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Trump adds N. Korea & Venezuela to new travel ban, removes Sudan

Trump adds N. Korea & Venezuela to new travel ban, removes Sudan hare

Source: RT, Monday September 25, 2017

A new extended travel ban announced by Donald Trump’s administration will restrict travel to the US from North Korea and Venezuela, as well as from Iran, Chad, Libya, Syria, Yemen and Somalia – countries included in previous bans – based on “security or safety threat.”

The new restrictions, which come as a result of a review of previous travel bans challenged in American courts, are set to take effect on October 18.

“North Korea does not cooperate with the United States government in any respect and fails to satisfy all information-sharing requirements,” the Sunday proclamation said, explaining the addition.

The document, titled “Presidential Proclamation Enhancing Vetting Capabilities and Processes for Detecting Attempted Entry Into the United States by Terrorists or Other Public-Safety Threats,” was published on the White House’s website.

The restrictions on travel to the US from Venezuela concern only “government officials of Venezuela who are responsible for the identified inadequacies” in screening and vetting procedures there, the proclamation reads.

The list includes officials from a number of Venezuelan government agencies, including the Interior Ministry, the Foreign Ministry, the National Intelligence Service and the Scientific, Penal and Criminal Investigation Service Corps, as well as their family members.

As far as other Venezuelans are concerned, their traveling to the US will be subject to “additional measures.”

“Nationals of Venezuela who are [US] visa holders should be subject to appropriate additional measures to ensure traveler information remains current,” the document said.

Commenting on the proclamation on Twitter, Trump said: “We will not admit those into our country we cannot safely vet.”

The removal of Sudan from the list was due to a positive review of the country’s information exchange and security cooperation with Washington, senior administration officials told The Washington Post.

Speaking to reporters at his New Jersey golf club Sunday afternoon before the ban was unveiled, he said he would like the travel restriction to be “the tougher the better.”

The original version of Trump’s now expired order has been commonly referred to as a “Muslim ban,” but this label has been disputed by the Trump administration. A White House official speaking on condition of anonymity told Politico that “the restrictions, whether previously or now, were never, ever, ever based on race, religion or creed.” He insisted that the amendments to the travel ban also had nothing to do with the above.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has lashed out at the new version of Trump’s travel ban on Twitter, saying that “Trump’s fake empathy for Iranians rings ever more hollow, with his new and even more offensive travel ban.”

We are not UN employees, Museveni tells AMISOM

We are not UN employees, Museveni tells AMISOM are

Source: Daily Monitor, Sunday September 24, 2017

Security matters. President Museveni (3rd right) addresses a meeting of Amisom contributing countries in New York, US on Thursday. PPU PHOTO

President Museveni has told countries contributing troops to the peace keeping mission in Somalia that they are not United Nations (UN) employees but allies offering pan-Africanism services.

The President made the remarks at a meeting of African Union Mission in Somalia (Amisom) troop contributing countries in New York, US on Thursday. He emphasised that the troops’ role in Somalia is purely for pan-African reasons like stabilising Somalia.

“This is a pan-African venture. We are not employees of the United Nations or Somalia,” Mr Museveni was quoted as saying in a State House statement released yesterday.

Mr Museveni, who chaired the closed-door meeting, called for review of the situation in Somalia purposely to improve the political and military coordination to ensure that peace and security prevail in Somalia.

The meeting was attended by, among other countries, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Djibouti and host Somalia.

According to sources, top priority for Somalia is building a strong national army and taking stock of the political situation.

All parties agreed to follow keenly a review on Amisom by the UN Secretary General and after all the troop contributing countries would take the necessary steps.

The UN provides logistics, technical and training support to Amisom and to the Somali National Army. The UN believes that with enhanced support to Amisom, the African Union Force and predictable funding, along with a coordinated effort to build the Somali National Army and police Forces, al-Shabaab can be defeated.

During the meeting, Uganda was elected as the official spokesperson of the troop contributing countries.

The meeting was attended by Somalia Hassan prime minister Ali Khare, Ethiopia premier Desalegn Hailemariam, Kenya foreign affairs minister Amina Muhammed, African Union Commissioner Chergui Ismael, Burundi foreign affairs minister Allen Nyamitwe, Djibouti foreign affairs minister Yusuf Mahmoud and Somalia defence minister Abdullahi Rachid.

Uganda was represented by Foreign Affairs minister Sam Kutesa, Chief of Defence Forces David Muhoozi, Uganda’s Permanent Representative to the UN Adoniya Ayebare and Uganda’s Military Adviser at the Uganda Mission in New York, Maj Gen Silver Kayemba, among others.

Meeting the UN chief

Security issues. In a related development, President Museveni also met the UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the sidelines of the ongoing 72nd session of the UN General Assembly in New York, US. The President briefed the UN chief on the political and security situation in South Sudan, Somalia, Burundi and in the region

UN chief calls for meaningful youth engagement in peace efforts, not just symbolism

UN chief calls for ‘meaningful’ youth engagement in peace efforts, not just symbolism

Source: UN News Center, 21 September 2017 

Women and girls in Monrovia, Liberia, staged a peaceful sit-in protest against gender-based violence in 2007. UN Photo/Eric Kanalstein

21 September 2017 – Young people must be meaningful partners in conflict prevention and sustaining peace, and the United Nations should think outside the box on how to relate to youth globally, Secretary-General António Guterres told a ministerial event held today on the margins of the General Assembly’s annual debate.

“Young women and men and their contributions to peace should stand at the very core of what will become our new common approach,” Mr. Guterres said, explaining that he has set in motion reforms to rethink the UN’s work on preventing war and sustaining peace.

The event, co-chaired by Jordan and Norway, was held in support of Security Council Resolution 2250, a ground-breaking resolution adopted in 2015 which recognizes that “young people play an important and positive role in the maintenance and promotion of international peace and security.”

Mr. Guterres noted that in today’s uncertain and unsettling world, young people find themselves left out of decision-making and increasingly unemployed.

“We must do better in bridging these gaps and drawing on the enormous initiative, energy and ideas of the world’s young people. We must make the most of the power of young women and men as drivers of a culture of peace,” he said.

In a larger sense, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by UN Member States in 2015, provides a tremendous foundation for action, he said, as it rightly defines young people as “critical agents of change” and as a priority across its 17 Goals.

“In all we do, our destination is clear: empowerment,” he said. “We must commit to engaging young people fully – not as a symbol or to simply check a box. The goal must be meaningful participation.”

In June, Mr. Guterres appointed Jayathma Wickramanayake as his Envoy on Youth to advance youth rights and priorities.

UN Chief hails transformative power of women’s economic empowerment

UN chief hails transformative power of women’s economic empowerment

Source: UN News Center, 19 September 2017

Secretary-General António Guterres (centre) speaks at the Women’s Economic Empowerment event, alongside Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director (right), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina of Bangladesh (left), Priti Patel, Member of UK Parliament, and President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica. Photo: UN Women

19 September 2017 – Extoling the benefits of women’s economic empowerment, both for economies as well as societies as a whole, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today encouraged governments, the private sector, multilateral institutions and others to take measures to achieve the full and equal participation of women in the economy.

“Women’s economic empowerment contributes to more stable and resilient economies, and more peaceful societies,” Mr. Guterres said in his remarks to the meeting of the High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment, held at UN Headquarters.

“It is also a necessary condition for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals,” he added, referring to the set of goals world leaders pledged to achieve by 2030 to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Today’s event, entitled “Leave No One Behind: Actions and Commitments for Women’s Economic Empowerment,” was meant to take forward the recommendations made by the High-Level Panel in a report released in March of this year.

It is the time to take concrete measures to realize our shared vision of gender equality and women’s rights in the economy.

The report stressed that building women’s economic empowerment must be done in ways that leaves nobody behind, particularly the most marginalized women at the bottom of the pyramid. It also acknowledged that gender inequalities remain persistent across the world, but they can be overcome if barriers are removed.

In his remarks, Mr. Guterres noted that currently, only 50 per cent of women of working age are in the labour force – compared to 77 per cent of men. In addition, women tend to be concentrated also in informal and precarious employment, and they are paid on average 23 per cent less than men and carry out at least two and a half times more unpaid household and care work.

“This is not only detrimental to women, it represents a loss for society as a whole,” he told the gathering, which included the participation of Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, International Monetary Fund Managing Director Christine Lagarde and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

“Studies show that, if women were able to participate equally in the economy, global GDP could increase by 26 per cent – the equivalent of $12 trillion dollars – by 2025,” he went on to note.

Mr. Guterres called for translating the Panel’s guidance into actions that will bring results for women and girls.

“It is the time to take concrete measures to realize our shared vision of gender equality and women’s rights in the economy.”

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka highlighted some of the actions taken by UN Women to address the work of the Panel, including the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance, with 20 major companies that have the biggest marketing and advertising budgets in the world – from Unilever to Google, to AT&T to Procter & Gamble and Facebook. “Their goal is to transform themselves so that they do not perpetuate stereotypes against women through their advertising and marketing,” she noted.UN Women also launched a flagship programming initiative called, “Making Every Woman and Girl Count,” which focuses on data collection and ensuring that it can provide disaggregated data to track the implementation of the SDGs.She also noted some of the areas where efforts need to be beefed-up, such as the need for more countries to ratify the ILO Convention on domestic workers, and addressing the rights of women with disabilities and those affected by conflict.

Why is the U.S. worried about Ethiopia? hare

Why is the U.S. worried about Ethiopia? hare

Source: Newsweek, Wednesday September 20, 2017
By Conor Gaffey

A demonstrator (left) dressed in military fatigues joins members of the Oromo, Ogaden and Amhara communities in Johannesburg as they protest against the crackdown in the restive Oromo and Amhara regions of Ethiopia, on August 18, 2016. Clashes on the border between Ethiopia’s two biggest regions have killed at least 50 and displaced more than 50,000 in the past week. GULSHAN KHAN/AFP/Getty

Ethiopia is a major U.S. ally in Africa. The government in Addis Ababa has long cooperated with Washington on security and counterterrorism while benefiting generously from U.S. aid. In 2016, the U.S. pledged $809 million to Ethiopia, behind only war-torn South Sudan and Kenya, another Western ally, in sub-Saharan Africa.

But the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa struck an urgent and concerned tone on Tuesday when it issued a statement saying it was “disturbed by the troubling reports” on “ethnic violence and the large-scale displacement of people” along the border between the country’s two largest regions, Oromia and Somali.

“We urge the Ethiopian government to conduct a transparent investigation into all allegations of violence and to hold those responsible accountable,” said the embassy’s statement.

“At the same time, on the local level, communities must be encouraged and given space to seek peaceful resolutions to the underlying conflicts.”

Ethiopia has a federal government with oversight over regional authorities, and regions are largely demarcated along ethnic and linguistic lines. Oromos, the largest ethnic group in Ethiopia, tend to be farmers, while Somalis are often pastoralists, and the border has been a flashpoint for conflicts over grazing land and natural resources in the past, according to the BBC.

The latest outbreak of violence has killed at least 50 people and displaced more than 50,000, according to Reuters. But the cause is not yet clear, since both sides are blaming each other. Officials in Oromia have blamed raids by a paramilitary force from the Somali region, known as the Liyu police, as a major cause of the violence. But the Somali regional government has rejected that claim and accused the government in Oromia of sympathizing with the Oromo Liberation Front, a group seeking self-determination for Oromos, which is a banned terrorist organization in Ethiopia.

The clashes pose a delicate challenge for Ethiopia’s federal government and come only months after serious unrest in Oromia and other regions, which began with protests in November 2015 upon plans to expand the territory of Addis Ababa.

Security forces killed 669 people during the unrest, mostly in Oromia, according to an investigation mandated by the Ethiopian parliament. Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn imposed a repressive state of emergency in October 2016 that lasted for 10 months and was only lifted in August as the clashes subsided.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn addresses a summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York, on September 25, 2015. Andrew Kelly/Reuters

The prime minister announced at the weekend that federal police would be sent in to guard roads crossing the neighboring regions, while regional security forces were ordered to withdraw from the borderlands. Desalegn also met with religious leaders and elders in a bid to create a lasting solution to the border dispute, the Chinese news agency Xinhua reported. A 2004 referendum was supposed to resolve the issue, but both sides have accused each other of noncompliance with the result.

It seems that American eyes will be watching Desalegn and the Ethiopian government closely as they seek a solution to the violence.

“We believe Ethiopia’s future as a strong, prosperous and democratic nation depends on open and inclusive political dialogue for all Ethiopians, greater government transparency, and strengthening the institutions of democracy and justice,” said the U.S. embassy statement.

“These recent events underscore the need to make more rapid and concrete progress on reform in these areas.”

Somali book-fair to give Mogadishu a new cultural lease on life hare

Somali book-fair to give Mogadishu a new cultural lease on life hare

Source: SABC
Sunday September 17, 2017

The bombed-out cities of Somalia are synonymous with militant insurgency, pirates and famine. But there is hope that the annual Somali book-fair might give the scarred capital Mogadishu, a new cultural lease on life.

For the first time since its inception three years ago the Somali book-fair has attracted foreign authors. A sign of slowly improving security as government troops win back territory from militants.

“The first year when we started in 2015, some of the authors were a little iffy about appearing in media and coming, especially that there were also non- Somalis coming also to visit and some of the authors were a bit spectacle but it looks like now almost three years later things are much better,”  says  Somali’s Mohamed Diini .

This is despite the 60 guards outside the hotel and the plainclothes security inside. The Al Shabaab militia was pushed out of the capital in 2011, but it continues to mount almost daily bomb attacks and assassinations. However that did not stop 31 authors from presenting their books at the fair.

Fartumo Kusow is a Somali-Canadian fiction writer returning home for the first time in 25 years.

“The image that I see on TV is not what I saw when I came here. What I see here is actually worse than what I expected to see, so the image of that never ending earthquake that comes to mind. It’s not really a point 5 that kind of destroys everything, it’s a kind of like medium scale kind of like 4.55 but causes enough destruction but not a wipe-out.”

Others came to show solidarity.

“The ABCs of Rwanda is a book that is teaching not only Rwandans but also people outside Rwanda to appreciate our culture. In Rwanda when you hear Rwanda you hear genocide because many of the books what we were written about Rwanda only talk about the genocide and we wanted to release a book that is talking about other things that is not just focusing on the genocide because Rwanda is now a happy country,” says Rwandan Author Dominik Alonga.

Somalia’s economy is still picking up slowly as efforts to rebuild continue. The African Union peacekeeping force with soldiers from Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda, Burundi and Djibouti continue to fight al Shabaab insurgents. The force plans to start withdrawing from the country in 2018.

Somalia facing complex immediate and long-term challenges, UN Security Council told

Somalia facing complex immediate and long-term challenges, UN Security Council told are

Source: UN News Center, Thursday September 14, 2017

A wide view of the Security Council Chamber as Michael Keating (left on screen), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), briefs the Council via video link. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe
A wide view of the Security Council Chamber as Michael Keating (left on screen), Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), briefs the Council via video link. UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe

Highlighting complex immediate and long-term challenges in Somalia, the head of the United Nations Assistance Mission in the country (UNSOM) called for practical support, as well as political encouragement to the Somali leadership, both at the Federal and the state levels.

“The worst of the famine threat has been averted [but] damage to lives and livelihoods, particularly women, children and marginalised groups, has been extensive,” said Michael Keating, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, briefing the Security Council.

“An imperative for Somalis is to escape the vicious cycle of recurring weather-related shocks,” he added.

Another pressing issue before the country, Mr. Keating said, is of political problems becoming complicated by ill-defined relationships between various branches of the State, and in such a situation, the Federal Government’s management of the situation to prevent them from threatening progress on core objectives and the stability of the state was crucial.

In that context, he highlighted that the working relationship between the President and the Prime Minister as well as the determination of the federal Government to deliver “tangible economic and security benefits” for the population is very encouraging.

He also highlighted progress on preparing and passing important laws, such as the Telecommunications Bill and the Human Rights Commission Act, and said that completing the constitutional review was a critical task for the successful holding of elections in 2020-2021.

“The legislative framework and agreement on the electoral model are urgently needed,” he said, adding that these would help dispel scepticism on whether Somalia can move away from the so-called “4.5 model” to universal suffrage.

Realizing vast economic potential depends on addressing political issues

Highlighting the country’s economic potential in sectors ranging from agribusiness, livestock, fisheries, trade to renewable and other energy sources, Mr. Keating stressed that realizing the potential is contingent upon success in reaching a political settlement between the Government and the private sector, as well as on Government policies and capacities to implement them.

“A critical requirement will be raising revenues, whether from domestic sources or by accessing concessional finance,” he said, noting the Prime Minister’s appeal for immediate budget support to allow the Government to deliver on jobs and security, and to strengthen relations with Federal Member States by means of fiscal transfers.

The UN envoy also informed the Security Council of the UN-World Bank collaboration to devise a “surge support” package for public works, and urged partners to follow the European Union (EU), Norway and Sweden’s lead to use Recurrent Cost and Reform Financing Facility to that end.

Mogadishu is safer, but larger security situation volatile

Further in his briefing, Mr. Keating noted security improvements in the capital, Mogadishu, but added that the Al-Shabaab terrorist groups continues remains a potent threat that the overall security situation in Somalia remains volatile.

“Addressing insecurity and the continuing threat from Al-Shabaab requires vigorous implementation of the National Security Architecture Agreement and of the Comprehensive Approach to Security,” he said, noting that international partners have started working on its components.

He also underscored the need to ensure predictable funding for the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) given that it continues to play an indispensable role in protecting Somali progress and people and as national security forces are not yet ready to shoulder full responsibilities.

At the same time, Mr. Keating added, support should also continue for the Somali security forces to strengthen their capacity.

Concluding his briefing, he informed that the UN is working with the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the African Union, the European Union (EU) and other partners to strengthen national conflict resolution capacities as well as to facilitate agreements in specific locations.

US Sanctions South Sudanese Leaders

US Sanctions South Sudanese Leaders

Source: Foreign Policy, Posted: 06 Sep 2017 05:12 PM PDT

Foreign Policy published on 6 September 2017 an article titled “U.S. Sanctions South Sudanese Leaders” by Martin de Bourmont and Robbie Gramer.

The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control levied sanctions against several senior officials who are close to South Sudanese President Salva Kiir. U.S. parties cannot do business with them or any company they own 50 percent or more of in the aggregate.

The Four Famines: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria

The Four Famines: Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan and Nigeria

Source: The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS),  Posted: 06 Sep 2017 05:42 PM PDT

The Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) held on 6 September 2017 a conference on and published a Q and A titled “The Four Famines: The Alarm Bells Are Ringing, But Who Is Listening?” by Kimberly Flowers, CSIS director for the Global Food Security Project.

Almost 21 million people are at risk of starving in Yemen, Somalia, South Sudan, and northeastern Nigeria. Where there are various explanations for the food shortages, all four potential famines have one thing in common: conflict.

Somalia: Chief justice suspends 18 judges

Somalia: Chief justice suspends 18 judges


Source: Memo Middle East Monitor, Wednesday September 6, 2017

Somalia’s Chief Justice Ibrahim Iidle Saleeban today suspended 18 judges in the capital Mogadishu, in response to public complaints about their rulings, according to the state news agency SONNA.

Six of the judges – the Banadir Regional Court chief and the Abdiaziz and Hamar Jajab district court chairs, plus three judges from the Banadir Regional Court – had been appointed by Hassan Sheikh Mohamoud, the country’s previous president.

Three judges from the Regional Appeals Court were also suspended.

Also suspended were the chairs of the following court districts: Shangani, Yaqshiid, Dharkinley, Hamarweyne, Dayniile and also four judges operating in Hamar Jajab, Dayniile, Yaqshiid and Dharkinley.

On 8 February, incoming President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo promised reforms to the county’s judiciary and the suspension of the 18 judges is seen as the first step in that direction.

U.K. issues Eritrea security alert, cautions against travel to all borders

U.K. issues Eritrea security alert, cautions against travel to all borders hare

Source: africanews, Tuesday September 5, 2017

The United Kingdom (U.K.) on Monday (September 4) renewed its travel advisory for Eritrea cautioning its citizens against all travel to borders of the country.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said nationals should avoid all travel within 25km of Eritrea’s border with Ethiopia and Djibouti – in the case of Ethiopia, due to border tensions dating back to 2008.

The same advice was issued with respect to Sudan with specific mention of Eritrean towns like Tesseney and Barentu all located in the country’s south-west.

Constraints on travel within Eritrea means the British embassy in Asmara is unable to offer consular assistance to British nationals outside Asmara.

A summary of the latest update read as follows: “constraints on travel within Eritrea means the British embassy in Asmara is unable to offer consular assistance to British nationals outside Asmara.

“Entry requirements section (Visas & Foreign currency) – visa applications can take a significant amount of time to process, so you should plan well ahead; you should be aware that you won’t be permitted to take more than 500 nafka (ERN) out of Eritrea.”

The British Embassy, the advisory added, was constrained in assistance that it could offer citizens who were outside of the capital, Asmara. “Six British nationals were provided with consular assistance in Eritrea in 2016,” the statement added.

Hunger crises will escalate unless we invest more in addressing root causes, say UN food agency chiefs on visit to drought-hit Ethiopia

Hunger crises will escalate unless we invest more in addressing root causes, say UN food agency chiefs on visit to drought-hit Ethiopia


Source: FAO, Tuesday September 5, 2017
Leaders of FAO, IFAD and WFP wrap up four-day visit to see drought-response

Speaking at the conclusion of a four-day visit to Ethiopia, including to the drought-stricken Somali region, the heads of the United Nations food agencies made a joint call for greater investment in long-term activities that strengthen people’s resilience to drought and the impacts of climate shocks.

José Graziano da Silva, Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), Gilbert F. Houngbo, President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), and David Beasley, Executive Director of the World Food Programme (WFP), made their plea after they visited projects that treat dwindling herds to limit further livestock deaths and met drought-affected people receiving food rations.

“This drought has been going on for a long time and we have lost much of our livestock,” Hajiji Abdi, a community elder, told them. “If we didn’t get food assistance, we would be in big trouble – but this is still not enough to feed us all.”

Back-to-back droughts have left at least 8.5 million people in Ethiopia in need of food aid. In the Somali region, rains have failed for the third consecutive year. The death of many livestock has caused a breakdown in pastoral livelihoods, contributing to soaring hunger levels and alarming increases in malnutrition rates. While the emergency response led by the Government has begun to stabilize the situation, additional resources are still urgently needed to prevent any further deterioration.

“It is essential to invest in preparedness and provide farmers and rural communities with knowledge and tools to safeguard themselves and their livelihoods.

We’ve witnessed here that saving livelihoods means saving lives – it is people’s best defense against drought,” said Graziano da Silva, Director-General of FAO, the organization that is providing emergency livelihood support for drought-affected livestock owners and farmers, as well as support to stabilize communities’ long-term resilience.

“A drought does not need to become an emergency,” said Houngbo, President of IFAD, the agency that provides the government with loans, grants and technical expertise for rural development projects. “We know what works. In the Somali region, where there is investment in irrigation systems, water points, rural financial institutions, health and veterinary services and other long-term development projects, the communities can better sustain themselves and their livestock through this devastating drought. This is what we need to build on.”

“We have seen clearly here that working together the three UN food agencies can achieve much more than alone,” said Beasley, head of WFP, which is providing life-saving assistance to 3.3 million people in the Somali region, the epicentre of three years of drought.

“Of course we already collaborate, but now we will take these models and replicate them and scale them up across the world. We need to save lives while investing to support sustainable, resilient environments for communities across the globe so they prosper and succeed.”

The impact of long-term development projects undertaken by the three food agencies was evident in the Tigray region, where agency heads saw irrigation schemes, fruit nurseries and health centres that are boosting productivity, increasing incomes and improving nutrition so that rural people can better withstand external shocks like droughts.

All three agencies are working closely with the Government of Ethiopia to eliminate hunger in the country. In meetings with Deputy Prime Minister Demeke Mekonen and other high-level government representatives they discussed the need for greater collaboration and investment in resilience.

South Sudan Refugee Crisis

South Sudan Refugee Crisis

Source: Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Posted: 25 Aug 2017 08:27 AM PDT

Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN) published on 17 August 2017 an article titled “A War without End: Neighbors Carry the Burden of South Sudan’s Fleeing Millions” by Sam Okiror, IRIN contributor based in Kampala.

More than a million South Sudanese refugees have now crossed the border into Uganda in what is the world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis. An additional million or more South Sudanese refugees have fled to Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Central African Republic.

Is US Planning to Lift Some Sudanese Sanctions?

Is US Planning to Lift Some Sudanese Sanctions?

Source: The Washington Post, Posted: 29 Aug 2017 08:42 AM PDT

The Washington Post published on 28 August 2017 an article titled “Director Green Visits Darfur as U.S. Considers Lifting Sanctions on Sudan” by Carol Morello.

The recent visit to Darfur by the director of the U.S. Agency for International Development is apparently linked to the on-going U.S. government review of long-standing sanctions against Sudan. The article suggests the possibility that some sanctions may be removed.

Turkey set to open military training camp in Somalia

Turkey set to open military training camp in Somalia are

Hiiraan Online
Wednesday August 23, 2017

Turkish troops arriving in Mogadishu for the opening of the military training facility

Source: Mogadishu Hiiraan Online (HOL) – Turkey is expected to launch its largest overseas military training facility in Somalia’s capital in September.

The Turkish Ambassador to Somalia, Olgan Bekar arrived in Mogadishu on Wednesday with members of the Turkish Armed Forces who are involved in the opening of the military facility.

According to Turkish media,  the military base will be located in the Jazeera district on the outskirts of Mogadishu. 200 Turkish troops will train up to 10,000 soldiers at a time who will be housed in any one of three military schools.

Construction on the 400-hectare military base began in March 2015 and cost close to $50 million.

Turkey has been active in Somalia since 2011 when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan made a surprise visit to the east Africa nation. Since then, Turkey has spent almost $1 billion in aid and assistance to Somalia, according to the Mehmet Şimşek, Turkey’s deputy prime minister. Last week, a Turkish Airlines plane carried more than 60 tons of food aid to Mogadishu.

Hundreds of Thousands Flee Drought in Somalia

Hundreds of Thousands Flee Drought in Somalia

Source: Refugees International, Posted: 22 Aug 2017 05:54 AM PDT

Refugees International published in August 2017 a report titled “On the Edge of Disaster: Somalis Forced to Flee Drought and Near Famine Conditions” by Mark Yarnell and Alice Thomas.

More than 800.000 Somalis have been forced to flee their homes and villages in order to reach humanitarian aid. This report details the desperate circumstances of newly displaced families who have arrived in urban areas where assistance is available.

Egypt’s Sisi assures Somali counterpart of Cairo’s support for Somalia

Egypt’s Sisi assures Somali counterpart of Cairo’s support for Somalia harehare

Source: Ahramonline, Monday August 21, 2017

Egypt’s President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi stressed Egypt’s support for Somalia at a meeting with Somali President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo on Sunday in Cairo, a presidential statement read.

This is the first time El-Sisi has received his Somali counterpart since he was elected in February 2017

El-Sisi hailed the “distinguished and historical relations between Egypt and Somalia, stressing Egypt’s intention to continue to provide all support to Somalia during the next phase to build and consolidate the institutions of the state, especially the Somali National Army.”

El-Sisi added that the two countries will continue cooperation in programmes and courses organised by the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development (EAPD), and promised an increase in scholarships offered by Egypt.

The EAPD, established in mid-2014, focuses on transferring technical knowledge and humanitarian assistance, organising training courses and workshops, as well as contributing in funding and in mobilising funds for development projects.

The Egyptian president also expressed Cairo’s interest in following up on the consolidation of the various aspects of bilateral cooperation with Somalia, particularly in the economic and trade fields and in fishing and animal farming.

The Somali president praised Egypt’s historic role in supporting Somalia during various stages.

Farmajo also welcomed strengthening economic and trade relations, saying there are opportunities to develop cooperation in many sectors.

According to Somali newspaper Somali Update, the visit “comes amid growing pressure by the Saudi Kingdom on the Federal Government of Somalia over its neutral position on the current Gulf diplomatic crisis.”

This is the fifth official meeting this week between El-Sisi and African counterparts, following an African tour that included Tanzania, Rwanda, Gabon and Chad, where he held talks on fostering mutual economic and trade ties.

Smugglers target Ethiopian, Somali teens for deadly trip to Yemen

Smugglers target Ethiopian, Somali teens for deadly trip to Yemen hare

Source: VOA, Sunday August 20, 2017
by Salem Solomon

Ethiopian migrants walk after arriving to Yemen’s shore on a smugglers boat in the southern province of Shabwa, Yemen, Aug. 11, 2017.

Despite being seven months pregnant, Mesno Taha left her home in Harerge, Ethiopia to find peace and a better future. She trekked to the Somali zone of Ethiopia, crossed the border into Somalia and paid to board a boat bound for Yemen.

After traveling 18 hours at sea, she ended up near the shore of the war-torn country.

Taha said that she and over 100 other migrants aboard were told that they had arrived at their destination, despite still being at sea. Armed smugglers forced Taha to jump off the boat into the choppy water while its engine continued to run.

“They were beating us. They were pulling the women by their hair and pushing them around. We were holding hands with the two women whom we [later] buried,” Taha told VOA’s Afaan Oromoo service by phone last week. “He grabbed the three of us and pushed us. The two of them died, and I survived with the grace of God.”

Smugglers intentionally pushed people

In separate incidents on August 8 and 9, smugglers forced about 300 people from their boats as they approached the coast of Shabwa, Yemen on the Arabian Sea. The migrants were from Ethiopia and Somalia. Several dozen migrants drowned and dozens more remain missing. Shortly after the first incident, staff from the U.N.’s International Organization for Migration found shallow graves of 29 migrants on a nearby beach.

The smugglers pushed some of them into the sea at gunpoint. Some survivors reported that the smugglers feared being arrested by Yemeni authorities.

“If the Yemeni air force sees them, they wouldn’t let them go. So, after they get what they want, they don’t have sympathy for people. They throw people as they wish, like objects,” said Jemal Kebelo Guracha, a witness who spoke to VOA’s Amharic service.

Teenaged migrants

Most of the people aboard were children. Sayo Ahmed, a 17-year-old orphan, traveled from Ethiopia and found herself in one of the two boats. Ahmed hadn’t seen her brother for months after Ethiopian authorities arrested him, so she took the risk of fleeing.

“I don’t have a father or a mother. I have one brother, and the government took him for participating in protests. We don’t know where he is, and then I gave up and decided to leave my country,” she told VOA’s Afaan Oromoo service.

Olivia Headon, spokeswoman for the IOM, says that Ahmed was one of the many teenagers in the two boats. This fact is “shocking,” Headon told VOA, because “the average age of these Somali and Ethiopian migrants was approximately 16. They are children.”

Extortion, rape and forced at gunpoint

The incidents off the coast of Shabwa illustrate the tactics smugglers use to protect themselves while jeopardizing migrants’ lives.

Smugglers use false promises and intimidation to convince refugees and migrants, many of whom are children, to travel in dangerous, unpredictable circumstances. Then, smugglers load them on rickety vessels, often without lifejackets or adequate hydration.

Smugglers abuse migrants to maintain control and maximize profits. “People are being abused and raped en route so that their families will pay more…Some people are paying as little as $100 U.S., but then en route they are tortured, they are abused, their families are made aware of this and are forced to pay $1,000 or to $2,000 more,” Headon said.

‘Better to die traveling’

Despite disease, war and famine-like conditions, Yemen has become a popular layover for African migrants traveling to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states. “When you ask them if they knew that there is war in this country, they say it is better to die traveling instead of sitting where we were,” Guracha said. Last year, more than 117,000 people arrived in Yemen, according to the UNHCR. This year, over 50,000 people, most of whom are children from Ethiopia and Somalia, reached Yemen via the Gulf of Aden or the Red Sea, according to estimates from the IOM.

Searching for peace

Poverty, famine, conflict, disease and civil unrest force young people in Ethiopia and Somalia from their homes, sometimes at the request of their parents. These parents hope their children can escape, find employment, and send money back home. In other cases, young people’s family members have died or been imprisoned, leaving little reason for them to remain in their homes. Taha said she left her home because her husband is in prison, and she has no children. She said he was jailed during protests by Ethiopia’s Oromo ethnic group advocating for land rights and equal political representation.

“It’s been two months since my husband has been imprisoned due to the protests. Ethiopian authorities pressured me to tell them what type of political agenda he has, and I left because of that,” Taha said. “They continuously asked me questions and threatened me. There was even a time when they slapped me. We don’t know why my husband is arrested. We couldn’t find him in any of the prisons. He could be dead. His name is Hassan Jamal and his parents couldn’t find him after searching.”

Those migrants who survived the perilous journey to Yemen looked after one another and buried those who had died. Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s director of operations and emergencies, wrote about the migrants’ care for one another in a recent post.

“The sight of some 50 bodies buried in shallow graves, rapidly dug by the young hands of the distraught survivors in an attempt to bring some dignity to their dead companions was also deeply shocking to our team.”

South Sudan refugees in Uganda exceed one million; UN renews appeal for help

South Sudan refugees in Uganda exceed one million; UN renews appeal for help

Source: UN News Center, 17 August 2017

The Imvepi refugee camp in the Arua district, northern Uganda. Seen here are refugees waiting for additional profiling. They will then wait to be relocated to different zones within the camp. UN Photo/Mark Garten

17 August 2017 – As the number of refugees from South Sudan in Uganda passes one million – the vast majority of whom are women and children – the United Nations refugee agency today reiterated its call for urgent additional support.

“Over the past 12 months, an average of 1,800 South Sudanese have been arriving in Uganda every day,” said the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in a statement to the press.

“In addition to the million there, a million or even more South Sudanese refugees are being hosted by Sudan, Ethiopia, Kenya, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Central African Republic,” it added.

More than 85 per cent of the refugees who have arrived in Uganda are women and children, below age 18 years.

“Recent arrivals continue to speak of barbaric violence, with armed groups reportedly burning down houses with civilians inside, people being killed in front of family members, sexual assaults of women and girls, and kidnapping of boys for forced conscription,” emphasized UNHCR, explaining that even as thousands of refugees arrive, aid deliveries are increasingly falling short.

The UN agency underscored that although $674 million is needed for South Sudanese refugees in Uganda this year, so far only a fifth of this amount, or 21 per cent, has been received.

“Elsewhere in the region, the picture is only marginally better,” the statement continued, saying that while a total of $883.5 million is needed for the South Sudan situation, only $250 million has been received.

The funding shortfall in Uganda is now significantly impacting the abilities to deliver life-saving aid and key basic services.

“In June, the World Food Programme was forced to cut food rations for refugees. Across settlements in northern Uganda, health clinics are being forced to provide vital medical care with too few doctors, healthcare workers and medicines,” UNHCR elaborated.

Meanwhile, schooling is also being impacted. Class sizes often exceed 200 pupils, with some lessons held in the open air. Many refugee children are dropping out of education as the nearest schools are too far away for them to easily access.

“Since December 2013, when South Sudan’s crisis erupted in Juba, more than two million South Sudanese have fled to neighbouring countries, while another two million people are estimated to be internally displaced,” concluded the statement.

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Marking World Humanitarian Day, UN urges protection for civilians in armed conflict

Marking World Humanitarian Day, UN urges protection for civilians in armed conflict

Source: UN News, Center, 18 August 2017


Staff stand together at United Nations Headquarters in New York to draw attention that civilians are #NotATarget. Photo: UN News/Paulina Carvajal

18 August 2017 – Civilians in conflict are not a target, top United Nations officials today stressed at a special event marking World Humanitarian Day, which honours aid workers and pays homage to those killed in service, while also drawing attention to the millions of people today living in war zones.

“For the millions of people caught in conflict, struggling to find food, water, and safe shelter; who have been driven from their homes with little hope of return; whose schools have been bombed; and who await life-saving medical care – we cannot afford to fail,” Secretary-General António Guterres said, urging each person and country to stand in solidarity with civilians in conflict.

Standing at Headquarters in New York alongside UN aid workers and staff who lost colleagues in war zones, the Secretary-General lent his support to the #NotATarget,” campaign, which highlights the need to protect civilians caught in conflict, including humanitarian and medical workers.

Joining Mr. Guterres to mark World Humanitarian Day, which is officially commemorated on 19 August, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Stephen O’Brien spoke of the challenges faced by aid workers around the word.

“Last year, 288 aid workers were targeted in 158 attacks. In the past three months alone, relief workers have been shelled and shot at, kidnapped and killed in Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Syria,” he said. “This is blatantly unacceptable.”

VIDEO: Remarks Secretary-General António Guterres at the “Stand Together” event to mark World Humanitarian Day 2017.

Earlier in the week, the UN and partners launched the #NotATarget petition urging global leaders do more to ensure the rules of war are upheld and civilians are protected in armed conflicts.

With more than 10,500 signatures, the petitioners demand that world leaders do more to protect people trapped in conflicts, with a particular focus on those living in urban areas, children, targets of sexual violence, forcibly displaced people, humanitarian workers and health workers.

The petition will be presented to the Secretary-General during the high-level General Assembly, which opens on 12 September this year.

The UN General Assembly designated 19 August as World Humanitarian Day in 2008, selecting the date to coincide with the anniversary of the deadly 2003 bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad.

Originally coined by Médecins Sans Frontières in 2015, the #NotATarget hashtag is being used in the World Humanitarian Day digital campaign this year to call for action on behalf of all civilians trapped in conflicts.

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