Monthly Archives: April 2015

100 Year Journey project tells the story of South Asian pioneers

Expanded project will educate on South Asian contributions to Canadian society

April 30, 2015—Gatineau, QC— A new project funded by the government will help bring the story of how Canadians of South Asian heritage helped build this country into classrooms across Canada.

At a reception to launch Asian Heritage Month, the Hon. Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism and the Hon. Tim Uppal, Minister of State for Multiculturalism, announced that the Government of Canada is providing Inter-Action funding of almost $200,000 for the 100 Year Journey Project, a book chronicling the narratives of 100 South Asian pioneers to Canada. The book tells the stories of some of the first South Asians in Canada, detailing how they provided shelter and support for new immigrants, fought tirelessly for the voting rights of all communities, and spent years away from their loved ones as they set up new lives for themselves and their families.

This expansion will allow the 100 Year Journey Project to reprint the book, which was originally published in November 2014, as well as develop and release an electronic edition. The project will also create teaching materials to aid in the presentation of the book and develop a comprehensive website to capture and share more stories.

Quick facts

  • According to the 2011 National Household Survey, Canadians of South Asian Heritage are the largest visible minority category in Canada.
  • As of 2011, more than 1.6 million Canadians claimed South Asian descent, constituting five percent of the Canadian population and 32 percent of Canada’s Asian Canadian population.
  • In May 2002, the Government of Canada signed an official declaration to designate May as Asian Heritage Month.
  • Each May, Asian Heritage Month provides Canadians the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate the contributions of Canadians of Asian heritage to the growth and prosperity of Canada.

Quotes

“Each May, during Asian Heritage Month, Canadians acknowledge the long and rich history of Canadians of Asian origin and their contributions to Canada. The South Asian community has played an important role in the building of our country, which is why it is important to preserve and share their stories.”

Jason Kenney, Minister for Multiculturalism

“Canada’s unity in our diversity is truly one of our greatest strengths as a nation. And there is no better way to encourage this than by highlighting the achievements and contributions of Canada’s many cultural communities. Our Government is proud to make the 100 Year Journey book more accessible to Canadians in order to increase understanding and appreciation for the stories of those early South Asian pioneers who helped build Canada.”

Tim Uppal, Minister of State (Multiculturalism)

“We are pleased that the government has seen value in assisting our efforts to expand the 100 Year Journey Project, which at its core, is about preserving and sharing information about the valuable contributions made by the South Asian pioneers. I am confident that by sharing these stories and more, all Canadians will gain a better understanding of the South Asian community and the contributions that they have made to this great country that we all call home.”

Rana Vig, Founder, 100 Year Journey Project

Associated link

Follow us on Twitter: twitter.com/CitImmCanada

Photos of Minister Kenney available at: www.cic.gc.ca/english/department/media/photos/index.asp

Contacts

Lauren Armstrong
Minister’s Office – Minister Kenney
613-996-3100

Joe Kanoza
Minister’s Office – Minister of State Uppal
613-954-1064

Media Relations
Communications Branch
Citizenship and Immigration Canada
613-952-1650
CIC-Media-Relations@cic.gc.ca

Regional cooperation, working with demand countries key to ending wildlife crime, say African nations

30 Apr 2015

Better coordinated intelligence and law enforcement, involving communities in Africa and working with transit and destination markets outside of the continent must be at the heart of all efforts to tackle the alarming illegal trade in wild flora and fauna, African States said here today at the closing of the International Conference on Illegal Trade in Wild Fauna and Flora in Africa.

Countries must urgently work with one another to coordinate anti-poaching operations, customs and police controls, as well as strengthen cross-border law enforcement to stop the killing of wild animals and convict poachers and their accomplices.

“The plundering machine is forging ahead. I urge the international community to further mobilize against environmental crime and to commit firmly for this cause, the same way they are engaged in the fight against climate change and other global challenges,” said His Excellency Denis Sassou Nguesso, President of the Republic of Congo.

Curbing the demand needs to be a top priority, the participants added, pointing out that countries in Africa, speaking with one voice, should engage with destination countries to eliminate illegal markets and reach out to consumers about the dangers of the trade.

“This is a great step forward”, said Her Excellency Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, the AU Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture. “Today, Africa is coming together to tackle this horrific trade, which concerns them all. We commit ourselves to supporting this roadmap as we move forward to implement our common strategy”.

“Stopping national riches from being sold out cannot happen without modernizing legal frameworks. In many countries, engaging legal reforms will be necessary to forestall corruption and complicity at the national and outside of origin countries,” said Ibrahim Thiaw, the Deputy Executive Director of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP).

The United Nations, through its specialized agencies, including the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime (UNODC), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), expressed their continued commitment to support African countries to develop and finalize the African Common Strategy.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had lent his support to the conference emphasizing the need to extend every effort to put an end to environmental crime, especially the illegal trade in wildlife.

The value of wildlife crime, comprising fauna and flora, including logging, poaching and trafficking of a wide range of animals, amounts to many tens and possibly hundreds of billions of US dollars a year, according to estimates of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNEP and INTERPOL.

Wildlife trafficking destroys biodiversity and ecosystems, undermining development and eroding livelihoods for millions of African citizens and their future. It also creates insecurity, fuelling conflicts and corruption, depriving countries of their assets, compromising the rule of law and dividing societies.

Participants at the conference also agreed that addressing rural poverty, creating opportunities for sustainable livelihoods, and raising public awareness is a critical element in turning the tide on wildlife poaching.

“Using wildlife products and habitats responsibly, and developing sustainable tourism and other economic activities hold the promise of preserving biodiversity for present and future generations, while promoting economic growth and people’s well-being,” said Nik Sekhran, Head of Sustainable Development at UNDP.

“Illegal trade in wildlife is a serious transnational organized crime that no country or region can fight on its own. The draft strategy that is being proposed today in Brazzaville reinforces the need for a collective global, regional and national effort to counter these highly destructive crimes, working across source, transit and destination States,” said John E. Scanlon, Secretary-General of CITES.

For more information, or media interviews, please contact:

Mr Barthelemy Moussoki, Communication Sub-Committee, Congo, gmoussoki@yahoo.fr, +242 55707259

Mr Molalet Tsedeke, Media Centre Coordinator, AUC, MolaletT@africa-union.org 

Mr Mohamed Atani, Regional Information Officer, UNEP, +254 727531253, mohamed.atani@unep.org

Mr Nicolas Douillet, Communications Specialist, UNDP, +1 (917) 701-1520, nicolas.douillet@undp.org

Mary A. Dixon, Sr. Vice President, Communications, Wildlife Conservation Society, mdixon@wcs.org +1.347.840.1242

UN AND AFRICA: Somalia coming together as “united, federal country” despite challenges

Listen /

Nicholas Kay. UN Photo/Loey Felipe (file)

Somalia is coming together as a strong, united and federal nation despite challenges posed by the security situation, according to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General in the country. Nicholas Kay says the political process is now at a “point of no return” because Somalis want to create a well-governed country. Just days after an attack on a UN convoy by al-Shabaab terrorists, Joseph Msami spoke with Mr Kay on the line and began by asking for his take on the increase of terrorist threats in Somalia.

Burundians in Rwanda’s Bugesera reception centre. Photo: UNHCR/S.Masengesho

21,000 refugees seek protection in Rwanda

Around 21,000 people have fled from Burundi into Rwanda following political protests, the UN Refugee Agency, UNHCR, has confirmed. Civil unrest erupted on Sunday in the Burundian capital, Bujumbura, after the ruling party elected sitting President Pierre Nkurunziza as its candidate for the third time. The UN has warned that an attempt to seek a third term in the June presidential election is unconstitutional. Alpha Diallo asked Saber Azam, the UNHCR Representative in Rwanda, for an update on the situation.

Elephant poaching and ivory smuggling levels remain alarmingly. Photo: CITES (file)

“Political will” needed to stop US$23bn illegal wildlife trade

Political will is needed to stop the illegal trafficking in wildlife in Africa according to the United Nations Development Programme, UNDP. African Heads of State are currently discussing the first ever continent-wide strategy to combat the US$23 billion a year trade in the Congolese capital, Brazzaville. The trade includes elephant tusks and rhino horns as well as other flora and fauna. Eleuterio Guevane asked UNDP’s Global Wildlife Enforcement Advisor, Paul Harrison, what progress he expected in Brazzaville.

Producer/Presenter: Derrick Mbatha
Production Assistant: Ana Carmo
Studio Engineer: Shalako Gordon
Duration: 10’00″

Plight of millions in DPR Korea needs focus of global community

Listen /

Ivan Šimonović. UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz (file)

The plight of millions of people in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, who are subjected to mass human rights violations, needs the continued focus of the international community.

That’s according to the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Šimonović, who spoke at an event at UN Headquarters which invited North Korean defectors to talk about their experiences.

Stephanie Coutrix reports.

Ivan Šimonović said last December was the first time the situation of human rights in DPR Korea had been brought to the Security Council’s agenda.

He said it represented a milestone in the years of what he described as “tireless advocacy” for accountability for those responsible for the gravest violations.

The testimonies of those who suffered were the foundation of the work of a commission of inquiry of the UN Human Rights Council, Mr Šimonović explained.

“The commission stated that the DPRK is a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world. It warned that these human rights violations were committed in a widespread, systematic manner, as deliberate policy directed by the highest levels of the government. In many instances, the Commission of Inquiry concluded, these violations constituted crimes against humanity.”

The Assistant Secretary-General added that over the past year, there have been new signs of engagement by DPR Korea, which must be nurtured and built upon.

He noted that for the first time in March, the Foreign Minister attended the Human Rights Council in Geneva to defend his country’s record.

In June this year, the Human Rights Office will establish headquarters in Seoul, the capital of South Korea, to help promote accountability with a view to improving human rights in DPR Korea.

Stephanie Coutrix, United Nations.

Duration: 1’27″

Ugandan rebel leader’s arrest a shot in the arm for justice

Kampala, 30 April 2015 (IRIN) – The announced arrest in Tanzania of the leader of one of the longest-standing insurgencies in Africa’s Great Lakes region marks a step forward for justice and accountability but is unlikely to bring an end to the transnational network he leads.

Jamil Mukulu, 51, who heads the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), a partly Islamist grouping of Ugandan origin formed in 1989 and now based in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), was arrested in Tanzania earlier this month. Uganda is seeking his extradition in order to prosecute him in the International War Crimes Division of its High Court.

A senior Ugandan army official who asked not to be named because of protocol considerations confirmed to IRIN that the detained man was Mukulu, who has been subject to an international arrest warrant since February 2011.

“We hope the extradition modalities will be completed soon. He committed various atrocities in Uganda and DRC. He has to face justice,” Henry Okello, Uganda’s state minister for international affairs, told IRIN.

Interpol’s Uganda director Asan Kasingye said DNA tests would be conducted to make certain the arrested man was Mukulu.

Interpol issued a red notice for Mukulu in connection with the June 1998 Kichwamba Technical Institute massacre in the western Ugandan district of Kabarole, in which about 80 students were killed. He also faces charges of human rights abuses, kidnapping and recruitment of minors in both Uganda and DRC.

In January 2014, the DRC army began operations aimed at neutralizing the ADF, whose local and regional business interests include motorcycle taxis, logging and gold mining.

In late 2014, the ADF was blamed for a spate of killing sprees in Beni Territory of eastern DRC’s North Kivu province that claimed the lives of some 250 men women and children. 

Mukulu’s arrest has been welcomed in Uganda, but with caveats. Here’s a sample of reactions.

Stephen Oola, programme manager, conflict, transitional justice and governance at Uganda’s Makerere University’s Refugee Law Project

“The arrest of Jamil Mukulu is a welcome development to the people of Uganda and in particular the population in western part of the country and the greater Rwenzori sub-region who bore the brunt of the ADF insurrections.”

The arrest “opens a new chapter for accountability for war crimes and crimes against humanity given [a] recent decision of the Supreme Court …which implies that an insurgent like Jamil who has been arrested can no longer benefit from amnesty.”

“Our hope is that his arrest translates into meaningful justice for the multitude of victims and survivors of this atrocious war.”

Jason Stearns, Congo Research Group at Center on International Cooperation, New York University

“If it is true that Mukulu has been arrested, this will be a huge blow to the ADF. Mukulu has been at the head of the organization for two decades and is its uncontested figurehead.

“This [arrest], along with a strong military offensive by the Congolese army will reduce the group to a shadow of itself. However, I doubt that this is the end of the ADF.

“Over its history, with Mukulu at its helm, the ADF has engaged in crimes against humanity, including burning dozens of students to death in Kabarole district in 1998. His group is also the main suspect for the massacre of over 300 people around Beni since October. Putting Mukulu to trial could not only provide some comfort for victims, but also could shine light on one of the most opaque insurgencies in the region.”

Thierry Vircoulon, International Crisis Group project director Central Africa

“This trans-border armed group requires serious regional intelligence investigations to be dismantled instead of military operations.

“The ADF is living thanks to trans-border trafficking between Uganda and DRC that extends its ramifications in East Africa. The DRC government chose the war path instead of choosing the intelligence path and, as a result, it is back to square one in 2015. The ADF are back to the area where they operated before and they are still murdering innocent villagers.

“The arrest of Jamil Mukulu should be followed by very serious investigations to identify his support network from the DRC to Tanzania and Kenya. The intelligence approach is the best way to understand the local and regional nexus behind these armed groups and to neutralize them.”

Christoph Vogel, Associate Lecturer, Institute for African Studies, University of Cologne

“Once confirmed by the Ugandan and Tanzanian authorities that the suspected individual is Jamil Mukulu, it will be crucial to understand his attempt to flee. While ADF has been weakened significantly and divided in the past months, there was no major indication he [Mukulu] has been dismissed from power over the group’s military wing or … its politico-spiritual council.

“Mukulu’s odyssey to Tanzania can either mean that he has been sacked by his own troops or that at least the wing under his command is simply too decimated to keep up.”

so/am