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AfricaFocus Bulletin: Latest six bulletins
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March 4, 2014 South Sudan: Deadly Conflict Continues despite Ceasefire
Both the United Nations and Human Rights Watch have just documented extensive killings of civilians as well as other abuses during the last two months of fighting in South Sudan. And incidents of violence are continuing despite a formal ceasefire agreed with regional negotiators. While negotiations as well as development of plans for more effective ceasefire monitoring continue, the prospectives for sustainable peace still seem remote. Meanwhile, international agencies and civil society continue efforts to reduce violence and address immediate humanitarian needs.
February 26, 2014 Africa: Tracking Toxic Pollution
The damages produced by modern economies, termed "externalities" by economists, most often do not figure in the market signals shaping corporate profits and therefore corporate decision-making. The result, both in advanced economies or around the world, includes not only the massive threat to our common future through global warming, but also extraordinary levels of toxic pollution disproportionately affecting the most vulnerable. Of the top ten toxic threats around the world identified in a new report, three are in Africa: the Agbogbloshie Dumpsite for e-waste in Ghana, the entire Niger Delta region in Nigeria, and the now-closed but still deadly lead mining site in Kabwe, Zambia.
February 17, 2014 Burundi: Rising Threats to Democracy, Peace
The UN Security Council voted unanimously last week to renew the mandate for the UN peacebuilding mission in Burundi until the end of the year, despite the position of the country's ruling party that the mission is no longer needed. The decision was phrased in diplomatic language. But it was a clear signal that the international body shares the concerns of Burundi civil society and political opposition voices about rising authoritarianism and political mistrust, as the ruling party attempts to consolidate its position before elections in 2015.
February 8, 2014 Africa: New Development Goals
"Global income inequality stands at a very high level: eight per cent of the world's population earns half the world's income, with the remaining 92 per cent earning the other half. Such a distribution is rightly viewed by global civil society networks as unacceptably high, as it is both unjust and undermines development progress." - Helen Clark, Administrator, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
February 5, 2014 Somalia: Threat to Remittances Lifeline
"Collateral damage" from the war on terror takes many forms. Civilian deaths from drone or missile strikes are the most dramatic when they come to light. Damage from the "financial war on terror" is less visible but also deadly. As illustrated in the case of Somalia, regulations intended to curb financing for terrorism end up threatening sources of income vital for survival, such as remittances and humanitarian aid. The effects, although indirect and rarely noted in the media, are systemic and large-scale.
January 27, 2014 USA/Africa: Exporting Homophobia
Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan signed harsh anti-gay legislation into law this month. But Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni has backed off on full support for anti-gay legislation passed by Uganda's parliament last month, even while reaffirming his vehement condemnation of homosexuality as an "abnormality" from the West. While the delay in Uganda probably stems from pressure by Western donors, the impetus for the bill was also driven by external Western involvement, by the U.S. Christian right, as documented in "God Loves Uganda," the Oscar-shortlisted documentary film by Roger Ross Williams, which premiered at Sundance last year and is now playing in U.S. theaters.