Wednesday, August 31, 2011

GAMBIA: Climate of fear ahead of presidential poll

GAMBIA: Climate of fear ahead of presidential poll

DAKAR, 31 August 2011 (IRIN) - Human rights advocates watching Gambia are worried that abuses against perceived dissenters will rise as the November presidential election nears, killing any chance of a free and fair poll. Already the official campaign period - the only time opposition parties are given access to the media and allowed to actively campaign - has been shrunk to 11 days from four weeks, sparking concern among political leaders.

A July report by international human rights organization, Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, pointed to repression of journalists and civil society, through "prolonged trials. on baseless charges" and "unlawful arrests, arbitrary detention and prosecution". The report noted concern that cases like these could increase as the elections approach. [ http://www.omct.org/files/2011/07/21336/the_gambia_mission_report.pdf ]

Amnesty International's Gambia campaigner, Ayodele Ameen, told IRIN: "We have serious concerns about observance of human rights during the elections." Ameen, who was arrested and detained for two days in 2007 while doing research for Amnesty in Gambia, said: "If you have a climate of fear, you have a situation where people cannot speak freely, and cannot participate freely in elections."

Opposition parties are concerned the shortened campaign period, set for 10-21 November, will disadvantage them.

"The 11-day campaign timetable declared by the electoral body is too short and does not favour the opposition parties," Henry Gomez, leader of opposition Gambia Democratic Party, told reporters. Omar Jallow, leader of the opposition Progressive People's Party, agreed, telling reporters the campaign period was "too short" and "inadequate" for effective campaigning.

Opposition parties have petitioned against the campaign timetable, but were still waiting for a response from the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) on 29 August.

Handpicked judiciary

Bai,* a concerned citizen, pointed to other ways the elections were skewed. He said manipulation takes place behind the scenes - through a judiciary handpicked by President Yahya Jammeh, which helps quash the media and opposition, and through government-appointed local leaders under pressure to support the incumbent.

Bai said government influence over the judiciary means the courts can be used to silence opposition. He pointed to recent judicial decisions including treason charges in June against Amadou Scattred Janneh, a former government minister, and three other men for distributing T-shirts demanding "End to Dictatorship Now". [ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR27/002/2011/en/4ed56d85-e196-4db3-8ae6-cc7165e62871/afr270022011en.html ] Last year, Femi Peters, a member of an opposition party, was jailed for one year for organizing a rally and holding a microphone without permission. [ http://www.freedomnewspaper.com/Homepage/tabid/36/mid/367/newsid367/5087/Breaking-News-Gambia-British-Govt-Condemns-The-Jailing-Of-Femi-Peters/Default.aspx ]

"[President Jammeh] appoints and dismisses judges at will, including the chief justice. All the judges who try to be fair-minded and impartial are dismissed," Bai said.

This was supported by the Observatory report which found "extensive political interference" in the judiciary and "several occasions [where] the president has illegally removed judges whom he perceived as dissenting voices".

Media control

While opposition parties officially have access to the media during the designated campaign period, the last presidential election, in 2006, saw a high level of bias and self-censorship from the media.

Bai said he knew of a reporter who was sacked after giving positive coverage to an opposition rally during the campaign period in 2006. The coverage - which described the rally as "well attended" - was considered too favorable. "Management asked why he would say that," Bai said.

A report on the 2006 elections published on the Electoral Knowledge website [ http://aceproject.org/ero-en/regions/africa/GM/gambia-election-analysis-leyraud-2006.doc ] said even during the campaign period Gambia Radio-Television Services - the main source of news outside the capital - "showed an overwhelming bias in favour of the ruling party".

"The level of illiteracy is high, so most people depend on the radio for information," Bai said. "National radio is the only radio station allowed to broadcast news in Gambia."

Gambia is described as "one of the most repressive countries for journalists in Africa" by the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), with three independent radio stations banned and the National Intelligence Agency (NIA) involved in extrajudicial detentions and torture of journalists. [ http://www.cpj.org/2011/08/gambian-security-agency-threatens-to-close-radio-s.php ]

Local leaders under pressure

District and village heads have been accused of caving in to pressure to support President Jammeh in previous elections, and citizens and opposition leaders have voiced concern this pattern will continue. Constitutionally, district and village heads are expected to be politically neutral and are barred from active party politics.

Shyngle Nyassi of the opposition United Democratic Party, told IRIN: "Our traditional leaders are not only loyal to the ruling party, but are political activists who do all they can to deliver their people to the ruling party to avoid sacking."

Bai supported this, saying the government-appointed village and district heads could be sacked without explanation. "If a village or a district head [is] not effective in campaigning for the ruling party they will be dismissed."

These leaders wield significant influence in their communities, he said. "Through this [President Jammeh] can win a lot of votes and can appear popular."

A district head, who preferred anonymity, denied this, saying he had never received instructions to campaign for the ruling party. He admitted to campaigning for the ruling party, but said he did so of his own volition.

Last year district heads led a failed campaign to crown President Jammeh King of Gambia.

Amat*, a concerned Gambia citizen who also preferred anonymity, said the population was closely monitored for dissent, with people living in "terrible fear" of arrest and other consequences. "You can be taken and no one will testify that you were taken and you can be kept as long as they want," he said. "There are so many NIA [officers] all over the place. You have to watch every move you make that it does not offend."

Human rights abuses are widely documented and include reports by Amnesty International of enforced disappearances, extrajudicial executions and the torture of journalists, opposition party members and peaceful protesters. [ http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/AFR27/003/2011/en/c8422686-8761-4c6e-9082-95d55beac7db/afr270032011en.pdf ]

*not a real name

wb/contributor/np/cb

In Brief: Agency identifies 23,000 IDP shelters in Mogadishu

In Brief: Agency identifies 23,000 IDP shelters in Mogadishu

NAIROBI, 31 August 2011 (IRIN) - A UN agency's satellite-based analysis of the shelters housing internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the Somali capital, Mogadishu, identified at least 23,000 such structures, mostly in the city's western districts.

 According to UNOSAT (the UN Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR) Operational Satellite Applications Programme [ http://www.unitar.org/unosat/node/44/1577 ]), the analysis was based on imagery recorded on the morning of 28 July 2011. At least 188 spatially distinct IDP shelter concentrations were identified within the city, covering an area of approximately 176 hectares, with the two largest in Wadajir and Dharkelynley, both in Medina district.

 "A detailed shelter count assessment for 46 IDP concentration sites resulted in an identification of 12,150 individual shelter structures that ranged from very small informal shelters constructed from sticks to large emergency tents provided by international aid agencies," UNOSAT said in a report on 16 August 2011.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Famine Soon to Worsen in Somalia, Report Predicts

Famine Soon to Worsen in Somalia, Report Predicts
By Charlene Porter
U.S. Department of State

WASHINGTON, D.C., 
Aug 27, 2011 — A new analysis of food security in the Horn of Africa reports that the level of acute malnutrition for people in some areas of Somalia exceeds 50 percent. Food insecurity will worsen to become famine in most areas of southern Somalia within four to six weeks, according to an August 24, 2011 report from the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET).

With backing from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), FEWS NET keeps watch on the status of food security in more than 30 nations. Using data from trained observers in the region and satellite and scientific data, FEWS NET predicted the onset of famine in the Horn of Africa as much as a year ago. It is considered among the most authoritative sources on current conditions and what's to come.

Drought is widely known to be the cause of the poor harvest and the resulting hunger in the region, but the latest FEWS NET report details just how sparse the season has been this year. The rainy period from April to June, known as the Gu, usually creates conditions for agriculture productivity in the arid region, but not this year.

"Gu 2011 cereal production in southern Somalia is estimated at 37,600 [metric tons]," the report says. "This is the lowest Gu cereal production in the last 17 years and represents only 26 percent of the 1995–2010 post-war average."

The report says poor irrigation infrastructure and high irrigation competition also helped to diminish harvest yields, along with crop pests and diseases. 

While Somalia's crop yields were poor this year, the herders had a better year. The report notes average pasture and water conditions, allowing Somalis practicing a pastoral livelihood to follow normal livestock migrations where herds can adequately graze.

A combination of low incomes and high cereal prices has also put food farther out of reach for average Somalis. "Food prices are exorbitantly high for the majority of households," the report says. 

FEWS NET monitors about 30 famine-prone countries around the world. It collects data from diverse sources to constantly evaluate levels of food security and issue warnings in the event of dangerous food shortages. 

The drought is considered the region's worst in about 60 years. Food shortages are being experienced in neighboring countries beyond Somalia, and malnutrition is thought to be the worst in 20 years, touching an estimated 12.5 million people across the Horn of Africa, including Ethiopia, Kenya and Djibouti.

It's been estimated that close to $2.5 billion will be needed to address the region's humanitarian crisis, but so far donors have pledged only about $1 billion. Nations of the African Union (AU) came together August 25 in a pledging conference, where additional commitments for $350 million were made. It was the first time the AU had attempted to organize its members for this type of appeal. 

While the needs of the moment are great, many are trying to look beyond the current crisis for longer-term solutions to Africa's food security. "We must ensure that we address the root causes and not simply throw money at it and wait for another emergency in a few years," said Jerry Rawlings, special representative of the AU for Somalia.

The United States has pledged to contribute about $580 million for humanitarian relief in the Horn of Africa, and as Rawlings suggests, has developed a program called Feed the Future, which aspires to create greater food security in the region with better agricultural skills, techniques and infrastructure development.

Source: IIP Digital

INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CASE AGAINST KENYAN OFFICIALS FOR POLL VIOLENCE TO PROCEED


INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT CASE AGAINST KENYAN OFFICIALS FOR POLL VIOLENCE TO PROCEED
New York, Aug 30 2011 11:10AM
The International Criminal Court (ICC) today dismissed an appeal by the Kenyan Government to throw out the cases against six high-ranking national officials, including a deputy prime minister, two ministers and a police chief, for possible crimes against humanity in post-electoral violence more than three years ago.

The ICC appeals chamber ruled that no legal, factual or procedural error could be discerned in the pre-trial chamber's decisions in May to proceed with the cases.

The six are: Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance; William Samoei Ruto, Minister of Higher Education, Science and Technology; Henry Kiprono Kosgey, Minister of Industrialization; Joshua Arap Sang, Head of Operations for KASS FM radio station; Francis Kirimi Muthaura, Head of the Public Service and Secretary to the Cabinet; and Mohamed Hussein Ali, Police Commissioner at the time of the violence.

More than 1,100 people were killed, 3,500 injured and up to 600,000 forcibly displaced in the violence that followed the December 2007 elections. There were also hundreds of rapes, possibly more, and at least 100,000 properties were destroyed in six of Kenya's eight provinces, according to ICC Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo.

Appeals chamber presiding judge Daniel David Ntanda Nsereko explained that for the cases to be inadmissible a national investigation must be ongoing, covering the same individuals and substantially the same conduct as alleged before the ICC.

The chamber ruled that the pre-trial chamber made no error when it found that the Government had failed to provide sufficient evidence to substantiate that it was investigating the six suspects for the crimes alleged in the ICC summonses.

The pre-trial chamber found reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Kenyatta, Mr. Muthaura, Mr. Kosgey and Mr. Ruto were criminally responsible as indirect co-perpetrators for murder, forcible transfer and persecution, and also for rape and other inhumane acts in the case of the first two.

It found that while there were not reasonable grounds to believe that Mr. Sang and Mr. Ali were indirect co-perpetrators, there were such grounds to believe that they otherwise contributed to the alleged crimes.

Mr. Ruto has been suspended and Mr. Kosgey has stepped aside from the ministerial positions because of issues not related to the ICC.

Earlier this year Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon discussed the cases with Kenyan Vice-President Stephen Kalonzo Musyoka at UN Headquarters in New York.

Monday, August 29, 2011

A brief look at Gaddafi's family members

Gaddafi family members flee to Algeria

Gaddafi family members flee to Algeria
Toppled Libyan leader's wife, his daughter and two of his sons in Algiers, as NTC says it will seek their extradition.
File picture of Muammar Gaddafi's wife Safia, left, daughter Aisha, centre, and son Hannibal [Reuters]

Muammar Gaddafi's second wife, two of his sons and his daughter have entered Algeria, according to the Algerian foreign ministry.

"The wife of Muammar Gaddafi, Safia, his daughter Aisha, and sons Hannibal and Mohammed, accompanied by their children, entered Algeria at 08:45am local time [0745GMT] through the Algeria-Libyan border," the ministry said in a statement on Monday published by the APS news agency.

However, it gave no information on the toppled Libyan leader, whose whereabouts has remained a mystery since fighters opposed to his government seized control of Tripoli, the Libyan capital, last week.

Algeria said their arrival had been reported to the United Nations and to the head of Libya's Transitional National Council [NTC], now widely recognised internationally as the country's legitimate government. 

The Libyan rebel leadership said on Monday that Algeria had given them "a pass" to enter a third country.
"Algeria said they gave a pass to go to a third country," Mahmud Shammam, a spokesman for the National Transitional Council (NTC), said.
"We cannot confirm that but they said they welcome them [to Algeria] for humanitarian reasons."
Shammam said the rebel leadership did not understand how anyone could "save Gaddafi's family" and wanted them back in Libya.
"Saving Gaddafi's family is not an act we welcome and understand. We'd like those persons to come back," he told a news conference.
"We can assure our neighbours that we want better relations with them ... but we are determined to arrest and try the Gaddafi family and Gaddafi himself."
Shammam said the rebels guaranteed a "fair trial".

Act of aggression


Gaddafi's Sons: Where Are They?

 Mohammad: He has entered Algeria. He was captured by Libyan fighters in Tripoli but managed to escape

 Hannibal: He is now in Algeria

 Saif al-Islam:Believed to have moved to the town of Bin Walid, south of Tripoli

 Saif al-Arab:Killed by a NATO air strike in April

 Khamis: There are rumours of his death but it has yet to be confirmed

 Saadi: At large

 Mutasim: At large. 


Another NTC spokesman accused Algeria of an act of aggression and also said the council would seek the extradition of Gaddafi's family members.

Ahmed Bani, a military spokesman for the council, said he was unsurprised to hear Algeria had welcomed Gaddafi relatives.

Throughout the six-month Libyan uprising, rebels have accused Algeria of providing Gaddafi with mercenaries to curb the revolution.

Al Jazeera's Anita McNaught, reporting from Tripoli, said: "There have been rumours over the last few days that family members had gone and that Gaddafi himself may have gone.

"The Algerian government has always got on really well with the Gaddafi regime. Algeria is one of the few countries that has not yet recognised the NTC."

Earlier, the Egyptian news agency MENA, quoting unidentified rebel fighters, had reported that six armoured Mercedes cars, possibly carrying Gaddafi's sons or other top regime figures, had crossed the border at the southwestern Libyan town of Ghadamis into Algeria.

Algeria's foreign ministry had denied that report.

Watch: A brief look at Gaddafi's family members

ICC warrant against Khamis?

Meanwhile, Khamis Gaddafi, another of Gaddafi's sons, whose military unit is accused of killing dozens of detainees in Tripoli, may be placed on the international war crimes court's most-wanted list, the prosecutor told the Reuters news agency on Monday.

The Hague-based International Criminal Court [ICC] has already approved warrants for the arrest of Gaddafi, his son Saif al-Islam, and Libyan intelligence chief Abdullah al-Senussi on charges of crimes against humanity.

Luis Moreno-Ocampo, the ICC prosecutor, said he may also apply for an arrest warrant for Khamis, after Human Rights Watch said members of the Khamis Brigade, a force commanded by him, appeared to have carried out summary executions of detainees whose bodies were found in a warehouse in Tripoli.

"We know Khamis should also be prosecuted because he was the commander of the brigade that was more active on some of the crimes," Moreno-Ocampo said.

Moreno-Ocampo said a UN Human Rights Council commission would conduct further investigations on the ground in Libya soon and that he would base his decisions on the results.

Hunt for Gaddafi as family flees

Hunt for Gaddafi as family flees

Muammar Gaddafi's close family is said to have fled Libya as the hunt for the ousted dictator continues.

Gaddafi's wife Safiya, daughter Aisha and sons Hannibal and Mohammed arrived in neighbouring Algeria on Monday morning, according to state news agency APS.

The new Libyan government, being set up by the National Transitional Council (NTC), may seek to extradite the relatives and bring them to justice.

However, Algeria's autocratic regime has not yet recognised the new Libyan administration and has successfully snuffed out anti-government protests in its own borders.

The whereabouts of Gaddafi himself remain unknown, although some of his other sons are thought to be in Tripoli, and there were reports that one, Khamis, had been killed in an air strike.

While the rebel-led NTC is seeking to establish the new government in Tripoli, pockets of resistance remain from forces loyal to Gaddafi. Fighting is still particularly intense around the coastal city of Sirte, Gaddafi's home town.

A team of UK officials has begun work in Tripoli towards the reopening of the British embassy in the Libyan capital.

A Foreign Office (FCO) spokesman said the move to re-establish the British embassy reflected "recent military progress" against the Gaddafi regime.

Meanwhile, any prospect of the only man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing being extradited from Libya has been dismissed by Scotland's First Minister. Alex Salmond spoke after footage showing Abdelbaset al-Megrahi, looking ill and apparently close to death, was aired on US news channel CNN.

In the wake of calls, particularly from America, that the former Libyan intelligence agent should be sent back to prison in the US, Mr Salmond said: "The latest pictures broadcast of Mr al-Megrahi clearly demonstrate that he is an extremely sick man, dying of terminal prostate cancer. Hopefully, this will end the ridiculous conspiracy theories that seek to claim anything else."

CIID MUBAARAK ..KU CIIDA CAAFIMAAD.


CIID MUBAARAK ..KU CIIDA CAAFIMAAD.
Ahmed Arwo

Waxa inoo dhammaatay bisha ugu kheyr badan bilaha, bishii quranka, bishii taraawiixda, bishii sadaqada, bishii naxariista, bishii soonka Alle, ee miskiin iyo maalqabeen ka sintay gaajada iyo haraadka. Waa mid ka markhaati ah midnamadeena iyo in jaceylka iyo cibaadada Alle ku dhisantay sinnaan. Waajib loo siman yahay iyo ajar la wado doonaayo.
  
Mahad oo dhan ALLE ayaa leh, ILAAHA inaga dhigay Muslim, ILAAHA inagu tilmaamay inaynu nahay ummadda ugu kheyr badan ummadaha, Waxa nasiib leh inta Alle waafajiyey soonka, taraawiixda iyo quraan akhriska, inta raacsatay sadaqad iyo quudinta saa'imiinta. 
Waxa iyana nasiib leh inteena caafimaad iyo nabad ku ciidaysa ee meel nabad iyo naruuro ah ku tukanaysa salaadda ciida, wadajir u akhriyeysa takbiirta cabsi laáan. Waa nimco ay garanayaan inta ay ka maqantay.

Waa ayaan barakaysan oo Islaamku ku midoobay, caddaan, madow, maalqabeen, faqiir, taliye iyo loo taliye, wiil
iyo waayeel, rag iyo dumar. Waa kulan farxadeed, waa madal xarago, waa muuqaal Alle ka cabsi iyo muujinta midnimada Islaamka. Waa dabaaldeg iyo damaashada daafaha dunida camiray.

Waxa ina kala qaybiya wax kasta oo damac adduunyo ah. Tartan ganacsi, tartan siyaasadeed, ilaa tartan ciyaareed. Waxa ina mideeya diin iyo camal kasta oo leh kheyr ma guurta ah. Wanaag iyo walaalnimada diintu waa daawada keliya ee khilaaf kasta soo afjari karta, kolka sida Eebbe ina faray lagu camal falo, iyadoon
la qaloocin, waxna lagu darin, waxna laga saarin. 

Waxa dalkeena iyo mandaqadaba ka taagan abaar, gaajo iyo macaluul xun. Haddaba inagoo ogsoon in kumanaan danyari Somaliland ku dhibaateysan yihiin, haddana waa leys dhaamaa oo tan ugu xumi waa tan Soomaliya ka taagan ee aynu ku aragno shaashadaha tiifiiyada caalamkoo dhanna damaqday. Inagoon iloobayn fuqarada iyo masaakiinta gudaheena ku baahsan, ayey tahay inaynu sadaqada u fidino kuwa inaga sii liita. Waxa ku jira kheyr badan iyo masiibada ayaa lagaga badbaadaa. Waxaynu la baxno wax ka weyn ayuu Alle ina siin doonaa. Waxaan xusuustaa islaan dawarsanaysay oon xoogaa lacag ah u dhiibay ayaa waxa isasoo ag taagay nin weyn oo curyaan ah, intaanu daaqada gaadhiga i soo gaadhin ayey islaanti waxii aan siiyey badh siisay. Naxariista islaantaas waligey ma iloobi doono. Waa wanaag lagu daydo.

Waxa farxad gaar ah ii ah in baaq aan hore u soo jeediyey in Somaliland dad iyo dawladba ka qayb qaataan taakulinta Walaalaheena Soomaliya ku macaluushan in la hirgeliyey maal fiicana la qabtay, welina hawshu socoto. Haddaba inkasta oo qof qof ahaan qurbojoogu gacan fidiyey, haddana sida Guddiga ka soo yeedhay, waxa qurbojooga Somaliland laga filayaa taageero muuqata oo nidaamsan. Insha Allah weynu yeeli tilmaanta Guddiga Qaran ee u Gargaarka Dadka Tabaaleysan. Akhri oo guji Linkan http://samotalis.blogspot.com/2011/08/somaliland-oo-600-oo-kun-oo-dollar-u.html
Ka akhri linkan hoose maqaalkii aan hore u qoray.

Ciid mubarak Somaliland, dawlad iyo shacbiba, sidoo kale ciid muabarak dhammaan Soomaaliyey meel aad joogtanba. Alle haynu waafajiyo tubta toosan,. Allow na cafi oo noo naxariiso, Allow inta bugta daawee, inta baahan baahi tir, inta gaajeysan dhergi, inta halowsa soo hadee, Allow Islaamka u gargaar, halka colaadi ka jirto nabad ugu bedel, Allow xaqqa u hiili, Allow daalinka iyo dulmiga naga qabo. Aamiin.

Ciida ha leys cafiyo oo niyad san ha lagu wado ducaysto. Kheyrka aynu isla jeclaano, sharkana aynu wado nacno, xaqqa iyo daacadda aynu u hiilino, gar-darrada iyo dulmigana aan meel uga soo wada jeedno. Aan u damqano oon gargaarno inta inaga itaalka yar, inaga adduun yar, inaga caafimaad darran.


Nabad, caafimaad iyo barwaaqo Alle haynagu simo ciidan ciideeda iyo qaar kale oo badan. Aamiin.

Mahad oo dhan Alle ayaa leh.

Ahmed Hassan Arwo
La-taliyaha Madaxweynaha ee
Dhaqaalaha, Ganacsiga iyo Maalgashiga.




SOMALIA: Locals join IDP camps in search of food

SOMALIA: Locals join IDP camps in search of food

NAIROBI, 29 August 2011 (IRIN) - More and more poor residents of Mogadishu are moving into camps set up there to house more than 100,000 displaced from other parts of the country by intensifying drought and the subsequent lack of food and other basic services, say aid workers and civil society representatives.

The number of Mogadishu families moving into camps has sharply increased in the past three weeks, officials say.

"Many of the families moving to camps are not much better [off] than the displaced; no one has reached their areas yet, they therefore decided to move to the camps to access help," Asha Ugas Sha'ur, a prominent member of civil society in Mogadishu, told IRIN.

She said many of the families had lived in areas formerly under the control of the insurgent Al-Shabab group, which withdrew from the city on 6 August.

Some are long-term IDPs and residents who depended on income from daily work. "There are no jobs to be had and no other income," she added.
Sha'ur said some of them had gone for weeks without leaving their homes due to fighting. "Now they are coming out and they have nothing."Attracting the needy

Abdulqadir Omar, the area manager for the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), which supports four camps in the Somali capital, with an estimated population of 3,000 families (18,000 people), told IRIN many of the new arrivals were from the city or the outskirts, "where aid has not reached yet".

Many families who were in IDP camps in the 30km-long Afgoye Corridor, which runs south from the city, are moving back to Mogadishu because there was not much help there, he said.

Omar said other families were setting up makeshift shelters inside the camps, a phenomenon known as "bush bariis" (roughly translated as rice huts). They "wait for a food distribution and go back home", he said. "This in itself is an indication of how desperate people are."

Ambaro* moved from her residence in the north of Mogadishu into a camp. Her neighbourhood was one of the last places Al-Shabab abandoned. "I moved because staying there meant starvation."

She used to find work in the markets but now they have been abandoned, "and I cannot feed my children. When I heard all those people coming to help the drought people I decided I was going to find help also."

Omar said aid agencies needed to find a way to reach those in need "inside the city and its outskirts".

"With the help given to the drought displaced we don't want to create resentment and hostility toward them," he said.

Reaching people where they are, Omar added, would also cut down on the number of people moving around. "We have huge movement of people and it all has to do with accessing food. If they know we will reach them, they will have no incentive to move."

Kiki Gbeho, head of office at OCHA Somalia, said the objective of the humanitarian community was to bring assistance to people in need wherever they were. "When people move from their homes in search of assistance they become extremely vulnerable and subject to all kinds of violations. The challenges are many, especially as over 100,000 IDPs have moved to Mogadishu in the last two months. We will continue to do all we can to assist them."

*not her real name

ah/mw

SOMALI CHIEF’S VISIT TO PUNTLAND REGION OPENS WAY FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION – UN

SOMALI CHIEF'S VISIT TO PUNTLAND REGION OPENS WAY FOR NATIONAL RECONCILIATION – UN
New York, Aug 29 2011  5:10PM
Somali President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed recent visit to the self-declared autonomous region of Puntland is a step forward on the path to national reconciliation in the faction-wracked country, a senior United Nations official said today.

The visit, facilitated by the UN Political Office for Somalia (UNPOS), comes ahead of a high-level consultative meeting in Mogadishu, the capital, from 4 to 6 September, which aims to launch the process of giving the strife-torn country its first functioning national Government by next August in more that two decades.

During his visit President Sheikh Sharif invited President Abdirahman Mohamed Mohamud 'Farole' of Puntland to attend the meeting.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative Augustine Mahiga said the visit was "a credit to the statesmanship of both President Sheikh Sharif and President Farole and opens the way for the advancement of national reconciliation and cooperation in Somalia.

"This is particularly critical as the Somali leadership and their partners prepare for the Consultative Meeting to adopt the Roadmap defining priority tasks for the next 12 months as agreed in the Kampala Accord," he added, referring to the pact reached in the Ugandan capital, under which the terms of the country's President and the Speaker of Parliament were extended for one more year.

This was a breakthrough that resolved the impasse over the current transition period, which was meant to have ended this month. In February, Parliament voted to extend its term for three years, a move rejected by the Transitional Federal Government (TFG).

Mr. Mahiga praised the two leaders for setting a positive tone towards consolidating peace, saying he expected this to be replicated in other regional administrations. "We, the regional and international partners, stand ready to render any support the people of Somalia require as they make efforts to move the peace process forward," he added.

Beyond the violence spawned by warlords and Islamic militants, such as Al Shabaab, which has killed countless thousands and driven some hundreds of thousands more from their homes, Somalia is now beset by a devastating drought and famine in which tens of thousands of people have already died and 3.2 million others, about one third of the total population, are thought to be on the brink of starvation.

EID MUBARAK --- Sunan of Eid


Sunan of `Eid
Taken from ad-Dawah illallaah Magazine
It is true to say that although much information has reached us about Fasting and Hajj - authentic or otherwise - we know very little about the etiquettes of 'Eid: what we are recommended to do in this day and what is obligatory for us to do. Below is a brief list of some of the prescribed practices of 'Eid.
SUNAN AL- 'EID
1. It is established from the Companion Ibn 'Umar, that he used to bathe on the morning of 'Eid. The tabi'ee, Sa'eed ibn al Musayyib said: "The sunnah of the fitr is three: walking to the Prayer-ground, eating before going out and taking a bath." [l]
2. It is known that the companion Ibn 'Umar would also dress in his best clothes for the two 'Eids as reported by Ibn Hajr in his Fathul-Baaree(2/439).
3. It is compulsory on all adult sane Muslims to attend the 'Eid prayer. The Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam and his Companions never ceased doing it and he sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam commanded everyone including women, children and the elderly to attend. Even menstruating women should go to the place of congregation so that they may partake in the blessings. [Bukharee and Muslim]
4. It is Sunnah to eat dates before we leave for Al-'Eid prayer to show openly that we are not fasting on this day. The Prophet, sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, used not to leave for Al-Eid [al-Fitr] prayer except after eating some dates. [2]
5. It is Sunnah to say takbeer loudly when leaving our homes to go to 'Eid prayer and repeat these till the prayer starts. [3]
6. It is preferable to pray the 'Eid prayer on open ground and not at the masjid if possible. [Bukharee and Muslim]
7. Neither Adhaan nor Iqaamah are said for 'Eid prayer. [4]
8. It is Sunnah to say the extra takbeers i.e. say 'Allaahu Akbar' seven times in the first rak'ah and five times in the second.[5] It is preferable to only raise the hands to the shoulders after the first takbeer and then fold them upon the chest. However, it is authentically reported from Ibn 'Umar radhiAllaahu 'anhu that he would raise his hands with every takbeer.
9. It is Sunnah to take different routes to and from the prayer ground, preferably walking if possible. Jaabir reported that the Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam used to come back from the 'Eid prayer on a path other than the one used in going to it. [Bukharee]
 
WHAT TO SAY ON THE DAY OF 'Eid
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam would say takbeer loudly when travelling to go to the 'Eid prayer. Ahadeeth have reached us telling us exactly what he used to say, but Ibn Abee Shayhah narrated that Ibn Mas'ood, radhiAllaahu 'anhu used to say the following:
AllaahuAkbar, AllaahuAkbar, Laa elaahaa ilallaah
Allaahu Akbar, Allaahu Akbar, wa lillaahil-hamd
Allaah is Great, Allaah is Great, there is none worthy of worship except He
Allaah is Great, Allaah is Great, and to Him belongs all Praise.
The Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam, who never spoke of his own desire, said:
 
"Three supplications are answered: the supplication of the fasting person, the supplication of the one who is oppressed and the supplication of the traveller". [6]
 
Therefore, in this month of Ramadaan, there is for you a supplication which will be answered. So seize this opportunity and call profusely upon Allaah during what is left of this month, and in particular at the time of breaking the fast (iftar), since the Prophet sallallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam said: Indeed there is for the fasting person when he breaks his fast, a supplication which is not rejected." [7]
And be sure in your heart that your du'aa will be answered and know that Allaah does not respond to a heedless and inattentive heart. Call upon Him with supplications for anything good and hopefully you will attain the good of this life and the Hereafter.
 
-------------------------------------------------------
References
1. Saheeh - Al Firyaabee & al-Irwaa (2/104)
2. Reported by Anas bin Maalik & collected in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (eng. trans. vol.2 p.40 no.73) & Ahmad.
3. Silsilatal-Ahaadeeth-Saheehah (no 171).
4. Reported by Ibn 'Abbaas and Jaabir ibn 'Abdullah & collected in Saheeh al-Bukhaaree (eng. trans. vol.2 p.40)
5. Aboo Daawood, Ahmad & others.
6. Saheeh - Reported by al-'Uqailee in ad -Du'afaa .
7. Reported in Ibn Maajah & others. Declared saheeh by al-Boosairee.
 
 

EID MUBARAK AND MANY HAPPY RETURN OF THE DAY

EID MUBARAK AND MANY HAPPY RETURN OF THE DAY

أتقدم لكم بأطيب التهاني وأجمل البركات بمناسبة حلول عيد الفطر المبارك
أعاده الله علينا وعليكم و على الأمة الإسلامية بالخير والبركات
سائلاً المولى عز وجل أن يتقبل صيامنا وقيامنا.

 BROTHERS, SISTERS AND FRIENDS WORLDWIDE EID MUBARAK AND MANY HAPPY RETURNS OF THE DAY.


EID MUBARAK

EID AL-FITIR 2011 

 
Eid Mubarik and many happy returns of the day.
Do not miss the Eid prayer and make your families, relatives and friends happy. Provide charity to the poor and deprived neighbours, visit the sick, and remember the dead of your relatives and friends.


May Allah accept our fasting, our prayers and our charity during Ramadan and after. May Allah bless us, our families, friends, neighbours and all Muslims worldwide with joy, prosperity and peace of mind.

May Allah free all oppressed, cure all sick, enrich all poor. May Allah guide us to his path and make us those whom he shields from all evil. May Allah make us those he frees from hell in the honour of Eid Al-Fitr Al-mubarak.Ameen.

EID MUBARAK TO YOU ALL BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN ISLAM.





Ahmed Hassan Arwo
Somaliland Presidential Economic Advisor
eci.advisor@gmail.com


http://www.facebook.com/pages/Ahmed-Arwo/246544372035127


http://samotalis.blogspot.com/



KENYA-SOMALIA: Border town feels the refugee pressure

KENYA-SOMALIA: Border town feels the refugee pressure

LIBOI, 29 August 2011 (IRIN) - As Somali refugees continue to pour into Kenya, pressure is mounting on the government to quickly re-open a transit centre to not only ease their hardship but to take pressure off residents of Liboi, a border town closest to Dadaab, the world's largest refugee complex.

 Kenyans hosting the new arrivals, donors, human rights organizations and aid agencies have been leaning on the Kenyan authorities to assist the refugees with food and medical help, and to resume screening them for security threats.

 The drought-triggered crisis that has affected both countries has left the local host community in Liboi feeling less hospitable, as they are obliged to share limited food and water resources with the new arrivals.

 Another concern is the lack of screening of refugees, leaving locals worried about security threats from Al-Shabab insurgents, as well as disease. Outbreaks of cholera, diarrhoea and measles have been reported in Somalia's capital.

 Until Kenya officially closed its border with Somalia in January 2007 as a security measure, Liboi, a dusty town about 18km from the frontier and 80km from Dadaab, was the major transit and screening centre for refugees. At least 200,000 Somalis passed through the town during the early 1990s. Transport to Daadab saved refugees a difficult trek through the desert.

 The suspension of screening proved unpopular with NGOs and UN agencies as it effectively trapped refugees in the nearby town of Dobley. [ http://www.irinnews.org/report.aspx?ReportId=71164 ]

 But refugees have continued to stream in, vulnerable to abuse either by bandits or Kenyan law enforcement officials, according to Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch (HRW).

 Neela Ghosal, a researcher with HRW, said Somalis cited police extortion, violence, arbitrary arrest and detention, and unlawful deportation to Somalia during their trek to Dadaab.

 Last year, Dadaab received an average of 6,000 to 8,000 Somalis every month, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). In 2011, the monthly average increased to 10,000, with more than 55,000 new arrivals since the beginning of the year, dropping to 700-800 daily in the past few weeks, according to some agencies. [ http://www.unhcr.org/4e0475f69.html ]

 Benedicte Goderiaux, an Africa researcher with Amnesty, said the Kenyan government had failed to respond to the protection needs of the refugees.

 Host community

 The Kenyan government has been divided over the need to provide protection for the refugees or deter the influx that could also include Al-Shabab militants by keeping the borders officially closed.

 Since famine was declared in Somalia in July, refugee numbers have soared, leading to increased concern among Kenyans living near the border.

 "It is not that we don't want to share our food - how can we not help women and children sitting under the tree in the open and hungry?" asked Dekow Mohammed, chair of Leboi's water and sanitation committee, when IRIN visited the town.

 "We share the same faith, we are all [ethnically] Somalis but we are also affected by the drought - we pay for our water which we share with them," he said.

 "But these people have been sitting here for two days now - what if they are carrying some weapons in their bags? What if they have a disease? We have to think about our people as well," added Mohammed.

 When IRIN visited Liboi on 14 August, 262 Somalis, mostly women and children, sat under trees - the largest number to arrive in recent weeks.

 Liboi is only of the several border towns; the others are Mandera and El Wak. Despite the border closure, local authorities have allowed local trade and movement in most instances at their own discretion.

 Security concerns

 Badu Katelo, Kenya's acting commissioner for refugees, maintained that the borders had never been closed for refugees.

 Katelo told IRIN the government was poised to re-open the reception centre and resume screening Somali refugees in Liboi. He said the situation had improved along the border, where the Somali Transitional Federal Government was in control.

 The centre and screening facilities could be operational again within a few weeks. "The modalities are still being worked out but we will have a small registration process [at the new centre] - where we will do short profiles of people." The screening will include a medical examination and a security check. The centre will be run by UNHCR, he said.

 Emmanuel Nyabera, UNHCR spokesman, said the agency was in negotiations with the government and the "centre and screening facilities will open soon". He said they hoped to provide medical assistance and some food to the new arrivals.

 After the official screening the refugees can now be transported to Dadaab. A small accommodation area is also in the works, said Katelo, for refugees who cannot be moved within 24 hours.

 But some aid workers regard the announcement with some apprehension, saying some government officials feel the re-opening would encourage more people to come to Kenya.

 "We are not going to open transit centres in other border towns - we will only limit it to Liboi," maintained Katelo.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Saudi air bridge takes off to deliver relief to Somalis

Saudi air bridge takes off to deliver relief to Somalis

Relief supplies for famine-hit Somalis being loaded onto a Saudi air force cargo plane at Jeddah Airbase on Sunday. (SPA)

By P.K. ABDUL GHAFOUR | ARAB NEWS

JEDDAH: A Saudi Air Force cargo plane carrying 20 tons of relief supplies left here Sunday for Somalia as part of the Kingdom's efforts to alleviate the suffering of the famine-hit Somali people. The air force will transport 200 tons of supplies donated by people in the Kingdom.

"The relief supplies will be distributed directly among the famine victims," said Saaed Al-Harithy, adviser to Prince Naif, second deputy premier and minister of interior and chairman of the relief committee.

Saudi Air Force will operate 24 flights to transport the relief supplies including food, medicine and tents. Among them, 17 will be from Riyadh and seven from Jeddah. "We are planning to send four cargo flights of relief to Somalia every day," he said.

Al-Harithy said the national fundraising campaign for Somalia was still collecting donations from Saudis and residents in both cash and kind. Interested people may transfer their donations to the unified account No. 6000 at NCB and IBAN No. SA43100020177777000104.

A two-day telethon organized by Saudi Arabian Television last week raised more than SR202 million in addition to hundreds of tons of food, medicine, medical appliances, dates, tents and other supplies.

The nationwide campaign, ordered by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah, received a tremendous response. King Abdullah gave SR20 million while Crown Prince Sultan donated SR10 million and Prince Naif SR5 million to the fund.

Meanwhile, the World Health Organization (WHO) has commended the Saudi government's generous donation of $60 million for Somalia, adding that it would contribute to reducing the suffering of the Somali people.

"The living conditions of the Somali people are very bad and the donation announced by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah had a big impact on UN organizations working in Somalia," said Fouad Mujalled, WHO's regional adviser for international cooperation. He commended the cooperation between Saudi Arabia and the WHO, adding that it helped in providing necessary assistance to countries inflicted by natural calamities. Several Asian and African countries have benefited from Saudi humanitarian aid, he added.

In a related development, Saudi Aramco announced on Sunday that it would donate a total of SR14 million to the Somalia fund including SR7 million given by its employees. Aramco President Khalid Al-Falih lauded the employees for their humanitarian gesture.

 

A number of Saudi companies have extended their donations to the people of Somalia during the past week. Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, chairman of Alwaleed bin Talal Foundation, donated SR5 million.

Saudi petrochemical giant SABIC said it would give SR5 million while the Saudi British Bank (SABB) announced a donation of SR1 million. Riyadh Gov. Prince Salman and his family announced a donation of SR2 million.

IDB has offered relief assistance worth $1.2 million for the famine and drought victims, the bank said, adding that it would distribute more relief supplies worth $1 million after Eid Al-Fitr.

During its second mission, the IDB will distribute supplies among women, children and other victims in six provinces south of Somalia. The bank delegation supervised the distribution of emergency aid among famine victims along the Somali-Kenyan border, where 350,000 Somali refugees are living in three camps. Adnan Khalil Basha, secretary-general of the International Islamic Relief Organization Saudi Arabia, said his organization had carried out 25 relief campaigns for Somalis in the past, spending a total of nearly SR180 million. These campaigns, he said, benefited more than 3.98 million Somalis.

Listerine maker sued over cancer test

Listerine maker sued over cancer test

A company that manufactures a mouth cancer detection test has launched a $65m (£38m) lawsuit against the maker of Listerine mouthwash, claiming that it prevented the test kit being sold to protect its sales.

By James Hall, Consumer Affairs Editor

Studies have linked the high alcohol content of some mouthwashes to oral cancer. Now Oral Cancer Prevention International (OCPI), a New York company, has filed a law suit in New Jersey claiming that Johnson & Johnson, one of the world's biggest companies, interfered with a distribution contract it had for the test as it did not want to lend credence to the link between mouthwash and the disease.

According to the lawsuit, in February 2010 OCPI signed a contract with a company called OraPharma – which was then a subsidiary of Johnson & Johnson – to distribute its cancer test, called the Oral CDx Brush Test. The test is designed to identify pre-cancerous cells in people's mouths.

However OCPI alleges that Johnson & Johnson grew "extremely concerned about the implications" of an Australian study that linked mouthwashes to cancer.

OCPI said that the multi-national did not want to "lend credence to the link between Listerine and oral cancer" by selling both products. The company went on to allege that Johnson & Johnson "induced OraPharma to breach the sales agreement" to suppress sales of the test "in order to protect sales of its mouthwash, Listerine".

[LMK START] Johnson & Johnson has said: "The company is confident that we have engaged in proper business practices and we look forward to the opportunity to resolve this matter through the legal system."

OraPharma has since been sold by Johnson & Johnson. [LMK ENDS}

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Somali-American students walk for famine relief

Somali-American students walk for famine relief

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 Somali-American students plan to walk from Minneapolis to St. Paul to support famine relief efforts in Somalia.

One of the organizers of Saturday's walk isShukri Abdinur. She says young Somali Americans have an obligation to do whatever they can to help. She says walkers want to pay homage to those in Somalia who did not survive, or who lost children to starvation.

She says the walkers want to show they care, and create long-term change in Somalia.

The walk starts at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Profile Event Center, 2630 University Avenue. Walkers plan to arrive at the state Capitol about 6 p.m.

The United Nations says 12.4 million people need food aid, and tens of thousands have died.

The American Refugee Committee is taking donations at http://www.ARCrelief.org.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Of 54 African states asked to aid famine, only four answer the call

Of 54 African states asked to aid famine, only four answer the call
By Alex Duval Smith in Cape Town- The Independent 

The absence of 50 of Africa's 54 heads of state from a pledging conference where they
would have been asked to commit aid to the famine in the Horn of Africa has drawn anger
from campaigners who have urged them to help the 12 million people in the region in danger
of starvation.
Only four heads of state turned up on Thursday in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, for the
African Union's first ever such pledging conference for a member country. The event was
organised in response to the famine across five regions of southern Somalia which, the UN
has estimated, it will cost $2.4bn to mitigate. Aid experts say after two years of failed rainy
seasons another $1bn is needed to meet the target. So far the pledges from African
governments total $46m.
Africans Act 4 Africa, a campaign launched last week by Oxfam, accused African
governments of being mean. "We are disappointed that the pledges are less than the
minimum of $50m that Africans Act 4 Africa set as a target," said the new group. It pointed
to the work of an 11-year-old Ghanaian schoolboy, Andrew Andasi, who has raised $4,000
by knocking on doors – and, more recently, appearing on television shows – during his
school holidays.
In contrast to the input of African governments, grassroots support on the continent for the
people of the Horn has reached unprecedented levels, especially in Kenya where 3.5m people
in the politically neglected northern region are affected by the food crisis. The Kenyans for
Kenya campaign is said to be well on target to raising 500 million Kenyan shillings (£3.3m)
by the end of this month.
But in the face of that fierce criticism, the continent's leading disaster relief charity has
spoken out in support of the continent's governments.
Gift of the Givers president Imtiaz Sooliman said African governments have limited resources
and already have powerful poverty pressures of their own. "Do not look at the amounts
pledged but at the fact that Africa has for the first time in its history organised a pledging
conference," he said as he left Addis Ababa on Friday.Mr Sooliman added: "Look at who the donors were at the AU meeting. Lesotho, which is a
tiny country in terrible financial straits, pledged DLRS 50,000 and Africa's newest state, South
Sudan, offered DLRS 1 million. These pledges represent a historic turning point for Africa both
in terms of continental cohesion and our commitment to finding African solutions," he said.
Of the African Union's 54 member states, only Ethiopia, Equatorial Guinea and Djibouti sent
their heads to the AU conference, along with the head of the transitional government in
Somalia.
The United States has pledged about $ 500m (£306m). The European Union has boosted its
immediate humanitarian commitment for this year to £140m, while national aid pledges total
a further £390m. Of those, the British government has pledged £54m. The British public has
nearly matched the amount.

Couple expecting their 19th baby

 Couple expecting their 19th baby





The Bates family

ABC news

A couple who have 18 children have announced they are expecting number 19.

Kelly and Gil Bates, who are evangelical Christians and do not believe in using birth control, are over the moon to be expecting another baby, who is due on Valentine's Day 2012.

The announcement came as the family, who range from 22-year-old Zach to 11-month-old Judson were filmed for
ABC news. The couple from Tennessee were shownn on camera having an ultrasound to confirm the pregnancy.

Kelly, who home schools her younger children, had been taking hormones to help her carry a baby to full term after suffering three miscarriages, and is now over the moon to be expecting another baby:

'It feels more normal to me to be pregnant than not be pregnant. I'm happy holding a baby.'
Kelly, 44, has spent almost her entire adult life pregnant, but looks remarkably youthful.

Their massive brood includes Zach, 22, Michaela, 21, Erin, 19, Lawson, 18, Nathan, 17, Alyssa, 16, Tori, 15, Trace, 14, Carlin, 13, Josie, 12, Katie, 11, Jackson, nine, Warden, eight, Isaiah, six, Addallee, five, Ellie, four, Callie-Anna, two, and baby Judson.

The couple also told the programme they ultimately would like to have an even 10 girls and 10 boys, which would make them the largest American family, a title currently held by the Duggars, a reality TV family who Kelly, Gil and their children are good friends with.

Kelly and Gil Bates

ABC news

While Mr and Mrs Bates don't believe in using birth control to limit the size of their family, they have been using hormones to help them have another baby, despite not having health insurance for their youngest 10 children.

'We just want to trust God, But at the same time, if there's already a life living, we don't want to deny medical help to a baby that's in trouble,' says Kelly.

The 18 children, plus mum and dad, share a five bedroomed house which Gil, 46, a tree surgeon, is planning to extend. They travel together in two family vans. The family go to the supermarket every other day, with their bill always reaching $250. They have five washing machines and four tumble driers to cope with the family's washing. They don't have a TV, preferring to play family games instead.

On the family's website (!) they say: 'We were told that having a house full of children would result in a ruined marriage, a frazzled and worn mom, a frustrated dad, and unhappy children. On the contrary, the children keep us feeling young and the responsibilities have driven us to more committed and meaningful relationships.

'We were told having a large family would send us to the poor house. Well, great expenses are required and that has increased our faith all the more. It has also taught us contentment and gratitude. We realize that having food, clothes, and living in America - no matter what our tax bracket might be - already makes us richer than most who live in the world.

Two Men Convicted Of Raping A Girl In Berbera

Two Men Convicted Of Raping A Girl In Berbera

Berbera, Somaliland, August 13, 2011 (SL Times) – Two men who were accused of raping a 15-year old girl were tried and convicted in a Berbera court. 
Speaking about this case, the chief judge of Sahil region, Osman Suldan-Ibrahim Daahir, confirmed to the Somali language newspaper Haatuf that the trial took place and that the court sentenced each of the culprits to 10 years in jail. The Judge stressed that they had been lately seeing crimes that did not used to happen before. In addition to sentencing crimes that were committed on land, the judge said they had also tried and convicted pirates from Puntland, Somalia and Somaliland.

Judge Osman Suldan-Ibrahim Daahir said one of the main obstacles derailing their work is interference by elders and officials, who, after a person was tried and convicted, come to the court and say that the issue was resolved between the two parties of the case and that the court should release the convicted felon.

In Somaliland, less money has brought more democracy

In Somaliland, less money has brought more democracy

Unable to access foreign aid, Somaliland's government has had to negotiate with citizens and business leaders for financial support – and provide stability and democracy in return

As the humanitarian crisis in southern Somalia threatens millions of lives, Somalia's little-known northern neighbour, Somaliland, is doing so well that its government recently offered to send aid across the border. That a small and relatively poor country that is also suffering from the ongoing drought would be in a position to help Somalia is itself remarkable; that Somaliland achieved this position without being officially recognised by the international community as a sovereign nation – and thus without being eligible for international assistance – is truly impressive.

But have Somaliland's accomplishments come in spite of its ineligibility for foreign assistance, or because of it? Somaliland's success – providing peace, stability and democracy in a region where all are scarce – is in large part due to the fact that the government has never received foreignaid. Because Somaliland's government cannot access funding from the World Bank, IMF, or other major donors, officials were forced to negotiate with citizens and business leaders for financial support. This negotiation created the responsive political institutions that, in turn, have allowed the nation to fare relatively well in recent years and in the current crisis.

Somaliland was part of Somalia until 1991, when it seceded during the country's civil war. When Somaliland first declared independence, its government was built around a single clan and lacked accountable political institutions. Business leaders eventually agreed to provide funds, but not until the government agreed to develop representative and accountable political institutions (a concession that politicians made only out of necessity, as it weakened their own grasp on power).

In one notable incident, the government was forced to implement democratic reforms in exchange for tax revenues from Somaliland's main port. These revenues total less than $30m a year – a fraction of the more than $100m the government would have received from aid organisations if Somaliland had been eligible for international assistance. It is difficult to imagine that the owners of the port would have been able to exact the same concessions if the government had other funding options.

As a result of these negotiations over tax revenue, Somaliland has become an exceptional democracy. It has held multiple presidential, parliamentary and district-level elections. It has seen multiple peaceful handovers of power, including to a minority clan. It even survived a presidential election that was decided by an 80-vote margin without resorting to violence.

While the government's limited finances prevent it from providing an ideal level of public goods, the stability it has ensured has led to an economic revival, massive gains in primary schooling, and significant reductions in infant mortality. It has also been able to facilitate a strong response to the current food shortages, which is evident in this World Food Programme map of the current incidence of famine. To be sure, there is still much work to be done but, in context, Somaliland's accomplishments are, in the words of Human Rights Watch, "both improbable and deeply impressive".

Of course, one might wonder whether Somaliland's experiences can be generalised. In fact, the idea that government dependency on local tax revenues makes it more accountable has a strong historical pedigree. Political scientists and historians have long argued that the modern, representative state emerged in medieval Europe in large part as the result of negotiations between autocratic governments that needed tax revenues to survive inter-state conflicts and citizens who demanded accountability in return. Only recently, though, have development professionals have begun to recognise the implications of this line of research for modern development policy.

Certainly, not all foreign assistance is bad. Aid has clear benefits against which the potential harms discussed here must be weighed on a case-by-case basis. In a country like Nigeria, where the government has ample access to oil revenues, foreign assistance is unlikely to affect the relationship between citizens and the government. In many countries, though, aid is the largest single source of government revenue; there are 16 sub-Saharan countries in which the ratio of foreign assistance to government expenditure is greater than 50%, and in 10 of those, this ratio is greater than 75%. If these aid levels damage the quality of governance in recipient countries – as Somaliland's experience suggests they may – then it might be the case that, in the long run, less money may actually do more good.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

WORLD MUST FUND FAMINE-WRACKED SOMALIA TO PREVENT GENERATION DYING, UN WARNS


WORLD MUST FUND FAMINE-WRACKED SOMALIA TO PREVENT GENERATION DYING, UN WARNS
New York, Aug 25 2011  9:10AM
African leaders convened a fund-raising conference today for famine-wracked Somalia, where tens of thousands of people have already died and 3.2 million are on the brink of starvation, with a top United Nations official warning that the crisis stretches far beyond hunger to issues of health, protection and livelihood.

"The future of an entire generation hangs in the balance," Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro told the pledging conference hosted by the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

"If we do not respond, the consequences will reverberate for years. We will be asked how we stood by and watched a generation die, how we allowed a crisis to become a catastrophe, when we could have stopped it."

She noted that communities had already been shattered and a generation of orphans would bear the scars of hunger for the rest of their lives.

Mr. Migiro stressed the multiple facets of the crisis, including public health, with disease, including cholera and measles, threatening to spread throughout Mogadishu, the capital, and beyond. "We must do everything to ensure that affected communities have enough clean water, medicine and hygiene supplies to stop it spreading further," she said.

"This is also a protection crisis, where women face the threat of rape in overcrowded camps, where orphaned children are lost and scared, with no sense of future, where refugees are being preyed upon by armed gangs and bandits during their long walk to safety."

It is also a crisis of livelihoods, with thousands of households having sold their assets to keep themselves alive. "Pastoralists have lost their livestock: they will only be able to survive future environmental or economic shocks if they can rebuild their resilience," she added.

Ms. Migiro emphasized the urgent need for the Transitional Federal Government (TFG) in the war-torn and faction-riven country to take up these challenges to assist and deliver food relief and basic services in areas that it controls, and for the international community to fully support the TFG so that it can exercise its responsibilities to protect civilians.

She also highlighted the need to build long-term sustainability and resilience so that future shortages can be averted by taking appropriate agricultural steps to end the cycle of recurring crises.

She called on the TFG to step up its own outreach and reconciliation efforts to build sustainable peace in a country that has not had a functioning central government for past two decades, during which internecine fighting spawned by warlords and Islamic militants has killed countless thousands of people and driven 1.4 million others from their homes.

The TFG, supported by the 6,200-strong UN-backed African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM), recently expanded its control over Mogadishu after Al-Shabaab Islamic insurgents withdrew from nearly all the city. Earlier this month Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's Special Representative Augustine Mahiga called for greater international aid to enable the Government to move into the country's south, which is still controlled by Al-Shabaab.

Ms. Migiro noted that while the situation outside Somalia is not expected to reach famine proportions, millions of people are also struggling to survive in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Djibouti, after the worst drought in decades.

"The suffering is real and widespread and we cannot afford to lose the momentum for action," she said, noting that Kenyans and Ethiopians, even while confronting their own difficulties, are also hosting hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees, who have fled conflict and famine and now live in vast camps.

The UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today warned that efforts to keep farmers and pastoralists on their feet, prevent the crisis from worsening and speed progress toward recovery are not being adequately funded.

Support for activities outlined in FAO's "Road map for Recovery" – a $161 million package designed to restore livelihoods and build the resilience of populations in the face of climate and other shocks – has so far been insufficient, with only $57.3 million paid up or in the pipeline to date, the agency said in a <"http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/87088/icode/">news release.

It noted that high cereal prices continue in the Horn of Africa, as cereal supply is declining and will not be replenished until the year's end, provided there is adequate rainfall. Livestock conditions continue to deteriorate, and the increasing burden of accumulated debts continues to erode both urban and rural households' ability to purchase food.

"We have the know-how, including frameworks, institutions, technology and human capacities to eradicate famine from the Horn of Africa, but we lack predictable resource flows to achieve that outcome," states a document prepared for the Addis Abba meeting by the AU in collaboration with the three Rome-based UN food agencies – FAO, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

UN REPORT OUTLINES INVESTMENT STRATEGIES TO REDUCE WATER SCARCITY


UN REPORT OUTLINES INVESTMENT STRATEGIES TO REDUCE WATER SCARCITY
New York, Aug 25 2011 11:10AM
An annual investment of $198 billion, or 0.16 per cent of global gross domestic product (GDP), in the water sector could reduce water scarcity and halve the number of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation in less than four years, the United Nations said today.

In the water chapter of its Green Economy Report, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) <"http://unep.org/newscentre/Default.aspx?DocumentID=2649&ArticleID=8841&l=en">said that investing in sanitation and drinking water, strengthening local water supply systems, conserving ecosystems critical for water supply, and developing more effective policies can help avert the high social and economic costs resulting from inadequate water supplies.

Cambodia, Indonesia, the Philippines and Viet Nam, for example, lose an estimated $9 billion a year, or 2 per cent of their combined GDP, due to problems caused by poor sanitation, according to the report, which was released during the World Water Week conference in Stockholm.

"Improving access to cleaner drinking water and sanitation services is a cornerstone of a more sustainable, resource-efficient society," said UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.

"The Green Economy Report shows how accelerated investment in water-dependent ecosystems, water infrastructure and water management, coupled with effective policies, can boost water and food security, improve human health and promote economic growth," he added.

With the recommendations outlined in the report, global water use could be kept within sustainable limits and the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of reducing by half the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation could be met by 2015.

Improving the efficiency and sustainability of water use is also vital if the world's increasing energy demands are to be met, said UNEP.

"As countries become wealthier and more populous, industrial demand for water is expected to increase. In China, for example, more than half of the increase in demand for water over the next 25 years is expected to result from a significant expansion in its industrial sector," it stated in a news release.

Water use for bioenergy production is the subject of another new report, also released at World Water Week today, entitled "The Bioenergy and Water Nexus."

Jointly produced by UNEP, the Oeko-Institut and the International Energy Agency, the report found that bioenergy's water demands are in large part linked with the cultivation and processing of feedstocks, such as crops, which in turn have important implications for sustainable agriculture, land use and food production.

In a world where more than 70 per cent of global freshwater is used for agriculture, the report says bioenergy development needs to be carefully planned to avoid it adding to existing pressures. This planning needs to reflect the increasing and competing needs for the same raw materials for uses such as food, animal fodder and fibre as the world's population climbs to an expected nine billion by mid-century.

Among the report's recommendations is taking a holistic approach and a long-term perspective, basing decisions on impact assessments to ensure sustainable water management, designing and implementing effective water-related policies, and promoting technology development.