Author: npfdpk

International community ‘will not tolerate’ obstacles to Burkina Faso transition, says UN political chief

4 February 2015 – The United Nations’ top political official said today that Burkina Faso’s transitional institutions must continue to respect the aspirations of the Burkinabe people and ensure full respect for human rights and the physical integrity of all citizens. We all know that transitions are difficult; all transitions are fragile; there is no transition without difficulties,” Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs Jeffrey Feltman told journalists in the capital, Ouagadougou, today. “However, the international community will not tolerate any obstacle to the transition. Those who threaten the transition should be aware that the international community is watching and will hold them accountable.” Mr. Feltman’s visit to Burkina Faso at the request of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-noon and was joined on his visit by Special Representative for West Africa, Mohamed Ibn Chambas. Mr. Feltman said that he and Mr. Ibn Chambas met with the transitional authorities and representatives of political parties. “I commended Michel Kafando, Transitional President of Burkina Faso, and transitional authorities for their determination to put in place a transitional process and organize elections in accordance with the timeline set out in the Transition Charter,” he said. “I encouraged the transitional authorities to do everything possible to implement the Transition Charter in an inclusive manner and in a spirit of national cohesion.” Mr. Feltman said he underlined the UN’s commitment to providing Burkina Faso with the necessary support...

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UN Somalia envoy ‘excited and worried’ about political progress in year ahead

4 February 2015 – Underlining the importance of the partnership between the African Union and the United Nations in Somalia, which he called “unique, strong and essential for success,” the top UN official there briefed the Security Council today on the challenges lying ahead for the country in 2015. “This year will be decisive in whether and how Somalia can become a unified, peaceful and federal State,” said Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Somalia Nicholas Kay, expressing excitement but also worry over risks on the horizon. “Delays and setbacks will have an even greater impact this year than last.” Mr. Kay said federalism and the Government’s ‘Vision 2016’ initiative are vital to the plan for the year ahead, but he acknowledged that repeated political crises have shortened the timelines for their fulfilment significantly. Momentum gained in 2014 had to be maintained, particularly building the capacity of Interim Regional Administrations and establishing such bodies where none exists. The review of the Constitution, including important discussions on power and resource sharing, would need to be completed this year, with a Constitutional Referendum planned for early 2016. Other key decisions and preparations for that exercise and for elections also had to be made. Of particular importance was establishment of the National Independent Electoral Commission and the Boundaries and Federation Commission. “We must continue to support and build the Federal Government’s leadership...

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‘It’s now or never’ for Central African Republic, UN warns urging more support to end crisis

Women police in post rehabilitated by UNDP in Bangui, Central African Republic (CAR). 4 February 2015 – The Head of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Africa, Abdoulaye Dieye, began today a week-long visit to the Central African Republic (CAR), calling on international partners to intensify their support for the country’s ongoing transition process. “It’s now or never for partners who are willing to help CAR to break the cycle of violence and poverty,” said Mr. Dieye in a press release issued at the start of his visit. “Central Africans must engage on a path of dialogue to restore the rule of law, fight impunity, build stronger institutions and revive the economy to provide citizens with the livelihoods they need.” According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the crisis in CAR has led to the displacement of over 438,000 people within the country and forced more than 423,000 people to flee to Cameroon, Chad, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo. More than half of the country’s population, the equivalent of about 2.5 million people, are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, while more than 60 percent of the population continues to live in extreme poverty. The transitional Government has adopted a roadmap, giving priority to supporting the political dialogue, national reconciliation and the organization of elections, support for the...

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Libya: UN mission condemns attack on oilfield, calls for immediate ceasefire

4 February 2015 – The United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) has strongly condemned the attack carried out by armed groups operating under the Alshuruq Operation in the ‘oil crescent’ area, causing many deaths and undermining the recent efforts of Libyan leaders to reach a peace pact. “The attack constitutes a major break in the public pledges made by the main commanders to refrain from actions that could harm the political process at a time when the Libyan parties are working intensively to build bridges of cooperation,” said an UNSMIL statementtoday. Media reports suggest that yesterday’s attack on a central Libyan oil field left four people dead. “This attack also undermines efforts to reach a political solution and endangers the oil resources that belong to the Libyan people,” the Mission continued, reminding all armed groups that the majority of Libyans want peace and stability restored to their country. Armed groups must act in good faith in accordance with their earlier commitment to a ceasefire and to disengage their forces as proof of their commitment to the political process, the Mission said. “Parties should not take advantage of the ceasefire to mass forces or launch attacks,” it emphasized, also stressing that all sides must exercise maximum restraint and refrain from taking any action that could further escalate the situation. Over the past few weeks, Libyan stakeholders had gathered in Geneva...

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Egypt: UN chief welcomes release of detained journalist, urges Government to release others

2 February 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has applauded the decision by the Egyptian authorities to release the detained Al Jazeera journalist, Peter Greste, ending his 400-day imprisonment. In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban welcomed the move but noted that other journalists were still detained in Egypt,” adding that he hoped their cases would also be resolved shortly. Mr. Greste and his two colleagues, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohamed, were arrested in 2013 for carrying out legitimate news reporting activities, according to the UN human rights office (OHCHR), and were subsequently convicted and sentenced in June 2014 by an Egyptian court. Media reports suggest that Mr. Greste, an Australian national, has already left the country while Mr. Fahmy and Mr. Mohamed remain jailed. “The Secretary-General again underscores the importance of safeguarding freedom of speech and association in Egypt,” the statement continued, reiterating Mr. Ban’s “continued commitment to supporting the Egyptian people’s struggle for stability, democracy, and prosperity.” “He strongly believes that pluralism is key for achieving long-term stability, including the guarantee that all peaceful voices are heard and represented.” Article 19 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, a binding treaty that Egypt ratified in 1982, states that ‘Everyone shall have the right to hold opinions without interference. Everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression; this right shall include freedom...

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