New York: The United Nations moved on the diplomatic and military fronts today to douse the flames of conflict in South Sudan, with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urging the Government to free political prisoners to facilitate talks with rebels and the Security Council holding a crisis meeting on latest efforts to reinforce UN peacekeepers in the world’s newest country. “[It] is very, very dire situation,” Council President, Gérard Araud of France, told reporters after the meeting, in which Mr. Ban’s Special Representative, Hilde Johnson, briefed the 15-member body by video link from Juba, South Sudan’s capital, on the latest developments in the fighting, the mediation efforts of neighbours to stop, and the steps by humanitarian agencies to bring aid to those in need.
Addis Ababa: The present report is submitted in the context of the meeting of Council to be held in Banjul, The Gambia, on 30 December 2013, to deliberate on the unfolding situation in South Sudan. The conflict in South Sudan erupted on 15 December, in the context of a political challenge to the President of the Republic of South Sudan, from leading members of the ruling party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM). This rapidly mutated into violent confrontation and rebellion. The conflict imperils the lives and wellbeing of South Sudanese, jeopardizes the future of the young nation, and is a threat to regional peace and security. The report provides a background to the current crisis, a chronology of the events of the last six months and an overview of the regional, continental and international response. The report concludes with observations on the way forward.
Addis Ababa: The Peace and Security Council of the African Union (AU), at its 411th meeting held at the level of Heads of State and Government, in Banjul, The Gambia, on 30 December 2013, adopted the following decision on the situation in South Sudan:
Riek Machar, former Vice-President of South Sudan and current leader of rebel forces in the country, knows as well as anyone that every day that passes without a halt to the fighting - every hour - makes more likely the explosive spread of violence that has already taken on a clear ethnic character. Riek knows as well that as long as this violence continues it will be impossible for most humanitarian organizations to operate outside Juba, putting many hundreds of thousands of civilians at risk - most without any political identity, but inevitably an ethnic identity.
New York: Still haunted by its failure to forestall genocide in Rwanda and Srebrenica nearly 20 years ago and confronted by ongoing bloodshed in Syria and the Central African Republic (CAR), the United Nations is revamping its preventive strategies under a new initiative called ‘Rights up Front.’ “The need for early action, and the crucial role of responding early to human rights violations, is at the heart of the ‘Rights up Front’ initiative,” Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson told an informal session of the General Assembly yesterday as he presented a six-point action plan.
Nairobi: Kenya's former foreign affairs assistant minister Richard Onyonka has faulted Kenyaand Africa Union for the attempted coup in South Sudan on Sunday night. Onyonka said Kenya and AU failed to forestall the situation that had been seen long time ago and challenged the leadership to swiftly move in and calm the parties involved. "The signals had been there but our leaders failed to move in and quell the tension. If they do not contain the situation it will become a regional problem and worse than what we have seen there," said Onyonka.
Paris: The Elysée Summit for Peace and Security in Africa was held in Paris on 6-7 December. It dealt with peace and security in Africa, the economic partnership and development, and climate change. Fifty-three delegations from African countries and France took part in the Summit, as well as representatives from the United Nations, the African Union, the European Union, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the African Development Bank.
Beijing: Africa's security landscape is characterized by huge diversity, ranging from insurgencies or tribal conflicts, to rising fears from piracy, violent extremism and organized crime. In West Africa, militant and terrorist groups are the main sources of insecurity due to claims of poor management of resources, especially oil. Islamist militant groups Boko Haram and Ansaru, for instance, are responsible for thousands of deaths in northeastern and central Nigeria, including attacks on churches and mosques and a 2011 suicide bombing of the United Nations building in Abuja. Possibly, it is East Africa that has been hit hardest by the increasing cases of terrorism in Africa. Indeed, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania have been victims of terrorist acts from as early as the 1980s.
Washington: Given the limits on access to rebel-held areas of Sudan’s Blue Nile state, there has been little information made public about the situation civilians face. In an effort to document the scope of their needs, an international non-governmental organization conducted a series of verification missions to rebel-held parts of the state in mid-2013. Due to security concerns, the organization wishes to remain anonymous. However, to raise awareness about the situation, they have requested the Enough Project make public their findings.
Addis Ababa: The African Union is preparing to deploy thousands of troops in the Central African Republic as a deadly conflict there spirals further out of control. On Monday, Dec. 9, African Union (AU) Deputy Chairperson Erastus Mwencha met with diplomats at its headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, to work out the details of AU troops’ deployments, logistics and funding. After the meeting, he told IPS that Burundi is the only confirmed troop supplier so far, but several other countries including Rwanda and the Republic of the Congo are discussing sending forces as well.