Daily Archives: November 25, 2017

'Long walk to freedom' unfinished for women, girls – Deputy Secretary-General says in Mandela lecture

25 November 2017 &#150 Reflecting on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for investment in women and girls, decrying gender inequality as perhaps the most pervasive disparity around the world.

&#8220Sadly, the long walk to freedom for women and adolescent girls globally remains unfinished,&#8221

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the 15th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Cape Town, South Africa, referring to the title of Mr. Mandela’s autobiography.

Speaking on 25 November, which is marked annually as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, the Deputy Secretary-General issued a call to action for the international community &#8220to invest in the missing 50 per cent of our human asset base, the potential of our women and unleash their power for good.&#8221

&#8220Just as the world came together to support the end of subjugation on the basis of race in this great country, we need today to birth a new movement that calls for true equality, everywhere,&#8221 she urged.

Ms. Mohammed noted that violence against women in homes and war zones is &#8220a global pandemic&#8221. Additionally, fewer than one-third of senior management positions in the private sector are held by women, and less than 25 per cent of all parliamentarians are women.

She said the new narrative must address the current context and constituency of young people left behind.

She discussed an unplanned meeting between Ekhlas Bajoo, a Yazidi woman who had been captured and held by the Islamic State (ISIL or Daesh) and Hauwa Mohammed, victimised by Boko Haram, who embraced and exchanged messages of hope.

&#8220I left that day, knowing that there is nothing more important than giving girls like this a platform to reach the world for those left behind without an authentic voice,&#8221 Ms. Mohammed said.

&#8220Nelson Mandela had a very long walk to freedom,&#8221 Ms. Mohammed said. &#8220Most of us could not even fathom this journey. At the end, he said he &#39discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds there are many more hills to climb&#39. Leadership at all levels is the key.&#8221

She also paid tribute to other South African leaders, including the head of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and Navi Pillay, former High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ms. Mohammed, who as Deputy to Secretary-General António Guterres is the highest-ranking woman at the UN, said that Mr. Mandela’s profound legacy contains the inspiration needed to address gender equality, which is putting people at the centre to reduce inequality through inclusion and sustainability.

In a speech peppered with personal anecdotes of growing up bi-racial in Nigeria at a time of apartheid in South Africa, Ms. Mohammed noted that she had never met Mr. Mandela, or Madiba as he is affectionately known, and so represents generations of people who take inspiration from his life without a personal encounter.

Before the speech, Ms. Mohammed toured the office and archives at the Nelson Mandela Foundation, reading Madiba’s own writing, and had a personal tour of Robben Island, where he had been imprisoned.

Earlier, at a press briefing in Johannesburg, Ms. Mohammed said that tackling gender-based violence begins in the home and in communities.

“While progress has been made, a lot more needs to be done,” she told the journalists.

She is scheduled tomorrow to visit to the nearby township of Khayelitsha, which is an historically important area where poverty remains high today.

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 24 November 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. It continued to observe armed men and armoured personnel carriers in Luhansk city centre. The SMM observed shelling damage in a residential area of Dovhe. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas.* It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure in Zalizne and Betmanove, as well as, reportedly, the transport of the bodies of deceased soldiers near Novotoshkivske and Sentianivka. The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians from Travneve close to the contact line.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1], including, however, fewer explosions (60), compared with the previous reporting period (about 80 explosions).

On the evening and night of 23-24 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in flight from east to west, five explosions assessed as outgoing, five projectiles in flight from east to west, followed by totals of about 20 explosions (of which 11 were assessed as outgoing) and about ten projectiles in flight from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south. During the day on 24 November, positioned at the location of the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station for about two hours, the SMM heard four bursts of small-arms fire 2km west-south-west.

On the evening of 23 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded two tracer rounds and a projectile in flight from south to north, all 4-6km east-south-east.

During the day on 24 November, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), recorded, in sequence, four projectiles in flight from west to east, four projectiles in flight from east to west, a projectile in flight from west to east, followed by totals of two undetermined explosions, 83 projectiles (50 in flight from east to west and 33 in flight from west to east) and two illumination flares in vertical flight, all 5-8km south.

During the day on 24 November, positioned at the Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard a burst of small-arms and five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 1-3km north.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about eight hours, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 2-4km north-north-east.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 26 explosions (of which two were assessed as impacts) and about 30 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-4km south and south-east.

Positioned in government-controlled Verkhnotoretske (16km north-east of Mariupol) for about two hours, the SMM heard five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of recoilless-gun (SPG-9, 73mm) fire 1.5km north-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partyzan, 23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard six explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of rocket-propelled-grenade launcher fire 2km north-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, fewer explosions (two), compared with the previous reporting period (about ten explosions).

During the evening of 23 November, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and about 150 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 10-15km west.

The SMM continued monitoring the situation in Luhansk city (see SMM Daily Report, 24 November 2017). On 24 November, it observed a calm situation in the city. At 59 and 48 Radianska Street, as well as at 63 Karla Marksa Street, the SMM saw at least 30 unidentified armed persons wearing military-style clothes and white armbands. About half of them were also wearing balaclavas. The SMM saw two stationary armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and 12 armed men at the former Ministry of Internal Affairs building at 3 and 4 Kotsiubynskoho Street. At the armed formations (“komendatura”) building (at 63 Karla Marksa Street), the SMM observed two armed men wearing “komendatura” unit markings patrolling around the building. The SMM also observed that a military-type truck (Kamaz) was blocking the intersection of Lermontova and Dzerzhinskoho Streets. It saw nine stationary military-type trucks (six Kamaz and three Ural) in a parking lot at 2G Lermontova Street. On the western outskirts of Luhansk city, the SMM saw 20 military-type trucks (ZIL-131) heading south.

The SMM followed up on reports of damage to civilian properties in residential areas. On 23 November, the SMM observed two fresh impact sites in “LPR”-controlled Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk).

At 9/1 Tsentralna Street, the SMM observed a fresh crater on a paved road about 10-15m north of a fence and a house. The SMM also saw a hole in the glass of the north-facing window of the house at 9/1 Tsentralna Street and broken branches of a nearby tree, 3-4m north of the fence. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a recoilless gun (SPG-9) round fired from a northerly direction. Two women (aged 55-60) told the SMM that they were standing several metres from the impact site when they had heard and seen an explosion, around 17:00 on 22 November.

At 13 Tsentralna Street, the SMM observed fresh shrapnel damage to the wooden planks and the north-facing wall of a shed (7-8m south of a house) and its surrounding fence located 2-3m east of the shed. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a recoilless gun (SPG-9) round fired from a northerly direction. A man (aged 45), who introduced himself as the owner of the house, told the SMM that he had been in the yard of his house when he had heard an explosion about 17:20 on 22 November.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

During the early morning hours of 22 November, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded eight tracer rounds in flight from west to east 0.5-1km south, all of which were assessed as inside the disengagement area. During the evening of 22 November, the same camera recorded five tracer rounds in flight from west to east and two undetermined explosions 1-2km south, all of which were assessed as inside the disengagement area.

During the day on 24 November, positioned in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and near the Petrivske and Zolote disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

Beyond withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a tank (T-72) loaded on a tank transporter heading south on H-21 near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk). Aerial imagery revealed the presence, on 24 November, of 19 tanks about 4km south-east of Ternove (57km east of Donetsk) and 15 tanks about 3km west of Manuilivka (65km east of Donetsk) (in the latter area, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle had spotted, on 18 November, 41 tanks (see SMM Daily Report 21 November 2017).)

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Novoselivka Druha (36km north-east of Mariupol) and a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol). In a non-government-controlled area the SMM observed two stationary APCs (BTR-80) on Kotsiubynskoho Street in Luhansk city (see above).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-operation (JCCC), to the power line in Betmanove and to the phenol sludge reservoir in government-controlled Zalizne (formerly Artemove, 42km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM continued to observe that Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR” positions were close to the Donetsk Filtration Station.

The SMM facilitated and monitored the adherence to the ceasefire, co-ordinated by the JCCC, in government-controlled Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk) to enable, reportedly, the transport of the bodies of deceased members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Positioned 1.5km north of Sentianivka, the SMM heard two shots of small-arms fire 500m north.   

The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians living near the contact line. On 23 and 24 November, two residents from Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) told separately the SMM by phone that since 16 November Travneve had no power supply and there were about 120 residents still living in the village (including two children less than five years old).

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government, citing orders to do so. (See, for example, SMM Daily Report 21 November 2017.) The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC. 
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.

 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational. Nine SMM cameras are in a testing phase, which will last until 30 November 2017.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

FOURTH GHANA E-COMMERCE EXPO 20I7 OPENS IN ACCRA

This year’s Ghana e-Commerce Conference and Exhibition— a platform for online businesses and businesses that want to trade safely on the internet— has begun in Accra. 

E-Commerce Expo 2017, the fourth in a series, is being organized by OML Africa, an international Human Resource (HR) Management Consultancy based in Ghana with specialization in Organizational Development, Generalist HR, Talent Management and Advisory, and Legal services.

The theme for the two-day event is Shaping Ghana’s e-Commerce landscape through innovation, regulation and adoption. Together.

The event provides the platform for key stakeholders in the industry―online retailers, telcos, government agencies, internet service providers, banks, online payment platforms regulators, cyber security experts and courier services, among others― to lay the foundation as well as chart the course for Ghana’s e-Commerce industry.

Over 30 local and international experts from all key areas of e-Commerce will be addressing delegates from Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa   and the United Kingdom.

Running alongside the conference is an Exhibition in which about 40 companies are showcasing their online solutions and services. The Exhibition also provides the opportunity to meet potential investors and build strategic partnerships.

Delivering the keynote address at the opening ceremony in Accra, yesterday, Mr Paul Asinor, Events Director, OML Africa, noted that there was a slow and steady shift towards online trade, with several retail start-ups successfully entering the market.

Mr Asinor cited the McKinsey Global Institute as projecting e-Commerce to be worth US $ 75 billion in Africa’s leading economies by the year 2025.

However, he said, African e-Commerce faced several challenges  while cross border e-Commerce was confronted with the problem of poor infrastructure, underdeveloped logistics and difficulties surrounding international bank transactions.

He identified low credit card penetration in a number of regions and customers’ anxiety over fraud as drawback to the development of the industry as customers still preferred cash on delivery.

Mr Asinor, therefore, stressed the need for the conference to devise strategies to overcome the challenges.

The first Ghana e-Commerce Expo took place in August 2013 on the theme: “Building Ghana’s Businesses Online” while the second was organized in November 2015 on the theme: ‘Unleashing Ghana’s Online Potential’.

More than 100 delegates attended e-Commerce Expo 2016 on theme: ‘Transforming Ghana’s online Businesses through Technology, Innovation & Opportunity’.

Source: ISD (G. D Zaney)

President Akufo-Addo receives Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II

President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo on Thursday received Denmark’s Queen Margrethe II at the Flagstaff House, as the monarch began activities marking her three-day historic visit to Ghana.

Earlier, the Queen, on arrival at the seat of government, inspected a full guard of honour mounted by the Ghana Armed Forces and took the national salutes of both countries.

President Akufo-Addo recounted the peculiar longstanding history and relations between Ghana and Denmark, spanning some four centuries and was optimistic that the monarch’s presence in Ghana would further deepen the bonds of friendship shared by both nations.

“You know that between you and us, there is a very long history…four or five centuries of history,” the President said as the pair discussed issues of mutual benefit.

The President continued: “One of our greatest national assets bears your name….Christianborg Castle; it continues to be more a part of the Ghanaian projection.

“That alone means there is a constant reminder of the relations between us…we are hoping that your visit will develop and cement the relations between our two countries’, the President said.

This is the first time in Ghana’s history that a Danish monarch is visiting the country and West Africa in general. Her visit to Ghana is at the behest of President Akufo-Addo.

With Ghana’s policy increasingly focusing on developing good trade and investment with its partners, President Akufo-Addo was hopeful that the business delegation that accompanied the queen would accentuate the economic partnership and investment opportunities for greater cooperation.

“I’m looking forward to the issues between the Danish business people and their Ghanaian counterparts…..Denmark has been a solid ally in so many areas of Ghana’s national lives and we have been affected positively by your generosity,” he said.

The President used the occasion to thank the Danes for their generosity and support “which we treasure and value and have put to good use.”

Queen Magrethe II was pleased to be in Ghana and said she looked forward to deepening the ties between her country and Ghana.

Activities outlined for the state visit include are a business conference, cultural visits in Accra, a state dinner to be hosted by the President and site visits to Danish projects in Accra.

The Queen is also expected to meet the Danish community in Ghana and visit some cultural sites in the Eastern Region.

Source: GNA

South and Central Asia: On the Occasion of the Inauguration of the New President of the Kyrgyz Republic

The United States government congratulates the Kyrgyz Republic’s newly elected President, Sooronbay Jeenbekov, on his inauguration, which took place today in Bishkek. The United States commends President Jeenbekov and the Kyrgyz people on their commitment to democracy, the orderly election process, and a peaceful transfer of power, the first such transition between democratically elected leaders in Central Asian history. The United States has been a friend and partner of the Kyrgyz Republic for more than 25 years, and we remain committed to the Kyrgyz Republic’s success as a democratic, prosperous, and stable country. The United States looks forward to working with the newly elected President and his administration in the spirit of equality, trust, and mutual respect.