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Afghanistan: Children and Armed Conflict Monthly Update – December 2016

1 December 2016 - 11:10pm
Source: Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali

This month’s update highlights children and armed conflict concerns and provides recommendations for the protection of children in the situations of Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Mali, as well as targeted recommendations for the forthcoming Open Debate on Human Trafficking in Conflict. The update also provides information regarding the status of the Working Group’s consideration of the Secretary-General’s report on the Central African Republic. The adoption of the final negotiated draft of the report, which was promised by November 4, was delayed and awaits conclusion.

Watchlist on Children and Armed Conflict is a network of local, national, and international non-governmental organizations striving to end violations against children in armed conflicts and to guarantee their rights. Monthly updates are based on the experience of Watchlist and its member organizations in specific country situations and Watchlist’s expertise in over a decade of engagement with the Security Council’s children and armed conflict agenda.

United Republic of Tanzania: Refugee Situation in Northwest Tanzania - Statistical Report (Sunday, 27 November 2016)

1 December 2016 - 11:04pm
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Kenya, Rwanda, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania

Central African Republic: Central African Republic - Complex Emergency Fact Sheet #1, Fiscal Year (FY) 2017

1 December 2016 - 6:03pm
Source: US Agency for International Development Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, United States of America

HIGHLIGHTS

 Violence, floods displace an estimated 19,000 people in Kaga-Bandoro

 Response agencies address needs of populations affected by Bria clashes

 Donors pledge nearly $2.3 billion for emergency and long-term activities in CAR; UN releases 2017 HNO

Democratic Republic of the Congo: “Fragile” DRC at risk as government clamps down on critics, UN expert warns

1 December 2016 - 5:15pm
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

GENEVA (1 December 2016) – The Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) is silencing critics in clear violation of international human rights law, a United Nations expert has warned.

The action, which includes jamming radio broadcasts and arresting journalists, is targeting the independent media at a time of high political tension, says the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, David Kaye.

“These actions are not only in clear violation of the DRC’s obligations under international human rights law, but the silencing of critical voices through arrests, censorship and other forms of government control poses risks for the stability of the country which is already in a seriously fragile state,” the expert said.

“Freedom of expression in the DRC has increasingly been threatened by the criminalization of critics and the opposition, including the use of harsh punishments. The government has a responsibility to uphold people’s rights to freedom of expression and a free media, as guaranteed in the 2005 constitution,” Mr. Kaye added. “It should also take the opportunity to promote and protect these rights to establish a foundation for growth and stability.”

The independent expert highlighted examples including a decree issued by the Minister of Information and Media, Lambert Mende, on 12 November, prohibiting the international media from operating in the DRC unless they sign an agreement with a local media outlet or create one subject to Congolese regulations.

Such a rule threatened independent radio stations, such as Okapi or RFI, which broadcast in the country without local partnership, the UN Special Rapporteur noted.

Mr. Kaye also noted that since the beginning of November, five journalists had been arrested and the government had jammed the signals of three media outlets - RTBF, RFI Brazza and a local radio station in Katanga – accusing them of interference in the country’s internal affairs. The government had also asked Okapi to stop broadcasting two programmes, alleging they provided a platform for anti-government opinions.

“With the government proposing changes to the Constitution that would extend the presidency’s terms of office, it is especially important to foster open public debate,” said the Special Rapporteur.

“Instead, I am concerned that the Government is attempting to reduce that space and limit the participation of critics.”

Mr. Kaye’s call has been endorsed by the Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and association, Maina Kiai; and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

Mr. David Kaye (USA) was appointed as Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression in August 2014 by the United Nations Human Rights Council. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx

The Special Rapporteurs are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. They are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

Check the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/Pages/CCPR.aspx

UN Human Rights, Country Page – DRC: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CDIndex.aspx

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Azin Tadjdini (+41 79 444 4702 / atadjdini@ohchr.org) or Mr. Stefano Sensi (+41 79 444 3707 / ssensi@ohchr.org)

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts: Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

For your news websites and social media: Multimedia content & key messages relating to our news releases are available on UN Human Rights social media channels, listed below. Please tag us using the proper handles:
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Democratic Republic of the Congo: RDC : un pays fragile en sursis alors que le Gouvernement muselle l’opposition

1 December 2016 - 4:42pm
Source: UN Human Rights Council Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

GENÈVE (1er décembre 2016) - Le Gouvernement de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) fait taire les critiques en violation flagrante du droit international des droits de l’homme, a averti un expert des Nations Unies.

Le brouillage des émissions de radio et l’arrestation des journalistes, vise les médias indépendants à un moment de grande tension politique, a rapporté le Rapporteur spécial de l’ONU sur la liberté d’expression, David Kaye.

« Ces actes ne sont pas seulement une violation flagrante des obligations de la RDC en vertu du droit international des droits de l’homme, mais le bâillonnement des voix critiques par des arrestations, la censure et d’autres formes de contrôle gouvernemental, posent d’importants risques pour la stabilité du pays déjà gravement fragile », a rapporté l’expert.

« La liberté d’expression en RDC est de plus en plus menacée par la pénalisation des critiques et de l’opposition, notamment par l’imposition de peines sévères. Le Gouvernement a la responsabilité de défendre les droits des peuples à la liberté d’expression et aux médias indépendants, comme le garantit la Constitution de 2005 », a ajouté M. Kaye. « Il devrait également promouvoir et protéger ces droits pour établir un fondement pour la croissance et la stabilité. »

L’expert indépendant a mis en lumière des exemples, dont un décret du Ministre de l’Information et des Médias, M. Lambert Mende, interdisant aux médias internationaux d’opérer en RDC, à moins qu’ils ne signent un accord avec un média local ou ne fassent l’objet d’une réglementation congolaise.

Une telle règle menace les radios indépendantes, comme Okapi ou RFI, qui diffusent leurs émissions dans le pays sans partenariat local, a noté le Rapporteur spécial des Nations Unies.

M. Kaye a également noté que, depuis le début du mois de novembre, cinq journalistes avaient été arrêtés et que le Gouvernement avait bloqué les signaux de trois médias - RTBF, RFI Brazza et d’une station de radio locale au Katanga - les accusant d’ingérence dans les affaires internes du pays. Le Gouvernement avait également demandé à Okapi d’arrêter la diffusion de deux programmes, alléguant qu’ils ont fourni une plate-forme pour des opinions anti-gouvernementales.

« Avec le Gouvernement proposant des changements à la Constitution qui élargiraient les mandats de la Présidence, il est particulièrement important de favoriser un débat public ouvert », a déclaré le Rapporteur spécial.

« Au contraire, je crains que le Gouvernement ne tente de réduire cet espace et de limiter la participation des critiques. »

L’appel de M. Kaye a été approuvé par le Rapporteur spécial sur le droit à la liberté de réunion et d’association pacifiques, Maina Kiai; Et le Rapporteur spécial sur la situation des défenseurs des droits de l’homme, Michel Forst.

M. David Kaye (Etats-Unis d’Amérique) a été nommé Rapporteur spécial sur la promotion et la protection du droit à la liberté d’opinion et d’expression en août 2014 par le Conseil des droits de l’homme des Nations Unies. Pour en savoir plus, connectez-vous à: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/FreedomOpinion/Pages/OpinionIndex.aspx

Les Rapporteurs spéciaux font partie de ce qu’on appelle les procédures spéciales du Conseil des droits de l’homme. Les procédures spéciales qui constituent le plus grand groupe d’experts indépendants dans le système des Nations Unies des droits de l’homme, sont les mécanismes indépendants d’enquête et de surveillance du Conseil qui traitent, soit de situations spécifiques de pays ou de questions thématiques dans toutes les régions du monde. Les experts des procédures spéciales travaillent sur une base volontaire; ils ne sont pas fonctionnaires de l’ONU et ne reçoivent pas un salaire pour leur travail. Ils sont indépendants de tout gouvernement ou organisation et siègent à titre individuel.

Voir le Pacte International Relatif aux droits Civils et Politiques (PIDCP):http://www.ohchr.org/fr/professionalinterest/pages/ccpr.aspx

Nations Unies, Droits de l’Homme, fiche pays – RDC : http://www.ohchr.org/FR/Countries/AfricaRegion/Pages/CDIndex.aspx

Pour davantage d’informations et pour toute demande des médias, veuillez contacter Azin Tadjdini (+41 79 444 4702 / atadjdini@ohchr.org), Stefano Sensi (+41 79 444 3707 / ssensi@ohchr.org) ou écrire à freeassembly@ohchr.org.

Pour les demandes médias liées à d’autres experts indépendants de l’ONU: Xabier Celaya - Service de presse (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

Pour vos sites d’informations et les médias sociaux: des contenus multimédias et des messages clefs sur nos communiqués de presse sont disponibles sur les comptes officiels du Haut-Commissariat sur les médias sociaux. Merci de nous référencer en utilisant les pseudonymes suivants: Twitter: @UNHumanRights Facebook: unitednationshumanrights Instagram: unitednationshumanrights Google+: unitednationshumanrights

World: Price Watch October 2016 Prices November 30, 2016

1 December 2016 - 4:14pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Nigeria, Pakistan, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Tajikistan, Uganda, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Key Messages

  • In West Africa, regional staple food production during the 2016/17 marketing year is expected to be similar to 2015/16 and well above average. International rice and wheat imports continue to support regional market supplies. Markets remained disrupted throughout the Lake Chad Basin and in parts of Central and Northern Mali. The recent depreciation of the Naira has led to price increases across Nigeria. High prices along with local policy measures created incentives for expanded grain production, but has also led to reduced purchasing power for Sahelian livestock and cash crops.

  • In East Africa, staple food prices were mixed, seasonally increasing or remaining stable in surplus-producing Uganda and Tanzania as the lean season started, while seasonally declining in Sudan, South Sudan, Kenya, and Ethiopia with the start of harvests. Prices remain above average across the region, and are especially high in South Sudan. Markets remain disrupted by insecurity in Yemen.

  • In** Southern Africa**, regional maize availability is currently adequate, despite consecutive years of well-below average regional production. Maize prices are above their respective 2015 and five-year average levels region wide. Imports by South Africa and Zimbabwe from well-supplied international grain markets have offset a portion of the regional deficit, while maize export restrictions in Zambia remained in place. Prices remain high and variable in Mozambique, which is experiencing supply constraints and where other factors contribute to food trade and price dynamics.

  • In Central America, maize and bean supplies from the Primera harvest continued to supply markets across the region. Maize and bean prices seasonally declined or were stable. Hurricane Matthew destroyed crops and market infrastructure across much of southwestern Haiti. Market activities resumed in the major markets of Les Cayes and Jeremie, but varies considerably across smaller markets.

  • In Central Asia, average regional harvests and above-average stocks sustained adequate supplies. Prices are below 2015 levels in Kazakhstan and above-average in structurally-deficit Tajikistan. Prices continued to be near average in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

  • **International **staple food markets remain well supplied. Regional price indices reflect high prices in East Africa. Rice and soybean prices fell while wheat and maize prices stabilized in October. Crude oil prices remained well below-average.

World: CrisisWatch November 2016

1 December 2016 - 4:10pm
Source: International Crisis Group Country: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, China, Colombia, Côte d'Ivoire, Cyprus, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Guatemala, Guinea-Bissau, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Mexico, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, occupied Palestinian territory, Pakistan, Paraguay, Philippines, Russian Federation, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Serbia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tajikistan, Thailand, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Tunisia, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Uganda, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Western Sahara, World, Yemen, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Global Overview NOVEMBER 2016

November saw violence escalate again in Syria, Myanmar, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Cameroon. Attacks by pro-regime forces on rebel strongholds in Syria resumed, causing significant civilian casualties. In Myanmar’s Rakhine state intensifying violence displaced tens of thousands of Rohingya Muslims, while a major attack by armed groups near the Chinese border threatened to undermine the country’s fragile ethnic peace process. In DRC, violence rose in the east and the regime continued to repress dissent, underscoring the risk that renewed protests, likely in December when President Kabila’s second term officially ends, could turn violent. In Cameroon, Boko Haram stepped up its attacks in the Far North and minority English-speakers clashed with security forces in the North West region. The victory of Donald Trump in the U.S. presidential election on 8 November created uncertainty about possible shifts in future U.S. foreign policy priorities and positions, including on a number of conflicts and prominent geostrategic arenas – among them the future of the historic multilateral nuclear accord with Iran.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: IPIS Weekly Briefing, 24 – 30 November [EN/FR]

1 December 2016 - 3:55pm
Source: International Peace Information Service Country: Burundi, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, Uganda

News in Brief

In the Democratic Republic of Congo, political tensions persist. The term of current President Joseph Kabila will come to an end on December 19. With the elections being postponed, Kabila will stay in power beyond his term. The fear grows on the national and international level that this would lead to a worsening security situation in the country due to violent protests and repression.

In North Kivu, about 35 people died on Sunday, November 27, when Mai Mai rebels attacked Luhanga village in Lubero territory.

The next day, the inhabitants of Kikuku, Rutshuru territory, reportedly fled their home due to rising insecurity. In the night between Monday and Tuesday, November 29, ADF rebels reportedly attacked Kainama, about 90 km from Beni. Three rebels and one Congolese soldier died. On Wednesday, November 30, clashes erupted between the FARDC and Mai Mai rebels on Mont Carmel, 3 km from Butembo. Confrontations between the FARDC and Mai Mai elements in Uvira, South Kivu, claimed the life of six people on Saturday, November 26. That same day, a telecommunication agent was killed by armed men in Ituri. In Haut-Uele, LRA rebels allegedly attacked Bokudangba in Dungu territory, thereby kidnapping about 40 people. In Kasumbalesa, Haut-Katanga, local NGO La Voix des Opprimés denounced the insecure situation in the area, reporting on several murders, abuse and rape by armed bandits.

On Thursday, November 25, Burundian authorities announced their refusal to cooperate with the Commission of Inquiry set up by the UN Human Rights Council. On Saturday, thousands of people took to the streets in Bujumbura at the request of the government to protest against the commission. On Monday, November 28, presidential adviser Willy Nyamitwe escaped an assassination attempt.

In Uganda, violence erupted in the Rwenzori region. On Sunday, November 27, security forces clashed with alleged seccessionist rebels, loyal to King Charles Wesley Mumbere of the Bakonzo community. According to news outlets, at least 62 people were killed in the violence and King Mumbere, along with about 150 rebels, were arrested.

Meanwhile in the Central African Republic, the violence in Bria continued. The clashes between ex-Seleka factions reportedly caused about 85 deaths over the past week. On Tuesday, November 29, tensions heightened between two Anti-Balaka factions in Bocaranga. According to La Nouvelle Centrafrique, four people died and one was injured.

Madagascar: Southern Africa: Food Security Outlook - October 2016 to May 2017

1 December 2016 - 3:32pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Food insecurity to worsen as the lean season peaks and ongoing assistance is still below needs

Key Messages

  • As the region approaches the peak lean season period, most very poor and poor households are expected to experience worsening food security outcomes across the region. Currently, areas in several countries are in Crisis (IPC Phase 3). In some areas, ongoing humanitarian assistance is below needs, but has improved outcomes to IPC Phase 3. In other areas, Crisis outcomes exist in the absence of assistance and are expected until the next harvests. Emergency (IPC Phase 4) area outcomes are expected in parts of Madagascar through February. Although Emergency area outcomes are not projected for Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Mozambique, and Malawi during this outlook period, some households in severely affected parts of these countries will also experience IPC Phase 4 outcomes during peak lean season period.

  • As demand increases and national maize deficits become more evident, maize grain prices are expected to reach their peak high between January and March. In some countries, maize meal prices will also increase, in addition to prices for cassava and other substitute foods. Malawi and Mozambique maize grain prices are expected to remain 150 percent or more above last year and five-year average, while Zimbabwe expects significantly above average prices due to an unstable macro-economic environment.

  • Preparations for the 2016-17 agriculture season is underway in most countries in the region and the seasonal rains have officially started in South Africa, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Zambia, Swaziland, Mozambique, Angola, the DRC, and Madagascar. La Niña conditions, which are associated with average to above average rainfall in southern Africa, are expected during the region’s main 2016/17 cropping season. Production prospects are generally positive, however also dependent in many areas on the availability of inputs. Agricultural labor opportunities are expected to be near average but increased competition is a limiting factor for households. Additionally, better-off and middle household capacity to pay remains low.

World: Global Weather Hazards Summary December 1 - 7, 2016

1 December 2016 - 2:16pm
Source: Famine Early Warning System Network Country: Afghanistan, Angola, Botswana, Costa Rica, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Dominican Republic, Ethiopia, Guatemala, Haiti, Honduras, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Madagascar, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nicaragua, Panama, Somalia, Sudan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Republic of Tanzania, Uzbekistan, World, Zambia, Zimbabwe

Insufficient and uneven rainfall exacerbates ground conditions in East Africa

Africa Weather Hazards

  1. Locust outbreak has occurred in western Mauritania. Ground control operations are in progress, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization.

  2. Poor early season precipitation has resulted in increasing moisture deficits and deteriorating ground conditions throughout portions of Angola, southern DRC, and northern Zambia.

  3. Largely suppressed seasonal rainfall since late September had led to significant dryness across many parts of the Greater Horn of Africa. While increased rains over Kenya and southern Ethiopia during late November is likely to help pastoral conditions and water availability, seasonal moisture deficits and poorly timed rainfall is expected to negatively impact crop production in the region.

  4. Locust outbreak was reported in North Kordofan and northwest of Khartoum regions, according to local authorities of Sudan. Control operations are in progress.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Informal briefing to the Human Rights Council: Statement by Andrew Gilmour, Assistant Secretary General for Human Rights, 30 November 2016

1 December 2016 - 1:32pm
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN Human Rights Council Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, World

I visited the DRC last week for five days, following the High Commissioner's visit in July. I listened carefully to many voices. I met with the Vice-Prime Minister, several cabinet ministers, two Governors, the Heads of Intelligence and the Police, and both speakers of Parliament. Also the National Human Rights Commission; dozens of human rights defenders and members of civil society in Kinshasa, Lubumbashi and Goma; the diplomatic corps; and the UN community.

I am grateful to the DRC authorities for seriously engaging in discussions, and the evident seriousness with which they take the work of our professional and courageous colleagues, even when they disagree with our findings. This year is the 20th anniversary of our office in the DRC, and there can be no doubt that the human rights situation has improved in the country in that time. I welcomed the clear commitment from the authorities and others to clamp down on flagrant acts of sexual violence and the recruitment of children.

But we are deeply concerned over some recent developments which I discussed in detail with the authorities – especially their refusal to open the democratic space, and their restrictions on fundamental freedoms. A ban on all public demonstrations by opposition parties or civil society is now in effect throughout most of the country but this doesn't seem to apply to the ruling Majority, whose gatherings continue to take place. I echo the sentiments expressed by several Special Rapporteurs earlier this month, who underlined that “the current situation in the DRC does not justify a general ban on demonstrations in several cities”.

Therefore, I urged the authorities to lift the ban and to allow peaceful demonstrations throughout the country.

The DRC Government arguments, for me, were based on the logic that restricting rights enshrined in their own Constitution will somehow bring security, and therefore, reduce tensions. I told them that it was our conviction that this will result in exactly the opposite. The continued suppression of basic rights will exacerbate tensions and almost certainly bring more violence, and therefore less security

Restrictions on the media have increased since the Human Rights Council session last September. At least seven journalists have been arrested, two newspapers closed. Radio France Internationale (RFI) signal has been discontinued since 5 November in Kinshasa, and the signal of the UN Radio Okapi has been jammed for four days. I called on DRC authorities to allow all media to operate freely, and to allow the voices of all sections of the population and political actors to be heard.

I was a little alarmed by the tendency of the various DRC authorities I met to delegitimize and denigrate civil society organisations, the opposition and all demonstrators. They accused the United Nations Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) of being the mouthpiece, or in the pocket of the opposition and human rights defenders. Conversely, they accused the opposition and the NGOs of being in the pay of foreign powers. The implications were clear that any active support for Human rights or for opposition parties were somehow illegitimate. In discussions with me they continually dismissed the demonstrators against the Government as thugs, rapists and drogues addicts. I made it very clear that I didn’t accept these characterizations: either of the UN of being in the pocket of the opposition, nor the claim that the opposition and Human Rights Defenders were at heart, merely criminals.

One of the main goals of my mission was to follow up on the assurances given by the DRC authorities to the High Commissioner in July, focusing on two areas.

Firstly, the issue of detainees. At the end of my mission, I sent a list of 61 political detainees to the Head of the National Intelligence Agency urging him to effect their release or rapid transfer to relevant judicial authorities, as had been pledged to the HC. We are counting on his full cooperation.

Secondly, the use of excessive force by security and defence forces. I told the authorities that the High Commissioner had been encouraged to be told during his own visit that the Congolese armed forces will not in future use lethal force against demonstrators. Which was why we were gravely disappointed to see that just two months later, nearly 50 demonstrators were shot and killed with live ammunition, often in the heads or chests, which hardly indicate that those assurances were given in the good faith we hoped for. The Deputy High Commissioner briefed the Human Rights Council a few days after those awful events, in September. The Special Rapporteur on freedom of peaceful assembly called them "excessive", while the Special Rapporteur on summary executions called them "indiscriminate and unlawful", stressing that “firearms and other potentially lethal weapons should never be used simply to disperse a demonstration”.

Accountability is absolutely crucial. Therefore, I informed the group of Cabinet ministers and security forces officials that we stand ready to collaborate with them in a joint, credible, independent investigation. The Vice-Prime Minister accepted the proposal, which I welcomed.

During my visit to the country, I underlined to the Congolese authorities that there can be no credible and peaceful electoral process without respect for fundamental freedoms. In every meeting, I advocated the implementation of confidence building measures, which in this case basically means lifting restrictions on human rights. I strongly condemned all acts of violence in the DRC, irrespective of the perpetrator.

In the area of legislation, I encouraged the adoption of the law protecting human rights defenders, the law defining the freedom of assembly and peaceful protest, and the ratification of the African Charter on Democracy, Elections and Governance.

We encourage members of the Human Rights Council to remain seized of the situation in the DRC to prevent a further escalation of violence and human rights violations. For my part I will continue my engagement with New York-based stakeholders and mechanisms in that regard. The recent visit of Security Council members to the DRC indicates that a shared concern and commitment to a peaceful solution that fully respects the human rights of all Congolese. The international community should explore all means at its disposal to support this effort.

But let's be clear: there is a profound and widespread concern that in three weeks time – 19th December marking the end of the second and last term of President Kabila – there may be mass demonstrations in many parts of the country. They may be met in a similar way to the demonstrations in September – in which case we could see a truly terrible escalation. This is why confidence building measures need to be implemented now, to head off that scenario.

For two decades, OHCHR has worked alongside the Government of the DRC, as well as its civil society, its population as a whole, and vulnerable groups. Whatever happens next month and thereafter, we will be there for the Congolese people.

Allow me now to deliver a few remarks about reprisals. At the beginning of October, the Secretary-General announced here in Geneva that, after consultations with the High Commissioner, he had asked me to lead the efforts within the UN system to put a stop to intimidation and reprisals against those cooperating with the UN on human rights. The growing number of reprisals against people cooperating with us is indeed a deep concern and the UN owes them its best possible support. My designation was a response to this compelling need, and demonstrates that reprisals are a UN wide concern.

Geneva has played a leading role in drawing attention to this issue and keeping it on the agenda. It is my intention to work closely with all of you to ensure the success of this mandate. I am grateful to those Member States who have already made contact with me to share their views, and look forward to being in touch with many others.

In my future work I intend to focus on three main areas.

Firstly, step up the UN response to reprisals. We aim to strengthen our collective action against reprisals and to make it more visible. This means standardizing the way we approach intimidation and reprisals, including our response on specific issues. It also means reinforcing coordination and cooperation with counterparts across the UN system.

Secondly, constructive engagement. These efforts will only be successful if they are developed through constructive engagement with all stakeholders, including civil society but also, in particular, Member States, as you are best placed to prevent and react to reprisals if they occur. Thus we will maintain a constant dialogue with States on this issue.

Thirdly, cooperation with all actors involved. My work will be fully integrated into ongoing efforts on reprisals. Currently, many actors are engaged in responding to reprisals, including the Human Rights Council – especially its President –and human rights mechanisms.My main objective will be to avoid duplication but to consolidate and build up the work already done, and ensure close cooperation with these actors.

We on this podium are all convinced that by working together, and by giving reprisals the attention they deserve, we will be able to make a difference and help to end the terrible practice whereby human rights defenders are sometimes punished for cooperating with the mechanisms established by UN Member States. We very much look forward to working with you in this area.

Thank you.

Central African Republic: UNHCR - Central African Republic Situation - 2016 Funding Update as of 29 November 2016

1 December 2016 - 10:59am
Source: UN High Commissioner for Refugees Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo
  • 225.5 Mrequired for 2016
  • 40.3 M contributions received, representing 18% of requirements
  • 185.1 M funding gap for the Central African Republic Situation

World: Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017

1 December 2016 - 10:05am
Source: Assessment Capacities Project Country: Afghanistan, Burundi, Central African Republic, Chad, Democratic Republic of the Congo, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), World, Yemen, Zimbabwe

Introduction

The Crisis Overview 2016: Humanitarian Trends and Risks for 2017, outlines the countries where needs are greatest, and growing, as we approach the end of 2016.

Based on our weekly Global Emergency Overview (GEO), and four years of data on humanitarian needs across 150 countries, we have identified ten countries where humanitarian needs are likely to be highest in 2017, as well as four that merit attention as they face a potential spike in needs. We also consider the humanitarian situation in the northern triangle region of Latin America, where the wide-ranging humanitarian impact of pervasive gang violence is chronically underreported.

COUNTRY SELECTION

The ten countries identified to be in highest humanitarian need in this report are those that have consistently been at Level 3 (Severe Humanitarian Crisis) in the ACAPS GEO for the 12 weeks preceding the report (mid-July to early October), and that we consider likely to be facing worse situations in the coming year.

The GEO measures underlying vulnerability, access constraints, and current needs to determine overall need for humanitarian assistance. It ranks countries according to three levels: situation of concern, humanitarian crisis, and severe humanitarian crisis.
The second list adds four countries, and one region that our monitoring and analysis determines to be at significant risk of a new or increased humanitarian crisis within the coming six months.

Our overview does not attempt to predict sudden-onset disasters, rather to analyse the broad evolution of the situation in countries hit by longer-term, more complex crises.
Despite the regional nature of many crises, we focus on countries because data collection and response is generally country-focused.

Comparing disasters is an intricate and controversial endeavour, and we cannot fully account for the complexity and diversity of the many crises around the world. This report is not therefore intended to rank or compare the humanitarian situation in different countries directly, but simply to summarise the evolution in the most pressing humanitarian needs.

United Republic of Tanzania: Ireland Helps Maintain Critical Support To Refugees In Tanzania

1 December 2016 - 6:46am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ireland, United Republic of Tanzania

DAR ES SALAAM – Ireland today provided the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) with a contribution of EUR 500,000 to support refugees hosted in Tanzania. With these funds, Ireland is helping WFP maintain its assistance operations for a quarter of a million refugees. The refugees, primarily from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are hosted by the Government of Tanzania at three camps in Kigoma Region in the west of Tanzania.

As a result of an increasing influx of refugee arrivals – currently more than 10,000 are crossing into Tanzania each month – WFP has been experiencing shortfalls in funding for its refugee operation. Thanks to contributions from Ireland and other donors, impending ration cuts for refugees have been avoided, at least until next year. “Ireland has a strong global commitment to reducing hunger and malnutrition,” says Irish Ambassador Paul Sherlock. “Tanzania has always shown enormous generosity in hosting large number of refugees. It is our hope that our contribution today will help the government, WFP and its partners ensure that the food needs of the most vulnerable refugees living in Tanzania are met.”

Refugees receive vital food assistance in the form of hot meals at transit and reception centres, and a monthly food allowance at the camps consisting of maize meal, pulses, salt, vegetable oil and a fortified porridge.

WFP also provides supplementary food for pregnant and nursing women, children under the age of five, hospital in-patients and people living with HIV/AIDS. These specifically targeted feeding programmes provide recipients with much needed nutrition through additional rations of fortified foods or micronutrient powders. These nutrients can be critical in the fight against stunting and undernutrition in children while also boosting the immune systems of vulnerable people.

“This generous contribution from Ireland to WFP really boosts our feeding and nutrition programmes for these displaced people,” says WFP Country Representative, Michael Dunford. “We can now turn our focus to the food and nutrition needs of this growing refugee population in 2017.”

Tanzania continues to receive hundreds of new refugees every day. The situations in their homelands makes their return in the near future uncertain. WFP requires US$ 6 million per month to sustain its support to refugees.

# # #

WFP is the world's largest humanitarian agency fighting hunger worldwide, delivering food assistance in emergencies and working with communities to improve nutrition and build resilience. Each year, WFP assists some 80 million people in around 80 countries.

Follow us on Twitter: @wfp_tanzania @wfp_media @IrlEmbTanzania

For more information please contact:

Fizza Moloo, World Food Programme, Fizza.Moloo@wfp.org, tel. +255 (0) 784 720 022 or +255 (0) 692 274 729 Robert Hull, Embassy of Ireland, Robert.Hull@dfa.ie, tel. +255 22 260 23 55

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Working on the Frontline of the HIV Response

1 December 2016 - 4:26am
Source: Cordaid Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

On World Aids Day, we pay tribute to the people who are working on the frontline of the HIV response. People like Dr Pascal Milenge. He and his teams are providing antiretroviral drugs to health centers in Eastern DR Congo. “In the rainy season it’s a nightmare to reach the remote villages.”

It’s true, great progress has been made in the fight against AIDS in the past 15 years:

  • The number of people with HIV on antiretroviral therapy (ART) went from less than 1 million to over 18 million;
  • Instead of 8 pills per day HIV can now be treated with 1 pill a day;
  • ART costs per year per person dropped from 10.000 to 100 US dollars. (source: UNAIDS)

Still a long way to go

But before you get too enthusiastic: the fight is far from over. With over one million people dying of AIDS every year, the epidemic still is one of the greatest global public health threats. HIV response workers are overstretched and under-resourced, especially in countries that are badly affected by the epidemic.

HIV in DR Congo

Take DR Congo. In the eastern provinces like North and South Kivu, movement of large numbers of refugees and soldiers, and the lack of access to testing and treatment, fuel the spread of HIV. Only one quarter of the estimated 370.000 people living with HIV in DR Congo have access to antiretroviral therapy.

Cordaid’s response

To counter the epidemic, and with generous support from the Global Fund, Cordaid leads an alliance of 13 partners. Together we supply and strengthen 175 health centers in the remotest rural parts of 6 provinces of DR Congo. Aid workers, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, drivers and peer educators combine forces and services to make sure people are HIV tested and if needed counseled and treated.

Over 150,000 people on antiretroviral treatment

By the end of next year we want over 150,000 people living with HIV on antiretroviral treatment in our program. With 73,090 adults and children on treatment so far we are nearly half way.

Other goals are:

  • To reduce mother-to-child transmission from 34.4 to 8%
  • To reduce HIV mortality from 75/1000 in 2012 to 32/1000 in 2017
  • To provide antiretroviral treatment to at least 95% of patients with co-morbidity of HIV and TBC.

By air, road and canoe

By air, road and even canoe we are getting the aids drugs for tens of thousands of patients to all 175 health centers. This is a challenge, especially in provinces that are affected by conflict like South and North Kivu.

Program Coordinator Dr Pascal Milenge: “We always have to be on our guard in areas where armed rebel groups create insecurity. When it gets too dangerous our drug convoys can be accompanied by UN Peacekeepers. And in the rainy season it’s a logistical nightmare to reach the remote villages. But we know people’s lives depend on our stamina, so we never give up.”

What else do we do in the fight against AIDS?

Cordaid has many programs that are countering HIV and other sexually transmissible diseases. Read more about them.

South Sudan: 2016 South Sudan Humanitarian Response Second Quarter in Review

1 December 2016 - 2:22am
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Kenya, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda

PEOPLE IN NEED IN 2016: 6.1M

PEOPLE TARGETED IN 2016: 5.1M

PEOPLE REACHED IN Q1 2016: 2.89 M

In the second quarter of 2016, the humanitarian situation in South Sudan remained critical, with the onset of the lean season, fighting and displacement in new locations, the spread of measles and the beginning of a cholera outbreak in June.

During the lean season, some 4.8 million people were estimated to be food insecure, with the highest proportions of populations facing Crisis, Emergency and Catastrophe food insecurity in Northern and Western Bahr el Ghazal and Unity.

New displacement was reported. In Western Bahr El Ghazal, clashes in areas south and south-west of Wau in June forced tens of thousands of people to flee their homes. In the Equatorias, people were displaced by fighting between armed actors in Nagero County in Western Equatoria; fighting between cattle keepers and youth north of Terekeka and in Lobonok in Central Equatoria; and fighting in Maji in Eastern Equatoria.

The overall level of internal displacement, however, remained relatively steady at 1.6 million people. Several thousand people left the Bentiu Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Unity, primarily to engage in agricultural activities, and there were reports of people returning from Panyijar to Leer and Mayendit counties. During the quarter, some 15,000 people fleeing hunger and insecurity in South Sudan arrived into Sudan (primarily from Northern Bahr El Ghazal) and Uganda (primarily from Eastern Equatoria).

Communicable diseases continued to spread. Measles outbreaks were recorded in 11 counties in Northern Bahr el Ghazal, Warrap, Lakes, Unity and Upper Nile by the end of the quarter, and a cholera outbreak started in June.

Violence against humanitarian staff and assets remained a defining feature of the operating environment, although there were fewer incidents reported in the first half of 2016 (381) compared to the same period in 2015 (499).

As at the end of June, 39 per cent of the $1.29 billion required under the 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan had been received, with funding levels well below the amount received at the same time in 2014 and 2015. Nearly 190 humanitarian organizations across South Sudan had reached about 2.89 million people in need.

Central African Republic: WFP C.A.R. Crisis Regional Update Situation Report #27 (31 October 2016)

30 November 2016 - 11:42am
Source: World Food Programme Country: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo

Highlights

 In October, WFP has almost doubled the number of people supported with food and cash-based assistance, across C.A.R., Cameroon, Chad, DRC and RoC, compared to September.

 In October, further insecurity triggered new displacements and continues to affect humanitarian organizations, hampering their access to parts of C.A.R.

 WFP is revising its 2017 requirements to provide assistance to people affected by the crisis, aiming at reaching 886,000 people with food and nutrition support across the five countries under Regional EMOP 200799.

Situation Update

 The IPC conducted in August 2016 indicated that 2 million people are still food insecure in C.A.R. In addition, first results of the national food security assessment show high vulnerability of rural populations whose livelihoods rely on agriculture (lack of seeds, destruction of agricultural land and insecurity).

 In October, data collection for the National Food security Survey (ENSA) was completed in Chad, under the leadership of the Government with WFP support. Preliminary results reveal an increase of 11% in agricultural production compared to the average of the past five years thanks to good rains (above average in southern Chad, which is the region hosting C.A.R returnees and refugees).

 In Chad, WFP and UNHCR launched the results of the joint assessment mission on the food security and nutrition situation of the refugees from C.A.R. in 2016. The importance of maintaining critical food and nutrition assistance, as well as the need to foster self-reliance solutions, was highlighted. WFP and UNHCR are taking actions to move toward vulnerability-based targeting, in collaboration with the Government, UNHCR, IOM and other partners.

 Insecurity triggered new displacements, and continues to affect humanitarian organizations, hampering their access to parts of C.A.R including Kaga-Bandoro and Grimari-Bambari. In Kaga-Bandoro area since the recent events, WFP partners cannot implement activities without MINUSCA escort. Due to the upsurge of violence and insecurity, the number of internally displaced people (IDPs) increased from 384,900 to 420,700 between September and October.

 The presence of armed groups and rebels from C.A.R remains a main security concern along the Cameroon-C.A.R border. Local authorities requested that all humanitarian activities be suspended in Touboro area (north Cameroon) due to an increase of attacks, robberies and abductions in the area.

 The resumption of tensions in C.A.R., particularly in Bangui, is likely to affect the border of Zongo in DRC. However the security situation in North- and South-Ubangi remains relatively calm.

Democratic Republic of the Congo: Supporting people affected by conflict in Democratic Republic of Congo

30 November 2016 - 7:50am
Source: Concern Worldwide, European Commission's Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Country: Democratic Republic of the Congo

Nestled in the centre of the African continent lies the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a vast country whose recent history has been one of conflict and corruption. The country was plagued by civil war from 1997 to 2003, and since then conflict has persisted in the east of the country. In the Masisi territory, inter-ethnic conflict is widespread and recent years have witnessed the proliferation of multiple armed groups. Frequent clashes between these groups have resulted in civilian displacements and a loss of crops, homes and livelihood. With the support of the European Commission’s humanitarian aid department (ECHO), Concern is working in Masisi territory, helping the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict. We asked some of them how efforts to improve their living conditions have impacted their lives.

A brighter future for Mariamu

Mariamu lives with her four children in a village called Kweriba, just outside the Masisi centre. Ever since her husband passed away, she is the sole provider for her family, and relies on her vegetable garden to feed her children. She speaks of how the ongoing conflict has disrupted her life,“I had to flee several times with my kids. Every time we fled we lost everything: household utensils, food and crops in the field.”

The Concern programme, supported by the European Commission, aims to help civilians by providing them with tools to support themselves. In Mariamu’s case, she was provided with maize, beans, groundnuts, cabbage and carrot seeds so that she could provide food for her family.

“The arrival of Concern in our village was like a salvation for me because I had no seed to plant this season. I was worried that I would not be able to provide for my family. I am happy now I have extended my field from 50 metres to 100 metres,” said Mariamu.

In a region of instability and insecurity, Mariamu and her family are content in the certainty that they will have enough food to feed themselves over the next couple months. With a smile on her face and hope in her eyes, Mariamu expressed deep gratitude, “I am thankful to Concern because I now have hope that tomorrow will be better for me and my kids.”

Cash transfers help Imani

“I am 21 years old and have 6 children. Because of the war, I have lost everything,” said Imani, a resident of Kweiba village.

Imani is a beneficiary of Concern’s cash transfer programme and has received cash transfers which have enabled her to son to school.

“With the cash I paid school fees for my son and with the rest I started breeding pigs. With coupons I bought a mattress and household utensils,” said Imani.

Imani and her husband both work as casual labourers, often working in the fields or transporting goods by foot, and without support from Concern they would not have been able to afford these bare essentials. “I am happy that Concern came to our village to help us," said Imani.

Buuma grows food for his family again

Buuma from Muranga village, relies on agriculture to support himself and his four children, but because of repeated lootings he has lost all his stock of seed. This has driven his family to near starvation and his wife was forced to return to her parents’ home in search of food.

Thanks to Concern’s cash transfers programme which is supported by the European Commission, Buuma received seeds and tools which has enabled him to replant his garden and sustain his family. Looking around at his thriving field, Buuma said with pride, “I am so happy to see how well the ground nuts are growing. I hope the harvest will be fine.”

Buuma also used the cash vouchers to buy a mattress, a goat, household items and clothes. “We used to sleep on banana leaves but now I am sleeping well on the mattress I bought. I hope my wife will be happy to see all these good things we now have,” said Buuma.

Buuma’s sister has moved in to help him care for his children, however he hopes his wife will return home soon so that they can work together to support their four children.

Muhindo can take care of his family

“I didn’t have the chance to finish school because of the conflict,” said Muhindo, a father of five living in Muranga village. With no access to land, Muhindo earns a living working in the fields or transporting goods to Masisi by foot, which is about 11km away.

According to Muhindo, the needs of his village have been largely ignored until the arrival of Concern: “Ever since we have been facing troubles here at Muranga nobody has come to assist us. Concern is the first NGO I have seen coming to assist us here.”

Muhindo and his family have been supported through cash transfers, and he discusses how this has changed his life: “I bought a goat, clothes for the whole family and I was able to pay school fees for my son with the coupon I received.”

Beaming with pride, Muhindo displays the items he bought with the cash transfers. “I am so happy that my family and I now have a sauce pan to cook with and enough food to feed all of us. I am grateful to Concern for this assistance.”

The ongoing conflict in DRC has caused unfathomable upheaval and disruption in the lives of ordinary people, and as these stories illustrate, the effects of war linger long after the conflict ends. Concern, with the support of the EU humanitarian aid, is committed to addressing the humanitarian needs and protecting the most vulnerable people in Eastern DRC. Through resilience-building and livelihood programmes, families have renewed hope for the future.

*This blog is based on interviews conducted by Ulua Popol

Madagascar: SADC Climate Services Centre - Update Outlook for December 2016 to February 2017 Issue no. 2 (29 November, 2016)

30 November 2016 - 4:20am
Source: Southern African Development Community Country: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

HIGHLIGHTS

SEPTEMBER– NOVEMBER 2016 RAINFALL HIGHLIGHTS

  • The season started slowly in some areas.

  • During September to November, wetter than normal areas spread over the central and western Angola, eastern Botswana, north-eastern South Africa, northern Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

  • Seasonally average conditions occurred across north -western DRC, north and west of Tanzania, Madagascar and south Mozambique.

DJF2016/17 RAINFALL UPDATE OUTLOOK SUMMARY

For the period December 2016 to February 2017, there is an extension of below-normal rainfall conditions over Tanzania up to the extreme northern parts of Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the entire Madagascar. Other parts of the region are going to be the same as the previous projections from SARCOF-20, with the high likelihood of:

  • normal to abovenormal rainfall conditions in the bulk of the SADC Region.

Madagascar: SADC Climate Services Centre - Outlook for December 2016 to February 2016 Issue no. 2 (29 November, 2016)

30 November 2016 - 4:20am
Source: Southern African Development Community Country: Angola, Botswana, Comoros, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe

HIGHLIGHTS

SEPTEMBER– NOVEMBER 2016 RAINFALL HIGHLIGHTS

  • The season started slowly in some areas.

  • During September to November, wetter than normal areas spread over the central and western Angola, eastern Botswana, north-eastern South Africa, northern Namibia, Lesotho and Swaziland.

  • Seasonally average conditions occurred across north -western DRC, north and west of Tanzania, Madagascar and south Mozambique.

DJF2016/17 RAINFALL UPDATE OUTLOOK SUMMARY

For the period December 2016 to February 2017, there is an extension of below-normal rainfall conditions over Tanzania up to the extreme northern parts of Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and the entire Madagascar. Other parts of the region are going to be the same as the previous projections from SARCOF-20, with the high likelihood of:

  • normal to abovenormal rainfall conditions in the bulk of the SADC Region.