AU Launches Internet Exchange Point in Namibia: “Keeping intra-country internet traffic within the country”
WINDHOEK, Namibia, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- 7th March, 2014: The African Union Commission (AUC), through the Infrastructure and Energy Department, in collaboration with the Ministry of Information Communication Technology of Namibia today launched the Internet Exchange Point in Namibia.
The Internet Exchange Point in Namibia will contribute to bringing efficiency in the routing of intra-country internet traffic and hence faster exchange of intra-country internet traffic.
Through the African Internet Exchange System (AXIS) project, the African Union Commission has so far extended capacity building support to facilitate the establishment of internet exchange points in 22 Member States including Namibia. The AU has also donated equipment and services with the value of USD20,000 to the Internet Exchange Point in Namibia.
“With this development, the ICT Sector in Namibia has every reason to celebrate for a new era of localized, cost effective and secure internet traffic, has dawned. That notwithstanding, we are called upon to safeguard this infrastructure for the betterment of the livelihood of the users. I however hasten to state that today's historic event would not have been possible without the invaluable support provided by the African Union Commission.” Said Hon. Stanley Simataa, Deputy Minister of ICT
The Internet in Africa has been growing steadily over the past several years and is beginning to play a significant role in Africa's development, creating employment, providing opportunities for innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as acting as an enabler in the digital delivery of government services, education, and healthcare among others.
“All of us will agree that living in a modern society without ICT is difficult if not impossible. Think about how many times and how often we are using the internet, mobile phones and computers. ICT has been integrated in every aspect of our business activities and daily lives.
Looking to the future, ICT for development is not about computers, mobile phones, and the internet, but about using them to empower communities for communication, learning, and accessing services. This will lead to improved well-being, increased work productivity, support for innovation, and impetus for inclusive growth.” Said H.E. Dr. Elham Ibrahim, Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy.”
The launch was officiated by Hon. Stanley Simataa, Deputy Minister of ICT of Namibia and H.E. Dr. Elham Ibrahim, African Union Commissioner for Infrastructure and Energy and attended by Senior Government Officials, Leaders of the Industry and the Internet Society.
For more information on the African Internet Exchange System Project of the African Union, visit www.au.int/axis
Readout of National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice's Travel to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- National Security Advisor Susan E. Rice traveled to the United Arab Emirates and Djibouti from March 6-8. In the UAE, she held highly productive bilateral discussions with Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohamed bin Zayed and other senior Emirati officials, including the Foreign Minister and Deputy Chief of National Security. They exchanged views on a wide range of regional issues, including Iran, Syria, Egypt, Libya, Yemen and Middle East Peace, as well as U.S. partnership with the Gulf Cooperation Council countries. Ambassador Rice visited the new campus of NYU Abu Dhabi, one of the three major U.S.-UAE long-term legacy partnership projects. She met with a diverse and talented group of American, Emirati and international students from NYU Abu Dhabi and the Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Scholarship Program and expressed support for the major investments the UAE has made in world class liberal arts and STEM higher education programs.
In Djibouti, Ambassador Rice met with senior leaders and U.S. troops from the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) at Camp Lemonnier to discuss CJTF operations in the region. She thanked the troops for their extraordinary work to build counterpart capacity in the region, conduct crisis response, and execute vital counter-terror operations that help keep the American people safe. Ambassador Rice met with Djiboutian President Guelleh to renew our robust strategic partnership with the government and people of Djibouti. She thanked him for Djiboutian leadership on a range of issues, including countering terrorism and piracy, and responding to humanitarian emergencies. In her meeting with President Guelleh and with Foreign Minister Youssouf and a delegation of senior Djiboutian ministers and officials, she discussed ways to deepen and enhance our bilateral cooperation, including in ways that will tangibly benefit the economic well-being of the Djiboutian people and address shared security challenges. They discussed ways that Camp Lemonnier and the U.S. military presence in Djibouti can have a more direct and positive impact on the local economy, and ways that American assistance can lead to further sustainable development and improved regional security.
Somali National Army and AMISOM forces reclaim five strategic towns in the bay region of Somalia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- In renewed joint operations between the Somali National Army (SNA) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) forces, five strategic towns in the Bay region of Somalia have been reclaimed from the control of the Al Shabaab terrorist group.
In the last couple of days, SNA and AMISOM forces have regained control of Rabdhure Ted, and Hudur towns in joint operations that saw the terrorists defeated and driven out of these towns. Today, the SNA and AMISOM forces continued their march and secured the town of Wajid and Buudhubow in the Gedo region.??
The African Union Special Representative for Somalia and Head of AMISOM, Ambassador Mahamat Saleh Annadif thanked the Somali population of the newly recovered towns for their cooperation and seized the opportunity to once again appeal to the youth enrolled in Al Shabaab to lay down their arms and join their brothers and sisters in the Government controlled areas where they are welcomed.??
The SNA and AMISOM joint operations signal the beginning of the renewed efforts by the Somali government forces working more closely with AMISOM forces to dislodge Al Shabaab from many of its strongholds across the country.??
This will facilitate the extension of the Somali government's control over its territory as well as enable the people of Somalia to live their lives free from Al Shabaab's tyranny.??
These joint operations were carried out with due diligence and strict observance of International Human Rights standards in line with the trainings received by both SNA and AMISOM forces.
“A turning point in the fight against slavery in Mauritania” - UN expert greets adoption of road map
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The United Nations Special Rapporteur on slavery, Ms. Gulnara Shahinian, hailed as “an essential step forward in the fight against slavery” the formal adoption by the Mauritanian Government of the road map prepared in cooperation with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
“I see the 6th of March 2014, as a turning point in the fight against slavery in Mauritania,” Ms. Shahinian said. “The formal adoption of the road map for the implementation of my 2010 recommendations* is not only symbolic, but marks a new phase in Mauritania's efforts to eradicate slavery and its remnants once and for all.”
“I trust that the Government will deploy all necessary efforts to fully implement the road map, in close cooperation with civil society, so that its commitment results in concrete changes in practice,” the human rights expert noted.
The official announcement comes just a week after the Special Rapporteur's follow-up visit to the country to discuss the formal adoption of the road map and assess new developments and initiatives taken by the Mauritanian authorities in response to her previous recommendations.
Ms. Shahinian will present the findings and recommendations of her follow-up visit at a forthcoming session of the UN Human Rights Council in September 2014.
(*) The ‘Road Map for the implementation of the recommendations of the Special Rapporteur on contemporary forms of slavery, including its causes and consequences in the context of the eradication of slavery practices in Mauritania” is based on Ms. Shahinian's 2010 report to the UN Human Rights Council: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Slavery/SRSlavery/Pages/CountryVisits.aspx
Central African Republic: ICRC staff member killed
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is profoundly shocked by the killing today of one of its staff members in northern Central African Republic.
The killing occurred in connection with violence in Ndele. Armed men entered the Catholic mission there, where four ICRC staff were quartered, and killed one of them. The other three are safe.
“We are outraged by this killing,” said Georgios Georgantas, head of the ICRC delegation in the country. “It is utterly unacceptable. We urgently call on all those bearing arms to respect and spare people working for the ICRC or for the broader International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, and indeed all those who carry out humanitarian work.
The ICRC also appeals to all parties to the conflict to comply with the rules of international humanitarian law so that those striving to help the civilian population can do their life-saving work.
This killing comes at a time when the security situation in the Central African Republic is worsening. The widespread violence and rampant crime accompanying it are exacerbating the already disastrous situation in which hundreds of thousands of the country's citizens are living.
UNAMID disturbed over increased violence, mass displacement in Darfur
EL FASHER (DARFUR), Sudan, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The African Union-United Nations Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) is deeply concerned over an outbreak of inter-communal violence in Saraf Omra, North Darfur, which has led to a mass displacement of civilians and a number of casualties over the course of the past few days.
Thousands of displaced from the town of Saraf Omra, which is located approximately 90 kilometres east of El Geneina, are currently seeking refuge in the vicinity of UNAMID's base in the locality. The Mission is providing protection and water to those affected, as well as medical treatment for more than 30 wounded individuals. The Mission is working with the humanitarian community in taking the necessary steps to provide further much needed assistance.
Patrols by the Mission have observed looting around the town and the destruction of the local marketplace. Reconciliation efforts among the tribes have been taking place, however the situation remains tense and those displaced are in need of critical of food and proper sanitary conditions. UNAMID calls on all parties involved to cease hostilities and to find a peaceful solution to their differences.
The incident in Saraf Omra comes in the wake of other recent episodes of violence in Darfur, most notably in Taweisha and El Lait areas in North Darfur and in South Darfur where thousands were displaced following the looting and destruction of villages in the areas of Um Gunya and Hajeer.
UNAMID continues to call upon the authorities to allow the Mission unhindered and immediate access to these areas, so that it can carry out its core activity for the protection of civilians as mandated by the African Union and the United Nations and as consented to by the Government of Sudan.
U.S. Concern About Escalation of Violence and Insecurity in Darfur
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Press Statement
March 8, 2014
We are deeply concerned by the recent escalation of violence by the Sudanese Government-supported Rapid Support Forces (RSF) in Darfur. The United States strongly condemns attacks on civilians and calls upon the Government of Sudan to prevent further violence and to cease its own campaign of aerial bombardments.
On February 27th, the RSF, with media reports of support from the Sudanese Air Force, burned homes and attacked civilians outside of Nyala, resulting in multiple casualties and thousands of displaced civilians in Darfur. On February 23rd members of the RSF attacked and robbed internally displaced persons from the Kalma Camp in South Darfur, according to media reports. The Government of Sudan has refused to allow UNAMID peacekeepers access to the area to investigate these incidents.
We urge the Government of Sudan to uphold its commitments and allow UNAMID peacekeepers unhindered and immediate access to these areas, as mandated by the African Union and the United Nations.
The people of Darfur have suffered insecurity, violence and atrocities for far too long. Together with the international community, we urge the Government of Sudan and the armed movements active in Darfur to begin an inclusive and comprehensive political dialogue to achieve a peaceful resolution to the conflicts in Sudan and reestablish the rule of law.
SECRETARY-GENERAL WELCOMES INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT VERDICT CONVICTING REBEL LEADER FOR ATROCITIES IN DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO
NEW YORK, March 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The following statement was issued today by the Spokesperson for UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon:
The Secretary-General welcomes the verdict issued by the International Criminal Court against Germain Katanga, convicting him on four counts of war crimes and one count of crimes against humanity committed in 2003 during an attack on the village of Bogoro in the Ituri district of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This is an important verdict for the victims of these horrific crimes, for international justice and for the fight against impunity in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The Secretary-General reaffirms the strong commitment of the United Nations to support the independent work of the Court as the centrepiece of the international criminal justice system.
The Secretary-General welcomes the continued cooperation between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the International Criminal Court and urges the Congolese authorities to continue to strengthen their efforts to hold accountable all perpetrators of serious crimes of international concern.
UN Envoy to Somalia urges greater role for women in state-building
MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, Nicholas Kay, joins the Somali people in celebrating International Women's Day, and urges the Federal Government to broaden opportunities for women to contribute to the country's peace-building and state-building processes.
“Over the past two extremely difficult decades, Somali women have demonstrated great resilience and an immense capacity to contribute to reconciliation and respond to humanitarian needs at the community, regional and national level,” SRSG Kay said. “Despite their significant role in efforts to reconstruct Somalia, women continue to struggle to have their voices heard, and their participation in politics remains limited.”
“Women are also the primary victims of sexual and gender-based violence, while literacy rates and school enrollment are substantially lower in the female population,” he added.
“Somali women are a vital part of the political and reconciliation process in the country and should fully contribute to it at all levels. Commitments on women's participation and representation need to be turned into actions” SRSG Kay said.
He further stressed the need for concrete actions on the protection of women and girls, the provision of a safe environment and access to justice without fear.
“I urge the Government and relevant partners to expedite the implementation of the Joint Communiqué of the Federal Republic of Somalia and the United Nations on the Prevention of Sexual Violence,” SRSG Kay said. “The UN in Somalia stands ready to work hand in hand with the Government to improve the lives of the country's women and girls.”
UNSOM is mandated to help build the Federal Government's capacity to promote respect for human rights and women's empowerment.
The Verdict in the Germain Katanga Trial at the International Criminal Court
WASHINGTON, March 8, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Press Statement
March 7, 2014
Today, the Trial Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) convicted Germain Katanga, the commander of the Force de Résistance Patriotique en Ituri (FRPI) militia, for his responsibility for war crimes and crimes against humanity during a brutal February 2003 attack on Bogoro village in the Ituri Province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
Past impunity for perpetrators in the DRC has fueled a destabilizing cycle of conflict and human rights abuses, and those who are responsible for atrocities in the DRC must be held to account. In that regard, the ICC's DRC cases represent a significant step toward delivering justice for victims in the DRC. The United States reiterates its call for the apprehension of Sylvestre Mudacumura, another leader of an abusive rebel militia in the DRC who is subject to an arrest warrant by the ICC for war crimes. The Department of State continues to offer a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to his arrest.
Strong and effective national courts also have a vital role to play in ending impunity in DRC. We continue to support the Congolese government's efforts to hold perpetrators accountable through its domestic institutions, including through the creation of the proposed mixed chambers.