No evidence of human rights reforms in Eritrea - UK

2 days 2 hours ago

The United Kingdom says it has no evidence of human rights reforms in Eritrea since the last session of the United Nations Human Rights Council. It added that it had raised the situation with the Eritrean government.

In a written question and answer session in parliament, David Patrick Paul Alton of Liverpool asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, FCO, about Eritrea.

His question posed on 10th October was responded to eight days later by Tariq Mahmood Ahmad, Minister of State, FCO, who said UK’s Minister for Africa had raised human rights concerns with Eritrean foreign minister Osman Saleh as recently as September 2018.

Alton’s question was as follows: “To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have seen any evidence of substantive Human Rights reforms in Eritrea since the most recent report of the UN Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Eritrea to the thirty-eighth session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.”

​The October 18 response read: “The UK has seen no evidence of any human rights reforms in Eritrea since the last session of the United Nations Human Rights Council.

“The Minister for Africa raised our concerns on the human rights situation with the Eritrean Foreign Minister when they met on 25 September, and expressed our hope for an improvement in light of political developments in the region.”

Minister of Africa, Harriet Baldwin met with Osman Saleh on the sidelines of the 73rd United Nations General Assembly in New York. Eritrea dedicated its address to demand for the lifting of sanctions imposed by the security council.

Eritrea was late last week elected to serve on the United Nations Human Rights Council, a move that attracted condemnation from rights groups that have long condemned Asmara for systemic right abuses.

The UN special rapporteur for the region has in the past called for the government to be held for crimes against humanity. Many political dissidents are believed to be in jails along with journalists and pro-democracy activists.

Government justified their election to the council by saying it would afford the country the opportunity to deal with human rights issues.

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Nigerian startup fights counterfeit drugs with technology

2 days 3 hours ago

To fight the spread of fake drugs in West Africa, a Nigerian health start-up is offering an innovative solution, that connects hospitals, and pharmacies with a multinational and local drug manufactures.

In Africa, anywhere between 30 and 50 percent of prescribed drugs are fake, undermining the treatment of killer diseases like Malaria.

In Nigeria, drugs such as anti-malarial and antibiotics are sometimes sold in open-air markets.

As well as putting patients at risk, counterfeit drugs are a constant bane for companies like Glaxosmithkline, Sanofi and other international drug makers.

Some pharmacists in Africa, for example, say that they are compelled to buy from the cheapest but not necessarily the safest suppliers to compete with illegal street traders.

Vivian Nwakah, an entrepreneur behind Medsaf, launched her start-up in January 2017.

“Fake medication first of all is a massive industry. There are reports that it is bigger than all illicit drugs combined, and that is an outright fake, you are just faking the package and then you are putting water pills or fake chalk pills inside,” Nwakah said.

She said she also want you to think about the sub-standard medication issue, so that is a medication that might come from a well meaning place.

“We have some manufacturers within the country that have excellent standards and in fact I have seen amazing warehouses in Nigeria for various manufacturing companies but they still have to import their raw materials and they don’t produce enough to cover the entire needs of the country,” she added.

Some pharmacists in Africa, for example, say that they are compelled to buy from the cheapest but not necessarily the safest suppliers to compete with illegal street traders.

“Medsaf has very robust supply chain unit, now we are not bothered to check the source of the supplier, or who is the manufacturer, is it genuine or not, is if original or fake, what is the quality assurance system, where the drugs are stored. So all these issues we are not concerned now,” said Medical Director, Grover Medical Lifestyle Clinic, Anil Grover.

With over 650 categories of drugs comprising 400 brand names, Medsaf says its able to meet more than 80 percent needs of most health facilities in Lagos.

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Sexual abuse in Senegalese schools -HRW [The Morning Call]

2 days 3 hours ago

A shocking report from Human Rights Watch released on Thursday has revealed sexual abuse in Senegalese learning institutions.

According to them, abusive teachers and other staff sexually exploit, harass, and abuse adolescent girls in Senegal’s secondary schools.

The report titled “‘It’s Not Normal’: Sexual Exploitation, Harassment and Abuse in Secondary Schools,” documents cases of teachers who abuse their authority by engaging in sexual relations with students in exchange for money, good grades, food, or items such as mobile phones and new clothes.

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Madagascar: Candidates protest media discrimination ahead of polls [The Morning Call]

2 days 3 hours ago

Presidential candidates in Madagascar are on the campaign trail in the run up to the November 7 presidential elections.

Among the aspiring candidates are three former presidents plus thirty three other lesser-known candidates, who are struggling to promote their vision for the country.

We speak to Serge Jovial Imbeh, who is one of these candidates.

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Somalia destroys container full of contraband alcohol

2 days 4 hours ago

Customs and police authorities in Somalia seized and destroyed on Thursday a container full of contraband alcohol.

The consignment was being smuggled via the Mogadishu port, Radio Dalsan, a local outfit said. A similar seizure was made at the airport.

The container is said to have 905 boxes of alcohol that had the label, King Lion, described as a premium quality whisky with 40% alcohol content.

Photos showed the consignment being bulldozed under the keen watch of the relevant authorities.

BREAKING Customs authority and police seize and destroy alcohol being smuggled via the #Mogadishu port #Somalia pic.twitter.com/0IyNxVunw6— Radio Dalsan (@DalsanFM) October 18, 2018

A local journalist added that authorities had confirmed to the media that another contraband alcohol consignment had been seized at the airport on the same day.

The reports did not disclose where the impounded products were coming from and or the persons or institutions behind the shipment.

Somalia is a predominantly Muslim country with strict regulations on alcohol use. The country has a long coastal line making it a crucial player in sea transport.

The country is suffering from insurgent activities by the al-Shabaab militants who are fighting government in a bid to impose a strict interpretation of Shariah – Islamic law.

Ozmic

UK denies funding Ethiopia's notorious Liyu police

2 days 4 hours ago

The United Kingdom has officially addressed reports that it had at a point supported Ethiopia’s notorious paramilitary unit, the Liyu Police.

The head of the British Department for International Development, DFID, Christian Rogg met with Somali Regional State, SRS, leader Mustafa Omer earlier this week.

The meeting according to the British Embassy in Addis Ababa centered around security reforms whiles Rogg took the opportunity to dispel resurfaced reports that the DFID had back in 2013 funded Liyu police.

Omer in August took over as head of the SRS after former head was arrested over rights issues. He has promised to uphold rights and freedoms in the region that has suffered highhanded leadership since 2010.

The UK Guardian in January 2013 reported that an internal DFID document had entered a tender to train security forces in the Somali region of Ethiopia, as part of a five-year £13m–15m “peace-building” programme.

The statement read as follows: “The British Embassy is aware of some reports circulating on social media referencing reporting from five years ago which speculated on sources of funding for the Somali Regional Special police, commonly known as the Liyu police.

“Press reporting in 2013 focused on DFID’s Peace and Development programme. The programme intended to support development and reduce conflict in Somali Regional State.

“It helped thousands of children attend primary school and increased access to health services and clean water. It provided legal aid and specialist legal support, particularly for women and children.

“Planned support to improve security in the region was not implemented. The UK government has not funded the Liyu police. The Peace and Development Programme ended in 2017.”

Who are the Liyu police?

Ethiopian authorities created the Liyu (“special” in Amharic) police for the Somali region in 2007, when an armed conflict between the insurgent Ogaden National Liberation Front (ONLF) and the government escalated.

By 2008, the Liyu police had become a prominent counterinsurgency force recruited and led by then-regional security chief Abdi Mohammed Omar, known as “Abdi Illey.”

Abdi Illey became the president of Somali Regional State in 2010, and the Liyu police continued to report to him till his arrest in August. He is currently facing a legal process instituted by federal government.

The Liyu police have frequently been implicated in extrajudicial killings, torture, rape, and violence against people in the Somali region, as well as in retaliatory attacks against local communities.

There has also been growing evidence of attacks by the group against communities outside of the Somali region, including in the Oromia region since late December 2016, and in Somalia.

Ozmic

Thousands race to witness new Nile Bridge in Uganda

2 days 5 hours ago

Thousands of people on Wednesday rushed to the opening of a new 525-metre long bridge spanning the Nile River in southern Uganda.

Uganda’s President Yoweri Museveni officially opened the new 525-metre long bridge spanning the Nile River in southern part of the country.

Museveni cut a ribbon to open the bridge in the town of Jinja, which has been dubbed ‘The Source of the Nile’ bridge.

The structure was funded by a $112 million loan from the Japanese International Cooperation Agency.

Local media reported that many people travelled from neighbouring towns to be amongst the first to cross.
Masahisa Sato, the State Foreign Affairs Minister of Japan, was also present at the ceremony.

Jinja thoroughfare that the bridge connects is a busy import-export route for Uganda through Kenya and, as such, provides the economic lifeline for the landlocked country.

Museveni commissions first suspended cable bridge in Uganda https://t.co/vX974tll2q— mic (@MicahMula) October 19, 2018

It is hoped the bridge will become a new tourist attraction for the area being the fifth longest cable bridge in Africa.

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