Pambazuka News 543: Resisting imperialism: Sites of struggle
The authoritative electronic weekly newsletter and platform for social justice in Africa
Pambazuka News (English edition): ISSN 1753-6839
CONTENTS: 1. Features, 2. Announcements, 3. Comment & analysis, 4. Advocacy & campaigns, 5. Pan-African Postcard, 6. Books & arts, 7. Letters & Opinions, 8. Highlights French edition, 9. Cartoons, 10. Zimbabwe update, 11. Women & gender, 12. Human rights, 13. Refugees & forced migration, 14. Emerging powers news, 15. Elections & governance, 16. Development, 17. Health & HIV/AIDS, 18. Education, 19. LGBTI, 20. Environment, 21. Land & land rights, 22. Media & freedom of expression, 23. News from the diaspora, 24. Conflict & emergencies, 25. eNewsletters & mailing lists, 26. Fundraising & useful resources, 27. Courses, seminars, & workshops
Highlights from this issue
ANNOUNCEMENTS: July issue of ‘Perspectives on emerging powers in Africa’ now available
ZIMBABWE UPDATE: Political violence up and women being kept out of politics, say two new reports
WOMEN AND GENDER: How international financial institutions address (or don’t) gender based violence
HUMAN RIGHTS: Coming soon to a theatre near you: ‘The Mubarak Show’
REFUGEES AND FORCED MIGRATION: Find out about the refugee camp in the sky
EMERGING POWERS NEWS: Latest edition of the Emerging Powers newsletter
ELECTIONS AND GOVERNANCE: News from Botswana, Burkina Faso, Egypt, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Morocco, Niger, Zambia
DEVELOPMENT: The effects of the US debt crisis on the rest of the world + The real cost of oil
HEALTH AND HIV/AIDS: Lancet reports on concerns over ART resistance
EDUCATION: How governments’ needs to please World Bank are bad for education
LGBTI: News on Uganda’s Freedom and Roam campaign
ENVIRONMENT: UN set to release Nigeria oil spill report
LAND AND LAND RIGHTS: The second Great Trek: the role of South African farmers in Africa
MEDIA AND FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION: South Africa blamed for sliding freedom of expression ratings
CONFLICT AND EMERGENCIES: News from Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda
PLUS: eNewsletters & mailing lists; Fundraising & useful resources; Jobs
No easy path through the embers
Leaving oil in the soil
Egypt: Pharaoh in a cage
Libya and the Right to Protect
US debt ceiling debate and the alternatives
Struggling for an alternative media
200th edition of Pambazuka News in French
Famine by man not drought
Famine in Somalia
The story you're unlikely to hear any time soon
Mauritania: Slavery and state racism
A war criminal in Spain: Tshombe and the Official Secrets Act
Endemic violence in postcolonial Namibia
Shaun R. Whittaker
Perspectives on Emerging Powers in Africa: July newsletter available
In this months newsletter Daniel Large provides commentary on relations between China and South Sudan, as well as the potential role for China to play in the newly independent state. In our second commentary piece, Peter Bosshard provides insight into the long-term impact of China's Three Gorges Dam and the lessons they offer Africa as the number of large-scale hydro-power projects on the continent continues to increase. Translations of the two commentaries are also provided in our continuing Chinese series. The July edition is available here.
Pavement dwellers in Johannesburg to promote new book
Symphony Way Pavement Dwellers
Return of ‘Wanjiku’ to Kenya’s constitution implementation process
Katto K. Wambua
East Africa’s drought response: Union members must arise
Kenyan lives are cheap, Somali lives even cheaper
Sexual violence in Uganda
All charges dropped against the Grahamstown Four
Unemployed People's Movement
War in Blikkiesdorp
Symphony Way Anti-Eviction Campaign
Petition: For a real gas revolution, stop gas flaring
Environmental Rights Action/Friends of the Earth, Nigeria
Desecration of the late President Sankara’s tomb
President Obama should not host Côte d’Ivoire’s Alassane Ouattara
Kenya: Dealing with drought
H. Nanjala Nyabola
A library in Asaba
South Sudan: The urgency in state formation
Response to South Sudan in the post-CPA era: Prospects and challenges
Pambazuka News 200: Celebrating 200 issues in the service of resistance, alternatives and social justice
Advice for Greece
GMOs or organic?
Zimbabwe: Political violence on rise, says peace project
The Zimbabwe Peace Project (ZPP) has expressed concern over the volatile political atmosphere in the country as incidents of politically motivated human rights violations shot up to 1,014 in June from 994 recorded in May. In its summary on political and food-related violations, ZPP said Midlands province recorded the highest number of incidents, pegged at 214, up from 201 in May. The province witnessed an increase in assault, harassment and intimidation cases while Mashonaland East recorded a drop from 188 to 172 reported cases.
Zimbabwe: ZANU PF accused of using police to banish women from politics
The state security sector is still actively being used by Robert Mugabe and ZANU PF to torture and oppress women in order to keep them out of the political process, a new report has revealed. The report also brings out the direct role of the ZANU PF militia in the violence. The ‘Women and Political Violence: An Update’ report was compiled by the Women’s Programme of the Research and Advocacy Unit (RAU). It is a study on the degree of violence against women and its impact, after Robert Mugabe last year began demanding an election in 2011.
Botswana: Fighting for equality for Botswana’s women
In many countries women’s rights have been abused for so long that many women long ago stopped fighting for them. Not so Unity Dow, a lawyer who challenged the unequal citizenship rights in her native Botswana and won. Her 1992 lawsuit was recognised last month as a landmark case in the fight for women’s rights when UN Women published its flagship report: 'Progress of the World’s Women 2011-2012: In Pursuit of Justice'. Dow succeeded in overturning the section of Botswana’s Citizenship Act that prohibited Botswanan women who married foreigners from passing on their Botswanan nationality to their children.
Cameroon: Woman candidate eyes presidency
At every stop along the campaign trail, Edith Kabbang Walla, 45, popularly known here as Kah Walla, is generating excitement among women nationwide. Walla is the only female candidate running for president in Cameroon’s October elections. 'The interest of women in politics has been aroused, but now we want their active participation,' Walla says during a recent visit to Bamenda, a city in northwestern Cameroon. Tracing women’s political participation in Cameroon, Walla says that women were the first group to hold a public demonstration against colonizers in the fight for Cameroon’s independence.
Egypt: Coptic Christian divorce law challenged
Despite the stigma attached to divorce, ending a marriage is still relatively easy for Muslim women in Egypt. All they have to do is file paperwork with a family court and the deed is done, as long as they're not seeking alimony or damages from their husbands. For the country's millions of Orthodox Christians, or Copts, it's been nearly impossible since Pope Shenouda III, the head of one of the most conservative churches in Christianity, forbade divorce except in the case of conversion or adultery three years ago. That overturned a 1930s law that allowed Copts to obtain a divorce or an annulment for several reasons, such as impotence, mental disabilities and cruelty.
Global: The IFIs and gender based violence
This document from Gender Action assesses the extent to which IFIs address gender based violence (GBV) in their policies and investments. The institutions dealt with include the World Bank (WB), African Development Bank (AfDB), Asian Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.
Tunisia: Women fear the Algerian way
A women’s group begins campaigning near La Marsa beach in Tunis to convince more women to come up and register in the electoral lists, in time for the deadline now pushed back to 14 August. Most of the women watching the proceedings are veiled. The veils present more of a question than a suggestion at present. One survey among veiled women conducted by journalists here claims that four in five of these women will not vote for Ennahda, the Islamist party surging ahead in popularity ahead of elections for a constituent assembly due in October.
Zimbabwe: Women seeking justice face archaic laws
The four armed robbers who gang raped her may be serving time for their crimes, but six years later justice has turned out to be a myth for Mildred Mapingure. 'I was silently praying I was not pregnant,' Mapingure told IPS from her rural home in Mashonaland West, Zimbabwe. It is illegal to terminate a pregnancy in Zimbabwe unless the ‘pregnancy endangers the life of the mother and/or is a result of unlawful penetration (rape)’, according to the Termination of Pregnancy Act. And abortion is only allowed in the first trimester. When Mapingure realised the inevitable had happened two months after being raped, prosecutors rushed the application for a termination of pregnancy order through the Chinhoyi regional magistrate’s court in Mashonaland West. But long court delays resulted in the order being granted when she was eight months pregnant. Mapingure had no option but to give birth.
Côte d’Ivoire: Military promotions mock abuse victims
The promotion of two Côte d’Ivoire military commanders against whom there are serious allegations of involvement in grave crimes raises concerns about President Alassane Ouattara’s commitment to end impunity and ensure justice for victims, Human Rights Watch has said. On 3 August 2011, President Ouattara signed a promotion making Chérif Ousmane the second-in-command for presidential security (Groupe de sécurité de la présidence de la République). During the final battle for Abidjan, Ousmane was the head of the Republican Forces operations in Yopougon neighborhood, where scores of perceived supporters of Laurent Gbagbo were executed extrajudicially.
Egypt: Tahrir square raid condemned
The Arabic Network for Human Rights Information has condemned the raid on a Tahrir Square sit-in on 1 August. 'The return of violence and repression after a revolution against a dictatorial regime is extremely disappointing, and the statements of some members of the Military Council betraying the revolutionaries and describing them as "thugs, vandals and agitators aiming to drive a wedge between the people and the army" are unacceptable.' ANHRI's press release contains a list of the detained, the injured and the disappeared.
Egypt: The Mubarak Show
'In many ways,' writes Sophia Azeb on the blog Africa is a Country about the trial of former Egyptian strongman Hosni Mubarak, 'this trial is a showpiece.' Azeb writes that it is another attempt by the military to distract Egyptians from their own despotism. 'While many are well aware of this, Mubarak facing trial and conviction for his crimes against the people is still very important. I doubt this trial will keep the military safe from further demonstrations and actions just as I doubt this trial will end well – whether Mubarak is convicted or not. This spectacle is disturbing to me, and I don’t think imprisoning or executing the Mubarak family will mean justice is served.'
Malawi: Civil society leaders want ICC to prosecute Bingu wa Mutharika
Civil society organisations in Malawi have appealed to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to investigate and prosecute Malawi President Bingu wa Mutharika for crimes against humanity following the violent deaths at the hands of police of at least 19 people during the 20 July anti-government demonstrations. In a statement issued in the capital, Lilongwe, Monday, the eight organisations that organised the demonstration also asked the Hague-based court to prosecute Home Affairs and Internal Security Minister Aaron Sangala, and the Inspector General Of Police, Peter Mukhitho, alongside the president.
South Africa: Student campaign on Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel
An Israeli mission is being sent to five countries to do pro-Israeli propaganda work at campuses, says this statement on the blog http://www.bdssouthafrica.com 'The mission has been briefed and trained by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Israeli Ministry of Public Diplomacy and Diaspora Affairs. Furthermore, they have received funding from the Ben-Gurion University and Weizmann Institute of Science student unions. The mission’s main focus is South Africa in general and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) specifically - this is because of South Africa’s critical position on Israel and the growing support for the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) of Israel that it is coming from South Africa.'
Africa: Horn migrants heading south 'pushed backwards'
Increasing numbers of Ethiopians and Somalis fleeing war, drought and poverty in their home countries face arrest, deportation and detention as they try to make their way to the south of the continent. For most the goal is South Africa - the only country in the region where refugees and asylum seekers have freedom of movement and the right to work rather than being confined to camps. But as the number of migrants from the Horn of Africa seeking asylum in South Africa has reached unprecedented levels, border authorities have started refusing them entry.
Africa: The refugee camp in the sky
Blogger Natasha Elkington writes about a controversial online game involving refugees that was taken offline a few months ago, but has recently been relaunched. The game, which was taken offline after its launch amid claims it objectified refugees and lacked sensitivity, was developed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) with funding from ECHO, the European Commission’s humanitarian agency, and designed to raise awareness of Dadaab refugee camp on the Kenyan-Somali border. It is now back online but with some noticeable changes.
Egypt: Cairo's black community dares to keep going
In recent years, Egypt has become home-away-from-home for a big number of Africans migrants, asylum seekers and refugees. Though the majority of these are Sudanese from both sides, Ethiopians, Eritreans and Somalis also make up the numbers, with a mixture of other African nationalities. Despite their numbers here, there are no reliable statistics of African migrants in the country, but most organisations quote a figure between 250,000 to a few million.
Eritrea: More Eritreans flee
More and more Eritrean refugees, mostly educated young men, continue to arrive in Ethiopia, with the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, expressing concern over the rising numbers. 'Most say they left their country [to avoid] a prolonged military conscription, but they also say they want to join their families on the road,' Moses Okello, UNHCR’s representative in Ethiopia, told IRIN. Ethiopia hosts at least 61,000 Eritrean refugees.
Global: Access denied, a conversation on unauthorised im/migration and health
The aim of this blog is to challenge readers and contributors to re-think the political common sense that denies migrants and immigrants access to health care and impedes their capacity to enjoy the social determinants of good health.
Libya: A flotilla to stop migrant deaths in the Mediterranean
Hundreds of thousands of people have fled Libya since the crisis began in February 2011, but European policy has shown a lack of hospitality. Following a meeting in Cecina (Italy), a coalition of Euro-Mediterranean migrants’ rights organisations, decided to charter a flotilla which will undertake maritime surveillance so that assistance is finally provided to people in danger. The participatory organisations call on European bodies and governments on both sides of the Mediterranean to establish relations within this common area on the basis of exchange and reciprocity.
South Africa: Lawyers express concern over Zim deportations
Lawyers for Human Rights says it is concerned about the large numbers of Zimbabweans who will become vulnerable to arrest and deportation at the start of August when the moratorium on deportations is lifted. This moratorium has been in place since April 2009 when Home Affairs took the decision not to carry out any further deportations to Zimbabwe for a defined period. The moratorium was supposed to be implemented together with a special dispensation for Zimbabweans to be able to regularise their immigration status. However, this special dispensation was only implemented from September to 31 December 2010. Any Zimbabwean who failed to successfully apply for one of the available permits during this time and will find themselves undocumented on 1 August may be legitimately deported for not having any authorisation to remain in the country. This deportation process will exclude any Zimbabwean who is in the asylum system and has a valid asylum seeker or refugee permit.
South Africa: Zim deportations will not resume, yet
South Africa’s department of Home Affairs has indicated that the current moratorium on Zimbabwean deportations has not yet been lifted, insisting that the condemned practice of mass deportations will not happen. The forced removals were set to begin when the Zimbabwe Documentation Project (ZDP) ended, and that deadline was meant to be 31 July. Over the weekend, Zimbabwean nationals were reportedly on the verge of panic amid concerns that deportations would resume first thing on Monday.
Latest edition: emerging powers news roundup
In this week's edition of the Emerging Powers News Round-Up, read a comprehensive list of news stories and opinion pieces related to China, India and other emerging powers...
Botswana: Youth league's Malema blasted over 'regime change' comments
The ANC Youth league and its leader, Julius Malema, have been publicly rebuked by the ANC for calling for 'regime change' in Botswana and describing its president as 'a puppet'. In a harsh statement issued by ANC spokesman Jackson Mthembu, the ANC said: 'This insult and disrespect to the President [Ian Khama], the government and the people of Botswana, and a threat to destabilise and effect regime change in Botswana, is a clear demonstration that the ANCYL's ill-discipline has clearly crossed the political line.'
Burkina Faso: New vote body amid tensions
Burkina Faso installed Monday 1 August a new election commission after the previous one was dismissed amid criticism over November elections that handed President Blaise Compaore a large victory. The newly composed Independent National Electoral Commission will have to organise next year's municipal and legislative elections amid unprecedented tensions which have seen military mutinies and other unrest this year.
Egypt: Tahrir, an exercise in nation building
The blog Rantings of a Sand Monkey reflects on what it means to be an activist in Tahrir Square. '...what intrigued me and got me moving around, doing things and staying there,' he writes, 'was the fascinating social experiment that the sit-in was creating. In essence, Tahrir was very quickly becoming a miniature-size Egypt, with all of its problems, but without a centralized government. And the parallels are uncanny.'
Egypt: The revolution in graffiti
Graffiti is suddenly all over Cairo - on schools, on telephone exchange boxes, on empty walls and corrugated fencing around building sites, reports the New Yorker magazine. 'Daubs of slogans, finely rendered panoramas of Tahrir Square, and, increasingly, the kind of biting satire and subversion...' There's a great gallery of the graffiti at the top of this article, with 25 scrollable images.
Guinea Bissau: Thousands call for premier to quit
Thousands took to the streets of Bissau Friday 5 August for the third rally in three weeks to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Carlos Gomes Junior, who is accused of hindering an assassination probe. 'Carlos, get out', 'Carlos to court', chanted protesters, according to an AFP journalist, during a march to the presidency. The rally was called by a coalition of 17 opposition parties accusing Gomes Junior of failing to shed light on a spate of high profile political assassinations in 2009. Two earlier protests were held on 14 and 19 July.
Liberia: Opposition parties call for referendum boycott
Liberia’s leading opposition party has called for a comprehensive boycott of the national constitution referendum set for 23 August 2011. The Congress for Democratic Change (CDC) made the declaration after the official announcement of the date of the referendum, which falls just ahead of the presidential polls in October this year. Among the things the referendum seeks to ratify is an amendment to Liberia’s constitution to the effect that changing an aspect of the constitution relating to elections would no longer require a two-thirds majority of the bicameral legislature.
Mali: Parliament supports proposed law reform
Mali will soon hold a referendum to vote on political reforms after the country's parliament adopted proposed changes to its supreme law. The National Assembly's vote was overwhelming in favour of the constitutional changes, with 141 deputies supporting them. Only three deputies rejected the draft while one member abstained. Some 105 out of 122 articles are targeted in the reforms but the presidential term limit remains pegged at two and the governing system semi-presidential, although the president's duties will be reinforced.
Morocco: Are early polls a bid to stave off protests?
Morocco's King Mohammed is pushing for early polls to hasten reforms he has initiated but this alone is unlikely to satisfy critics without serious steps to curb corruption and to give the next assembly teeth. The monarch acted promptly in March to contain any spillover from the Arab Spring after protests spread to Morocco, promising constitutional changes to reduce the king's powers. The new palace-made charter won near-unanimous support in a July referendum that critics said was itself far too hasty to allow proper debate.
Niger: Chaos as police break up power cut demos
Security forces broke up demonstrations by hundreds of people after weeks of electricity cuts in Niger, with several protesters wounded and arrested Monday 1 August, radio reports and police said. Police fired tear gas to disperse demonstrators who took to the streets of the central town of Tanout after a first day of protests on Sunday, private Anfani radio said.
Zambia: Banda launches re-election bid, dismisses main opponent
Zambia's President Rupiah Banda launched his re-election campaign on 1 August with scathing attacks on his main challenger Michael Sata, describing him as a 'crook' that 'behaves like a punch-drunk boxer'. The president also pledged to sustain the country's economic growth if given another chance to lead the southern Africa country.
Botswana: Prosperity and tranquillity are fragile, says US report
A report by US-Africa Command (AFRICOM) says despite the Botswana government's significant achievements since 1966, Botswana's prosperity and political stability are more fragile than is frequently recognised. Dated June 2011, the report says three current realities form the core of this fragility: a population that is highly-dependent on social welfare programmes provided by the state; a state that is heavily reliant on a single commodity (diamonds) that is highly sensitive to fluctuations in the global economy; and a narrow economic base that leaves the country deeply tied to that of neighbouring South Africa.
Côte d’Ivoire: 'Parallel' taxation yet to be eliminated
Côte d’Ivoire has one president but two 'treasuries' - one official, the other funded from the continued collection of road tolls and other taxes by former rebels. During the nearly nine years rebels controlled northern Côte d’Ivoire, the civil administration, comprising such things as mayors’ offices and the treasury, did not function and the rebels collected 'taxes'. Months after Alassane Ouattara was finally able to take charge of the country, 'parallel' taxation has yet to be eliminated: The disorder and unpredictable extra costs are affecting people’s livelihoods, just as they are looking to bounce back from months of chaos and economic stagnation.
Global: Economic development leaves millions behind
The Society for International Development (SID)'s triennial World Congress, which concluded Sunday in Washington, drew over 1,000 attendees this year, 40 per cent hailing from the global south, making it arguably one of the most influential and far-reaching forums for development experts and organisations in the world today. 'The emergence of new paths to development has [grown] along with the rise of middle-and low-income countries,' Rebeca Grynspan, associate administrator of the UN Development Programme, said at the opening plenary. 'But we have seen that we can also have growth without inclusion. In Latin America, for example, one in every four young people is not studying or working - 25 per cent out of the education system and out of the labour market. If that's not exclusion, then I don't know what is,' she said.
Global: The effects of the US debt crisis on the developing world
An eleventh hour compromise saw the US move back from the brink of defaulting on its debt burden. One of the results of this for emerging market economies - Brazil, other strong performers in Latin America, much of Southeast Asia, and even the better performers in sub-Saharan Africa - might be that they will continue to experience a flood of capital seeking higher returns, hot money with all the attendant risks of a bubble.
Global: The price of oil
The opportunities for international oil companies (IOCs) to acquire new reserves are narrowing considerably, states this report from Oil Change International and Greenpeace. The companies have met this challenge with the development of technology and engineering that has enabled oil production in technically difficult locations and conditions. But the development of these resources, especially the offshore Arctic, Canadian tar sands and other unconventional oil such as oil shale, is significantly dependent on failure to adopt and implement effective policy to prevent climate change rising above the critical 2ºC mark, a stated aim of most of the world’s governments, says the report.
Nigeria: Bank to go cashless
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, plans to implement a cashless banking policy in June 2012. Bank representatives say the policy will enhance convenience and savings for Nigerians and the government, as well as elevate the economy to be more competitive internationally. But many Nigerians who have had negative experiences with ATMs say the country isn’t ready to go cashless, especially as the majority of the population doesn’t yet use banks.
South Africa: Whites still rule top management
Whites still occupy 73.1 per cent of top management positions in the country, the Commission for Employment Equity (CEE) says. Black people made up 12.7 per cent of top management, Indians 6.8 per cent and coloureds 4.6 per cent, the CEE said in its 11th annual report released in Pretoria. Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said she was disappointed at the slow pace of reform at top management.
Swaziland: Fury over SA’s R2,4bn ‘rescue’ for Swaziland
Swaziland's pro-democracy activists have threatened to march on the Union Buildings in Pretoria to protest against SA’s R2,4bn conditional rescue package for the kingdom. Swaziland has been hit with protests this year after its government froze public sector salaries and cut social services. Protesters have accused King Mswati of looting state coffers to finance his extravagant lifestyle. The Swaziland Solidarity Network, which represents a consortium of pro-democracy movements in the kingdom, said it would organise protests at the Union Buildings and around SA to voice displeasure at the loan and in support of their demand that King Mswati lift the ban on political parties, in place since 1973.
Uganda: Cabinet must make tough choices to fix economy - experts
With the health of the country’s economy hanging in the balance and financial markets watching closely, President Museveni convened a crisis Cabinet meeting to try to come up with austerity measures that would deliver a blueprint for economic recovery. Across the nation, the rising public concern caused by double-digit inflation - currently standing at 18.7 per cent, is palpable. Of late, public employees, particularly teachers, medical workers and the business, are increasingly growing impatient as a result of the depreciation of the Shilling and the rising cost of living.
Africa: Study reveals concerns over ART resistance
The British medical journal, The Lancet, has published a study that shows the Aids virus has mutated into strains resistant to ARTs used around Africa. The study published on 28 July, was funded by the Dutch Foreign Ministry, and aimed to assess the prevalence of primary resistance in six African countries after anti-retroviral treatments (ARTs) were introduced and whether wider use of ARTs in the region is associated with rising prevalence of drug resistance in areas south of the Sahara, as has been widely suspected in some circles.
Ghana: Health services battle meningitis outbreak, says report
Health authorities in southern Ghana are battling an outbreak of meningitis which has killed four people in the municipality of Obuasi, the Daily Graphic newspaper reported. Seven other people suffering from the disease are receiving medical attention at the Obuasi Government Hospital although health authorities are not clear about how the disease broke out in the region, the paper said.
Ghana: Homophobic statements stymy HIV fight
Recent condemnation of homosexuality by religious and political leaders in Ghana has led to a climate of fear preventing men who have sex with men (MSM) from accessing vital health services, say local NGOs. The minister of Ghana’s Western Region, Paul Evans Aidoo, publicly described homosexuality as 'detestable and abominable'. As a result, far fewer MSM are accessing safe sex education and support programmes run by the Centre for Popular Education and Human Rights (CEPEHRG) to prevent the spread of HIV, said MacDarling Cobbinah from the Coalition against Homophobia in Ghana and a member of CEPEHRG.
Mali: Community needed in fight against TB
Tuberculosis remains a leading cause of death in Mali despite the availability of free treatment. The resurgence of the illness, linked to poverty and HIV infection, could be reduced by changing behaviour, doctors say. Some 6,840 cases of tuberculosis, counting all forms of the disease, were recorded in 2009 in Mali, including 5,163 cases of highly contagious pulmonary tuberculosis, according to the medical authorities.
North Africa: HIV ‘epidemics’ emerging in gay men
New research suggests that HIV epidemics are emerging in North Africa and the Middle East among men who have sex with men (MSM). According to researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia are seeing high rates of infection in gay and bisexual men. Across the region, homosexuality is illegal or frowned upon in most countries. The researchers said it was a common belief that little or no data is held on MSM HIV transmissions in North Africa and the Middle East. However, they discovered some reliable and previously unpublished sources.
West Africa: Call for greater attention on hepatitis
West African health experts are calling for governments to take the prevalence of hepatitis B and C more seriously, and to act to reduce the cost of treatment as part of more effective control of the disease. The hepatitis B virus is responsible for more than 80 percent of liver cancers in Africa, said the coordinator of Senegal's National Programme Against Hepatitis, Aminata Sall Diallo, during an international meeting held in the Senegalese capital, Dakar, from 27-29 July.
Angola: Mystery toxin in Angola schools
A wave of mysterious poisonings has hit hundreds over the last two days in Angolan schools, but police have yet to identify the toxin that has sown panic in the country, officials said on Friday. About 300 students from both public and private schools have been hit by symptoms that include vomiting, headaches, sore throats and sometimes suffocation, said Renato Paulata, director of a public hospital in Luanda.
DRC: Armed conflicts keep children out of school
Lingering armed conflicts have kept 40 per cent of African children out of school, according to a global report released recently in Kinshasa, capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The 2011 Education For All (EFA) Global Monitoring Report, which focuses on crisis and their underlying causes, said the impact of armed conflicts on education had been widely neglected, becoming a 'hidden crisis' which is 'reinforcing poverty, undermining economic growth and holding back the progress of nations'. The report was presented at the 26-28 July Kinshasa Round Table on 'Education, Peace and Development', organised by the Association for the Development of Education in Africa.
Global: Ending the crisis in girls’ education
Education values and needs are often superseded by governments’ need to adhere to policies promoted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank, states this report from the Global Campaign for Education. 'Despite strong gender research, multiple gender strategies and operational policies, and much rhetoric about gender equality, the World Bank is often failing to translate their statements, strategies and policies into tangible reform in their investments. Education operations must be made
gender-sensitive and especially seek to promote fee abolition, gender-responsive budgeting and demand-side incentives to target marginalized groups.'
Uganda: Amid uncertainty Freedom and Roam Uganda launches campaign
While members of Freedom and Roam Uganda (FARUG) are shaken by a break in and robbery at their offices, FARUG director Kasha Jacqueline says a 'Hate No More Campaign' will go forward as planned. The campaign launches on 10 August before the possible reintroduction of the Anti-Homosexuality Bill in Uganda’s Parliament by far-right extremists.
Zimbabwe: Gay activists angry over rape reports
Gays and Lesbians of Zimbabwe (GALZ) says that it is outraged by the way that the country's media has targeted homosexuality in its reporting on the case of a police officer accused of sodomising his brother’s ten-year-old son. 'There has been a trend in the media to equate sodomy with rape,' said the organisation. 'This is alarming because it promotes the dangerous myth that homosexual men are automatically rapists and abusers of children.'
DRC: REDD+ forestry management goes to Canadian company
The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has entrusted a Canadian company with managing a vast section of its forest, including containing deforestation, the environment ministry has announced. Ecosystem Restoration Associates (ERA) will handle a project covering nearly 300,000 hectares (740,000 acres) of woodlands in the Mai-Ndombe forest, in western Bandundu province, the statement said. The project is part of the country's Reducing Emissions from Deforestation (REDD+) programme.
Global: A compilation of material on climate justice
The goal of this material is to connect some of the ideas and energy from the World People's Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth held in Bolivia in 2010 with the issues on the table at UN climate talks. It contains briefs on 13 issues, including climate debt, mitigation, adaption, the dangers of climate markets and gender and climate justice.
Global: System change, not climate change
Systemchange.ca is a free, public, interactive website – a multi-media tool for climate justice. With the full launch of the project in September 2011, you will find featured videos here including speakers such as Maude Barlow on the Rights of Nature, Peter Victor on no growth economics, former UN Bolivian Ambassador Pablo Solón on climate debt, John Cartwright on good green jobs, Naomi Klein on climate justice organising, Bill McKibben on climate science, Nnimmo Bassey on climate debt repayment and more.
Nigeria: UN set to release oil spill report
The UN is to publish a long-awaited report on the impact of the oil spills in Nigeria's Ogoniland region. The report took two years to produce and is controversial in part because it was funded by oil giant Shell. On Wednesday (03 August) Shell accepted liability for two spills that devastated communities in 2008 and 2009. One community said it would seek hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation. Shell said it would settle the case under Nigerian law. After two years of research, and consultations with all the concerned parties, the UN Environment Programme must now present its findings to Nigeria's president and the wider public.
South Africa: Concerns ahead of SA climate talks
South Africa's preparations to host the next major round of climate talks have met with scepticism from activists critical of what they say is the country's lack of leadership on environmental issues. The high-level meeting of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, scheduled for 28 November to 9 December in the eastern port city of Durban, is seen as the last chance to renew the Kyoto Protocol, the only international agreement with binding targets for cutting greenhouse gases. But environmentalists have voiced concern that South African organisers are not doing enough to lay the groundwork for an ambitious conference that will make hard commitments on climate change and raise the cash to achieve them.
South Africa: Greening energy supplies
The South African government has been called upon to display moral and political leadership as the country prepares to host the 17th round of United Nations-led climate change negotiations in Durban in December. But while the continent’s strongest economy gears itself up to represent Africa’s needs in the talks, it may also face scrutiny because of its coal-intensive economy which produces nearly half of the continent’s greenhouse gas emissions.
Africa: The role of South African farmers on the continent
In this working paper, Ruth Hall from the Institute for Poverty, Land and Agrarian Studies analyses the shifting role of South African farmers, agribusiness and capital elsewhere in southern Africa and the rest of the continent. The research considers the changing character, scale and location of South African investments elsewhere in the region and the continent, focussing specifically on the AgriSA-Congo deal (the largest deal concluded thus far), and acquisitions by the two South African sugar giants, Illovo and Tongaat-Hulett, for outgrower and estate expansion elsewhere in the region. The study addresses the degree to which South Africa is no longer merely exporting its farmers, but also its value chains, to the rest of the continent — and what this means for trajectories of agrarian change.
Ethiopia: World heritage tribe sites threatened
While millions in East Africa are caught in the cobweb of a devastating drought that has spread its tentacles across Somalia, Kenya and Ethiopia, the government in Addis Ababa is snatching some of Ethiopia's most productive farmland from local tribes and leasing it to foreign companies to grow and export food. A Survival International investigation has uncovered shocking evidence that vast blocks of fertile land in the Omo River area in south west Ethiopia are being leased out to Malaysian, Italian and Korean companies. Vast stretches of land are also being cleared for huge state-run plantations producing export crops, even though 90,000 tribal people in the area depend on the land to survive.
Global: The problem with fair trade coffee
Although Fair Trade coffee still accounts for only a small fraction of overall coffee sales, the market for Fair Trade coffee has grown markedly over the last decade. But among the concerns, says this article, are that the premiums paid by consumers are not going directly to farmers, the quality of Fair Trade coffee is uneven, and the model is technologically outdated.
Zimbabwe: Small-scale farmers still waiting to benefit from land resettlement
Many people believed that land reform would address the problem of land shortages, reports Farm Radio Weekly. Gifford Moyo is a social commentator and member of an advocacy group in Bulawayo which fights for the rights of the Ndebele people. He warned that if the land issue was not handled properly, it might erupt into a serious conflict. He says, 'The primary objective of going to war was to get back our land which was taken by the colonial regime. Now, if this government is failing to properly address the issue of land, the question is "Why did we go to war?"'
Africa: SA casts a shadow over freedom of expression in Africa
The South African government’s assault on media freedom over the last 18 months has emboldened other African states to further clampdown on free speech said South African National Editors’ Forum chair Mondli Makhanya. Speaking in Cape Town to the Southern African Freelancers Association, Makhanya, who is also editor-in-chief of Sunday Times publisher Avusa, said South Africa’s introduction of the Protection of Information Bill (POIB) and the mooting of a Media Tribunal had an negative effect on freedom of expression in other states on the continent.
Angola: Journalist arrested for reports on mass fainting
Angolan authorities should explain the arrest and incommunicado detention of a radio journalist for reporting on a nationwide wave of mass fainting of people, the Committee to Protect Journalists has said. Since April, more than 800 people, mostly teenage schoolchildren, have fainted after complaining of sore throats and eyes, shortness of breath, and coughs, the Catholic Church-run station Radio Ecclesia reported.
Côte d'Ivoire: Paper suspended over Obama meeting
The government of Ivory Coast President Alassane Ouattara, who pledged to uphold democracy in a Friday (05 August) meeting with US President Barack Obama, has suspended a newspaper over a reprinted opinion column criticising the White House meeting, the Committee to Protect Journalists said.
Rwanda: Rwandan paper calls president a 'sociopath', apologises
Sometimes when a paper produces a defamatory piece, an apology will be published on page two in the next edition along with the day's news. In Rwanda, it would appear, a paper will use an entire edition to apologise - if the insults were directed at the president. The latest issue of Ishema, at left, is perhaps a sign of the times for Rwanda's press. The vernacular bimonthly had recently published an opinion piece that claimed President Kagame was a sociopath. The paper fell over backward in its attempts to apologise.
South Africa: ANC ratchets up its anti-media campaign in provinces
South Africa’s young democracy may have been a shining example to the rest of the world for a while, but dreams of real freedom of expression and of the media seem to be nearing the end of their usefulness to SA's ruling party says this article, which focuses on the province of Mpumalanga. 'There’s a shadowy force that threatens, arrests, assaults and otherwise intimidates reporters who ask inconvenient questions and publish uncomfortable truths. As Jacob Zuma’s fight to retain another term in office intensifies, the malevolence is spreading.'
South Africa: Sowetan apologises to City Press editor
The Sowetan newspaper apologised to City Press editor Ferial Haffajee on Thursday (04 August) for publishing an insulting column. 'In his latest column, [Eric] Miyeni crossed the line between robust debate and the condonation of violence,' said Sowetan and Sunday World general manager Justice Malala and Avusa editor-in-chief Mondli Makhanya in a statement on page 15. Miyeni's column, "Haffajee does it for white masters", appeared in the daily on Monday. He wrote that 'in the 80s she'd [Haffajee] probably have had a burning tyre around her neck'. City Press last week reported about African National Congress Youth League president Julius Malema's trust, which he allegedly uses to bankroll his lavish lifestyle.
Tunisia: Targeting of journalists and demonstrators alarming
The International Freedom of Expression Exchange Tunisia Monitoring Group (IFEX-TMG), a coalition of 21 IFEX members, is urging action to prevent any repeat of recent violent crackdowns on demonstrators and journalists in the run up to scheduled constitutional elections in October. The IFEX-TMG's concerns deepened after a statement by Interim Prime Minister Béji Caïd Essebsi in which he accused journalists of stirring up trouble.
Africa: The Revival of Panafricanism Forum
The 7th conference of 'The Revival of Panafricanism Forum' was held on Saturday, 16 July 2011. The topic of the conference was 'Panafricanism: A Viable Ideology to Address Africa’s Rape Redux/Euro-American 21st Century Neo-Colonial Re-Conquest and Scramble for Africa.' The speakers were Dr. Molefi Kete Asante (keynote), Peter Bailey, Maurice Carney, and Chioma Oruh. Videos of the conference are posted on Youtube:
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ojuo6EjSfik&feature=relmfu (Part 1)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m1J_BD8z14g (Part 2)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jF5oSfLfjOA (Dr. Molefi Asante, keynote speaker)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GC5zQVhLE6I (Q&A Session)
- http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i0ClOTCcUzo (Closing remarks and comments).
Haiti: The Aristide Files
US officials led a far-reaching international campaign aimed at keeping former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide exiled in South Africa, rendering him a virtual prisoner there for the last seven years, according to secret US State Department cables. The cables show that high-level US and UN officials even discussed a politically motivated prosecution of Aristide to prevent him from 'gaining more traction with the Haitian population and returning to Haiti'.
Côte d’Ivoire: Critical period for ensuring stability
Côte d’Ivoire remains fragile and unstable, says this report from the International Crisis Group. 'The atrocities after the second round of the presidential elections on 28 November 2010 and Laurent Gbagbo’s attempt to retain power by all means despite losing exacerbated already acute tensions. The next months are crucial. The new government must not underestimate the threats that will long jeopardise peace and must avoid the narcotic of power that has caused so many disastrous decisions over recent decades.'
East Africa: We’re equal, but some are more equal than others
The British producer’s voice was clearly audible in the background: 'Lift up his arm so we can see how thin it is.' The starving Somali baby’s arm was duly lifted for the camera. Media interest in the East Africa famine started to gain momentum a couple of weeks ago, when the United Nations declared it the worst drought in 60 years and half a dozen aid agencies appealed for funds in Britain’s The Guardian newspaper, reports Alertnet in this article on the media coverage of the situation. But journalists in Kenya complain of the international media’s ‘Animal Farm’ news values. We’re equal, but some are more equal than others.
Kenya: Security risk overshadows border town
Mandera town, on the border between Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia, is the hub for aid operations in the drought-affected Mandera district in Kenya. It could have been a possible logistics base for sending help by road to the famine-affected areas in south-central Somalia, but the security risk is high. About four months ago, Al-Shabab militia took over Bulo Hawo on the Somali side, and continue to mount sporadic attacks in the area even though it has been retaken by the authorities.
Libya: Fighting rages on several Libyan fronts
At least three Libyan opposition fighters have been killed in clashes near the northern town of Zlitan, just 160km from Tripoli, the capital, as government troops fought rebel forces for control of the town. Several other opposition forces were injured in the fighting on Sunday, Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons reported, as troops loyal to Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi continued an assault against anti-government fighters. Opposition forces were also under attack in the newly captured town of Bir al-Ghanam, a strategic location in western Libya 85km from Tripoli, where Gaddafi forces launched an offensive to regain control of the town.
Somalia: Army declares Mogadishu 'free' after al-Shabaab flight
The Somali army has declared Mogadishu a 'free territory' after fighters from the radical al-Shabaab Islamist group fled the capital.Deputy army commander Gen Abdikarim Yusuf Aden confirmed the fundamentalist group's dramatic pull-out Sunday morning, adding that it had been as a result of military pressure from government forces and its allies, including AU peacekeepers. Most of the retreating al-Shabaab combatants headed towards Lower Shabelle and Middle Shabelle regions, respectively south and north of Mogadishu, in what they claimed was a 'change in tactic'.
Somalia: AU delays Somalia famine fundraiser
The African Union has delayed a fundraiser for millions of starving Somalis due to what is said were scheduling challenges. The event, initially set for 9 August, would now be held on 25 August at the bloc's Addis Ababa headquarters, although this new date remains tentative. 'The AU has serious financial challenges and member countries are also reluctant to pay their dues. It makes the upcoming fund raising [event] challenging,' the commissioner said.
Somalia: Children under attack
This report from Amnesty International draws on more than 200 testimonies from Somali children, young people and adults collected by Amnesty International in March 2009 in Kenya and Djibouti, in Djibouti city and the Ali Adde refugee camp and in March and June 2010 in Kenya, in the Dadaab refugee camps in the north-east and in the capital Nairobi. Amnesty International delegates interviewed refugees who had recently fled Somalia, to get as much as possible, an up-todate description of the situation in their country.
Sudan: Congressional hearings paint picture of crisis and atrocities
Witnesses' chilling depictions of a new Sudanese genocide at an emergency US congressional hearing quelled any remnants of doubt that a humanitarian crisis is unfolding in the Nuba mountain region of South Kordofan, reports IPS Africa. 'It is a war of horror,' Sudanese bishop Andudu Adam Elnail told a House committee here. Elnail's closest colleagues had told him they witnessed two pits being dug at a school one night, where bodies were later transported to the site, put in 'wide body bags' and thrown in the pits – something to add to the heap of evidence piling up in Washington that a decades-old campaign to exterminate the ethnic Nuba has resumed in the wake of the south's independence.
Tanzania: Tanzania no longer on conflict minerals list
Tanzania will no longer become a victim of the new legislation that classifies it as a source of conflict mining in Africa, following the US government' pledge to ease the restrictions. The law known as 'Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act' is aimed at improving transparency and accountability in the supply of minerals coming from the conflict zones of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Commissioner of Minerals in the Ministry of Energy and Minerals, Dr Peter Kafumu, told the 'Daily News' in an exclusive interview in Dar es Salaam on Thursday that the decision was reached recently following a special request by the government.
Uganda: Uganda could be next hit by malnutrition, UN warns
Uganda could be the next country hit by alarming malnutrition rates due to drought which has already sparked famine in southern Somalia and hunger in Kenya, Ethiopia and Djibouti, the United Nations warned. Pockets of food insecurity have already been detected in drought-hit northern areas of Uganda, east Africa's third largest economy, the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) said.
Nigeria: Stakeholder Democracy Network newsletter
Stakeholder Democracy Network produces a monthly news and analysis bulletin that is sent out via email. The August 2011 newsletter includes the following:
- Niger Delta Development Commission to be probed
- New Electoral Commission State RECs nominated
- Petroleum Industry Bill Re-emerges
- USIP Report on the Niger Delta.
Africa: Indigenous women's rights and the African human rights system
A toolkit on mechanisms
The African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights has been working on the question of indigenous peoples since 1999. The Commission recognises the specific obstacles which indigenous peoples face in gaining recognition, exercising and enjoying their rights. The toolkit available through the link provided has been created in order to introduce indigenous women, and the organisations which represent them, to the African system of human and peoples’ rights. It highlights the different routes available to ensuring that the rights of indigenous women are valued and taken into account by
the African Commission.
Global: The New Significance
The New Significance is a web magazine exploring revolutionary forces for change and autonomy in the 21st Century.
South Africa: Russell Tribunal on Palestine
The Russell Tribunal on Palestine will convene in District Six, Cape Town, site of a brutal apartheid-era forced removal. The land has remained undeveloped on the edge of the city since it was declared 'a white group area' and the homes of black residents were demolished in the 1970s. The Cape Town session of the Russell Tribunal on Palestine – to be held on 5-6 November – will consider whether Israel’s treatment of the Palestinian people fits the international legal definitions of the crime of apartheid.
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