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APO Group - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa

Press releases from Africa-Neswroom.com
APO Group - Africa-Newsroom: latest news releases related to Africa
  1. Urgent concern for individuals detained in unknown locations and dozens still in detention amidst release of Sudan 2018 detainees

    The African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS) welcomes the announcement of the release of 80 political detainees but remains concerned that dozens more are still being held incommunicado, without charge or trial. ACJPS is aware of at least 71 detainees still under NISS custody who were arrested during the crackdown on the 2018 peaceful protests.

    According to a news report published in Al Intibaha newspaper, traditionally affiliated with the ruling National Congress Party, Lt. Gen Abdallah, the Director of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS), is quoted to have stated that the release of the remaining detainees will be determined by the behavior of the political parties they are affiliated to. The conditional release of the remaining detainees based on a recent statement made by Lt. Gen Salah Abdallah, raises concern about the detainees’ right to liberty of person and their access to other procedural guarantees.

    ACJPS has serious concerns for the physical safety of 14 individuals who are being detained in unknown locations. The lack of access for lawyers and family members to the detainees, together with the well-documented use by the NISS of torture and other forms of ill-treatment against detainees, particularly whilst held in unknown locations, gives rise to serious concerns for their safety. Incommunicado detention significantly enhances vulnerability to torture and other ill-treatment.

    The authorities detained several journalists as they covered the January 2018 protests and confiscated a number of national newspapers that attempted to cover the protests. Four journalists are still being held. They include: Kamal Karar from Al Midan newspaper affiliated with opposition Sudanese Communist Party; Ahmed Jadien, a journalist with Aljareeda independent newspaper; Mohamed Abdelmonim, a freelance journalist and Al Haj Elmauz, a journalist with Akhbar Alyoum newspaper. Authorities have often targeted journalists perceived to be critics of the regime with arbitrary arrests and prolonged detention including incommunicado. The continued arbitrary detention of journalists in response to their reporting on peaceful protests violates right to freedom of expression and free press as provided in article 39 of the Interim National Constitution of 2005 and international and regional human rights treaties that Sudan is a state party to.

    We urge the Government of Sudan to guarantee the physical safety of all detainees, grant them immediate and unequivocal access to their lawyers, family members and medical services, and release them in the absence of valid legal charges consistent with international standards. If such charges exist, the detainees should be brought promptly before an impartial, independent and competent tribunal and guarantee their procedural rights at all times. We also call on authorities to inform the family members of those held in unknown locations, of the whereabouts of their loved ones.

    Continued arrests and detention in February 2018

    On 7 February, the NISS of South Kordofan re-arrested 18 students after the Criminal Court of Aldalang dropped charges against them. The 18 students were charged with offences under the 1991 Criminal Actin relation to their participation in a peaceful student protest staged after an officer of the Sudan Armed Forces indiscriminately shot and killed two students on the university campus. The conduct of the NISS indicates a lack of respect for the judicial process and the rule of law and violates the rights to fair trial and liberty and security of person.

    1. Mudathir Abdalla Mohamed, (m)
    2. Abdalla Ramadan Khatier, (m)
    3. Adam Abakar Adam, (m)
    4. Al-Fadil Mustafa Abdalla, (m)
    5. Abdalla Abakar Issa, (m)
    6. Hassan Suliman Jafar, (m)
    7. Rashid Ahmed Adam, (m)
    8. Mohamed Ismail Yagoub, (m)
    9. Abakar Omer Adam, (m)
    10. Abdulshafi Ibrahim, (m)
    11. Mahmoud Abakar Hamad, (m)
    12. Abdulhadi Ali Abdulrahman, (m)
    13. Tariq Jumaa, (m)
    14. Ahmed Omer Abdulrahman, (m)
    15. Nour Eldien Ali, (m)
    16. Hassan Abdalla, (m)
    17. Mohamed Ibrahim, (m)
    18. Ahmed Ishag Adam, (m)

    On 17 February, the NISS of South Kordofan transferred 6 students from the above-mentioned detainees to Khartoum and their whereabouts is unknown.  Their names are:

    1. Adam Abakar Adam, (m)
    2. Al-Fadil Mustafa Abdalla, (m)
    3. Hassan Suliman Jafar, (m)
    4. Rashid Ahmed Adam, (m)
    5. Mohamed Ismail Yagoub, (m)
    6. Mudathir Abdalla Mohamed, (m)

    On 19 February 2018, NISS of Khartoum arrested three members from the opposition Sudanese Communist Party and detained them and their whereabouts remain unknown. Reasons for their arrest are unknown, however it is suspected that their arrest could be connected to their political affiliation. The details of their arrest are as follows:

    1. Awaad Bashier was arrested from his workplace in Althura 24 neighborhood in Omdurman
    2. Salah Mohamed Issa was arrested from his home in Althura 9 neighborbood in Omdurman
    3. Sharif Abdulkarim was arrested from Althura neighborhood in Omdurman

    On 31 January, the NISS of Sinja town in Sennar state arrested five men for their participation in a peaceful demonstration against the rising prices of basic commodities. They were arrested from the main street near the Nile Sports Club in Sinja as during a protest raid by the NISS. On 1 February, the NISS transferred the five detainees from their office to the Sinja Police station where they were charged with offences under sections 69 (disturbance of public peace) and 77 (public nuisance) of the 1991 Sudanese Criminal Act and then released on bail.

    Immediately after a court session on 7 February, the five detainees were detained by the NISS and then transferred from NISS office in Sinja and taken an unknown location later that evening. They names of the five detainees are:

    1. Haidar Al-Hadi (m), a member of opposition Sudanese Communist Party
    2. Omer Aldan (m)
    3. Zarouq Mahjoob Basioni (m)
    4. Abdala Adam
    5. Yosef Alnaiem Tagali (m)

    Releases in February 2018

    On 19 February at 6PM, Mr. Mohamed Abdallah Aldouma, the Chairperson of the Darfur Bar Association was transferred from Shalla Prison, in North Darfur and brought to Kober Prison in Khartoum and thereafter released at about 9 PM the same day. Mr. Aldouma, was arrested on 17 January 2018 as he took part in a protest in Omdurman. On 26 January, Mr. Aldouma was transferred from Khartoum to Shalla Prison in North Darfur.

    On 19 February 2018, the NISS of Al Obeid in North Kordofan released two students of Kordofan University after spending nine days in custody. The two students were arrested and detained incommunicado by the NISS on 10 February 2018. According to a reliable source, their arrest is in relation to their participation in a student protest that was organized at the University on 7 February 2018. They include:

    1. Mohamed Eltigani Zain Albadein
    2. Khalid Mohamed “Alyounani”

    On 18 February, at least ten female detainees were released from Kober Prison shortly after the NISS held a press conference to announce the release of individuals detained in relation to their participation in the January 2018 protests. They include:

    1. Amel Habani, a journalist with Al Tagheer online newspaper.
    2. Nahid Jabrallah, human rights defender and Director of the Sima Centre for Training and Protection of Women and Children’s Rights.
    3. Sarah Nugdallah, Secretary General of the opposition National Umma Party
    4. Hanan Hassan Khalifa, a human rights lawyer
    5. Sheima Ibrahim Elsheikh, an activist and a daughter to Mr. Ibrahim Elsheikh, former president of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party.
    6. Isra Ibrahim Elsheikh, an activist and a daughter to Mr. Ibrahim Elsheikh, former president of the opposition Sudanese Congress Party.
    7. Naglla Mohamed Ali
    8. Areeg Abdalla
    9. Suhair Ali Daif Alla
    10. Abeer Alsheikh Abdulgadir

    On 18 February, the NISS released eight University students from their custody after detaining them incommunicado for six days. The eight students were arrested on 12 February by the NISS from central Khartoum and detained incommunicado at an unknown location. The students are members of Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Movement/ North (SPLM/ N) affiliated with Malik Agar faction. Their names are:

    1. Alkmaar Al-Safi (m)
    2. Mohamed Abdulkariem (m)
    3. Zahara Mursaal (f)
    4. Arieeg Abdalla (f)
    5. Jouhar Ibrahim (m)
    6. Yasir Adam (m)
    7. Hamza Ali (m)
    8. Mahir Mohamed (m)

    On 18 February, the NISS of Khartoum released 12 individuals from their custody after spending 11 days in detention. The 12 detainees were arrested on 7 February as they took part in a peaceful protest in Aljareef, in Khartoum and detained at the NISS offices in Khartoum Bahri. They include:

    1. Ahmed Alsaid (m)
    2. Abdulrahman “ Altash” (m)
    3. Yahiya Alfahal (m)
    4. Mohamed Nasur Eldien (m)
    5. Mujtaba Mudardam (m)
    6. Albraa Abdalla (m)
    7. Alla Abdulrahim(f)
    8. Muamar Algazafi Musa (m)
    9. Mahmoud Sidig (m)
    10. Younies Alnaiem (m)
    11. Muatz Ahmed Anile (m)
    12. Rania Musa (f)

    On February 12, Ms. Rawa Jafar Bakhit, a human rights defender was released from NISS custody. Ms. Bakhit was arrested on 17 January 2018 as she took part in a protest in Omdurman. Whilst in detention, Ms. Bakhit was being held at the Omdurman Women’s Prison.

    Detainees still in detention

    From 6 January to 6 February, the security forces arbitrarily arrested and detained scores of Sudanese citizens including opposition political party leaders, human rights defenders/activists, journalists, student activists and others during a crackdown on peaceful protests that were sparked off by the announcement of new austerity measures at the beginning of 2018. About 82 detainees have been released following an announcement by the NISS however many more still remain in detention. ACJPS is currently aware of 71 Sudanese citizens including journalists, human rights defenders and opposition political party leaders in detention. Their names are on ACJPS file.

    Background

    On 18 February at 6 PM, a press conference was held at Kober Prison in Khartoum following an announcement from the media department of the National Intelligence and Security Services that mentioned the release of all detainees. Mr. Abdulrhman Alsadiq Almhadi, the Sudanese Presidential Assistant, announced the release 80 political detainees following a presidential directive. At about 9 PM, three hours after the press conference, the first set of detainees was released. It has however been observed that those released include female detainees, students and political leaders mainly from the opposition National Umma Party. Many opposition political leaders from the Sudanese Congress Party and Sudanese Communist Party and a few leaders from Al-Baath Party are still in detention, and in most cases incommunicado.

    On 11 February, the President of Sudan returned Lt. Gen. Salah Abdallah Gosh to the position of Director of NISS. Mr. Abdallah previously served as Director of the NISS until 2009. On 22 November 2012, he was arrested and detained along with other security officials and accused of plotting a coup. He was released in early July 2013 on presidential pardon.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of African Centre for Justice and Peace Studies (ACJPS).

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  2. United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees shocked over reports of refugee deaths in Rwanda

    This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Cécile Pouilly – to whom quoted text may be attributed – at today’s press briefing at the Palais des Nations in Geneva:

    UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is urging authorities in Rwanda to ensure safety and protection for refugees after protests led to the tragic deaths of at least five refugees and the injury of many others – including the members of the police force – on Thursday. We are shocked and disturbed at loss of refugee lives.

    Around 700 Congolese refugees from Kiziba refugee camp were demonstrating outside the UNHCR field office in Karongi, in western Rwanda. The protests, ongoing since February 20, were related to food ration cuts that have added to the refugees' sense of despair and lack of long-term prospective. Police were reported to have used teargas to disperse the protestors, after attempts to resolve the situation had failed. Clashes were reported before the police fired shots at angry protestors.

    We regret that our continued appeals for maintaining calm and restraint were not considered. This tragedy should have been avoided and disproportionate use of force against desperate refugees is not acceptable. UNHCR calls on authorities to refrain from further use of force and to investigate the circumstances of this tragic incident.

    UNHCR appeals to refugee leaders to show a sense of responsibility to avoid further confrontation and again urges them to respect laws and seek solutions to all their grievances through peaceful negotiations.

    Underfunding has severely affected humanitarian operations in Rwanda, now with deadly consequences. UNHCR’s 2018 appeal for US$98.8 million to support refugees in Rwanda is only is 2 per cent funded.

    Kiziba refugee camp hosts over 17,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Over 173,000 refugees from the DRC and Burundi live in six camps in Rwanda.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

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  3. Seychelles: President Faure receives the World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development

    President Danny Faure met with the World Bank Vice President for Sustainable Development, Ms Laura Tuck, at State House this afternoon. Ms Tuck and her delegation are in Seychelles to participate in the conference on Financing Sustainable and Climate-Resilient Ocean Economies in Africa currently taking place at the Savoy Hotel.

    The President welcomed Ms Tuck to Seychelles and thanked her for honouring her commitment to visit Seychelles and co-host the conference. He said that the conference is a testimony of the type of partnership that Seychelles has with the World Bank.

    “The work that the World Bank has done and continues to do in Seychelles, especially the analytical work, has helped us to better appreciate what we are doing now in tourism and what needs to be done. It also helps us share the prosperity and re-distribute the wealth across sectors and create more jobs in areas such as agriculture, fisheries, culture, and artisanal work. The World Bank has been playing a significant role in helping Seychelles to achieve its goals,” said the President during the meeting.

    The discussions between President Faure and Ms Tuck centred on different sectors of great importance for Seychelles and the World Bank in order to allow economic growth and improve livelihoods in the country. This includes the plans for the development of the Blue Economy, bringing in private investment to complement the regulatory approaches that the government is putting into place, and other areas where the World Bank can provide support in the future.

    Speaking to the national press after the meeting, Ms Tuck said that she is very pleased with the leadership that Seychelles has taken in building the Blue Economy.

    “Seychelles has done a lot, they are a real leader in this, and it has been showcased at the conference. I think this partnership between the World Bank and Seychelles is extremely productive. I am very pleased with the progress that they are making. We have a new partnership framework that we will be bringing to our Board soon,” said Ms Tuck.

    The meeting was also attended by the Minister for Finance, Trade and Economic Planning, Dr Peter Larose, the Economic Advisor to the President, Mr Bertrand Belle, Principal Secretary for Finance, Mr Patrick Payet, Principal Secretary for Economic Planning, Mrs Elizabeth Agathine, Country Director for Seychelles at the World Bank, Mr Mark Lundell, and Senior Director, Environment and Natural Resources, Ms Karine Kamper.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Seychelles.

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  4. Statement by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS)

    Statement by Dr. Mohamed Ibn Chambas, United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS):

    Honorable Minister of Finance & Economic Affairs of The Gambia;

    The Secretary-General and Honorable Ministers here present,

    Colleagues at the High Table;

    Excellencies Ambassadors, Heads of Regional and International Organizations and Development Partners;

    Distinguished ladies and gentlemen;

    Madam, we thank the AfDB for organizing this forum. I give you a high five for that!

    It is my honour to be here with you today, and my pleasure to convey greetings from the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. Antonio Guterres, to this august gathering. The Secretary-General has been keenly following events in The Gambia and has expressed his support for the Government of President Adama Barrow. He commended the unity of ECOWAS and the restraint of the Gambian people in defending democracy and avoiding conflict during his maiden address to the AU Summit as UN Secretary-General.

    The democratic transition in The Gambia has been a triumph of collective efforts, working in unity and providing an exemplary example for Africa. We must now consolidate this peaceful and democratic transition and I call on the international community and development partners to continue to support the new Government of The Gambia.

    It is under these auspices that we are here today at this Advocacy Meeting on The Gambia’s National Development Plan 2018-2021. I would like to congratulate the Government of The Gambia particularly, His Excellency President Adama Barrow for his leadership and vision in producing this essential document that will serve as the blueprint for advancing sustainable development in in the country over the next 4 years.

    This National Development Plan is the product of countless inputs and perspectives of a wide array of stakeholders in the development process. It is a plan that charts the way to a better future; a future where the highest standards of governance, accountability and transparency are upheld; where social cohesion and peace prevail; where all citizens can enjoy a decent standard of living and live their lives in dignity.

    Now is the time for The Gambia to move forward and implement the transformational agenda of the Government to revitalize the economy and create the enabling environment for all citizens to realize their full potential and improve their well-being.

    This Plan is not for the Government alone to implement, successful implementation will require support from all stakeholders within and outside of the country. This Plan is a reflection of the national development priorities of the Gambian people and the priorities identified provide the opportunity for each and every citizen to empower themselves and ensure no one is left behind.

    Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

    The Plan incorporates lessons learnt and is fully aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Africa Agenda 2063 and other global and regional commitments that represent the comprehensive global nexus needed to make sustainable development a reality for The Gambia. The 8 strategic priorities and 7 critical enablers cover all 17 goals of the SDGs.

    Laying ‘the foundation for an infrastructure for peace’ was one of the objectives of the government cabinet retreat held in May 2017 that formed the basis of this National Development Plan. We acknowledge that development gains will be critical to ensure national reconciliation, that societies and groups remain in harmony with each other, and see themselves reflected in the course that is charted for the country. We also take note of the implementation of the first phase of the Security Sector Reform process launched by His Excellency, the President in September 2017. Strong coordination of support to the SSR and government leadership in the process will allow for peace and stability to prevail in the country.

    This Plan is holistic in its approach and is underlined by the five fundamental Ps of sustainable development, namely focus on people, prosperity, planet, peace and partnerships.

    The subsequent results for The Gambia for the Plan period is the establishment of a more resilient society, where people are safe from chronic threats such as abject poverty, hunger, disease, and violence while also ensuring protection from sudden and hurtful disruptions in their daily lives.

    Excellencies, Distinguished ladies and gentlemen,

    The youth are central to The Gambia’s development and her future. The Plan has rightly taken young people as a priority and provides key interventions for their empowerment and well-being. I thank all partners supporting the youth. Youth empowerment and the provision of jobs for them are a priority for Africa and for the continent to reach the levels of development we aspire towards, the youth must be included in the decision-making process and given a voice to address their challenges.

    Your Excellency, Partners, Ladies & Gentlemen,

    Implementation of this transformative plan for The Gambia cannot take place without closing the financing gap and having a plan that is fully funded at all levels. Development partners, must assist the Government to mobilize financing for the Plan. It is therefore critical The Gambia must leverage all the opportunities available, including existing and emerging partnerships, to finance this development plan. That is the main objective of our gathering here today. Moving forward, resource mobilization efforts will continue with the UN, the AfDB, the EU and World Bank supporting an International Conference for The Gambia in May 2018. Of utmost importance is mobilizing the development partners and the private sector to play a key role in the funding of the plan.

    Let me reassure you, of the United Nations’ continuous and unflinching commitment to supporting the national development agenda of The Gambia to ‘revitalize and transform the economy for the well-being of all Gambians.’  I myself have visited The Gambia many times over the past two years, including during the past week when I joined Gambians in celebrating their Independence and one year anniversary of the new Government, and would like to reiterate the support of the United Nations, and indeed the international community at large to the people of The Gambia to consolidate democratic and economic achievements realized thus far.

    I once again congratulate the people of The Gambia, President Barrow and his Government for the progress being made to remake the future of the nation. The National Development Plan is an opportunity for the Gambian people to strive for a future worthy of this great nation, a chance for national reconciliation, social harmony and respect for the rule of law and human rights to prevail as prescribed in the Gambian constitution and international laws. Let us join forces to grasp this opportunity.

    And the key take away for the development partners is please come to Brussels in your numbers in May, when a date is confirmed, with GRANTS: DES DONS!!! I am impressed with today’s turn out – let’s keep it up!

    I thank you for your attention.

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS).

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  5. Statistician-General to release the Education Series Volume IV: Early Childhood Development in South Africa

    The Statistician-General, of South Africa, Mr Risenga Maluleke, will release the results of the thematic report on education titled: ‘Education Series Volume IV: Early Childhood Development in South Africa for 2016 on Tuesday, 27 February 2018 in Pretoria.

    The thematic report includes the participation of young children in early learning as well as the distribution of existing early learning facilities across the country in contrast to children population. It compares regional, population group and income variations in accessing early childhood packages that are essential for the optimal development of the child. The report also focuses on the lack of access to adequate healthcare, good nutrition, good quality childcare and nurturing, safe environment, early learning and stimulation amongst others.

    The media briefing will be held as follows:

    Date: 27 February 2018

    Time: 11H30

    Venue: (Ronnie Mamoepa Media Centre, Tshedimosetso House, Cnr Francis Baard & Festival streets, Hatfield, Pretoria)

    (NB! There will be a video link to Imbizo Media Centre, 120 Plein Street, Parliament, Cape Town)

    RSVP:

    Felicia Sithole Tel: (012) 339 2401 Cell: 0764300693 E-mail Felicias@statssa.gov.za

    Gift Madiega Tel: 012 337 3404 Cell: 073 248 1083 Email: GiftMad@statssa.gov.za

    Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Statistics South Africa.

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