Daily Archives: March 28, 2016

South Africa: Zuma Arrives in UAE for State Visit

By Genevieve Quintal, News24

President Jacob Zuma arrived in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, on Monday morning for a working visit, the presidency said.

Zuma was expected to hold talks with UAE Prime Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum and with the country’s business community to consolidate political and economic ties and promote South Africa as a tourism destination, spokesperson Bongani Majola said in a statement.

The two countries already had strong bilateral relations, there were daily flights between the UAE and three South African cities, and a large South Africa expatriate community lived in the UAE.

Zuma was accompanied by International Relations Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies, State Security Minister David Mahlobo, Police Minister Nathi Nhleko, and Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba.

Zuma’s visit to the UAE followed a two-day state visit to Saudi Arabia.

Source: News24

At Security Council, UN Women chief urges greater input, visibility of women in peacebuilding

28 March 2016 – Emphasizing the consistent, dependable and universal commitment of women to conflict prevention, the head of UN Women today called for greater efforts to reach the goal of allocating at least 15 per cent of peacebuilding resources to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

“Women need to be resourced so that they can do more,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women told the Security Council during an open debate on the role of women in conflict prevention in Africa.

“The commitment to allocate at least 15 per cent of peacebuilding funds to gender equality and women’s empowerment, must become a reality. This must be extended to all efforts aimed at preventing and countering violent extremism,” she added.

She also stressed that women’s organizations must receive the political and financial support needed to engage in violence prevention, mediation and diplomacy, as investing in gender equality as part of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “is the best recipe for structural, long-term prevention.”

However, the role of women in conflict prevention is often missing in highest-level discussions about peace and security, she pointed out, welcoming today’s debate that focused on the relationship between the need to focus on prevention of violence and paying attention to the critical importance of gender equality.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka went on to cite specific examples of conflict prevention led by women in Africa, including the ‘Women’s Situation Rooms,’ a monitoring mechanism to support women candidates and fight discrimination of women in electoral processes and gender-based electoral violence and harassment.

In the last five years, the mechanism has been established in Guinea Bissau, Kenya, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Uganda, and the model is being replicated in a growing list of countries across Africa with UN Women’s support.

“Our research also shows that women play a key role in de-escalating tensions and preventing radicalization in their families. In Mali, the most important influence for the successful re-integration of many ex-combatants has been the women in their families and communities,” she said.

In the Sahel region, the income, status and resilience of women has been boosted by programmes that address the gender gap in access to land and other productive assets, she said. In poor areas of Kenya, women’s organizations are using mothers to identify and prevent the spread of radicalization, and in Burundi, hundreds of women mediators are working tirelessly to address local conflicts.

According to the Global Study on Women, Peace and Security, countries with lower levels of gender inequality are less likely to resort to the use of force; security of women is one of the most reliable indicators of the peacefulness of a State; and women’s different spending patterns contribute directly to post-conflict social recovery, she noted.

She also presented some proposals. The UN’s prevention work should include more frequent deliberations by the Security Council informed by the perspective and analyses of women on the ground. The practice of hearing from civil society should be extended to consultations on country-specific situations, to the work of the 15-nation body’s subsidiary organs, including the Counterterrorism Committee, as well as the Council’s visiting missions, she added.

Council members should also demand a robust gender analysis in reports and in all atrocity-prevention efforts, she continued, noting that UN Women serves as the Secretariat for the new Informal Expert Group on Women, Peace and Security, which held its first meeting last month on Mali. This mechanism is an important step in ensuring consistent and quality information flows to the Council, she added.

Women in conflict mediation

Also briefing the Council was Taye-Brook Zerihoun, Assistant-Secretary-General for Political Affairs, who said promoting women’s effective participation in conflict mediation and addressing their specific needs in peacemaking efforts had been a priority of the Department of Political Affairs since 2010, when its conflict-prevention work had become increasingly inclusive.

Since 2012, all UN mediation support teams had included women, and women made up half of the participants in the Department’s high-level mediation skills training, which focused on enhancing gender parity and the future character and configuration of international peacemaking.

He said the Department also continued to implement, with UN Women, its Joint Strategy on Gender and Mediation, which helped to build mediation capacity for envoys and mediation teams by providing gender expertise and training, while UN Women strengthened the capacity of regional, national and local women leaders and peace coalitions, and supported access opportunities for women in peace negotiations.

Nevertheless, unequal access and opportunities for women’s participation in political decision-making processes persisted worldwide. “Prioritizing prevention and inclusive political solutions has never been more urgent,” he emphasized.

Gender-focused peacebuilding strategy

Macharia Kamau, Chair of the Peacebuilding Commission, said that women remain a resource that has not been effectively utilized, citing such obstacles as cynical cultural practices that maintained patriarchal attitudes; insufficient political will to implement Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security; militarized approaches to conflict resolution that crowded out organic initiatives; and the absence of gender-sensitive economic recovery.

As such, the Commission had outlined its first gender strategy, which it expected to adopt before July, he said, adding that it set out recommendations on strengthening the integration of gender perspectives in all country-specific and strategic engagements. Going forward, the Commission would use its unique leverage to advocate for technical expertise on gender equality and peacebuilding, as well as funding, he continued.

The combination of commitment on the part of senior leadership, specialized expertise and dedicated financial resources would make a real difference, as had been seen in Burundi, where UN-Women supported a network of 534 women mediators across all municipalities, he said.

Placing a personal emphasis on the gender issue, he said that he had seen the ruin that 100 years of colonial and post-colonial policies had wreaked upon women in the culture and society of his homeland, Kenya. “Women remain firmly at the bottom of the rungs of social progress and empowerment,” he said, underlining that a more inclusive future would require that countries respond forcefully to the condition of women in their midst.

Source: United Nations


By Jabulani Baloi

POLOKWANE, March 28 — There is growing concern over kidnapping incidents in South Africa’s Limpopo Province.

In the past few weeks, three people, including a mother and daughter, have been kidnapped and ransom demanded by kidnappers at Nirvana in the provincial capital, Polokwane, and Tzaneen, about 110 kilometres east of here.

In the first incident, a 35-year-old South African Revenue Service (SARS) employee, Anita Moosa. was kidnapped, and a 3.0 million-Rand (about 194,000 US dollars) ransom was demanded.

Moosa was rescued in an operation in which family members and police disguised themselves, when they went to pay the ransom outside Polokwane. A shoot-out with the police ensued and the kidnappers fled into the dark.

A family spokesman, Yusuf Abramjee, says they are happy about the rescue mission. “I can confirm that Anisa Moosa has been safely re-united with her family; she was re-united with them early hours of Sunday morning,” he says.

“She was abducted from her uncle’s house in Nirvana shortly after 8pm on Tuesday evening. The abductors, three men, demanded a ransom — and we’re most grateful to our law enforcement agency for the way which they resolved this matter … thanks and appreciation goes to SARS for the support and encouragement they gave the family and they’re currently giving Anisa as well.”

A week later, a mother and daughter, were also kidnapped at Tzaneen. They were later released by their three captors.

Abramjee says there is now fear among the Indian community in the province. “The mother and daughter were released; they’re both Indian nationals and police are now investigating … there have been several incidents of abductions in Limpopo province over the past few months,” says Abramjee.

Police are still searching for the three suspects involved in both incidents in Polokwane and Tzaneen. Police believe that the same syndicate might be responsible for both incidents.

“We’re looking for them — you will remember that they just released the captives and fled — the vehicle that they are using fits the description of the one that was hijacked in Polokwane two weeks ago,” a police spokesman says.

“We believe that this is one and the same group that kidnapped Indian woman two weeks ago, so we’re looking for them and we’re positive that very soon we’ll make a breakthrough.”

Incidents of kidnapping, where the kidnappers demand a ransom, are not common in the country. These kinds of cases have, however, been widely reported in neighbouring Mozambique.

Source: SABC

Women first to notice radicalization of individuals

Women are the first people to notice the radicalization of individuals within their families and communities, according to the head of the UN’s gender-focused agency, UN Women.

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka made the comment at a Security Council debate on Monday focusing on the role of women in conflict prevention in Africa.

Janie Cangelosi has more details.

Speaking in the Security Council the Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said the role women play in conflict prevention is often lauded, but rarely visible.

She said they are central to fighting the causes of conflict.

“Women are the first to notice attacks on their rights and freedoms and the militarization and radicalization of individuals in their families and communities. They possess important insights and intelligence which is key for decision making. “

Ms Mlambo-Ngcuka detailed a number of examples which she said demonstrated the positive role played by women in conflict prevention.

In Burundi, they are working as mediators to address local conflicts and prevent an escalation of tensions and in Mali they are helping ex-combatants to reintegrate into their families and communities.

Janie Cangelosi, United Nations

Duration: 47″

Source: United Nations Radio