Daily Archives: July 20, 2017

Nigeria Bolsters Security in Northern State of Kaduna Amid Violence

ABUJA � Nigeria is to deploy troops and police to reduce violence in the northern state of Kaduna, the acting president’s spokesman said on Wednesday, as ethnically charged violence pressures a government already fighting Boko Haram in the northeast.

Clashes between Muslim herders and Christian farmers have killed hundreds in the region over the last few years. The violence is partly over land use in Nigeria’s middle belt region and some northern areas, but also has religious overtones in a country almost evenly split between the two faiths.

Police said 32 people were killed on Tuesday in clashes between herdsmen and villagers in Kajuru local government area of southern Kaduna state. Troops were deployed to southern Kaduna in April amid an eruption of inter-communal violence.

“Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has ordered further security reinforcements in Kaduna state following reports of communal clashes,” presidency spokesman Laolu Akande said.

He said the strengthened security would comprise of troops and police special forces, adding that “the number of the personnel will be determined by the military and the police authorities.”

The heightened tensions in Kaduna come as security forces in the northeast are contending with a series of attacks by suspected members of the Islamist militant group Boko Haram that have killed at least 62 people since June 7.

Osinbajo is acting president in the absence of President Muhammadu Buhari, who vowed to restore order in Nigeria when he came to power in May 2015.

Buhari handed over power to his deputy, Osinbajo, when he traveled to Britain on May 7 on medical leave for treatment of an unspecified ailment.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation with around 180 million people and around 250 different ethnic groups who mostly live peacefully side-by-side.

Source: Voice of America

State employees’ pension funds are safe

Pretoria � The Government Employees’ Pension Fund (GEPF) and Public Investment Corporation (PIC) has once again reassured its members and pensioners that their benefits and pensions are not at risk.

GEPF is invested in government bonds that are publicly traded, which allows interested investors to invest in them. It is worth noting that a significant portion of State-owned enterprises (SOEs) bond-holdings are government guaranteed, GEPF said.

GEPF stressed that investing in SOEs is part of its mandate to the PIC.

The mandates are based on a detailed asset and liability modelling exercise, GEPF said.

According to National Treasury, the aim of the PIC is to safeguard the pensions of public servants and ensure reasonable returns are generated for contributors.

Government does not interfere in the PIC’s investment processes and therefore does not influence or attempt to influence the PIC to fund SOEs.

The PIC is a regulated institution that has to comply with regulations at all times, said Treasury.

Source: South African Government News Agency

Uganda Arrests Opposition Activists

Ugandan police say they arrested dozens of political opposition activists this week. The arrests coincide with speculation President Yoweri Museveni will act to change the constitution to allow himself to run for another term in 2021.

Uganda’s constitution stipulates presidential candidates must be younger than 75 when they stand for election. Museveni, who has held power for 31 years, will be 77 by the next election.

Forum for Democratic Change official Ingrid Turinawe told AFP she believes the arrest of 56 opposition party members on Wednesday is linked to the issue.

Museveni has not publicly communicated his intent to run for another term, telling the Ugandan media on Wednesday not to “waste your time” with the rumored constitutional amendment.

On Thursday, 13 members of a smaller opposition party were arrested for illegal assembly.

Allegedly, they were attempting to circulate a petition opposing the possible change to Uganda’s constitution.

Museveni rose to power in 1986 after his National Resistance Army toppled the previous regime. His government began allowing multi-party democratic elections a decade later, but critics contend he continues to stiffle dissent by regularly jailing opposition activists and politicians.

In an interview with Al Jazeera earlier this year, Museveni defended the recent jailing of dissident Stella Nyanzi.

“If you are an activist and you commit an offence, because with human rights you must also speak of the rights of others, you cannot trample on the rights of others and you say, ‘It is my rights to abuse other people’ to insult other people. No. Rights come with responsibilities – if you know anything about democracy.”

The constitution was previously amended in 2005 to eliminate a two-term limit for presidents, allowing Museveni to successfully run for a third term in 2006.

Source: Voice of America

Headquarters to Host Forty-Fourth Meeting of Commission on Limits of Continental Shelf, 24 July to 8 September

NEW YORK, 19 July (Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea) ? The Commission on the Limits of the Continental Shelf will hold its forty-fourth session from 24 July to 8 September.

The first plenary part of the session will be held on 24 July and the second from 28 to 30 August and on 1 September, while the remainder of the time will be devoted to the technical examination of submissions at the Geographic Information Systems laboratories and other technical facilities of the Division.

This will be the first session of the Commission following the election of its members, held on 14 June at the twenty-seventh Meeting of States Parties to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The following 20 members were elected for a term of five years commencing on 16 June 2017 and ending on 15 June 2022: Adnan Rashid Nasser al-Azri (Oman), Lawrence Folajimi Awosika (Nigeria), Aldino Campos (Portugal), Wanda-Lee De Landro-Clarke (Trinidad and Tobago), Ivan F. Glumov (Russian Federation), Martin Vang Heinesen (Denmark), Emmanuel Kalngui (Cameroon), Wenzheng Lyu (China), Mazlan Bin Madon (Malaysia), Estevao Stefane Mahanjane (Mozambique), Jair Alberto Ribas Marques (Brazil), Marcin Mazurowski (Poland), Domingos de Carvalho Viana Moreira (Angola), David Cole Mosher (Canada), Simon Njuguna (Kenya), Yong Ahn Park (Republic of Korea), Carlos Marcelo Paterlini (Argentina), Clodette Raharimananirina (Madagascar), Toshitsugu Yamazaki (Japan) and Gonzalo Alejandro YAPound nez Carrizo (Chile). At the request of the Group of Eastern European States, the election of one member of the Commission was postponed in order to allow for additional nomination(s) from that Group.

As to the workload of the forty-fourth session, eight subcommissions will continue to actively consider submissions made by the Russian Federation, in respect of the Arctic Ocean (partial revised submission); Brazil, in respect of the Brazilian Southern Region (partial revised submission); France and South Africa jointly, in respect of the area of the Crozet Archipelago and the Prince Edward Island; Kenya; Nigeria; France, in respect of La Reunion Island and Saint Paul and Amsterdam Islands; CAte d’Ivoire; and Sri Lanka. A newly established subcommission will commence the examination of the submission made by Portugal.

Additionally, the Commission will further consider the course of its action with regard to the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Norway in respect of BouvetA�ya, which were put to vote at the forty-third session and were not approved. It will also continue its consideration of the draft recommendations relating to the submission made by Seychelles in respect of the Northern Plateau region.

A further Press Release will be issued shortly regarding the election, on the first day of the forty-fourth session of the Commission, of the officers of the Commission, namely its Chair and Vice-Chairs and the appointment of members of the Commission to the subcommissions and other subsidiary bodies.

Background

The Commission is a body of 21 experts in the field of geology, geophysics or hydrography, which was established pursuant to article 2, annex II to the Convention. Members of the Commission are elected for a term of five years by the Meeting of States Parties to the Convention from among their nationals having due regard to the need to ensure equitable geographical representation. They serve in their personal capacities.

The Convention provides that the State Party which submitted the nomination of a member of the Commission shall defray the expenses of that member while in performance of Commission duties. However, the participation of several members of the Commission from developing countries has been facilitated by financial assistance from a voluntary trust fund for the purpose of defraying the cost of participation of the members of the Commission from developing countries. With respect to the 2017 sessions, support to these members has been possible and will continue thanks to generous contributions received so far from Canada, China, Iceland, India, Japan, Mexico, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Korea and the Russian Federation.

The Commission makes recommendations to coastal States on matters related to the establishment of the outer limits of their continental shelf beyond 200 nautical miles from the baselines from which the breadth of the territorial sea is measured, based on information submitted to it by coastal States. These recommendations are based on the scientific and technical data and other material provided by States in relation to the implementation of article 76 of the Convention. The recommendations do not prejudice matters relating to the delimitation of boundaries between States with opposite or adjacent coasts, or prejudice the position of States that are parties to a land or maritime dispute, or application of other parts of the Convention or any other treaties. The limits of the continental shelf established by a coastal State on the basis of these recommendations shall be final and binding. In the case of disagreement by the coastal State with the recommendations of the Commission, the coastal State shall, within a reasonable time, make a revised or new submission to the Commission.

As required under the Rules of Procedure of the Commission, the executive summaries of all the submissions, including all charts and coordinates, have been made public by the Secretary General through continental shelf notifications circulated to Member States of the United Nations, as well as States Parties to the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. The executive summaries are available on the Division’s website at www.un.org/Depts/los/clcs_new/clcs_home.htm. The summaries of recommendations adopted by the Commission are also available on the above-referenced website.

Source: United Nations

Change in behaviour for South Sudan actors ‘long overdue,’ Security Council told

Highlighting challenges facing South Sudan, a senior United Nations official today underlined that overcoming obstacles borne of a volatile combination of insecurity and political uncertainty is critical for the war-torn country to be put on the track to peace and stability.

The security environment remains extremely volatile and South Sudan is in need of an effective and credible ceasefire, El Ghassim Wane, the UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping, told the Security Council today, noting reports of active military operations in parts of the country since the Government’s announcement of a unilateral ceasefire in June.

In his briefing, Mr. Wane also noted that while the Government has publicly expressed its commitment to create an environment conducive for the conduct of the National Dialogue, certain recent decisions seem to contradict those pledges, such as blocking of key media websites after their alleged criticism of the authorities.

Every effort should be made to ensure that [the Dialogue] is inclusive, transparent, takes place in a free and secure environment, has clear outcomes that complements the ARCISS [Agreement for the Resolution of the Conflict in South Sudan] and is supported by a sufficiently broad political consensus from all political forces in the country, he added.

Further, noting the importance of an Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD, an eight-country trade bloc in Africa)-led revitalization process, the UN official urged the Council to continue its support for the process and called on national stakeholders to embrace it as a genuine opportunity to restore peace in South Sudan.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Wane stressed the importance of the unity in the region and the need for the international community to call on the leadership of all sides in South Sudan that the current situation in the country is unacceptable and unsustainable.

A change in behaviour is long overdue, and the pursuit of political objectives through violence � for which the people of South Sudan continue to bear a heavy toll � should not be allowed to continue, he stated.

Source: UN News Centre