Daily Archives: November 14, 2018

URI and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention Sign Partnership Agreement

The partnership agreement offers an opportunity for the two organizations to enable religious leaders to prevent and counter the violent acts that spark atrocities.


United Religions Initiative (URI) and the United Nations Office on Genocide Prevention and the Responsibility to Protect have signed a partnership agreement, enhancing their working partnership at the national, sub-regional and continental level in Africa, to promote a culture of peace and to prevent atrocities before they take place.

The agreement was signed at the United Nations headquarters in New York on September 20, 2018 by the Rev. Victor H. Kazanjian, Jr., Executive Director of URI, and H.E. Mr. Adama Dieng, Special Adviser to the Secretary General of the United Nations.

The partnership agreement offers an opportunity for the two organizations to collaborate at the local, national, sub-regional, regional, and international levels to maximize implementation of the United Nations’ “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence,” which is specifically designed to enable religious leaders to prevent and counter the violent acts that spark atrocities.

“Religious leaders, faith-based, and interfaith organizations have a responsibility to contribute to the building of peaceful, inclusive, and cohesive societies that are resilient to conflict, violent extremism, and atrocity crimes,” said Ambassador Mussie Hailu, Global Envoy of URI and Representative at the African Union and UN Office in Africa, and Regional Director for URI-Africa.

The two organizations share a commitment, as stated by the objectives in their respective charters, to promote the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of dignity, respect and equal opportunity. Motivated by this shared commitment, the organizations agree to work together:

  • To collaborate on implementation of the “Plan of Action for Religious Leaders and Actors to Prevent Incitement to Violence”
  • To work together to counter hate speech and prevent instances of incitement to violence
  • To promote implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular Goal 16 (concerning building peaceful, inclusive, and just societies)

Through its 956 member organizations in 108 countries across the world, URI is cultivating peaceful coexistence among different religions and cultures by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities and the environment.



The United Religions Initiative is the largest grassroots interfaith network in the world. It cultivates peace and justice by engaging people to bridge religious and cultural differences and work together for the good of their communities. We implement our mission through local and global initiatives that build the capacity of nearly 1,000 member groups and organizations, called Cooperation Circles, in 108 countries, to engage in community action such as conflict resolution and reconciliation, environmental sustainability, education, women’s and youth programs, and advocacy for human rights.

URI holds the prestigious distinction of being a non-governmental organization (NGO) with consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council, and has long-standing partnerships with several other UN agencies, including the United Nations Department of Public Information (DPI).

Learn more at URI.org.


Gaea Denker

URI Communications Manager

United Religions Initiative




Gaea Denker, URI Communications Manager
United Religions Initiative

For a Digital Africa – UNISOC and its Partners Showcased Diversified and Innovative Products at 2018 AfricaCom

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, Nov. 14, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — As one of Africa’s most influential communication technologies expositions, The South Africa International Communications Exposition (referred to below as AfricaCom) was held in Cape Town from Nov 13 to Nov 15. UNISOC and its partners attended this year’s exhibition and showed off several mobile communications and IoT solutions on site, among which were the UNISOC SC7731EF chipset platform, and the debut of the world first 3G smart feature phone, released by UNISOC in cooperation with China Mobile, MTN and KaiOS.

New products to provide African consumers with better quality smart mobile devices

As the strategic partner of MTN, the largest mobile operator in South Africa, UNISOC actively helps African users convert from 2G to 3G and 4G. During this exposition, MTN launched a 2.4-inch smart device, which became the focus of today’s participants.

The new product allows customers to upgrade from a feature phone with only voice and text capabilities, to a fully connected handset with fast, 3G internet. Because of the competitive pricing of both the device and the monthly data plan, access to advanced digital services is finally a reality for everyone.

This new device is built on the SC7731EF chipset platform and adopts KaiOS operating system. The technical support service is provided by China Mobile and the wireless and testing support by Huawei.

The UNISOC SC7731EF contains a quad core 1.3 GHz ARM CortexTM -A7 processor and the Mali T820 MP1 3D graphics accelerator. It supports WCDMA/HSPA/HSPA+ and GSM/GPRS/EDGE dual mode modems and is integrated BT, WIFI, FM, GNSS and cellular RF capabilities, achieving the highest level of integration in the industry. Compared with the same type of products in the market, with its innovative chip design technology and mature 28nm HPC+, UNISOC SC7731EF has improved performance by more than 20% and the power consumption can be reduced by 30% in typical scenarios, enabling handset manufacturers to combine high performance with a highly competitive end-price.

“UNISOC has been in the African market for over 10 years and more than 100 million mobile phones powered by UNISOC chips are sold in Africa every year.” said Mr. Adam Zeng, Executive Vice President of Unigroup and CEO of UNISOC, “Without doubt, Africa market is one of the most important overseas markets for UNISOC, both now and in the long run, and we will continue to invest more in Africa to fill in the mobile communications and IoT gaps in this market. With customized solutions and excellent services, we will create a rich and diversified mobile ecosystem for Africa that will enable more than 1 billion African consumers to connect intelligently.”

“China Mobile is very pleased to work with partners – UNISOC, MTN and KaiOS, providing the billion-consumer market of Africa with customized solutions and technical services, and helping develop digitalization in Africa.” said Huidi Li, Vice President of China Mobile Communications Group Co., Ltd. “In the new era of 5G and IoT, China Mobile will also actively expand and continue to deepen the Belt and Road market, promoting traditional friendships between Chinese and African enterprises and people in the communications field, creating a new digital future for Africa.”

Partnering to aid the development of Digital Africa through diversified, innovative products 

At this year’s AfricaCom, in addition to the new products released jointly with China Mobile, MTN and KaiOS, UNISOC also joined Huawei, Skyworth, Lephone, Mobicel and other partners participating in this exposition by exhibiting dozens of mobile communications and IoT products to build Africa digital chip ecology with diversified products, promote traditional Sino-African friendships in the communications field, and jointly seek for the new future of digital development in Africa with innovation.

Mr. Xuejun Chen, Vice President, Huawei Southern Africa Region stated that :”Huawei has always insisted on building connections in Africa and working together with the industry to promote the popularization of mobile broadband through a healthy business model, connect the unconnected and enable them to enjoy the convenience brought by wireless communication. This time, we have achieved a breakthrough through the joint effort with UNISOC and mobile phone manufacturers to further build the ICT industry ecosystem and improve the accessibility and affordability of ICT services, to fulfill Huawei’s vision – we are committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organization for a fully connected, intelligent world. ”

In the mobile terminals field, UNISOC and multinational operators such as MTN, Orange, Vodafone and others have established a sustainable cooperation, providing Samsung, Tecno and many local costumers with high quality products and technical services. This exhibition also reveals UNISOC’s high investment in the area of IoT. In cooperation with African customers, UNISOC helps and supports the construction of digital Africa in the areas of mobile payment, distance education, e-commerce and smart cities.


As a core subsidiary of Tsinghua Unigroup, UNISOC is a leading fabless semiconductor company committed to the independent R&D of core chipsets in mobile communications and IoT. Its products cover mobile chipset platforms supporting 2G / 3G / 4G / 5G communication standards, RF chipsets, wireless connection chipsets, security chipsets, TV chipsets, and image sensor chipsets. With more than 4,500 staff, 14 R&D centers and 8 customer support centers around the world(as of Oct 2018), UNISOC has been one of the top 3 mobile baseband chipset suppliers in the world, the largest pan-chip provider in China, and the leading 5G communications chipset design company in China.


Sudan Diplomat: Talks to Remove Sudan From US Terror List to Begin

The process of removing Sudan from the U.S. list of states sponsoring terrorism will start soon, Sudan’s top diplomat told VOA in an exclusive interview.

El-Dardiri Mohamed Ahmed said his meetings with U.S. officials were effective in convincing Washington that Sudan has taken measures against terrorism and that it is time to begin the process of removing the country from the U.S. State Department’s list of states sponsoring terrorism.

We feel that U.S. officials are ready to listen to Sudan and are ready to evaluate the situation on the basis of developments that are currently taking place in Khartoum. They are very much appreciative of the efforts that have been taken by Sudan, el-Dardiri said.

El-Dardiri did not elaborate on the timeframe, but U.S. charge d’affaires in Sudan, Steven Koutsis said Tuesday that if it is determined that Sudan met all the statutory criteria, the U.S is prepared to begin.

Designation history

Sudan was designated a state sponsoring terrorism in 1993 during the Clinton administration. The country was also hit with U.S. sanctions over Khartoum’s alleged support for multiple terror groups, including al-Qaida, Hamas and Hezbollah.

Osama bin Laden and his followers lived in Sudan between 1992 and 1996.

But Foreign Minister el-Dardiri said the designation was politically motivated at the time.

When Osama bin Laden was in Sudan, he had nothing to do with terrorism. Bin Laden Group construction company entered Sudan to start a development project of an airport, el-Dardiri said.

No particular terrorist attack was ever traced to Sudan, and no particular terrorist was named as a person who has taken Sudan as a refuge within the period in which we were listed as a state sponsoring terrorism, he added.

The former leader of the al-Qaida terror group, bin Laden did live in Sudan for years before going to Afghanistan in late 1990s.

Human rights

Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International have criticized Sudan and documented abuses and atrocities carried out by Sudan’s security forces including ethnic cleansing in Darfur, prisoner abuse, persecution of human rights defenders, and prosecution of religious minorities.

El-Dardiri said that his country has improved its human rights records and works with the U.N. to further improve it.

We are working closely with the United Nations Human Rights Commission. Over the period of the last two years, Sudan human rights records has improved immensely, el-Dardiri said, acknowledging that challenges still exist.

A U.S. State Department official, speaking to VOA last month about the prospects of Sudan’s removal from the U.S. list, also raised the issue of human rights.

If we conclude that Sudan has sufficiently built upon the positive actions it has taken, including by improving respect for human rights, enhancing humanitarian access, and advancing Sudan’s peace process, and determine that the relevant statutory criteria have been met, we would consider beginning the process to rescind Sudan’s State Sponsor of Terrorism designation, the official said.


Sudan’s economy continues to deteriorate because of surging inflation, a high foreign debt, and the loss of oil revenue because of the secession of South Sudan in 2011.

Last year, the Trump administration lifted sanctions on Sudan and withdrew the country’s name from the list of countries with travel restrictions. The hope, at least inside Sudan, was that the removal of sanctions would help revive the economy.

That has not happened, Sudan’s economy remains in crisis.

While officials blame it on sanctions, some analysts blame poor government economic policies and rampant corruption.

Omer Ismail, a senior policy adviser at Enough Project, a Washington-based think tank that studies conflicts in Africa, says the Sudanese government is responsible for the economy.

The regime is built on corruption and managed to steal the country’s resources. Businesses through government contracts managed to transfer money out of Sudan. That is why the economy suffered multiple times and became worse even than before the economic sanctions were lifted, Ismail said.

Measures have been taken in the country to address issues related to corruption. We have started a crackdown on corrupted entities, and this is a process that will be continuing, it’s an ongoing process, el-Dardiri said.

El-Dardiri added that sanctions are badly affecting Sudanese economy and affecting the average Sudanese.

South Sudan

The conflict between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Army resulted in the secession and subsequent independence of South Sudan.

Hundreds of thousands of people have reportedly died as a result of the conflict, famine and diseases caused by war.

El-Dardiri said that Khartoum is optimistic about reaching a peace agreement with South Sudan.

We have peace agreement with South Sudan and is right now entering its second month. It is very early to tell whether this peace will hold or not. We are very much optimistic, el-Dardiri added.

Source: Voice of America

Cameroon’s Renewed Anglophone Fighting Displaces Hundreds of Civilians

Cameroon’s restive English-speaking regions are emptying out after renewed military raids on separatist strongholds left at least 30 people dead in two days. The renewed fighting comes barely a week after President Paul Biya, during his inauguration ceremony, warned rebels to drop their guns or be killed. Thousands of fleeing civilians are arriving in Yaounde.

Nso and Wimbum people, from the English-speaking northwest region of Cameroon, sing and dance to welcome some of the thousands of people who fled fighting in their villages.

Nineteen-year-old businessman Kenneth Kongyu says he fled in a group of 75 as the military clashed with Anglophone separatists who want to form an independent state they call Ambazonia.

“So when we arrived in Berr, we saw about 300 people there. They were even asking me, where am I going let them join me? I said I am just going to nowhere,” he said. “I am afraid, they are killing people every day, both the Ambazonia fighters and the military. When they come to the market, they shoot from every angle.”

Cameroon’s military spokesperson Colonel Didier Badjeck on Wednesday said the death toll from clashes the last few days had increased to more than 30, all of them separatists.

Ambazonian Defense Force spokesman Ivo Tapang told Reuters news agency only two separatist fighters died while their forces killed 13 government troops.

Seventeen-year-old Oscar Tatah says he is a former separatist fighter. He says he was nearly killed when the military attacked their training camp of 80 young fighters in Nkambe.

“Some are joining because they have killed their family members, their father, maybe their mother or their father or their brothers. So, they don’t have somebody to count on again. That is the reason why some are joining. I am pleading on the government to try and solve the problem so that we, the youths, we can go back to school,” said Tatah.

Elvis Tardze, a community leader from Nkambe, notes police often suspect displaced people of being separatist supporters and search their houses.

“People need to continuously cluster together, sensitizing each person or each member of each group or community to do the right thing and doing the right thing is to respect the law and follow the norms. They should avoid being exposed to circumstances. They should be law-abiding,” he said.

During his inauguration on November 6, President Paul Biya told fighters to drop their guns or be killed. He promised to pardon those who stopped fighting.

Political analyst Gabriel Suh says the rebels are showing no signs of surrendering. He says Cameroon may be in for carnage if Biya does not negotiate with the separatists, whose leaders live in exile.

“Why can the government not invite those in the diaspora to come to the negotiating table where there is no intimidation? They can talk one to one, ask them what they need, what they want and what they do not want. We should dialogue amicably,” said Suh.

Some political leaders have called on Biya to initiate dialogue with the separatists. But Biya who has ruled Cameroon for 36 years has refused any talks on Cameroon becoming a divided state.

Cameroon, a former French colony, has been troubled by unrest since separatists in two English-speaking regions in 2016 said they wished to form a new country.

Biya declared war on them, calling them terrorists for attacks that killed government troops.

In January, Cameroon extradited from Nigeria the self-proclaimed leader of Ambazonia, Ayuk Tabe Julius, along with 47 of his supporters.

Since then, separatists have been attacking schools, killing and kidnapping teachers, students, and workers to make the English-speaking regions ungovernable.

Source: Voice of America

Minister Zweli Mkhize hosts meeting of Maluti-A-Phofung Consultative Committee, 15 Nov

Minister Zweli Mkhize to host committee to deal with Maluti-A-Phofung troubles as it meets for first time

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Zweli Mkhize will tomorrow, 15 November 2018, host the first meeting of the Maluti-A-Phofung Consultative Committee established to finalise a recovery plan for the municipality.

The committee has been established as a result of the recent court settlement in which the litigants accepted a co-operative governance model proposed by CoGTA in order to address some of the challenges in Maluti-A-Phofung Municipality.

The committee brings all the players together in the spirit of working together to resolve the impasse. It will comprise;

Two (2) representatives each from the Municipal Finance Recovery Service, Free State provincial government nominated by the Premier, National Government, nominated by the Minister of CoGTA, Eskom, Municipality (Maluti-A-Phofung) and five (5) representatives from the business association that brought the case to court.

Minister Mkhize has welcomed the court settlement as a step in the right direction as such problems need to be solved by all of us working together as business, government and all key stakeholders. Our view is that the lasting solution is to build fully functional municipalities and this court settlement, which we all fully support, moves everyone towards that direction.

The Settlement agreement furthermore indicates that the Consultative Committee should present a proposed recovery plan to the Minister within sixty (60) days from the date of the signature of the Settlement Agreement which is 22 December 2018.

The Minister (or his nominee) and the MEC of Finance will consider the proposed recovery plan and will report back to the consultative committee within fifteen (15) days on the extent to which the proposed recovery plan has been approved by the Department of CoGTA and the steps to be instituted in order to implement the recovery plan.

Source: Government of South Africa