UN calls for International Support in Ending all wars…

UN Under Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs Rosemary DiCarlo on Wednesday the 27th of February 2019 called on the international community to lend its support to Africa in achieving the objective of “silencing the guns” by 2020.

Speaking at a Security Council meeting on the cooperation between the UN and regional and subregional organizations in maintaining international peace and security, DiCarlo introduced that the “silencing the guns” is an initiative to promote prevention, management and resolution of conflicts in Africa.

According to DiCarlo, it was the African Union (AU) that pledged in 2013 “not to bequeath the burden of conflict to the next generation of Africans and undertake to end all wars by 2020.”

“The UN-AU strategic partnership has become a cornerstone of the UN’s peace and security initiatives in Africa,” said DiCarlo.

The UN’s partnership with the AU involved concrete action, she said, adding that the UN kicked off a two-year project in January 2018 to support policy dialogue and technical assistance on conflict prevention and mediation in Africa.

She said that the UN has also increased its support to efforts to counter-terrorism and prevent violent extremism in Africa. In June 2018, the UN signed with the AU a memorandum of understanding in this area to increase its cooperation and capacity-building support to the AU and several sub-regional organizations as well as to member states.

Clear evidence has showed that it is Africans, in partnership with the global community, who are leading the way to sustainable peace and prosperity in the continent, said DiCarlo.

“In ‘silencing the guns’ African countries have a central role to play in making the initiative a success, as do the African Union and Africa’s private sector and civil society,” she added.


ECOWAS, UN Agencies End 2-Day Joint Retreat

The Economic Community of West Africa State (ECOWAS), the United Nations Volunteers Program (UNV) and the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC), have ended a two-day joint retreat in Monrovia.

The retreat was was an exercise to revise the existing partnership agreement between ECOWAS Commission and the UNV, and to further propose a new agreement between these organizations.

It was the first between the ECOWAS Commission and the UNV since the partnership was signed in 2005, under the ECOWAS Volunteer Program (EVP), which was also initiated by the ECOWAS Commission on November 5, 2004.

ECOWAS Commissioner for Industry and Private Sector Mamadou Traore, informed participants that a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) and a cost–sharing agreement was signed between the UNV and ECOWAS Commission in 2005, but has not been re-commissioned to effectively establish the ECOWAS EVP with technical support, and funding from the UNV and the African Development Bank (ADB).

The retreat, Mr. Traore said, has provided framework that will formulate new ideas to mutually benefit the cooperation among the UNV, ECOWAS Commission and UNOSSC.

“We hope that this retreat will also provide the ground for heightening collaboration and development of new templates for a three–party South–South arrangement among UNV, ECOWAS Commission and the UNOSSC in the areas of youth migration, youth entrepreneurship, education, scholarships, gender development as well as volunteerism,” Traore said.

Benedict D. Roberts, Head of ECOWAS National Office and Chair of the ECOWAS Coordinating Council of EVP-Liberia, said that the single most important instrument in the MoU, which binds them together and determines the roles individuals play was a subject for discussion at the meeting.

Roberts cautioned participants to contribute to make their gathering achieve its objectives.

Deputy Youth and Sports Minister, Andy Quamie, expressed confidence that the meeting will help strengthen the existing partnership and also help Liberian youth, who are at a disadvantage.

The retreat was attended by representatives from the ECOWAS Commission, UNV program, and the UNOSSC, who discussed ways of strengthening the existing partnership among the three institutions to include Liberian youth.


Genocide Survivor Speaks of Healing and Forgiveness

Rwanda’s international recognition is often defined by the horrific 1994 genocide, but to many of the country’s citizens, the its story should not begin or end there.

Ebralie Mwizerwa, a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide, relayed Rwanda’s story of tragedy, strength, and regrowth to a packed classroom of students, faculty, and staff.

“Rwanda has risen from ashes. From the genocide, we completely lost the country. But thank God for the leaders who could rebuild and understand and for the Rwandans who could be so resilient to rebuild again. Its narrative has to be continued and known by the world,” said Mwizerwa.

The genocide began in April 1994 during the Rwandan Civil War, following ethnic tensions between the Hutu ethnic majority and the Tutsi minority. The Hutu nationalists initiated the mass killings and called for local citizens to engage in the violence against their neighbors, the Tutsis.

As a result of this genocide, more than 2 million Rwandans fled the country and nearly 1 million were killed.

Mwizerwa hid for weeks with her children, emerging at the end of the 100-day genocide in July 1994 to step over piles of dead bodies, which included members of her extended family. This traumatic experience has become integral to her life and career, which she now uses to share her story and promote peace.

Mwizerwa and her family came to the United States as refugees and found the opportunity to mend the broken spirits of other refugees. She and her husband co-founded Legacy Mission Village in 2000, a non-profit that helps refugees adjust to their new homes and become active and productive members of their community.

Today, she lives in Tennessee and works as the Project Coordinator for the Outreach Foundation, which is a religious charity that hosts missions to provide aid to those in need across the globe.

As a survivor herself, Mwizerwa has used the tool of forgiveness to move on and continue to be strong for her family and herself. She said that the wounds are still sometimes fresh for survivors, but forgiveness has al- lowed her to no longer be a prisoner of the past.

Instead, she has become a champion for the future through her work with the Outreach Foundation.

Mwizerwa places her faith in God as the true power that al- lowed for her to be a survivor of the Rwandan Genocide and to be a forgiving individual. Through her spirituality, Mwizerwa sur- vived the Rwandan Genocide while pregnant with her fifth child and surrounded by her other four. “I cannot tell you

how much we faced death. I cannot tell you how much we were saved by the Hand that protected us,” said Mwizerwa.

The turning point of her path toward forgiveness began in 2011 when she and her husband accompanied a mission team to Rwanda. There, she encountered some of the Hutus who had killed her loved ones.

In this situation, Mwizerwa explained that there were two options: revenge or forgiveness. “The one [thing] we can do is to go to them, acknowledge that we know their mistake, and stand our ground of peace. Peacemaking has never been an easy situation,” said Mwizerwa.

However, Mwizerwa and her husband took their forgive- ness one step further by performing an act of servanthood. “We took a basin and washed their feet as a sign to them [that] this is it. We are putting this down. We wash it away, and we are your servants,” said Mwizerwa. She did this to prove to the Hutus that she forgave them.

Before this, the Hutus were hostile and aggressive because they thought Mwizerwa and her husband were coming for revenge.

However, with forgiveness does not come forgetfulness. Mwizerwa has still retained the memories of those she lost: her neighbors, uncles, cousins, and mother-in-law.

“Today the battle is how should we move on and how should we forgive. People are still stuck in 1994… because of the many things that came their way,” said Mwizerwa.

Rwanda has started rebuilding itself from the ground up through convicting those responsible for organizing the genocide, growing their economy out of poverty, and uniting with one another through pride for their country.

The event was hosted by the Africa & African-American Studies Program and facilitated by Dr. J. Scott Hewitt, associate professor and director of teacher education. Hewitt is also the faculty leader for the Rollins field study that travels to Rwanda every other year.


Sudanese Opposition Mobilizes for First Protests under State of…

February 28, 2019 (KHARTOUM) – The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called on the Sudanese to take o the street on Thursday to demand President Omer al-Bashir to step down and to rebel against the state of emergency he declared Friday.

The one-year emergency order bans unlicensed demonstrations or gathering. Also, the government established emergency courts, at elementary and appeal levels, to try those accused of violating the state of emergency.

The SPA which has overseen the organization  of the protests since more than 10 weeks ago called for a huge demonstration on Thursday 28 February in the Khartoum state and across the country dubbed “Processions of Defiance”.

During the last hours, the Association, which is part of the opposition coalition for Freedom and Change, has kept calling on the Sudanese to show take part on what it wants to a defying day recalling that the state of emergency was a violation of the constitution.

The Association further released plans of the processions in Khartoum state and indicated the meeting points for main towns and districts, indicating that it will start at 01:00 pm.

Thursday protests intervene as a military vehicle ran over a five-year and killed him while his brother a 6-year old has serious wounds. The incident which took place in Khartoum North raised waves of indignation and condemnation in the social media.

But, the police said the police responsible for the incident had been arrested and that it has no relation with the ongoing protests.

For his part, the First Vice-President Awad Ibn Ouf stated that the state of emergency is aimed at dealing with the economic situation but not the protests.


ECOWAS Set to Eliminate Child Marriage in West Africa

ECOWAS says it is set to eliminate child marriage in the region through the validation and implementation of its reviewed Child Policy and Plan of Action.

Dr Siga Jagne, the bloc’s commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender, said this at an experts’ validation meeting on the ECOWAS Child Policy in Abuja, on Monday.

Jagne said the previous policy, which was based on international frameworks, was approved by the Heads of State in 2008 and covered the period of 2009 to 2013.

The commissioner said the increasing rate of child marriage in West Africa was unacceptable with the sub region accounting for the highest in Africa and the second highest in the world.

“Indeed, six of the 15 ECOWAS countries; Niger: 76 per cent, Mali: 55 per cent, Burkina Faso: 52 per cent, Guinea: 51 per cent, Nigeria: 43 per cent, Sierra Leone 39 per cent, are among the twenty countries with the highest rates of child marriage in the world.

“Two ECOWAS countries, Nigeria and Niger, rank among the 20 countries with the largest absolute number of child marriages in the world.”

“While ECOWAS Member States continue to implement measures to end child marriage, rates remain very high.

“This also is in spite of the work done at the level of the African Union and the launch of the Campaign in 2014; as well as the commitment of 11 West African Countries to end Early Child Marriage.”

She explained that the review would include the multidimensional issues affecting the rights of the child in West Africa with a focus on the Roadmap on Prevention and Response to Child Marriage
“Thus, the ECOWAS Commission, will present to you for validation, the Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action and a Roadmap on Prevention and Response to Child Marriage, aimed at charting a clear course for the Region in dealing with this issue in the coming years.”

The commissioner urged representatives of member states to scrutinize the texts and consider modalities for implementation at the national and regional levels.

Mr Hussaini Abdu, Country Director, PLAN International, an NGO, said his organization was working with governments, religious and traditional leaders across West Africa to also implement a global programme against child marriage in the region.

“What we are doing across West Africa is what we call 18+; which is no child should be married until she is 18 and above.

“Our work is to see how we can work with governments to set up policies and frameworks that will support the process of delegalising child marriage, working with traditional leaders of our different communities.

“We are also working with religious leaders who can also help in better interpretation of religious doctrines and work with the girls themselves, from their primary through secondary schools and get them to understand their societies,’’ Abdu said.

He also urged member states to collaborate with the organisation to facilitate its efforts in ending early and forced child marriage.

Mrs Denise Ulwor, representative of UNICEF, said the review of the ECOWAS Child Policy would be an opportunity to scale-up action on the regional child rights agenda.

Ulwor said the successful implementation in the Plan of Action would contribute to efforts to respond effectively to the challenges children faced in different contexts.

“It is refreshing to see an updated Child Policy with clear and practical framework to improve access to rights and protection for every child in West Africa.

“We in UNICEF are particularly pleased to have provided financial and technical support to see the draft Policy and Plan of Action to fruition.

“We recognise the Child Policy as the main tool supplementing the ECOWAS mandate on child rights,’’ she noted.

Mr David Dorkenno, Specialist in Workers Activities, International Labour Organisation (ILO) expressed optimism that the effective implementation of the ECOWAS Child Policy would ensure every child in the region enjoyed their developmental rights.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the review of the ECOWAS Child Policy began in 2016.

The experts would assess the document before it is presented to the ECOWAS Ministers for adoption.

The reviewed ECOWAS Child Policy and Strategic Plan of Action would cover the period of 2019 to 2023.


ECOWAS Set To Sanction Members For Disobeying Court Judgments

The Economic Community of West African states (ECOWAS) has disclosed that plans have been concluded to punish member states that are in the habit of disregarding and disobeying judgments of the ECOWAS court of justice.

President of the ECOWAS court of justice, Justice Edward Asante, made the disclosure while declaring open a regional capacity building workshop for law enforcement agencies on promoting best practices on structure, investigation and techniques of criminal asset seizures, freezing, confiscation, recoveries, management in compliance with United Nations security council resolutions in Abuja.

Asante stated that the habits of disobeying judgments of the ECOWAS court of justice by member state will be brought to an end soon as heads of states have reached a decision to sanction erring members. “Heads of States met and decided that member states should set up focal points in their various countries that would be responsible for the enforcement of the judgment and that has been put in place except that they have not started the regulations. We hope that they would start it and there is also sanction for those who do not embark on that, so I think in the very near future that would be carried out so that they would enforce the judgment for the court to have its prestige”.

While commending GIABA for being proactive in the fight against money laundering and terrorism financing in the region, he however called for the immediate revision of the status of GIABA to make it more effective. “the established architecture of GIABA on the 10thof December 1999 by the authority of heads of states and governments of ECOWAS is outdated and woefully inadequate to meet the challenges of today; and much less those of tomorrow, especially with the emergence of multiple complex crimes worldwide.

GIABA’s director general, Kimelabalou Aba that was represented by the director programmes and projects, Buno Nduka, remarked that, “GIABA member states continue to record low number of confiscation of tainted property. This is due to dearth of expertise to identify, trace, seize, freeze and confiscate proceeds of crime”.

He stressed that the workshop, which is the third, is aimed at building the capacity of participants to use modern techniques to identify, trace, recover and manage assets related to money laundering and associated predicate offences, and the financing of terrorism.

On his part, the director, Nigeria financial intelligence unit (NFIU), Francis Usani, called on member states to put relevant laws in place to checkmate money laundering and terrorism financing, adding that, when criminals are allowed to keep the proceeds of their crime, they become empowered and sophisticated in their operations.

He said, “criminal asset confiscation and recoveries become a more critical and important element in the fight against crime, because when you take the benefit of crime from the criminal, the motivation to commit the crime diminishes”.


EU, ECOWAS commend FG on progress made in fight…

The EU and ECOWAS have commended Nigeria and the sub-regional body in the progress made in the fight against Boko Haram in the North East.

The two organisations made the commendation in a communique issued at the end of the 22nd ECOWAS-EU political meeting on Friday in Abuja.

The meeting which was at the ministerial level of EU-ECOWAS was co-chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Amb. Mustapha Suleiman, and Secretary of State of Finance Republic of Austria, Hebert Fuchs as Chair of Council of EU.

Sulaiman represented the Chair of ECOWAS Council of Minister while Fuchs spoke on behalf of High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

“The participants exchanged views on the security and humanitarian situation in the North East, Nigeria.

“Both sides commended the progress made in the fight against Boko Haram but noted with concern the recent increase in attacks by terrorist groups.

“Referring to its support provided to the Multinational Joint Task Force, the EU expressed its commitment to support the countries of the Lake Chad Basin in addressing the multiple remaining challenges in this region through a comprehensive approach,” it stated.

The participants according to the communique, noted the challenging general security environment ahead of the Feb.16, 2019 election in Nigeria.

The challenge, it noted was occasioned by mainly Boko Haram activities in the Northeast, the Farmers-Herders conflict in the middle Belt regions, among other threats.

“They highlighted the importance of addressing among others, the root causes of conflicts and basic needs of the population related to the strengthening of resilient humanitarian access to the affected areas.

“The participants applauded the growing cooperation and collaboration that characterized the relations between the EU and ECOWAS.

“They underscored their shared values and increasing convergence of views in the areas of peace and security, governance, migration, trade and other development-related issues.

“They reaffirmed the importance of advancing peace and security in the ECOWAS region and their willingness to deepen their cooperation in these areas in line with ECOWAS Protocol and regional mechanism,” it stated.

It stated that the EU particularly expressed its appreciation of the measure being taken by ECOWAS in strengthening peace and security as well as consolidation of the gains of democratisation process in West Africa.

The communique added that ECOWAS and the EU took note of the commencement of negotiation on future ACP-EU relations after 2020.

“They welcome the willingness expressed by the negotiating parties to readjust these future relations in the light of the current and emerging global challenges.

“Also to strengthen their partnership towards the implementation of the development agenda and realisation of multilateral commitment.

“Participants reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen the strategic relations between ECOWAS and the EU after 2020,” it stated.

It stated that they agreed to continue the dialogue on developmental cooperation and multiannual financial framework, at a special session of the Strategic Orientation Committee.


ECOWAS Parliament begins second Ordinary Session


The Parliament of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the 15th of November 2018, in Abuja, Nigeria began the second ordinary session of its fourth legislature.

During the month-long session, the regional Parliamentarians will among others, consider and adopt the 2019 programme of activities of the community Parliament.

Declaring the session open, the Speaker, Moustapha Cisse Lo noted that the agenda before the on-going session calls mainly for the consideration of the Community Budget in accordance with Articles 7 and 17 of the Supplementary Act relating to the enhancement of the powers of the ECOWAS Parliament.

He stressed that other matters to be considered include the speech of the President of the ECOWAS Commission on the State of the Community, country reports, referrals from the ECOWAS Commission on the Community texts, reports of the fact-finding and parliamentary oversight missions as well as Workshops and interactive sessions with the technical and financial partners.

The Speaker ruminated through two main “intersession activities” of Parliament and highlighted in this regard, the last two delocalised meetings of the year 2018, the first of which successively held in Guinea Bissau and The Gambia respectively.

The second which had to do with the 2018 Second Extraordinary Session that took place in September 2018, in Cote d’Ivoire enabled the adoption and incorporation of the budget of Parliament into the general budget of the Community, in accordance with our Supplementary Act.

The Speaker further reported that three parliamentary oversight missions were simultaneously sent, from 4 to 8 October, to the institutions and agencies responsible for the implementation of the Community policies and programmes in Senegal, Burkina Faso as well as Benin, Togo, Ghana.

Similarly, he disclosed that two parliamentary fact-finding missions were undertaken to Liberia and Agadez in the Republic of Niger during the year under reference among the many other exertions of the body of parliamentarians.

He recalled that the meetings held were innovative and “relevant diplomatic initiatives, which attests to the continued commitment of the ECOWAS Parliament to the integration and prosperity of Africa, as well as the peace and unity of the continent”

On the imminence (first quarter of 2019) of general elections in Nigeria and Senegal Speaker Lo noted, among others, that the role of Parliament in monitoring these elections will be crucial in strengthening democracy and establishing the credibility of the elections.

Goodwill messages for the parliamentary session were led by that of the President of the ECOWAS Commission Jean-Claude Kassi Brou, represented at the event by the ECOWAS Commission’s Commissioner for Infrastructure Mr. Pathe Gueye who expressed solidarity with the parliamentarians while wishing them fruitful deliberations.

On his part, the president of the ECOWAS Community Court of Justice Judge Asante Amoako Edward who was represented by the Vice President of the Court Juge Gberi-Be Ouattara, noted that in sharing the ECOWAS objectives of economic and social integration which are a concern for the Parliament, ECOWAS Court of Justice is convinced that it can and must bring its contribution to achieving same.

He said the Court, commits itself to “contribute its stone to the construction of the community building, by rendering a justice which soothes, reassures and establishes the balance”.

The Speaker of the National Assembly of Niger Mr. Ousseini Tinni disclosed that from the beginning of ECOWAS, his compatriots have “shared the ideal of peace, progress and unity of (General Yakubu) Gowon and (General Gnassingbe) Eyadema.

He stressed: “We must all continue to carry the torch of a community that knows how to overcome borders and particularisms, economic disparities and chauvinism, to build a viable economic whole, beyond any narrow sovereignty, to give our countries a chance to take off!”

Other guests in attendance included Speaker of the House of Representatives of Liberia, Mr Bhofal Chambers, envoys accredited to Nigeria and ECOWAS as well as representatives of the International and Inter-African Organisations. The session is expected to feature among others, an activity under the aegis of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) with the theme- Strengthening mobilisation against child trafficking and labour: Parliament’s efforts.

This is being carried out in collaboration with the International Labour Office (ILO) with the support of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF).




The new digital case management system being developed by the Community Court of Justice is aimed at computerizing the Court’s case management system which will enable the online filing of cases. This was presented to the new Judges of the Court during their 7th Retreat held in October,2018 in Nassarawa State.

The system will also be demonstrated to the judges to enable them make input towards its finalization.

The three-day retreat, the first for the judges and which is on the theme ‘Strengthening the ECOWAS Court of Justice,’ also enabled the judges discuss the 2019 draft budget of the Court. The budget was adopted during the Administration and Budget Retreat of the Court held between 22 and 26th July 2018, before the swearing in and assumption duty of the new judges.

Two other presentations on Adjournments, Stakeholders and the Image of the Court as well as the Rules of Procedure of the Court was made during the retreat.

The new judges, who were sworn in on 31st July 2018 for a four-year tenure include the President, Honorable Justice Edward Amoako Asante (Ghana), and the Vice President, Honorable Justice Gberi-Be Ouattara (Cote d’Ivoire), both of which were elected for a two year term.

The others include Hon Justice Dupe Atoki (Nigeria); Hon. Justice Keikura Bangura (Sierra Leone); and Hon. Justice Januaria Silva Moreira Costa (Cabo Verde).


ECOWAS Court Laments Human Rights Abuse in Nigeria, Ghana,…

The President of the Economic Community of West African State (ECOWAS) Court of Justice, Justice Edward Asante, has described as “serious” the issue of human rights abuse in Nigeria and Ghana, among others, particularly the attack on journalists by some governments through their various state apparatus.

Asante also lamented the poor level of enforcement of the decisions of the ECOWAS Court by member-states in the sub-region while calling on the civil society organisations (CSOs) to develop mechanism that would compel government of their various countries to comply with the judgment of the court.

The president stated this at the weekend while receiving a network of lawyers, human rights activists from 9 West African countries namely: Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone under the auspices of Public Interest Lawyering Initiative for West Africa (PILIWA), at the Community Court in Abuja.

“We know it is a very serious issue in our continent. Even till date, there are governments and presidents still inflicting bad things on their citizenry and it is our duty here to uphold their rights, particularly those of journalists and other people who are being bastardized because they are speaking the truth doing the right thing trying to report government who are doing bad things”, he said.

He said the ECOWAS Court was established initially to tackle issues only between member states but, following the high level of abuse of rights of citizens by governments of member States, the regional body in its supplementary protocol of 2005 expanded the jurisdiction of the ECOWAS Court to now adjudicate on human rights violations in the subregion.

Justice Asante assured that the court will always do its best to deal expeditiously in the interest of justice particularly that of the human rights cases that has brought his guest.

On the issue of disobedience of the orders of the court by government of some member states, Justice Asante remarked that the development of not curtailed now would eventually lead to the death of the court.
He disclosed that so far, only about three or four countries have taking the initiative to enforce the judgment of the Court and in most cases, it is not all the judgments they enforce.

He said: “The court would rely heavily on institutions and civil society organizations to help propagate the ills governments are doing to judgments of the court because the court.

“It is our wish that the civil society, especially professional groups, lawyers, would bear on the governments and various institutions so that they will comply with provisions of the amended protocol, to set up authorities in their governments and legal systems to enforce our judgments.

While noting that the court will be commencing the new legal year with about 106 cases, he disclosed that 12 among them are due for judgment by November this year.

Country Focal Person, PILIWA Nigeria, Barrister Chima Williams, said the group is interested in plans by the Court to take steps towards making provisions for enforcement of decisions which PILIWA can help amplify.

“As we come from different countries in West Africa, it will be our duty to equally talk to our governments to say the rules for this court is due for review. Citizens who get judgments here should have it enforced.

The group believes the ECOWAS Court is key to promoting and protecting human rights in the region, given the strategic roles the court has been playing over the years in bridging the gap in our regional, national laws and judicial systems.

Williams explained that part of the purpose of the groups visit was to urge the court to consider a process of reviewing how it can give more access to communities across the region.

It also wants the Community Court to expand its jurisdictional reach and enforcement mechanisms to guarantee that citizens who look to the court when they are denied access to justice in their national jurisdictions are not left more confused after securing erudite judgments from the court.