Tag Archives: Congo

EU supports Nobel Prize winners projects

The European Commission has announced an additional €5 million in support of concrete projects of the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates, Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege maintaining its commitment to women who are victims of sexual violence.

This new support was announced  in Brussels as the EU top diplomat Federica Mogherini and Commissioner for Development, Neven Mimica, met with Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege. The two winners were invited to discuss the eradication of violence against women and its impact on development, together with EU development Ministers at the Foreign Affairs Council.

“As the European Union, we admire the immense courage and tireless work of Nadia Murad and Dr Denis Mukwege, who often put their own lives at risk. We have a duty to support their work and all the people they represent, as we are doing, and this is also the best way to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women” Mogherini said.

“Violence against women and girls is one of the most horrendous crimes, one of the greatest injustices of our time, and an obstacle to the development of any society. I am very pleased to be able to strengthen our support for the 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates. This is how the European Union can help put an end to sexual violence, once and for all, everywhere in the world”, Commissioner Neven Mimica added

The EU plans to strengthen its ongoing stabilisation and reconstruction efforts in the Sinjar region in Iraq through a €1 million contribution to Nadia Murad’sSinjar Action Fund” initiative. European development cooperation in the liberated areas of Da’esh in the country supports in particular the needs of displaced populations, vulnerable groups and local communities.

A further €4 million will support Dr Mukweges work to ensure the continuity of support programmes for victims of sexual violence and women suffering from gynecological conditions at the Panzi Hospital in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

This initiative for the reconstruction of Sinjar will create infrastructure, schools, hospitals, and encourage the return of displaced populations to their homeland.

Since 2014, the European Union’s development cooperation in Iraq amounts to approximately €310 million. Part of this funding is specifically dedicated to the stabilisation and the socio-economic reconstruction of the areas liberated from Da’esh. EU support helps create the conditions for sustainable return of displaced people, including by clearing contaminated sites, restoring basic services and providing livelihoods. Since the beginning of the crisis, more than 1.7 million displaced people have returned to their homes.

The European support for the two 2018 Nobel Peace Prize laureates is part of its broader commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment globally. The EU has established an ambitious partnership with the United Nations by launching the “Spotlight Initiative” in September 2017. This programme is supported by €500 million to fight all forms of violence against women and girls.

Following the South-East Asia programme of the Spotlight initiative launched in November 2017 and the Latin America programme launched in September 2018, the Africa programme will be officially launched in early 2019. With €250 million in funding, the Africa programme will focus on combating harmful practices, such as female genital mutilation and forced child marriage.

Pontifex calls for peace ending conflicts and “carnage”

Pope Francis, in his traditional Easter address called for peace in the Holy Land two days after 15 Palestinians were killed on the Israeli-Gaza border, saying the conflict there “does not spare the defenseless”.

Pontifex made his appeal in his “Urbi et Orbi” – to the city and the world – message from the central balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica to believers in the flower-bedecked square below where he earlier celebrated a Mass.

Further in his speech he also appealed for an end to the “carnage” in Syria, calling for humanitarian aid to be allowed to enter, and for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Pope Francis led an Easter vigil service, baptizing eight adults, including a undocumented Nigerian migrant beggar who came into public eye when he disarmed an Italian thief wielding a cleaver.

The baptism took place during a long Holy Saturday, or Easter eve, Mass for some 10,000 people in St. Peter’s Basilica.

 

Rangers killed in Congo wildlife reserve

Five park rangers were killed in a joint operation with the army to rescue an American journalist and three park rangers, who went missing in a wildlife reserve in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, a local official said.

Unidentified gunmen attacked the group late on the 14th of July in Okapi Wildlife Reserve in Mambasa territory. Some other member of the group escaped.

Mambasa administrator Alfred Bongwalanga said security forces and park rangers had launched a rescue operation that located the missing members of the group. It was not immediately clear how the rangers were killed.

“There are five dead. They are all park rangers who were involved in the operation. They had been backing the army,” Bongwalanga told.

Conflict minerals and smartphones

High-tech equipment such as smartphones, tablets and cars are able to run thanks to minerals and metals such as tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold. However, as their mining and illegal trade are often controlled by armed groups, they also help to feed a vicious circle of conflicts.On 16 March MEPs voted in favour of making EU companies take responsibility for the origin of the minerals they import.

Resolution author Iuliu Winkler, a Romanian member of the EPP group, explained: “As the European Parliament we have the responsibility to break the link between the trade of minerals, which are very important for our industries, and the financing of conflicts,” – the rapporteur Iuliu Winkler (Romania, EPP)  said.

 The regulation concerns tin, tungsten, tantalum and gold and applies to all conflict-affected and high-risk areas in the world, of which the most obvious examples are the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Great Lakes region.

The EU policy towards ‘conflict minerals’ has come into contradiction with the EU approach of the incumbent administration.

 

Products that use these minerals and metals includes jewellery as well as many high-tech devices created by the automotive, electronics, aerospace, packaging, construction, lighting, industrial machinery and tooling industries.

 

Cabinda vs Angola over elections

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Separatist rebels from Cabinda have called to boycott parliamentary elections in Angola in August that are likely to be the most closely watched in decades as President Jose Eduardo dos Santos ends 38 years in power, as announced on radio last year.

The Front for the Liberation of the Enclave of Cabinda (FLEC), which fought a low-profile insurgency for four decades in the small enclave, born out of fusion of three kingdoms: N’Goyo, Loango and Kakongo.  Cabinda is enclosed between Democratic Republic of Congo and the Republic of Congo, declared it would not participate in a “foreign” election.

“The FLEC does not accept the permanence of a foreign power on our territory, but does not want to interfere in the internal affairs of Angola,” the group said in a press-release.

 

Foreign ministers focus on Latin America and Africa

Arrival and doorstep (in English) by Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the ECJohn Paul II School in Wau, South Sudan

Today the EU foreign ministers gather at the Council in Brussels to discuss relations with Latin  America and African countries, namely with Cuba, and Colombia, the situation in Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. The state of affairs in Syria, and migrant cirisis. Ahead of the meeting, the EU and Cuba representatives will sign the Political dialogue and cooperation agreement.

The EU relations with Cuba were governed by the  Common Position, but have deepened significantly since the re-launch of political dialogue and cooperation in 2008. The repeal of the Common Position and the upcoming signature of the Political Deialogue and Cooperation Agreement (PDCA) between the EU and Cuba will mark an significant new phase of bilateral relations. All 28 EU Member States maintain bilateral diplomatic relations with Cuba.  An EU representation office was opened in Havana in 2003, and upgraded into a fully-fledged Delegation in 2008.

The deabate on the relations with African countries will follow, focusing on the next EU-Africa Summit which will be held in autumn 2017. The speical debate of Democratic Republic of Congo will take place, in view of imposing sanctions similar to the US, already targeting three general for crack down on demonstrations and democratic developments. The EU foreign ministers are awaited to impose assets freezes and travel bans on a number of Congolese officials directly responsible for violent supression of anti-government demonstrations in September, causing physical damages and loss of human lives.

The Council is also expected to disscuss the dramatic developments in South Soudan. The recent report of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights delegation concluded that the South Soudan actual state of affairs is containting the dangerous similarities to the develompents in Rwanda, preceeding the genocide. The delegation informed that the violence was at the point of ‘no return’. The foreign reporters were deported after critical reviews on government officials, supposedly involved in ethinic cleansing.

Over lunch, ministers will follow up on developments in Syria.

Ahead of the European Council on 15 December, the Council will discuss migration, focusing on the implementation of the Valletta commitments. After the Council meeting, ministers will have an informal discussion with President Santos of Colombia. This will be followed by the signature of the constitutive agreement of the EU Trust Fund for Colombia.

Arrival and doorstep (in English) by Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the EC: http://europa.eu/!Cc99Wq