UN calls for swift formation of Hybrid Court for South Sudan

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten | Photo: UN

The United Nations Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, has called for the immediate formation of the AU Hybrid Court for South Sudan to hold accountable individuals accused of having committed acts of sexual violence during the conflict.

“The United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary- General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, Pramila Patten, welcomes the announcement by the Government of South Sudan to establish transitional justice institutions provided for under Chapter V of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan (R-ARCSS), and calls on the Government to expedite their establishment,” the UN diplomat said in its statement.

The Special Representative noted that the timely establishment of Chapter V institutions, including the long-awaited African Union Hybrid Court, which are envisioned to investigate and prosecute individuals bearing responsibility for violations of international law and/or applicable domestic law will be a strong signal that such crimes, including acts of sexual violence will not be tolerated, that those responsible will be held accountable, and that the needs of survivors and communities will be addressed.

The Special Representative further underscored the importance of adhering to the 35 per cent quota for women’s representation in government institutions, including Chapter V institutions, in line with the revitalized peace agreement.

The UN official urged Southern Sudan leaders to devise an approach focusing on sexual and gender-based violence that would undoubtedly address sexual violence committed during the war.

“As the Government of South Sudan moves forward with establishing transitional justice and peacebuilding processes, I call on the authorities to adopt a survivor-centered approach. Survivors of sexual violence, their families and communities have a central role to play”, emphasized the Special Representative.

“My Office stands ready to support the Government and its partners in their efforts to strengthen prevention and response to sexual violence and ensure that the prosecution of these grave crimes takes place in a timely and transparent manner.”

AU holds Extraordinary Meeting on GERD, urges 3 countries to cease media escalation

Map featuring disputing countries and the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam | Photo: File

June 27, 2020 (Thessherald)–The continental body, the African Union has held a virtual meeting regarding the ongoing negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt on the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, scheduled to be filled within the next two weeks.

“The Extraordinary Meeting of the Bureau of the African Union Assembly was held virtually yesterday on June 26, 2020 on the ongoing negotiations between Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt with regards to the first filling and annual operation of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam,” according to a statement issued by the office of the Ethiopian Prime Minister.

“The meeting was convened by South African President and African Union Chair, Cyril Ramaphosa, with the participation of Heads of State of Ethiopia, Sudan, Egypt and members of the Assembly Bureau, The leaders underscored that the Nile and the GERD are African issues that must be given African solutions.”

The Prime Minister’s Office pointed out that the virtual meeting of the AU was crucial and charts the way forward for a final agreement between the three disputing countries.

“The Heads of State of Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt provided a statement on the status of the negotiations. The meeting set directions on the way forward, Accordingly, the three countries have agreed to conclude the negotiation and try to reach an agreement within the next two weeks.”

Ethiopia is scheduled to begin filling the GERD within the next two weeks, during which the remaining construction work will continue. It is in this period, that the three countries have agreed to reach a final agreement on few pending matters.

“The meeting also resolved to notify the United Nations Security Council that the African Union is seized of the matter, It also instructed the African Union and members of the Bureau to provide technical support for the negotiations and urged Ethiopia, Sudan and Egypt to cease unnecessary media escalation.”

AU Peace and Security Council Discuss Impact of COVID-19 on Peace and Security in Africa

Press Statement

April 18, 2020 (Thessherald)–The Peace and Security Council of the African Union called on member States to further enhance their cross-border cooperation to deny terrorists and armed groups, criminal networks, and traffickers the opportunity to exploit the current COVID-19 situation to perpetuate their activities.

The council related this in a communiqué issued following its virtual meeting held to discuss the impact of the Novel Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak on peace and security in Africa on April 14.

Given the nature of the virus and its negative impact on AU peace and security activities, the council underscored the urgent need to mobilize and deploy all necessary efforts, within the spirit of international solidarity, in order to effectively mitigate, contain the spread and defeat COVID-19.

Further emphasizing the importance of solidarity among Africans, the Council called on member states to draw lessons learned from the recent successful fight against the Ebola Virus Disease outbreak in parts of the Continent.

The Council also reiterated the call for all belligerents to fully embrace and uphold the Global Ceasefire in order to facilitate efforts being deployed against the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Council welcomed the establishment of the African Union COVID-19 Response Fund in order to mobilize the required financial resources for Africa’s fight against the pandemic.

The Council also appealed to the bilateral and international development partners, to consider debt cancellation and relief to those African countries with fragile economies.

The Council paid special tribute to Prime Minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed and Mr. Jack Ma, for their personal efforts and commitment in mobilizing material support for the fight against COVID-19 within the Continent.

The Council also commended the Ethiopian Airlines and the World Food Programme (WFP), for delivering donated medical equipment to all Member States.

The Council affirmed its unflinching support to the relentless efforts being deployed by WHO, particularly its Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, in providing timely information, technical guidance and material assistance towards efforts to contain the spread and mitigate the impact of COVID-19.

The Peace and Security Council also commended the Africa CDC, member states and all private sector entities, partner countries, international institutions and philanthropist organizations for mobilizing resources and taking swift measures to mitigate the impact of the virus.