UN human rights chief to visit Nigeria, 11-14 March 2014
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, will conduct an official visit to Nigeria from 11 to 14 March 2014, at the invitation of the Government of Nigeria. It is the first such visit to Nigeria by any UN High Commissioner for Human Rights since the Office was created 20 years ago.
During her visit, Pillay plans to meet President Goodluck Jonathan as well as the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Interior, Justice and Women Affairs and Social Development, and other senior officials in the Government, National Assembly and judiciary. The High Commissioner will also hold meetings with the National Human Rights Commission, civil society organizations, members of the international community and UN agencies.
The aim of the visit is to engage at the highest level with the Government and civil society on the promotion and protection of human rights, and to reaffirm the support of the UN Human Rights Office for their efforts to improve the human rights of all Nigerians. It is also intended to broaden the profile and understanding of human rights in general throughout the country.
At the end of her visit, on Friday 14 March at 11:30 a.m., the High Commissioner will hold a press conference at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja.
Africom Commander: Terror Threat Remains Across Africa
WASHINGTON, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Helped by the Arab Spring, terrorist groups in North and West Africa have expanded their operations, increasing threats to the United States and its interests, the commander of U.S. Africa Command told Congress today.
“These revolutions, coupled with the fragility of neighboring states, continue to destabilize the region,” Army Gen. David M. Rodriguez told the Senate Armed Services Committee in prepared testimony.
“The spillover effects of revolutions include the return of fighters and flow of weapons from Libya to neighboring countries following the fall of the Gadhafi regime and the export of foreign fighters from North Africa to the Syrian conflict,” the general said.
Rodriguez described the security situation in Libya -- where a NATO-backed air campaign in 2011 aimed at protecting civilians from pro-Gadhafi forces eventually led to the leader's overthrow -- as volatile and tenuous, especially in the east and southwest. “Militia groups control significant areas of territory and continue to exert pressure on the Libyan government,” he said.
Africom, he said, is working to help build Libyan security forces, but in the meantime, terrorist groups including those affiliated with al-Qaida have taken root in vast, lawless areas of the country and are using the region as a base to extend their reach across northwest Africa.
Farther west, though, Rodriguez pointed to success the United States and its French and African allies have had in stabilizing Mali, where Islamic extremists took control of a large swath of the desert country's north following a coup two years ago. “U.S. support has enabled [United Nations forces] and French operations to secure key cities and disrupt terrorist organizations,” he added.
Rodriguez described challenges facing the United States and Europe across the continent, from the Sahael region in West Africa to Somalia in the east.
“The collective aftermath of revolutions in Libya, Tunisia and Egypt, including uncertain political transitions, spillover effects, and exploitation by violent extremist organizations of under-governed spaces and porous borders are key sources of instability that require us to remain vigilant in the near term,” he said. While multi-national efforts are disrupting terrorists, he added, “the growth and activity of the violent extremist network across the African continent continues to outpace these efforts.”
Rodriguez ticked off a list of security challenges facing the continent and his command.
Despite programs and exercises with Nigeria, the terrorist group Boko Haram continues to attack civilian and government facilities and has extended its reach into neighboring Niger, Chad and Cameroon. In Somalia, after having no presence in the country for years, the U.S. military now has three people on the ground, he said, to coordinate with U.N. and other partnered forces to disrupt and contain al-Shabaab forces and expand areas under the control of the nominal government in Mogadishu.
He described the efforts as playing “limited, but important roles” in weakening the militant group, which controls portions of the country and claimed responsibility for a massacre at a shopping mall in Nairobi, Kenya, in September that killed more than 60 people.
Rodriguez reported significant progress in reducing piracy.
“In 2013, zero ships were hijacked in nine attempted attacks in the region,” he said. Just two years earlier, there had been more than 150 attempted hijackings.
While Rodriguez said Africom is using military-to-military engagements, programs, exercises and other operations to respond to crises and deter threats, he emphasized that these efforts are geared toward enabling African partners to handle these problems.
“We believe efforts to meet security challenges in Africa are best led and conducted by African partners,” he said, efforts that ultimately will depend on African nations developing effective partner-nation security institutions that respect civilian authority.
MEETING OF THE MINISTERIAL WORKING GROUP ONTHE TOURISM SECTOR DEVELOPMENT STRATEGY FOR AFRICA: AU AGENDA 2063
ADDIS ABABA, Ethiopia, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- INVITATION TO MEDIA REPRESENTATIVES
WHEN: 13 – 14 March 2014
The Ministerial Group meeting will be organised in two sessions as follows:
- 13 March 2014: Expert meeting to prepare the Ministerial Session Working papers
- 14 March 2014: Ministerial Meeting for adoption of the report on the Ministerial Working Group on tourism sector development strategy for Africa: AU Agenda 2063.
WHERE: Republic of Seychelles
WHO: Organised by the Department of Infrastructure and Energy of the African Union, in collaboration with the Government of Seychelles
WHY: Tourism as a service sector has clearly emerged as potential driver of socio-economic development and growth in Africa, a continent that is richly endowed with natural resources. Hence globally, the tourism industry faces a range of inherent threats and opportunities. In the context of the 2004 AU Tourism Action Plan, the African Union is expected to develop a tourism policy and strategic framework for the accelerated development of tourism in Africa.
Objectives: In view of the on-going elaboration of the AU Agenda 2063, the ministerial conference on tourism will be a platform to put in place a continental policy and strategy that provides guidance to the short, medium and long-term aspirations of Africa in the tourism sector.
The long-term objective of this policy and strategy is to enable Africa to develop its tourism industry to an appropriate level and maximise its benefit to the socio-economic development of the people of this continent.
Key Issues: The brainstorming session of the Ministerial Working Group will focus on various issues including:
• Management (census and classification) of African heritage tourism;
• Development of sites, African cultures and special attributes;
• African tourism marketing based on complementarity;
• Investment promotion including the private sector;
• Standards and norms including a tourism code of conduct and ethics for Africa;
• Human resource capacities for sector management;
• Capacity building for people working in the tourism sector;
• Tourism research and development;
• Professionalization of Africa tourism operators;
• Private and public investment in tourism infrastructure and products;
• Management of shared (cross-border) tourism resources (game reserves, waterfalls, etc.);
• Intra-Africa tourism for continental integration and cooperation;
• African tourism marketing strategy (campaign – e.g. promoting Africa as a brand for more impact and synergy, etc.);
• Connectivity facilitating visit of 2 or 3 countries in a package;
• Tourism visa facilities;
• Infrastructure and investment (e.g. promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports, etc.);
• Tourism policy and regulatory framework.
Expected Results: This will include the followings:
• Strategic orientations for the harmonization oftourism policy, regulatory framework, standards and norms including a code of conduct and ethics for Africa;
• Strong institutional and human resource capacities for sector management as well as for research and development;
• Enhanced share of Africa's international tourism business which is now controlled by operators in other continents;
• Increased private and public investment in tourism infrastructure and products;
• Joint management of shared (cross-border) tourism resources (game reserves, waterfalls, etc.); and increased intra-Africa tourism to, inter alia, strengthen continental integration and cooperation;
• Boosting marketing of Africa's tourism:
(i) African tourism marketing strategy (campaign – e.g. promoting Africa as a brand for more impact and synergy, etc.);
(ii) Improved connectivity to facilitate visits to 2 or 3 countries in a package;
(iii) Removing of tourism visa constraints;
(iv) Infrastructure and investment (e.g. promoting African cross-border investment in hotels, airport, roads, ports, etc.);
(v) Capacity building for people working in the tourism sector.
Participants: The Ministerial Working Group will be composed of:
- Ministers responsible for Tourism of selected Member States of the AU;
- Representatives of the private sector of the tourism industry will be invited as observers to provide input; and
- Some Officials from the African Union Commission (AUC).
NUSOJ condemns harsh sentence for Somali journalist in Ethiopia
MOGADISHU, Somalia, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) today condemned guilty verdict and prison sentence against veteran Somali journalist Mohamed Aweys Mudey as “outrageous and unacceptable”, and urged Ethiopian authorities to release him immediately and unconditionally.
According to the family of Mohamed Aweys Mudey, the journalist was sentenced to 27 years in prison in the last week of February 2014, using Ethiopia's Anti-terror law. He did not have a lawyer or family member with him during his trial. At least three people detained with Mudey at Ethiopia's Crimes Investigations Sector (CIS), widely known Makalawi, saw him badly tortured and having difficulties to walk. He was later moved to secret place. Ethiopian prosecutors reportedly accused Mudey of having information of Al-Shabaab operations in Ethiopia and charged him of participating in terror activities.
“This is a very severe ruling because Mohamed Aweys Mudey is not guilty of anything. The charges against him are ludicrous. We firmly condemn the continued detention of Mudey, and call for his immediate release,” said Omar Faruk Osman, NUSOJ Secretary General
Mohamed Aweys Mudey, who is also known Boqorka Bartamaha, fled to Ethiopia for safety reasons after he was wounded at an Al-Shabaab suicide bombing at Shamo Hotel in Mogadishu on 3 December 2009. The bombing killed at least 25 people, including three journalists. Mudey, 48, was among some 100 Somalis arrested in November 2013 under the suspicion of terror attack in Addis Ababa.
Filing reports for different media houses from Addis Ababa when there are important events concerning Somalia, Mudey used to work for number of media houses in Mogadishu namely Radio Shabelle and Radio Banadir.
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) Hosts Inaugural Summit to Address the Scale of Africa's Infrastructure Requirements and Investment Deficit
LAGOS, Nigeria, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) (http://www.africafc.org), an African-led multilateral development financial institution whose mission is to improve African economies by proactively developing and financing infrastructure assets announces details of its inaugural Summit.
The Summit, titled: ‘AFC Live: Bridging the Infrastructure Divide' responds to the need to open a dialogue to address the scale of Africa's infrastructure requirements and its investment deficit, which is conservatively estimated at over US$40 billion per annum over the next ten years (1). The Summit takes place on 25 March 2014 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Lagos, Nigeria.
The Summit will bring together African politicians, business leaders and academics for a series of lively panel discussions. Confirmed speakers include: Jim O'Neill, the economist and former Chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, best known for coining the ‘BRIC' and ‘MINT' acronyms, as well as:
• Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Coordinating Minister of Finance and Economy, Nigeria;
• Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Minister of Power, Nigeria;
• Hon. Patrick Achi, Minister of Economic Infrastructure, Côte d'Ivoire;
• Hon. Cristina Duarte, Minister of Finance, Cape Verde;
• Mr Jim Yong Cai, Executive Vice President and CEO, International Finance Corporation;
• Mr Tony Elumelu, Chairman Heirs Holdings;
• Ms. Diana Layfield, CEO Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
• Dr. Nkosana Moyo, Mandela Institute for Development Studies; and
• Ms. Funke Opeke, CEO Main One
The Summit is the must attend event for audiences interested in Africa's infrastructure challenges. It will discuss issues such as Africa's need to take the lead in bridging the investment divide whilst also accessing international capital as part of a joined up and holistic approach.
Commenting on the upcoming Summit, Bayo Ogunlesi, Chairman of AFC, said:
“The summit is a key opportunity to for a broad range of stakeholders, from national governments to the indigenous and international private sector and donor partners, to contribute to the development of constructive solutions to the deficit in infrastructure investment in Africa which continues to hold back economic growth on the continent.”
“The Africa Finance Corporation is committed to serving as a catalyst for growth in infrastructure development in Africa, by focusing on investments in the sectors that are critical to economic growth on the continent and attracting new investment partners and country members.”
Commenting on the Summit, economist Jim O'Neill, said:
“I am delighted to be participating in the AFC's inaugural summit which promises to address an important agenda. If Africa is to reach its potential as the home to some of the fastest-growing economies in the world, then infrastructure will play a vital role in making that happen. This conference provides an excellent opportunity to gather some of the most important figures in the region in order to discuss how this can be achieved. The AFC plays not just a vital role in brokering these discussions but also in financing and advising some of most transformative infrastructure projects on the continent.”
Key sessions at the Summit will include:
• ‘Building the New Africa – action plan for the next decade'
• Panel 1: power sector
• Panel 2: transport sector
• Panel 3: natural resources
(1) The World Bank estimates Africa's infrastructure deficit at US$38 billion of investment per year, with a further US$37 billion per year required in operations and maintenance. This represents c.12% of Africa's current GDP.
Distributed by APO (African Press Organization) on behalf of the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC).
For programme details and to register email: firstname.lastname@example.org
For further information visit: http://www.africafc.org
Africa Finance Corporation
+234 703 403 3645
Victoria Geoghegan / Nick Lambert / David Bass / Philip Peck
+44 20 7861 3232
About the AFC:
• AFC (http://www.africafc.org) is an African-led multilateral development financial institution, established in 2007, whose mission is to improve African economies by proactively developing and financing infrastructure, industrial and financial assets.
• AFC is involved as an investor, developer and financier of various infrastructure projects, and is gaining recognition as the benchmark institution for financing the development of infrastructure projects in Africa.
• AFC's current authorized share capital is USD2.0 billion with shareholders' funds of USD1.24 billion and a 2013 funding programme of USD700 million.
• AFC is the second highest investment grade-rated multilateral financial institution on the African continent, with an A3 (long term) /P2 (short term) foreign currency debt rating by Moody's Investors Service.
• AFC is the lead investor in the award winning Cabeolica project, a USD90 million, 26MW landmark renewable energy wind power project in Cape Verde.
• AFC is the Technical Adviser to the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) on the CBN's USD2.0 billion Power and Aviation Intervention Fund (PAIF).
• AFC is a partner with Vigeo Holdings Limited and Tata Power Delhi Distribution Limited for the acquisition of power distribution assets, and a lead financier in the acquisitions of the Kainji and Ughelli power generation plants in the current Nigerian Government power sector privatisation round.
• Additionally in Nigeria, AFC made investments to support marginal field operators in the up and mid-stream oil and gas sector companies such as Neconde, FHN and Seven Energy.
• AFC is also the lead investor in Cenpower Generation Company Limited (Cenpower), which is implementing the Kpone IPP project – a 340 megawatt combined cycle gas turbine power plant in Tema, Ghana.
• AFC is the lead investor in the Main One fibre optic cable project, enhancing West Africa's connection to Europe and the rest of the world through faster and more technologically advanced broadband capacity.
• AFC provided a USD50 million convertible debt investment in ARM Cement Limited (ARM), the second largest cement operator in Kenya to support expansion initiatives across Eastern and Southern Africa including; development and construction of a lime plant in Tanzania and expansion of ARM's cement capacity in Kenya. The transaction marked AFC's first bilateral investment in Kenya.
• AFC provided financing for Ethiopian airlines fleet expansion in the acquisition of Africa's first Boeing 777 airline.
• AFC also invested in the Bakwena toll road project in South Africa, and in the EURO 270 million Konan Bedie Toll Bridge in Côte d'Ivoire; the signature Transport PPP project in Francophone Africa, underscoring its interest in investing in PPPs/PFIs in its focal sectors across the African continent.
• AFC launched a landmark USD15 million project development facility with the Dutch Development Bank FMO in January 2013, to fund early-stage equity investments in projects under development pre-financial close, in the infrastructure sector across sub-Saharan Africa.
• The AFC has established partnerships with national, regional and international organizations and with sponsors that are active in the infrastructure space in Africa.
Humanitarian aid must be prioritised in Dadaab camps, despite return of refugees to Somalia / MSF issues briefing paper highlighting appalling conditions in Dagahaley camp.
GENEVA, Switzerland, March 10, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- As plans progress for the voluntary return of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees from Kenya to their home country,  M�decins Sans Fronti�res (MSF) has once again urged that this process is not carried out at the cost of the aid already being provided to people who remain in Kenya�s Dadaab refugee camps. With many organisations suffering funding cuts in the camps, and alongside a deteriorating security situation, MSF is urging international donors to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance, and calling upon the Government of Kenya to improve protection of refugees.
MSF has today issued a briefing paper further outlining the ongoing inadequate and insecure conditions in Dagahaley, one of the five camps that comprise the Dadaab refugee camp complex in northeastern Kenya. Dadaab refugees: An uncertain tomorrow also details results of an assessment carried out last year by MSF in Dagahaley.
�Results of our assessment demonstrate woefully inadequate conditions in Dagahaley,� said Charles Gaudry, Head of Mission for MSF in Kenya. �For example, 41 percent of refugees questioned say their shelters do not provide sufficient protection from rain, and around one in ten refugees have no access to latrines.�
Data from this year still depicts a grave situation. In January, MSF treated 2,346 watery diarrhoea cases - over 900 cases more than the previous year during the same period. �This represents a 39 percent increase, and illustrates the pressing priority for improvements to be made to camp hygiene and shelter,� continued Charles. �The current living conditions for refugees are simply unacceptable.�
In the assessment, refugees were also questioned about their willingness to return to Somalia. Despite the conditions in Dagahaley, four out of five refugees said they would not consider a return to their home country.
Malnutrition continues to seriously hamper the health of Dagahaley�s population. Although currently not at an emergency level, ongoing surveillance activities reveal the existence of a large cohort of malnourished children with an average of 175 new admissions per month in MSF�s outpatient therapeutic feeding program. Each month, approximately 49 malnourished children with medical complications are admitted to the MSF hospital.
�With such poor conditions in the camp, MSF medical teams remain on alert for any deterioration in the nutrition situation,� says Charles. �Reduction in funding for aid agencies is a major concern. The World Food Programme for example, had to reduce food rations by 20 percent in November and December 2013 in Dadaab. If similar cuts were to happen again, this could have serious consequences for the health and nutrition status of refugees.�
In light of the current situation, and despite plans for the return of refugees to Somalia, MSF strongly urges all stakeholders, and international donors in particular, to ensure adequate funding for providing continued assistance and security in the camps in Kenya. MSF also calls on the Government of Kenya to ensure that refugees are protected and that security is improved in the camps, in order that aid agencies are not prevented from providing assistance. At the same time, the organisation stresses that efforts by the Kenyan government and the UNHCR to improve dignity and safety of refugees during the return process must be maintained.
MSF has been working in Dadaab for the past 20 years and is currently the only provider of medical care in Dagahaley camp. Each month, MSF teams carry out around 18,000 outpatient medical consultations and admit over 450 patients from the refugee and host communities to Dagahaley hospital.
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