Showing posts tagged as "africa"

Showing posts tagged africa

21 Oct
Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope | Antoine Lambroschini
Tunis (AFP) - Tunisians vote Sunday to elect their first parliament since the country’s 2011 revolution, in a rare glimmer of hope for a region torn apart by post-Arab Spring violence and repression.
After three weeks of largely low-key campaigning, more than five million voters are to elect 217 deputies in a ballot pitting the Islamist Ennahda movement — the country’s largest party — against a host of secular groups.
Tunisia has enjoyed relative stability since the region’s 2011 uprisings in contrast to the lawlessness of Libya and Yemen, the military takeover in Egypt and Syria’s bloody civil war.
But the country has flirted with disaster, particularly last year when a rise in militant activity, the assassination of two opposition lawmakers and an economy in the doldrums threatened to drag Tunisia down the same path.
FULL ARTICLE (L’Agence France-Presse)
Photo: Noeman AlSayyad/UNDP/flickr

Tunisia vote offers post-Arab Spring hope | Antoine Lambroschini

Tunis (AFP) - Tunisians vote Sunday to elect their first parliament since the country’s 2011 revolution, in a rare glimmer of hope for a region torn apart by post-Arab Spring violence and repression.

After three weeks of largely low-key campaigning, more than five million voters are to elect 217 deputies in a ballot pitting the Islamist Ennahda movement — the country’s largest party — against a host of secular groups.

Tunisia has enjoyed relative stability since the region’s 2011 uprisings in contrast to the lawlessness of Libya and Yemen, the military takeover in Egypt and Syria’s bloody civil war.

But the country has flirted with disaster, particularly last year when a rise in militant activity, the assassination of two opposition lawmakers and an economy in the doldrums threatened to drag Tunisia down the same path.

FULL ARTICLE (L’Agence France-Presse)

Photo: Noeman AlSayyad/UNDP/flickr

Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE
Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.
Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.
Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.
It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.
Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.
Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.
These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.
FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)
Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

Ambitious Angola takes to world stage | PAULA ROQUE

Paula Roque is a senior analyst for Southern Africa at the International Crisis Group.

Is Angola about to become a global player? Luanda’s recent diplomatic charm offensive means the country is running unopposed for one of three African nonpermanent seats on the United Nations Security Council for 2015 and 2016.

Angola is no stranger to projecting power and influence. It has expanded its financial interests well beyond the African continent into Asia, Latin America and Europe.

It is intent on developing regional and international influence and is poised to become a key interlocutor on a range of African issues. But this will bring with it potentially heavy responsibilities.

Much of the council’s work is focused on Africa. Despite many positive trends on the continent, it faces threats to peace and security: civil wars in the Central African Republic (CAR), Libya, Sudan and South Sudan; insurgencies in Somalia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Mali; the growing threat of Muslim and Christian extremism in several countries; terrorism; piracy; and the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

Responses to these crises must be anchored as much in improved governance and political inclusion as in military action.

These crises will test Luanda’s limits and experience in post-conflict transformation. Over the past decade, the continent has demonstrated a commitment to tackling its problems, and Angola is intent on stepping up to the plate.

FULL COMMENTARY (Mail & Guardian)

Photo: Gobierno de Chile/flickr

9 Oct
Central African Republic: A Transition at Risk | Crisis Group
On 26 September 2014, the United Nations Secretary-General convened a high-level meeting on the Central African Republic. The meeting aimed to identify the next steps for the restoration of peace and stability in the country, following the signing of the Brazzaville Cessation of Hostilities agreement on 23 July, the appointment of a new transitional government on 24 August and the transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 15 September. The meeting was attended by CAR’s President Catherine Samba-Panza and representatives of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, regional states, regional organisations and international financial institutions. The International Crisis Group sent the following letter to the participants ahead of the meeting.
Letter to the Participants of the High-Level Meeting on the Central African Republic | 26 September 2014
Excellencies,
The Central African Republic’s seven-month-old transition is at risk. The country’s leaders and partners meeting in the special high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 26 September 2014 should redouble efforts to put it back on track.
The July Brazzaville summit, which aimed to end CAR’s de-facto partition, has not stopped the fighting. The main armed groups are in disarray, lack clear leadership, seek to expand their areas of control and pursue banditry as much as politics. They should be contained to allow space for the political process. Political elites in Bangui are divided. The government has become weaker, faces growing popular discontent and has been accused of favouritism, with the choice of a new Prime Minister criticised. Despite a display of unanimity, CAR’s neighbours pursue competing and often ambiguous strategies in the country.
FULL LETTER (In Pursuit of Peace - Crisis Group Blog)
Photo: UN Photo/Cia Pak

Central African Republic: A Transition at Risk | Crisis Group

On 26 September 2014, the United Nations Secretary-General convened a high-level meeting on the Central African Republic. The meeting aimed to identify the next steps for the restoration of peace and stability in the country, following the signing of the Brazzaville Cessation of Hostilities agreement on 23 July, the appointment of a new transitional government on 24 August and the transfer of authority from the African-led International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA) to the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) on 15 September. The meeting was attended by CAR’s President Catherine Samba-Panza and representatives of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council, regional states, regional organisations and international financial institutions. The International Crisis Group sent the following letter to the participants ahead of the meeting.

Letter to the Participants of the High-Level Meeting on the Central African Republic | 26 September 2014

Excellencies,

The Central African Republic’s seven-month-old transition is at risk. The country’s leaders and partners meeting in the special high-level event at the UN General Assembly on 26 September 2014 should redouble efforts to put it back on track.

The July Brazzaville summit, which aimed to end CAR’s de-facto partition, has not stopped the fighting. The main armed groups are in disarray, lack clear leadership, seek to expand their areas of control and pursue banditry as much as politics. They should be contained to allow space for the political process. Political elites in Bangui are divided. The government has become weaker, faces growing popular discontent and has been accused of favouritism, with the choice of a new Prime Minister criticised. Despite a display of unanimity, CAR’s neighbours pursue competing and often ambiguous strategies in the country.

FULL LETTER (In Pursuit of Peace - Crisis Group Blog)

Photo: UN Photo/Cia Pak

1 Oct
CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts
September 2014 - Trends
Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen
Conflict Risk Alerts: Syria
Conflict Resolution Opportunities: Sudan
FULL BULLETIN
INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

CrisisWatch | A monthly bulletin on current and potential conflicts

September 2014 - Trends

Deteriorated Situations: Iraq, Lebanon, Syria, Yemen

Conflict Risk Alerts: Syria

Conflict Resolution Opportunities: Sudan

FULL BULLETIN

INTERACTIVE CONFLICT MAP

29 Sep
Reconciliation in Central African Republic ‘a distant prospect’ | Mark Caldwell
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is opening a new investigation into atrocities committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the last two years.
Months of fighting between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and the Christian anti-Balaka militia have left at least 5,000 people dead. The atrocities to be probed include murder, rape, forced displacement, persecution, pillage and the use of children under the age of 15 in combat.
DW: Can you see the process of reconciliation between the warring factions becoming easier if justice is seen to be done and perpetrators of atrocities are brought to justice?
Thierry Vircoulon: I think right now we are very far away from the prospect of reconciliation in CAR. A lot of massacres happened last year and there is unfortunately still fighting going on so reconciliation seems to be a very far away prospect. I think it’s very welcome that the ICC has finished its preliminary investigation and that the conclusion is that they will definitely investigate further the crimes that have been committed and that are still being committed in Central African Republic. We must not forget that this is a request that has made to the ICC by the transitional government, it is not the initiative of the ICC.
FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF/hdptcar/Flickr

Reconciliation in Central African Republic ‘a distant prospect’ | Mark Caldwell

The International Criminal Court (ICC) is opening a new investigation into atrocities committed in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the last two years.

Months of fighting between the mainly Muslim Seleka rebel coalition and the Christian anti-Balaka militia have left at least 5,000 people dead. The atrocities to be probed include murder, rape, forced displacement, persecution, pillage and the use of children under the age of 15 in combat.

DW: Can you see the process of reconciliation between the warring factions becoming easier if justice is seen to be done and perpetrators of atrocities are brought to justice?

Thierry Vircoulon: I think right now we are very far away from the prospect of reconciliation in CAR. A lot of massacres happened last year and there is unfortunately still fighting going on so reconciliation seems to be a very far away prospect. I think it’s very welcome that the ICC has finished its preliminary investigation and that the conclusion is that they will definitely investigate further the crimes that have been committed and that are still being committed in Central African Republic. We must not forget that this is a request that has made to the ICC by the transitional government, it is not the initiative of the ICC.

FULL INTERVIEW (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: Pierre Holtz for UNICEF/hdptcar/Flickr

25 Sep
"The Ebola health crisis threatens to become a political crisis that could unravel years of effort to stabilise West Africa. The hardest-hit countries now face widespread chaos and, potentially, collapse. Adding social breakdown to the epidemic would create disaster perhaps impossible to manage."

—From Crisis Group’s latest Statement on Ebola and Conflict in West Africa

Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home
Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014
One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.
In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.
The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:
The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.
“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.
“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.
FULL BRIEFING

Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home

Nairobi/Brussels  |   25 Sep 2014

One year after the Westgate attack, Al-Shabaab has become more entrenched and active in Kenya. Meanwhile, the country’s immediate post-Westgate unity has broken down in the face of increasing attacks, and the political elites, security services, and ethnic and faith communities are beset by mutual suspicion and recriminations.

In its latest briefing, Kenya: Al-Shabaab – Closer to Home, the International Crisis Group highlights Al-Shabaab’s growing presence and increasingly frequent attacks and the muddled response of Kenya’s government, security services and political elite. Anti-terrorism operations perceived to target entire communities have exacerbated feelings of marginalisation and persecution, particularly of the Muslim minority, and are feeding directly into Al-Shabaab’s messaging and recruitment.

The briefing’s major findings and recommendations are:

  • The wider danger of Al-Shabaab’s tactics in Kenya lies in its ability to use existing religious and ethnic fault lines to deepen the country’s political and social divides.
  • Kenyan political elites need to acknowledge the domestic terror threat and form a common action-plan together with the country’s senior Muslim leadership to counter extremist recruitment.
  • The government should put into practice the recommendations of the 2008 Special Action (“Sharawe”) Committee set up to address the concerns of the Muslim minority: these include measures to end institutional discrimination against Muslims and their more proportional representation in senior public service appointments.
  • The government and its security services need to identify and isolate the specific Al-Shabaab threat and not conflate the actions of extremists with specific communities – especially in the north east and the coast – whose past and present grievances make them suspect in the eyes of the state. It must reappraise its anti-terrorism practices and operations, which are perceived as collective punishment of Muslims and particular ethnic groups. It should also allow for transparent investiga-tions and redress where operations have exceeded the law or breached constitutional rights.

“Kenya’s 4.3 million Muslims have been historically marginalised, especially in the north east and along the coast”, says Cedric Barnes, Horn of Africa Project Director. “If the government wants to cut grassroots support for Al-Shabaab, it has to address the widespread institutional and socio-economic discrimination felt by Kenyan Muslims”.

“The blame for growing radicalisation in Kenya lies less in the weaknesses of the country’s institutions than in the unwillingness of political leaders to put aside partisan divisions”, says EJ Hogendoorn, Deputy Africa Program Director. “Their playing politics with terrorism compounds an already volatile situation”.

FULL BRIEFING

(Source: )

22 Sep

Competing Solutions to Keeping Peace in Africa 

In this video, Dr. Comfort Ero, Africa Program Director of the International Crisis Group, joins UNU Policy Advisor Rahul Chandran to discuss the challenges and potential solutions for overcoming conflict and maintaining peace in Africa.

FULL VIDEO (United Nations University) 

18 Sep

Crisis Group’s Central Africa analyst Thibaud Lesueur speaks to Al Jazeera about the UN taking over peacekeeping from African Union in Central African Republic.

FULL Report (Al Jazeera)

10 Sep
Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer
At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.
Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”
FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)
Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr

Northern Nigerians live in fear of Boko Haram | Hilke Fischer

At night he lies awake and hears gun shots from a distance. “Nobody can sleep anymore,” explained a DW listener from Maiduguri, who wanted to remain anonymous. Over one million people live in the city of the northern Nigerian state of Borno and Boko Haram fighters are moving ever closer.

Gwoza, Bama, Gulak, Michika, Duhu, Shuwa, Kirshinga – the Islamists have been capturing new cities on an almost daily basis. They arrive in hijacked army vehicles, fight off the Nigerian troops and terrorize the residents. “Boko Haram are committing all kinds of atrocities killing and raping. At the same time they are taking young girls in batches and the city is littered with dead bodies,” says Ahmed Zanna, a member of the Nigerian Senate for the town of Bama says. Bama is just 70 kilometers (43.5 miles) from Maiduguri and fell to the Islamists four days ago. Zanna recounts how the soldiers who were supposed to defend Bama, refused to advance any further. “They were ill equipped and they just stayed in Kondudga.”

FULL ARTICLE (Deutsche Welle)

Photo: OxfamNovib via European Commission DG ECHO/flickr