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Cameroon: UN officials raise alarm over escalating violence, call for civilian protection

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 21/02/2020 - 21:49
Four senior UN officials issued a joint statement on Friday deploring the continued human rights abuses committed against civilians, including women and children, in the south-west and north-west regions of Cameroon.
Categories: Africa

Central African Republic: Security Council reflects on peace deal anniversary

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 20/02/2020 - 20:40
One year after the signing of a peace deal in the Central African Republic (CAR), State authority is being extended throughout the country, violence against civilians has decreased, and an inclusive Government remains in place, the UN Security Council heard on Thursday. 
Categories: Africa

‘Deliberate starvation’ tactics used in South Sudan could be a war crime

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 20/02/2020 - 17:30
The people of South Sudan have been “deliberately starved” in different parts of the country for ethnic and political reasons, and sexual violence against women and men as a weapon of war is ongoing, UN investigators said on Thursday. 
Categories: Africa

Millions of children and families in Niger struggle as humanitarian needs mount – UNICEF

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 19/02/2020 - 21:05
Malnutrition, disease, floods, droughts and displacement in Niger have put nearly three million people, more than half of them children, in need of humanitarian assistance, UNICEF said on Wednesday, calling for increased attention to their plight.
Categories: Africa

As Libya talks resume in Geneva, UN negotiator seeks to overcome sticking points

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 22:53
Talks to end fighting in Libya have resumed in Geneva, where UN negotiator Ghassan Salamé said that ongoing clashes must end for there to be a chance for progress. 
Categories: Africa

Guterres ‘deeply concerned’ over deadly assault in north-west Cameroon

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 18/02/2020 - 19:13
The United Nations Secretary-General has extended his deepest condolences to the families of those killed in an attack on a village in north-west Cameroon.
Categories: Africa

Newly licensed vaccine, ‘milestone in the fight’ against Ebola in Africa, UN health agency

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 14/02/2020 - 22:30
Four countries in Africa have licensed an Ebola vaccine to “cement hard-fought progress” in keeping their people safe from the deadly disease, the UN health agency said on Friday.
Categories: Africa

Guinea-Bissau: Swearing-in of new President unlikely to bring stability, says UN representative

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 14/02/2020 - 20:02
Political discord in Guinea-Bissau could hamper the first-ever peaceful transfer of power to a democratically elected leader, the top UN official in the West African country told the Security Council on Friday. 
Categories: Africa

Year-old peace agreement must be implemented for ‘lasting peace’ in Central African Republic

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 13/02/2020 - 22:04
Following a visit to the Central African Republic, a UN independent expert said that everyone must take all measures necessary to effectively implement the peace agreement that was signed in Bangui a year ago.
Categories: Africa

DR Congo Ebola outbreak still an international public health concern

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 12/02/2020 - 23:20
The Ebola virus disease outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) remains an international public health concern, experts meeting in Geneva concluded on Wednesday. 
Categories: Africa

‘Don’t forget Madagascar’s children’, UN appeals for long-term help as emergency worsens

UN News Centre - Africa - Tue, 11/02/2020 - 18:34
Since 2012, the plight of children in Madagascar has not improved and is in many cases getting worse, UN humanitarians said on Tuesday.
Categories: Africa

Act now to prevent Desert Locust catastrophe in Horn of Africa: UN agencies

UN News Centre - Africa - Mon, 10/02/2020 - 19:41
With the rainy season fast approaching, countries in the Horn of Africa are in a race against time to tackle a Desert Locust invasion amidst ongoing humanitarian challenges, the United Nations warned on Monday. 
Categories: Africa

AU Summit: Guterres calls for ‘collective, comprehensive, coordinated’ response to challenges facing Africa

UN News Centre - Africa - Sun, 09/02/2020 - 18:39
The challenges facing African nations are “complex, multi-faceted and far-reaching" but a “collective, comprehensive and coordinated” response by the global community will build on the momentum that already exists to help the continent thrive, the UN chief told the African Union Summit on Sunday. 
Categories: Africa

Lasting Libya ceasefire: Some consensus, but further talks needed - UN Mission 

UN News Centre - Africa - Sun, 09/02/2020 - 01:52
The first round of UN-brokered talks between military representatives in Geneva aimed at forging a lasting ceasefire between Libyan Government and main opposition forces, has concluded without full agreement, despite reaching consensus in many areas. 
Categories: Africa

African Union Summit: Guterres hails ‘shared values, mutual respect and common interests’ of UN partnership

UN News Centre - Africa - Sat, 08/02/2020 - 18:49
The UN chief on Saturday called on the international community to recognize the need for African counter-terrorism operations, backed by the UN Security Council,  to tackle the growing threat of extremist violence across the continent, and “predictable funding, guaranteed by compulsory contributions”. 
Categories: Africa

28 militiamen sentenced in Central African Republic for murder of civilians, UN peacekeepers

UN News Centre - Africa - Fri, 07/02/2020 - 23:06
The sentencing of 28 militia members on Friday in the Central African Republic (CAR) for an array of violent crimes, including the murder of civilians as well as 10 UN peacekeepers, has been hailed as a major step forward in the fight against impunity there. 
Categories: Africa

‘Convergence’ over lasting Libya ceasefire, as negotiator urges against ‘provocative’ acts

UN News Centre - Africa - Thu, 06/02/2020 - 21:33
On day four of UN-led talks to transform an uncertain truce in Libya into a permanent ceasefire, veteran negotiator Ghassan Salamé on Thursday welcomed the “progress” that had been made so far, before urging an end to any “provocative” military action that might dash the chance of a successful outcome.
Categories: Africa

Africa’s Sahel: Act now before the crisis ‘becomes unmanageable’, urges Grandi

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 05/02/2020 - 21:10
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is stepping up response in Africa’s Sahel region where escalating violence has forced a rising number of people to flee their homes. 
Categories: Africa

FROM THE FIELD: Chad returnees’ reluctant homecoming

UN News Centre - Africa - Wed, 05/02/2020 - 14:12
Citizens of Chad who have spent most of their lives as refugees in neighbouring Central African Republic (CAR) have been talking to the UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, about the challenges they have faced returning to their home country.
Categories: Africa

Development Banks to Address Palm Oil Abuses in DR Congo

HRW / Africa - Sun, 02/02/2020 - 03:40


“I don’t have gloves; when we pick up the fruit bunches it hurts us,” said a palm fruit harvester that has worked for the company for over a decade. “Sometimes the fruit bunches fall on people or animals’ excrement.” Boteka, November 17, 2018.

© 2018 Luciana Téllez/Human Rights Watch. Four European development banks have announced they will require a major palm oil company in the Democratic Republic of Congo to take steps to redress human rights abuses recently reported by Human Rights Watch.

The 95-page report, A Dirty Investment, concluded that Feronia, which is financed by the four banks, was responsible for health and labor rights abuses, and environmental harm.

The banks responded on the same day as the report launch, saying they would require the company to take a series of measures to deal with the violations. Feronia employs more than 10,000 workers through its subsidiary in Congo, and its plantations are home to more than 100,000 people.

Human Rights Watch found that the company exposes workers to toxic pesticides and engages in abusive employment practices that result in extreme poverty wages. The company’s factories also dump untreated industrial waste that may have contaminated the only source of drinking water for several hundred villagers. It was the development banks’ obligation to prevent and redress abuses, but their monitoring and accountability mechanisms failed to do so.

The government-owned banks – Belgian BIO, British CDC Group, German DEG, and Dutch FMO – have invested US$100 million in the company since 2013. CDC Group also owns 38 percent of Feronia.

Human Rights Watch conducted more than 200 interviews for the report and traveled 1,200 kilometers on the Congo River to reach people in the remote plantations.

The measures the banks announced include addressing labor rights violations that result in extremely low wages, ensuring wage parity between men and women, addressing villagers’ concerns around water contamination, and taking steps to protect the health of laborers who spray pesticides.

Human Rights Watch will continue to engage the banks over the implementation of these measures. What is still lacking, however, is a commitment to address the monitoring and accountability failures that allowed for these abuses to happen under their watch. The banks should carry out structural reforms, including strengthening monitoring and accountability mechanisms, that would not only protect thousands of workers in Congo, but also protect the rights of people affected by the more than 2,000 projects the banks are involved in across the developing world, where they control billions of dollars in investments.


Categories: Africa