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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

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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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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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Zimbabwe: Cholera Outbreak Highlights the Failure to Invest in Infrastructure and Health System: Amnesty International



|| September 13: 2018: Amnesty International News || ά. The Zimbabwean authorities, must, urgently, take measures to stop and address the cholera epidemic, that has so far claimed 20 lives, Amnesty International said after the government yesterday declared the outbreak a national disaster. Initial cases of cholera were reported in Gweru and Harare last month and the capital is now the worst affected area, with more than 15 people confirmed to have died of the infectious disease.

The country’s 2008 cholera outbreak, which claimed the lives of more than 4,300 people, was the largest ever recorded in Zimbabwe. Unless urgent action is taken the death toll of this current epidemic is, also, likely to be significant. “The current cholera epidemic is a terrible consequence of Zimbabwe’s failure to invest in and manage both its basic water and sanitation infrastructure and its health care system. It is appalling that in 2018, people are still dying of such a preventable disease.” said Ms Jessica Pwiti, the Executive Director of Amnesty International Zimbabwe.

“Given what happened in 2008 the government should have been better prepared. But no lessons were learned from the 2008 epidemic and the outbreak and deaths we’re seeing now is symptomatic of a still broken-down sanitation infrastructure and poor sewer management, worsened by shortages of drugs and medical supplies.”

In 2008, Amnesty International found that the government’s failure to contain and manage the cholera outbreak was caused by the lack of a safe drinking water supply and broken-down sanitation systems, that left residents surrounded by flowing raw sewage. Yet, a decade later we are seeing the same failures causing this latest outbreak.

The organisation is calling on the government to take immediate action to ensure that further deaths are prevented through ensuring access to appropriate medical care and treatment. Longer term the new government must prioritise rebuilding the country’s health care system and infrastructure.

“The newly elected government of Zimbabwe must learn from its predecessor’s mistakes and take action, that stops people dying from preventable diseases. The authorities must invest in proper sanitation and health infrastructure and ensure universal access to health care.” said Ms Jessica Pwiti. 

"If, Zimbabwe lacks the resources to address these issues it can and is obliged under international law to request assistance to do so. As the government itself has now admitted this is a national disaster, which requires an immediate and effective response.”.:::ω.

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Conflict in Tripoli Puts Lives in Danger Demonstrating That Libya Is Not a Place of Safety: MSF



|| August 31: 2018: MSF News || ά. Over the past 72 hours following clashes in Tripoli, the lives of Libyans and an already vulnerable group of refugees and migrants have been put in grave danger, according to Médecins Sans Frontières:MSF. MSF reiterates that Libya is not a safe country and that European governments must acknowledge their responsibility to help the most vulnerable people trapped in Libya. On Sunday, August 26, conflict erupted between rival armed groups in Tripoli. Heavy shelling in residential areas has led to an unspecified number of casualties.

The fighting has further jeopardised the lives of an estimated 8,000 refugees, asylum seekers and migrants, who have been trapped and arbitrarily held in closed detention centres throughout the city. After fighting began on Sunday, some of these people were trapped for more than 48 hours in an area affected by heavy shelling without any access to food. Others, who were released had no choice but to flee to nearby neighbourhoods, where they were at risk of being caught in the crossfire. “The recent fighting demonstrates that Libya is not a safe place for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.” Said Mr Ibrahim Younis, MSF’s Head of Mission in Libya.

“Many have fled from war-torn countries or have spent months in horrible conditions, while being held by human traffickers before they were put in these closed detention centres. These people are already extremely vulnerable and now they find themselves trapped in yet another conflict without the ability to escape. They should not be held captive simply because they were looking for safety or a better life. They should be immediately released and evacuated to a country, where they will be safe.”

Since the fighting broke out, the humanitarian needs in and outside the detention centres have grown from already alarming levels. MSF teams are conducting the first medical consultations since the fighting began and are providing food, water and nutritional supplements to some of the people still in detention centres. However, MSF and other humanitarian actors have limited access to other people in need of assistance. Libyan communities in and around Tripoli have, also, been affected by the fighting and have inadequate access to healthcare.

According to UNHCR, nearly, half of all people held in detention centres are refugees from conflict regions, including, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. While these people are entitled to protection under international law, the Libyan authorities, governments of safe countries and the UN have failed to establish an effective mechanism for processing asylum claims. European countries have, even, established policies, that prevent asylum seekers from leaving Libya.

These same policies prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean by having the European-sponsored Libyan coastguard return people rescued at sea to Libyan shores. The vast majority of people currently in the detention centres, have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya. Such policies have exacerbated the already poor and overcrowded living conditions in Tripoli’s detention centres. The situation has deteriorated over the past few months as limited access to clean water, sanitation and healthcare has led to increased physical and mental health consequences.

Present since 2011 in the country, MSF has been working in the Tripoli detention centres since 2016, providing primary healthcare, mental health support and water and sanitation services. MSF is, also, the only organisation providing emergency referrals to hospitals for migrants, refugees and asylum seekers inside the detention centres. MSF, also, works in detention centres in Khoms, Zliten and Misrata and provides medical consultations in Bani Walid.

MSF calls on European governments to acknowledge that Libya is not a place of safety. More must be done to help people trapped within its borders to find a safe and dignified way out.  ω.

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Swaziland:Eswatini: Forced Evictions Expose the County’s Flawed Land Laws as Hundreds Face Homelessness



|| August 30: 2018: Amnesty International News || ά. The Swaziland:Eswatini government must halt forced evictions, which have left hundreds of people homeless and pushed them deeper into poverty, Amnesty International said in a new report. ‘They don’t see us as people: security of tenure and forced evictions in Eswatini’ details forced evictions in two areas of the country, that resulted in more than 200 people, most of them subsistence farmers, being made homeless and without access to land, where they could continue farming.

Although, the evictions involved a long legal process, they were carried out in the absence of adequate notice, genuine consultation and without adequate compensation, in violation of international law. Amnesty International is, also, aware of at least 300 more people facing imminent eviction from land they depend on for farming, food and their livelihoods. The report shows the devastating impact of the country’s land governance system. Since most of the land is held by the King in ‘trust’ for the Swazi nation and others living on title-deed land without formal recognition, Swazi people do not enjoy any degree of security of tenure, making them vulnerable to forced evictions.

“These forced evictions expose the harsh reality of land tenure for ordinary Swazi people. The country’s land governance system is deeply flawed as it denies ordinary Swazis the most basic commodity and dignity.” said Ms Deprose Muchena, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southern Africa.

“The country’s laws are meant to offer people protection but, in truth, they are creating increasing misery for ordinary Swazis. Forced evictions are driving people into more poverty. Those living under constant threat of imminent eviction experience anxiety and fear. The kingdom’s land laws have failed the people.”

As part of its research, Amnesty International interviewed a diverse range of people, including, politicians, human rights activists, lawyers and 80 people affected by forced evictions or under threat of eviction. Most of the country’s land is Swazi Nation Land, held in ‘trust’ by the King, who has the power to allocate it to individuals or families through his chiefs. The remainder of the land is Title-Deed Land, owned by private entities or the government.

Recipients of Swazi Nation Land must pay allegiance to their Chief, usually, in the form of labour, in exchange for their land. However, there is no formal legal security of tenure and no uniform official written records of these allocations. Chiefs have the power to dispossess people of the land allocated to them.

A Member of Parliament admitted to Amnesty International that laws governing land in Eswatini are failing the people. He said, “There’s never a year without evictions. The law on land is weak against the victim, they are at the mercy of the land owner.” 

Forced evictions have disastrous consequences for families in predominantly rural Eswatini, who have, for generations, depended on the land to grow crops to feed their children or raise some extra income to pay for healthcare, school fees and other basics.

Eswatini has a long history of forced evictions, which have rendered many homeless over the years. In one of the two latest incidents, which the organisation documents, 61 people, including, more than 30 children, were left homeless after their homes were demolished by armed police and bulldozers in the farming area of Embetseni in Malkerns town on April 09, 2018.

People have, also, been evicted from Swazi Nation Land in Nokwane, some 15km east of Manzini. Once known for its pineapple plantations, Nokwane is today home to the recently inaugurated Royal Science and Technology Park, a project led by the Ministry of Information, Communication and Technology and spanning 159 hectares. Between September and October 2014, residents from at least 20 homesteads consisting of over 100 people were forcibly evicted to make way for the Taiwanese-funded MICT project, which is part of King Mswati’s economic growth strategy Vision 2022.

Both cases documented by Amnesty International involve disputes about the tenure status of those evicted. However, according to international human rights standards, everyone has a right to be protected from forced evictions regardless of whether they own or occupy the land or house. The government of Eswatini is, also, required to ensure that no one is rendered homeless as a result of an eviction.

“The government and elites can not continue to keep thousands of hectares of land while the vast majority of Swazi people remain in limbo with no guaranteed security of tenure in their own motherland.” said Ms Deprose Muchena.

Amnesty International is now calling for the Swazi government to declare a nationwide moratorium on mass evictions until adequate legal and procedural safeguards are in place to ensure that all evictions comply with international and regional human rights standards.

The report is based on forced evictions, that have been carried out in Nokwane and Malkerns in the Manzini region. Amnesty International visited the country three times, starting in March 2017, during its investigation, with the last mission in April 2018.

A forced eviction is the removal of people against their will from their homes or land they occupy without legal protections and other safeguards. Forced evictions have direct implications on people’s human rights, including, the right to housing, water, sanitation and food, as well as, their access to livelihoods and necessities of daily life.

Under international human rights law, evictions, may, only, be carried out as a last resort, once all other feasible alternatives to eviction have been explored and appropriate procedural protections, including, consultations with the affected people, are in place.:::ω.

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Is It Not Time South Africa Ends the Commercial Lion Breeding: Born Free Speaks for the Lions at the South African Parliamentary Colloquium




|| August 27: 2018 || ά. Born Free’s Head of Policy Dr Mark Jones gave evidence at this week’s Portfolio Committee on Environmental Affairs’ Colloquium on the future of South Africa’s cruel and cynically commercial lion breeding industry. The two-day Colloquium, took place during August 21-22, in Cape Town, chaired by Africa National Congress MP Mr Mohlopi Philemon Mapulane, took evidence from a large number of stakeholders and attracted a great deal of national and international interest and media attention.

Born Free’s Head of Policy Mark Jones, who was the sole overseas NGO representative to be invited to give evidence to the Committee. He said, “This Colloquium was the first real formal opportunity for those, who take issue with the breeding and exploitation of lions and other predators for tourism, canned hunts and the bone trade, to voice their concerns directly to Parliamentarians in South Africa. The Committee Members can have been left in little doubt about the damage this heinous industry is causing to South Africa’s reputation as a responsible custodian of its wildlife and the threat it poses to the future of wild lions and other big cats across Africa and beyond.”

Drawing from Born Free’s report Cash Before Conservation, published in April 2018, Dr Jones outlined how the industry in South Africa has grown over the past decade to involve more than 260 facilities containing 8,000 or more animals; how lions and other captive predators are cynically exploited for profit at every stage of their usually short lives and how the vast majority are destined to be killed as trophies in ‘canned hunts’ or slaughtered to supply bones and other products for the international trade.

Key players in the industry have been closely associated with wildlife trafficking and thousands of skeletons have been exported in recent years to trading companies in Laos and Vietnam, well-known for illegal activities. In spite of this, the growth of the lion breeding industry has been actively encouraged and supported by key provincial and national political figures within South Africa, including, the current Environment Minister, despite controversial claims that it promotes the ‘green economy’ and represents a form of ‘sustainable utilisation’.

The Colloquium, which was addressed by Environment Minister Ms Edna Molewa, took evidence from Government officials from the Departments of Environment and Agriculture, South Africa National Parks, Brand South Africa, various hunting organisations and representatives of the predator breeding industry, as well as, wildlife and animal welfare organisations and economists. Strong calls for the closure of the industry came from both animal protectionists and from some within the hunting sector.

“The Colloquium was well chaired and at times the proponents of the predator breeding industry were left squirming in their seats amidst a torrent of criticism from many fronts, including, from the Chair himself. We hope and trust the Committee will provide a robust report directing South Africa’s lawmakers to wind up this vile industry. Born Free stands ready to work with others to ensure that any such process is conducted with intelligence, humanity, and above all compassion for the animals concerned.” says Dr Jones.

The Committee is due to report to Parliament in the coming weeks.

About Born Free: Born Free’s mission is to ensure that all wild animals, whether living in captivity or in the wild, are treated with compassion and respect and are able to live their lives according to their needs. Born Free opposes the exploitation of wild animals in captivity and campaigns to keep wildlife in the wild.

Born Free promotes Compassionate Conservation to enhance the survival of threatened species in the wild and protect natural habitats while respecting the needs of and safeguarding the welfare of individual animals. Born Free seeks to have a positive impact on animals in the wild and protect their ecosystems in perpetuity, for their own intrinsic value and for the critical roles they play within the natural world. :::ω.

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Uganda: Opposition MPs Must Not Be Tried in Military Court: Amnesty International



|| August 19: 2018 || ά. ‘’Two opposition MPs arrested and detained in Uganda must be promptly charged and tried in ordinary civilian courts, if, sufficient evidence of a recognisable criminal offence is found or else be released.’’ Amnesty International said in a statement. ‘’If, there is sufficient evidence that Robert Kyagulanyi and Francis Zaake have committed a recognisable offence within the law, they must be promptly charged and tried in an ordinary civilian court that meets international standards of fair trial.

Musician-turned opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, also, known as, Bobi Wine and Francis Zaake, were arrested on August 14. Robert Kyagulanyi was today charged with unlawful possession of firearms and ammunition at a general court martial in Gulu and remanded in military custody until August 23. However, Francis Zaake's whereabouta are still unknown.’’

“If, there is sufficient evidence that Robert Kyagulanyi and Francis Zaake have committed a recognisable offence within the law, they must be promptly charged and tried in an ordinary civilian court that meets international standards of fair trial.” said Ms Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International's Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

“The Ugandan authorities must not attempt to intimidate the opposition by dragging these MPs through the military court system, which does not have competence to try civilians.”

Amnesty International spoke to Mr Robert Kyagulanyi’s lawyer, Mr Asuman Basalirwa, who confirmed that he had seen his client. He said that the MP had been badly beaten up and sustained serious head and other bodily injuries.

“It is now more than 48 hours since these MPs were arrested and, yet, the whereabouts of Francis Zaake remains unknown, which strongly suggests the authorities are hiding something and not playing by the rules. Allegations of torture and other ill-treatment are extremely worrying and must be promptly investigated in a thorough, impartial and independent manner.” said Mr Joan Nyanyuki.

Security officers claim to have found unregistered firearms in the hotel room of Mr Robert Kyagulanyi, allegations, which the hotel management refutes. The MP had gone to campaign in a by-election held on August 15, in which their candidate, Mr Kassiano Wadri, secured the parliamentary seat. ::::ω.

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WHO Calls for Free and Secure Access in Responding to Ebola Outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo



|| August 12: 2018 || ά. WHO’s global and African regional leadership saw first-hand the complexities of implementing the Ebola response in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, in visits with the Ministry of Health officials of the country to affected areas over the last two days. While this is the country’s 10th Ebola outbreak, it is the first time that the disease has struck a densely populated active conflict zone. “WHO is calling for free and secure access by all responders to the affected populations.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“All of those participating in the response must be able to move freely and safely in conflict areas to do the work, that is needed to bring the outbreak under control. The population, must, also, have access to treatment centres, that save lives and stop the spread of disease.” As was done in the recent outbreak in the west of the country, WHO is supporting the Ministry of Health in key aspects of the response. A little more than a week since the government declared the new Ebola outbreak, Dr Tedros, Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa and Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response went on a two day mission to the city of Beni and to the Mangina health area in North Kivu.

Mangina, which is 30 km from Beni, lies at the epicentre of the epidemic and accounts for most of the confirmed cases so far. A range of armed groups are active in the area and this insecurity creates a challenge for health teams needing to go deep into communities to actively find cases and, then, monitor them twice a day for three weeks. It can, also, discourage members of the community from coming forward for treatment.

“WHO has vast experience with delivering health services in conflict zones in Africa.” said Dr Moeti. “We will build on this experience to ensure that our staff and partners can do their work and save the lives of the people we are here to help.”

Together with the Minister of Health, Dr Oly Ilunga, the WHO delegation observed the launch of the Ebola vaccination for health workers in the Beni reference hospital. They, also, visited the Emergency Operations Centre in Beni, which was built and provided to partners by the UN mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, known as MONUSCO.

They met with partners and staff to discuss the challenges ahead and to take stock of what has, already, been put in place, including treatment centres run by partners, outreach to communities, a review of infection prevention and control in health centres, and reinforcement to the surveillance system. :::ω.

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Zimbabwe: Investigate the Army’s Conduct in Post-Election Killings: Amnesty International





|| August 02: 2018 || ά. Authorities must launch a prompt and effective investigation into the army’s killing of three protesters and injury of scores others following post elections violence, Amnesty International said. “It is unfortunate that this election has descended into bloodshed, which could have been avoided, if, security forces had exercised restraint against protesters. The army’s conduct should be promptly investigated, with those responsible brought to justice.” said Mr Colm Ó Cuanacháin, Amnesty International’s Acting Secretary General.

“By using live ammunition against unarmed protesters, the army has broken the very same rule of law, that they should protect. The militarisation of the prevailing post-election environment is muzzling freedom of expression, association and assembly. People must be guaranteed their right to protest.” Police have confirmed that three people have been killed after soldiers fired live ammunition on fleeing people following post-election protests in Harare, with some of the injured and dead being shot from the back.

The army, also, ordered journalists covering riotous demonstrations to switch off their video recording equipment and cameras. Demonstrators were calling for the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission to expedite the release of the presidential election results after voting on July 30.

Firearms must never be used as a tool for containing violence by protesters. They, may, only, be used in defense against an imminent threat of death or serious injury, in order to save another life.

“The loss of life for people protesting for the release of the election results was totally unnecessary. They wanted to see how they had voted and Zimbabwean authorities had a duty to facilitate this in a peaceful manner, without deploying the army to the streets.” said Mr Colm Ó Cuanacháin.

“Media freedom, must, also, be guaranteed and respected in this prevailing post-election environment. Journalists should not be intimidated for doing their work.”  

The post-election violence earlier yesterday follows the country’s elections on July 30. The vote combined presidential, parliamentary and local government elections.

The July 30 election took place in a context of intimidation of people in some rural parts of Zimbabwe, with uniformed military men and intelligence agents deployed into villages. Military intelligence was reported going house to house, sometimes at night, in the lead up to the elections telling villagers to vote right in places, such as, Mutoko and Domboshava in Mashonaland East. :::ω.

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New Cluster of Presumptive Ebola Cases in North Kivu in the Democratic Republic of the Congo




|| August 01: 2018 || ά. The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo announced today that preliminary laboratory results indicated a cluster of cases of Ebola virus in North Kivu province. The announcement was issued little more than a week after the Ministry of Health declared the end of an outbreak in Equateur Province in the far western part of the country, some 2,500 km from North Kivu.

The Ministry of Health of the Democratic of the Congo:DRC informed WHO that four out of six samples tested positive for Ebola virus at the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale:INRB in Kinshasa. Further testing is on-going. “Ebola is a constant threat in the DRC.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “What adds to our confidence in the country’s ability to respond is the transparency they have displayed once again. Working closely with the Ministry of Health and partners, we will fight this one as we did the last.”

The Government was quick to provide public updates, with press releases on July 30 and August 01. “Since we are coming out of another Ebola outbreak, we have kept staff and equipment in place.” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.  “This allows us to have a head start in response to this cluster.”

The majority of the cases are in the Mangina health area, which is 30 kilometres from the city of Beni. “This new cluster is occurring in an environment which is very different from where we were operating in the northwest.” said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General, Emergency Preparedness and Response.

“This is an active conflict zone. The major barrier will be safely accessing the affected population.”

North Kivu hosts over one million displaced people. The province shares borders with Rwanda and Uganda with a great deal of cross border movement due to the trade activities. WHO will continue to work with neighbouring countries to ensure health authorities are alerted and prepared to respond.:::ω.

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Sierra Leone: Arrest of Activists During Peaceful Protests Demonstrates the Urgency to Reform Restrictive Laws



|| July 18: 2018 || ά. Following the arrest and interrogation of activist Edmond Abu yesterday during a peaceful protest in Freetown, Sierra Leone, Ms Sabrina Mahtani, Amnesty International West Africa researcher, said, ‘’The arrest of Edmond Abu for participating in peaceful protest just months after the new government came into power shows the urgency of reforming restrictive laws on peaceful assembly. The authorities must end arbitrary arrest of protesters and uphold the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

The Public Order Act 1965 is overly broad and gives too much discretion to the police. The new government claimed it was a victim of such laws and repressive policing whilst in opposition and now has a key opportunity to make history by making sure Sierra Leone’s laws on peaceful assembly are fully consistent and compatible with international human rights standards.”

Activist Edmond Abu was arrested in Freetown while participating in a protest against an increase in fuel prices. He was taken to the Criminal Investigation Department:CID Headquarters and released after being interrogated.

A police spokesperson told Amnesty International that Mr Abu had written to the police the day before, notifying them he was going to hold a protest and they had told him to discuss the matter with them but he went ahead with his protest. The police stated they were complying with the Public Order Act 1965.

The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Guidelines for the Policing of Assemblies by Law Enforcement Officials in Africa underline that peaceful assembly is a right and not a privilege and that the responsibility is on authorities to facilitate peaceful assemblies. Notification requirements should not be a hidden obstacle to the effective enjoyment of the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

Amnesty International launched a report on July 03, 2018 in Freetown, A Force for Good? Restrictions on Peaceful Assembly and Impunity for Excessive Use of Force by the Police, which urged the new government to reform restrictive laws and take steps to strengthen police accountability. :::ω.

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The Security Council Welcomes the Historic and Significant Joint Peace Declaration by Ethiopia and Eritrea



|| July 11: 2018 || ά. The United Nations Security Council on Tuesday described the Joint Declaration, signed by the Leaders of Eritrea and Ethiopia, as a ‘historic and significant, move with ‘far-reaching consequences’ for the whole Horn of Africa region and beyond. The Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship signed on Monday by Eritrean President, Mr Isaias Afwerki and the Prime Minister of Ethiopia, Mr Abiy Ahmed.

The statement issued on behalf of the 15 Council members expressed the hope that that signalled the resumption of diplomatic ties, for the first time, in two decades between the two countries and opened a new chapter of co-operation and partnership. Among the measures agreed by the two leaders during the historic meeting in the Eritrean capital, Asmara, were the restoration of flights, the opening of embassies and for Ethiopia to use port facilities in Eritrea, according to news reports.

A block on telecommunications was, also, lifted, allowing families divided following a war across the disputed border between the countries, which left thousands dead, to telephone each other. ‘’The UN is ready to do whatever the two parties ask us to do.’’ Said Mr António Guterres, the UN Secretary-General.

The Council recognised the call in the Joint Declaration for solidarity and support and encouraged all actors to offer their support to the peace process. The statement hoped that members stood ready to support Eritrea and Ethiopia in their implementation of the Joint Declaration.

The Council members took note of the Secretary-General’s offer to support the process. On Monday, Mr António Guterres told journalists in the Ethiopian capital, where he was attending the second annual UN-African Union conference, that the recent evolution of relations in the past few weeks was a very important signal of hope, not only for these two countries, not only for Africa, but for the whole world.

“The UN is ready to do whatever the two parties ask us to do. The UN will be entirely at their disposal to do whatever is necessary to facilitate the success of what needs to be done.” said Mr. Guterres.

Mr Abiy Ahmed became Prime Minister of Ethiopia only in February, following the resignation of his predecessor and is the first leader to hail from the majority Oromo ethnic group. 

Since taking office, he has implemented a large number of political reforms and previously served in Government as Minister for Science and Technology. :::ω.

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WHO Supports Ebola Vaccination of High Risk Populations in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

|| May 22: 2018 || ά. The Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, with the support of the World Health Organisation:WHO and its partners, is preparing to vaccinate high risk populations against Ebola virus disease:EVD in affected health zones. Health workers operating in affected areas are being vaccinated first and community outreach has started to prepare for the ring vaccination. More than 7,500 doses of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine have been deployed to conduct vaccination in the northwestern Equator Province, where 46 suspected, probable and confirmed Ebola cases and 26 deaths have been reported as of May 18.

Most of the cases are in Bikoro, a remote rural town, while four confirmed cases are in Mbandaka, the provincial capital with a population of over one million people. The vaccines are donated by Merck, while Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is contributing US$01 million towards operational costs. The Wellcome Trust and DFID have, also, pledge funds to support research activities. "Vaccination will be key to controlling this outbreak." said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. "We are grateful for the support of our partners in making this possible."

The Ministry of Health with WHO, Medecins Sans Frontieres:MSF, UNICEF and other key partners are implementing a ring vaccination with the yet to be licensed rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine, whereby the contacts of confirmed cases and the contacts of contacts are offered vaccination. Frontline healthcare workers and other persons with potential exposure to EVD, including but not limited to, laboratory workers, surveillance teams and people responsible for safe and dignified burials, will, also, receive the vaccine.

"We need to act fast to stop the spread of Ebola by protecting people at risk of being infected with the Ebola virus, identifying and ending all transmission chains and ensuring that all patients have rapid access to safe, high-quality care." said Dr Peter Salama, WHO Deputy Director-General for Emergency Preparedness and Response. A ring vaccination strategy relies on tracing all the contacts and contacts of contacts of a recently confirmed case as soon as possible. Teams on the ground have stepped up the active search and follow up of all contacts. More than 600 have been identified to date.

"Implementing the Ebola ring vaccination is a complex procedure." said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa. "The vaccines need to be stored at a temperature of minus 60 to minus 80 degrees centigrade and so transporting them to and storing them in affected areas is a major challenge."

WHO has sent special vaccine carriers, which can keep their contents in sub-zero temperatures for up to a week and has set up freezers to store the vaccines in Mbandaka and Bikoro. The Organisation is deploying both Congolese and Guinean experts to build the capacities of local health workers. The Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and partners are engaging communities to inform people about Ebola, including, the vaccine.

The vaccine was shown to be highly protective against Ebola in a major trial in 2015 in Guinea. Among the 5,837 people who received the vaccine, no Ebola cases were recorded nine days or more after vaccination. While the vaccine is awaiting review by relevant regulatory authorities, WHO’s Strategic Advisory Group of Experts on Immunisation:SAGE has recommended the use of the rVSV-ZEBOV Ebola vaccine under an expanded access, compassionate use protocol during Ebola outbreaks linked to the Zaire strain such as the one ongoing in the DRC.

WHO and its partners need US$26 million for the Ebola Response in the Democratic Republic of the Congo over the next three months. Funding has been received from Italy, UN CERF, Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, USAID, the Wellcome Trust and UK DFID. WHO has, also, released US$02 million from its Contingency Fund for Emergencies.

WHO partners in the DRC Ebola response include: The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies:IFRC, the Red Cross of the Democratic Republic of the Congo:DR Congo Red Cross, Médecins Sans Frontières:MSF, the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund:DREF, the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention:Africa-CDC, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention:US-CDC, the World Food Programme:WFP, UNICEF, UNOCHA, MONUSCO, International Organisation for Migration:IOM, the FAO Emergency Management Centre Animal Health:EMC-AH, the International Humanitarian Partnership:IHP, Gavi the Vaccine Alliance, the African Field Epidemiology Network:AFENET, the UK Public Health Rapid Support team, the EPIET Alumni Network:EAN, the International Organisation for Animal Health:OIE, the Emerging Diseases Clinical Assessment and Response Network:EDCARN, the World Bank and PATH. Additional coordination and technical support is forthcoming through the Global Outbreak Alert and Response Network:GOARN) and Emergency Medical Teams:EMT. ::: ω.

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WHO Expresses Concerned as One Ebola Case Confirmed in a New Urban Area of Democratic Republic of the Congo

|| May 17: 2018 || ά. One new case of Ebola virus disease:EVD has been confirmed in Wangata, one of the three health zones of Mbandaka, a city of nearly 01.2 million people in Equateur Province in northwestern Democratic Republic of the Congo. he Ministry of Health of the DRC announced the finding, after laboratory tests conducted by the Institut National de Recherche Biomédicale confirmed one specimen as positive for EVD.

Until now, all the confirmed Ebola cases were reported from Bikoro health zone, which is, also, in Equateur Province but at a distance of nearly 150 km from Mbandaka. The health facilities in Bikoro have very limited functionality and the affected areas are difficult to reach, particularly, during the current rainy season, as the roads are often impassable. ''This is a concerning development but we now have better tools than ever before to combat Ebola.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General.

“WHO and our partners are taking decisive action to stop further spread of the virus.” The World Health Organisation is deploying around 30 experts to conduct surveillance in the city and is working with the Ministry of Health and partners to engage with communities on prevention and treatment and the reporting of new cases.

“The arrival of Ebola in an urban area is very concerning and WHO and partners are working together to rapidly scale up the search for all contacts of the confirmed case in the Mbandaka area.” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO Regional Director for Africa.

WHO is, also, working with Médecins Sans Frontières:MSF and other partners to strengthen the capacity of health facilities to treat Ebola patients in special isolation wards.

As of May 15, a total of 44 Ebola virus disease cases have been reported: three confirmed, 20 probable and 21 suspected. ::: ω.

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WHO's Largest Cholera Vaccine Drive in History to Vaccinate Two Million People in Five African Countries

|| May 07: 2018 || ά. A spate of cholera outbreaks across Africa has prompted the largest cholera vaccination drive in history, with more than two million people across the continent set to receive oral cholera vaccine:OCV. The vaccines, funded by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, were sourced from the global stockpile and are being used to carry out five major campaigns in Zambia, Uganda, Malawi, South Sudan and Nigeria. The campaigns, which will be completed by mid-June, are being implemented by the respective Ministries of Health supported by the World Health Organisation:WHO and partners of the Global Task Force on Cholera Control:GTFCC and, mostly, in reaction to recent cholera outbreaks.

And, this shows when a World Body keeps focus to why it exists and keeps at it regardless of the challenges, what can be attempted and achieved. This is how must the world keep at it and edge towards bettering the desperate human condition. WHO and all other of its partner agencies must be congratulated on this mammoth task. In the 15 years between 1997 and 2012 just 01.5 million doses of cholera vaccines were used worldwide. In 2017 alone almost 11 million were used, from Sierra Leone to Somalia to Baangladesh. In the first four months of 2018 over 15 million doses have, already, been approved for use worldwide. And, here are the other most desperately long over due challenges: to ensure safe drinking water for all and safe sanitation system: until we are able to ensure this happens a whole lot of illnesses, including, cholera will keep on devastating humanity.

“Oral cholera vaccines are a key weapon in our fight against choler.” said Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, WHO Director-General. “But there are many other things we need to do to keep people safe. WHO and our partners are saving lives every day by improving access to clean water and sanitation, establishing treatment centres, delivering supplies, distributing public health guidance, training health workers, and working with communities on prevention.” “This is an unprecedented response to a spike in cholera outbreaks across Africa.” said Dr Seth Berkley, CEO of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. “We have worked hard to ensure there is now enough vaccine supply to keep the global stockpile topped up and ready for most eventualities. However, with more and more people now succumbing to this terrible, preventable disease, the need for improved water and sanitation, the only long-term, sustainable solution to cholera outbreaks, has never been clearer.”

Through its Regional Office for Africa, WHO regularly provides technical and operational support to countries often affected by cholera in Africa. In particular, since the beginning of 2018 WHO has led on providing technical expertise and guidance, working closely with Ministries of Health in the five countries to plan and implement the campaigns with different partners. This is part of a global push to reduce cholera deaths by 90 percent by 2030.

The burden of cholera remains high in many African countries. As of May 07 many countries are facing cholera outbreaks, with at least 12 areas or countries reporting active cholera transmission in Sub-Saharan Africa. Recent developments in the use of OCVs show that the strong mobilisation of countries and partners can effectively tackle the disease when tools for prevention and control are readily available.

“Every rainy season, cholera springs up and brings devastation to communities across Africa.” said Dr Matshidiso Moeti, WHO’s Regional Director for Africa. “With this historic cholera vaccination drive, countries in the region are demonstrating their commitment to stopping cholera from claiming more lives. We need to build on this momentum through a multi-sectoral approach and ensure that everyone has access to clean water and sanitation, no matter where they are located.”

The five African campaigns are:

Nigeria: 01.2 million doses will protect around 600,000 people to contain an emerging cholera outbreak in Bauchi state, where more than 1,700 cases have been reported.

Malawi: One million doses of cholera vaccine will protect over 500,000 people in Lilongwe to combat an outbreak which has infected more than 900 people across the country.

Uganda: 360,000 doses of cholera vaccine have been shipped to Uganda to protect 360,000 people in Hoima District, Western Uganda, after an outbreak in Kyangwali refugee camp hospitalized more than 900 people. The country is also now engaging in long-term cholera control planning to vaccinate over 01.7 million people in the coming months.

Zambia: 667,100 doses of cholera vaccine are being delivered as part of the second round of vaccination to the Lusaka slums after a major outbreak infected over 5700 people, killing more than 100. Zambia is also engaging on long term cholera control and planning vaccination in additional hotspots.

South Sudan: 113,800 doses have been shipped as a preventative measure ahead of the war-torn country’s rainy season. These extra doses will complement doses remaining from previous campaigns to target Panyijiar. Over 02.6 million doses of OCV have been administered in South Sudan since 2014.

Oral Cholera Vaccine is recommended to be given in two doses. The first gives protection for six months, the second for three to five years. All five campaigns should have completed their second round of vaccinations by mid-June. A resolution on cholera will be proposed by Zambia and Haiti at this month’s World Health Assembly, calling for renewed political will and an integrated approached to eliminate cholera, including investment in clean water, sanitation and hygiene:WASH.

The global cholera vaccine stockpile is managed by the Global Task Force on Cholera Control:GTFCC, which decides on OCV use in non-emergency setting, and the International Coordinating Group:ICG, which decides on outbreak response and features representatives from WHO, UNICEF, the International Committee of the Red Cross:ICRC and Medecins Sans Frontières:MSF. The stockpile is funded in full by Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance, which is a GTFCC partner and has an observer status on the ICG.

About Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance: Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership committed to saving children's lives and protecting people's health by increasing equitable use of vaccines in lower-income countries. The Vaccine Alliance brings together developing country and donor governments, the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, the World Bank, the vaccine industry, technical agencies, civil society, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and other private sector partners. Gavi uses innovative finance mechanisms, including, co-financing by recipient countries, to secure sustainable funding and adequate supply of quality vaccines. Since 2000, Gavi has contributed to the immunisation of nearly 640 million children and the prevention of more than nine million future deaths.

About the World Health Organisation: The World Health Organisation is the directing and co-ordinating authority on international health within the United Nations’ system. Key areas of work are: providing leadership on matters critical to health and engaging in partnerships, where joint action is needed; shaping the research agenda and stimulating the generation, translation and dissemination of valuable knowledge; setting norms and standards and promoting and monitoring their implementation; articulating ethical and evidence-based policy options; providing technical support, catalysing change and building sustainable institutional capacit; and monitoring the health situation and assessing health trends. ::: ω.

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University of Southampton is Working to Support Kenyan Government to Create National Energy Lab

|| April 19: 2018: University of Southampton News || ά. Expertise from the University of Southampton is helping the government of Kenya to secure the country’s future energy needs.  Under its Vision 2030 development policy, Kenya identifies energy as one of the key enablers for its future socio-economic development for the universal benefit of the Kenyan people and the economy. A sustainable, affordable and reliable energy supply has long been recognised as one of the most important enabling factors in transforming any nation into a modern and more prosperous society.

To address the future development of Kenya’s substantial natural fossil and energy based resources, a greater understanding of how to best exploit these resources was required. Professor Abu Bakr Bahaj, Head of the Energy and Climate Change Division at the University of Southampton, a world-recognised expert in the field of energy, has provided guidance and support to the Kenya’s Ministry of Energy for the development of new Kenyan National Energy Laboratory. The Kenyan Ministry of Energy began by developing a concept note for the creation of the new Laboratory, bringing together all aspects of research and development in the field of sustainable and affordable energy.

The Ministry, with the assistance of Professor Bahaj, also, initiated a consultation process designed to allow all stakeholders to have input into the creation of the new facility. Professor Bahaj described the initiative as 'a tremendous opportunity for Kenya to grow its energy research and development capabilities as it builds its energy sector. This initiative will create technical knowhow and, through both fundamental and applied research, produce leaders in the energy field. KNEL offers Kenya the opportunity to become beacon of energy research in Africa.

Mr Eng Isaac Kiva, the Ministry of Energy’s Director of Renewable Energy, said, “Pervasive challenges, currently, exist, that impede the capacity of the Kenyan energy sector to, fully, exploit, develop and deploy energy technologies. These challenges include, among others, poor co-ordination, lack of data and information for planning and high capital costs of energy systems.

These have resulted in low uptake of low carbon and efficient technologies. We hope KNEL will start to address such challenges by augmenting what already exists in Kenya but, also, provide specific innovations in the energy field. Additionally, it is our intention that KNEL will work closely with industry, government, academia and international organisations, such as, the University of Southampton, to advance the use of innovation, research and development of energy technologies in the market place.”

In recent weeks, Professor Bahaj has facilitated workshops in collaboration with the Kenya Ministry of Energy, followed by consultation processes, held in February and March 2018, which discussed options for the future planning and structure of Kenyan National Energy Laboratory. Professor Bahaj and colleagues from the University of Southampton have years of experience in addressing and helping to solve Kenya’s energy needs.

The Energy for Development Network, co-ordinated by Southampton’s Sustainable Energy Research Group:SERG, is, already, creating a step-change in collaborative research and project development through the installation of solar-powered energy in three Kenyan villages.

In an initial pilot project, the project has brought power to the village of Kitonyoni, approximately 150 kilometres south east of Nairobi, through a solar photovoltaic system with battery storage. The electricity was distributed across the village via a mini-grid. The researchers provided support and training on using the new technology to empower the people living in the villages to use and maintain it.

This pilot project was so successful that it was rolled out in five other villages across Kenya, Cameroon and Uganda, at the requests of their respective governments. In collaboration with the government of Kenya, the research team is now hoping to deliver this type of benefit to around 60 villages in Kenya.

Caption: Southampton’s Sustainable Energy Research Group is, already, creating a step-change in collaborative research and project development through the installation of solar-powered energy in three Kenyan villages: Image: University of Southampton. ::: ω.

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New Project Has Been Launched to Help Deaf Children in South Africa

|| April 16: 2018 || ά. A new project has been launched in South Africa by UK University, the University of Manchester and South African University, the University of the Witwatersrand, aiming to raise awareness of the vulnerability of deaf children in the country, as well as, to try altering society’s attitudes towards them. Deaf children and youth face discrimination and exclusion from society in South Africa; they are not given adequate opportunities for acquiring language, building meaningful relationships, receiving specialised healthcare and receiving equal education.

All of this vastly decreases their life chances and infringes their human rights. A multi-disciplinary international collaboration, supported by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Medical Research Council and the Global Challenges Research Fund, is bringing together visual anthropology, social research and deaf studies in an effort to positively shift social attitudes towards deaf children and youth. Over the next eighteen months, the University of Manchester’s Social Research with Deaf people group and Granada Centre for Visual Anthropology, in partnership with the Centre for Deaf Studies at the University of the Witwatersrand, will explore how to research and represent the lives of deaf children through documentary film.

The work will be delivered in close partnership with NGOs Hi Hopes and Thrive and is endorsed by South Africa’s Department of Health. Deaf people, hearing people and parents of deaf children will all work together to achieve this ambitious programme.

“Deaf young people face very particular challenges in achieving their potential and becoming full citizens.” say Professors Alys Young and Andrew Irving from the University of Manchester.

“As visual people, they, also, have unique resources on which to draw. Through the pioneering use of community-based film methods, this project tunes in to their latent strengths as visual learners with the capacity to develop new resiliencies given the right opportunities.”

“We are thrilled to be launching this multi-disciplinary research collaboration in the year that the Wits Centre for Deaf Studies celebrates its 20th anniversary.”, says Professor Claudine Storbeck, Director for the Centre of Deaf Studies, University of the Witwatersrand.

About the University of Manchester: University of Manchester is a member of the prestigious Russell Group, is the UK’s largest single-site university with 39,700 students and is consistently ranked among the world’s elite for graduate employability. The University is, also, one of the country’s major research institutions, rated fifth in the UK in terms of ‘research power’. World-class research is carried out across a diverse range of fields including cancer, advanced materials, addressing global inequalities, energy and industrial biotechnology. No fewer than 25 Nobel laureates have either worked or studied here.

It is the only UK university to have social responsibility among its core strategic objectives, with staff and students alike dedicated to making a positive difference in communities around the world. Manchester is ranked 38th in the world in the Academic Ranking of World Universities 2017 and 6th in the UK. The University had an annual income of almost £01 billion in 2015:16. ::: ω.

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Regine Humanics Foundation Begins Its Journey Today: The Humanion Is Now A Regine Humanics Foundation Publication


|| April 06: 2018 || ά. The Humanion was first published on September 24, 2015 and has been run, since that day, on a complete voluntary basis without any 'formal' or 'constituted' manner or form and, it was run on as a Human Enterprise, which is an idea of Humanics, in which, ownership is replaced by belongingship and, thus, in a Humanical Society, no one owns anything but everyone belongs to the whole as the whole belongs to everyone lawfully and equally and, it neither believes in nor makes money but human utilities, needs, aspirations, creativity, imagination and dreams are served without money, where everyone works and creates for all others as all others create and work for all others, thus, bringing in meaning and purpose to life along with it come natural justice, equality and liberty, that establish a true civilisation within the Rule of Law. And in one word, this system of human affairs management is called, Humanics and a society that runs itself in humanics is called a humanical society. Today, we have begun the process of 'constituting' this Human Enterprise, which does not exist in the current system, but the next closest thing to it, that exists in the UK Law is Social Enterprise. Therefore, today, Friday, April 06, 2018, we are beginning Regine Humanics Foundation, that is the 'Agency', that will lead, run, manage and develop everything, that The Humanion has been trying to do.

Regine Humanics Foundation is established by the Thinker, Author, Poet, Novelist, Playwright, Editor of The Humanion, Festival Director of London Poetry Festival and a Humanicsxian: hu: maa: neek: tian: One, that believes in, lives and exists by Humanics, Mr Munayem Mayenin, of London, England, United Kingdom. Mr Mayenin says, ''Humanics is a vision; people, may, call it, utopia, we, call it our Humanicsovicsopia; Humanics. Humanics is our philosophy, our faith, our conviction, our resolution, our way of existing, thinking, being and doing: to seek and try to do so in the determination that all we must do and be is to exist to advance the human condition. People, readers and agencies and organisations, from all across England, Scotland, Northern Ireland, Wales and the whole of the United Kingdom and Australasia, Africa, Asia, Europe, North and South America, from all walks and strata of life, have supported our endeavours, supported The Humanion and The Humanion Team, who volunteered their time to run things, since the beginning of The Humanion and long before that, when other things, that are now part of The Foundation, were developing. Nothing has changed in terms of the nature and value of what we have been seeking to do.''

''But the founding of The Foundation brings it all in a solid foundation so that we can keep on building this 'vision' so that it keeps on going regardless of who come to take the vision-mission of The Foundation forward. The Foundation runs along with time and along with the flowing humanity. This is the dream, this is the vision, this the hope in founding this Foundation. And, in this, we hope and invite all our readers, supporters, well wishers and all agencies and organisations to support our endeavours to build something, a Human Enterprise, which we are in the process of registering as a Social Enterprise, as a Community Interest Company, working for the common good of the one and common humanity. No one makes or takes profit out of The Foundation, which now runs The Humanion and everything else, that is part of it. The Foundation, once registered, will have an Asset Lock, which means that in any event, should The Foundation dissolve itself, all its existing assets shall go to a similar Social Enterprise. Therefore, we invite everyone to support The Foundation, support The Humanion in whatever way they can. And, there are endless number of ways people and organisations can support The Foundation and The Humanion.'' ::: ω.

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The State of Somalia

|| April 04: 2018 || ά. A UK House of Commons Briefing Paper takes a look at the current situation in Somalia, published on March 27. Mr Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed, known as Farmajo, was elected Somalia's President by parliament on February 08, 2017. During the campaign he promised to renew the fight against corruption and suggested that he would be open to talks with Al-Shabaab. He came into office with a reputation for competence. However, just over a year on, this reputation is, already, being severely tested. President Mr Farmajo faces a big challenge in consolidating the country’s emerging federal system. His predecessor failed to see through a constitutional review process, that might have given it a more solid legal and administrative underpinning.
Mr Farmajo has made slow progress to date on this count. For now, the status of the regional states remain ‘interim’ and the division of powers between them and the centre opaque. There have been tensions between Mogadishu and some of the regional states. Some wonder whether Western backers of the federal experiment in Somalia might begin to lose faith in it over the period ahead. Mr Farmajo, who hails from the Darod clan, is, also, facing challenges from the powerful Abgal sub-clan of the Hawiye clan, which has felt under-represented in his government. Some have gone so far as to call for his Prime Minister, Mr Hassan Ali Khayre, to be replaced by one of their own.
During the first quarter of 2018, opposition politicians have been canvassing for an impeachment motion in the federal parliament, which has, barely, sat at all since February 2017, against President Mr Farmajo, so far without success. Khayre, meanwhile, is pressing a no-confidence motion in the Lower House against the Speaker. Western and African governments have expressed concern about the growing political instability.

Behind the scenes, foreign interests further complicate the political picture. Various Gulf States are busy trying to increase their influence, including, by sponsoring local politicians. In terms of the wider confrontation between the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia, on the one hand and Qatar, on the other, the Farmajo government has sought to remain neutral. In retaliation, they have stopped making regular budgetary support payments to Somalia. But some regional states have taken the side of the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

Some have interpreted the UAE’s agreement with Somaliland to open a naval base in the coastal town of Berbera as part of a strategy to raise the costs for Mogadishu of refusing to fall into line. This has come in the context of the UAE and Ethiopia buying significant stakes in Somaliland’s wider plans for the development of the port at Berbera. On March 12 tensions deepened, when the Somali federal parliament voted to expel the state-owned UAE company DP World in protest at its involvement in developing the port at Berbera.

Africa Confidential assessed in January 2018 that there had been no improvement in the security situation since Mr Farmajo took office. Since 2016, after several years of fighting, in which, it lost control over substantial areas of territory, Al-Shabaab has, increasingly, prioritised conducting asymmetrical attacks on Mogadishu and other urban centres. However, it retains control over substantial tracts of territory in the south of the country and supply routes between towns.

Al-Shabaab’s conducted its deadliest attack eve, although, it has, never, officially, claimed responsibility, in October 2017 in Mogadishu, when bombs in two lorries killed an estimated 512 people, most of them civilians. The attack generated a wave of public anger against Al-Shabaab in the capital but there was, also, disillusionment with the performance of the national government.

US airstrikes against Al-Shabaab targets have been, increasingly, often, deployed in tandem with SNA and African Mission in Somalia:AMISOM operations. In November 2017, for the first time, there were three US airstrikes against Daesh targets in Somalia. After a relative lull at the end of 2017, since January 2018, there have been further major Al-Shabaab attacks in Mogadishu. For example, on March 22, a car bomb killed at least 14 people near a hotel.

During President Mr Farmajo’s first year in power, the issue of AMISOM’s future began to be posed more sharply. The third conference to be held in London about Somalia since 2012 took place in May 2017. It agreed a plan whereby the SNA would, gradually, take over from AMISOM. In August 2017, the UN Security Council renewed AMISOM’s mandate until May 2018 while endorsing its scaling back. AMISOM announced, subsequently, that 1,000 troops out of its total complement of 22,000 would leave Somalia by the end of 2017.

With donor support, efforts are underway to improve the co-ordination between the Somali National Army and forces loyal to the regional states. The aim is to increase the size of the SNA from its current level of around 11,000 to 18,000-strong.

President Mr Farmajo took office in February 2017 amidst a severe drought. Over a year on, although, the threat of famine has so far been averted, the drought remains intense. The agricultural sector has, virtually, collapsed. The forecast for rain is poor. Donors provided more than $01.2 billion towards famine prevention during 2017. In January 2018, the UK Government announced an additional £21 million in funding.

President Mr Farmajo has, so far, had no success in improving relations with the self-declared independent state of Somaliland. After several postponements, Somaliland held presidential elections in November 2017. The victor was Mr Muse Bihi Abdi of the ruling Kulmiye Party. The defeated candidate, Mr Abdirahman Irro of the Waddani Party, claimed that there had been fraud but the Supreme Court upheld the result. There was some violence before and after the elections but clan elders, as in the past, played a part in calming the situation.

Commons Briefing papers CBP-7298: Author: Jon Lunn: Published on March 27: 2018
Read the Paper ::: ω. 

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 Year Gamma Arkive 2017-18

Year Beta Arkive 2016-17

Year Alpha Arkive 2015-16

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