Daily Archives: March 4, 2015

Boko Haram violence displaces 1.2 million Nigerians

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Struggling to cope: IDPs in Maiduguri

NAIROBI, 4 March 2015 (IRIN) – More than 1.2 million people have been driven from their homes in northern Nigeria, the vast majority as a result of the Boko Haram insurgency, according to the latest figures from the National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA).The displaced are mainly from Borno (62 percent), Adamawa (18 percent) and Yobe (13 percent) – the three states hardest hit by the violence. The numbers represent an increase on the 981,416 NEMA reported in January, but are likely to understate the scale of the crisis as the agency had access to only three out of Borno’s 27 Local Government Areas (LGAs). Two LGAs in Adamawa and two in Yobe were also unreachable at the time of the assessment “due to security reasons”, according to a joint NEMA and International Organization for Migration Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report released today.The DTM report said 1,188,018 internally displaced persons (IDPs) were in Borno, Adamawa, Yobe, Bauchi, Gombe and Taraba states. A further 47,276 are sheltering further south in Plateau, Nasarawa, Kano, Kaduna, and the federal capital, Abuja. According to the report, 92 percent of the IDPs have been made homeless by the jihadist insurgency – the majority of them fled in 2014, a reflection of Boko Haram’s strategy of seizing towns and villages.[embedded content]The IDPs overwhelmingly live with host families, with just 13 percent in “displacement sites”. According to the DTM, there are a total of 43 such sites in Adamawa, Borno and Taraba, categorized as: formal camps, comprising open-air settlements with tents; “collective centres” where pre-exiting buildings such as schools are used to shelter the IDPs; and “transitional centres”, which provide short-term accommodation.
IDPs in need
In 17 out of 33 assessed sites, IDPs had 10-15 liters of water per day, while in nine sites it was less than 10 liters — the Sphere standard, the internationally recognized humanitarian rulebook, is a minimum of 15 liters available per person per day. On average, across the sites accessed, there was just one toilet per 368 individuals – the Sphere standard recommends one toilet per 20 persons. Borno was particularly badly served, with one toilet per 472 individuals, the DTM report noted.There was “access to food distribution” in 20 sites, but only 13 received daily rations. IDPs in three sites, all in Adamawa, have never received anything at all. Only one out of the 33 sites had supplementary feeding for children or breastfeeding mothers, while “screening for malnutrition has not been conducted in 27 sites”, according to the DTM.There was no formal or informal education taking place in 21 sites; 18 sites did not have regular access to medicine; and in 25 sites women and children said that they did not feel safe.Mustapha Zannah runs a free school in Maiduguri, capital of Borno State, that has enrolled 420 pupils – most of them children of parents widowed by the violence – and has 2,000 more children on the waiting list. He is personally sheltering two families – the husbands friends from childhood. “It is the essence of being human. When there is a dire need, you have to do whatever you can to help,” he told IRIN.But while he is proud of the traditions of hospitality and community self-help, he believes far more needs to be done by the government and its international partners. “NEMA is really trying, it’s working, but it doesn’t have the capacity to handle a catastrophe of this size,” he said.Aside from a humanitarian impetus, he believes the government should appreciate the security implications of not providing comprehensive assistance to those in need. “Life can be so terrible that when [Boko Haram] tells them there is a better place, and that place is heaven, they [the vulnerable] can easily be corrupted into this [insurgency].”
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Theme (s): Aid Policy, Conflict, Economy, Refugees/IDPs, Security,

UN special envoy joins demands for release of child soldiers by all parties in South Sudan

4 March 2015 – The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, today demanded the release of hundreds of child soldiers forcibly recruited by militias and groups aligned with the warring factions or the South Sudan Government, saying “there needs to be accountability for child recruiters and those who commit grave violations against children.”
“The recruitment and use of child soldiers continues to be a major challenge in South Sudan, despite commitments by the Government and the opposition led by former Vice-President Riek Machar, to protect children from the impact of conflict,” said Ms. Zerrougui in a statement issued later yesterday by her Office.
Ms. Zerrougui was quoted as saying that “No children have been released from the SPLA or Riek Machar’s opposition.”
“Instead, we are receiving reports of hundreds of new recruitments of child soldiers by militias and groups aligned with the Government or the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) in Opposition,” according to the Special Representative.
Scores of children, some as young 13, were seized by armed men in South Sudan last month and remain in captivity, despite intensive efforts to locate them.
The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has repeatedly demanded their immediate release, with its representative is Sudan saying the agency fears the children are being sent to the frontlines.
“The children abducted are reportedly receiving training and could be on their way to the frontlines,” echoed Ms. Zerrougui, adding: “I am very concerned and I call on the Government of South Sudan to take action to prevent this from happening.”
The Special Representative’s Office reports that South Sudan is one of seven countries involved in the campaign “Children not Soldiers,” which aims to end the recruitment and use of children in Government armed forces in conflict by 2016.
Led by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict and UNICEF, the campaign mobilizes global support and financial resources so the seven government armed forces listed in the UN Secretary General’s annual report on ‘Children and Armed Conflict’ become and remain child-free.
As the leaders of the Government and opposition meet once again to negotiate peace, Ms. Zerrougui urges them to act on their commitments to protect children and include, as a priority, the release of all children recruited and used by the parties to the conflict.
A militia led by Johnson Oloni, a commander integrated into the SPLA, is reportedly responsible for the abduction of the children, but the SPLA has stated it has no control over Oloni’s militia.
“There will be no lasting peace if we exclude children, who are the majority of the population. They need to be released, and there needs to be accountability for child recruiters and those who commit grave violations against children,” Ms. Zerrougui said.

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 3 March 2015

Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 3 March 2015 | OSCE
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Home Newsroom News and press releases Latest from OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) to Ukraine based on information received as of 18:00 (Kyiv time), 3 March 2015

South Sudan: UN chief urges all sides to &#39show leadership&#39 in quest for peace

4 March 2015 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged South Sudanese political rivals President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar to resolve their differences and move towards a lasting peace ahead of an impending mediation deadline.
In a statement issued late yesterday evening, the UN spokesperson’s office said the Secretary-General strongly urged Mr. Kiir and Mr. Machar &#8220to show leadership&#8221 and put the &#8220well-being of South Sudanese ahead of all other interests.&#8221 Moreover, he added, the two leaders should work to make &#8220the necessary compromises to conclude a power sharing agreement that paves the way for a comprehensive settlement of the conflict in South Sudan.&#8221
Mr. Ban’s appeal comes just days before a 5 March deadline set by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) for the conclusion of negotiations between the two parties.
The UN spokesperson also reported that the Secretary-General took note of the unanimous Security Council resolution adopted yesterday morning establishing a sanctions regime on South Sudanese officials blocking peace efforts in the country.
The move is the UN body’s latest step towards ending a conflict that has killed thousands in the world’s newest country.
In particular, the resolution voiced deep concern at the &#8220failures&#8221 of both parties to engage in a palpable peace process which would lead to political resolve and bring an end to the violence. The text underscored the Council’s &#8220willingness to impose targeted sanctions in order to support the search for peace.&#8221
While no listings were made, the resolution sets out a series of listing criteria. The sanctions are expected to apply to those responsible for, complicit in, or engaged directly or indirectly in actions or policies threatening the peace, security or stability of South Sudan.
In the statement, which commended and supported the regional efforts facilitating the negotiation process, the UN spokesperson also said the Secretary-General reminded both parties that &#8220the best way&#8221 to avoid the enactment of actual sanctions by the Security Council, would be to &#8220strictly adhere&#8221 to the Cessation of Hostilities agreement of 23 January 2014, fully comply with International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law, extend their full cooperation to UN and humanitarian personnel in the discharge of their mandates and duties, and conclude a Comprehensive Peace Agreement that places South Sudan &#8220back on the path to stability and prosperity.&#8221

Press releases

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Updated: 31 min 56 sec ago

EU response to the Ebola outbreak in West Africa
Mon, 02/03/2015 – 12:00
European Commission – Fact Sheet Brussels, 02 March 2015 West Africa is facing the largest and most complex Ebola epidemic on record. Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone are the most affected countries. Over 22 900 people have been infected, more than 9 200 of whom have died.

Statement on Dr. Denis Mukwege in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Wed, 11/02/2015 – 12:00
European Commission – Statement Statement Statement Brussels, 11 February 2015 Statement by High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini, Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development Neven Mimica and Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides on Dr.

EU steps up humanitarian assistance to Syria crisis
Thu, 29/01/2015 – 12:00
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 29 January 2015 With the humanitarian situation worsening every day, growing numbers of people inside Syria and refugees in neighbouring countries are in need of assistance. The European Union is increasing its assistance to the Syria crisis by €136 million in humanitarian funding, half…

EU-airlift to Ukraine: Europe increases its humanitarian aid
Mon, 26/01/2015 – 12:00
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 26 January 2015 The European Union is increasing its humanitarian assistance in Ukraine where the latest surge of violence has deepened an already desperate situation. Thousands of people are suffering from the combined impact of the conflict, displacement, extreme poverty and the harsh winter.

Commissioner Stylianides to visit Ukraine as EU steps up humanitarian aid
Thu, 22/01/2015 – 12:28
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 22 January 2015 The European Union is preparing to step up its humanitarian aid to the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine, especially the displaced and those who need help to weather the severe cold which has gripped the country.

EU releases emergency funds for humanitarian assistance to Libya
Mon, 22/12/2014 – 12:00
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 22 December 2014 The European Commission is giving €2 million in emergency funding to assist scores of Libyans who have been forced to flee their homes because of worsening violence in the country.     The funding will provide essential humanitarian assistance and protection to the…

EU acts together to stop Ebola
Fri, 12/12/2014 – 12:00
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 12 December 2014 A new batch of urgently needed medical and relief supplies is leaving to the Ebola-affected region in West Africa today on board of the Dutch ship “Karel Doorman”.

EU steps up assistance for Syrian refugees in Turkey
Tue, 09/12/2014 – 11:33
European Commission – Press release Brussels, 09 December 2014 New funding announced by HRVP Mogherini and Commissioner Stylianides as they meet with refugees in Turkey With growing numbers of refugees from Syria seeking sanctuary in Turkey, the European Commission is stepping up its assistance with an additional €10 million in…