Daily Archives: May 9, 2014

Africa: U.S. Welcomes Agreement between President Kiir and Machar

U.S. Welcomes Agreement between President Kiir and Machar

Press Statement

John Kerry
Secretary of State

Washington, DC
May 9, 2014


Today's agreement to immediately stop the fighting in South Sudan and to negotiate a transitional government could mark a breakthrough for the future of South Sudan. The hard journey on a long road begins now and the work must continue.

We urge both leaders to take immediate action now to ensure that this agreement is implemented in full and that armed groups on both sides adhere to its terms.

We also acknowledge the effort of the Chairman of the Intergovernmental Authority for Development, Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn, to convene this meeting and to mediate this positive outcome between the two leaders.

I saw with my own eyes last week the stakes and the struggles in a new nation we helped courageous people create. The people of South Sudan have suffered too much for far too long. In this most recent crisis alone, over one million people have been displaced, even more now face the prospect of famine, and, as the recent UN Mission Human Rights report found, there have been human rights abuses on a massive scale committed by both sides.

This agreement presents an opportunity to start a path towards peace that must not be lost. We will do all we can to help.


Africa: Fraud Warning and Fake Kimberley Process Certificates for Sierra Leone and Guinea

Fraud Warning and Fake Kimberley Process Certificates for Sierra Leone and Guinea

Media Note

Office of the Spokesperson

Washington, DC
May 9, 2014


The Department of State, Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, in conjunction with U.S. Customs and Border Protection is advising the public on several scams involving Kimberley Process Certificates. Legitimate Kimberley Process Certificates are used to control the international trade in rough diamonds.

Recently, in one elaborate scheme, individuals were invited to Sierra Leone to view rough diamonds that were later evaluated as fake stones and were also provided with a fake Kimberley Process certificate numbered Sierra Leone 004199, issued in either April or May 2014. Variations of certificate SL 004199 has been presented to prospective diamond purchasers in the past three weeks. Diamond traders and business community members are also urged to be alert to the circulation of the fake certificate. If you are presented with a fake certificate, please report it to U.S. Customs and Border Protection at kpmailbox@dhs.gov and to Department of State at USKimberleyProcess@state.gov For more information about the Kimberley Process, please visit: http://www.state.gov/e/eb/tfs/tfc/diamonds/index.htm

In the last year, U.S. Customs and Border Protection has identified false Kimberley Process Certificates from Guinea, Ghana, and Sierra Leone that have been used by criminals in an advance-fee scheme to defraud people of thousands of dollars. The criminals have approached U.S. citizens via the internet urging them to purchase rough diamonds directly from West African sources promising legitimate Kimberley Process Certificates for export.

About Internet Scams

All advance-fee scams are designed to have the victim believe they can obtain something of great value for a small upfront outlay of money. If you feel you have been a victim of an Internet scam, please send all reports of Internet fraud directly to the Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National White Collar Crime Center (NW3C). IC3 was established to receive internet related criminal complaints and to research, develop, and refer complaints to federal, state, local, or international law enforcement if appropriate. If the scam originated through a particular website, also notify the administrators of that website. When it becomes apparent you are the victim of a scam, it is best to end all communications with the scam artist, rather than attempt resolution. It is extremely rare for victims to recover lost money. For more general information about international financial scams, please see the website of the Federal Trade Commission.


Church leaders to take part in talks between South Sudan’s Kiir and Machar

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 9, 2014 – Church leaders from South Sudan are arriving in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, all set to take part in the start of negotiations between South Sudan’s president Salva Kiir and rebel leader Riek Machar. The negotiations aim to find solutions for the world’s newest nation, reeling from violence since last year that has left thousands dead and millions homeless.

Archbishop Paulino Lukudu Loro of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Juba, Archbishop Daniel Deng Bul Yak of the Episcopal Church of Sudan are mong these church leaders, as well as Peter Gai Lual Marrow of the Presbyterian Church of South Sudan, who was scheduled to arrive to Addis Ababa on 9 May.

These church leaders are accompanied by Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia, former general secretary of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and ecumenical special envoy for South Sudan and Sudan, who will be representing the All Africa Conference of Churches. Dr Nigussu Legesse, the WCC’s programme executive for advocacy for Africa, will also be present.

The participation of church leaders in the Addis Ababa negotiations comes after the recent visit to Juba of an ecumenical delegation which urged leaders on both sides to use the negotiations as an opportunity to agree to dialogue and implement an immediate ceasefire.

Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of the WCC, was in Juba last week meeting with representatives of local churches. He stressed that South Sudanese churches have “rich spiritual resources to help find a way towards peace.”

“Churches in South Sudan have a significant role in national dialogue, affirming unity and a sense of nation-building by strengthening a process of reconciliation,” Tveit said. “In this process of reconciliation, youth and women must be empowered.”

“We will pray and work with the churches in South Sudan, while they continue addressing these struggles in their pilgrimage for justice and peace,” Tveit concluded.

Among other efforts by the church bodies to end conflict in South Sudan, the South Sudan Council of Churches (SSCC) along with the South Sudan’s Islamic Council will participate in the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) peace process.

SOURCE: World Council of Churches (WCC)

UN report documenting human rights violations on “a massive scale” in South Sudan underscores extreme urgency – Pillay

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 9, 2014 – UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said Friday that a detailed new UN report describing gross violations of human rights in South Sudan “on a massive scale,” including possible war crimes and crimes against humanity, “underscores the extreme urgency of bringing the conflict to an end.”

Pillay, who warned of the gravity of the situation after visiting South Sudan two weeks ago in the company of the Secretary-General’s Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, said “the UNMISS* report’s detailed accounts of ethnic-based mass killings and revenge attacks, including direct and deliberate murder of civilians, and a litany of other serious violations such as summary executions, rape and other forms of sexual violence are further proof of how extraordinarily dangerous the situation in South Sudan has become over the past five months.”

“This report, based on interviews with more than 900 victims, witnesses and others, illustrates just how quickly a political struggle within the ruling party was allowed – or even encouraged – to metamorphose into an ethnic-based conflict of the most lethal sort,” Pillay said. “In the process, it revealed many of the structural weaknesses and leadership flaws that have been undermining democracy and rule of law in the world’s youngest State. As former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, I recognize in this account many of the precursors of genocide: hate media including calls to rape women of a particular ethnic group; attacks on civilians in hospitals, churches and mosques; even attacks on people sheltering in UN compounds – all on the basis of the victims’ ethnicity.”

The High Commissioner noted that her own visit, and more recent ones by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, other senior UN officials and top politicians, have helped draw attention to the urgency of the situation and put pressure on the leaders of both sides to enter serious peace negotiations as well as to stop their followers committing more serious violations.

“There are some indications that they are starting to realize the outside world has finally really woken up to what is going on in South Sudan,” she said. “But they need to take immediate concrete actions to halt this conflict, and stop the killing, before the fire they have ignited makes the entire country go down in flames.”

“In the light of what this report reveals, there can no longer be any excuse for either President Salva Kiir or his chief opponent Dr Riek Machar continuing to avoid identifying and arresting their force commanders and other individuals implicated in the commission of serious violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity,” Pillay said. “It is simply not credible that the Government is unaware who, among their commanders, was responsible for organizing the slaughter of more than 300 Nuer men herded into a government building in the Gudele neighbourhood of Juba on 16 December.”

“Similarly, it is not credible that Dr. Machar does not know which of his commanders instigated and led the mass killing of several hundred civilians in the mosque, hospital, market and other locations in Bentiu on 15 April. And unfortunately these are only two of the many examples of the killing of civilians and other grave violations described in this report.”

“I have urged, and continue to urge, both President Kiir and Dr. Machar to publicly, loudly and unequivocally denounce such acts by their fighters and other followers, and to make it clear that anyone committing such crimes will be arrested and prosecuted. As leaders, they have a clear obligation to prevent any further violations being committed by fighters under their command. Thankfully, there have been no reports of further mass killings since my visit, for example during the continuing fighting for control of Bentiu or the capture by Government forces of Dr. Machar’s base in Nasir, shortly after I visited him there on 29 April. But clearly there remains a real danger that further events of this nature may take place, and tragically many thousands more people have been displaced in the past week, especially from Nasir.”

“The report notes how even members of the Fire Brigade and Wildlife Services have taken part in fighting and violations, which indicates just how pervasive the sense of total impunity is, and how urgently it needs to be addressed,” Pillay said, adding that “the South Sudanese need a credible and transparent accountability process to restore their confidence in the State and government.”

While welcoming the increased attention given to South Sudan in recent weeks, including by the Security Council, which she briefed two days after leaving Juba, the High Commissioner called on the international community – especially regional powers and processes such as the African Union, African Commission of Inquiry and IGAD — to focus even more attention on the dire human rights situation in South Sudan as part of their efforts to stop the country from collapsing into catastrophe.

“Both leaders are due to meet in Addis Ababa for peace talks later today. It is essential they make a concerted and genuine effort to bring these talks to a speedy and successful conclusion. In the meantime, they should call an immediate halt to the fighting,” Pillay said.

SOURCE: United Nations – Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

Political rivals must end dispute before South Sudan goes ‘down in flames’ – UN rights chief

Warning that the litany of grave atrocities committed in South Sudan and catalogued in a new United Nations report bears the grim hallmarks of genocide, the Organization’s human rights chief today called on the sparring political leaders there to take immediate steps to stop the killing, “before the fire they have ignited [brings] the entire country down in flames.”

“There can no longer be any excuse for either President Salva Kiir or his chief opponent Dr. Riek Machar continuing to avoid identifying and arresting their force commanders and other individuals implicated in the commission of serious violations, including war crimes and crimes against humanity,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay.

“Both leaders are due to meet in Addis Ababa for peace talks later today. It is essential they make a concerted and genuine effort to bring these talks to a speedy and successful conclusion. In the meantime, they should call an immediate halt to the fighting,” she said.

Ms. Pillay’s strong comments come in reaction to the report released yesterday by the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) which provides a comprehensive account of human rights violations and atrocities perpetrated during the hostilities that engulfed the country since 15 December 2013 and follows up on an interim report released by the Mission on 21 February.

Based on more than 900 eyewitness interview, the report provides a succinct timeline of the conflict, which was sparked by a political dispute between President Kiir, who belongs to the Dinka ethnic group, and his former vice-president Mr. Machar, who belongs to the Lou Nuer, and finds that “from the very outset…gross violations of international law…occurred on a massive scale.”

“This report … illustrates just how quickly a political struggle within the ruling party was allowed – or even encouraged – to metamorphose into an ethnic-based conflict of the most lethal sort,” Ms. Pillay said, adding that in the process, it revealed many of the structural weaknesses and leadership flaws undermining democracy and rule of law in the world’s youngest State.

As former President of the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), Ms. Pillay said she recognized in the report “many of the precursors of genocide: hate media including calls to rape women of a particular ethnic group; attacks on civilians in hospitals, churches and mosques; even attacks on people sheltering in UN compounds – all on the basis of the victims’ ethnicity.”

Ms. Pillay warned of the gravity of the situation after visiting South Sudan two weeks ago with the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, and she said that trip, as well as the visit this past Tuesday by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, have helped draw attention to the urgency of the situation and put pressure on the leaders of both sides to enter serious peace negotiations as well as to stop their followers committing more serious violations.

“There are some indications that they are starting to realize the outside world has finally really woken up to what is going on,” she said, emphasizing that after the release of the UNMISS report, for example, “it is simply not credible that the Government is unaware who, among their commanders, was responsible for organizing the slaughter of more than 300 Nuer men herded into a Government building in the Gudele neighbourhood of Juba on 16 December.”

“Similarly, it is not credible that Mr. Machar does not know which of his commanders instigated and led the mass killing of several hundred civilians in the mosque, hospital, market and other locations in Bentiu on 15 April,” Ms. Pillay continued, and added: “unfortunately these are only two of the many examples of the killing of civilians and other grave violations described in this report.”

While welcoming the increased attention given to South Sudan in recent weeks, including by the UN Security Council, the High Commissioner called on the international community – especially regional powers and processes such as the African Union, African Commission of Inquiry and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) – to focus even more attention on the dire human rights situation as part of their efforts to stop the country from collapsing into catastrophe.

Meanwhile in New York, a UN spokesman said that UNMISS hopes that the meeting between President Kiir and Mr. Machar – who have arrived in Addis Ababa – will reinvigorate the peace process, produce a political solution and put an immediate end to the violence.

And in the country itself, the Mission reports Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) and opposition troop movements in and around Bentiu, including close to the Mission base.

Yesterday, the Mission reported sporadic gun fire in the proximity of its base in Bentiu, where more than 23,000 civilians are being protected. One internally displaced civilian was wounded as a result of a stray bullet, and received medical treatment within the base. The Mission added that it has been asked not to land flights in Bentiu during the next 72 hours.

SOURCE: AFRICAN RENEWAL