The Africa Renewable Energy Forum, 2-4 November 2016 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Marrakesh - African Business Magazine
The Africa Renewable Energy Forum, 2-4 November 2016 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Marrakesh

The Africa Renewable Energy Forum, 2-4 November 2016 at The Four Seasons Hotel, Marrakesh

At COP 21 it was determined that approximately $19 billion of finance will be provided annually by developed countries for Africa’s renewable programme by 2020. In addition, Japan announced $10bn per year in public and private finance also to reach Africa by 2020.  New pledges to climate funds, including the Adaptation Fund, Least Developed Countries Fund, and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), added up to more than $1.5bn. In addition, all multilateral development banks have pledged to scale up climate finance in developing countries by 2020, to more than $30 billion per year.

The availability of these funds will significantly hasten the pace of decisions being made by energy ministers and governments attending the Africa Renewable Energy Forum ( to implement renewable projects, IPP Programmes and diversify their energy mix to attract as much capital as possible  into their banking and clean energy sector.

The protagonists of these policies and the alchemist’s of such funding including; JBIC, AFD, Renewable Energy Initiative, Africa50, AfDB, DBSA, World Bank, IFC and the governments of South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, as well as ECOWAS Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (ECREEE) and more will gather to promote new projects and share success stories from across the continent in a collaborative format that will showcase only the most relevant and proactive partners.

Some of the developers contributing:

  • Mustapha Bakkoury, Chief Executive Officer, Masen
  • Badis Derradji, Regional Managing Director, ACWA Power
  • Amine Homman Ludiye, Regional Manager, Northern Africa, ENGIE
  • Linda Thompson, Head of development, Africa, Mainstream
  • Christopher Hornor, President and Chief Executive Officer, Powerhive
  • Richard Avery, Regional Manager, West Africa, eleQtra
  • Michele Porri, Head of Business Development, ENEL Green Power
  • Nabil Saimi, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Platinum Power

Some of the investors contributing:

  • Jiwoo Choi, Head (Acting) , Green Climate Fund
  • Kohei Toyoda, Director of IPP/IWPPs EMEA, Japan Bank for International Cooperation
  • Alain Ebobissé, Chief Executive Officer, Africa50
  • Fabrice Juquois, Head of Energy Projects, TED Division, Department of Sustainable Development, French Development Agency
  • Lucy Chege, General Manager, Energy Unit, Development Bank of Southern Africa
  • Yasser Charafi, Principal Investment Officer, International Finance Corporation
  • Haje Schutte, Head of Division, Development Co-operation Directorate, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
  • Ahmed Baroudi, Director General, Société d’Investissements Energetiques

View the full agenda here ( and confirm your registration ( online immediately or contact quoting the code ARF_PR2.

Distributed by APO on behalf of EnergyNet Ltd..

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  • International Colloquium of Rabat to study links between trade, investment and sustainable development

    The Economic Commission for Africa is organizing, in partnership with the WTO Chair of the Mohammed V University of Rabat and LEAD (University of Toulon Laboratory for Applied Economic Research in Development) the Tenth International Colloquium of Rabat.

    This year’s edition of the colloquium will take place under the theme “Trade, Investment and Sustainable Development” and will take place from Thursday 27 to Saturday 29 October at the Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Science of the Mohammed V University of Rabat (Morocco).

    This event is taking place as Morocco is preparing to host the Twenty-Second Conference of Parties (COP22); it will provide participants with an opportunity to discuss topics such as:

    • Financing sustainable development
    • Climate change and the mobility of goods and people
    • Optimal economic management of natural resources
    • Public policies for sustainable economic development
    • Green economy as a new growth niche for Mediterranean countries
    • From COP21 to COP22 : commitments made and their implications for the development of countries
    • The trade of environmental goods and services
    • Dispute settlement and climate change
    • Environment economics
    • The stakes of climate negotiations
    • Non-Trade WTO objectives
    • The complementarity between WTO rules and Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs)

    Event: Tenth edition of the International Colloquium of Rabat, under the theme “Trade, Investment and Sustainable Development”

    Date: 27-28 October 2016

    Place: Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Science, Mohammed V University of Rabat (Morocco)

    Event: Doctoral school of the International Colloquium of Rabat

    Date: 29 October 2016

    Place: Faculty of Legal, Economic and Social Science, Mohammed V University of Rabat (Morocco)

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Economic Commission for Africa ( UNECA ).

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  • Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women meets with Civil Society Representatives from Canada, Burundi, Bhutan and Belarus

    The Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women this afternoon met with representatives of non-governmental organizations and a national human rights institution to receive information on the situation of women in Canada, Burundi, Bhutan and Belarus, whose reports will be considered during the first week of the session.

    Civil society organizations welcomed the commitment of Canada to gender equality and the steps taken since the 2015 general elections. Canada had fallen from the first to the twenty-fifth place on the United Nations Gender Equality Index since 1995, they said, and warned that women’s structural inequality could not be adequately addressed by piecemeal improvements to a few laws and programmes. A comprehensive national response was needed, which would take an intersectional approach and recognize the different experiences of inequality.
    In Burundi, the customary law routinely discriminated against women in relation to land and inheritance rights, said the non-governmental organizations, which urged the Committee to encourage Burundi to enact a national Succession Act to protect the equal inheritance rights of women and nullify those aspects of the customary law which discriminated against women, and to put in place safeguards to secure land tenure rights of women through the registration of land procedure.
    Representatives of non-governmental organizations stressed that Bhutan continued to make significant progress in addressing all forms of discrimination against women, but gaps remained in the delivery mechanisms translating polices into action. The allocation of human and financial resources had to be enhanced so that measureable progress would be made in levelling the playing field.  Other issues of concern were the situation of rural women, criminalization of abortion, high rates of suicide of women, domestic violence, and the poor representation of women in political and public life.
    Violence against socially or politically active women by mostly male State officials was an issue of particular concern in Belarus. The State violence –  beatings, sexual assault, involuntary termination of women’s parental rights, illegal and forced placement in mental institutions, indirect pushing to suicide, and deportation from Belarus – were used to punish and silence, to reduce women’s social activity, prevent them from political participation, and produce obedient female citizens. 
    Speaking during the discussion were representatives from the Women’s Association of Canada, Chair of Indigenous Governance and Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action, BC CEDAW Group: Single Mothers Alliance of British Colombia, and Canada Without Poverty; Global Initiative on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Action Aid who spoke on Burundi; Tarayana Foundation and RENEW Organization from Bhutan; and the Coalition for Belarusian non-governmental organizations with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland, International Centre of Civil Initiatives “Our House”, Anti-discrimination Center “Memorial”  and the “Identity and Law” Initiative Group with the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association. Canadian Human Rights Commission spoke via an audio link.
    Live webcast of the Committee’s public meetings is available at
    The next public meeting of the Committee will be on Tuesday, 25 October, at 10 a.m, when it will consider the combined eighth and ninth periodic reports of Canada (CEDAW/C/CAN/8-9).
    Statements by Non-Governmental Organizations


    Women’s Association of Canada said that decades of legislative changes and budget cuts to social programmes and benefits meant that women and girls in Canada were denied their rights under the Convention on a daily basis. Since 1995, Canada had fallen from the first to the twenty-fifth place on the United Nations Gender Equality Index, which meant that there was much to do and undo.  Women’s structural inequality would not be adequately addressed by piecemeal improvements to a few laws and programmes. Canada needed a comprehensive national response that addressed all forms of discrimination against women and girls, which had to take an intersectional approach and recognize the different experience of inequality by First Nations, Inuit, Métis, racialized, disabled, refugee, immigrant, transgender, lesbian, bisexual, and single parent women and girls.
    Chair of Indigenous Governance and Canadian Feminist Alliance for International Action took up the issue of discrimination and women’s access to justice, saying that the Federal Government did not consistently require high-quality gender-based or human rights analysis of laws, policies and processes. Despite commitments to end sex discrimination in the Indian Act by restoring status to Indigenous women and their descendants, piecemeal amendments to the Act had not succeeded in restoring status to all those affected. Women faced multiple barriers in accessing justice to enforce their legal rights. Women were the main users of civil legal aid, but the financial support for civil legal aid had dropped dramatically since the 1990s, and legal aid was only available to women living well below poverty line, thus forcing many women to represent themselves in complex family law matters.
    BC CEDAW Group: Single Mothers Alliance of BC called the Committee’s attention to financial, administrative and geographic barriers to accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Twenty-four percent of people in Canada lacked prescription drug coverage, and only 17 per cent of the hospitals provided abortion services.
    Canada Without Poverty said that Canadian women continued to be paid less than their male counterparts and that Canadian gender wage gap was twice the global average. Patterns of job segregation by sex remained unchanged, with women concentrated in traditionally female and lower-paying jobs. More than 70 per cent of women with children were in paid workforce, and yet regulated childcare spaces were available for only 24.9 per cent of the children.
    Native Women’s Association of Canada stated that Canada had to rethink and overhaul its approach to reaching gender equality and recognize and act upon the many ways in which Indigenous, racialized, disabled, refugee, immigrant, single parent, transgender, lesbian, and bisexual women were discriminated against.    


    Global Initiative on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and Action Aid said that the customary law routinely discriminated against women in relation to land and inheritance rights. The legislation in Burundi still contained some outmoded laws, while some matters, such inheritance, had not been legislated yet. On issues of land and property, remedies available to women were inadequate, and judges were not trained to protect women’s rights. Burundi should enact a national Succession Act to protect the equal inheritance rights of women and nullify those aspects of the customary law which discriminated against women, and put in place safeguards to secure land tenure rights of women through the registration of land procedure.

    Tarayana Foundation stated that Bhutan continued to make significant progress in addressing all forms of discrimination against women, including through the adoption of several key policy instruments to help improve substantive equality. However, gaps remained in the delivery mechanisms translating those polices into action on the ground, while allocation of human and financial resources ought to be enhanced so that measureable progress was made in levelling the playing field.  Gender-neutral policies did not acknowledge the differences between the sexes nor did they appreciate their different needs. There was a need for better social security for women in rural areas in particular, as they were often affected by climate change-related natural disasters that increased their vulnerability in the absence of a steady income. Women’s representation in the political sphere was poor and at present there were only six female parliamentarians – two out of 25 in the Upper House and four out of 47 in the Lower House.
    RENEW Organization called the attention to the fact that abortion was still illegal in Bhutan, forcing many women and girls to use unsafe illegal abortion services. Another issue of concern was the high rate of suicide of women, due to mental health issues, substance abuse, and domestic violence. The use of alcohol was culturally accepted and it amplified the rates of domestic violence.  he Penal Code did not have severe punishment for perpetrators of domestic violence and did not prescribe counselling for perpetrators and victims of domestic violence. RENEW Organization had set up the first shelter for victims of domestic violence in Bhutan. Prostitution, human trafficking and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender issues were relatively new, for which development of sensitive approaches was needed.
    Coalition of Belarusian non-governmental organizations with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Poland  said that the anti-discrimination laws in Belarus were still limited in scope, declarative and not supported by efficient implementation mechanisms. Belarus had failed to create an independent national human rights institution in accordance with the Paris Principles not it had any other special administrative body vested with the power to consider complaints about human rights violations lodged by women. There was no effective mechanism of protection of the rights of girls and women, especially those vulnerable groups, such as women with disabilities, Muslim women, Roma women, women kept in temporary isolation facilities and pre-trial detention centres.
    International Centre of Civil Initiatives “Our House” noted that socially active women often experienced violence from mostly male State officials, the purpose of which was to manipulate, punish or discipline women who were vocal in protecting their rights or the rights of their children. The purpose of the violence was also to reduce women’s social activity, prevent them from political participation, and produce obedient female citizens. The forms of the State violence against socially and politically active women included beating and or threats of sexual assault, involuntary termination of women’s parental rights or threats to do so, illegal and forced placement in mental institutions, and deportation from Belarus.
    Anti-discrimination Centre “Memorial” spoke about the situation of families “at social risk”, whose children could be taken away. The decision on declaring a family “at social risk” was made by a commission, without court involvement. The amount of unjustified decisions in recent years had increased enormously. The criteria were very broad and the members of the commission frequently used their powers to exact revenge on family or a woman, or to threaten, intimidate and manipulate, and was often used against activist mothers, those who criticised teachers, suffered from domestic violence and called the police, or failed to pay for a kinder garden.
    “Identity and Law” Initiative Group and the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association stated that lesbian and bisexual women and transgender persons were among the most stigmatized social groups in Belarus, who faced discrimination and violence in their day-to-day life.  A law prohibiting dissemination of information that “discredited the family and marriage-family relations”, adopted this year, opened the path to abuse and harassment targeting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender defenders, and also targeting lesbian, bisexual and transgender women and their families.
    Questions by Committee Members

    An Expert noted with satisfaction that Canada had decided to open a public inquiry into the murdered and missing indigenous women, and asked whether non-governmental organizations were pleased with its terms of reference, and the implementation of the Committee’s recommendations by the Government of Canada. What was the opinion of the civil society of the situation of cyber bullying in the country?
    It was unacceptable that women involved in prostitution in Belarus were criminalized. Experts asked about measures to address the demand side. Was there a chance for a progress in the near future in the area of registration, operation and funding of non-governmental organizations? Was there a review system in place for decisions made by commissions on declaring families “at social risk” which might lead to separation of children from the families?
    An Expert asked about the extent of collaboration of the Government of Burundi with non-governmental organizations in the preparation of the report, the situation with sexual violence in the country post-April 2016, and the systematic clampdown on women human rights defenders. Question was also asked on the reactions to the stated intention of Burundi to withdraw from the International Criminal Court and whether it was possible to influence the Government to change the decision. What was the impact of the corruption on the capacity of the judiciary to conduct independent investigations, particularly in cases involving women?  Another Expert asked about the proportion of women living under the customary law in personal and family issues, and which issues should be raised with the Government in order to improve the situation in customary law.
    Committee Experts recognized the transitional phase in Bhutan and asked about the extent of engagement of civil society in the evaluation of impact of the national gender equality strategy, and in the preparation of the national gender equality plan. What was the status of the revision of school curricula, and the role of media therein?
    Replies by Non-governmental Organizations

    Representatives of organizations took the floor to respond to questions posed by the Committee on Canada and said that so far, less than half of the provinces and territories had declared their participation in the public inquiry into the murdered and missing indigenous women. The changes made to the terms of reference had taken all the meat off it: there was no human rights-based framework, no specific reference to the involvement of the police, and no independent review mechanism. That was of a significant concern to indigenous civil society organizations. The decision of the Government to open the public inquiry was welcomed, but it had not yet started, and there was no mechanism in place to ensure cooperation with non-governmental organizations. Prostitution was accompanied by violence, but was also an act of violence in itself, so the Nordic model of working towards abolition did promote gender equality, in particular for indigenous women. Cyber bulling of indigenous peoples by State officials was a regular occurrence, with negative, racist and derogatory comments being uttered by state officials, police, doctors, politicians. 
    The non-governmental organizations from Burundi would provide responses to Experts’ questions in writing during the private meeting.

    Representatives of the non-governmental organizations from Bhutan said that the number of non-governmental organizations registered had grown to 49, and there were 15 more in the pipeline, so the civil society community was growing. The process of consultation on the national plan of action on gender equality was very thorough; the plans were good, but the problem was resource allocation and the implementation. 
    In Belarus, hundreds of women had been arrested during the big events such as the international hockey championship, under the suspicion that they might be involved in prostitution, and had been administratively detained for thirty days, without any proof. The commission was making its decisions very fast; it was made up of teachers, social workers and others, and children were removed from the family as soon as the decision was made. Parents could file a complaint with the court, but it would take six months or even a year before the court’s decision was made; a decision by the court would not prevent the commission to make a new decision and take the child again.  Discrimination issues seldom rose in criminal and administrative court proceedings. It was still a criminal liability for organizations to be unregistered, and many organizations, particularly those working on discrimination issues, could not register because of the law in force.
    Dialogue with national human rights institutions
    Canadian Human Rights Commission, via audio link, said that the Commission was a national human rights institution accredited with an A Status under the Paris Principles, and had a broad mandate to protect and promote human rights, including receiving complaints and representing the public interest in mediation and litigation. The Commission was also monitoring the implementation of the law and measures to ensure the equality in work place for the four designated key groups: women, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities and members of invisible minorities. One specific area of concern was the implementation of the Employment Equity Act, and particularly the fact that the participation of women in the workplace, and the equality they enjoyed had not improved since the passage of the Act in the 1990s, particularly in the private sector. The Committee should recommend to Canada to continue taking steps to promote equality in the workplace for women, particularly in management and decision-making posts. 
    Another area of concern was the fact that the current Indian classification system continued to discriminate against women, as it recognized lineage by male line only. Canada should take all necessary steps to ensure that no residual discrimination remained in the Indian registration system. Indigenous women represented 30 per cent of the inmate population in the federal correctional institutions, despite the fact that indigenous peoples represented four per cent of the country’s population.  The federal correction system should be fully examined with the view of developing a concrete strategy to address that issue.  Indigenous women were also over-represented in the segregation system, which was the Canadian system of solitary confinement, and the Committee should recommend Canada to stop using segregation to manage inmates with mental health problems. 
    A Committee Expert asked the Commission to evaluate the legislative proposal to amend the Indian Act and whether it would remove residual discrimination from the system. Responding, a representative of the Commission said that the legislative amendment had not yet been made publicly available, and the Commission could not comment now, but would be happy to do so in the future.     
    Asked how the Commission coordinated its work at the federal and provincial levels, the representative explained that all provinces and territories had the Human Rights Code similar to the Canadian to the Human Rights Act, and most had Human Rights Commission which had similar mandates; the Canadian Commission was a member of an umbrella organizations of Human Rights Commissions which worked together on various issues, facilitating coordination and discussing issues of jurisdiction. The Government should take additional steps to ensure coordination across federal jurisdictions.
    In response to the Expert’s question concerning accountability of Canada as a State Party, for example in the implementation of the Committee’s concluding observations at the local level, the representative of the Canada Human Rights Commission said that the Commission monitored the compliance of Canada with the recommendations.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Office at Geneva (UNOG).

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  • United Nations for the people of South Sudan – UN celebrates 71st anniversary

    To commemorate UN Day in South Sudan, the United Nations family together with communities of South Sudan, government counterparts, civil society organizations, and development partners marked the 71st anniversary of the UN under the theme: “UN for the people of South Sudan.”  
    The Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Ellen Margrethe Løj urged South Sudanese leaders to recommit to peace, inclusive dialogue, reconciliation and justice.  
    “As we come together here today, to celebrate UN Day, we must be steadfast in our faith that South Sudanese can put aside their differences and unite for peace. The Peace Agreement remains the most credible vehicle to revive the peace process and should be fully implemented in an inclusive manner, for all the people of this country to achieve their dreams and aspirations.” said SRSG Løj, “To achieve this aim, there must be an end to the fighting.”  
    SRSG Løj also urged the Transitional Government of National Unity and the parties to the conflict in South Sudan to put the interests of their people first.   
    SRSG Løj read the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki Moon’s message which included: “Together, we have put in place some solid foundations for shared progress – which we must build on by working even harder to empower women, engage youth and uphold human rights for all.  But we have also suffered enormous heartbreak -including unresolved conflicts causing immense suffering throughout the troubled Middle East, South Sudan, the Sahel and beyond.”    
    Representing the Government of South Sudan, Minister of Federal Affairs Dr. Richard Mulla thanked the United Nations for providing Humanitarian assistance and supporting in the area of capacity building in the country. He also said that though the peace agreement that was signed in August 2015 had some implementation problems, it is now successfully moving in the right direction. “Of recent President Salva Kiir has issued a number of decrees and a number of decisions have been made to facilitate the implementation of the peace agreement, humanitarian access will now be granted and has been granted to UNMISS and all agencies and all involved in the humanitarian assistance in the country.”    
    The UN Day activities in Juba included exhibitions by UNMISS and the various UN agencies funds and programmes, while UNFPA and WHO carried HIV counselling sessions and general immunization package (polio, tetanus, etc.), diagnostic malaria test, screening for malnutrition activities respectively.  The South Sudanese middle-distance runner Santino Kenyi also participated in the activities for the day. Likewise students from Saint Thomas Primary School and Boy Scouts and Girl Guides took part in the day’s events. 
    The UN Day was also celebrated in other locations throughout the country including Torit, Aweil, Yambio, Bentiu, Malakal, Wau, Bor, Rumbek ,Kuajok and Warrap with a number of activities such as peace walks, cultural dances, interschool debates and sporting activities.  
    Early this month on 6 October 2016, the United Nations Country Team launched their two year strategy which details their road map for South Sudan as the country struggles from the shocks of wide spread insecurity and humanitarian crisis. This short-term overarching plan will guide the UN in responding to the needs and aspirations of the country as it forges a way towards recovery during the interim period, 2016-2017.   
    UN Day was established in 1971 by the United Nations General Assembly adopting resolution (2782) and is celebrated every year to acknowledge the contribution of the UN to all member states.  

    Distributed by APO on behalf of United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).

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  • President Zuma sends condolences to the Government and people of Cameroon following the tragic train accident between Yaounde and Douala

    President Zuma has today, 24 October 2016, on behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, extended the country’s deepest condolences to the people of the Republic of Cameroon following the tragic train accident between Yaounde and Douala on Friday, 21 October 2016, which has left 79 people dead and hundreds injured.

    The South African Government extends its most sincere condolences to families of those who lost their lives in this tragic accident. President Zuma further wishes the injured a speedy recovery. 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of International Relations and Cooperation.

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  • Joint Statement on World Polio Day 2016

    Today, as the world commemorates World Polio Day, we, the Federal Ministry of Health, WHO, UNICEF and Rotary International, in collaboration with other stakeholders and partners, reaffirm our commitment to eradicate the polio virus once and for all from Ethiopia.

    This year’s World Polio Day is about the birth of a vaccine against the polio virus and a celebration of 30 arduous years of Polio Eradication Initiative (PEI) journey. The Day also comes during a critical phase for the Global Polio Eradication Initiative (GPEI) with 99.9 per cent polio cases reduction since 1985.

    In Ethiopia, it has been nearly three years since the wild polio virus transmission has been interrupted. However, the recent outbreak in Nigeria shows us that we need to be more vigilant and well prepared for a robust and rapid response to children and communities especially in high risk, inaccessible and insecure areas.

    The success and the gains made in the polio eradication efforts would not have been possible without the strong leadership of the Federal Ministry of Health and the unprecedented support of stakeholders – WHO, UNICEF, Rotary International, NGOs, communities as well as donors including USAID, CDC, Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and others.

    Dr. Tadesse Alemu National PolioPlus Committee Chairman, Member African PolioPlus Committee reminds: “For 17 years we have done it greatly in Polio Eradication Initiative and I urge donors, partners, allies and health workers to increase the gains. I am confident that we will continue our effort together without fatigue. We must have strong push to ENDPOLIONOW and root out polio once and for all.”

    H.E. Dr. Kebede Worku State Minister of Health conveys in his message “Let’s flash back and remember with pride, the children we have saved from the crippling disease, polio; the strategies set, the activities implemented and the lessons learnt. What a gratifying element do we need to overcome our PEI fatigue? We don’t have a point of return but head on towards polio free world.”

    “The World Health Organization will continue its support to the Ethiopian government to reassure the successful completion of ending polio and strengthen the sensitivity of the disease surveillance system to maintain gains beyond polio eradication,” said Dr Kalu Akpaka, Representative for WHO Ethiopia Country Office.

    “UNICEF is highly committed to polio eradication efforts through its leading role in vaccine procurement, communication and social mobilization as well as its support to routine immunization. We will not stop until all children everywhere are consistently and routinely immunized against polio, the threat is real and obstacles remain on the road to zero cases. We must not let down our guard; we have to continue until there is not a single unvaccinated child,” said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Ethiopia.

    As we commemorate World Polio Day this year alongside the 711st anniversary of the United Nations, we reflect upon the contribution of the polio eradication efforts to themes of development and human rights while we also envision further contributions to healthy generations and a brighter future. While celebrating the achievements made thus far, we re-commit to maximize our efforts as polio partners to bring a more significant contribution to the polio eradication efforts.

    Even more ambitiously, we envision the polio eradication legacy as a contribution to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals for equitable health and development for all children and communities. The possibilities are endless; the successes are at our fingertips. While we celebrate the remarkable progress to date and recognize the need to maintain this momentum, we understand the need to accelerate our efforts to work together for a polio-free Ethiopia. Yes – we will not stop until the job is done! 

    Distributed by APO on behalf of World Health Organization (WHO).

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  • Media Briefing by Minister Michael Masutha on the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill

    Our nation is founded on the commitment to build a non-racial, non-sexist and human rights-based society. The Bill of Rights in the Constitution sets out the very basic rights that we all enjoy in a democratic South Africa. The recent racist utterances and many other incidents of vicious crimes perpetrated under the influence of racial hate, despite our efforts over the past two decades to build our new nation on these values, has necessitated further measures to uproot this scourge which is reminiscent of our unenviable apartheid past. 

    Democracy does not thrive in an environment that is fraught with divisions, hatred and violence hence social cohesion is important for the development of the country and the sustenance of stability. As the media, you are often at the pulse of developments in the country and have reported extensively on racial and xenophobic incidences including the so-called ‘corrective rape’ of LGBTI persons and violent attacks on sex workers.

    It therefore gives me great pleasure to announce that today we have published for public comment in the Government Gazette, the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill which was approved for public consultation by Cabinet on 19 October 2016. The Bill creates the offences of hate crimes and hate speech and seeks to put in place measures to prevent and combat these offences.  

    A hate crime is committed if a person commits any recognised offence, that is a common law or statutory offence (referred to as the “base crime or offence”) and the commission of that offence is motivated by unlawful bias, prejudice or intolerance.  

    The base offences most often committed against victims of hate crimes are offences relating to the physical and emotional integrity of the person, as well as offences against the property of the victims, for instance murder, attempted murder, rape, assault in all its various manifestations, robbery, housebreaking, malicious damage to property, crimen injuria and arson.

    The prejudice, bias or intolerance towards the victim of the hate crime would be because of one or more of the following characteristics, or perceived characteristics, of the victim or the victim’s next of kin: Race, gender, sex, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, religion, belief, culture, language, birth, HIV status, nationality, gender identity, intersex, albinism and occupation or trade.

    Although nationality, gender identity, HIV status, albinism, intersex and occupation or trade are not expressly mentioned in section 9(3) of our Constitution it has been argued that they should be included in the Bill because of the hate crimes that have been committed on the basis of these grounds.

    The Bill has been drafted after a thorough study of other similar pieces of legislation internationally, such as those in Kenya, Canada and Australia. Developing specific legislation on hate crimes will have a number of advantages. It will provide additional tools to investigators and prosecutors to hold the perpetrators of hate crimes accountable and provide a means to monitor efforts and trends in addressing hate crimes.

    The Bill may be accessed on the departmental website: and interested parties and individuals may make inputs until the due date of 1 December 2016.

    As government, we are encouraged by the voices of those who stood to challenge the emergence of these remnants of our tragic past, an act which shows that our country is neither racist nor xenophobic. Together let us draw from that consciousness which resists any attempt to take us backward.

    You will recall that that during March this year, the Department launched the National Action Plan (NAP) to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerances. The NAP provides the basis for the development of a comprehensive policy framework against racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance. We are grateful to all who shared their inputs through various platforms and commit to speed up the finalisation of the NAP.

    We are certain that the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill will build on to the existing measures such as the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA), 2000 (Act No. 4 of 2000) to combat the social ills of racism, xenophobia and related intolerances. This Act has enabled government to establish Equality Courts in all magisterial districts. Currently, the Department of Justice and Constitutional Development is facilitating information sessions in various communities around the country to raise awareness of the Equality Courts.

    Steps are also underway to amend PEPUDA. Upon approval of the proposed draft amendments, a formal public consultation process will be embarked upon. We envisage the introduction of the amendments into Parliament in early 2017. The PEPUDA Amendment Bill will be made available for a public participation process in March 2017.

    The Constitutional and legal instruments are only one element of the approach that must be taken to safeguard our democracy. I call upon all South Africans to view the processes underway in a positive manner and to make their contributions to the Prevention and Combating of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill.

    In this spirit, I would argue that we should all take the opportunity at hand to contribute towards ensuring that once sanctioned into law, the Bill will assist all of us to deal with recurring incidences of racial, xenophobic and related intolerance.

    We are clear that this Bill of itself may not end racism and other intolerances but will create an instrument that will hold those guilty of committing acts accountable before the law. It is important that the final version of the Bill must represent the collective wisdom of the nation and reflect our renewed commitment to uproot these social ills.

    Distributed by APO on behalf of Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information.

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    Republic of South Africa: Department of Government Communication and Information
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