Category Archives: Society

African First Ladies Advance Maternal Health Care Goals in Africa

The Organisation of African First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) joined General Electric Company (GE) and Santa Clara University’s Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship on June 9 to advance social entrepreneurship to improve maternal and child health outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa.

The First Ladies of Africa were introduced to the healthymagination Mother & Child program, and participated in a roundtable panel that addressed how countries can engage social enterprises to meet U.N. Sustainable Development Goals and improve health care for mothers and children.

In March, GE and Miller Center partnered to create the healthymagination Mother & Child program which trains and mentors social entrepreneurs working on maternal and child health innovations in sub-Saharan Africa. The program combines GE healthcare product expertise with Miller Center’s proven Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI) methodology for accelerating social enterprises.

“We are encouraged by the potential of social entrepreneurship, and the healthymagination program in particular, to help reduce maternal, newborn and child mortality rates in sub-Saharan Africa,” said Her Excellency Madam Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia. “The well-being of the mother is key to ensuring the survival of the child, because children who lose their mothers are less likely to celebrate their second birthdays. The mission and goals of this GE and Miller Center project align perfectly with the mission and goals of OAFLA.”

“The healthymagination Mother & Child program is part of a multi-year global investment by GE to improve global health outcomes, foster regional economic development and develop local human capital,” said Robert Wells, Executive Director of GE’s healthymagination commitment. “We have always tried to stay close to new thinkers and partner with companies that have innovative ideas and move fast to solve major challenges of our time. We are proud to support the development of healthcare innovations and partner with the Miller Center and OAFLA to mentor the best minds to reach this goal.”

“We are delighted to partner with GE healthymagination, and to continue interaction with OAFLA, as we all work to apply social entrepreneurship to our important shared goals.”

“Miller Center has aligned our time-tested curriculum and successful track record in training, mentoring and accelerating social enterprises globally toward achieving as many of the 17 U.N. SDGs as possible—an approach we feel is the most direct path toward making a tangible difference in the lives of poor and underserved women and children in Africa and elsewhere,” said Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., Executive Director of Miller Center for Entrepreneurship. “We are delighted to partner with GE healthymagination, and to continue interaction with OAFLA, as we all work to apply social entrepreneurship to our important shared goals.”

Improving maternal and child health care in Africa, the world’s second-most populous continent, is a critical global health priority. Over 450 women in Africa die every day from pregnancy-related complications, and children in sub-Saharan Africa are more than 14 times more likely to die before the age of 5 than children in developed regions. Social entrepreneurship, with its dual focus on positive social outcomes and solid business practices, is uniquely suited to address these issues.

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Social entrepreneurship is considered a crucial catalytic factor in alleviating many social and environmental ills because it provides solutions in local contexts that enrich the communities where they are located; is sustainable; invests in human capital; and delivers a replicable, business-focused model that helps organizations to scale.

Participants in the New York luncheon included: Her Excellency Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek, spouse of UN Secretary General; Her Excellency, Mrs. Monica Geingos, First Lady of the Republic of Namibia; Her Excellency, Aissata Issoufou Mahamadou, First Lady of the Republic of Niger; Her Excellency Mrs. Dominique Ouattara-Folloroux, First Lady of the Republic of Cote D’Ivoire; Deborah Elam, president of The GE Foundation and Chief Diversity Officer for GE; Carol Evans, founder and former CEO of Working Mother Media; Dr Stefan Peterson, Director and Chief of the Health Section, UNICEF, Thane Kreiner, Ph.D., Executive Director of Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship; Katherine Lucey, CEO and founder of Solar Sister; Jennifer Reingold, senior editor at Fortune magazine and Robert Wells, Executive Director for GE’s healthymagination commitment.

About the Organisation of First Ladies of Africa Against HIV/AIDS

The Organisation of African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) is an organization established by African First Ladies in 2002 as a collective voice for Africa’s most vulnerable people including women and children infected and affected by HIV and AIDS. OAFLA has since expanded its mission to work broadly for the health and empowerment of women, children and adolescents in Africa, including the improvement of maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health services thereby supporting the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

About GE and its healthymagination Commitment

GE (NYSE:GE) is the world’s Digital Industrial Company, transforming industry with software-defined machines and solutions that are connected, responsive and predictive. GE is organized around a global exchange of knowledge, the “GE Store,” through which each business shares and accesses the same technology, markets, structure and intellect. GE’s healthymagination commitment is about better health for more people. Through its healthymagination efforts, GE continuously develops and invests in innovations that deliver high-quality, more affordable healthcare to more people around the world. For more information about the GE healthymagination commitment, visit http://healthymagination.gehealthcare.com/

About Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship

Founded in 1997, Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship is one of three Centers of Distinction at Santa Clara University. Miller Center accelerates global, innovation-based entrepreneurship in service to humanity. Its strategic focus is on poverty eradication through its three areas of work: The Global Social Benefit Institute (GSBI), Impact Capital, and Education and Action Research. To learn more about the Center or any of its social entrepreneurship programs, visitwww.scu.edu/MillerCenter

Contacts
Media:
Kristin Schwarz for GE
Kristin.Schwarz@ge.com

+1 (646) 682-5601

or
Colleen Martell for Miller Center for Social Entrepreneurship
Martell Communications for Miller Center
cmartell@martellpr.com

+1 (408) 832-0147

Société: Ces deux jeunes filles n’ont en apparence rien en commun et pourtant elles sont jumelles

Lucy a la peau claire, de longs cheveux roux et les yeux bleus. Maria, elle, a la peau mate, le regard sombre et des cheveux crépus. Tout les oppose physiquement et pourtant ces soeurs sont de véritables jumelles. Voici l’étonnante histoire des jumelles les plus faciles à différencier.

La nature réserve bien des surprises comme en témoigne l’histoire de Lucy et Maria, ces soeurs jumelles qui ne se ressemblent pas. Originaires de Gloucester en Grande-Bretagne, les deux jeunes filles sont nées il y a 18 ans, d’un père blond aux yeux bleus et d’une maman métisse mi-jamaïcaine mi-britannique. Interviewée par le Daily Mail, Lucy Aylmer explique que les gens ont beaucoup de mal à croire en leur geméllité (et on les comprend !) : “personne ne croit jamais que nous sommes jumelles parce que je suis blanche et Maria est noire, nous avons déjà dû montrer à des amis nos certificats de naissance pour leur prouver la vérité.” explique-t-elle.

À la naissance de ses deux filles, en 1997, Donna n’en a d’ailleurs pas cru ses yeux. “C’était un choc pour notre mère, parce qu’on ne voit pas la couleur de peau lors des échographies. Elle ne s’imaginait pas qu’on allait être si différentes et elle était bouche bée quand la sage-femme nous a mises dans ses bras.” raconte Maria.

Mais Lucy et Maria ne sont pas les uniques enfants de Donna et Vince. Elles ont également deux grands frères, George et Jordan et une grande soeur, Chynna. Lucy raconte que ses frères et sa soeur ont la peau plus foncée qu’elle. C’est un vrai mélange entre nptre père et notre mère. “Moi j’ai hérité du teint de clair de ma grand-mère anglaise” ajoute-t-elle. Pour les deux soeurs, impossible de se confondre et de changer d’identité à l’école comme le font régulièrement les jumeaux. Et les différences ne sont pas uniquement physique ! Leur personnalités sont également très opposées. Lucy est introvertie et elle étudie l’art et le design à l’université et de Gloucester. Quant à Maria, de nature plus extravertie, elle vient de s’inscrire à la faculté de droit de Cheltenham College. Lucy termine l’interview en expliquant que “Maria adore raconter à qui veut l’entendre qu’elle a une soeur jumelle blanche. Moi je suis très fière d’avoir une jumelle métisse”.

Article d’Angeline Barbara

Chroniques de Léo – La liberté d’expression est morte ? Vive la liberté…

L’attentat, n’ayant pas peur des mots, contre le journal satirique Charlie Hebdo a suscité de vifs débats et réactions, notamment sur les réseaux sociaux. La teneur de certains propos et de certaines discussions m’apoussé à réagir sur un point: peut-on rire de tout ?

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Lire certaines personnes insinuer, que ces journalistes ont mérité leur sort en réalisant et publiant leurs caricatures du prophète Mohammed,interpelle vraiment sur la nature humaine. Une caricature, même de Dieu, mérite t-elle un assassinat aussi lâche? Pour eux oui et c’est glaçant, pour ne pas dire dégoutant…

Alors pour répondre à ces gens haineux, je dis oui on peut rire de tout, y compris de religion ! Je comprends que certains musulmans aient été choqués par ces dessins, tout comme des catholiques l’ont été quand le journal a publié des satires sur Dieu et/ou le pape. Néanmoins cela méritait-il le carnage de ce matin ? Accepte t-on de vivre dans un monde dans lequel on tue à cause de caricatures ? Je crois en Dieu mais cela ne m’empêche pas de prendre ces dessins avec du recul. Ils ne remettent en rien ma foi, ni mon amour pour lui et ne représentent rien d’autre qu’un moyen d’expression. Certes on peut les juger maladroits, offensants, mais ils sont le symboles que la liberté d’expression existe encore, ne vous en déplaise.

Le Dieu que nous prions, pour certains, quelque soit notre religion, et qui nous apprend l’amour et le pardon, ne peut cautionnercette tuerie. Au même titre qu’il ne tolère aucun acte macabre commis en son nom. A ces terroristes qui tuent en son nom, je leur disde revoir leurs copies car ils ne prient pas le bon Dieu. Ils sont dans un pseudo délire religieux auquel ils associent Dieu pour légitimer leurs actions. Ils se fourvoient et n’ont rien compris à l’Islam car il est écrit dans le Coran : « Ne tuez pas la personne humaine, car Allah l’a déclarée sacrée ». Alors dites moi messieurs les terroristes, quel est donc ce Coran que vous avez lu et qui vous a apprend que tuer des journalistes et autres innocents est un acte de bravoure et de salut ?

 

En 2012, Cabu disait dans une interview : « il y a des risques et nous les prenons » et il en a payé le prix fort.

 

Notre liberté d’expression vaut cher et il est de notre devoir de nous battre pour elle. On peut ne pas aimer Charlie Hebdo et affirmer que ce journal doit exister ! Que contre les caricatures de Mohammed, Jésus, Moïse et Dieu, il existe d’autres réponses que l’assassinat brutal de 12 personnes.

On dit que notre liberté s’arrête là ou commence celle des autres. La liberté des journalistes de Charlie Hebdo est de dessiner ceux et ce qu’ils veulent. Ma liberté, votre liberté c’est d’aimer ou pas leurs caricatures. Seulement il est de mon devoir, de votre devoir, de permettre à tous les Charlie Hebdo du monde d’exercer cette liberté sans avoir à y laisser leur vie, car il en va de la nôtre…

A toutes ces personnes qui, derrière leurs écrans d’ordinateurs et autres, se plaisent à salir la mémoire de Cabu, Wolinski et des autres, en insinuant qu’ils ont eu ce qu’ils méritaient, je dis honte à vous ! Si vous avez le droit de tenir des propos pareils, c’est parce que eux et d’autres se sont battus et se battent pour votre liberté d’expression. J’aurai tellement aimé vous voir tenir les mêmes propos si vous habitiez des pays dans lesquels, de liberté justement vous n’en auriez aucune.

Alors NON, je ne suis pas Charlie. Non pas parce que je ne soutiens pas le mouvement, mais parce que je sais je n’aurai pas eu leur courage. Je leur dis merci pour cela et j’espère que là haut, ils continueront à faire rire Jésus, Mohammed, Moïse, etc.

Charb, Cabu, Tignous, Wolinski, Honoré, Mustapha, Bernard, Michel, Franck, Ahmed, Frédéric et Elsa.

 

Article de Léonora Henry.

Why Am I Stepping Off the Sidewalk for White People in 2014?

Dear Race Manners:

When I’m walking on a sidewalk and white folks are approaching, do I step aside and hit the grass, or keep moving straight forward and make them move? Usually I’m the one who gives them the path, especially if it is a woman. But either way, I feel like I’m offending my ancestors or something by reinforcing a time when black people had to defer to white people on the sidewalk.

What do I do? Keep it movin’ or move to the side? I really need to know what to do. When my son sees me step aside, he gives me that look like he thinks I’m a punk. I’m a 30-something black guy. —Sidewalk Sensitivity

It’s entirely possible that you’re just a really polite person and you do this for everyone, but because of your awareness of America’s racial history, you’re hyper conscious of stepping aside when you do it for white people.

But assuming that you really are giving race-based special sidewalk treatment, I can see why your own actions would bother you (and your son, and your ancestors, and maybe even many of the white people themselves, if they were conscious of what was happening) by suggesting that your access to a clear path is unimportant because you’re black.

Here’s the easy answer: Stop it! Seriously. Offer a little extra room to people of all races who are in wheelchairs or pushing strollers or who appear to be in a much bigger rush than you are (and women, if that type of chivalry is your thing), and don’t be so aggressive as to cause a collision with anyone, but never let a fellow walker’s color determine when you “hit the grass.”

Perhaps that’s easier said than done (I’m guessing it is or you would have answered your own question).

Of course, you didn’t pull this practice out of nowhere. You’re no doubt aware of the expectation in the Jim Crow South that African Americans step off sidewalks to allow white people to pass (sometimes called “giving whites the wall”), when failure to adhere to this racist rule could have deadly consequences.

It’s true that that type of explicitly enforced white supremacy stopped governing black people’s foot travel decades ago. But there’s a case to be made that the attitudes behind it—you know, the ones that make black men and boys transform into threats simply by, well, existing—persist.

We were reminded of them in discussions of the racially disparate impact of New York City’s stop-and-frisk policy, the facts leading up to the shooting deaths of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, and the evidence that “Stand your ground” laws tend to benefit defendants whose victims are black more than those whose victims are white. Plenty of parents of black boys have opened up about their lessons to their sons on best practices for appearing nonthreatening and navigating potential stereotypes on the part of law-enforcement officers and everyday white Americans.

Given all that, you definitely wouldn’t be crazy or alone if, in the back of your mind, you worried that any one of the possible misunderstandings that can come with bodies being in close contact could end badly for you if you failed to clear the sidewalk.

 

Keep reading the article by JENEE DESMOND-HARRIS online !

The 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture 2014

Her Excellency, President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, will present the 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture on 9 August, 2014. This event marks the 52nd anniversary of Mr Mandela’s capture on 5 August 1962, a milestone in Mandela’s journey towards the achievement of democratic freedom in South Africa.

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The lecture will be held at the historic City Hall in the City of Cape Town, a significant and poignant venue, as it is from this location that Mr Mandela gave his inaugural address to the people of South Africa after being released from prison in 1990.

The theme of the 2014 lecture is Building social cohesion through active citizenship, a topic that can be distilled into the sub-themes of: education for participation, democratic co-operation through the notion of community and, identity and alienation with a specific focus on youth.

The date of the lecture, 9 August, has further importance as it is National Women’s Day in South Africa and marks the anniversary of the 1956 Women’s March to Pretoria. In one of the largest demonstrations staged in this country’s history, 20 000 women of all races marched to Pretoria’s Union Buildings to present a petition against the carrying of passes by women to the then Prime Minister, J G Strijdom. The Federation of South African Women famously challenged the idea that ‘a woman’s place is in the kitchen’, declaring it instead to be ‘everywhere’.

Although Prime Minister J.G. Strijdom was not at the Union Buildings to accept the petition, the women of South Africa sent a public message that they would not be intimidated and silenced by unjust laws.

Since this day, the phrase ‘wathint’ abafazi, wathint’ imbokodo’ (you strike a woman, you strike a rock) has come to represent the courage and strength of South African women.

Should you wish to apply for a seat at this year’s 12th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture, please click here to complete the application form.

 

For more information, please visit the website: http://www.nelsonmandela.org/content/page/annual-lecture-2014

Malawi Govt Urged to End Child Marriage

(Tropics Magazine / Human Rights Watch) – Lilongwe — The government of Malawi should increase efforts to end widespread child and forced marriage, or risk worsening poverty, illiteracy, and preventable maternal deaths in the country, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today, ahead of International Women’s Day on March 8, 2014.

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According to government statistics, half of the girls in Malawi will be married by their 18th birthday, with some as young as age 9 or 10 being forced to marry.

Malawi’s first woman president, Joyce Banda, who took office in April 2012, should publicly support prompt enactment of the Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill (Marriage Bill), which includes vital protections against child marriage, Human Rights Watch said.

The 69-page report, “‘I’ve Never Experienced Happiness’: Child Marriage in Malawi,”documents how child marriage prevents girls and women from participating in all spheres of life. The practice violates the rights to health, to education, to be free from physical, mental, and sexual violence, and to marry only when able and willing to give free and full consent.

“Malawi needs to set a lawful minimum marriage age to protect girls from the abuse, exploitation, and violence that results from child marriage,” said Agnes Odhiambo, Africa women’s rights researcher at Human Rights Watch. “President Banda should ensure a lasting legacy for her first term in office by passing the Marriage Bill, which supports the rights of Malawi’s girls and women.”

The Human Rights Watch report is based on in-depth interviews with 80 girls and women in six districts in southern and central Malawi. Interviews were also conducted with government officials, magistrates, child protection workers, police officers in charge of child protection, social welfare officers, traditional and religious leaders, health workers, teachers, legal and women’s rights experts, and representatives of nongovernmental organizations, the United Nations, and donor organizations. Human Rights Watch also observed six Victim Support Units at police stations.

One out of every two girls in Malawi will be married before age 18. The proposed Marriage Law would fix 18 as the clear minimum age of marriage for girls and boys, addressing a major shortfall in Malawi’s efforts to protect girls against child marriage. It would give equal status to parties in all marriages, and would require that all marriages, including customary marriages, be registered with a competent authority.

Girls told Human Rights Watch of being pressured to marry by family members keen to receive dowry payments, because they were pregnant, or they themselves saw marriage as a route, often unfulfilled, to escape poverty. Lucy P., 17, who dropped out of school in 2011, told Human Rights Watch: “I got a boyfriend who could look after me because my parents are poor. After some time he told me to have sex with him. I became pregnant and my mother forced me to marry him.” She said she did not use contraception because, “My boyfriend used to give me money so I could not insist that he use condoms.”

“Adolescent pregnancy is a key driver of child marriage in Malawi,” Odhiambo said. “Girls lack the power to negotiate safer sex with men, do not know about contraception, and are forced by their parents to have sex for money or food. Many end up becoming pregnant and being forced into marriage by their families.”

Government statistics show that between 2010 and 2013, 27,612 girls in primary and 4,053 girls in secondary schools dropped out due to marriage. During the same period, another 14,051 primary school girls and 5,597 secondary school girls dropped out because they were pregnant. In Malawi, the literacy rate for men is 74 percent; for women it is 57 percent.

Girls told Human Rights Watch that marriage interrupted or ended their education, and with it their dreams to be doctors, teachers, or lawyers. Many said that they could not return to school after marriage because of lack of money to pay school fees, lack of child care, unavailability of flexible school programs or adult classes, and the need to do household chores. Others said that their husbands or in-laws would not allow them to continue school after marriage. Changamile F. from Chikwawa district, who dropped out of school at age 16 in her second year of secondary school, told Human Rights Watch, “I really want to go back to school so that I can get a job and live a better life. But I’m very busy with housework and my mother-in-law doesn’t support my going back to school.”

Human Rights Watch found that child marriage exposes girls to gender-based violence, including domestic and sexual violence. Some girls who rejected forced marriages said they were threatened, verbally abused, or thrown out of their homes by their families. Others said they were verbally abused or physically assaulted by their husbands and in-laws. Still others said their husbands abandoned them and left them to care for children without any financial support, increasing the likelihood of their being impoverished. Few girls in Malawi know they have the right to seek help and protection from violence.

Health workers described to Human Rights Watch the reproductive health harms and risks of early pregnancy when girls marry young, including maternal death, obstetric fistula, premature delivery, and anaemia. Malawi’s maternal mortality rate is high at 675 deaths per 100,000 live births. Health workers also talked about the avoidable costs of early pregnancy to the healthcare system.

The government’s failure to mitigate the far-reaching harms of child marriage could have negative implications for Malawi’s future development. Human Rights Watch called on the Malawi government to take immediate and long-term measures to protect girls from child, early, and forced marriage and ensure the fulfillment of their human rights in accordance with its international human rights obligations. The Malawi government, with the support of its development partners, should:

Take the necessary legislative steps for the enactment of the Marriage, Divorce, and Family Relations Bill, and promptly carry out its provisions;

Pass into law the Education bill; and once enacted, develop a comprehensive plan to implement the provision on compulsory education;

Develop and implement a comprehensive national action plan to prevent and address the consequences of child marriage;

Develop and implement a national policy and strategy on adolescent reproductive health;

Conduct training for relevant law enforcement officials on their legal responsibilities to investigate and prosecute violence against women, including child marriage, under the applicable law;

Support nongovernmental organizations to monitor and evaluate programs on violence against women, including child marriage, and use this information to improve programming; and

Support the establishment and maintenance of shelters for survivors and gender-based violence.

“Malawi faces many economic challenges, but the rights of the country’s girls and women should not be sacrificed as a result,” Odhiambo said. “Those reforms that cannot be carried out immediately should still be part of a longer-term policy.”

Selected Accounts

“My parents forced me [to marry]. They said I would be better off married.”

Chaonaine A., 19, Nkhotakota district, September 24, 2013. Chaonaine married a 21-year-old son of a chief when she was 16. She has four siblings, her parents are poor, and she dropped out of school in standard eight (seventh grade) because they could not buy her uniform or textbooks. Chaonaine’s husband paid her parents MK 8,000 (US$19) as dowry.

“I got married because I wanted to end my problems. I was going to school, but I did not have school uniform. We didn’t have food at home. I stay with my father who sells buckets. My parents are separated and I have nine siblings.”

Zulu K., 14, was married four months before Human Rights Watch interviewed her, Chikwawa district, September 18, 2013.

“After dating for some time my boyfriend asked my sister … if he could marry me. She said yes. I said no because I was in school. But my mother and sister pressured me to marry my boyfriend because they wanted to get money… . My husband beat me every day. He was verbally abusive… . I reported to my mother that my husband beats me but she forced me to go back to him saying I should endure because that is how marriages are. I left my husband because the beating became too much. But I had nowhere to stay after I left him. I went to my sister and my mother but they chased me away and told me to return to him. A friend of mine agreed to accommodate me and my child for three months. After the three months she told me, ‘Why do you want me to keep looking after you? Why don’t you do the work that I do?’ That is how I started sex work.

Chikondi R., 18. She married her 19-year-old boyfriend in 2008. She had passed her final primary school exams to go to secondary school.

“My grandmother and sister wanted me to marry a trader by the lakeside. I refused. They threatened me to leave the house if I did not marry the man. I went to my mother’s sister but she also said I had to marry him or leave the house. I accepted because I had nowhere to go.”

Chanika B., married at 15 and now about 18, Mangochi district, September 21, 2013.

I am 23-years-old and my husband is 30. I married when I was 15. I have two children ages 9 and 18 months. I did not want to marry but I agreed because of poverty at home. During the marriage ceremony, I was told to respect my husband and never to deny him sex. I was told to bear it when I get problems because that is how marriages are. I found life very difficult after marriage. I was a small girl and I did not know anything about marriage. One time, my stomach started getting big and I was having severe headaches. I was so scared; I did not know what was happening. I went to the hospital and that is when the nurse told me I was five months pregnant…. I am not happy in my marriage because my husband goes away without leaving food and takes long to come back home. My husband also beats me and is a womanizer. I love him so much but he does not love me and that is why he has very many women. I want to leave the marriage but I am waiting for the right time to leave. I am waiting for him to change and if he does not, I will leave him. When my husband comes back from other women and wants sex, I just accept because he is my husband. We do not use condoms because he already infected me with HIV. Marriage is not good for girls. There is no happiness. I want change for girls and that is why I want my story to be heard by all girls out there thinking of marriage.”

Les chances de paix s’amenuisent au Sud-Soudan

La lutte ethnique entre les Dinka, de Salva Kiir, et les Nuer, de Riek Machar, serait en fait à l’origine des violences, à moins d’un an de la présidentielle qui devrait marquer la fin de la période de transition

7f84ef0ad80d4fcde94dc5bd73528925Les violences ont repris depuis hier matin au Soudan du Sud, ont rapporté les agences de presse, citant des sources locales. Les rebelles seraient à l’origine de la reprise des combats dans le nord du pays, ont ajouté les mêmes sources.

Des hommes armés, proches de l’ancien vice-président Riek Machar, sont en route vers la ville de Malakal, considérée comme le cœur de l’Etat pétrolifère du Haut-Nil, dans le nord-est du pays où les violences n’ont jamais cessé depuis la proclamation officielle de l’indépendance du Soudan du Sud en juillet 2011. «Les combats sont très intenses. Il y a des combats en périphérie de la ville. C’est une très grande attaque, coordonnée», a indiqué une source locale à l’AFP. Les rebelles ont ainsi violé l’accord du cessez-le-feu du 23 janvier, censé ouvrir une issue pour faire revenir la paix dans ce jeune pays. Mais, cette fois-ci, la rupture semble être inévitablement consommée entre le gouvernement du président Silva Kiir et les habitants de cette région du pays qui réclame sa part du gâteau au sein du pouvoir à Juba. Malakal est tombée entre les mains des forces gouvernementales quelques jours seulement après le début des violences fin 2013, suite à l’accusation émise par Silva Kiir contre son ancien vice-président, soupçonné de préparer un putsch.

Un porte-parole des Forces armées sud-soudanaises, le colonel Philip Aguer, a admis que l’offensive des rebelles n’étonnait guère, les chefs rebelles ayant déjà affirmé qu’ils ne respecteraient pas le cessez-le-feu, a rapporté Associated Press. Mais chaque camp accuse l’autre de violer l’accord de cessez-le-feu, alors que des négociations sont menées à Addis-Abeba, en Ethiopie, sous l’égide de l’Union africaine, qui tente de raisonner les deux parties en conflit pour éviter une nouvelle guerre civile dans ce pays, né de sa sécession du Soudan après deux décennies d’une guerre qui a fait plusieurs milliers de morts et des millions de déplacés.

Les combats, qui ont déjà fait des milliers de morts et quelque 900 000 déplacés, avaient commencé dans la capitale Juba avant de s’étendre au reste du pays, en particulier aux Etats du Haut-Nil, du Jonglei (est) et d’Unité (nord). Plusieurs groupuscules armés ont rejoint le camp de l’ancien rival de Silva Kiir.

Des exactions et des massacres de masses sont commis dans plusieurs villages isolés et des charniers ont été découverts dans plusieurs endroits du pays par les Casques bleus de l’ONU et les membres des ONG qui avertissent contre la dégradation de la situation humanitaire sur place. Les violences armées empêchent aussi ces mêmes humanitaires d’acheminer l’aide médicale et alimentaire dans les camps de réfugiés, qui n’arrivent plus à subvenir aux besoins d’une population de déplacés dont le nombre ne cesse d’augmenter de jours en jour. Par ailleurs, des rapports de l’ONU accusent les deux parties en conflit de commettre des massacres à caractère ethnique. La lutte ethnique entre les Dinka, de Salva Kiir, et les Nuer, de Riek Machar, serait en fait à l’origine des violences, à moins d’un an de la présidentielle qui devrait marquer la fin de la période de transition.

 

Source: La Tribune