Daily Archives: May 19, 2016

New Global Education In Emergencies Fund To Be Launched At World Humanitarian Summit

NEW YORK, May 18, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — The world’s leading countries, companies and philanthropists will join forces to create a ‘major breakthrough’ to provide education for millions of children displaced by conflicts and natural disasters.

The new ‘Education Cannot Wait’ fund will be launched next week at the World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul.

A historic, global-first hailed a ‘game changer,’ the fund targets the needs of 75 million children and youth impacted by crisis, disaster and conflict.

Becoming a “full-blown global crisis” that will haunt the world for generations, 20 million school-age child refugees or displaced persons are denied an education.

The goal is to recruit 100 major foundations, businesses, governments and international agencies as contributors to the fund.

Education Cannot Wait will fill the gap where education falls through the cracks between humanitarian aid, which focuses on food and shelter, and development aid, which is by definition focused on the long-term.

UN OCHA figures show education garnering less than 2% of emergency funding in annual appeals, insufficient as the average refugee is out-of-country for more than a decade.

The new fund has unique features making it the first comprehensive public private partnership for humanitarian aid: (1) offering up to five years of educational emergency financing; (2) establishing dedicated windows for private sector, foundation and philanthropic contributions; (3) and harnessing new innovations and technology to deliver education to refugee children.

Announcing the fund, Gordon Brown, UN Education Envoy and International Commission on Financing Global Education Opportunity Chair, said:

“When we ask ourselves what breaks once-thriving young children, it is not just the Mediterranean wave that submerges the life vest, nor the food convoy that does not make it to Madaya in Syria. It is also the absence of hope – the soul-crushing certainty that there is nothing ahead to plan or prepare for, not even a place in school.”

Mr. Brown will unveil support in Istanbul alongside UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and other world leaders.

Financing Commissioner Jakaya Kikwete, former President of Tanzania said, “In times of conflict and disaster, we must prioritize education. We can no longer be complacent with business as usual. The new education in emergencies fund will bridge the humanitarian-development divide to provide life-saving education.”

The Commission is co-convened by Prime Minister Solberg (Norway), Presidents Bachelet (Chile), Widodo (Indonesia), Mutharika (Malawi) and UNESCO Director-General Bokova.

For additional inquiries, please contact: Reid Lidow, +1-212-843-0368, rlidow@educationcommission.org, www.educationcommission.org.

SOUTH AFRICAN DEFENCE FORCE COMMENDED FOR RESPONSE ON SEX ABUSE ALLEGATIONS

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) has been commended for its response to allegations of sexual abuse against its members serving as the United Nations peacekeepers.

South Africa has about 2,000 troops stationed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Sudan and South Sudan.

In an update on cases of sexual misconduct by UN staff around the world, the world body has revealed 44 new cases of which 29 were reported in the Central African Republic (CAR) and seven in the DRC and three of the latter cases involved were members of the SANDF deployed there.

The SANDF has said that criminal activities will not be tolerated in the service.

It is not the first time that authorities in the SANDF have taken drastic measures against transgressors. Last year, 47 SANDF peacekeepers serving with the UN missions in the DRC were dismissed for violating a curfew in the eastern DRC where they were based.

South Africa has again indicated its seriousness when it comes to discipline in the military, especially those representing the country in a global body like the UN.

Lauding South Africa for its stance, the UN said the decision by the country to conduct on-site martials in the DRC against the culprits represented best practice for other troop-contributing countries to emulate.

SANDF Spokesperson Brigadier-General Xolani Mabanga says: “A number of (UN) member states have acted quickly in giving hard jail-time to soldiers who have been found guilty, one SA has also announced that they will be conducting a court martial on site in the DRC and I think that’s a hugely important step because that will give the victims and the impacted community access to justice.”

Mabanga welcomed the compliment by the United Nations. He says discipline and proper conduct by SANDF members, especially when posted to global peacekeeping missions, is important. He says the letter of the law is strictly followed when such issues arise.

“As a country and a defence force we take cognizance of reports that have been made and besides that we then investigate to find out what actually happened and take necessary steps in order to correct those,” he adds.

“Should we find or if somebody is found to have breached any law or any regulations governing the conduct of the members of the SANDF then disciplinary measures are taken against such individuals.

“We follow the legal processes. Depending on the findings of the judicial system itself and the judgment that will be made and then that determines the outcome of the criminal case itself.

“If the member has to be dismissed from SANDF, then so be it. That member will be dismissed. It stays in the member’s record. If he goes to another company or to another firm or to another department to look for employment and then that comes out automatically.”

Meanwhile, South African soldiers who were serving in the Darfur region in western Sudan, as part of a combined African Union-UN peace mission (UNAMID) have been withdrawn and there are only a few who are still concluding administrative work who remain.

SOURCE: NAM NEWS NETWORK

Agreement reached to reopen schools in Tshimbupfe

The Inter-Ministerial Committee (IMC) established to oversee the return to normality in Vuwani and surrounding areas and traditional leaders of volatile Tshimbupfe Central have unanimously agreed to reopen all schools in the area.

While peace and stability have been restored in volatile areas such as Mashau, Vyeboom, Masakona and Masia villages, Tshino-Ha-Nesengani, with learners back in school, all the schools in the 13 villages under Tshimbupfe Central remain closed.

Certain parts of the two main roads to the village from Vuwani are still blockaded with rocks. It was alleged that traditional leaders in the area took a decision to continue with the shutdown after losing a court case to oppose their area being incorporated into the new proposed municipality.

As a result, Communications Minister Faith Muthambi, who is a member of the IMC, met with the traditional leaders and residents a Tshimbupfe Traditional Council earlier today.

It was not an easy meeting, with the two teams taking small breaks, only to go back into the traditional council chamber to continue with the deliberations.

Walking out from the meeting with a smile, Minister Muthambi said: “We’ve agreed unanimously with all the traditional leaders that schools must reopen so that learners and teachers can go back to their classrooms.

“We’ve all agreed that the issue of getting learners back to school is non-negotiable The only issue that we need to engage each other going forward until we get a lasting solution is the demarcation issue.

“As government, we believe in resolving issues through dialogue There are service delivery issues such as water and roads in the area but we cannot allow a situation where kids are not allowed to go to school because of demarcation.

“We are expecting all schools in the area to reopen next week Monday because we want traditional leaders to organise meetings at their respective villages tomorrow and tell all the villagers that all kids must return to school.”

Minister Muthambi said they have also agreed that the roads must be cleared in the village so that public transport services are able to operate.

SOURCE: Government Communication and information System

South Africa: Refugees Face Social Grant Barrier

Refugees receiving social grants for their children say they are being turned away from the Wynberg offices of the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA), in spite of a directive from the department of Home Affairs.

Earlier this month, eight refugees complained to People Against Suffering, Oppression and Poverty (PASSOP) that they had been turned away at Wynberg SASSA offices because they had failed to produce birth certificates for their children which correspond with the Home Affairs ID numbers.

In an official letter to one of the families, SASSA stated: “According to our records, you are currently receiving a social grant. It has come to SASSA’s attention that the identity number of your child/children is not a valid number on the Home Affairs Population Register.”

“You are requested to call at your nearest SASSA office no later 31 May 2016 to have your social grant reviewed. Should you fail to have your social grant reviewed it will be suspended.”

But Home Affairs Media Liaison Officer Thabo Mokgola told GroundUp: “SASSA must accept all valid identity documents for refugees (including children) and issue grants on that basis. We have engaged with SASSA National Head Office in this regard.”

Congolese refugee Godfroi Lelwa, 49, from Retreat, said until now social grants had been paid by SASSA on the basis of a birth certificate and refugee status document. But now the SASSA officials were demanding ID numbers which were not on his children’s birth certificates, or letters from Home Affairs to prove that the certificates were genuine.

“There is no way our ID numbers can match South Africans’ ID numbers because we are refugees.

“Home Affairs does not issue abridged birth certificates to foreigners. And this explains why our children’s birth certificate ID numbers are not similar to the ones on the Home Affairs population register,” said Lelwa.

He said the social grants were important to supplement the family income from selling goods on Greenmarket Square.

SASSA spokesperson Shivani Wahab did not respond to GroundUp’s emails or return repeated phone calls made to her office since last Friday.

Source: GroundUp