South Sudan Mission commander removed over failure to act

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The United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki Moon has removed South Sudan’s peacekeeping commander on Tuesday after a damning internal report was released that details how Mission forces failed to protect civilians during clashes between government and opposition forces in July.
The Secretary-General has received Major General (retired) Patrick Cammaert’s report on the Independent Special Investigation into the violence in Juba in July 2016 and the actions of the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), including its response to acts of sexual violence in and around the Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites at UN House and the attack on the Terrain camp said Ban Ki Moon Spokes Person Stéphane Dujarric

Dujarric said the Special Investigation found that UNMISS did not respond effectively to the violence due to an overall lack of leadership, preparedness and integration among the various components of the mission. The Special Investigation also found that command and control arrangements were inadequate, while peacekeepers maintained a risk-averse posture.
‘’These factors contributed to the failure of UNMISS to respond to the attack by Government soldiers on the Terrain camp on 11 July and protect civilians under threat. The Special Investigation was unable to verify allegations that peacekeepers failed to respond to acts of sexual violence committed directly in front of them on 17 and 18 July’’ the spokes person added

The Special Investigation found that UNMISS faced an extremely challenging set of circumstances and was caught in the crossfire of an active and particularly violent conflict. During the three days of fighting, according to some conservative estimates, at least 73 people were killed, including more than 20 internally displaced persons in the PoC sites. Two peacekeepers were killed and several more were injured. One hundred and eighty-two buildings in the UN House compound were struck by bullets, mortars and rocket propelled grenades.

The Secretary-General is deeply distressed by these findings. He reiterates his outrage over the acts of violence committed in Juba in July and the continuing betrayal of the people of South Sudan by too many of its leaders.
‘’ The Secretary-General recognises that UNMISS has saved hundreds of thousands of lives over the past three years, including in its PoC sites, and commends the Mission’s personnel for their dedication’’ Dujarric said ‘’He is, nonetheless, alarmed by the serious shortcomings identified by the Special Investigation, which were evident in the mission’s failure to fully implement its mandate to protect civilians and UN staff during the fighting’’

Dujarric added that the Secretary-General has studied the recommendations made by the Special Investigation and intends to implement them. The Secretary-General will ensure that the necessary steps are taken to enable UNMISS to protect civilians more effectively, including through greater accountability of the mission’s civilian and uniformed leadership.

The Secretary-General has transmitted the Executive Summary of General Cammaert’s report to members of the Security Council, which was also released publicly today.

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The Arusha Conference Calls for Further Integration and Reforms in EAC on the Road to a Monetary Union

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The East African Community (EAC) Secretariat, the European Union (EU), and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) jointly organized a high-level conference entitled “Regional Integration in the EAC: Making the Most of the Common Market on the Road to a Monetary Union” in Arusha, Tanzania on October 31–November 1, 2016. Discussions focused on progress in establishing Customs Union and Common Market so far, steps for strengthening them, and the prerequisites for an effective transition to East African Monetary Union (EAMU).

The conference brought together Finance Ministers and Ministers in charge of regional cooperation, Central Bank Governors, other senior policymakers, regional capital markets regulators, academics, civil society, and private sector leaders from across EAC member countries, as well as senior representatives from international financial institutions and other monetary unions. Policymakers of the EAC region reaffirmed their commitment to build a strong economic and monetary union.

Participants assessed the current state and pace of economic integration since the inception of the Customs Union in 2005 and the Common Market in 2010.

Participants noted considerable progress towards a single entry visa, processing times at ports, and removal of internal tariffs. As indicated in the second EAC Common Market Scorecard 2016 which evaluates Partner States’ compliance to the free movement of capital, services, and goods, private sector representatives in particular underlined the need for further progress in the areas of non-tariff barriers, rules of origin, tax administration and harmonization, automation of trade process, and labor mobility to facilitate trade of goods and services further. Given experiences in other regions, sequential harmonization could be pursued in implementing the single customs territory and tax harmonization. Accountability and ownership are critical to a successful integration process.

Considerable progress has been made in financial sector integration, including integration of the payment systems and financial markets. In this regard, participants noted still high compliance cost in light of different regulations in member countries. On the Fintech front, however, the EAC region is ahead of many other countries in the world. The importance of proper sequencing and pace of financial integration was stressed in light of risks involved.

Under the theme “The Road toward a Monetary Union,” the status of macroeconomic convergence in the EAC was discussed. Participants acknowledged that fiscal deficits need to be brought down to meet the convergence criterion and to ensure the stability of the future monetary union. Convergence goes beyond headline fiscal deficits and public debt, and fiscal risks need to be monitored closely. Moreover, further progress is needed in data harmonization and monetary policy frameworks and operations, and there is a need to establish the new institutions that will play a key role for the implementation and resilience of the union.

The program, speeches and presentations to the conference are available at:
http://www.imf.org/en/News/Events/Regional-Integration-in-the-EAC.

Following the conference, a forum on “Improvements in East African Statistics Through Capacity Development,” highlighted recent improvements in economic and financial statistics in EAC countries through capacity development initiatives supported by the EAC Secretariat and the IMF.

UN human rights expert urges states to strengthen journalist security

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GENEVA (1 November 2016) –United Nations Human right experts has urged states around the globe to strengthen journalist security.

David Kaye United Nations Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression,
urges states to bring their understanding of what security of journalists involves into line with international human rights standards and to take active steps to ensure this security.

Speaking ahead of the third International Day to End Impunity for Crimes Against Journalists Kaye said “Attacks against journalists and threats to their security take various forms: attacks against their physical integrity; interference with the confidentiality of their sources; and harassment through surveillance, just to mention a few.

He said Protection against these kinds of attacks is fundamental not only for journalists to be able to perform their work, but also for society’s access to information and for government accountability.

‘’States have a positive obligation to ensure the security of journalists. All too often, however, governments express support for journalist security while taking measures that chip away at protection and thus at the information brought to light by secure reporting’’ the rapporteur said

Especially worrisome are increased threats against the digital security of journalists through measures such as mass or targeted surveillance, blocking of online media sites, and practices or laws limiting or prohibiting encryption he said

‘’The international legal framework protects the digital and physical security of journalists. The UN Human Rights Council adopted earlier this year a resolution on the safety of journalists, addressing both their physical and digital security. I have also addressed the issues of source protection and encryption in two of my previous reports’’ he said

‘’Journalists who lack digital security find themselves and their sources subject to great physical threat, and yet physical attacks continue to be met with impunity. We see national leaders using rhetoric that encourages a lack of respect for the life and work of journalists’’ Kaye added

According to the latest figures by the independent Committee to Protect Journalists, 52 journalists and media workers have been killed so far this year. In most of these cases, states do not take even the basic steps to begin to bring perpetrators to justice.

He urges all States to take steps to reverse this situation and make accountability – in law, policy and practice – a fundamental aspect of their support for journalism and the public’s access to information