such as “Ethiopia will accept the Algiers Agreement”. The Prime Minister then flew to Asmara – previously unthinkable – where he was given a hero’s welcome with the Eritrean public showering him with praise and waving the Eritrean and Ethiopian flags.

Proximity talks leading to closer partnership are ongoing. The ripple effect of the rapprochement between Ethiopia and Eritrea, in turn, served as a catalyst for strategic partnership among the brotherly peoples of Djibouti, South Sudan, and Kenya.

As change without challenges is incomplete, so too were Abiy’s reforms without hiccups and challenges. The transformation ushered in by Abiy’s government across the length and breadth of Ethiopia continues to encounter challenges. However, the reforms and transformations are here to stay because ultimately, they reflect the will of the people.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Embassy of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, London, UK.

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The Republic of Korea Government Announces its Plan to Provide 500,000 USD in Humanitarian Assistance through WHO to Help Respond to Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) in Democratic Republic of Congo

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea
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The government of the Republic of Korea will provide humanitarian assistance of 0.5 million USD in cash to the World Health Organization (WHO) to help respond to the EVD outbreak affecting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)’s North Kivu and Ituri provinces since August 2018.

As of April 2019, the cumulative number of Ebola cases was 1,107 including 695 deaths, a case fatality rate of nearly 63%. Of 695 deaths, 58% were women and 29% were aged below 18, the most vulnerable groups.

This outbreak marks the tenth epidemic of EVD in the DRC. Only a few months after the country declared the end of the 9th EVD outbreak in Equateur province in May 2018, it relapsed into this lingering epidemic which has been lasting for almost 10 months – which is why the international community’s engagement and support are all the more needed.

This cash assistance from the ROK government will be used funding the Strategic Response Plan 3.0 (SRP-3), devised by the Ministry of Health of the DRC in collaboration with 15 international organizations, including WHO.

The ROK government has actively participated in the international efforts to curb the spread of infectious diseases such as Ebola. The past contributions are including, but not limited to, the dispatch of the Korea Disaster Relief Team (KDRT) in 2014 to fight the EVD outbreak in West Africa, and the cash assistance of a total of 1.5 million USD – of which 1m USD for WHO’s CFE (Contingency Fund for Emergencies) – in 2018 to address the EVD outbreak in the DRC. The ROK government will continue to make its efforts to tackle the humanitarian crises worldwide

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Korea.
Source: Apo-Opa

10,000 Ghanaian Youth Learn about Pitfalls of Irregular Migration

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Several years ago high school directors from Ghana’s Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions began noticing that many of their students were dropping out before graduating. Their intent was to enter the job market, by risking the irregular journey across the Sahara and across the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of reaching Europe.  

Some were successful, but many were not – discovering that instead of lucrative employment, they faced terrible hardship, including death. 

Since May 2017, 1,003 Ghanaians have returned to their communities of origin with IOM support. About 35 per cent fall within the school age in the country (up to 26 years old). Among them, almost 60 per cent are from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions, the highest regions of return in 2017 and 2018 according to a recent Assistance to Voluntary and Humanitarian Return report.  

Many return, eager to share their experience with their peers. These migrant voices can be a valuable teaching tool.  

Over the past two weeks some 10,000 high school students attended awareness-raising sessions on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration organized on 29-30 April and 2-3 May 2019 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Bono and Ashanti regions.  

Ghanaian returnees were invited to share their journey to Libya with the students and described their migration experiences including inhumane treatment, the crossing of the desert, and the reality in the detention centres. 

“The journey through the Saharan Desert is dangerous. Your chances of survival are only 20 per cent. Do not make an attempt and regret later,” said Richard, a migrant returnee. 

Fruitful exchanges took place between students and Ghanaian returnees around their journey, and pictures and short videos were also displayed to illustrate the risky and dangerous migratory routes.  

Some students joined together voluntarily to form Migration Clubs that were established in six senior high schools. The goal of the clubs is to do peer-to-peer education on safe migration while also sensitizing the larger community using drama, poetry, quiz games and arts, among other means.  

“It is your role to tell others in your communities, houses or at any gatherings about the risks associated with irregular migration. People may not know, so you must inform them. Be the catalyst for community change,” declared Yeboah Collins, IOM Community Outreach Assistant. 

The awareness-raising activities were organized with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and implemented by IOM. So far, 79,000 individuals have been reached through radio programmes on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration, 11,000 through awareness-raising sessions in schools and 8,000 through community-awareness activities. 

“This activity should be sustained, at least once a year targeting our final year students so that they will not fall prey into the hands of smugglers,” said Kyeremeh Thomas, Guidance Counselling Co-ordinator, Dormaa Senior High School. 

An impact assessment will be made to measure behavioural change and strengthen future awareness-raising campaigns in Ghana.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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Japan-Funded Emergency Response in Niger

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

International Organization for Migration (IOM)

The International Organization for Migration is launching an emergency response project in the Tillabéry region in Niger with funding from the Government of Japan. The effort is designed to last for nine months and aims to provide 1,000 emergency shelters and 1,000 Non-Food Item (NFI) kits to 14,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other conflict-affected households along the Niger-Mali border.

Funding for the project is USD 850,000. 

In coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, IOM also aims to improve the living conditions of the crisis-affected population through medical assistance.  

Since 2012, the Tillabéry region in Niger has been impacted by ongoing violence and insecurity in its neighbor, Mali. That has led to the displacement of some 49,000 people throughout Niger. 

To tackle the growing insecurity in the region, the Government of Niger declared in June 2018 a state of emergency in five departments of Tillabéry region; the inclusion of three other departments in December 2018 resulted in a total of eight departments operating under a state of emergency.  

The region’s state of emergency – coupled with ongoing military operations – increases local tensions. Last year, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) recorded 97 security incidents in Tillabéry and the neighboring Tahoua region. Moreover, in the Tillabéry region from January to November 2018, a total of 377 protection incidents were reported, ranging from attacks to kidnappings. 

IOM has been present in Niger since 2006 and has been active in emergency responses since 2013, providing shelters and NFI kits. IOM Niger also facilitates, as co-lead together with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, the coordination of the Shelter and NFI Working Group.  

Most of the IDPs in the region are currently living in improvised shelters, close to villages or military barracks in the region. These are shelters improvised under very precarious conditions that lack basic items such as blankets, mosquito nets, mats or hygiene kits.  

IOM’s main activities in the region so far have focused on social cohesion and border management. Since 2016, IOM Niger also has been operating a sub-office in the Tillabéry region’s Baleyara district, as well as in Tillabéry City since 2018.  

Given the continued displacements in Tillabéry, international humanitarian aid is needed more than ever to address the ever-increasing needs of the vulnerable affected populations. 

“Empowering people to articulate and respond to their own needs and those of others is crucial,” said Peter Kioy, IOM’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Niger. “The proposed intervention has been developed such that, in addition to providing immediate assistance to the vulnerable affected population, to contribute to building beneficiaries’ resilience and reducing future risks,” Kioy added.  

The Protection Cluster estimates that in 2019, 195,000 persons will be in need of protection in both Tillabéry and Tahoua regions and that access to humanitarian assistance for the affected population will remain a challenge due to security risks and access, especially during the incoming rainy season. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).

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Growing insecurity in Tripoli endangers displaced civilians and migrants as armed clashes enter second month

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

International Organization for Migration (IOM)
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According to IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are now over 66,000 displaced individuals, approximately 13,310 families, from affected areas in Tripoli since the onset of the armed conflict on 4 April. The rapidly increasing displacement figures are worrying as fighting intensifies in the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire. DTM’s Emergency Event Tracking, activated on 05 April, is helping to identify instances of displacement, as well as consolidating and disseminating vital information IOM uses to plan the broader humanitarian community’s response.

The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women. 

“While our teams on the ground continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations, we recognize that more needs to be done from all sides to ensure the safety of civilians,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement.” 

On 10 May, a migrant boat departing Zwara, Libya capsized off the Tunisian coast, and 59 lives were lost. This brings the death toll in the Central Mediterranean Route to 316 so far this year, and 502 for all Mediterranean Sea routes. Since the beginning of the clashes, 871 migrants have been returned to Libya and placed in detention, bringing the total number of migrants repatriated to Libya to 2,813 this year. 

IOM is concerned about the return of migrants to an unsafe port and their placement in often overcrowded detention centres where conditions are not acceptable. While we provide health assistance, non-food items, emergency food assistance and Voluntary Humanitarian Return support to migrants wishing to return home, we reiterate that IOM cannot guarantee the protection of detained migrants and continues to call for an urgent end to detention.  

Despite security challenges, IOM emergency interventions continue, in 11 detention centres within and near Tripoli; in locations for internally displaced families, and across Libya. Since 4 April 1,402 migrants have returned to 19 countries of origin with support from IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme.  

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Moreover, 2,511 migrants and internally displaced persons have been provided with health assistance including 58 hospital referrals.  

IOM Tunisia reported that Friday’s tragedy began about 60 kilometers from Tunisian waters 7 May, when a vessel carrying 75 migrants, mainly Bangladeshi nationals, made an attempt to reach Europe. During the night of 9 May, Tunisian fishermen were able to rescue 16 people from the overcrowded craft. Tunisian naval units continue to seek information on the voyage; to date only three bodies have been rescued. One of those victims has been identified. 

Tunisian authorities took four survivors to Zarzis Hospital, where two remain in critical condition. Of the rescued, 14 are Bangladeshi (including two unaccompanied minors) one is Egyptian, one is Moroccan. Those not hospitalized have been hosted by the Tunisian Red Crescent. 

A second rescue took place on Saturday, 11 May. Tunisian fishermen rescued sixty-nine migrants, including Moroccans, Eritreans, Somalis, Bangladeshi and an Egyptian. Among them, were four women and at least 25 minors, including children aged three to seven years. 

Those 69 rescued migrants, since transferred to Sfax, are thought to have left Libya on 7 May, at the same time those on the shipwrecked boat departed.  

IOM teams mobilized to provide medical, psycho-social and food assistance to survivors. “It is essential to put in place efficient mechanisms to respond to humanitarian emergencies, not the least of which are attempts of irregular crossings on the Mediterranean,” said Lorena Lando, Head of IOM mission to Tunisia. “We must act now and together,” she added. 

From 9-12 May, the Tunisian coastguard and naval units conducted prevention operations that thwarted attempts at irregular crossings from Sfax, Sousse, Monastir, Bizerte and Tunis, with more than 100 migrants at the beginning of the season. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).
Source: Apo-Opa

Invitation to Press Conference with Special Representative of the Secretary-General

14.May.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
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The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of UNMISS, David Shearer, will hold a press conference on Wednesday to release results from a public opinion survey, providing a snapshot of the views of the people of South Sudan about the current security situation and prospects for peace.

He will also answer questions on other topics of interest to the media.

The press conference follows a recent joint UN/AU/IGAD mission led by United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Commissioner for Peace and Security of the African Union Commission, Smail Chergui, and Special Envoy to South Sudan of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), Dr. Ismail Wais.

The aim of that visit was to provide support to the peace process in South Sudan, further to the 3 May 2019 agreement to extend the pre-transitional period by six months.

Media are invited to attend the press conference as below:

Date:            Wednesday 15 May 2019
Venue:         Juba Conference Room – Tomping
Time:           10:00-11:00

Journalists are kindly asked to come to the press conference with a valid press card/ID no later than 0945.

The press conference will be carried live on Radio Miraya and can be accessed on the TuneIn app as well as directly from the UNMISS website: https://unmiss.unmissions.org/audio

For registration and further information, please contact: Taban Kenyi at kenyit@un.org

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
Source: Apo-Opa