Eight Killed In Guinean Gold Mine Landslide

CONAKRY– At least 15 people were killed yesterday, after a landslide hit a gold mine in Guinea’s north-east Siguiri region.


An official of Norassoba town, Fatoumata Traore, said that, the landslide had killed eight people and injured five.


The victims’ bodies have been sent to a local hospital, where four injured persons are being treated, with the one seriously injured transferred to the Kankan regional hospital for emergency treatment, Traore said.


North-eastern Guinea is rich in gold resources. In Siguiri Province, accidents such as landslides occur frequently, due to illegal gold mining activities.



Source: Nam News Network


Horn of Africa Regional Ministers Call for Coordination to Deal with Food Insecurity

The East African bloc IGAD, aid groups, and development partners have called for greater coordination to fight growing hunger in the region.

An estimated 51 million people across East Africa are in dire need of food, water and medicine. Ministers from the eight nations of IGAD — the Intergovernmental Authority on Development — met in Nairobi this week to find ways to deal with the general humanitarian crisis in the region.

The World Food Program’s regional director for Eastern Africa, Michael Dunford, said urgent action is needed.

“As indicated, we are in crisis and it’s not just a food crisis, it’s a water crisis, it’s an education crisis, it’s a livelihood crisis, it’s a nutrition crisis,” he said. “And over the last couple of days, we have had many words spoken but now we need to turn these words into actions and actions where we joined up, able to respond to the needs of the population across the Horn of Africa.”

The WFP says its annual needs for the region have climbed from $4.3 billion to $6 billion and, despite getting some donations, it has yet to close the gap.

Persistent drought made worse by four consecutive failed rainy seasons has wiped out crops and livestock in the region, destroying the livelihoods of millions in the Horn of Africa.

Mohamed Malick, regional director for Eastern and Southern Africa for the United Nations children’s agency, or UNICEF, said the region is losing its younger generations due to lack of food and water.

“Malnutrition figures are skyrocketing. We know as we speak today there are 1.7 million children who are facing severe and acute malnutrition, which is an extreme form of malnutrition and a major cause of death,” he said. “As we speak today, children are having problems accessing water.”

UNICEF says at least 3.7 million students in the region may have dropped out of school and most of them may not return to class.

Somalia is one of the countries most affected by the drought, with more than seven million people who are food insecure.

The country’s minister for agriculture and irrigation, Ahmed Madobe Nunow, said conflict and lack of government presence in many parts of Somalia have made it difficult for people to feed themselves.

“Land access and utilization is a challenge in Somalia, because most of the fertile land is not in the hands of the government and, therefore, land access is an additional problem in Somalia,” Nunow said.

In neighboring Ethiopia and Kenya, at least 23 million people are food insecure and, in Ethiopia, conflict in the Tigray region has worsened the humanitarian situation.

According to the aid agencies, six million South Sudanese are food insecure, and 30 percent of Sudan’s population is facing a food crisis compounded by climate change, political instability and increased food prices.

Sudan’s minister for agriculture and forest, Abubakr Omer Elbushra, said a population in constant conflict and violence cannot produce sufficient food.

“In stable communities, [people] who are affected by tribal or political crises turn to either refugees or displaced. People in camps lose their livelihood. They are changed from producers to consumers and here, a food crisis strikes,” Elbushra said.

Government representatives and aid agencies are calling for coordinated regional interventions, strengthening of research capacities, and early warning systems to prevent disasters related to food and nutrition crises before they happen.



Source: Voice of America


Human Rights Groups, China Voice Strong, Opposing Reactions to UN Vote

Beijing highlighted the failure of a push by the United States and some Western countries to debate China’s human rights record in Xinjiang at next year’s U.N. Human Rights Council. Uyghur rights groups voiced strong disappointment.


In a statement Friday by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, a spokesperson accused the U.S. and the West of “misinforming the public,” comments that came a day after the 47 member states of the U.N. Human Rights Council voted on the motion to debate China’s treatment of Muslim communities in the Xinjiang region.


The draft resolution was rejected with 19 against, 17 in favor and 11 abstaining.


The resolution drafted by the U.S. and co-sponsored by Britain, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, Iceland and Norway, was presented to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Sept. 26, asking to discuss the findings of a U.N. Xinjiang human rights report at the next regular session of the council in March.


The 48-page U.N. report concluded in August that China’s human rights violations against predominantly Muslim Uyghurs and other Turkic ethnic groups in Xinjiang “may constitute international crimes, in particular crimes against humanity.” The U.S. and some Western parliaments have designated China’s human rights abuses in Xinjiang as genocide and crimes against humanity.


China’s response


Beijing said the countries that supported the draft resolution “propagated falsehoods” on the human rights situation in Xinjiang and used “U.N. human rights bodies as a tool to interfere in China’s internal affairs and to serve the agenda of using Xinjiang to contain” China.


“The issues related to Xinjiang are not about human rights. They are about countering violent terrorism, radicalization and separatism,” China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson said.


Zhang Meifang, consul general of China in Belfast, posted a screen shot of the result of the vote. “Justice Prevails!” Zhang tweeted.

Rights activists disappointed

Uyghur rights organizations voiced a very different response to the vote.

Dolkun Isa, president of the Munich-based World Uyghur Congress, called the final vote “a missed opportunity by council members” to hold China to the same standard as other countries.

“We are really disappointed by the reaction of Muslim countries, we have witnessed once again how strong the ties of our so-called Muslim brothers and sisters are with China,” Isa told VOA in an email. “The international community cannot fail the victims of the Uyghur genocide.”

Many of the countries that voted against the resolution were Muslim-majority countries.

More than 60 Uyghur rights groups around the world released a joint statement, urging the U.N. and its human rights experts to “take concrete action according to their mandates” on the human rights situation in Xinjiang.

In the statement, Uyghur groups said that by voting against the motion, member “states have blatantly disregarded previously accepted principles of objectivity, dialogue, impartiality, non-discrimination, and non-selectivity” within the Human Rights Council.

“The road to justice is never an easy one,” Omer Kanat, executive director of the Washington-based Uyghur Human Rights Project, said in the statement. “The Chinese government’s singular goal has been to silence even a discussion of the issue — we cannot allow this to happen.”

International rights organizations such as Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch also released immediate statements shortly after the resolution failed, calling the result a betrayal.

“Today’s vote protects the perpetrators of human rights violations rather than the victims — a dismaying result that puts the U.N.’s main human rights body in the farcical position of ignoring the findings of the U.N.’s own human rights office,” Agnes Callamard, secretary-general of Amnesty International, said.

“[T]he extremely close vote highlights the growing number of states willing to buck the pressure from China to remain silent, take a stand on principle and shine a spotlight on China’s sweeping rights violations,” said Human Rights Watch China Director Sophie Richardson.

Phil Lynch, director at the International Service for Human Rights, tweeted a chart of the vote.

The reasons some countries, even those that are predominately Muslim, abstained or voted against the resolution are complicated, analysts said. In Africa, observers say many countries do not want to “pick a fight” with China, the source of investments and loans on infrastructure projects.

China’s claim that it is fighting extremists and separatists in the Xinjiang region also resonates with some nations, according to analysts.



Source: Voice of America