March 20, 2014 07:17 PM Age: 9 days By: Andrew McGregor
Fresh from a victory over the rebel troops of the Mouvement du 23 Mars (M23) in the unsettled but resource-rich Nord-Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Congolese army has launched an offensive against the self-described “Islamists” of the Allied Democratic Forces–National Army for the Liberation of Uganda (ADF-NALU) who have operated in that region since 2004.  After several years of dormancy, ADF-NALU renewed operations in July 2013 with a wave of raids, kidnappings, massacres of civilians and attacks on security forces and UN peacekeepers. The once poorly-armed ADF-NALU militants appear to be newly supplied with machine-guns, mortars and rockets to replace their previous reliance on machetes and knives. According to the UN, M23’s defeat was followed by large-scale surrenders by thousands of members of various militant groups in the Nord-Kivu region, but few of these came from ADF-NALU (IRIN, January 27).
The operation against ADF-NALU was intended to begin in December 2013 but was delayed after the intended leader of the campaign, Colonel Mamadou Moustafa Ndala, was killed by a rocket in an ambush originally attributed to ADF-NALU fighters in early January (Uganda Radio Network, February 1). Read the rest of this entry »
Counter-terrorism: At the Security Council’s high-level debate on Counter-terrorism today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today he hoped Member States will decide to create the position of a UN Counter-Terrorism Coordinator to promote better coordination, collaboration and cooperation among all players.
Mr. Ban told the Security Council, during its debate on threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts, that terrorism is a significant threat to peace and security, prosperity and people, and the global community continues to pursue a robust and comprehensive response.
Meanwhile, the U.N. Security Council says international terrorism is increasingly motivated by intolerance and extremism and its perpetrators are increasingly resorting to kidnapping for ransom and coordinating acts with organized crime. A presidential statement approved by the council Friday also expressed concern at the growing use of the internet and new information and communications technologies by terrorists to recruit, incite, finance and prepare their illegal activities.
South Sudan: The United Nations announced today that U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay will visit South Sudan for four days starting Tuesday. Pillay is to meet with South Sudan’s President Salva Kiir and other top government and civil leaders beginning Tuesday. She’ll discuss the risk to civilians caught up in the hostilities between both countries.
Iran: A group of independent UN experts today condemned the ongoing arrests and harsh sentencing of human rights defenders in Iran, and urged the Government to ensure they are provided with adequate protection. Along with fellow experts, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, Ahmed Shaheed voiced particular concern about the situation of Nargess Mohammadi, whose state of health is reportedly extremely fragile.
DR Congo: The UN refugee agency is helping more than 20,000 people who have fled fighting between government forces and renegade troops in the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo in recent days and found shelter in areas near Goma, the capital of North Kivu province. According to UNHCR field staff, people are still heading toward Goma and its environs from their homes in the affected Masisi and Walikale territories, located west and north-west of Goma, but the flow has eased slightly. The refugee agency has registered 10,300 people at a spontaneous site 25 kilometres from Goma, and 9,000 in Mugunga III, one of 31 UNHCR-run settlements for IDPs in North Kivu.
UN Youth Forum: The creation of green jobs is essential to ensure a sustainable future, United Nations officials stressed today at a forum held at the Organization’s Headquarters in New York aimed at giving young people a platform to voice their concerns, experiences and ideas to tackle youth unemployment.
The forum, whose theme is “Empowering Youth with Better Job Opportunities,” brought together young delegates and entrepreneurs, students and representatives of youth NGOs. Participants took part in two interactive dialogues, the first one focusing on education and training, and the second on the creation of green jobs and the conditions needed to create them.
In her address to participants, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro stressed that youth are mobilizing like never before and that their ideas can help countries achieve their sustainable development objectives.
Right of Indigenous Peoples: A United Nations fact finder surveying conditions of Native Americans and Native Alaskans says he will recommend in his report that some of their lands are returned.
James Anaya has been meeting with tribal leaders, the administration and Senate members over 12 days to assess U.S. compliance with the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He plans several suggestions in his report, likely due out this fall. Anaya says land restoration would help bring about reconciliation. He named the Black Hills of South Dakota as an example. The hills are public land but are considered sacred land by Native Americans.
Nairobi/Brussels, 11 May 2009: The dire situation in the Kivus region of Congo will not improve without a comprehensive strategy of sustained political and results-oriented partnership between the government and the international community.
Congo: Five Priorities for a Peacebuilding Strategy,* the latest report from the International Crisis Group, analyses the situation on the ground in the wake of the five-week joint military operation between the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Rwanda against Rwandan Hutu rebels, the Forces Démocratiques pour la Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), in the Kivus. That effort did not produce significant results and highlights the need for a new tack. The report presents a five-point strategy to drive a renewed process forward.
“The deal struck by the Congo and Rwanda for renewed military and political cooperation is not sufficient to bring peace to the Kivus”, says James Yellin, Director of Crisis Group’s Central Africa Project. Read the rest of this entry »