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Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A group of displaced Somali women residing at the Ifo Two Refugee Camp in Dadaab, Kenya, which is supported by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees:UNHCR. Image: UN:Evan Schneider. ‽: 190516

Justice Carole Lewis
The Supreme Court 
of Appeal South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

University of South Africa

Africa Arkive

 

Africa is made of countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Réunion, Rwanda, Sahrawi Arab Democratic Republic, Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha, São Tomé and Príncipe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Somaliland, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland:Eswatini, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe

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The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Calls on Zimbabwe Government to End the Crackdown in Response to Fuel Protests

 

 

|| January 21: 2019 || ά. In Zimbabwe, violence and the reported use of live ammunition by State security officials against protesters, that has led to ‘a number of deaths’ should be investigated thoroughly and transparently by the Government, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR, said on Friday. “We are deeply troubled by the socio-economic crisis, that is unfolding in Zimbabwe and the repression of large-scale protests in the country, following the Government’s decision to increase fuel prices.” said the Agency’s Spokesperson Ms Ravina Shamdasani.

“We call on the Government to find ways of engaging with the population about their legitimate grievances and to stop the crackdown against protesters.” Speaking to journalists in Geneva at the regular bi-weekly press briefing, Ms. Shamdasani called on the authorities to ensure that the country’s security forces handle protests and exercise their power, especially, the use of firearms and live ammunition, strictly in accordance with the country’s international human rights obligations and the relevant principles.

‘’These include legality, necessity, proportionality, precaution and accountability.’’ she said before noting that there had, also, been allegations of ‘generalised intimidation and harassment’ by the security forces, who had, allegedly, carried out door to door searches.

Ms Shamdasani said that last month, a national commission, appointed by the Government of President Mr Emmerson Mnanagagwa found that the military’s use of live bullets during deadly post-election violence in August was disproportionate and unjustified. “The bottom line is that the use of live ammunition by security forces was used, excessive force was used.” she stressed in relation to the latest protests.

“We don’t have verification on the exact number of people, who were killed or injured but there are doctors’ associations, that are putting numbers out there, likely more than 60 people were treated in hospital for gunshots wounds. This is not the way to react to the expression of economic grievances by the population.”

Ms Shamdasani said that countrywide, more than 600 people have been arrested in the demonstrations to date, according to Zimbabwe’s Minister of National Security. Among those detained were opposition leaders and prominent civil activists. She appealed for the prompt release of all those held for exercising their rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and expression.

She said that reports that access to the Internet had been cut were, also, of concern. The Government had been saying that that was to deal with misinformation, that was spreading on social media. Asked about the nature of the demonstrations, Ms Shamdasani said that some reports suggested protesters had burned tires and barricaded roads, while others had set buildings on fire and carried out looting, although, it was difficult to identify those responsible.

“There was some use of violence by the protesters as well, fires were set.” she said. “Shops and businesses were looted; as always, it’s difficult to determine who did this. Was it opportunist taking advantage of the chaos to do that? Was it the demonstrators themselves? It’s very difficult to understand that. It’s very difficult to manage a situation like that.”

Caption: Ravina Shamdasani, Spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights:OHCHR briefs the press at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. September 07, 2018: Image: UN Photo:Violaine Martin:::ω.

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Armed Insurgency in North-East Nigeria Has Created a Humanitarian Tragedy: UN Envoy

 

 

|| January 09: 2019 || ά. Following an upsurge in violence in north-east Nigeria, which was brought to global attention five years ago with the abduction by Boko Haram extremists of the Chibok schoolgirls, tens of thousands of innocent civilians continue to flee, prompting grave concern from the United Nations envoy there. Clashes between Nigerian government forces and non-state armed groups on December 26 in Baga town, about 200 kilometres north of state capital Maiduguri, triggered massive displacement, pushing civilians to converge on already-congested camps or sites for internally displaced people.

An attempted attack on December 28 in Monguno, further exacerbated the situation, leading to more displacement. “The impact of the recent fighting on innocent civilians is devastating and has created a humanitarian tragedy.” said UN Humanitarian Co-ordinator Mr Edward Kallon after visiting Monguno and Teachers Village camp for internally displaced people in Maiduguri. “It is heart-wrenching to see so many of these people living in congested camps or sleeping outside with no shelter.”

“The United Nations is extremely concerned about the impact that violence in north-east Nigeria, especially, in Borno State, is having on civilians.” he added. In recent weeks, more than 30,000 internally displaced people have arrived in Maiduguri, mainly, from Baga, the majority, since December 20, often, after arduous journeys with young children.

Of these, an estimated 20,000 IDPs in Teachers Village camp in Maiduguri has stretched its capacity beyond the limit. And while it is still unclear how many people are taking refuge in Monguno, tens of thousands are in need of humanitarian assistance, notably, shelter, food, water and sanitation.

Some 260 aid workers have been withdrawn from the local government areas of Monguno, Kala:Balge and Kukawa, which have been affected by the conflict, since November. This represents the largest withdrawal of aid workers, since the international humanitarian response was scaled up in 2016, hindering the delivery of vital aid to hundreds of thousands of people.

While aid workers have begun returning to respond to the urgent, life-saving needs, the lack of a secure operating environment continues to prevent normal humanitarian activities.:::ω.

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Democratic Republic of Congo Waits for the Election Results in Calm But Tense Atmosphere

 

 

|| January 06: 2019 || ά. The post-election environment in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:DRC is described as ‘calm but tense’ as the country waits for the results of the presidential election, the UN Human Rights Office OHCHR said on Friday. Amid reports that journalists and opposition political candidates have been intimidated and access to selected media broadcasters remains blocked, OHCHR Spokesperson Ms Ravina Shamdasani warned that efforts to silence dissent could backfire.

Her comments come ahead of consultations behind closed doors on the election, in the UN Security Council in New York, later on Friday. The result of the delayed election held on December 30, which featured 21 candidates, is due to be announced on today, Sunday, although, the DRC’s Electoral Commission announced that this might be  pushed back. “What my colleagues have told me and they have observed is that the situation remains calm but tense ahead of the announcement of the results.” Ms Shamdasani said.

“There are preliminary reports of some pockets of violence and people being injured.” OHCHR has an office in the vast central African country but has not played a role in supervising the national election, which was held following a week’s delay and postponements dating back to 2016. Voting across several cities in eastern DRC, that have been hit by the on-going Ebola outbreak and inter-communal violence, was postponed until March by the Election Commission:CENI.

The results of the last Sunday’s election will decide the successor to President Mr Joseph Kabila, who came to office in 2001 after the previous incumbent, his father Laurent, was assassinated in the aftermath of a civil war involving numerous armed militias. Ms Shamdasani, also, noted reports that freedom of expression was under threat in DRC.

“Intimidation and harassment against journalists, opposition candidates and human rights defenders continues to take place.” she said. “This being a very sensitive, a very tense period, we are concerned that these efforts to silence dissent could backfire considerably when the results are announced. We are watching carefully and we are calling on all sides to refrain from the use of violence.”

“The internet is cut off, the signal of Radio France Internationale:RFI has been tampered with, as well as, Canal Congo Television, which apparently belongs to the leader of the MLC, Jean-Pierre Bemba.” she said, referring to his party, the Movement for the Liberation of Congo.

Ahead of the presidential election, the UN’s senior human rights official, Ms Michelle Bachelet, condemned reports that police had reportedly fired live ammunition at opposition rallies. The High Commissioner, also, spoke out against the use of inflammatory speech by political leaders and said that it was essential that people’s rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly were fully protected.

In a major humanitarian development on Friday, some 16,000 people from DRC have arrived in neighbouring Republic of the Congo, also, known as, Congo-Brazzaville,  after fleeing deadly intercommunal clashes.

Mr Andrej Mahecic from the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, said in Geneva that old hostilities flared up again at the end of last month between two communities in Yumbi, Mai-Ndombe Province, in western DRC. ‘’People are in dire need of basic assistance.” Mr Mahecic said, adding that those fleeing DRC spoke of attacks, that left homes burned and people killed.

“This influx in a matter of days is a major event for Congo-Brazzaville.” he added. “The area is very remote, it’s not easy to reach, so we are right now, together with other agencies, including, the World Food Programme:WFP, deploying teams to these areas and they are distributing the relief items, including, food and shelter materials and other items and this has been going on since December 29.”

According to UNHCR, this is the largest influx of refugees in over a decade, since 130,000 people were forced to seek shelter amid ethnic clashes in DRC’s former Equator Province in 2009. Refugees, mostly women and children of the Banunu tribe, continue to arrive in Makotipoko and Bouemba districts in the Republic of Congo, where they are given assistance.

Caption: Voters casting votes during Presidential and Legislative elections in Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo, December 30, 2018: Image: MONUSCO:John Bopengo:::ω.

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Use Human Ingenuity to the Fullest and There’s Nothing That Humanity Can Not Do: Researchers Develop the World’s First Solar-Powered Mini-Grids with Hydrogen Storage for Uganda

 

 

|| December 04: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. Engineers from the University of Southampton are part of a consortium, funded by the Belgian Government, to work to deploy a solar photovoltaic mini-grid project with hydrogen storage in Uganda. The three mini-grids, the first of their kind in the world, will augment the previously deployed mini grids designed by the University’s Energy and Climate Change Division and Sustainable Energy Research Group and delivered jointly with the Rural Electrification Agency:REA in Uganda.

Mini-grids are systems, that produce and distribute electrical power in the same fashion as a national grid, except, at a small scale in terms of footprint and the number of connections. Power generated can be derived from various sources of renewable energy or fossil fuels. These mini-grids are ‘green’, utilising solar photovoltaics to directly convert sunlight into electricity. Two of these are using hydrogen storage and the third batteries and they will be built and deployed by Tiger Power a Belgium company, specialising in containerised solar power systems.

The deployment will be in the same district of Uganda, Kyenjojo, as the previous mini-grids. Currently, these communities lack access to electricity and the plan is to provide them with power by mid-2019. Tiger Power is building the solar power plants in each village and REA will provide the grid infrastructure.

The running of the mini-grids is based on the Energy for Development concept developed by the Southampton team, where such projects are run and maintained by the communities they serve, through cooperatives encapsulating an energy service company. This is advantageous as it provides local capacity, employment and security for the plant.

The researchers will be embedded in the project from its inception with opportunities for masters-level students to apply for visits to the project and carry out research towards their thesis in the summer. The research team will carry out energy needs assessment, as well as, understanding of the socio-economic impacts of Tiger Power's mini-grid projects.

Professor Abu Bakr Bahaj, the Head of the Energy and Climate Change Division at the University of Southampton, said, "More than 90% of rural Uganda still lacks access to electricity. This is one of the biggest obstacles to alleviating poverty and creating economic development. The mini-grids in Kyenjojo will provide reliable power for all aspects of the communities’ needs, health, education, businesses, including, the old and the new, miller and the welder. Our experience with other projects in Uganda and Kenya is that this type of solar mini-grids will invigorate the communities in many positive ways.

Mr Chris Prengels, CEO of Tiger Power, said, “We use the surplus of solar electricity during the day to produce hydrogen, the most known element in the world. The electricity causes a chemical reaction separating H20, water, into H, hydrogen and O, oxygen. The hydrogen gas is stored and turned into electricity when needed. In this way, we can power the community without the use of a diesel generator. This means completely pollution free electricity.”:::ω.
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Uganda Vaccinates Its Front-Line Health-Workers Against Ebola  

 

 

|| November 07: 2018 || ά. The Ugandan Ministry of Health with the support from the World Health Organisation:WHO has started vaccinating frontline health workers against the Ebola Virus Disease:EVD. The exercise has begun today in Ntoroko district and will initially be implemented in the five high-risk districts bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo:DRC.

A total of 2,100 doses of the ‘rVSV-Ebola’ vaccine will be administered to the health workers to protect them against the type of Ebola virus strain, that is currently circulating in some parts of DRC. Indeed, this particular vaccine is currently being administered in DRC and is demonstrating positive protective results and potency against the Ebola virus-Zaire type.

In vaccinating frontline health workers against EVD even before Uganda detects a single case, health authorities are being cautious having learnt bitter lessons from previous outbreaks. A number of health workers, including, the renowned Dr Mathew Lukwiya contracted the disease and died as they cared for EVD patients. These could have been saved had a vaccine been available than.

Although, the ‘rVSV-Ebola’ vaccine is not commercially licensed, it is being used under ‘expanded access’ or what is, also, known as ‘compassionate use’ in the ongoing Ebola outbreak DRC. This vaccine was, also, used in the Ebola outbreak in Equateur province in May-July 2018. In 2015, the vaccine was given to more than 16,000 volunteers involved in several studies in Africa, Europe and the United States, where it was found to be safe and protective against the Ebola virus.

Several studies have shown that the vaccine is safe and protective against the Ebola virus but more scientific research is needed before it can be licensed. The vaccine is, therefore, being used on a compassionate basis, to protect persons at highest risk of the Ebola outbreak, under a ‘ring vaccination’ strategy, which is similar to the approach used to eradicate smallpox. In this strategy, informed and written consent is needed from people, for them to be vaccinated, which, in turn, may, limit mass media coverage of the exercise.

It is highly likely that Uganda, may, import EVD from DRC given the closeness of the current epicentre, the high population movements due to trade, social-cultural connections and easy accessibility of health services in Uganda.

Uganda’s Minister of Health, Dr Jane Ruth Aceng believes that the administration of the Ebola vaccine to frontline health care workers has been the missing link in the country’s EVD preparation and readiness efforts. She, also, explains that the vaccine is only available for frontline health workers, who are at high risk of contracting EVD as they manage suspected cases.

“Therefore, the vaccine is not available to the general population at this stage. This is targeted vaccination.” Dr Aceng emphasised. Dr Yonas Tegegn Woldemariam, the WHO Representative in Uganda, referred to the vaccination as a huge step in mitigating the risk of Ebola among health care workers.  He assured them about its potency and ability to protect them effectively.

The districts targeted in the current vaccination phase are, Bundibugyo, Kabarole,  Kasese, Ntoroko and Bunyangabu. Other EVD preparatory activities going on are co-ordination of activities; health facility and community-based EVD surveillance; collection and testing of blood samples from alert cases; capacity building for infection prevention and control, clinical management, psycho-social care and for safe and dignified burials. Risk communication, community engagement and cross-border surveillance are also going on in many districts. :::ω.

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Ethiopia and Burundi Can Do More to Capitalise on the Growing Niche Markets for Coffee: UNCTAD
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| October 21: 2018 || ά. Coffee producers in Ethiopia and Burundi should capitalise on growing interest in premium markets and environmental sustainability among the 500 million people globally, who drink coffee every day, to make the most of their inimitable beans, an UNCTAD Report into the East African coffee sector has found. The Report, part of UNCTAD’s Commodities at a Glance series, says that the coffee market continues to grow but both Ethiopia, the ancestral home of desirable Arabica varieties  and Burundi, where coffee has been a mainstay of the economy since the 1920s, can do more to take advantage of high-value niche markets and introduce measures to ensure the sustainability of supply.

“The Report explores the latest developments in the coffee industry and examines the current state of coffee production and trade in East Africa, using the examples of Ethiopia and Burundi.” Said Ms Pamela Coke-Hamilton, the Director of the International Trade and Commodities Division of UNCTAD. “The Report analyses the importance of coffee in these economies regarding export earnings, farmers’ income and employment generation. It, also, highlights the challenges of the coffee sector and suggests some potential answers, particularly, regarding allowing producer countries to capture a greater share of this commodity’s value.”

The Report found that in Burundi production is volatile, beset by weather cycles, ageing trees, often, more than 40 years old, soil degradation, the absence of adequate farming practices and, to some extent, political instability. Together with tea, coffee exports account for 90% of Burundi’s foreign exchange earnings. But because Burundi has proved it can produce excellent coffee, that consumers want, there is every incentive to strengthen the hand of smallholder farmers through more organised co-operatives.

“Also, private investment, including, through public-private partnerships, should be encouraged to modernise the sector and make it more competitive.” Ms. Coke-Hamilton said. “In this regard, Burundi should invest in market intelligence, that helps stakeholders to understand better the factors associated with the growing demand in importing niche markets and build on the country’s reputation as a prized source of speciality coffees.”

Ethiopia faces a similar scenario, according to the Report. The main problem remains the inconsistent quality of the coffee, with the prevalence of pests and diseases, climatic variability, poor agricultural practices, insufficient training of producers and weaknesses in the organisation and management of the value chain, the Report said.

However, opportunities to improve the sector, particularly, in the way growers are rewarded, also, remain, the Report points out.  “Ethiopia has a natural abundance of coffee varieties, enabling it to benefit from market and product differentiation.” Ms. Coke-Hamilton said. “Indeed, the country has a significant comparative advantage in the production of organic coffee with over 90% being de facto organic.”

More than 120 million people in the world rely on the coffee industry, including 25 million smallholders and coffee workers, half of whom live in Africa, the Report notes.

However, as with most primary commodities, coffee remains characterised by an extended value chain, which is, only, partially, visible in producing countries, most of the value is captured by industrial roasters and distributors in consuming countries, namely, the developed countries, according to the Report.

“In many coffee producing countries, particularly, in Africa, the structural imbalance of the coffee value chain contributes to exacerbating rural poverty and its associated problems of food insecurity, low level of education, child labour and rural to urban migration.” Ms. Coke-Hamilton said.

“This Report is timely because coffee production is, also, threatened by climate change, which could severely reduce the land available for growing coffee.” Other serious threats to the sustainability of coffee production in East Africa include the declining quality and productivity of the cultivars, increasing production costs and a lack of interest from younger smallholders, who have observed how generations before them have struggled to make a decent living from coffee farming.

Important measures need to be taken to ensure the sustainability of supply, particularly, in the context of growing demand. Such measures could include building national capacities to improve coffee varieties, promoting better agricultural practices, improving the allocation of revenues from coffee among all value chain participants by, among others, increasing the share accruing to producers and stimulating domestic consumption.:::ω.

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Zimbabwe With Support From WHO and GAVI to Vaccinate 01.4 Million People Against Cholera in Harare

 

 

 

 

|| October 03: 2018 || ά. The Government of Zimbabwe with the support of the World Health Organisation:WHO and its partners is launching today an oral cholera vaccination campaign to protect 01.4 million people at high risk of cholera in Harare. The immunisation drive is part of efforts to control a cholera outbreak, which was declared by the health authorities on September 06.The vaccines were sourced from the global stockpile, which is funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. Gavi is, also, funding operational costs for the campaign.

The Zimbabwe Government, with the support of WHO and its partners, has moved quickly to implement key control efforts, including, enhanced surveillance, the provision of clean water and hygiene promotion, cleaning of blocked drains and setting up dedicated treatment centres. The cholera vaccination campaign will complement these ongoing efforts. “The current cholera outbreak is geographically concentrated in the densely populated suburbs of Harare.” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa.

“We have a window of opportunity to strike back with the oral cholera vaccine now, which, along with other efforts, will help keep the current outbreak in check and, may, prevent it from spreading further into the country and becoming more difficult to control.”

The campaign will be rolled out in two rounds, focusing on the most heavily affected suburbs in Harare and Chitungwiza, which is 30 km southeast of the capital city. To ensure longer-term immunity to the population, a second dose of the vaccine will be provided in all areas during a second round to be implemented at a later stage.

“Cholera is a disease, that can be prevented with clean water and sanitation: there is no reason why people should still be dying from this horrific disease.” said Dr Seth Berkley, the CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “Gavi has worked hard to ensure the global cholera vaccine stockpile remains fully stocked and ready to help stop outbreaks, such as, this. The government of Zimbabwe have done a great job in fighting this outbreak; we must now hope that these lifesaving vaccines can help to prevent any more needless deaths.”

WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health and Child Care on a strategy for rolling out the vaccination campaign, as well as, implementing the campaign and sensitising the public about the vaccine.  More than 600 health workers have been trained to carry out the campaign. The vaccination drive will take place at fixed and mobile sites, including, health facilities, schools and shopping centres.

WHO experts in collaboration with partners are supporting the national authorities to intensify surveillance activities, improve diagnostics and strengthen infection and prevention control in communities and health facilities. They have, also, provided cholera supplies of oral rehydration salts, intravenous fluids and antibiotics sufficient to treat 6000 people.

The health sector alone can not prevent and control cholera outbreaks. This requires strong partnerships and a response across multiple sectors, especially, in the investment and maintenance of community-wide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Zimbabwe has experienced frequent outbreaks of cholera, with the largest outbreak occurring from August 2008 to May 2009 and claiming more than 4,000 lives.:::ω.

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WHO Calls for the Protection of Humanitarian Workers and Civilians in Democratic Republic of the Congo

 

|| September 26: 2018 || ά. The response to the outbreak of Ebola in North Kivu and Ituri provinces in the Democratic Republic of the Congo is at a critical juncture, threatened by worsening insecurity, mistrust from affected communities and extension into previously unaffected areas. As of September 25, the disease had affected 151 people and killed 101.

In recent weeks, a strong government-led response, supported by the World Health Organisation:WHO, other UN partners, NGOs and civil society, had resulted in a steady week by week reduction in cases. But there is a risk now that hard-won gains, may be, lost. First, there has been an increase in frequency and severity of attacks by armed opposition groups. Attacks by armed opposition groups on the town Beni, in North Kivu, where the Ministry of Health and partners have based their response, have occurred with alarming frequency.

Most recently, a deadly attack on September 22 left 21 dead, including 17 civilians. As a result, WHO and its UN partners were asked to halt operations in Beni, while the city mourns its dead. As of today, some operations have begun to resume but, even, a gap of two days has resulted in health workers not being able to reach contacts of Ebola patients to monitor their health or investigate alerts of potential cases.

Meanwhile, some families have chosen to care for sick relatives at home, often, because they have been misinformed and because a natural fear of the disease is now being exploited by local politicians. Others sick with Ebola travel widely to seek alternative care, putting themselves, their families and health workers at risk. This has brought infection to new locations, where health teams can not provide them with access to treatment or provide protective vaccines to their contacts.  These include security red zones, which are difficult to access and to areas bordering Uganda.

WHO calls on all relevant parties and the governments or groups, that have influence over these parties, to help protect responders and civilians. WHO, also, calls on governments in surrounding countries to accelerate the preparedness activities, which they have begun, with WHO support, to ensure a level of readiness should they face cases of Ebola themselves. :::ω. 

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Paleki Ayang, Executive Director of the South Sudan Women's Empowerment Network, addresses the Security Council open debate. Image: UN Photo:Manuel Elias

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life's Laurel Is You In One-Line-Poetry A Heaven-Bound Propagated Ray Of Light Off The Eye Of The Book Of Life: Love For You Are Only Once

 

 

Life: You Are The Law The Flow The Glow: In Joys In Hurts You Are The Vine-Songs On The Light-Trellis

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

|| All copyrights @ The Humanion: London: England: United Kingdom || Contact: The Humanion: editor at thehumanion.com || Regine Humanics Foundation Ltd: reginehumanics at reginehumanicsfoundation.com || Editor: Munayem Mayenin || First Published: September 24: 2015 ||
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