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Back Issues


A weekly electronic forum for social justice in Africa

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CONTENTS: 1. Highlights from this issue, 2. Features, 3. Advocacy & campaigns, 4. Books & arts, 5. Women & gender, 6. Human rights, 7. Refugees & forced migration, 8. Elections & governance, 9. Corruption, 10. Development, 11. Health & HIV/AIDS, 12. Education, 13. Racism & xenophobia, 14. Environment, 15. Land & land rights, 16. Media & freedom of expression, 17. Social welfare, 18. News from the diaspora, 19. Conflict & emergencies, 20. Internet & technology, 21. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 22. Fundraising & useful resources, 23. Courses, seminars, & workshops

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Highlights from this issue

Special issue on Beijing +10


The fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995 raised hopes of a substantial improvement in women's condition across the world and particularly in Africa. The Beijing Declaration and programme of action considered by the United Nations' Secretary General to be "one of the most remarkable documents ever produced by an intergovernmental conference" commits States to taking concrete action in twelve priority areas in relation to women's autonomy. Ten years after Beijing and on the heels of the seventh regional conference at Addis Ababa, in evaluating the implementation of the platform of Action adopted there, where are we now? Have African women and girls really made remarkable gains in such essential areas as education, fundamental human rights, violence against women, their participation in decision making, health and the fight against poverty?

This special of Pambazuka News focuses on women's issues and has been prepared in association with FEMNET for distribution at the forthcoming Seventh Regional Conference on Women (Beijing + 10) and the Fourth African Development Forum (ADF IV) on Governance, being held from 6-15 October 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. These two conferences mark an important step towards achieving gender equality and equity in Africa through national and regional action.


1 From Beijing to Addis Ababa: what progress for African women?

Kafui Adjamagbo-Johnson


The fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing in September 1995 raised hopes of a substantial improvement in women's condition across the world and particularly in Africa. The Beijing Declaration and programme of action considered by the United Nations' Secretary General to be "one of the most remarkable documents ever produced by an intergovernmental conference [1] " commits States to taking concrete action in twelve priority areas in relation to women's autonomy. Ten years after Beijing and on the heels of the seventh regional conference at Addis Ababa, in evaluating the implementation of the platform of Action adopted there, where are we now? Have African women and girls really made remarkable gains in such essential areas as education, fundamental human rights, violence against women, their participation in decision making, health and the fight against poverty?

2 The road to Beijing, emerging human rights issues that need attention: trafficking in women and children

Marren Akatsa-Bukachi


"All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood."

3 The Human Rights of African Women in the 21st century

Patricia McFadden


One of the most profoundly amazing features of human society is the manner in which we have created – often through difficult and protracted struggles amongst ourselves, notions and practices of inclusion and acceptability, as well as brutal rituals and systems of exclusion and denigration. The human narrative is rife with battles over the ownership of wealth and identity; over the occupancy of space and the control over the physical and creative capacities of some groups or individuals by others. We have differentiated amongst ourselves on the basis of colour and race; gender; location; sexual orientation; ability and; social class. All of these markers have fractured and or cemented into seemingly impenetrable and unchangeable social and cultural notions of who is considered human and who can or cannot belong to the heavily mediated and qualified ways.

4 Ratification of the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and People's Rights on the Rights of Women in Africa

Mary Wandia


The African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, hereafter referred to as the Charter, recognizes the importance of women's rights through three main provisions. Article 18(3), covering the protection of the family, promises to ensure the elimination of all discrimination against women and also ensure protection of the rights of women. Article 2, the non-discrimination clause, provides that the rights and freedoms enshrined in the Charter shall be enjoyed by all irrespective of race, ethnic group, colour, sex, language, religion, political or any other opinion, national and social origin, fortune, birth or other status. And Article 3, the equal protection clause, states that every individual shall be equal before the law and shall be entitled to the equal protection of the law.

Advocacy & campaigns

Africa/Global: 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence


In order to emphasize the important intersection of violence against women and women’s health, and particularly that of violence against women and the HIV/AIDS pandemic, the 2004 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence theme is: "For the Health of Women, For the Health of the World: No More Violence".

Zambia: Campaign for a fair and transparent arbitration on debt


The African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD), in conjunction with other civil society organisations and concerned parties, is convening an indaba of experts in Lusaka, Zambia on 29 and 30 September, 2004, to deliberate on a campaign for the establishment of a Fair and Transparent Arbitration on African debt.

Books & arts

'International Human Rights and Islamic Law' by Mashood A Bederin


This book examines the important question of whether international human rights law and Islamic law are compatible, whether Muslim States can comply with international human rights law while adhering to Islamic law. It argues that there are no fundamental incompatibility between these two bodies of law. ICCPR, ICESR and CEDAW are examined in detail. Oxford, OUP 2003 ISBN 019926659X

'Nervous Conditions' by Tsutsi Dangarembga


Ama Ata Aidoo writes: "From the first days of its publication, it was obvious that Tsitsi Dangarembga's NERVOUS CONDITIONS" had the makings of a classic: a timeless coming-of-age tale, great lyrical narrative, unforgettable characters and courageous. Sixteen years down the line, the notion has been amply confirmed." With an introduction by Kwame Anthony Appiah, the novel is published by Ayebia ISBN 0954702336

Egypt: Using cultural resources to provide an alternative to mainstream perceptions of human rights


The Cairo Institute of Human Rights Studies (CIHRS) uses arts and literature to engage people in the human rights debate and to demonstrate that human rights are celebrated in Arab cultures. CIHRS seeks out philosophers and artists who understand the debate between Islam and human rights and who are motivated to respond to conservative elements.

Not yet a force for freedom

Equality Now, Femnet, Fahamu, Credo and Oxfam


The campaign for the ratification of the African Union Protocol for the Rights of Women in Africa have published a pamphlet to help mobilise support. The pamphlet is based on the special issue of Pambazuka News 162 of 24 June 2004. Further details: contact Faiza Jama Mohammed.

Women & gender

Africa/Global: Gender and Development, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 6 - 14 October 2004


The Seventh African Regional Conference on Women (Beijing+10) will be held in parallel with the Fourth African Development Forum (ADF IV) on Governance, 6-15 October 2004 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Beijing+10 fits within the global evaluation framework for assessing progress achieved after 10 years of implementing the 1995 Beijing Platform for Action on Women (BPFA). These two conferences mark an important step towards achieving gender equality and equity in Africa through national and regional action.

Africa/Global: The International Criminal Court: An Opportunity for Women


Women's Human Rights Net addresses key aspects of the The International Criminal Court (ICC) such as gender crimes and related case law, gender-sensitive proceedings and the possible implications of implementing international standards nationally to advance women's human rights. It is imperative that the women's movement monitor whether the ICC effectively investigates and sanctions the perpetrators of sexual and gender crimes committed against women.

Ghana: Women & Population Special: Countdown 2015: The Boyfriend


As part of the series of 10 independent reports called "Three Continents, Four Cultures: Ten years after Cairo, the people take charge," former New York Times United Nations Bureau Chief Barbara Crossette follows a personal story of a pregnant young woman who nearly died during an illegal abortion her boyfriend pressured her into.

Global: 21 Leaders for the 21st Century 2005


Women's eNews would like nominations of women or men of all ages, heritages, countries and professions who have made a positive impact on the lives of women. These leaders will be honored at the annual Women's eNews 21 Leaders for the 21st Century gala to be held on May 17th, 2005 in New York City.

Sudan: Special Rapporteur Yakin Ertürk visiting Sudan


The Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, Yakin Ertürk, is visiting Sudan from 25 September to 1 October 2004. She will be attending several meetings and consultations which will look at violence against women in Africa and the current situation of women in Sudan.

Zimbabwe: Women Protesters held in Zimbabwe


The members of Women of Zimbabwe Arise (Woza) had walked 400km from Bulawayo, the country's second-largest city, and were stopped just 30km from Harare, their destination. The women began the 12-day protest march last week to raise money and awareness for human rights work at a time when Robert Mugabe's government had proposed a law to restrict human rights organisations. 48 women have been arrested.

Human rights

Africa/Global: Freedom House global survey now online


Freedom in the World, the annual global survey of civil liberties and political rights, is now available on Freedom House's website. Covering 192 countries and 18 territories, the survey rates them according to criteria based largely on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, including the right to freedom of expression. Countries and territories are given a rating of "Free," "Partly Free" or "Not Free."

Kenya: Kenya prison conditions slammed


Kenya's human rights commissioner Tirop Kitru has criticised conditions at Meru jail, where seven prisoners have died. After a tour of the prison, Kitur said many of the inmates had open wounds because of the cramped conditions and poor ventilation. Prison officials say the prisoners who died suffocated in a cell the size of a single bed. Another 28 inmates are in hospital in a critical condition.

Sudan: A test case for humanitarian intervention


The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre has produced a paper which looks at the Darfur conflict as one which has been often over simplified by both international media and world leaders. The paper outlines the dilemmas emerging from a situation where there is a clear international responsibility to protect civilians and how the use of urgent and robust action is necessary to meet this responsibility.

Sudan: Donors must address atrocities fueling crisis


Donor governments gathering today in Oslo to discuss humanitarian needs in Darfur should also take steps to end the serious human rights abuses responsible for the crisis, Human Rights Watch said today. Donors should pledge support for civilian protection under an expanded African Union (AU) mission in Darfur.

Refugees & forced migration

Chad/Sudan: Another 100,000 refugees expected to flood across border by May


Chad's refugee camps, already straining at the seams, should steel themselves for the arrival of at least another 100,000 people fleeing Darfur within the next seven months, UN officials said. Chad has already provided a safe haven for almost 200,000 civilians who have escaped the campaign of slaughter, pillaging and rape being waged by the pro-government Janjawid militia in Sudan's Darfur province. But the end is not yet in sight.

Chad/Sudan: Erasing evil with education as refugee kids go back to school


CARE, the charity running the camp in eastern Chad, reckons there are about 4,500 children who should be in school. But with the formal education programme yet to swing into action, it admits that only half of those children are currently having lessons. Some 800 pupils are lucky enough to learn in one of the five school tents erected at the centre of the camp. Another 1,400 cluster more informally for classes under trees and the rest wile away the hours either helping with chores or playing in the dirt.

DRC/Burundi: Congo refugees back from Burundi


Some 360 Congolese refugees have returned from neighbouring Burundi, despite violent protests from villagers who did not want them back. The refugees, who are ethnic Tutsis, spent two days stranded at the border with DR Congo after protesters blocked roads and threw stones at them. They eventually reached the eastern town of Uvira after troops were deployed to disperse the protests.

Global/Africa: Three new working papers from the RSC


Three new working papers have been published by the Refugee Studies Centre under the RSC Working Paper series which is intended to stimulate discussion among the worldwide community of scholars, policymakers and practitioners. They are distributed free of charge in PDF format. Bound hard copies may also be purchased. The new titles are: "AIDS, gender and the Refugee Protection Framework", "The Meaning of Place in a World of Movement: Lessons from Long-Term Field Research in Southern Ethiopia" and "Refugees and their Human Rights."

Sudan: Concern about Darfur refugees


Armed militiamen have surged into a border area near a western village where some of the first Darfur refugees attempting to return to their raided homes headed, UN security officials said on Sunday, raising further concern about how quickly 1.4 million displaced Sudanese will be able to return home. UN authorities were sending a team to the area to try to assess any risk to the refugees, said West Darfur UN refugee security officer Sabir Mughal.

West Africa/Liberia: West African countries sign agreements on Liberian returns


Liberia and its neighbouring countries today signed a series of agreements with the UN refugee agency, giving Liberian refugees the right to choose repatriation starting on October 1. The Liberian government and UNHCR signed three separate agreements with the governments of Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Sierra Leone to set the main legal and operational framework for the voluntary return of more than 340,000 Liberian refugees scattered around the region. An agreement was also signed with the government of Ghana on September 22 in Accra.

Elections & governance

Cameroon: A vote for computerization


With the countdown to presidential elections in Cameroon gathering pace, a fierce debate is underway about computerization of the voting process. "We absolutely have to computerize if we want a transparent and credible election. If we can't do that, then the election should be postponed in the interests of the country," says John Fru Ndi, head of the Social Democratic Front (SDF).

Côte d'Ivoire/Africa: Ivorian Foreign Minister assures stable political process


Hours after the UN Security Council urged President Laurent Gbagbo to restore confidence to the political process in Côte d'Ivoire, the Foreign Minister Mamadou Bamba said the government was taking steps to restore stability to the conflict-torn West African country.

Ethiopia: Federal parliamentary elections set for May 2005


Ethiopia will hold national elections for its federal parliament on 15 May 2005. Ten national and 57 regional parties will run in the polls, with results announced on 8 June 2005, officials from the National Election Board (NEB) said on September 25th. Ethiopia's Information Minister Bereket Simon said that the elections were likely to be fought on the issues of the economy and democratic reforms, adding that it would allow the electorate to vote on the government’s economic and development record.

Mozambique: Polls "not endangered" by political rivalry


Political skirmishes in Mozambique between the ruling FRELIMO party and the main opposition, RENAMO, "are not endangering the electoral process yet," FRELIMO's presidential candidate, Armando Guebuza, told IRIN on Wednesday. "We are hoping for a peaceful election," said Guebuza, who is currently FRELIMO's secretary-general. Mozambique will hold its third democratic election on 1 and 2 December this year.

Somalia: AU welcomes progress in peace process


The African Union (AU) has welcomed recent progress made towards the reestablishment of a functioning government in Somalia and urged the international community to assist the country's national institutions once they are fully installed, the AU said in a statement sent on Thursday. The 275 members of the assembly are due to elect the country's president on 10 October. The president will in turn appoint a prime minister, who will be required to form a government.

Somalia: Somali warlord rejects presidency


A Somali warlord, who has returned to the peace process in neighbouring Kenya, says he will not contest in the presidential elections next month. General Morgan's forces battled those of a rival faction around the southern port of Kismayo earlier this month. He was the only major faction leader not taking part in the parliament tasked with electing a president.

Sudan: Charges over Sudan 'coup plot'


Some 28 people, mostly members of the security forces, have been charged with trying to overthrow Sudan's government, the official Suna news agency reports. They were accused of declaring war on the state, planning to assassinate political leaders and cut communication links, Suna says. It is not clear whether they are from the Islamist opposition party, which has been accused of plotting a coup, however, the government says the group is allied to rebels in the Darfur region.


DRC: Mineral smuggling is costing the DRC millions


Rampant corruption and smuggling in the Democratic Republic Congo (DRC) means the impoverished country loses millions of dollars in revenues from copper and cobalt mining each month. Rather than profiting from its vast mineral wealth, the DRC has been torn apart by years of war - often over its natural resources - and the country remains one of the world's poorest.

Kenya: Law to protect terror and graft witnesses


The Witness Protection Bill 2004 empowers the Attorney-General to provide a new identity, relocate, provide accommodation, transport and a "reasonable financial assistance" to witnesses who testify in graft and terrorism inquiries. If passed by Parliament, the law would usher criminal investigation and prosecution into a new era of public support widely cultivated in developed nations.

Kenya: UK renews corruption charges against Kenya


Britain on Friday renewed corruption charges against Kenya, saying the drive to fight endemic graft in the east African country was "evidently flawed" and devoid of "political will". British High Commissioner Edward Clay however commended Nairobi for setting up the Kenya Anti-Corruption Commission (KACA) and other bodies charged with probing incidents of graft.

Nigeria: Nigerian Minister urges Western world to rethink Nigeria


Nigeria's Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, told reporters her country is working to change the perception that the West African nation is riddled with corruption and not doing anything about it. The Nigerian government, she said, begun a wide-ranging series of reforms 15 months ago and they're already starting to produce results.


Africa/Global: Blocking Progress: How the fight against HIV/AIDS is being undermined by the World Bank and the IMF


A new policy briefing by ActionAid International USA, Global AIDS Alliance, Student Global AIDS Campaign, and RESULTS Educational Fund looks accuses the International Monetary Fund of being more concerned with keeping inflation low and maintaining macroeconomic stability than enabling governments in poor countries to save lives impacted by the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Africa: Economic Report on Africa 2004 published, highlights trade


Entitled "Unlocking Africa's Trade Potential", this year's Economic Report on Africa (ERA 2004) argues that in order to boost growth and poverty reduction in Africa, countries will have to apply dynamic trade policies, alongside gradual and targeted liberalization schemes. Mauritius, South Africa, Namibia, and Tunisia are cited as Africa's most competitive nations.

South Africa: Africa's top foreign investor


South Africa is the top foreign investor in Africa and the region's "most attractive country" for investment, according to an annual report by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). The report noted the liberalisation of South Africa's regulatory regime and trade and exchange controls, and a technological advantage over other African firms as factors that had driven the country's outward FDI.

Southern Africa: Some countries on track to meet sanitation MDG


The tiny mountain kingdom of Lesotho has one of the most sustainable and innovative approaches to sanitation in the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Delegates at the SADC Water Resources, Sanitation and Hygiene Fair (WARSH), held last week in Harare, the Zimbabwean capital, heard that sustained political leadership, private sector support and community empowerment were underpinning Lesotho's success in the field.

Uganda: UNICEF seeks US $7.8 million for conflict-hit north


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) on Wednesday appealed for US $7.8 million to fund projects to help an estimated 1.6 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) in strife-torn northern Uganda. UNICEF said that during the past 12 months it had expanded and accelerated its response in health, water and sanitation, education and HIV/AIDS prevention and noted that these sectors remained inadequately funded.

Health & HIV/AIDS

Africa: Risk and protection: Youth and HIV/AIDS in sub-saharan Africa


This report draws on data for 24 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa which shows that large proportions of adolescents in Sub-Saharan Africa have inadequate information on how to protect themselves against HIV, and substantial proportions are sexually active and engage in behaviors that place them at risk of becoming infected.

Ghana: Scattered health information hampers research


Dr Ken Sagoe, Director of Human Resource Development of Ghana Health Service (GHS), at a meeting on Monday called on stakeholders to collaborate to ensure the establishment of a national health library, where health information could be readily accessed and utilised. The meeting seeks to identify gaps in health information sharing and to explore opportunities for improvement at all levels within the health care delivery system in the country.

Madagascar: Madagascar to distribute 15 mln free condoms


Impoverished Madagascar is to distribute 15 million free condoms next year to promote safe sex and halt the spread of HIV/AIDS by making its 17 million people familiar with the product as a weapon against AIDS. While the country's infection figure of 1.1 percent of the population is low compared to some countries on Africa's mainland, it is on the rise.

South Africa: South African AIDS rate may be stabilizing


According to a new report conducted by the government, while the number of South Africans carrying the virus that causes AIDS increased in 2003, the rate of infection, especially amoung teenagers, was stabilizing. "Stability observed particularly amongst teenagers and the non-significant difference between the national figures for HIV prevalence for 2002 to 2003 all point to an epidemic in stabilization phase," the report said.

Southern Africa: Famine puts two million people at risk


The food shortage crisis in three southern African countries is far from over and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) has appealed for $78-million to provide emergency aid to millions of people. WFP regional director Mike Sackett said the money was needed to provide emergency aid to 1.85-million people in Lesotho, Malawi and Swaziland in the first half of next year.

Uganda: War threatens Uganda AIDS success


Although Uganda has been widely praised for its fight against AIDS in the past, the conflict in the north is threatening its success. HIV/AIDS is twice as common in the war-torn north of Uganda as it is in the rest of the country, says World Vision International.

Zimbabwe: Emergency school feeding to expand in rural Zimbabwe


With the advent of the new school term in Zimbabwe, emergency school feeding is supporting the nutritional needs of thousands of vulnerable children from families struggling to cope with rising food insecurity. USAID funded C-SAFE will be stepping up the feeding program through partners Catholic Relief Services, World Vision and CARE, targeting 354,000 children in 722 schools.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe capital faces cholera threat as water supplies run dry


More than half of Harare's three million residents are either chronically short of water or without any at all just days before the start of the hottest month of the year. President Robert Mugabe's administration is facing allegations of incompetence as dams feeding the city, although polluted by untreated sewage, are full. The Zimbabwean capital has also run out of foreign currency to buy chemicals to treat its water.


Africa/Global: CIDA youth awards for Africa


Young Africans will soon have a better chance of getting education and training, thanks to a new Canadian program. The Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) is assisting the Canadian Bureau for International Education (CBIE) to launch this fall a two-year $1.4 million pilot project designed to benefit up to 250 young men and women in eight African countries.

Africa: Commonwealth to Help Improve Quality of Education in Sub-Saharan Africa


There is a pressing need to improve teaching skills in Sub-Saharan Africa. A 'brain drain' of teachers taking their skills elsewhere, combined with the effects of HIV/AIDS infection on the teaching profession, is holding back development of education in the region. The Higher Education at the Secretariat is collaborating with the Commonwealth of Learning, the Association of Commonwealth Universities and the Commonwealth Centre for Education to assist member countries as they implement policies in support of these six action areas.

Kenya: Teachers' anger over pay cut bid


This week, teachers in Kenya vowed to resist by all means any attempt to re-negotiate the contentious 1997 salary award. Kenya National Union of Teachers told the World Bank to keep off the internal affairs of Kenya after the World Bank proposed a number of austerity measures that could be taken to contain ministries that are spending more than their allocations from Treasury.

Racism & xenophobia

Global/Africa: Education and media either allies or threats to tolerance


The struggle against discrimination has two decisive allies or enemies: education and the media, the Holy See pointed out when addressing the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the conference in Brussels on tolerance and the struggle against racism, xenophobia, and discrimination.

Italy/Africa: Black Pinocchio: Tale of migrant dreams


Some Italians want African illegal immigrants deported, others want them arrested, but theatre director Marco Baliani believes one way to ease Italy's refugee crisis is with a long-nosed wooden puppet. And that's no lie. Baliani is touring Italy with "Black Pinocchio", a fresh spin on the classic tale which he hopes will help Italians better understand the desperation that drives boatloads of Africans to risk their lives to reach Italian shores.

South Africa: Apartheid legacy still haunts South Africa


In April this year, South Africans for the third time overwhelmingly re-elected the ruling African National Congress, now led by President Thabo Mbeki. Not surprisingly, the elections lacked the euphoria that marked the formal end of apartheid, led by Nelson Mandela, a decade ago. What’s more, the victory of the ANC may be dimmed by its own policy mistakes and the stubborn legacy of apartheid, an albatross that holds the young democracy in a death choke.

Sudan: Is Sudan not an Apartheid State?


At an extraordinary meeting, the UN Security Council adopted resolution 1564 which threatens sanctions on the Sudan's vital oil industry. Four countries abstained. When it last met, the AU, led by Alpha Konare, reportedly agreed to "move from non-interference to non-indifference". Initially, we may recall, at its last meeting the AU’s reported first reaction to the crisis was to refrain from describing the massacres as "genocide" or as "racist".

Zimbabwe: Police officers forced to attend ideological re-orientation course


The Zimbabwe Republic Police is running re-orientation courses in which officers are taught about the ill-treatment of blacks by whites including the killing by British settlers of Zimbabwe's 19th century spirit medium, Nehanda. Sources said the courses were meant to prepare the law enforcement agency for the crucial general election scheduled for March 2005, but have been criticized as being highly political and apparently meant to drive a wedge between the police and anyone who did not support the ruling Zanu PF party and government.

Zimbabwe: Racism hearing set to get underway


The hearing to investigate allegations of racism levelled against the Zimbabwe Cricket Union by the group of rebel players began in Harare on Wedneday. If found guilty, the ZCU could face a range of penalties, including possible expulsion from the ICC. The findings will be presented to the ICC's executive board for discussion at it's next full meeting in October. The ZCU will deny all the charges, and is expected to counter-claim that there is a legacy of racism by whites in Zimbabwe and that previous regimes did nothing to encourage blacks.


Djibouti: Pastoral areas facing food shortages due to poor rainfall


Inadequate rainfall from July to September has brought about food shortages in the southeastern and northwestern pastoral zones, causing an increase in food prices since September and bringing hardship to many households throughout Djibouti, a famine alert agency reported.

Eritrea: A little role model in the horn of Africa


Eritrea may hold a major piece of the puzzle to the solution to the environmental crisis's and food security problems the world is facing. On the southwestern coast of the Red Sea, it is the home of two cutting edge environmental developments based on the use of sea water to produce food, animal fodder and the ability to green the desert. Using sustainable aqua culture techniques along with the often despised mangrove tree, a company called Seawater Farms has developed the first commercial scale, self sufficient, non polluting production of food for humans and animals using sea water in Eritrea.

Kenya: Kenya pushes for ban on lion hunts


Kenya is pushing for an international ban on trade in lion trophies and skins, arguing that the number of the animals has declined sharply over the years as a result of hunting, loss of habitat and lack of prey. Kenya will press world governments to give the African lion maximum protection under an international treaty governing trade in endangered or threatened plants and animals.

Southern Africa: Ivory Debate Again Takes Centre Stage


Certain conservationists in Africa say they will oppose any move to revive commercial exploitation of elephants, at the 13th Convention on the Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) which opens in Bangkok, in the first week of October. As the Bangkok conference gets underway, South Africa and Botswana are also lobbying for permission to sell another batch of ivory.

Southern Africa: New UN-backed project for Africa's Limpopo River unveiled


The United Nations is backing a new project along the Limpopo River in Southern Afirca which is aimed to improve the way land along the river is managed, boost the ability of governments, local authorities and communities to respond to extreme flooding events and establish early-warning systems.

West Africa: Special report on the situation of the locust invasion No. 3


According to the latest estimates from the countries in the region, approximately 3.5 million hectares of land have been infested by the desert locust. It is mainly Mauritania, Senegal, Mali, and Niger that have been affected, but Burkina Faso, Chad and Cap Verde are also witnessing the impact of the locusts.

Land & land rights

Namibia: Namibian workers threaten to seize white farm


Workers at a white-owned farm in Namibia have decided to take over the property in three weeks' time to protest the government's failure to implement a decision to expropriate land owners, a union official said on September 24th. A Namibian newspaper separately said that the workers were also planning to seize several other farms from owners that they say are exploiting them.

Uganda: Herdsmen Evicted From Teso Wetlands


The eviction of pastoralists from the Teso wetlands started yesterday and it was spearheaded by the local leaders, the National Environmental Management Authority (NEMA) and security agencies. The two-week deadline given to the pastoralists to vacate the wetlands expired on Monday. The eviction started concurrently in Agu in Kumi district, Gweri sub-county in Soroti and Apujan in Katakwi district.

Zimbabwe: More settlers evicted from commercial farms


The Zimbabwe government has continued a campaign against "illegal" settlers on former commercial farms with the eviction of about 200 families from a property 10 km north of Bulawayo, the country's second city. The government has defended its actions, saying it had warned the settlers against erecting permanent structures on the farms they had occupied under the land redistribution programme. It pointed out that a rationalisation exercise was needed, as many did not have the skills to exploit the potential of the commercial farms they had taken over.

Media & freedom of expression

Africa/Global: Public information still hard to get, five country survey finds


A pilot survey was conducted in Armenia, Bulgaria, Macedonia, Peru and South Africa, monitoring freedom of information to test the limits of government transparency. The survey was released by the Open Society Justice Initiative on September 28, designated "Right to Know Day" by global Freedom Of Information groups.

Burundi: Expressing freedom of speech rewarded with arrest


The arrests of two senior Burundi trade union leaders on 24th September 2004, closely followed the leaders' address before workers during which they reportedly criticised government plans to submit a new draft constitution to a national referendum. This led the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions (ICFTU) to address the country's President to urge for their immediate and unconditional release.

Kenya: Armed gang ransacks two independent weeklies


Reporters sans frontières (RSF) has condemned a 24 September 2004 attack on two alternative newspapers, the "Weekly Citizen" and "The Independent", in Nairobi. The newspapers were attacked by a gang of masked gunmen claiming to be police officers who ransacked the papers' offices, confiscated material and threatened staff.

Somalia: Militiamen raid Mogadishu radio station


RSF has condemned a 22 September 2004 raid by militiamen on a local FM radio station in Mogadishu, in which a security guard was roughed up and a journalist was threatened and detained. The operation was ordered by a local Islamic court, after being prompted by a dispute between two businessmen.

South Africa: IFJ concerned over threats to editorial independence and protection of sources


The Freedom of Expression Institute's (FXI) annual report will be presented on 30 September, alerting the European Union to a new "state of emergency" in South Africa in which censorship is on the rise. This led the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) to express deep concerns over this "creeping censorship" of media and the emergence of direct pressures against journalists which threaten editorial independence and protection of sources.

Zimbabwe: Independent journalists detained and charged


Editor Vincent Kahiya, reporter Augustine Mukaro, and General Manager Raphael Khumalo of the weekly Zimbabwe Independent were arrested and charged under Zimbabwe's repressive media law on September 23rd and told to report back to police next Tuesday for a court appearance. The charges stem from an article on why judgment has been postponed in the treason trial of opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai.

Social welfare

Africa/Global: FAO committee on world food security adopts voluntary guidelines


The FAO Committee on World Food Security (CFS) has adopted Voluntary Guidelines to "support the progressive realization of the right to adequate food in the context of national food security." Seen by many as a breakthrough, the adoption of the Right to Food Guidelines comes after two years of often difficult, but constructive negotiation. This should improve the chances of reaching the hunger reduction target of the World Food Summit.

Angola: Donors still need convincing for reconstruction funding


Foreign minister Joao Miranda told state media that the international community should stop discriminating against Angola and instead be sensitive to Angola's need for a donor conference as it tried to reconstruct after a devastating 27-year civil war. But western diplomats said the oil-rich country should first prove its commitment to reform.

Ivory Coast: Can children bring peace to Ivory Coast?


Ivory Coast's week of reconciliation, to mark the second anniversary of the crisis, ended with 160 children being made United Nations ambassadors of peace. The children, from throughout this divided country, spent four days in no-man's-land between the rebel and government forces learning how to avoid conflict.

South Africa: A health system under pressure


As South Africa rolls out its national treatment programme, the country continues to lose skilled healthcare professionals to wealthier nations abroad, leaving severe shortages in an already over-stretched public health system. In the face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the human resources factor is even more critical. Civil society groups have warned that the government programme to provide free antiretrovirals (ARVs) could fall apart unless more professionals are attracted into the health system.

News from the diaspora

Ghana/Netherlands: Dutch court throws out verification procedure


Ghanaians in The Netherlands have hailed a ruling by the Dutch Supreme Court (Raad van State) terminating exhaustive verification of documents tendered for legalization at the Dutch Embassy in Accra. The court presided by a former Justice minister mr. E. M. H. Hirsch Ballin ruled on two separate cases that the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs is only mandated to check the authenticity of the signature or stamp on the document and not the contents.

Ghanaian missions abroad building databases of Ghanaian diaspora professionals to tap into their skills


Conference on migration opens
Accra Sept. 14, GNA - Ghanaian missions abroad are currently in the process of preparing a comprehensive list of Ghanaian professionals abroad as part of moves to assemble the necessary database to tap their skills and experiences. President John Agyekum Kufuor who announced this said the government has initiated various programmes to help transfer resources and skills from such professional for the development of the country. In a speech read for him at the opening of a two-day conference on Migration and Development in Ghana, the President said: "it will not be possible for this or any government anywhere in the world to stop the migration of its citizens."

"What will be necessary is to evolve various mechanisms, which will make it possible for migration, especially of skilled personnel who have been trained at great expense to be taken in an orderly manner." The President said: "migration is an important policy issue that needs to be managed effectively to enable Ghana tap into the financial resources and skills of non-resident Ghanaians."

The President said a bill was "currently before Parliament to give greater constitutional recognition to Ghanaians in the Diaspora so that they can equally exercise their basic citizenship rights of taking part in the process of electing the government of their country." "We are exploring with other bilateral partners ways in which we can assist in the return of non-resident Ghanaians for varying periods of time to assist with our national development." President Kufuor urged participants to come up with important policies and recommendations to help the country address the problems associated with migration.

The conference would be exploring the multi-faceted issues related to migration and development within the context of the economic and social development of Ghana. It is a partnership initiative between the United Nations Development Programme, Institute of African Studies and the Royal Netherlands Embassy meant to tackle the various challenges associated with migration. The conference would also try to discover the linkages between migration and development and to ensure that migration becomes mutually beneficial to the sending as well as receiving countries.

Mr Alfred Sallia Fawundu, UN Resident Representative in Ghana said there were both positive and negatives sides of migration involving remittances sent form lands from far away to families, friends and other loved ones and the utilization of those monies as part of the survival strategies of the recipient. "In another instance, it brings to mind the brain drain and the spectre of depletion of trained and qualified human resources for development" he added. Mr Fawundu said migration seemed to have significant cultural, socio-economic and political implications, not only for the migrants but also for their respective countries of birth and settlements. According to him, conflicts and wars brought about asylum seekers, and various socio-economic factors closely linked with underdevelopment with serious implications.

Mr. Fawundu said Ghana and other African countries should find ways of striking a balance between the benefits of migration as a survival strategy for people and imperatives of national development. Mr. Arie van der Wiel, the Netherlands Ambassador to Ghana, said governments of migrants and recipient countries must be responsible for addressing the problems of illegal migration together. The Okyenhene, Nana Amoatia Ofori Panyin, who chaired the function, called for greater efforts in addressing the problems of underdevelopment to stem the tide of migration.

South Africa/UK: SA's Expatriates Want Piece of Home


South Africans living abroad and at home are more confident about the country's future, and many South African expatriates are showing increasing interest in owning properties back home. A South African real estate group says this reflects a growing trend among those either wishing to invest in residential property back home or planning to return home in the future.

USA: Afro-Descendant Women: Fighting for Social Justice and Development


On Monday, October 4, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m in Washington, DC, an important discussion will be held with a delegation of Afro-Descendant women leaders from Central and South America. Women of African descent face compounded gender and race barriers and are among the most vulnerable groups in the region. This meeting will be an opportunity for Afro-Descendant Latin community leaders and activists to share experiences in promoting human rights and socioeconomic development for their communities.

USA: Power & Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970 by Carl Patrick Burrowes


On Friday, October 8, 2004, Power & Press Freedom in Liberia, 1830-1970: The Impact of Globalization and Civil Society on Media-Government Relations by Carl Patrick Burrowes (2004) will be presented and discussed in Washington, DC. The Writers' Corner provides a forum for prominent authors to debut their most current works on issues pertaining to Africa and the Diaspora.

Conflict & emergencies

DRC: UN council agrees on more peacekeepers for Congo


Key Security Council members reached broad agreement on Wednesday on a resolution authorizing an additional 5,900 peacekeeping troops to help Democratic Republic of Congo keep a shaky peace on track. The infusion of fresh troops, which diplomats said had been tentatively endorsed by the United States, Britain and France, would be well below Secretary-General Kofi Annan's call for an extra 13,100 soldiers for the vast central African nation.

Mauritania: Government says foils third coup plot in 15 months


The Mauritanian government has announced that it has foiled a fresh coup plot and has once more accused Burkina Faso and Libya of supporting disaffected soldiers seeking to overthrow President Maaouiya Ould Taya. This is the third time in 15 months that the authorities claim to have foiled an attempted coup against Ould Taya. The former army colonel himself seized power in this desert nation of 2.8 million people through a coup in 1984.

Nigeria: Nigerian oil ceasefire 'agreed'


Only a few days after Nigeria's military warned Mr. Asari's Niger Delta People's Volunteer Force that it would take off the "kid gloves" unless the militia stops threatening oil workers, an agreement has been made. Mr. Asari and five other colleagues met President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday where both parties agreed to cease their attacks on each other.

Nigeria: Security forces kill 27 "Taliban" militants, says police


The Nigerian security forces have killed 27 Islamic militants of the Al Sunna wal Jamma sect during a raid on their hideout in Borno State in the northeast of the country following attacks on two police stations on September 20th. It was the first attack by the Islamic fundamentalist group, which models itself on Afghanistan's Taliban movement, since it briefly occupied two towns in Yobe state in northeastern Nigeria in December last year.

Sudan: Renewed fighting reported in South Darfur


Renewed fighting in South Darfur State has reportedly driven at least 5,000 people from their homes in the last three days, non-governmental organisations operating in the area said on Tuesday. The displaced, they added, were now seeking shelter under trees and waiting without food, water or shelter.

Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe political violence report July 2004


The Zimbabwe Human Rights NGO Forum has recently published a report which covers human rights violations for the month of July 2004. It emphasizes continuing high levels of violations, particularly assault of political opponents and general infringement on the right to association and assembly. The report also highlights attacks on teachers, which in the past has been associated with elections in Zimbabwe.

Internet & technology

Africa/Global: African Govts warned on signing MOU with Microsoft


African Govts have been warned on signing MOUs with Microsoft which would actually be illegal in US and Europe. The African governments were also asked not to rush in ratifying patent laws on software at the first day of a UNCTAD’s Intergovernmental meeting held in Geneva.

Africa: Free software, internet gives a voice to African lobbyists


African lobby groups, as well as community and independent media, are using free software and the internet to fight a lack of money and skills. The internet had also helped overcome the problems associated with widely dispersed audiences and, in some countries, government crackdowns on freedom of expression, speakers told the Highway Africa 2004 conference in Grahamstown last week.

Kenya: Google-Kenya now available


Google search engine already supports more than 104 languages or dialects while offering a personalized version of its engine for over 90 countries and it has just added one more country to that list. Google-Kenya available in English and Kiswahili with a Kenya-specific search function is now available at

Nigeria: Cybercafe fraudsters arrested in Lagos and USD3.5M recovered


Twenty-eight Internet fraudsters have been arrested in Lagos, in joint operations between the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), and the FBI.Also, USD3.5 million (N490 million) was recovered in fraudulent cashier cheques and goods bought over the Internet and shipped to Nigeria by credit card scammers.

South Africa: Cellphones Join Battle Against HIV/Aids


A Cape-based project called Cell-Life has developed software and data management systems that enable the health workers at the Hannan Crusaid treatment centre in Cape Town's Guguletu township to monitor patients who are on AIDS drugs and pick up problems before they become life-threatening. Now, thanks to an innovative application of cellphone technology, is on the verge of becoming a paperless operation.

eNewsletters & mailing lists

Global: United Nations Job Vacancies


If you would like to receive the UN senior vacancy job lists attachment for
Fall 2004, send your request directly to [email protected] For requirements, eligibility and application deadlines, please visit the United Nations website at UN Human Resources e-Staffing System at:

Fundraising & useful resources

Africa/Global: Lorenzo Natali prize for journalism


Deadline: 31 October 20004. Journalists from any country are invited to apply for the 2004 Lorenzo Natali Prize for Journalism, which recognizes outstanding reporting on human rights and democracy in the developing world. Applications can be submitted online

Africa: UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowship Programme


Deadline: 14 January 2005

The United-Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, (UNESCO) is calling on young researchers with advanced degrees (M.A., M.Sc. or equivalent) in developing countries to apply to the UNESCO/Keizo Obuchi Research Fellowship Programme for fellowships ranging from US$ 6,000 to US$ 10,000. The amount varies according to duration and place of study. The Programme is financed by Japan through its funds in trust programme for capacity-building of human resources.

Global: National Endowment for Democracy


Deadline: November 1, 2004. The National Endowment for Democracy (NED) invites applications to its Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellows Program to enable activists, scholars, and journalists from around the world to deepen their understanding of democracy and enhance their ability to promote democratic change. More information: Please download the "Information and Application Forms" booklet available online at or visit and follow the link to Fellowship Programs.

South Africa: Call for Proposals - Support Programme for Social Housing


Deadline: 8 October 2004

The Support Programme for Social Housing Institutional Development and Capacity Building (SPSH) is funded under the Financing Agreement between the European Community and the Government of South Africa. The SPSH is co-funded and implemented by the Department of Housing. Applications are invited from established network organisations representing Social Housing Institutions (SHIs) for support by the Programme Management Unit of the SPSH.

South Africa: Donation of PCs to Shuttleworth Foundation programme


Pick 'n Pay, the food retailer has donated over 800 computer workstations to the Shuttleworth Foundation's tuXlab programme to assist them in their drive to increase the usage of open source software in 40 South African schools.

Courses, seminars, & workshops

Ghana: Gender Perspectives in ECOWAS PSO Experience, 8-12 November


A one week workshop is to be held from 8-12 November, 2004 for practitioners and researchers to evaluate the ECOWAS peacekeeping experience from a gender (women, peace and security) perspective, is to be held at The Kofi Annan International Peacekeeping Training Centre, Ghana. The workshop aims to ensure that gender mainstreaming is sufficiently incorporated into regional planning training and preparation for peace operations in the future.

South Africa: The second global inter-agency consultation on education in emergencies


From 2-4 December 2004, the Inter-Agency Network for Education in Emergencies (INEE) and its UN and NGO partners will host this consulation to advocate for the right to education in emergency situations, share good practices and programme strategies and review INEE's purpose and direction.

South Africa:SANGONeT Event: World Development Information Day


Date: 21 October 2004

To celebrate World Development Information Day this year, SANGONeT is hosting a special one-day event on Thursday, 21 October 2004, at its Braamfontein office. A programme of the day’s events can be found below.


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