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  • RSS BBC News – Africa

    • Reeva Steenkamp shot in 'rapid fire' April 16, 2014
      A forensics expert contradicts police ballistics testimony by telling the trial of Oscar Pistorius that his girlfriend was shot in quick succession.
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    • 'Last' Chadian soldier leaves CAR April 16, 2014
      Chad has withdrawn all its peacekeepers from the Central African Republic, an official confirms, after accusations they sided with Muslim rebels.
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      Rebel forces in South Sudan say they have recaptured the oil hub of Bentiu and want oil companies to halt operations.
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      A London Marathon runner from Sierra Leone is missing after she disappeared and failed to catch a flight home.
    • Jordanian envoy kidnapped in Libya April 15, 2014
      Masked gunmen kidnap Jordan's ambassador to Libya in the capital, Tripoli, in an attack that left his driver wounded, officials say.
    • More than 70 killed in Nigeria blast April 14, 2014
      More than 70 people are killed in a powerful explosion at a crowded bus station near Nigeria's capital, Abuja, officials say.
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      One of Rwanda's best-known musicians and a leading journalist are arrested over their alleged links to an opposition group and rebels.
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      A Libyan court rules that the late Colonel Gaddafi's son, Saif al-Islam, and other Gaddafi officials being held outside Tripoli, can be tried via video-link.
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    • VIDEO: Stalemate for SA's platinum miners April 12, 2014
      Lerato Mbele reports on the impact of the platinum workers' strike in South Africa, which has so far lasted for almost three months.
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    • Search for S Korea ferry passengers April 17, 2014
      Emergency services continue to search for nearly 300 people unaccounted for after a ferry carrying more than 470 sank off South Korea.
    • Key Geneva talks over Ukraine crisis April 17, 2014
      Senior officials from the US, Russia, the EU and Ukraine meet in Geneva as differences over the crisis in eastern Ukraine deepen.
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      Motorists are braced for what is set to be the busiest day of the year on the roads so far, with up to 16m cars expected to be used over Easter.
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      The Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales turns down a request by members for the results of a sexual ethics survey to be made public.
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      A 19-year-old Canadian citizen is charged with hacking into the Canada Revenue Agency's website, becoming the first arrest in relation to the Heartbleed security breach.
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      Nicholas Jacobs, the man cleared of killing PC Keith Blakelock in 1985, says he would feel "angry and disappointed" if he was a member of the police officer's family.
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      Police in Argentina say they have rescued a teenage girl who had been starved, beaten and kept in a garage for nine years by her foster parents.
    • Spy leaks 'criminally irresponsible' April 17, 2014
      Ex-CIA contractor Edward Snowden risked the lives of secret agents by leaking documents containing their names, Conservative MP Liam Fox says.
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      It is "too soon" to decide whether to scrap the national census, and the 2021 survey should go ahead, MPs advise.
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      A severe power cut leaves large areas of northern Scotland without electricity, with almost 200,000 properties said to have been affected.
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      About 10,000 new drivers had their licences revoked after receiving six or more penalty points in 2012, Newsbeat finds through a Freedom of Information request.
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      The prospects for the latest clinical trials of cancer drugs make some front pages, while many feature photographs of a ferry sinking off South Korea.
    • Jockey Club makes record profits April 17, 2014
      The Jockey Club, the organisation behind the UK's leading horseracing events, reports record profits for last year of £22m.
    • Row erupts over removed Banksy work April 16, 2014
      A row breaks out over the ownership of a work of art by "guerrilla artist" Banksy after it was taken from a Bristol street.
    • Manchester City 2-2 Sunderland April 16, 2014
      Manchester City's Premier League title hopes are dealt a blow after they are held to a draw by bottom side Sunderland.
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      Everton hand the initiative back to Arsenal in the race for fourth as they suffer a surprise 3-2 defeat to Crystal Palace.
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      Peter Ebdon fails to qualify for the World Championship for the first time since turning professional.
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      Gareth Bale scores a brilliant late goal as Real Madrid defeat Barcelona 2-1 in the Copa del Rey final in Valencia.
    • Scott earns Arsenal point in opener April 16, 2014
      Alex Scott's goal ensures FA Cup holders Arsenal opened their Women's Super League season with a 1-1 draw at Notts County.
  • RSS Reuters: Politics

    • California Governor Brown wants rainy-day fund in constitution April 17, 2014
      SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) - California Governor Jerry Brown on Wednesday stepped up his efforts to enshrine a rainy day fund in the state's constitution, stealing some thunder from Republicans backing a similar measure as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term.
    • Detroit pension deal approved by one retirement system April 17, 2014
      (Reuters) - The board of Detroit's General Retirement System on Wednesday approved economic terms of a settlement with the city that include cuts to pension benefits, putting in place another key component of Detroit's effort to exit bankruptcy by October.
    • U.S. calls for more investment-friendly Indian government April 17, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States on Wednesday urged the Indian government that emerges from ongoing elections to follow economic policies that encourage investment, saying Washington would like to see bilateral trade grow to $500 billion a year.
    • Obama, Republicans openly feud over immigration legislation April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Partisan bickering over immigration reform legislation intensified on Wednesday as President Barack Obama and House of Representatives Republicans accused each other of standing in the way of progress one year after bipartisan Senate legislation was introduced.
    • Two incompatible gun ballot measures lead in Washington state April 16, 2014
      OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Two incompatible ballot measures on background checks for gun buyers in Washington state enjoy majority support in a poll released on Tuesday, but the one advancing stricter gun controls is more popular.
    • Detroit pension deal approved by one retirement system April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - The board of Detroit's General Retirement System on Wednesday approved economic terms of a settlement with the city that include cuts to pension benefits, putting in place another key component of Detroit's effort to exit bankruptcy by October.
    • Wisconsin passes law to curb private custody transfers of children April 16, 2014
      NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wisconsin has adopted a law to limit private custody transfers of children, the first law of its kind in the United States, responding to a Reuters investigation that exposed the dangers of the unregulated practice.
    • Obama, Biden visit Pennsylvania to promote job-training plan April 16, 2014
      OAKDALE, Penn. (Reuters) - President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden took a trip to a Pennsylvania community college on Wednesday to promote a plan to train workers for skills they need for hard-to-fill jobs.
    • Former New York Mayor Bloomberg to spend $50 million on gun control April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ramped up his efforts to fight gun violence on Wednesday with a plan to spend $50 million on a grassroots network to organize voters on gun control.
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      WASHINGTON/MANILA (Reuters) - When a Philippine government ship evaded a Chinese blockade in disputed waters of the South China Sea last month, a U.S. Navy plane swooped in to witness the dramatic encounter.
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      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Departing Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who took withering criticism over the botched rollout of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law, is considering a run for the U.S. Senate in Kansas, The New York Times reported on Wednesday.
    • F-35 fighter jet to make first trans-Atlantic flight in July April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Defense Department has approved the first trans-Atlantic flight of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet in July to take part in two international air shows near London, U.S. and British officials said Wednesday.
    • HUD's Donovan says U.S. Senate housing bill is best chance of reform April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama's top housing official on Wednesday said a proposed Senate bill provides the best chance to overhaul the mortgage finance system this decade, but more debate over down payment requirements for government-backed loans is needed.
    • Paul, Rubio lead potential Republican 2016 contenders in spending April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Groups supporting Senators Rand Paul and Marco Rubio lead the pack of potential Republican presidential candidates in spending money and investing in possible campaigns this year, more than 20 months before the first votes are cast in 2016.
    • Ex-con, ex-governor Edwards raises $33,000 in Louisiana run for Congress April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - Former Louisiana Governor, Edwin Edwards, a convicted felon now running for the U.S. Congress, has raised nearly $33,000 in donations since launching his campaign last month, according to a contribution report.
    • Michigan, White House discuss federal money for bankrupt Detroit: report April 16, 2014
      (Reuters) - Michigan officials and President Barack Obama's Administration are discussing a plan to free up $100 million in federal money to aid Detroit's retired city workers, the Detroit Free Press reported on Tuesday.
    • Bill signed allowing surprise inspections of Arizona abortion clinics April 16, 2014
      PHOENIX (Reuters) - Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Tuesday signed into a law a bill allowing state health authorities to conduct surprise inspections of abortion clinics without first obtaining a warrant, handing another victory to abortion foes.
    • Two incompatible gun ballot measures lead in Washington state April 16, 2014
      OLYMPIA, Washington (Reuters) - Two incompatible ballot measures on background checks for gun buyers in Washington state enjoy majority support in a poll released on Tuesday, but the one advancing stricter gun controls is more popular.
    • Pentagon says automatic budget cuts would hit F-35, other weapons April 16, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday detailed $48.3 billion in cuts to major weapons programs like Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jet that would kick in from fiscal 2016 to 2019 if Congress does not reverse automatic budget cuts that are to resume in 2016.
    • Senators press Delphi for answers on recalled GM cars April 15, 2014
      WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers probing how General Motors used faulty ignition switches in many vehicles are turning their scrutiny to the supplier of the part, Delphi Automotive.
  • RSS CNN.com – Africa

    • Luxury shoes made in Ghana April 15, 2014
      Fred Deegbe was standing outside a shop window five years ago, marveling at the shiny pair of wing-tip Oxfords he'd just bought, when he started wondering whether such beautiful designer shoes could ever be produced in his country, Ghana.
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      "It was like taking a big leap of faith."
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      African Voices meets James Ebo Whyte a passionate storyteller with a series of successful plays to his credit.
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      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
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      She started her business with just £100, lugging her beauty bag from door to door, but some 25 years later Grace Amey-Obeng has built a multi-million dollar cosmetics empire that's helping change the perception of beauty for many.
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      Zain Verjee visits Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park -- the home of half of the world's endangered mountain gorilla population.
    • Savannah from the sky March 13, 2014
      It's almost impossible for a photographer to find fresh visual perspectives these days. Brooklyn-based Zack Seckler had to travel to a different continent and strap into an ultra-light aircraft to find one. His Botswana series presents the country from between 50 and 500 feet, providing a unique and captivating view of the savannah.
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    • Pop art condoms saving lives April 15, 2014
      The Center for African Family Studies in Nairobi has teamed up with Kenyan artist Michael Soi to create eye-catching condom wrappers to promote safe sex and raise awareness about HIV/AIDS among young people.
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      It took only moments to feel the impact of what was happening here.
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      When gunmen stormed into Nairobi's Westgate shopping mall, Abbas Gullet was one of the first emergency responders on the scene. As head of Kenya's Red Cross, he was in charge of coordinating services for people in need.
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Archive for March 27th, 2012

January through May 2012

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

Part 1:

 

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

 
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Part 1:
 

Part 2:

 

Part 3:

 

Part 4:

 

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But is it true or simply tribal politics of hate? Watch the video and hear him say himself. He has worked with Raila before.
Part 1

Part 2: 

Part 3:

Part 4:

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Summary and judgement on Lubanga case:

 

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 ICC indicted Lord’s Resistance Army Commander Joseph Kony and the Invisible Children

 

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Ethnic balance in work place: Is it important in Kenya?

 

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Matsanga wants to be enjoined in Hon Uhuru Kenyatta’s ICC case, but Chief Prosecutor Ocampo instead reacts by threatening to have him arrested

Part 1:

 

Part 2: 

 

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Kenya Parliament debate measures including Viagra to help stop the battering of men by their wives in Nyeri County

 

End

ICC ruling on Kenya cases 

ICC – Ruto, Sang, Muthaura and Kenyatta trial

 ***

  Kenya cases: ICC

 VIDEOS TO WATCH:

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Norway closes its embassy in Syria

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

The Norwegian Embassy in Damascus has been closed until further notice because of the security situation.

“We have decided to close the embassy in Damascus because of the security situation. A Norwegian diplomat will stay in Damascus in order to maintain contact with political actors and report on the situation in the country. The diplomat will be attached to the Danish Embassy,” said Foreign Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.

This arrangement is a continuation of the close cooperation between Nordic countries’ foreign services.

end

source mfa.no

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Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Kenya to become oil nation soon

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

Posted by Thomas Ochieng, Kenya.

After reading his opening speech during the awarding of the performance contracting ceremony for government ministries and parastatals the Kenya’s
president paused then took another set of written speech “This morning, I have been informed by the Minister for Energy that our country has made a major breakthrough in oil exploration. This weekend, Tullow Oil, which has been prospecting for oil in block 10 BB in Turkana County, discovered oil in Ngamia-1 well, at a depth of between 846 and 1041 meters.
They established over 20 meters of what is technically referred to as OIL-PAY.
To establish commercial viability of this oil, they have to drill multiple
wells,” Said Kibaki
“This is the first time Kenya has made such a discovery and it is very good news for our country. It is however the beginning of a long journey to make our country an oil producer, which typically takes in excess of 3 years.  We shall be giving the nation more information as the oil exploration process continues,” He added
British company Tullow Oil Plc, the London-listed oil and gas exploration firm that discovered oil in western Uganda a few years ago, was key to this discovery that has been speculated for decades, but often with disappointing results.

Prior to this announcement, Kenya was yet to discover any commercial oil deposits, but interest in its exploration blocks has grown since neighboring Uganda discovered billions of barrels in its Lake Albert rift.

While it may be too early to celebrate, Kenya officially joins Uganda and South Sudan as oil producing nations. Local subsidiary, Tullow Kenya BV, which is operating five exploration blocks in northern Kenya, tarted drilling wells in 2011.

The announment comes weeks after Kibaki, South Sudan President Salva Kiir and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, launched a project to build a port in the Kenyan coastal town of Lamu and a pipeline to link the three nations, a move that irked neighbouring Uganda,which also discovered oil along lake Albert.

This means that the government will make urgent plans to expand the oil refinery in the Kenyan port city of Mombasa or build an additional one in Turkana to cater for the three countries.
Meanwhile, the announcement saw the company’s share price climb by 34p to £15.07 after it said its first exploration well in a drilling campaign taking in Kenya and Ethopia had discovered light crude oil. Tullow’s exploration director Angus
McCoss said: “This is an excellent start to our major exploration campaign
in the East African rift basins of Kenya and Ethiopia. to make such a good oil discovery in our first well is beyond our expectations and bodes well for the material programme ahead of us.”
Last year, Tullow oil, working alongside Canadian firm, Africa Oil issued this statement: Although Kenya has so far failed to discover any commercially viable oil and gas deposits, interest in the country’s hydrocarbon potential has soared following the growing number of fresh large-scale discoveries in neighboring Uganda, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Ends.

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Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya will always be in my memory

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

KENYA-SOMALIA: “I never regret being in Dadaab”


Photo: Tom Maruko/IRIN
Newly arrived refugees at Dadaab refugee camp, eastern Kenya
IRIN’s freelance journalist Moulid Iftin Hujale, in this third installment of his account of life in the Dadaab refugee complex in eastern Kenya, reflects on his hope of returning to his homeland, Somalia, to help rebuild the country amid heightening insecurity in the Dadaab camps. 

DADAAB, 23 March 2012 (IRIN) – Dadaab, which is home to an estimated 463,000 Somali refugees, has since November 2011 recorded a series of  abductions and road-side bombs, which the Kenyan police attribute to people linked to Somalia’s insurgent Al-Shabab group.

[Hujale] It is another year in Dadaab, one that finds me still struggling for a better life, a better future and of course freedom; freedom to live independently and to decide the path that will shape my ambitions. 

I never regret being in Dadaab though. I believe if I had been in Somalia for the past two decades I would have either been caught up in the crossfire or my future would have been ruined. But the past four months have been quite tough and very scary with unprecedented grenade explosions, killings and rigorous police operations; Dadaab has never been the same again. 

Fear 

I remember one morning in late December 2011 when the police entered the residential blocks and started beating people; I heard people screaming and policemen shouting. I saw many people running behind our fence as they called out for me to follow. My mother was frightened, she was scared for me. From the look on her face I could tell how helpless she was feeling as she grabbed her falling headscarf. I did not run at first, until I saw the police beating an old man. 

I wandered through the residential blocks with other colleagues the whole day, returning home in the evening.

I took my notebook and camera to document the aftermath of the incident. What I saw was horrifying: women complaining of attempted rape, a mother whose youngest child was beaten in front of her, injured men sleeping on mats in their houses with no medical care, shops that had been broken into and businessmen who had lost their savings. 

I feel that Dadaab does not offer full protection for refugees; it has become a place where anyone can be targeted. Refugees fear an unknown enemy and the sad thing is that even when the police offend you, you cannot talk about it. Fear has engulfed the whole camp; I feel unsafe.

However, these days it is getting calmer. Aid operations are resuming and there has been no terror incident for quite some time now; I pray that the situation remains the same.

Stalled dreams 


Photo: Kate Holt/IRIN
Newly arrived refugees from Somalia wait to be registered at Dagehaley camp, one of three camps that make up the Dadaab refugee camp in north eastern Kenya

Newly arrived refugees from Somalia wait to be registered at Dagehaley camp, one of three camps that make up the Dadaab refugee camp in north eastern Kenya that I will achieve my dreams even though the so-called scholarship that I got from the Somali government last year did not work out. I was extremely excited having been sponsored by my own Somali government; I thought I had regained my identity at last, but what followed was disappointing. The programme was cancelled for reasons that were not clarified. 

Since 2011 over 1,000 students have been taken from Mogadishu by the Somali Transitional Federal government to Turkey, Sudan and Malaysia. But none of the learned Dadaab youths have been given the opportunity. Many people say that some of the students who were sponsored by Mogadishu were not qualified, others were even repatriated from Turkey after failing to adapt to university life; many of them got the opportunity through nepotism and corruption. 

Rebuilding Somalia 

Anyway, I am glad that at least there is some development in my country despite the complications in its administration and that will never kill my spirit to dedicate my skills to rebuilding my home country.

In the recent past, there has been a shift in focus among the Dadaab youth which I also strongly feel. We need to go back to Somalia to bring about the change the Somali people are yearning for. Some years ago, most of the youth wanted to resettle either in America or Europe to escape the harsh conditions of the camps; the encampment policy and the limited opportunities. 

However, these days almost all the educated youths are willing to go back to Somalia to take part in the reconstruction of their war-torn country as resettlement chances become slimmer. 

The main evening talk at the tea shops among my friends is about Somalia these days. The 23 February London conference was also a hot agenda; there is a glimmer of hope. Our attention is now focused on the hope of stability in Somalia and I find comfort in that. 


Photo: Tom Maruko/IRIN
Refugees wait to be registered at Dagahaley camp, Dadaab, eastern Kenya

Empowering refugees 

After living this long in a refugee camp, since 1997, how am I preparing to be a future leader of my country? Is there a long-term vision for refugees to be trained as leaders rather than just calling for donations to feed them? As the international community gathers to stabilize Somalia, what plans does the UN Refugee Agency have for Dadaab refugees who are supposed to go back and rebuild their home country? How much capacity do we have to run our own development programmes as managers to steer the fallen nation towards success? I think we had better learn how to fish instead of waiting for free fish.

I am asking these questions because I hear them every day echoing in my mind and from my friends too. 

The Somali Diaspora youth are in a better position than us. I have been following one of these Somali Diaspora-based youth organizations known as, Worldwide Somali Students and Professionals, who are mobilizing learned Somali youths from around the world. I am hoping to follow them into Somalia in June 2012 as they bring over 1,000 Diaspora youths to train fellow Somalis in literacy, health, agriculture and general education for two to three months. 

This is a voluntary service and I hope to have enough money then so that I will be able to proudly participate for the betterment of my people.

mh/aw/cb

Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

Locking up migrant children

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

MIGRATION: Too many migrant children locked up

“Detention, even for a short time, has a very toxic effect on children” (file photo)

JOHANNESBURG,  – Arun*, a refugee from Myanmar, was just eight when he was arrested by immigration authorities in Malaysia and taken to a detention camp where he spent five months separated from his mother and six-year-old sister.

“I got one small bowl of food a day. We were never allowed to go outside. In the night I had to give massages to some of the men,” he told researchers from the International Detention Coalition (IDC) which has spent the last two years collecting testimonies from refugee, asylum-seeker and irregular migrant children about their experiences of detention in 11 different countries around the world.

By the time IDC’s researchers interviewed Arun, he and his family had been released but his sister was too traumatized to eat, and she and her mother cried as Arun spoke about being detained.

“Detention, even for a short time, has a very toxic effect on children,” said Jeroen Van Hove, coordinator of the IDC’s campaign to end the immigration detention of children, which was launched on 21 March at the 19th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has been signed by every country in the world with the exception of the USA and Somalia, states that detention of children be used “only as a measure of last resort, for the shortest appropriate period of time and taking into account the best interests of the child”.

However, according to the IDC, an umbrella organization with more than 250 member groups working in 50 countries, as the use of migration-related detention has increased globally, so too has the detention of migrant, asylum-seeker and refugee children. They estimate there are tens of thousands of children in detention every day and hundreds of thousands every year.

Australia

In Australia, one of the few countries to regularly publish statistics on the numbers of children in immigration detention, there were 1,079 children in custody in January, just under half of them in prison-like facilities in remote locations such as Christmas Island. Following public pressure, Australia’s immigration minister made a commitment in October 2010 to remove most children from locked detention by June 2011.

According to Sophie Peer, campaign director for ChilOut, a local group advocating the release of all children from Australia’s immigration detention centres, the minister has kept to that commitment by a very slim margin, but the process by which children are selected for transfer to community-based accommodation where they are allowed to live a relatively normal life, remains unclear.

“It seems to us completely arbitrary,” she told IRIN, adding that the youngest child remaining in a detention facility is an unaccompanied seven-year-old who has been locked up for nine months.

''When we interview the children, the overwhelming words are that they feel helpless and hopeless''

She described the conditions in the detention centres, with their lack of educational and recreational facilities, as “completely inappropriate for children”. The centres’ often remote locations also make regular visits from lawyers and organizations like ChilOut prohibitively expensive.

“When we interview the children, the overwhelming words are that they feel helpless and hopeless,” said Peer. “They ask us, ‘What have I done wrong?’ To which our answer is, ‘Nothing’.”

She added that many of the children suffered from mental health issues: “We’re seeing self-harm on an almost daily basis.”

Research from numerous studies cited in a new report by the IDC, has found that immigration detention of children “has profound and far-reaching implications for their development and physical and psychological health”. The longer children are detained, the more likely they are to suffer from mental health problems including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder, but there is evidence that even short-term detention has negative impacts on children.

Thailand, USA

In Thailand, detention periods for migrant children can be as long as five years. Thailand is not a signatory to the 1951 Refugee Convention and, under its immigration law, refugees and asylum-seekers living outside camps are subject to arrest and detention regardless of their age.

“Those who cannot go back to their country or who can’t be settled in third countries are kept [in detention] indefinitely,” said Veerawit Tianchainan, founder and director of the Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR), which has been negotiating with the country’s immigration bureau since 2010 for the release of asylum-seekers and refugees with children. In June 2011, they had their first major success with the release of 96 Ahmadi refugees and asylum-seekers, including 40 children, into accommodation paid for by TCR through its Refugee Freedom Fund.

Although no official figures are available, Tianchainan estimates that 100 children remain in Bangkok’s International Detention Centre where children are separated from parents of the opposite sex, conditions are over-crowded and unhygienic, and schooling is available only two days a week.

“Some of them are really desperate,” he told IRIN. “After six months they look terrible because of the conditions inside and the poor quality and variety of food.”

The USA has taken steps to improve its treatment of migrant children in detention but still averages around 9,000 unaccompanied minors a year in custody with the conditions they are kept in varying from “detention-like facilities” to well-run shelters with fewer restrictions on movement, according to Michelle Brané, director of the detention and asylum programme at the Washington DC-based Women’s Refugee Commission.

Officials complain that the average length of stay for such children, many of whom are teenagers fleeing abuse or gang violence in Mexico and Central America, has increased in recent years because of the amount of checks required before they can be released to family members, sponsors or foster families. “It’s striking a balance between detention and protection and making sure they’re safe,” said Brané, adding that unaccompanied children, in particular, are extremely vulnerable to exploitation.

The focus of the IDC’s campaign also goes beyond encouraging countries to release children from immigration detention to recommending what kind of arrangements children should be released into.

Drawing on best practices from countries such as Belgium and Japan, the IDC’s five-step model includes assigning guardians to unaccompanied migrant children or caseworkers to those with families, and placing them in community settings while their immigration status is determined. Key to the model is the goal of protecting children’s rights and best interests.

“Treating them humanely outside of detention is a big element,” said IDC’s Van Hove, “but also making sure they understand what is happening to them and that all options haven’t been exhausted for legalizing their stay.”

Brané is hopeful the IDC’s campaign will put a global spotlight on the detention of migrant children. “Most people around the world don’t realize that children are being detained in these conditions,” she said. “My hope would be that seeing this raised at an international level will encourage governments to move on it.”

*Not his real name

ks/cb
source www.irinnews.org

 

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Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

The traffickers pay the families for allowing their children to be taken away

Posted by African Press International on March 27, 2012

PAKISTAN: Sharp rise in human trafficking in Sindh Province

The traffickers pay the families for allowing their children to be taken away, but often exploit the children like slaves (file photo)

KARACHI, – Pakistan’s Sindh Province has recorded a sharp increase in reported cases of human trafficking since the beginning of the year, and the trend could continue unless the authorities take action to contain it, say activists.

Some 190 cases have been reported in the province in the first two months of 2012, according to Zia Ahmed Awan, chairperson of Madadgaar Helpline, an NGO helping women and child victims of abuse and trafficking. In 2011, the NGO recorded 288 cases.

Families receive a payment for allowing their children to be trafficked: Traffickers pick up women and children from villages with the promise of getting them jobs in cities. However, once a certain amount has been paid to the family, the traffickers exploit the woman or child, often treating them as little more than slaves. .

“Most of the victims are from Bangladesh and Afghanistan, where poverty and strife have made it difficult for people to meet their basic needs,” Awan said. “Combine this with illiteracy and unemployment, and you will have people willing to sell their children.” (he is talking about the reported cases here)

She urged the Pakistani government to devote more resources to fighting trafficking and drafting new legislation to ban it.

Talking to IRIN, an official of the Ministry of Human Rights in Sindh blamed poverty. “Poverty forces people to give away their children,” said the official who requested anonymity. “In big cities like Karachi, Hyderabad, Larkana you will find kids as young as five being employed as servants. The constitution grants protection to minors but sadly no one is willing to take up this matter.”

After the floods in 2010 and 2011, poverty increased in Sindh and many families dependent on farming had no other option but to send their children to bigger cities, say aid workers.

“How do you curb human trafficking and bondage when some of the most influential figures – even those in the women ministry, human rights and child protection committees – have young children as servants?” asked a social worker in Sindh who only identified herself as Aswa.

“A child of seven or eight years is available 24/7 to clean your house, carry your groceries and do other chores, for Rs. 1,000 a month,” she said. “For the same amount of work an adult servant would easily charge Rs 4,000 a month. Most people carry out the worst possible abuse of these children and if the child runs away, false cases of theft are lodged,” she said.

Call for police vigilance

Awan of Madadgaar Helpline called for increased police vigilance. “Our police personnel need sensitization trainings as often they can’t differentiate between human smuggling and child trafficking. As long as there is a feudal system in the country, we will have human trafficking and child labour,” he said.

Pakistan is listed as “a source, transit, and destination country” for trafficked persons, according to the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons report for 2011. Pakistan’s largest human trafficking problem, according to the report, is that of bonded labour. Concentrated in Sindh and Punjab provinces, it is particularly common in brick kilns, carpet-making, agriculture, fishing, mining, leather tanning, and the production of glass bangles.

According to the International Labour Organization, more than 12 million people are trafficked each year worldwide. An estimated 70 percent of those trafficked are females under 25.

sj/eo/cb
source www.irinnews.org

 

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Posted in AA > News and News analysis | Leave a Comment »

 
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