Terrorism ‘spreading and destabilizing’ entire regions, Guterres warns States, at key Kenya conference

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

UN News

“Trauma from terrorism” hurts families, communities and destabilizes entire regions, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Wednesday, as he expressed solidarity with victims of extremist attacks in Africa.

Speaking in Nairobi at the opening of a conference on counter-terrorism, Mr. Guterres recalled how attackers had laid siege to a hotel complex in the capital in January, killing 21 people.

Africans on ‘front line’ against terror

The deteriorating situation in the Sahel and “increasing risks” in West Africa are also deeply concerning, the UN chief continued, amid ongoing attacks by armed militants in the Lake Chad region, central Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger.

In light of these developments, “there is an urgent need for the international community to support Member States in this region”, Mr. Guterres said, noting that the people of Africa “are on the front line of efforts to tackle terrorism and the spread of violent extremism”.

Women’s role countering extremists, ‘inspirational’

Welcoming the determination of Africans to find solutions to terrorism, the UN Secretary-General highlighted the “inspirational” role of women in prevention efforts.

“All over the continent, women are taking matters into their own hands,” he said, before noting that all terror groups subjugated women and girls, regardless of their ideology.

They are “engaging with local leaders, mayors, young people, children and their fellow men, to fight against exclusion, marginalization, inequality and abuse – the conditions that lead many to radicalisation and conflict,” he said.

At the same time, the UN Secretary-General also cautioned that such efforts could not succeed without long-term political commitment from the international community.

In addition to “strong and clear mandates” from the Security Council, he insisted that there should also be “sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial support” for African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorism operations.

“We must not allow terrorism to undermine the great progress that is being made on this continent,” Mr. Guterres said, insisting that an “integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa…continued to be “a top priority” for the United Nations.

‘State violence and abuse of power’ often ‘tipping point’ to terror

In a call for greater efforts from African States and the international community to unite against terrorism, the UN Secretary-General also noted that more should be done to tackle the “drivers and enablers” of violent extremism.

Within the UN, he noted that the organization had itself prioritized capacity-building projects for African countries on issues such as mitigating the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, empowering youth, countering terrorist financing and improving aviation security.

“Nothing can justify terrorism and violent extremism, but we must also acknowledge that they do not arise in a vacuum”, he said, insisting that “actual or perceived injustice and promised empowerment become attractive wherever human rights are being violated, good governance is being ignored and aspirations are being crushed”.

A lack of education and poverty were factors behind radicalization, Mr. Guterres continued, “but the final tipping point” is often State-led violence and the abuse of power, he maintained.

States should do more to address these risk factors, in addition to preventing conflicts, strengthening state institutions and civil society, building durable peace and promoting sustainable development to tackle the poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity that feed despair, he insisted.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.

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Source: Apo-Opa

Public Designation, Due to Involvement in Significant Corruption, of the Republic of Cameroon’s Jean Claude Ango Ango

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Africa Regional Media Hub
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The Secretary of State is publicly designating the Republic of Cameroon Inspector General of the Cameroonian Gendarmerie, Colonel Jean Claude Ango Ango, due to his involvement in significant corruption related to wildlife trafficking. This designation is made under Section 7031(c) of the Department of State, Foreign Operations, and Related Programs Appropriations Act, 2019 (Div. F, P.L. 116-6) (“Section 7031(c)”). Section 7031(c) provides that, in cases where the Secretary of State has credible information that officials of foreign governments have been involved in significant corruption or a gross violation of human rights, those individuals and their immediate family members are ineligible for entry into the United States. 

The law also requires the Secretary of State to publicly or privately designate such officials and their immediate family members. In addition to the designation of Mr. Ango Ango, the Secretary is also publicly designating Mr. Ango Ango’s spouse, Ms. Engono Akomo.

Today’s action sends a strong signal that the United States is committed to fighting corruption and combating the transnational crime of wildlife trafficking to preserve our world’s iconic species.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Africa Regional Media Hub.
Source: Apo-Opa

UN Human Rights Council 41: Central African Republic

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations
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Thank you, Madam Vice-President,

The United Kingdom welcomes the Independent Expert’s report and her analysis of the human rights situation in Central African Republic.

The UK is deeply concerned that violence in CAR endures despite the promise of tangible change. We call on armed groups to cease all forms of violence, without which there can be no peaceful resolution to the current crisis in CAR.

The UK condemns the cruel and brutal attacks in villages near Paoua on 21 May in which 50 civilians were killed. These acts of violence were committed by armed group signatories to the Peace Agreement, demonstrating flagrant disregard to the integrity of the Peace Process.

The UK commends the effort by the CAR government, together with MINUSCA and United Nations Development Programme, to bring perpetrators of serious crimes to account and to end impunity. We welcome the establishment of the Special Criminal Court and progress made so far, including the initiation of its first investigations.

More broadly, the UK recognises the need to keep up momentum following the Peace Agreement, and to deliver much-anticipated peace dividends to women, civil society and the youth of CAR.

We would like to ask the Independent Expert for her view on the inclusiveness of the Peace Agreement.

We would also welcome her advice on what we can all do to support institutions such as the Special Criminal Court in CAR.

Thank you, Madam Vice-President.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Kingdom Mission to the United Nations.
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U.S. and Ethiopia to conduct Justified Accord (JA) 2019

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
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The U.S. military, in partnership with the Ethiopia National Defense Force, militaries from the nations of Brazil, Burundi, Canada, Djibouti, France, Germany, Italy, Kenya, Netherlands, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, United Kingdom and participating international organizations such as the United Nations offices, African Union, the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. Institute of Peace and the International Committee of the Red Cross, will conduct Justified Accord (JA) 2019, a command headquarter and company-level field training exercise, July 15-31.

JA19 is an exercise designed to enhance the capacity and capability of participating staff and forces in peacekeeping operations in support of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Approximately 1,100 military and government personnel will participate in the annual, combined, joint military exercise. Ethiopia, a significant contributor of peacekeeping troops to United Nations and African Union peacekeeping missions on the African continent, previously hosted Justified Accord in 2017.

The exercise will include headquarters staff training, land force maneuvers and culminate with a platoon-level demonstration. This exercise will increase interoperability and help participating military forces enhance readiness and the skills required to support peacekeeping operations and promote regional security.

Once the exercise is complete, all exercise participants will return to their home countries and stations.

Concurrent with JA19, the United States Government is also conducting a Medical Readiness Exercise (MEDREX) 19-4 where medical military and civilian personnel from Ethiopia and the United States will share and learn from each other’s medical procedures and best practices to build and strengthen their medical treatment capability and capacity. Through this program, Ethiopian medical professionals can enhance the Ethiopian healthcare system’s ability to deliver effective general surgery and trauma response in support of regional U.N. and African Union missions.

The United States Government will be infusing nearly $6 million directly to the Ethiopian economy because of these exercises.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of U.S. Embassy Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.
Source: Apo-Opa

Climate change threatens progress across sustainable development, warns new UN report

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations (UN)
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The impacts of climate change and increasing inequality across and within countries are undermining progress on the sustainable development agenda, threatening to reverse many of the gains made over the last decades that have improved people’s lives, warns the United Nations’ latest report on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Launched on the opening day of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, a critical annual stocktaking event, the report, which is based on the latest available data, remains the cornerstone for measuring progress and identifying gaps in the implementation of all 17 Sustainable Development Goals.

Four years since the adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals — the world’s blueprint for a fairer and healthier planet — the report notes progress in some areas, such as on extreme poverty reduction, widespread immunization, decrease in child mortality rates and increase in people’s access to electricity, but warns that global response has not been ambitious enough, leaving the most vulnerable people and countries to suffer the most.

Among the key findings:

  • Increasing inequality among and within countries requires urgent attention, the report warns. Three quarters of stunted children live in Southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa; extreme poverty is three times higher in rural areas than urban areas; young people are more likely to be unemployed than adults; only a quarter of people with severe disabilities collect a disability pension; and women and girls still face barriers to achieving equality.
  • The year 2018 was the fourth warmest year on record. Levels of carbon dioxide concentrations continued to increase in 2018. Ocean acidity is 26% higher than in pre-industrial times and is projected to increase by 100% to 150% by 2100 at the current rate of CO2 emissions.
  • The number of people living in extreme poverty declined from 36% in 1990 to 8.6% in 2018, but the pace of poverty reduction is starting to decelerate as the world struggles to respond to entrenched deprivation, violent conflicts and vulnerabilities to natural disasters.
  • Global hunger has been on the rise after a prolonged decline.

“It is abundantly clear that a much deeper, faster and more ambitious response is needed to unleash the social and economic transformation needed to achieve our 2030 goals,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres.

The lack of progress is particularly apparent among environment-related Goals such as climate action and biodiversity. Other major reports launched recently by the Organization have also warned of unprecedented threat to biodiversity[1] and the urgent need to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels[2].

“The natural environment is deteriorating at an alarming rate: sea levels are rising; ocean acidification is accelerating; the last four years have been the warmest on record; one million plant and animal species are at risk of extinction, and land degradation continues unchecked,” the Secretary-General added.

The impacts of environmental deterioration are taking a toll on people’s lives. Extreme weather conditions, more frequent and severe natural disasters and the collapse of ecosystems are causing increased food insecurity and are ill worsening people’s safety and health, forcing many communities to suffer from poverty, displacement and widening inequalities.

The clock for taking decisive actions on climate change is ticking, cautions the UN Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, Liu Zhenmin, stressing the importance of strengthening international cooperation and multilateral action to confront the monumental global challenges.

“The challenges highlighted in this report are global problems that require global solutions,” said Mr. Liu. “Just as problems are interrelated, the solutions to poverty, inequality, climate change, and other global challenges are also interlinked.”

Despite the threats, the report demonstrates that valuable opportunities exist to accelerate progress by leveraging the interlinkages across Goals. Reducing greenhouse gas emissions, for instance, goes hand-in-hand with creating jobs, building more livable cities, and improving health and prosperity for all.

The United Nations will host the Sustainable Development Goals and Climate Action Summits as well as other crucial meetings during the high-level week of the 74th Session of the General Assembly in September, to reenergize world leaders and the global community, get the world back on track and kick-start a decade of delivery for people and planet.

To download full report, please visit: https://unstats.un.org/sdgs

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations (UN).
Source: Apo-Opa

Digital Transformation Congress (DTC2019) to lead Digital Transformation conversation

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

IT News Africa
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The second edition of the Digital Transformation Congress (#DTC2019) (www.DigitalTransformationCongress.com) (http://bit.ly/2XIvdtC) taking place on 30 July 2019 at the Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg is set to dominate the digital transformation conversation in Africa.

#DTC2019 (http://bit.ly/2XIvdtC) seeks to create a platform for business leaders and technology innovators to come together and collaborate on the re-invention of products, processes, cultures and technologies through digital transformation.

According to a study that looks at digital transformation in the manufacturing industry by PWC titled, Digital Champions: How industry leaders build integrated operations ecosystems to deliver end-to-end customer solutions only 5 per cent (https://pwc.to/32lFgIC) of companies in EMEA regions can be regarded as “Digital Champions”, while none in South Africa were placed in that category.

The study reveals that South Africa is lagging behind on the digital transformation journey due to the fact that South African companies often do not have the advantage of setting up robust digital operations from factory automation, workforce, and even organisational IT networks.

The Digital Transformation Congress (http://bit.ly/2XIvdtC) will bring together leaders who will explore how to increase efficiency and agility with operational excellence while creating customer-obsessed experiences that grow revenue and re-invigorate businesses.

The programme will also include various tracks designed to bring you the most progressive examples of real-world digital transformation journeys found in the IT industry.

Key topics for DTC 2019 include:

• Accelerating Digital Transformation in Government for Enhanced Service Delivery

• The Role of the CIO in Enabling Effective Digital Transformation in complex organisations

• Digitizing the Manufacturing Industry

• Using the cloud as a platform for Digital Transformation

• Digitally Transforming the Energy and Utility Sector

• Preparing for the disruption that’s coming to your industry

• Becoming a Transformational Business Leader to Ensure a Smooth Transition to Digital

• Upskilling your Workforce in Preparation for the 4th Industrial Revolution

View the DTC 2019 Agenda (http://bit.ly/2XIvdtC)

Who should attend DTC 2019?

The Digital Transformation congress is the key meeting place for IT and business executives in Africa. The conference will attract senior decision-makers, local and international CxOs, line-of-business (LoB) executives as well as heads of innovation, technology and strategy.

How to participate:

Join as an attendee (http://bit.ly/30s9lV4): Join local and international CxOs, line-of-business (LoB) executives as well as heads of innovation, technology and strategy to discuss the techniques and tools required to implement a seamless digital transformation strategy that will drive profitability and customer centricity.

Join us as an exhibitor (http://bit.ly/2NNw0JO): Showcase your technology innovations, projects, and solutions. Put your organisation, company or SME at the centre of this one-of-a-kind gathering. Find new partnerships, investors, leads, and opportunities.

For more information regarding the conference, visit: www.DigitalTransformationCongress.com

[t]: 011 026 0981/2

[e]: events@itnewsafrica.com

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of IT News Africa.

Source: Apo-Opa

President of the Bundesrat visits Namibia

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

German Embassy in Windhoek

From 13 to 18 July, the Minister President of the Federal State of Schleswig-Holstein and President of the Bundesrat of the Federal Republic of Germany, Hon. Daniel Günther, will visit Namibia. Prior to his arrival in Namibia, he visits Angola from 11 to 13 July.

President of the Bundesrat, Hon. Günther, will meet with the President of the Republic of Namibia, H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob, as well as the Chairperson and other Members of the National Council. There will also be talks with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for International Relations and Cooperation, Hon. Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, and Minister of Trade, Industry and SME Development, Hon. Tjekero Tweya, as well as with the Speaker of the National Assembly, Hon. Prof. Peter Katjavivi. Together with his delegation, Bundesrat President Hon. Günther will also attend a session of the National Council and address the Members.

The President of the Bundesrat is accompanied by ten German business representatives from different economic sectors based in Schleswig-Holstein. As part of their visit, the delegation will visit the KfW-funded Goreangab water treatment plant near Windhoek as an example of German-Namibian cooperation in the development sector. In addition, an exchange with students and faculty members at the Namibia University of Science and Technology is planned as well as a visit to the German-Namibian Center for Logistics.

The delegation will then travel to Swakopmund and Walvis Bay where they will meet with the Governor of the Erongo region, Hon. Cleophas Mutjavikua, the Mayoress of Swakopmund, Her Worship Cllr Paulina Ndahafa Nashilundu, followed by a visit to the deep-sea port of Walvis Bay, and a meeting with the acting CEO of the port operator NamPort, Mr Kavin Harry.

In Swakopmund, the delegation will visit the Memorial Park Cemetery and lay down flowers.

The Bundesrat is the political representation of the 16 Federal States (Länder) of the Federal Republic of Germany. The Länder play an important role in the political system of the Federal Republic of Germany.

Each year, the Minister President of one of the German Federal States assumes the Presidency of the Bundesrat. The President of the Bundesrat is one of the highest representatives of the Federal Republic of Germany

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of German Embassy in Windhoek.

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Channel VAS is Fintech Sponsor Of Mobile 360 Africa

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Channel VAS

Channel VAS (http://www.ChannelVAS.com/), the global premium fintech and data analytics company, is happy to support the Mobile 360 Africa event, holding the position of Fintech Sponsor in this prestigious event that is taking place July 16-18 in Kigali, Rwanda.

With most of the Channel VAS’ 30-plus countries of operation being in the African region, events like Mobile 360 Africa, which is part of the GSMA Series of global events are a prime opportunity for the company to network with key players in the mobile industry and showcase its innovative ideas, aiming to improve people’s financial inclusion in underserved and underbanked areas of the continent.

Mr. Bassim Haidar, Channel VAS’ founder and CEO, stated of this partnership: “As a global leader in the Fintech field, Channel VAS is always keen on supporting major events like the M360 Africa, which promotes inspirational and disruptive ideas, like the services we offer, to shape the continent's mobile and digital future. With the Channel VAS vision being the financial inclusion of unbanked populations in Africa, coming closer to other major players in the mobile ecosystem to work together towards that goal is facilitated through events like M360 Africa.

Mobile 360 Series – Africa aims to showcase how mobile connectivity is providing a foundation for innovation and entrepreneurship across the region, delivering a range of essential services across finance, healthcare and digital identity,” said Akinwale Goodluck, Head of Sub-Saharan Africa, GSMA. “We are looking forward to welcoming our speakers, guests and sponsors in Rwanda next week and discussing the positive and transformational impact mobile is having throughout this incredible region.”

A delegation of Channel VAS executives will be attending the event and will have important meetings with some of the region’s major businesses, aiming to expand the delivery of the company’s services towards financial inclusion to more countries and people in the region.

Channel VAS is offering Airtime Credit and Data Credit Services, as well as other innovative Mobile Finance and fintech services in over 30 countries worldwide, covering most of West Africa, South and East Africa as well as several Middle Eastern and Asian countries. The company’s expansion is supported by a strong portfolio of proprietary intellectual properties on the products and tools offered to MNOs and businesses across the globe. 

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Channel VAS.

Media Contact:
Stefanos Papilidis
Brand & Communications Manager
stefanos.papilidis@channelvas.com

About Channel VAS
Channel VAS ( www.ChannelVAS.com) is the premium Fintech and data analytics provider, offering Mobile Financial Services by supporting Large Mobile Telecom Operators to provide airtime/data credits and Micro-Finance Institutions to provide micro and nano cash loans to unbanked population in the emerging markets, through big data and proprietary analytics tools.

Our mission is to provide the best of breed technology and means to improve people’s lives, delivering financial inclusion and affordable loans by utilizing big data, credit analysis and a unique human-centric customer experience. Leveraging the benefits of Fintech, we ensure convenience and accessibility to financial services for everyone. As a social enterprise, our vision is to lead the global economic and social development through financial inclusion for all. For more information please visit www.ChannelVAS.com.

 
 

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Remarks to African Regional High-Level Conference on Counter-Terrorism and the Prevention of Violent Extremism Conducive to Terrorism

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

United Nations - Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General
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By The Secretary-General

Your Excellency, Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta,

President of the Republic of Kenya,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I thank the Government of Kenya for helping the United Nations organize this landmark conference.

To begin, I would like to honour the tens of thousands of African victims of terrorism and to express solidarity with African countries that have suffered terrorist attacks that shock with their barbarity and disregard for human life.

Kenya itself has endured numerous terrorist attacks. 

This year alone, terrorists murdered 21 people in the Dusit hotel complex in Nairobi and, in Wajir County, eight police officers were killed and others injured when their vehicle struck an improvised explosive device.

The threat of terrorism in Africa is spreading and destabilizing entire regions.

I am greatly concerned by the situation in the Sahel and increasing risks in West Africa.

Boko Haram and its splinter faction continue to terrorize local populations and attack security forces in northeast Nigeria and the Lake Chad Basin despite the considerable efforts of the Multinational Joint Task Force.

In Mali, terrorist groups have launched regular attacks against local and international security forces, including the Blue Helmets serving in MINUSMA.

The violence has spilled over into neighbouring countries, with an alarming number of recent attacks in Burkina Faso and Niger.

There is an urgent need for the international community to support Member States in this region to strengthen national capacities and resilience against terrorism. 

The trauma from terrorism causes lasting damage to individuals, families and communities.

In Africa, as elsewhere, terrorists continue to use sexual violence to spread fear and assert control, and children are often forced to join terrorist groups as a matter of survival.

The people of Africa continue to show great courage and resilience in challenging those who seek to spread violence and hatred.

From working within their families and communities to prevent the spread of radicalisation and recruitment, to serving in AMISOM, MINUSMA, the G5 Sahel Joint Force, the Multinational Joint Task Force against Boko Haram and similar missions, the people of Africa are on the front line of efforts to tackle terrorism and the spread of violent extremism.

I deeply believe that African peace-enforcing and counter-terrorism operations must have strong and clear mandates by the UN Security Council backed by sufficient, predictable and sustainable financial support, namely through assessed contributions.

The determination of Africans to find solutions to the scourge of terrorism is clear.

And the role of women is inspirational in so many ways.

We have with us women from Kenya, Mali, Nigeria, Tunisia and elsewhere. 

All over the continent women are taking matters into their own hands, engaging with local leaders, mayors, young people, children and their fellow men, to fight against exclusion, marginalisation, inequality and abuse – the conditions that lead many to radicalisation and conflict.

Their experiences also tell us that radicalisation, terrorism and conflict cannot be resolved through enforcement alone. 

For terrorism to be defeated, it is essential that African counter-terrorism is holistic, well-funded, underpinned by respect for human rights, and — most importantly – backed by strong political will.

This is also true of operations mandated by the UN Security Council.

We must not allow terrorism to undermine the great progress that is being made on this continent.

Africa remains a top priority for the United Nations.

We share common goals, particularly on delivering Agenda 2063 – in full alignment with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – and our joint aim for an integrated, prosperous and peaceful Africa.

In these efforts, the United Nations works closely with the African Union and many regional and sub-regional coordination mechanisms represented here today.

We believe in African leadership to develop African solutions to African problems.

So I am delighted to be here to demonstrate my full support for the aims of this conference.

Let me outline what I hope it will achieve over the next two days.

First, I would like to see the development of new and strengthened partnerships, both between African states and between Africa and the rest of the international community, to tackle the threat of terrorism and violent extremism.

There are many excellent examples of African countries working together to share counter-terrorism information, expertise and good practices, such as the innovative cross-border initiative on preventing violent extremism along the Kenya-Ethiopia border with the support of the United Nations.

But I believe that more can be done to expand these partnerships and networks and to unify this continent and the wider Global South against the threat of terrorism.

The transnational nature of terrorism and violent extremism underscores the vital importance of multilateral cooperation to detect, identify and disrupt violent extremism and to bring terrorists to justice.

That is why I convened the first-ever High-level Conference of Heads of Counter-Terrorism Agencies of Member States in New York in June last year.

In my Chair’s Summary to close that conference, I promised that the United Nations would work with Member States to organize regional conferences on key thematic issues to sustain momentum and feed into the next High-level Conference in June next year.

This is the third such regional conference and the only one where all Member States have been invited.

This is because this conference can help to mobilize the entire international community to strengthen its political commitment and provide resources and expertise to support African counter-terrorism efforts.

Second, I hope this conference will underline the continuing need to address the drivers and enablers of violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

Nothing can justify terrorism and violent extremism, but we must also acknowledge that they do not arise in a vacuum.

Narratives of grievance, actual or perceived injustice and promised empowerment become attractive wherever human rights are being violated, good governance is being ignored and aspirations are being crushed.

A study from the United Nations Development Programme on the threat of violent extremism in Africa found that lack of education and poverty were factors behind radicalization.

But the final tipping point was often state violence and the abuse of power.

There needs to be a renewed and sustained focus on prevention, including addressing the underlying conditions that cause young men and women to be lured by terrorism.

This includes preventing conflicts, addressing fragility, strengthening state institutions and civil society, building durable peace and promoting sustainable development to tackle the poverty, inequality and lack of opportunity that feed despair.

Third, this conference is an opportunity to explore how we can put even greater emphasis on encouraging “bottom-up” local solutions to the challenges of terrorism and violent extremism in Africa.

We all know there is no “one size fits all” approach to address the conditions conducive to terrorism.

So we need to engage affected communities and decentralize our efforts wherever possible to reflect local realities.

This means adopting comprehensive and inclusive “all-of-society” approaches to preventing and countering terrorism at the grassroots level.

We must fully engage women, who play multiple roles in relation to violent extremism and its prevention – as victims, as those recruited and radicalized, but most importantly as influencers and leaders in prevention and agents of peace.

The meaningful inclusion of women will also strengthen our own responses.

Common to each of these groups, regardless of their ideology, is the subjugation of women’s and girls’ rights.

This is not a coincidence, it is foundational to their creed, and for this reason gender equality must be equally central in our response.

And we must support civil society organizations to deliver tailored programmes to strengthen community resilience and turn vulnerable individuals away from violence.

I am delighted to see so many civil society representatives here today, who have unique knowledge and access to their communities across Africa.

Fourth, I hope this conference considers practical ways to harness the creativity, energy and power of young people to strengthen resilience against terrorism and build more peaceful, just and inclusive societies.

Three-quarters of Africa’s population of over 1.3 billion are under the age of 35.  Nearly half are under the age of 15.

We know that in Africa – as elsewhere around the world – creating jobs and expanding opportunity for young people are major challenges.  And we also know that youth unemployment not only limits personal fulfilment and drains away hope, it also undermines social cohesion and could threaten security.

We need to make a strategic investment in these young people through increased education, training and employment opportunities.  Indeed, job creation for young people must be at the centre of any development strategy.

As set out in the 2015 Amman Declaration on Youth, Peace and Security and Security Council resolution 2250, young Africans should also be fully involved in developing and implementing strategies and activities to prevent and counter violent extremism conducive to terrorism.

With the rise of misinformation on social media and the Internet, young people also need  education and empowerment to denounce manipulative narratives, xenophobia and hate speech, which can all lead to online radicalization.

I look forward to hearing youth perspectives throughout this conference and especially in tomorrow morning’s session.

Fifth, I urge this conference to exchange ideas on how we can further support the victims and survivors of terrorism, including victims of sexual violence and children exploited by terrorist groups.

Victims are extremely powerful and credible messengers.

Their experiences put a human face to the impact of terrorism and help to counter the distorted narratives of terrorists and violent extremists.

When we listen to the voices of victims of terrorism, uphold their rights and provide them with support and justice, we are reducing the lasting damage done by terrorists.

So I am delighted that the United Nations will convene the first-ever Global Congress of Victims in New York in June next year.

Finally, I hope this conference will consider how the United Nations can enhance its counter-terrorism support to African Member States and regional and sub-regional organizations.

When I became Secretary-General, I was determined to reform the United Nations counter-terrorism architecture to meet the growing needs of countries around the world.

The establishment of the United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism and the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Coordination Compact means we have a clear framework and solid platform for our work.

We have prioritized capacity-building projects for African countries on issues such as mitigating the threat of foreign terrorist fighters, empowering and engaging youth, countering terrorist financing and improving aviation security.

I recently launched a major multi-year programme to assist Member States in countering terrorist travel, which will initially focus on the Horn of Africa and Sahel regions.

But there is more we can do and
I look forward to hearing your suggestions.

Excellencies,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Africa is increasingly the new frontline in the global struggle against terrorism and violent extremism.

Yesterday I saw how a community, ravaged by violence and radicalization, can turn things around.

It took commitment from community leaders, young people, local government and beyond, but it was possible.

It took years but it was possible.

Most importantly, it took political commitment.

We can all learn a lot from the determination, unity and courage of the people of Kamukunji.

We should aim to reproduce the wisdom of those in power who saw what was happening in the community and helped to raise them up.

The United Nations was also there to help, but it was local leaders who led the way.

African states have made considerable efforts to implement the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and Plan of Action to Prevent Violent Extremism at national and regional levels, including through the African Union Peace and Security Architecture.

It is now time for the international community to step up and provide the financial and technical resources needed to support African-owned and led counter-terrorism efforts, while fully respecting human rights, the rule of law and gender considerations.

The United Nations remains fully committed to working with all of you to address the evolving threat of terrorism and violent extremism and help build a more secure and prosperous future that all Africans deserve.

I wish you a productive conference.

Thank you.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations – Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General.
Source: Apo-Opa

Equatorial Guinea: Dissolution of an NGO shows escalating crackdown on civil society

10.July.2019 · Posted in APO-OPA

Amnesty International
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Authorities in Equatorial Guinea should immediately rescind their decision to dissolve a prominent civil society organization and allow human rights defenders and activists to work without fear of reprisals, Amnesty International said today.

The country’s Minister of the Interior and Local Corporations published on 5 July, a decree revoking the authorization granted to the Center for Development Studies and Initiatives (CEID) – one of the few independent NGOs that denounce human rights violations in the country, which the authorities accused of undertaking political activities.

“Forcing NGO to close is a blatant violation of the right to freedom of association and shows the lack of commitment by the Equatorial Guinea government to end its long history of harassing and intimidating human rights defenders and civil society activists,” said Marta Colomer, Amnesty International West Africa Senior Campaigner.

“By dissolving this NGO and ending its operations, the authorities have demonstrated that they are not serious about ending the persecution of human rights defenders and independent civil society. Authorities should immediately rescind their decision to dissolve the CEID and allow civil society organizations to carry out their work without fear of reprisals.”

In the decree, the Minister accused the CEID for having undertaken “political activities” in recent years. Authorities said the fact that CEID took part in political activities is not in accordance with the statutes authorizing apolitical organizations. Amnesty International considers the dissolution as a clear violation of the right to freedom of association guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights to which Equatorial Guinea is a state party.

The move also took place in the context of a 20-year-old legislation regulating non-governmental organizations’ activities, putting several obstacles on their registration process, independence, functioning and development.

Furthermore, human rights defenders in Equatorial Guinea are increasingly under attack on an alarming scale. In the last three years, several prominent human rights defenders have been targeted, ill-treated and arbitrarily detained.

Examples include the case of Alfredo Okenve who is also the vice-president of the CEID who, in March was arrested after having been banned from receiving in the capital Malabo the “Franco-German prize for human rights” for his work. Amnesty International has documented other instance where he was beaten in October 2018 by unidentified armed men using the butts of their guns and sticks.

Violations of the rights of human rights defenders occur with repression and crackdown on political activists and the civic space. Some opposition supporters even face torture when arrested. Joaquín Elo Ayeto, a member of the opposition party Convergence for Social Democracy and member of the Platform Somos+ was subjected to torture at least twice while at Central Police Station after his arrest earlier this year which resulted in physical injuries. He was also threatened with death by police. At present Joaquín Elo Ayeto remains in preventive detention in Black Beach prison.

As President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is marking his 40 years in power, Amnesty International is calling on him to ensure that his government moves swiftly to respect, protect, promote and fulfil human rights of everyone in the country including the rights of human rights defenders and civil society activists.

“A first step would be to ensure that his government allows registration of non-governmental organizations and enables their full and independent functioning,” said Marta Colomer.

“The government should also adopt concrete and effective measures to prevent and punish cases of harassment and intimidation of human rights defenders and civil society activists.”

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