Thursday 19 April 2018
(Reuters (Eng) 02/22/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - Journalists and rights activists in South Sudan have been killed or arrested and newspapers closed, often by the government, hampering coverage of one of the world’s biggest humanitarian crises, the United Nations said on Thursday. The U.N. Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said in a report that 102 journalists and rights activists had their right to free speech violated between July 2016 and December 2017. Cases included the deaths of two journalists, 58 arbitrary arrests or detentions of journalists or rights activists, 16 people fired from their jobs, the closure or suspension of three media houses, and censorship of newspaper articles and websites. The government also frequently denies visas to foreign correspondents, it said. “Our deep concern...
(AFP (eng) 02/20/18)
Two Kenyan pilots held for over a month after crash-landing their plane in rebel-held South Sudan have been released, a rebel spokesman said Tuesday. The two men were flying South Sudanese aid workers close to Akobo in the east of the country early last month when they were forced to make an emergency landing, resulting in the death of one civilian and the pilots' subsequent detention. They were handed over to Kenyan officials on Monday in exchange for $108,000 (87,000 euros) which rebel spokesman Lam Paul Gabriel said was "compensation" for the loss of life and damage to property, including some houses and "two cattle pens". Gabriel said the money was handed over by "seven Kenyan officials"...
(AFP (eng) 02/19/18)
About 224 million people are suffering from malnutrition across Africa as climate change and conflicts heighten food insecurity across the continent, a top UN food agency official said Monday. The official, speaking at a conference on Africa organised by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said the situation was a "cause of concern" as the continent's population was expected to reach 1.7 billion by 2030. "Under-nourishment appears to have increased from about 21 percent to nearly 23 percent between 2015 and 2016," Bukar Tijani, FAO's assistant director general for Africa, said at the regional conference that opened on Monday in Khartoum. "Over the same period, the number of under-nourished rose from 200 million to 224 million in Africa. This...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
The latest round of Ethiopia-led peace talks on South Sudan will wrap up on Friday with a possible agreement that could pave the way to further negotiations on ending the war, the UN envoy said. The talks that opened on February 5 in Addis Ababa are aimed at finding a settlement to one of Africa's worst conflicts. "We are hoping that there will be some form of agreement signed tomorrow," UN envoy David Shearer told reporters at UN headquarters in New York on Thursday. "It might not go as far as we had hoped, but it might provide the platform for ongoing discussions." Talks in Ethiopia have focussed on governance and security in South Sudan. The African Union and the...
(AFP (eng) 02/16/18)
About another 200,000 South Sudanese refugees are expected to arrive in Sudan this year, fleeing fighting and food insecurity in their country, the United Nations said Thursday. South Sudan, the world's youngest nation, descended into civil war just two years after it split from the north in 2011. Since the war erupted in late 2013, 417,000 South Sudanese refugees have already crossed into Sudan, according to the UN. About 200,000 more refugees are expected in 2018, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Office, or OCHA, said in its latest bulletin. "Continued fighting, limited humanitarian assistance and extreme levels of food insecurity are forcing citizens of South Sudan...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
Senegalese singer Baaba Maal is quitting his role as global ambassador for Oxfam over the British charity's handling of sexual misconduct allegations concerning its staff, the BBC reported. "What has happened on a human level is disgusting and heart-breaking," he told BBC Newsnight late Wednesday. "It is very sad. Vulnerable people especially children should always be protected. As such I am disassociating myself from Oxfam immediately," he said. Maal is the second ambassador to leave Oxfam after British actress Minnie Driver, who said she was "devastated" by the charity's response to a sex scandal in Haiti that emerged last week. Oxfam has admitted to a lack of transparency over an internal investigation about the use of prostitutes by its staff...
(AFP (eng) 02/15/18)
A former Oxfam country director at the centre of allegations of sexual misconduct embroiling the London-based charity does "not deny everything" but wants to give his version of events, a Belgian daily reported Thursday. Roland van Hauwermeiren, who led Oxfam's team in Haiti, was one of three staff members who resigned over allegations they hired prostitutes following the devastating 2010 earthquake there. "A lot of people, including international media, will be embarrassed when they hear my version of events," Van Hauwermeiren told reporters from the newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, who tracked him down in an unidentified town on the Belgian coast. "Some things are described correctly, but I also have read lots of lies and exaggerations," the 68-year-old said. "The hardest...
(AFP (eng) 02/13/18)
Scandal-hit British charity Oxfam was reeling Tuesday after fresh claims of sexual assault and cover-up in South Sudan, as Haiti's president condemned the behaviour of some of its staff in his country as "undignified and dishonest". Helen Evans, former global head of safeguarding, also warned of assaults on children volunteering in Oxfam's hundreds of high-street charity shops in Britain. She accused senior managers of failing to act, heaping pressure on chief executive Mark Goldring just hours after his deputy resigned over a scandal involving aid workers' use of prostitutes in Haiti and Chad. Haitian President Jovenel Moise spoke out about the scandal on Tuesday saying there was "nothing more undignified and dishonest" than humanitarian aid workers exploiting "needy people". Evans...
(AFP (eng) 02/12/18)
South Sudan rebel spokesman James Gatdet Dak was sentenced to death by hanging for treason on Monday, a year after he was deported from Kenya despite having refugee status. "Death sentence by hanging," Judge Ladu Armenio told Gatdet in the court in Juba, after he was found guilty of treason and other crimes against the state. The sentencing comes as peace talks between the government and rebels, taking place in neighbouring Ethiopia, stall amid mutual accusations of military assaults. Gatdet, a former journalist, was also handed jail sentences totalling 21 years, which he is expected to serve before his execution.
(Reuters (Eng) 02/12/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - A spokesman for South Sudanese rebel leader Riek Machar was sentenced to death on Monday on charges of treason and incitement against the government. James Gatdet Dak was deported to South Sudan from Kenya in November 2016, a move that rights groups and the United Nations said was in breach of international law. A high court in the capital Juba handed Gatdet the death sentence on Monday, as well as a combined 21 years for incitement and conspiracy against President Salva Kiir’s government. Monyluak Alor Kuol, Gatdet’s former lawyer who resigned last month in protest against the case’s handling, said the sentencing violated a ceasefire signed in December, which called for the release of all prisoners and...
(AFP (eng) 02/08/18)
The African Union's chairman dismissed during a visit to Beijing on Thursday a French newspaper report alleging that China had spied on the continental body as "lies" intended to derail cooperation. The report published by Le Monde in January claimed technicians at the AU's Chinese-built headquarters in the Ethiopian capital discovered last year that the contents of their computers had been regularly copied to servers in Shanghai since 2012, citing unnamed AU sources. "I don't see it is in the interest of China to spy," AU commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat said during a visit to Beijing, where he met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi to discuss deepening cooperation on a variety of issues, as well as opening a...
(AFP (eng) 02/07/18)
More than 300 child soldiers have been released in South Sudan's war-torn region of Yambio under a programme to help reintegrate them into society, the UN said on Wednesday. Of the 311 children freed by armed groups, 87 are girls, the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) said. "This is the first time so many young women have been involved in a release like this in South Sudan," said David Shearer, the UN's secretary general's special representative and head of UNMISS. "They will have endured suffering, including sexual abuse. It is vital that they receive the support they need to rejoin their communities and that they are welcomed home by family and friends without any sense of stigma," he...
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Another round of South Sudan peace talks began in Ethiopia on Monday, amid growing international impatience with the country's years-long war that has defied all efforts to end the conflict. "You, collectively, by your personal and political interests are responsible for the nightmare your own people are going through," Ethiopia's foreign minister Workneh Gebeyehu told South Sudanese delegates gathered at the opening of talks hosted by the IGAD regional bloc. "You have had numerous opportunities to change directions. You have repeatedly failed to do so. This really is the very last chance for you to accept your responsibilities and take the necessary actions to ensure South Sudanese peace and prosperity," Workneh said.
(AFP (eng) 02/05/18)
Israel began warning thousands of African migrants Sunday that they must leave by the end of March, officials said, under a plan that could see them jailed if they refuse. On January 3, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announced implementation of a plan to deport about 38,000 migrants who had entered the country illegally, mainly Eritreans and Sudanese. The controversial plan gives them until the end of next month to leave voluntarily or face jail and eventual expulsion. Immigration authority spokeswoman Sabine Haddad told AFP that officials began issuing migrants letters on Sunday advising them that they had 60 days in which to leave the country voluntarily. For now, the notices are being given only to men without families, officials said...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Appalled by ongoing violence in South Sudan, Washington on Friday restricted arms transfers to the African country where tens of thousands have died in civil war. "In response to this continued violence and brutality against civilians and humanitarian workers, the United States is enacting restrictions on arms transfers with South Sudan," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The United States is South Sudan's biggest aid provider, and was a major backer of its 2011 independence from Sudan. But patience from South Sudan's foreign allies has worn out after countless failed efforts to bring peace to a country, now in its fifth year of a war where targeted ethnic killings, gang rapes and other atrocities have occurred. "The...
(AFP (eng) 02/03/18)
Megastar Rihanna vowed she would "never stop fighting" to get millions of children back in school on Friday as French President Emmanuel Macron promised a major boost in foreign aid for education in developing nations. Macron co-hosted a conference in Dakar organised by the Global Partnership for Education with Senegalese President Macky Sall, while Rihanna attended as the organisation's global ambassador. "We have made tremendous progress today but of course our work is never done, we have a long way to go, and this is a fight we are never going to stop fighting, until every boy and every girl has access to education," she told the crowd. At ease with the African heads of state gathered onstage, Rihanna put...
(AFP (eng) 02/02/18)
Rihanna on Thursday used her star power to urge key governments to commit to ensuring education for the world's poorest as she takes part in an international conference in Senegal. The chart-topping singer arrived in the capital Dakar where she on Friday will join the Global Partnership for Education talks co-hosted by Senegalese President Macky Sall and French leader Emmanuel Macron. Rihanna, the fourth most followed person on Twitter with 86 million followers, took to social media to urge Macron, British Prime Minister Theresa May and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ensure specific funding levels. In her tweet to Macron, Rihanna -- who met with him in Paris in July -- thanked the French leader for leading the conference...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
ADDIS ABABA (Reuters) - The African Union said on Monday it is open to imposing sanctions on leaders violating ceasefires in South Sudan, joining a growing chorus of officials who say those prolonging the conflict must be punished. “We need to act against those who, with impunity, are continuing to massacre their peaceful populations,” the head of the African Union commission, Moussa Faki Mahamat, told reporters at the AU Summit on Monday. Oil-rich South Sudan has been wrecked by civil war since 2013, when troops loyal to President Salva Kiir clashed with troops loyal to then-Vice President Riek Machar. Since then, the conflict has claimed tens of thousands of lives, slashed oil production and driven about a third of the...
(Reuters (Eng) 01/30/18)
JUBA (Reuters) - South Sudan has temporarily abandoned some of the fees it charges foreign and local non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in a bid to encourage groups to help with a humanitarian crisis, a senior government official said. The government and the United Nations said last month that South Sudan needs $1.7 billion in aid this year to help six million people cope with the effects of war, hunger and economic decline. Paul Dhel, deputy chairman of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Commission, attributed the decision to waive the $3,500 fee for international NGOs, and $500 for local organizations, to the urgent humanitarian situation. “The registration is completely for free. This is going to boost humanitarian work in the country,”...
(AFP (eng) 01/29/18)
African Union chief Moussa Faki Mahamat said Sunday that "the time has come" to slap sanctions on those blocking peace in South Sudan, one of the most intractable wars facing African leaders as they meet in Ethiopia. At the opening of the 30th annual African Union summit in Addis Ababa, Faki deplored the "unbelievable cruelty" and "senseless violence" of warring parties in South Sudan, which has been torn apart by conflict since December 2013, just two years after gaining independence. Tens of thousands have died and nearly four million South Sudanese have been driven from their homes, while millions are going hungry in a humanitarian crisis expected to worsen as the lean season sets in. Efforts to revitalise a 2015...

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