Category Archives: EU-Africa

MEPs criticise Nigeria and Burundi

16.01.2020 Strasbourg The European Parliament adopted two resolutions on monitoring respect to the human rights and rule of law situation in Nigeria and Burundi.

Nigeria

Following the recent terrorist attacks in the country, the European Parliament strongly condemns the repeated violations of human rights and international and humanitarian law, ‘’whether based on religion or ethnicity’’. MEPs urge the Nigerian authorities to guarantee respect for human rights and to protect the civilian population from terrorism and violence. The fight against impunity is fundamental to the stability of the country and to building lasting peace, MEPs say.

The situation in Nigeria has significantly deteriorated over the last few years, posing a serious threat to international and regional security. Recent killings are part of a wider series of terrorist acts, including the attack on 24 December 2019 on a village near Chibok that resulted in the death of seven villagers and the kidnapping of a teenage girl.

The text was adopted by show of hands. For more details, the full resolution will be available here (16.01.2020).

Burundi

MEPs strongly condemn the current restrictions on freedom of expression in Burundi, including the limitations placed on public freedom, large-scale violations of human rights, the intimidation and arbitrary arrests of journalists and broadcast bans. They recall that Burundi is bound by the human rights clause of the Cotonou agreement and therefore urge the country’s authorities to immediately revert this abusive trend and to uphold its human rights obligations.

Civil society and journalists play a vital role in a democratic society, MEPs say, particularly in the context of upcoming elections in Burundi. The European Parliament calls on the Burundian authorities to stop intimidating, harassing, and arbitrarily arresting journalists, human rights activists and members of the opposition, including those returning from exile.

Image above: MEP Assita KANKO, Strasbourg Plenary.

EU aid to Africa hunger emergency

The European Commission is mobilising a humanitarian aid package of €22.8 million to help address emergency food needs and support vulnerable people in Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The funding comes as large parts of southern Africa are currently in the grip of their harshest drought in decades.

“Many poor households in drought-affected areas in southern African countries are struggling to have enough food due to crop failure, reduced access to water and, in some places, unaffordable food prices in markets. EU humanitarian aid will help deliver food to those most in need and tackle the hunger crisis in fragile rural communities,” said Janez Lenarčič, Commissioner for Crisis Management.

In Zimbabwe, €16.8 million from this aid package will boost food and nutrition assistance, as well as improving access to basic health care, clean water and providing protection to vulnerable people. The remaining amount will be channelled to providing food assistance and nutrition support in Eswatini, Madagascar, Lesotho and Zambia.

The Southern Africa and Indian Ocean region, as a whole, is prone to natural disasters and oscillates between droughts and floods that are destroying harvests and further weakening fragile communities. Since January 2019, the EU has allocated a total of €67.95 million for humanitarian assistance across the region. The bulk of this funding went for emergency relief assistance in the wake of natural disasters (cyclones Idai and Kenneth), food assistance, and helping at-risk communities equip themselves better to face climate-related disasters.

Burkina-Faso suffers «dramatic deterioration»

“In recent months we have seen continued and dramatic deterioration of the security situation in Burkina Faso”, said EU top diplomat Josep Borrell in the debate with Members of European Parliament durring December Plenary.

“I was reading more figures like the ones you have been mentioning. 700 victims this year, 500 just since the summer. Multiple attacks of various kind against armed forces, security forces, civilians, villages, schools. It makes 600, almost 700 000 people displaced. The situations puts the level of food crisis very high. These people need assistance and basic social services. More than 1 million people are in need of emergency food assistance. This summer the country recorded more than 2000 schools closed. It means more than 300 000 children outside of school. Almost 10 000 teachers affected, several of them have been killed during this year.

“The situation is weakening the central authorities while the next presidential election is already approaching and considering that the authorities started to be criticized, [on] their crisis management.

Burkina Faso is a strong partner for us. And despite the fact that some difficulties appeared recently concerning the crisis assessment, I think we have to be more present and more engaged in this area.

“In fact, the Christians represent about 25 per cent of the population. It is often seen as an example of peaceful religious coexistence but it is clear that the terrorist groups want to undermine this interfaith coexistence, as part of a broader strategy to foment interethnic and religious conflicts and generate continuous displacement of the population. They attack communities that they consider as enemies, but also those Muslims that are considered by jihadists groups too moderate, as shown by the attack of a mosque last October.

“This situation does not call for a retweet but for urgent and strong action. As signatories of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Burkina Faso and the international community share the obligation to save lives, to protect the dignity of the populations, and to defend effective freedom of belief.

That is why we are following this situation and acting in the areas where security is under strain. We are indeed strongly committed to reinforce our support to the fight against radicalisation. The set-up of humanitarian and human rights law compliance frameworks requires resources. We are funding the G5 Sahel force with €10 million, and pacific coexistence with communities with almost the same money, and supporting the civil society in the field of democracy with another €7 million. This is an example, some illustration of what we do in this specific purpose.

“Preserving social cohesion and religious coexistence is key for the stabilisation of the country. I would like to reassure you that the EU will continue supporting Burkina Faso in facing this critical challenge. Because the situation in Burkina Faso and in general in the Sahel affects very much the security and peaceful prospects also for us Europeans.”

Projections of Tripoli destiny

“Naturally, the European Union does not have a plan to evacuate Tripoli. As you can imagine. We are not part of the conflict and I have no reference that such a thing will happen. Tripoli is a city of two million inhabitants and any fight on the streets of the city would be something really problematic and serious,” said top diplomat Josep Borrell during the press-conference, concluding the Council of the EU foreign ministers in Brussels.

The issue of possible evacuation of the Italian mission and the internationally recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) came to attention of the international press after a number of statements of different players, claiming Tripoli siege would end by the New Year, by entering of the Libyan National Army forces led by Marshall Khalifa Haftar. However the answer did not correlate to a question about the future of the Chairman Fayez Al Sarraj, if the EU is prepared to offer him an asylum.

“If you ask me if we have a plan to solve the Tripoli problem, of course not, because it is not our job, but we are in contact, all we can with our delegation there and that of the Member States to call the parties in conflict to the necessary restrain to avoid what could be a very serious situation such as the fighting in the center of a city of two million inhabitants.”

https://twitter.com/annavandensky/status/1204057771768987648?s=21

In the introduction of Borrell underlined the significance of the efforts of German diplomacy to find a negociated solution for establishing lasting peace in Libya.

On Libya more specifically, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Germany Heiko Maas has informed the Council about Germany’s plan for the Berlin process, which aims at finding a sustainable solution to the situation in Libya. I hope it will bear fruits and I believe we should be able to do more on Libya. We certainly [need] to do more because we cannot claim to be a geopolitical power if we cannot solve problems in our immediate neighbourhood“.

EU supports Kenya reforms

European Commission announced two new programmes totalling €31 million to boost investment and create jobs in Kenya.

“We have a close and valued partnership with Kenya, driven by common objectives and aligned with the Africa-Europe Alliance for Sustainable Investment and Jobs and Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. I’m delighted to announce these new programmes today, which will deepen our economic partnership, boost Kenya’s economic potential, improve the investment climate, and create jobs. They are further evidence of our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote sustainable development to eradicate poverty” European Commissioner for International Partnerships Jutta Urpilainen (pictured) said in Nairobi.

The two programmes will support strategic dialogue and strengthen the EU-Kenya economic partnership:

  • €26 million will be directed at reforms of Kenya’s public finances to promote economic stability, improve service delivery and tackle poverty.
  • €5 million will target economic cooperation and national policy reforms. It will also provide technical support for implementing Kenya’s Vision 2030 and ‘Big 4′ agenda.

During her visit to Kenya, Commissioner Urpilainen held talks with, amongst others, President Uhuru Kenyatta and acting Treasury Minister Ukur Yatani to discuss future bilateral cooperation between Kenya and the EU. She also gave a keynote speech at the 9th Summit of the Heads of State and Government of Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) and met young leaders to exchange with them on political, economic and social issues and learn about their priorities for Kenya’s development. On Sunday, she visited the Kalobeyei refugee settlement, where the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa works with UN partners to ensure that refugees and the host community live together peacefully, have access to social services and develop economic ties to build sustainable livelihoods.

EU advisory mission in CAR

The Council established a European Union CSDP civilian advisory mission in the Central African Republic (EUAM RCA). The mission will be launched by the Council no later than in the spring of 2020. Accordingly, a core team will make the necessary preparations to allow the mission to reach its initial operating capability.

https://twitter.com/eucouncilpress/status/1203975293620363264?s=21

The aim of the mission is to support the reform of the internal security forces to enable the Central African Republic (CAR) authorities to mitigate the current security challenges in the country. EU experts will support the Ministry of the Interior and the internal security forces, the police and the gendarmerie, with the aim of helping in their deployment throughout the country.

In a phased, scalable and modular approach, EUAM RCA will provide advice to the CAR authorities at the strategic level to support the sustainable transformation of CAR internal security forces into a coherent and accountable security provider operating under national ownership. The mission will coordinate closely with the military EU Training Mission (EUTM RCA), the UN MINUSCA mission and the international community.

The mission will be established in accordance with the crisis management concept (CMC) that was approved by the Council on 21 November 2019 and the subsequent operational planning documents. The CAR will be the third country to receive support in parallel from both military and civilian CSDP missions after Mali and Somalia.

EU recognises Sudan political transition

“The Council today adopted conclusions on Sudan, recognising the historic opportunity that Sudan’s political transition offers to work towards a peaceful, democratic and prosperous country. (Image above: left Josep Borrell, EU HR)

https://twitter.com/eu_eeas/status/1203957463281799168?s=21

“The conclusions highlight that Sudan’s success remains crucial for stability in the Horn of Africa and the wider region and reaffirm EU’s commitment, as a key partner, to accompanying Sudan on its political, economic and social reform path, in order to make the transition to democracy a success.

https://twitter.com/eucouncilpress/status/1203977730523615233?s=21

“The Council also highlights that in order to guarantee the long-term stability of the country, the transition should include all elements of society, notably women, youth and people of regions particularly affected by conflict and marginalisation. The importance of civil society is also reiterated.

“In this regard, the Council recalls that only an effective civilian-led government with real decision-making authority will gain the confidence of the Sudanese people and lay the foundations for meaningful reforms.  The EU remains ready to assist a Sudanese-led peace process in coordination with regional partners, especially the African Union.

“While acknowledging that substantial macro-economic reforms are needed to revitalise the Sudanese economy and set it on a course towards inclusive and sustainable growth, the Council notes that the EU stands ready to support the transitional government’s plans in this regard.

“While welcoming the recent steps taken by the transition government, the conclusions state that the EU remains concerned by the deteriorating humanitarian situation, which has been aggravated by a high number of refugees and internally displaced persons. The EU calls upon the Sudanese authorities to remove the remaining bureaucratic obstacles to the work of humanitarian and development actors.

« Older Entries