FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Monday:  October 6, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

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Entries in Burkina Faso (11)

Tuesday
Jul312012

An African Sahel War on the Horizen? (Perspective) 

(Video: Is the Mali conflict a threat to the region? 1 month ago/AJE)

By Dr Julia Leininger

In the Sahel a war is spreading. Within three months it has overtaken the towns in an area of northern Mali larger than France. 365,000 people have taken flight within the country and across its borders into neighboring Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger. But it is not the only disaster to strike northern Mali. The people are not only fleeing the violence, a reminder of the Tuareg war of 1990 to 1992: they are also trying to escape drought and famine.

Little in the way of facts and developments is leaking out to the world's public. Journalists, foreigners and most western aid organizations have left. The situation is too dangerous. At best, information is being received by telephone from the border towns of Gao, Kidal and Timbuktu. Uninhabited desert areas are isolated from modern means of communication. And yet reports on the region paint a clear picture of good and evil. Images of defiled graves in Timbuktu show how Islamist fighters and Tuareg rebels are destroying a world cultural heritage dating back centuries.

(MAP: Mali regions-Azawad consists of Gao, Kidal & Timbuktu, as well as the NE half of Mopti, claimed by & internationally recognised as part of Mali/WIKIPEDIA)The inhabitants of Timbuktu appear to have no choice but to watch helplessly as the armed and masked men go about their heartless business. In Gao, a town on Mali's border with Niger, the 'Movement for Oneness and Jihad in West Africa' (MUJAO) is said to have taken the whole population hostage, a circle of land mines ensuring that no one escapes.

It seems to be a clear-cut case: extremist Islamists and Tuareg rebels versus the Malian state. And yet it is not quite so simple. The threatening Islamist gestures of Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM), MUJAO and Ansar Dine conceal a mixture of hard economic interests, disputes between old-established clans and struggles for an independent Tuareg state to be known as Azawad.

Independence from the Malian state is demanded by the Tuareg Movement for the National Liberation of Azawad (MNLA), which began by allying itself with Ansar Dine to increase its strength. But the groups fell out over the question of religion: while the MNLA advocates a secular state, the other three are officially seeking to establish an Islamist regime in western Africa.

The Tuareg and the Islamists

Yet the lines separating the Tuareg and the Islamists seem clearer than they really are. Ansar Dine is led by the respected Tuareg Iyad Ag Ghali. He had hopes of becoming the leader of the MNLA. When they were dashed, he set up the Islamist Ansar Dine, but retained links with his Tuareg clan. He is alleged to have the backing of AQIM. AQIM emerged from an Algerian Salafist movement, is said to be composed mostly of Algerians and Mauritanians and operates across borders in the western Sahel.

(Video: Tuareg's claim independence, 3 months ago/AJE)

Behind the religiously charged scenes, all the groups that are ready to use violence - whether Tuareg, AQIM, MUJAO or Ansar Dine – have a number of things in common.  

First, they are linked to international smuggling: only in an ungoverned area like the Sahel can the lucrative movement of drugs from Latin America to Europe flourish and other smuggled goods find their way to consumers in Africa, Asia and Europe.

Second, their violence has no support in Mali's tolerant and consensus-oriented society. Nor does the introduction of a Wahabi and Salafist form of Islam find any approval in the Sufi tradition of the Malian faithful.

Third, the groups with a propensity for violence are benefiting from the collapse of the Muammar Gaddafi regime of Libya. Innumerable Tuareg who fought in the ranks of the Libyan army have returned, some of them heavily armed, to their desert homes in Mali, Niger and Chad. Trained as soldiers, they are easily recruited for the struggle in northern Mali. Their combat strength and fire power are alarming, even though the actual numbers involved remain unknown. Finally, the fighters in northern Mali are taking advantage of the power vacuum that has prevailed in the capital of the country since a military coup in March 2012.

(Video: Islamists claim victory over Tuareg's, 1 month ago/AFP)

Beside the pictures of war and famine, the coup that ousted the democratically elected President, Amadou Toumani Touré, fades into insignificance. Yet the absence of a workable government is currently preventing effective action against famine, poverty and war in the North of the country. In this former model democracy, supporters of the old regime face sections of the military and young Malians pressing for radical political change. They recall the demands that the old political elite addressed to representatives of the authoritarian regime in the early stages of Malian democracy in 1991.

The state was to ensure the unity of the nation and put an end to the ominous Tuareg rebellion (1991-1995). The old elite also stood for an end to corrupt politics and the enrichment of individuals at the expense of the Malian people. Now the civil and military opposition are also accusing the government led by Touré, who has fled to Senegal, and the constitutional transitional government of being incapable of restoring peace in the North and ensuring sustainable development for all Malians.

Popular Military Coup

In this respect many observers are surprised to find that the military coup has proved very popular with the urban population. Nor has an agreement mediated by Burkina Faso and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) done much to improve the wrangling over the leadership of the country. ECOWAS, for example, has called on the Malian transitional government to have formed a government of national unity by July 31, 2012 (which hasn't happened) and to take action to end the conflict in the North.

(Video: Meanwhile, hunger prevails/FAO)

International support is needed if a further escalation of violence in the Sahel region is to be prevented. In Africa itself the African Union, ECOWAS and Mali’s neighbors Algeria and Chad are discussing the form that engagement might take. ECOWAS has taken Algeria's place as the main negotiating power in conflicts with the Tuareg and AQIM.

The problem with ECOWAS's new role is, however, that Algeria and Chad, being non-members, are excluded. A split in political positions was also to be seen at the African Union summit in Addis Ababa mid-July. While ECOWAS is preparing to intervene with 3,000 troops, Algeria is pressing for a political dialogue with the warring parties. Chad would take military action, but not under ECOWAS's aegis.

Sustained management of the conflict in northern Mali and of the regular catastrophic droughts in the Sahel is, however, achievable only with Algeria and Chad. The integration of these countries can succeed only if Mali, the African Union and the United Nations Security Council adopt clear positions. In the Security Council France has already declared its support for military intervention, while the USA is exercising restraint in view of the forthcoming presidential election. As the Malian military is also opposed to intervention, Mali's transitional government remains incapable of taking action for the time being.

In the meantime, they expect a government of national unity to be formed in Mali and an ECOWAS mission and the UN Secretary-General to present their reports on the situation in Mali. It is to be hoped that in this way a more accurate picture of the facts and developments in the war and the emergency in northern Mali will emerge. It is only on a sound basis of this kind that the advantages and risks associated with a military intervention can be assessed.

-- Dr Julia Leininger works at German Development Institute (DIE) Department 'Governance, Statehood, Security'. She is the regional coordinator for Sub-Sahara Africa. This analysis appeared on July 16 as OpEd in DIE. [IDN-InDepthNews]

Wednesday
May232012

Malaria spread feared as WHO releases action plan to tackle global spread of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes (REPORT) 

(Video World Malaria Day, 2012/WHO)

By Amy Maxmen

The war to bring malaria to heel has made slow but steady progress during the past decade, with the overall mortality rate dropping by more than 25% since 2000. A key factor in this progress has been improved control of mosquitoes, which transmit the Plasmodium parasite — a potent killer that claimed an estimated 655,000 lives in 2010 alone. But health officials fear that the spread of insecticide-resistant mosquitoes could bring about a resurgence of the disease. To help combat this threat, on May 15, the World Health Organization (WHO), based in Geneva, Switzerland, issued a strategic plan to curb the spread of resistance.

“We don’t want to wait for failures to happen,” says David Brandling-Bennett, the senior adviser for infectious diseases at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in Seattle, Washington, who advised on the document.

Such failures could reverse the recent drop in malaria mortality credited to insecticide spraying in the home and coating of bed nets, which save about 220,000 children’s lives each year, according to the WHO. Insecticide resistance could also result in as many as 26 million further cases a year, the organization predicts, costing an extra US $30 million to $60 million annually for tests and medicines.

The WHO report says that insecticide-resistant mosquitoes already inhabit 64 malaria-ridden countries (see map).

The problem is particularly acute in sub-Saharan African countries such as Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Ethiopia and Uganda, where mosquitoes are frequently resistant to compounds known as pyrethroids and even to the organochloride DDT, venerable tools of mosquito control. Because they are extremely safe for children, effective against mosquitoes and affordable, pyrethroids are the only insecticides used to treat bed nets, as well as the first choice for household spraying.

Health authorities in Somalia, Sudan and Turkey have also reported sporadic resistance to the two other classes of insecticides recommended by the WHO for safe and effective household spraying: carbamates and organophosphates. Resistance has probably evolved several times independently, and is now spreading as extensive use of pyrethroids and other insecticides favors resistant mosquitoes. “In 2004, there were pockets of resistance in Africa, and now there are pockets of susceptibility,” says Janet Hemingway, chief executive of the Innovative Vector Control Consortium (IVCC), a product-development partnership based in the United Kingdom.

(MAP: Global malaria map, 2012/WHO) Among other things, the WHO recommends rotating the classes of pesticides used to spray houses, and developing safe and effective non-pyrethroid insecticides that can be used to treat bed nets. To implement all of the WHO’s suggestions would cost $200 million - on top of the $6 billion that the WHO requested last year to fund existing malaria-control programs. Rob Newman, director of the Global Malaria Program at the WHO, hopes that the report will draw more funds to the table as donors grasp the situation. “If we can stop pyrethroid resistance from spreading, it will be cheaper in the long run,” Newman says.

“In 2004, there were pockets of resistance in Africa, and now there are pockets of susceptibility.”

But the two largest players in malaria aid - the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and the US President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) - have not yet pledged additional money to fight resistance. Their spending on mosquito control is already high - in 2009, 39% of the Global Fund’s malaria expenditures went towards insecticide-treated bed nets and household spraying, as did 59% of the PMI’s in 2010.  

For now, pyrethroids are the only class of insecticides approved by the WHO for bed nets, and where spraying is concerned they are less costly than the alternatives. Vestergaard Frandsen, a company based in Lausanne, Switzerland, says that it has in the pipeline a bed net coated with a non-pyrethroid insecticide - one that does not belong to any of the four WHO-approved classes - and that the company expects to bring this to market within the next five years. It is also one of several companies partnering with the IVCC to create innovative mosquito-control products.

(PHOTO: Malaria `home test'/NoProphalactics)In the meantime, health officials may be able to keep malaria at bay by swapping insecticides. The report notes that in Colombia, for instance, mosquitoes regained susceptibility to pyrethroids after five years of treatment with an organophosphate. But some African countries lack the surveillance needed to spur such an approach. To address that deficiency, the report urges that a global database be set up to track the spread of resistance, and that entomologists be trained and hired at surveillance stations. That could prove the most challenging goal of all.

“Nobody wants to fund capacity building,” says Newman. “Donors would rather say they purchased $10,000 in bed nets than pay a salary.”

African ministers of health realize the need to manage resistance but can’t do much without outside funds, explains Maureen Coetzee, a medical entomologist at the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. “In some countries, malaria control means one person sitting in one room, and he’s lucky if he’s got a chair,” she says.

- This report originally appeared by Amy Maxmen at Nature.

Wednesday
May162012

Despite Progress, Millions at Risk as UN Releases Africa Human Development Report (NEWS) 


(Video UNDP)

By Shout Africa

Aid provided to Malian refugees in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger is insufficient, the medical humanitarian organization Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) said today. Since late January, nearly 160,000 Malians have fled their country for camps in neighboring nations. Instability persists in Mali, leaving little hope that the refugees will be able to return soon. On top of that, another imminent threat looms: the rainy season, which will further complicate the deployment of aid.

MSF is working in camps in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger, and is concerned that the impending rainy season and the current shortage of aid will worsen the problem significantly. “MSF calls on the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the World Food Program (WFP) to increase and speed up the distribution of aid in Burkina Faso, Mauritania and Niger before the rainy season makes aid distribution even more difficult,” says Malik Allaouna, MSF director of operations.

In the makeshift Mauritanian camp of Mbéra, located in the middle of the desert, residents share one latrine for 220 people. They receive only 11 liters of water per person per day and the food distributed by the WFP does not meet the specific nutritional needs of children.

“We received four kilograms of rice – the quality is mediocre and it’s full of pebbles – two cups of oil and two cups of sugar for 10 days,” says one person in Mbéra camp. “They’ve given us just a single ration since we arrived.”

(MAP: LongWarjournal) In Burkina Faso, where MSF is working in four camps, the organization notes that food supplies are distributed inappropriately. “The same quantity is distributed without regard for the number of people in a family,” says Mohamed El Moktar, a refugee at the Gandafabou camp. “We are seven people. After two days, we have nothing left.”

Living conditions are significantly below international aid standards and render people who are already weakened by a very long journey even more vulnerable to illness. Most of the diseases treated during MSF’s medical consultations in the camps are directly related to poor living conditions.

At MSF’s treatment centre in Mbéra, four out of every 10 patients are suffering from respiratory infections and two out of 10 for diarrhea. The next most common ailments are skin infections and malnutrition. Since the organization started working in Mbéra, more than 500 children have been treated for malnutrition.

“Food insecurity is a threat both for the Malian refugees and for the host communities, which are already suffering from poor harvests,” adds Mr. Allaouna. “Only food distribution, in sufficient quantity and quality, will prevent children’s nutritional condition from further deteriorating.”

In Burkina Faso, MSF is working in the Ferrerio, Gandafabou, Dibissi and Ngatourou-Niénié camps. In Mauritania, in Mbéra, Fassala and Bassikounou; and in Niger, it is active in the communities of Mangaïzé, Abala, Chinagodrarand Yassan.

- This article originally appeared on Shout Africa

Tuesday
Feb072012

Mali refugees in Niger fleeing Tuareg uprising await food and water aid (REPORT) 

(PHOTO: Mali refugees arriving in Niger, February 4, 2012/Radio Netherlands)The thousands who fled the ongoing Tuareg rebellion in Mali to seek refuge in western Niger are suffering from a severe food-and-water shortage, local officials and aid providers say.

"We must fear a humanitarian catastrophe, if nothing is done," Boureima Issaka of the Niger-based aid group Timidria said in Chinegodar, a small village that has seen an influx of some 6,000 refugees in less than a month.

They have sought shelter from a conflict in Mali between government troops and armed rebels that has caused dozens of casualties on either side.

The combat began on January 17, when the Azawad National Liberation Movement (MNLA) launched an attack in northern Mali -- the largest offensive by Tuareg rebels since 2009 -- sparking clashes with the army.

Malian civilians have since fled to neighbouring West African countries Mauritania and Burkina Faso, as well as Niger, which has struggled with its own Tuareg rebellions in the past.

Western Niger's small village of Chinegodar, 10 kilometres (six miles) from the border, has grappled with a food crisis following a country-wide drought and the influx of refugees has further stretched resources.

The village, which normally numbers 1,600 residents, has also seen its only well dry up, prompting a severe water shortage, according to the village chief.

Children are among those suffering from malnutrition and dehydration in the refugee camp.

"These children are terribly hungry; we can hear their crying every night," said Balki, a Chinegodar resident who is sheltering 10 of the refugees in her modest home.

According to officials and aid groups, about 10,000 people fleeing the Tuareg rebellion in northern Mali and reprisal attacks in Bamako have crossed into Niger, more than 4,500 into Mauritania and 1,500 into Burkina Faso.

General conditions in the Niger refugee camp are also poor, according to Boureima Issaka, the aid worker.

"The majority of people no longer bathe; they sleep under the stars at the mercy of wind, cold nights, scorpions and snakes," Issaka said.

(PHOTO: Newly arrived Mali refugees in Mauritania/Int'l World Service)Shelters made of blankets and cloth protect the refugees from the hot sun and cold nights, but the situation remains bleak.

A United Nations mission visited the village last week and found conditions to be extremely difficult and the hygiene deplorable, prompting fear of a cholera epidemic.

The crisis is compounded by the fact that the Malian region of Menaka -- one of the main flashpoints in the latest fighting -- was the principal source of essential commodities for Chinegodar.

For now, the Chinegodar mayor's office has offered the refugee camp half a tonne of cereal, Doctors Without Borders provided a few boxes of medicine and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is working on the water supply.

The refugees themselves leave early in the morning to pick berries or pods of "Dani," a thorny plant sought out in times of scarcity.

Still, some refugees have not eaten in days and wait anxiously for aid.  "Give us something to eat, I suffer from dizziness," Nako, a Malian woman in the refugee camp, told a Doctors Without Borders team tallying the number of malnourished children.

--- This article originally appeared on Africasia.

Monday
Feb072011

Over 6,000 Communities Across Africa Abandon Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting (Report)

(HN, February 7, 2011) - Over 6,000 communities have chosen to abandon the practice of female genital mutilation/cutting (FGM/C), according to a joint United Nations programme designed to eliminate this practice, and the number is growing.Youth Federation representative Asiya Oumer speaks at a declaration ceremony on abandonment of FGM/C in northern Ethiopia's Awash-Fentale District. UNICEF
  
“We are working in 12 out of 17 priority African countries and have seen real results - the years of hard work are paying off with FGM/C prevalence rates decreasing,” said Nafissatou Diop, Coordinator of the joint programme run by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, and UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund.
 
“In Ethiopia, the prevalence rate has fallen from 80 per cent to 74 per cent, in Kenya from 32 per cent to 27 per cent, and in Egypt from 97 per cent to 91 per cent. There is still a lot of work to do.”
 
Three million girls face FGM/C every year in Africa and worldwide, and up to 140 million women and girls have already undergone the practice. Research indicates that mothers and grandmothers of women have enormous influence over their decisions on whether to put their daughters through the dangerous procedure. In countries such as Egypt, the procedure is often administered by women with no medical credentials.

It is little wonder then that experts have concluded that FGM/C is a practice with serious immediate and long-term health effects.

In some countries, the influence of religious and clan leaders, local government officials and former circumcisers has brought a remarkable reduction in female cutting. Some Muslim scholars have called for banning FGM and for legislation criminalizing the practice.

Last year, a 13-year-old girl died after undergoing FGM in a public hospital in Egypt - even though the procedure had been made illegal since 2008.

“We must break the wall of silence that surrounds this issue and step up our national campaign to prevent the practice being passed on to the next generation”, Egyptian Minister of Family and Population Mushira Khattab said last year. “Our target is to make it clear that the practice will not be tolerated in Egypt.”

The UNFPA-UNICEF joint programme, set up in 2008, encourages communities to collectively abandon FGM/C - it is also known as positive deviance. It uses a culturally sensitive approach, including dialogue and social networking, leading to abandonment within one generation. The programme is anchored in human rights and involves all groups within a community, including religious leaders and young girls themselves. Rather than condemn FGM/C, it encourages collective abandonment to avoid alienating those that practice it and instead bring about their voluntary renunciation.
 
To mark the International Day Against Female Genital Mutilation/Cutting, UNFPA and UNICEF are renewing their commitment to put an end to the practice, and call on the global community to join in this critical effort. They also believe that FGM/C can be abandoned in one generation, which would help millions of girls and women to live healthier, fuller lives.
 
“Three years into the programme, more than 6,000 communities in Ethiopia, Egypt, Senegal, Burkina Faso, Kenya, Gambia, Guinea and Somalia have already abandoned FGM/C,” according to a joint statement.

“Social norms and cultural practices are changing, and women and men in communities are uniting to protect the rights of girls. UNFPA and UNICEF are working with partners to end this harmful practice in one generation and we believe that reaching this goal is possible.”

FGM/C refers to the removal of all or part of the female genitalia. Despite global efforts to promote abandonment of the practice, FGM/C remains widespread in many developing countries, and has spread to other parts of the world, such as Europe and North America, where some immigrant families have now settled. The majority of girls who have undergone the practice live in 28 countries in Africa and Western Asia. 

- UN, HUMNEWS staff

Thursday
Dec232010

New Convention Imposes Penalties for 'Enforced Disappearance' (Report)

(HN, December 23, 2010) - The entry into force of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance is being hailed as a milestone event in the fight to prevent and eradicate disappearances.

The new convention may help prevent enforced disappearance

"It is an important achievement in the struggle against a cause of indescribable fear and sorrow for hundreds of thousands of people worldwide," said Olivier Dubois, deputy head of the Central Tracing Agency and Protection Division of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC). "This convention will certainly contribute to greater protection against enforced disappearance. States that are party to it must implement it into national law. They must put it into practice and make enforced disappearance an offence under their national criminal law."

Enforced disappearance is a crime under international human rights law and – when it occurs in war – under international humanitarian law. The convention contains a series of measures to prevent forced disappearances.

For example, it requires that any person deprived of liberty must be registered by the detaining authority. It also enshrines the right of any victim to know the truth about the circumstances of an enforced disappearance and the fate of the disappeared person. The convention also requires suitable criminal sanctions to be taken against persons who commit enforced disappearances. As of today, the provisions of the treaty are legally binding on the first 20 States that have ratified or acceded to it.

Iraq, which acceded to the treaty 30 days ago, triggered the entry into force. Tens of thousands of people in Iraq are still hoping to receive news of their relatives who have gone missing in the country since the 1980s.

The other signatories as of now are: Albania, Argentina, Bolivia, Burkina Faso, Chile, Cuba, Ecuador, France, Germany, Honduras, Iraq, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mali, Mexico, Nigeria, Paraguay, Senegal, Spain and Uruguay. It will also be binding on Brazil as of 29 December 2010.

In every situation of armed conflict or internal violence, people disappear. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, to mention just one other example, the fate of more than 10,000 people who went missing during the conflict in the early 1990s remains unknown.

Despite its illegality in international law, Human Rights Watch said world governments "routinely" fail to investigate accounts of disappearances.

"Putting this landmark treaty into effect is immensely important, but to end this practice, every country is going to have to recognize that it may never abduct people and hide them away," Aisling Reidy, a legal adviser for the rights group, said in a statement.

The ICRC works around the world to prevent people from going missing, to help clarify what happened to those who do disappear and to support the families of missing persons. The ICRC has also actively supported the process of drafting the convention and is committed to achieving its widespread ratification and implementation.

- HUMNEWS staff, ICRC, UN

Tuesday
Nov022010

(Report) Job scarcity causes gender disparities in Africa, World Bank report reveals 

(HN, November 2, 2010) -- The US-based World Bank said in a study released on Tuesday in Maputo, Mozambique that gender disparities in African labour markets are caused by jobs scarcity and not discrimination while highlighting that investments in education and job creation are key to fostering gender equality.

The study analyses household survey data collected in the early 2000s in 18 countries across Africa, looking into gender dimensions in employment, unemployment, pay gap, as well as the role of educational attainment.

The survey shows that women’s participation rates in the labour market range from under 40 percent in Ethiopia, Kenya, Malawi, and Uganda, to 80 percent and above in Burkina Faso, Burundi, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, and Sierra Leone.

For Sub-Saharan Africa as a whole, women’s employment ratio over the survey period is 25 percent lower than for men, respectively at 53 percent and nearly 70 percent.

“We found little evidence to support the idea that labour market discrimination is a key explanation for gender gaps in underdeveloped economies, especially those whose job markets are small and can only supply formal employment for a minority of the population,” says World Bank Senior Economist Jorge Arbache, one of the book’s editors.

Arbache added that disparities are indeed greater in countries that have few job opportunities to begin with and, conversely, countries with the highest job rate for men are also those with the least gender disparities.

Another co-editor of the survey, Ewa Filipiak, project manager at Agence Française de Développement, said “ensuring women’s access to jobs is essential to the fight against poverty and reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)... because it has been shown that well-paid jobs empower them to redirect spending on essential needs, notably in favour of children’s health and education.”

Survey data shows that on average the male-to-female earnings ratio is as high as 2.8 among individuals with no education, and as low as 0.9 among those with post-secondary education.

The authors therefore recommend that policy-makers adopt targeted measures that facilitate women’s access to education, such as conditional cash transfer programmes, that encourage families to enrol girls in schools.

The 18 African countries surveyed are Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cote d’Ivoire, Cameroon, Ethiopia, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritania, Mozambique, Nigeria, São Tomé and Príncipe, Sierra Leone, Uganda, and Zambia.

Case studies were conducted in the Congo Republic, Ethiopia, Guinea, Madagascar, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, and Tanzania while cross-country studies were done in Benin, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Morocco, Senegal and Uganda.

- African Press Agency /APA-Maputo (Mozambique)

Friday
Oct292010

(HEADLINES) - October 29, 2010 - AFRICA

ALGERIA

(CREDIT: Tunisia Online) The 3rd congress of the Arab Women Organisation was held on Thursday afternoon in Tunis

ANGOLA

Angola at launching of Africa’s Food Security Day

Angola hosts fashion, beauty expo

BENIN

Benin: UN emergency flight arrives with aid for flood victims

BOTSWANA

Celebrating Botswana's amazing one-hit wonders

Flood victims cry out for help(CREDIT: MMEGI ONLINE)

Khama declares war on poverty

Fires in Botswana (PHOTO)

BURKINA FASO

Honesty must be predominant in social change (opinion)

CAMEROON

Transparency International launches Launches Corruption Perception Index @Cameroon Center

US$19.2 million IFAD loan to Cameroon to improve food security in rural areas

Cholera kills 550 in Cameroon

Cameroon Counts Over 93,000 Business Companies

CAPE VERDE

Atlantic sea turtle population threatened by egg infection

Cape Verde gets Africa's first giant wind farm(CREDIT: Afrol.com)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Support for National Efforts Vital As UN Leaves, Says Secretary-General

COMOROS

Al-Rumaihi's Statement on Arab Committee for Development in the Comoros

Research and Markets: 3Q10 Comoros Mobile Operator Forecast, 2010 - 2014

Comoros Ambassador to Tehran Encourages Iranian Traders to Invest in Comoros

DJIBOUTI

Book Review: Elmore Leonard Takes His Crime-Writing Skills to ‘Djibouti’

Djibouti Food Security Outlook October 2010

Research and Markets: 3Q10 Djibouti Mobile Operator Forecast, 2010 - 2014

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

African women primed for big stage

ERITREA

Yemen, Eritrea summit boosting joint cooperation

Modern Machineries-Backed Crop Harvesting Underway in Dekemhare Sub-Zone

GABON

Gabon and Chinese in manganese project

UN to Open Conflict Prevention Office in Gabon

Korea, Gabon hold talks on energy cooperation

THE GAMBIA

Soldiers told to take proactive role in national development

Gambia to set up Science, Technology Park

GHANA

Iran's foreign minister flies to Ghana

Gov't Releases Funds To Control Black Flies

GUINEA

Guinea sets date for poll second round

GUINEA-BISSAU

UNDP to back civil society projects in Guinea-Bissau

Guinea Bissau to create more mangroves, parks by 2012

LIBERIA

WFP Supports Food Security in Liberia

Carbon Fraud Report Links Many

LIBYA

Chavez, Gaddafi meet in Libya to build power among global "south"

African Development Bank Launches First Project in Libya

MADAGASCAR

Parasite infects poor women's reproductive organs

MALAWI

Malawi: no longer begging

Sex for work at Labour offices

MALI

Mali: Restructuring Agriculture

Weather forecasting helps Mali farmers adapt to climate change

Cuba: Alarcon Meets with Mali Parliamentary Leader

MAURITANIA

Mauritania unveils counter-terrorism plan

Orangutans And Monk Seals Among Species To Benefit From Spain-Backed Conservation Boost

MAYOTTE

Coral deaths reach Mayotte, Comoros

MOZAMBIQUE

Child Registration Campaign

Nippon Steel to acquire interest in Mozambique coal project

Eight Detained for Cholera Disinformation

Central Bank of India to open branch in Mozambique

NAMIBIA

Coca Cola Happiness Ambassadors land in Namibia

NIGER

Niger to vote on constitution; critics question vote's significance months after military coup

South Korea to cooperate with Niger on nuclear energy

RWANDA

Hero of 'Hotel Rwanda' is declared enemy of the state

SAO TOME & PRINCIPE

World Bank to support state budget of Sao Tome and Principe

SEYCHELLES

Seychelles, from recession to new boom

SOMALIA

New radio show features Somali language

U.S. slips in corruption index, Somalia worst

SUDAN

Sudan’s Last Chance for Durable Peace

SWAZILAND

Swaziland Railway employees petition CEO

TANZANIA

Tanzania Teachers Start Second Taarab Workshop in Comoros

TOGO

21 dead in Togo as floods ravage west Africa

WESTERN SAHARA

Western Sahara: the difficult mission of Christopher Ross

Call for the protection of rock paintings of the desert

ZAMBIA

H.E joins London Mayor to Celebrate Africa @50

AFRICA GENERAL:

Africa's election Super Sunday

Bharti Airtel to establish call centers across Africa

Witchcraft in Africa a complex dilemma

WHO Launches Massive Polio Eradication Campaign 

All Afrika Expedition against malaria kicks off

Cholera continues to be deadly epidemic in most countries

Is the US backing governments who employ child war fighters? (opinion)

Cable exclusive: The secret Obama administration memo on child soldiers

4 African countries, 15 others join ECOSOC

Africa: from North to South, the economy is recovering

Two wheels to a better life in Africa

Thursday
Oct142010

Starved for Attention - Burkina Faso: A Mother's Devotion

 “Starved for Attention” captures frontline stories of malnutrition from Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, India, Mexico, and the United States

Part I: What is malnutrition?

Malnutrition, specifically undernutrition is a serious medical condition marked by a deficiency of essential proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals in a diet. It is especially burdensome and dangerous for young, growing children.

Malnutrition is different from hunger although they are often confused. The principles of good nutrition are well established: exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life then an introduction to an age-appropriate complementary diet.

Infants and young children need energy furnished by high-quality protein to maintain healthy growth and development such as milk, eggs, and fish, essential fats and carbohydrates, as well as vitamins and minerals.

Malnutrition plays a significant role in mortality because the immune systems of malnourished children are less resistant to common diseases – contributing to one-third of the eight million deaths of children under five years of age every year.

These are largely invisible children and invisible deaths, occurring in places we normally don’t hear much about. Every year the cycle of malnutrition continues with negative economic and community consequences. This is an ongoing medical emergency that requires urgent action and attention.

The story of malnutrition continues - tomorrow Part II: Tackling Childhood Malnutrition

Wednesday
Sep152010

HUMNEWS HEADLINES - September 15, 2010 (Africa and the Middle East) 

The Horn of Africa is a peninsula in East Africa that juts hundreds of kilometers into the Arabian Sea, & lies along the south side of the Gulf of Aden. The region contains the countries of Eritrea, Djibouti, Djibouti, Ethiopia, & Somalia. As such, it covers approximately 2,000,000 km² & is inhabited by about 100.2 million people (Ethiopia: 75mn, Somalia: 10mn, Eritrea: 4.5mn, Djibouti: 0.7 million). Regional studies on the Horn of Africa are carried out, among others, in the fields of Ethiopian Studies as well as Somali Studies. (VIA WIKIPEDIA) REGION – Africa and Middle East

Hung up on the Horn of Africa

BP and off-shore drilling in the Mediterranean

World Bank report highlights Middle East economic challenges

Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and UAE among the most generous donors around the globe

ALGERIA

Petroceltic hopes to tap a new markets as loss hits $5m

Algeria to host North African security meeting

Algeria Power Report 2010 – Between 2010 & 2019, report forecasts an increase in Algerian electricity generation of 57.3%

Algeria convicts anti-corruption activist of corruption

ANGOLA

British ambassador praises role played by Angola in Africa

Social reintegration of disabled persons easier

Angola and Kenya to analyze cooperation in media

BENIN

Benin, Oba wants Swedish help on sex trade

Police give reasons for violent crimes in Edo

Internet and e-commerce industry in Benin

Guitarist Lionel Loueke combines African, jazz, classical sounds (entertainment)  

BOTSWANA

Cosatu’s radical new plan for the economy  

Residents against Botswana joining United States of Africa

Botswana installs full body scanners

Botswana, SA move up Fifa rankings (sports)

ISAF welcomes Botswana as a new member national authority (sports)

BURKINA FASO

Iran urges enhanced ties with Africa

CAMEROON

Cameroon begins search for seized vessels

First CamairCo flight to Paris scheduled on March 28, 2011 (travel)  

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

New network launches in Republic of the Congo

The ICC is a phantom court  

GABON

Fifa rankings: Gabon overtakes Nigeria (sports)

GAMBIA

Pres. Jammeh tours affected communities – brings hope to disaster victims

VP launches support for disaster victims

GHANA

Ghana to set up International Trade Commission

Ghana breaks in Top20 in Fifa rankings (sports)

Michael Essien leads Ghana Quintet in champs league action (sports)  

Derrick Adjei, A damaging liability to Ghana  

Chris Gardner arrives in Ghana next month

LESOTHO

Report says hunger costing poor countries billions

New customs deal to lighten burden on SA  

LIBERIA

African Aura Mining granted Liberia iron ore development rights

Cellcom gives US$500,000 to Liberian Football Association

Country still faces security challenges  

Monrovia, Liberia, Now Delta’s 7th African destination (travel)

LIBYA

Growing row in Italy over alleged Libyan attack on fishing boat

Libya paying fees for assault suspect

Libyan Shoah survivors to get reparations

MALAWI

Malawi President expects remarkable growth in Iran-Africa ties

Ex-President Muluzi denies Malawi corruption charges

Malawi democracy ‘on the right track’  

MAURITANIA

35 Islamists pardoned show their repentance

QATAR

Qatar index up after delayed opening

Qatari official and Darfur mediator discuss peace process

Qatari oil rises as refiners seek more distillate rich grades  

SIERRA LEONE

Politics with a new dimension in Sierra Leone: President Koroma brings the government to the people of the U.S.

African minerals constructs schools for Tonkolili kids

SOMALIA

Ethiopia troops arrive in Somaliland to hunt down ONLF rebels

SUDAN

Sudanese FM hails Iran’s remarkable progress in different fields

Child refugees at risk from sexual abuse

YEMEN

Three coincident explosions rock south Yemen, separatists blamed

Terrorist death squads publish their hit lists  

Yemen to attend 34th session of Arab Central Banks Governors Council

Monday
Jul262010

HUMNEWS HEADLINES - July 26, 2010 (Africa and the Middle East) 

ALGERIA

One killed in attack on Algeria security forces: resident

Algeria turns down Desertec project

Bougherra could still go (sports)

Moroccan music takes spotlight in Algiers festival (entertainment)

ANGOLA

Angola becomes China’s largest oil import source in H1

Angola: Transfers Palop presidency to Mozambique

Angolan basketball team stronger now player says (sports)

Angolan footballer Gilberto leaves Al Ahly of Egypt  

BENIN

3 to die by hanging over murder of Benin chief

Russia’s proud moment: First black (originally from Benin) gets elected into office

BOTSWANA

Botswana upholds guarantee not to execute death row inmate

Foreign criminal syndicates operating in Botswana - DIS

Botswana opens path for Bushmen to study at university

IFSC has helped match demands with right skills

Where is it all going wrong? (sports)

BURKINA FASO

Gold production booming in Burkina Faso

New leaders, new tools can transform fight against malaria

CAPE VERDE

Action not words will improve maternal and child health (opinion)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC

Mills makes stop-over in Central African Republic

All we want it to celebrate the birth of our children (opinion)

Abused women in Africa demand justice

CHAD

ICC’s call to arrest Bashir is futile

EQUATORIAL GUINEA

The hired guns

ERITREA

Gerenfit inhabitants commend health service in their village

Effective Agriculture Activities Carried Out in Mogolo Sub-Zone

Dialogue can bring peace to Somalia

GAMBIA

Jammeh accuses Britain of stealing from Gambians

Nationwide AHINI vaccination campaign starts in Gambia

Gambia government demolishes M Sumareh and Sons business center

GHANA

Education Ministry asked to provide funds for research into Ghanaian languages

GUINEA-BISSAU

Security council calls on Guinea-Bissau to improve on rule of law

LIBERIA

Liberians observed 163 years of independence on Monday

Like water for Liberia

Liberia and Nigeria sign oil deal

LIBYA

Prince Andrea hosted VP guest from Libya as Cameron prepared to meet Obama over Megrahi storm

Libya stops diplomatic operations in South Korea

Gathafi muscles back into African Union

Russia has stronghold on Libyan weapons market – arms exporter

Italian minister hails cooperation between Libya, Italy and Malta on migration

MADAGASCAR

With Madagascar's Priceless Biodiversity on the Line, New Report Says 'Go for it' to USAID

MALAWI

Madonna performs for charity

President’s dogs dominate front pages

GAIN awarded injunction against USD 6.9 m fine

MALI

Al Qaeda kills French hostage in Mali, says Sarkozy ‘has opened the doors of hell’

Mali: water has become a “luxury”

MOZAMBIQUE

Mozambique’s retail sector set to soar

11 Nepali students missing in Mozambique

NAMIBIA

Shot in the arm for Namibian infrastructure projects (business news)

Land auction prices skyrocket

QATAR

Qatar telecom signs up English premiership coverage

Qatar airways confirms order of Bombardier jets

AFC Asian Cup Qatar 2011 online ticket sales start  (press release)

SIERRA LEONE

Midas: Algy Cluff striking more gold in Sierra Leone

In Sierra Leone, Paul Kamara breaks silence over youth commissions

How China is changing Sierra Leone (opinion)

SUDAN

African Union drops resolution barring arrest of Sudanese president in continent

UGANDA

Ugandan President rallies support for fight against terrorists

YEMEN

Yemeni forces kill 3 Al Qaeda members

Yemeni high court upholds death sentence

Yemeni President calls for end to tribal clashes