Category Archives: NEWS

BRAFA 2022: Tribal art and “fetishes”

Brussels 17.06.2022 Anna Van Densky: As the centrepiece of its stand, Montagut Gallery will be presenting an exceptional Soninke statue, from the Dogon culture, Mali, thirteenth century.

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A selection of “fetishes” from the Democratic Republic of Congo will also be on display, at Didier Claes.
The exhibition “Nkisi” focuses on the beauty of these “force-objects” which, through the addition of
various elements, were magically charged and enabled access to their ritual function of divination and
communication with the spirits. Dalton Somaré will present a very graphic portrait mask,
Baule, Côte d’Ivoire, late nineteenth century, with traces of polychrome.

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The Guilhem Montagut Gallery has focused primarily on art from the early periods of tribal societies, with particular emphasis on African art. Since 1990, the gallery in Barcelona has provided private collectors and institutions with high quality pieces, offering the highest guarantees concerning value and authenticity. The gallery participates in a number of art fairs every year, including Feriarte in Madrid, Parcours des Mondes in Paris and Bruneaf in Brussels.

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The 67th edition of BRAFA, which will take place from Sunday, June 19th to Sunday, June 26th, 2022,
will open in the summer time season. From the first steps the visitors will be enchanted by a
richly-coloured decor welcoming them to daydream and contemplate. Elegantly flowered, covered with a unique carpet, and embellished by sculptures, paintings and drawings by our Belgian guest of honour, Arne
Quinze, the Fair will welcome 115 Belgian and international exhibitors spread over two Palaces at Brussels Expo, an emblematic and historic venue.

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Whilst this change of scenery has undoubtedly breathed new life into BRAFA, the Fair 2022 has also
retained its essential values: quality, authenticity and eclecticism. Collectors will be able to explore
the aisles where long-standing galleries and 18 new exhibitors will be displayed in a circuit that
promotes discovery and a mix of styles.

Mauritania: new EU fisheries agreement

Strasbourg 08.07.2022 The European Parliament gave on Wednesday, June 8, its green light to a new fisheries agreement with Mauritania, which should strengthen environmental, economic, social and scientific cooperation.

With 557 votes to 34 and 31 abstentions, MEPs backed the largest fisheries agreement concluded by the EU with a third country. Valid for six years, it will enable vessels from France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and Spain to fish for tuna, small pelagic fish, crustaceans and demersal fish in Mauritanian waters. In return for maximum 290.000 tonnes of fish, Mauritania will receive €57.5 million a year. An additional €3.3 million per year will be used to support the local fishing community.

In the accompanying resolution adopted with 532 votes to 23 and 74 abstentions, MEPs welcome Mauritania’s commitment to make all its fisheries agreements with other countries public, to ensure the EU fleet the same conditions of access to Mauritanian resources as any other fleet.

The European Parliament also urges Mauritania to stop overfishing of small pelagic stock, which has negative consequences on local food security and causes water pollution. Small pelagic fish are processed into fishmeal and fish oil by the food processing industry instead of being used for local consumption, MEPs say. They note that while Mauritania committed in 2017 to gradually phase out fishmeal and fish oil production by 2020, there has been an expansion of fishmeal factories since 2010.

MEPs also support the EU’s fleet in kind contribution to local communities. EU fishers are encouraged to continue distributing 2% of their pelagic catches to people in need by landing it to the National Fish Distribution Company (SNDP). The European Parliament calls on the Mauritanian authorities to ensure that the contribution reaches citizens.

Following the vote, the EP rapporteur Izaskun Bilbao Barandica (RENEW, ES) said: “The renewal of the fisheries agreement with Mauritania is good news for the sound management of maritime resources and for the fisheries sector. It is the most important agreement in force. It provides opportunities for 86 European vessels to exploit surplus fish stocks under strict conditions of control and transparency. It proves the European sector is willing to operate worldwide with practices that are sustainable for the environment, fair for the people who make their living from the sea and invested in developing the local economy. In this agreement, there is also a firm commitment to empower Mauritanian women and strengthen their role in the value chain. It also underlines the importance of addressing the unsustainable growth in the country’s production of fishmeal and fish oil for aquaculture farms in Asia.”

The first fisheries agreement between the EU and Mauritania dates back to 1987. The new agreement has been provisionally applied since November 2021 and is planned to last until November 2027.

Nigeria: EU condemns Owo attack

Brusssels 07.06.2022 The European Union is shocked by and condemns Sunday’s armed attack on churchgoers in Owo, Ondo State, Southwest of Nigeria, in which scores of defenceless worshippers were killed.

“The unacceptable attacks by non-state armed groups are becoming recurrent in various parts of Nigeria and the senseless violence has now spread to the hitherto peaceful state of Ondo” read the statement by the High Representative Josep Borrell on the killing of worshippers in Owo.

“The EU stands in solidarity with the people of Ondo state, and in particular the families who have lost their loved ones. Those responsible for the despicable act should be speedily brought to justice”.

“The EU remains committed to working with the Nigerian authorities to stop this spiral of violence, find a lasting solution. We continue to support Nigeria in its efforts in building sustainable peace, deepening democracy and ensuring protection of fundamental human rights of all its people, including the right of worship and freedom of religion or belief”.

Gabon:EU confident in “resilient nation”

Brussels 25.05.2022 Today the Government of The Gambia took a decisive step on its road towards justice and accountability for human rights violations perpetrated during the regime of Yahya Jammeh (1994-2016), reads the statement by the European External Action serivce spokesperson on the Government response to Truth Commission’s recommendations.

“In response to the final report of the Truth, Reconciliation & Reparations Commission (TRRC), the Government announced a robust, measurable roadmap for the implementation of the near entirety of the Commission’s recommendations. This is unprecedented in the history of truth commissions and welcomed by the EU.

“There can be no impunity for human rights violations and crimes against humanity. The EU stands ready to support The Gambia in implementing the measures announced, including the establishment of a special judicial framework. The EU is confident that The Gambia’s continued political commitment to the process will culminate in a resilient nation, reconciled communities and guarantees of non-recurrence.

Niger laments Sahel G5 “death”

Brussels 22.05.2022 Niger’s President Mohamed Bazoum said that Mali’s decision, which came after it was not allowed to assume the group’s rotating presidency, meant the Sahel force was now “dead”.(Image: illustration)

“The isolation of Bamako in West Africa is bad for the whole sub-region,” Bazoum told French newspaper La Croix in an interview published on Wednesday.

But the force’s executive secretary adopted a more measured tone over Mali’s decision.

Eric Tiare echoed Pobee in calling Bamako’s decision “regrettable” but told the UNSC meeting that it had enjoyed some successes in combatting armed groups and helping foster socioeconomic development in the region. Tiare also called on the world body to offer it more support.

France’s envoy to the UN, Nicolas de Riviere, also lamented Mali’s withdrawal from the force, as did other UNSC members.

The force, which includes troops from Niger, Chad, Burkina Faso and Mauritania, was formed in 2017 to counter armed groups who have swept across the region in recent years, killing thousands of people and forcing millions to flee their homes.

But it has been hobbled by a lack of funding and has struggled to reduce the violence.

Meanwhile, Mali’s withdrawal further isolates the country – which has been hit with sanctions by West Africa’s regional political bloc, impacting jobs and industry – on both the regional and global stage.

G5 Sahel: Chad urges Mali to stay

Brussels 22.05.2022 Chad’s interim president Mahamat Idriss Deby (pictured) has urged Mali’s military junta to reconsider its decision to withdraw from a five-nation military force – G5 Sahel – fighting Islamist militants in the region.

Malian authorities announced the decision on Sunday, May 22, blaming the lack of progress in the fight against militants linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State (ISIS) and the failure to hold recent meetings in Mali. G5 Sahel assembls troops from Burkina Faso, Mauritania, Chad and Niger.

Mali’s junta, which came to power in an August 2020 coup, has grown increasingly estranged from its West African neighbours after delaying elections aimed to restore democratic rule.

Chad’s Deby, the acting president of the G5 Sahel, said in a statement released on his behalf that the alliance was “an irreplaceable instrument of cooperation”.

“The acting president of the G5 Sahel exhorts the government of the Republic of Mali to reconsider its position in order to allow efforts underway … (to) provide a solution to its concerns through an imminent conference of heads of state and government,” the statement said.

Deby ascended to power by the military last year after the battlefield death of his father, President Idriss Deby. Nowadays he has faced less international criticism than Mali’s junta, which is embroiled in a dispute with France, the former colonial power and main military ally of regional forces.

EU-AU €600M assistance

Brussels 21.04.2022 The Council adopted today a decision establishing an assistance measure under the European Peace Facility (EPF) in support of the African Union worth €600 million. The EU reaffirms its strong commitment to the EU-AU partnership and to cooperation in the area of peace and security. (Image: illustration).

Covering the period 2022-2024, the three-year Assistance Measure continues the well-established provision of long-term EU support to African-led Peace Support Operations. Within its framework, the African Union will be able to request support for individual Peace Support Operations as needs arise, allowing a quick response to relevant security developments on the African continent.

The adopted support is in line with the EU’s commitment to strengthen multilateralism and in particular the key role of the AU regarding peace and security on the African continent. It forms an important part of the two Union’s renewed and enhanced cooperation for peace and security, as announced in the recent AU-EU Summit Declaration.

In the framework of this Council Decision, the Political and Security Committee has approved additional support to further enhance the operational effectiveness of the Multi-National Joint Task Force against Boko Haram (MNJTF) in partnership with the African Union and create a safe and secure environment in the areas affected by the activities of Boko Haram and other terrorist groups. This is the first action supported under the new Assistance Measure in support of African-led Peace Support Operations.

The EU will add €10 million to the resources already mobilised under the EPF for the MNJTF, increasing its overall support to €20 million and allowing for an extension of the provided support until the end of 2022. Previous support covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2022 was agreed on 16 December 2021.

The support provided covers personnel and operational/logistical costs, including ground and air transportation, communication equipment and medical services, to enable the MNJT to effectively carry out its mandate.

Mozambique: EU allocates €45M

Brussels 21.04.2022 Today the Council adopted a decision amending the assistance measure for support to the Mozambican Armed Forces under the European Peace Facility (EPF) adopted in November 2021, adding a further amount of €45 million. This additional support brings overall EPF support for Mozambique to €89 million in total.

The assistance measure aims to strengthen EU support for capacity building and the deployment of the units of the Mozambican Armed Forces trained by the EU Training Mission in Mozambique (EUTM Mozambique). This support consists of the provision of integrated packages of equipment and supplies in conjunction with EU training missions. The aim is to ensure that the training is as efficient and effective as possible, enabling EUTM-trained troops to be fully operational and self-sufficient upon deployment.

Through this assistance measure, the EU will finance equipment to benefit the eleven Mozambican companies to be trained by the EUTM, including individual and collective equipment, ground mobility assets, as well as a field hospital.

The European Peace Facility was established in March 2021 to finance all Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) actions in military and defence areas, with the aim of preventing conflict, preserving peace and strengthening international security and stability. In particular, the European Peace Facility allows the EU to finance actions designed to strengthen the capacities of third states and regional and international organisations as regards military and defence matters.

Ethiopia: EU condemns Human Rights violations

Brussels 09.04.2022 “The EU is appalled about the report by Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International with regards to the widespread human rights violations and abuses of civilians in the Western part of Tigray.

“An independent UN investigation, complementing the efforts of the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, is urgently needed, to establish facts and responsibilities contributing to accountability and justice for victims.

“An International Commission of Human Rights Experts on Ethiopia was created by the EU led resolution in December 2021. The EU reiterates its calls on the Government to fully cooperate with the Commission so investigations can start immediately. The EU regrets delays in the budgetary discussions in the UN 5th Committee and calls on all partners to engage constructively to ensure the necessary resources for the International Commission, whose goal is to help Ethiopia on the way towards truce and reconciliation.

“The EU condemns in the strongest terms all human rights violations and abuses and violations of international human rights law, and of international humanitarian law, committed in northern Ethiopia since the conflict began on 3 November 2020.

“The EU calls for an immediate halt to all human rights violations and abuses and calls upon all parties to the conflict to facilitate full, safe, rapid and unimpeded humanitarian access ensure that humanitarian relief reaches all civilians in need”.

Burkina-Faco: President Compaore sentenced

Brussels 06.04.2022 Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaore was sentenced in absentia to life imprisonment for complicity in the 1987 murder of his predecessor Thomas Sankar a in a coup d’état, a military tribunal ruled on Wednesday, April 6.

Burkina Faso’s former President Blaise Compaoré has received a life sentence in absentia for his role in the assassination of his charismatic predecessor, Thomas Sankara. Sankara, 37, was gunned down along with 12 others during the 1987 coup d’état that brought Compaoré to power.

The pair had been close friends and had jointly seized power in 1983. Sankara remains a hero for many across Africa because of his anti-imperialist stance and austere lifestyle.

After seizing power at the age of just 33, the Marxist revolutionary known by some as “Africa’s Che Guevara”, campaigned against corruption and oversaw huge increases in education and health spending.

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