UN and African experts urge Sierra Leone’s President to save millions of women’s lives by signing the 2015 Safe Abortion Bill



GENEVA (28 January 2016) – A group of United Nations and African Commission on Human and Peoples’ Rights Commission experts* today urged the President of Sierra Leone, Ernest Bai Koroma, to sign the 2015 Safe Abortion Bill for it to enter into force without further delay.

The human rights experts warned that reluctance towards the decriminalization of abortion by some parties, including religious organizations, has resulted in delays in signing the Bill, as the President sent it back to Parliament for reconsideration.

The 2015 Safe Abortion Bill, passed by Parliament last December, is aimed at ensuring women’s and adolescents’ access to safe services regarding abortion and authorizes the termination of a pregnancy under any circumstances up to 12 weeks and in cases of incest, rape, fetal impairment as well as when the woman’s health is at risk, up to 24 weeks.

“Sierra Leone has a great opportunity to save hundreds of women’s and adolescents’ lives by adopting the bill,” they said. “This bill is a cornerstone legislation to advance women’s and adolescents’ right to health, including sexual and reproductive rights in a country where maternal mortality rates are one of the highest in the world.”

According to the World Health Organization, Sierra Leone still had a maternal mortality rate of 1100 deaths for 100,000 live births in 2013, despite a reduction of 54% of maternal-related deaths since 1993. These deaths are mainly due to unsafe abortions and the lack to access lifesaving treatments. Denial of reproductive health services can also cause tremendous and lasting physical and emotional suffering, inflicted on the basis of gender.

“By adopting the bill, Sierra Leone would become one of the leading African nations to take effective measures to reduce maternal mortality and reaffirm women’s human rights,” the experts said noting that the ACHPR has just launched, on 18 January 2016, a global campaign for the decriminalization of abortion in Africa.

The UN and ACHPR experts also called on Sierra Leone “to respect its obligations under international and regional human rights law by ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health and rights for women, including maternal health care and access to all methods of contraception.”  


Alcohol sellers complain about ban in Tonj State



Radio Don Bosco

Local alcohol brewers and sellers complain that the government should not stop the business for them to earn their bread.


One of the sellers told journalists that the ban affect parents because they get money to pay the school fees of their children and buy food, Radio Don Bosco reports.


Deputy town mayor Valentino Machar Ater told the sellers that there are many ways of earning living.


He said “the money you use to buy, sugar, yeast, flour to prepare alcohol can let you buy any other thing for different business to earn more money”.


Tonj government authorities banned alcohol brewing and sale on January 18.


It ordered the organized forces to pour out any alcohol found in the houses or markets.


Congolese refugees flee new South Sudan fighting


EZO, South Sudan, Jan 28 (UNHCR) – Clashes erupted between the so-called Arrow Boys and South Sudanese government soldiers late last year. The school and hospital were looted and homes burnt to the ground. Now, Pierre* and thousands of other refugees have to move again.

 “I thought it was the end of the world,” said Pierre, recalling the day violence caught up with him. “I was in my fields when the fighting began. I dropped everything and rushed home to get my wife and children, but on the way I was taken by armed youth.”

 He was held hostage and forced to carry the militia’s supplies, all the while unaware of the fate of his wife or their two-month-old daughter and four-year-old son. He was finally released unharmed after several days.

 “I immediately headed back home to look for my family, fearing the worst,” he continued. “When I reached Ezo, I found my hut completely ransacked and my boy inside alone in tears but my wife and younger daughter were gone.”

Catholic Bishops vow to bless plan B if parities fail to implement agreement



The Catholic Bishops of South Sudan and Sudan vow to bless any plan “B” or “C” that the international community will enforce if the SPLM-IO and the government fail to implement the peace agreement.

The Bishops in a message after their extraordinary meeting in Rome, Italy say they bless an appropriate plan to rescue the situation of South Sudan.

They express concern that the peace process should not hold this time as South Sudan is already described as “failed state”.

The Bishops are also calling for more efforts for dialogue and peace in the


They encourage attempts of the warring parties of the Sudan to bring lasting peace to Darfur, Blue Nile and South Kordofan.

The Bishops regret the resumption of bombardments of innocent people in these areas this month.

They call on the Sudanese now to be the first to realize that war and killing do not solve problems.

The Bishops urge the government of Sudan and opposition to sit and negotiate a just and peaceful settlement to the conflict.


– See more at: http://catholicradionetwork.org/?q=node/19793#sthash.ImEepnFP.dpuf

International Conference on family planning to held 25-28 January


The International Conference on Family Planning (ICFP) will be held in Nusa Dua, Indonesia, January 25-28, 2016, bringing together thousands of policymakers, researchers, technical experts, and advocates from the international family planning community to share best practices, reflect upon lessons learned, and chart the course forward.

The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is part of the ICFP’s core organizing group, and a number of our technical experts will be present at the conference to engage in the discussions on the latest successes and challenges in family planning efforts.

Organized around the theme “Global Action, Local Commitments,” ICFP presents a crucial platform to elevate family planning within the new global development agenda, by highlighting the important role and vital contribution of family planning to strategies for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The meeting will also call attention to the progress countries have made toward achieving the global goal of reaching 120 million more women and girls with modern contraception by 2020.


Humanitarian community appeals for $1.3 billion to assist 5.1 million people in need


(Juba, 19 January 2016): The South Sudan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2016, which was officially launched today in Juba, requests US$1.3 billion to respond to the most life-threatening needs of 5.1 million of people across South Sudan. A total of 114 humanitarian organizations, including international and national NGOs and UN agencies have projects in the plan.

Speaking at the launch, the Humanitarian Coordinator for South Sudan, Eugene Owusu, said that humanitarian partners are increasing efficiencies and maximizing synergies in order to reach as many people as possible.

“This appeal must be fully funded. It presents the bare minimum required to respond to the most urgent needs, and these needs cannot go unanswered,” highlighted Mr. Owusu. “The challenge we face is unprecedented but we must not give up.”

In 2015, humanitarian partners worked tirelessly to reach people in need, delivering life-saving assistance and protection to more than 4.4 million people across South Sudan by the end of November, including in some of the most remote locations.

More than 2.3 million people – one in every five people in South Sudan – have been forced to flee their homes since the conflict began and 3.9 million people were severely food insecure in September 2015. More than 680,000 children under age 5 are estimated to be acutely malnourished, including more than 230,000 who are severely malnourished, and communicable diseases, already endemic across South Sudan, have spread at an alarming rate.

“It is the sincere hope of the humanitarian community that 2016 will bring long-lasting peace to this young and potentially great nation and replace the desperation and devastation we have seen in 2015 with hope for a brighter future,” said Mr. Owusu. “But humanitarian needs cannot wait. We are in a race against time to ensure that the most desperate and vulnerable across South Sudan are reached with life-saving protection and assistance before it is too late. We must act now and we need the international community’s support to do so.”




Festus Mogae, flicker Photo

17 January 2016, ADDIS ABABA: The Chairperson of the Joint Monitoring and Evaluation Commission (JMEC) has announced the appointment of a deputy chairperson.

Mr. Festus G. Mogae, Former President of the Republic of Botswana appointed Mr. François Lounceny Fall, Former Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Guinea, as Deputy Chairperson of JMEC.

Mr. Fall will assume his responsibilities from 18 January 2016.

“Mr. Fall is a distinguished public servant who has ably served his country and the United Nations. I welcome his commitment to serve the people of South Sudan in this important role,”said the Chairperson.

Mr. Fall was Guinea’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations from 2000 to 2002, and Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2002 to 2004.

In 2004, Mr. Fall became Prime Minister. From 2005 to 2010, Mr. Fall was the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Somalia, before returning to government service as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Guineans Abroad from 2012.