Weekly News Recap (22-28 November 2021)

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE SECTION

INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY SECTION

INTERNATIONAL JUSTICE SECTION

SCC: Hassan Bouba Indicted for War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity 

On 22 November 2021, the Special Criminal Court (SCC) in the Central African Republic has arrested and brought charges against a government minister for war crimes and crimes against humanity. Hassan Bouba Ali, a former armed group leader was a leader of the Union for Peace (UPC) in the Central African Republic. The operation was carried out by Central African security forces with a court warrant and took place inside the Ministry of Livestock and Animal Health. The UPC is responsible for various heinous crimes in the Central African Republic. At least 246 civilians have been killed, dozens of cases of rape and sexual slavery, and 2,046 homes have been burned by the UPC in the Ouaka province. Bouba was expelled from the rebel group in January, after a surge in violence in the country when a new rebellion, of which the UPC was a member, began in December 2020. He was arrested at his office on November 19. Bouba is being held at a military camp outside of Bangui.

https://www.hrw.org/news/2021/11/24/central-african-republic-minister-faces-atrocity-charges

https://www.justiceinfo.net/en/84610-hassan-bouba-rebel-minister-before-special-court.html


France: Trial of Driver Accused of Genocide Complicity in Rwanda Commences

On 22 November 2021, trial of Claude Muhayimana, a former hotel driver accused of driving Hutu militiamen to sites, started at the Assize Court in Paris where he faces charges of “complicity in genocide” as well as “crimes against humanity” for providing “aid and assistance.” The genocide in Rwanda saw 800,000 minority Tutsis and moderate Hutus slaughtered in a matter of months. Muhayimana is accused of consenting to drive Hutu police and militiamen known as the Interahamwe to sites where Tutsis were massacred. His case is complicated in nature where French investigators found he also aided in hiding hid Tutsis at risk of death and helped some escape. He may face life imprisonment if convicted. Muhayimana denies the charges against him and claims he was not in Kibuye at the time of the massacres, something the French courts have acknowledged. Muhayimana was able to successfully prove he was in Ruhengeri in the north of Rwanda attending the funeral of a gendarme on those days. It is expected that in this case around 50 witnesses are to be called, including some from Rwanda. The French legal system grants universal jurisdiction for the prosecution of crimes against humanity.

https://www.dw.com/en/france-puts-driver-accused-of-genocide-complicity-in-rwanda-on-trial/a-59898403

https://guardian.ng/news/ex-hotel-driver-on-trial-in-france-over-rwanda-genocide/


Sweden: Former Iranian Prison Official Testified in a Landmark Trial

On 23 November 2021, Hamid Nouri, a former Iranian official accused of crimes against humanity gave evidence under oath for the first time at a landmark case in Stockholm. Nouri has been on trial in Stockholm’s district court since August on charges including murder, crimes against humanity and war crimes. They stem from the period between 30 July to 16 August 1988, when he was allegedly assistant to the deputy prosecutor of Gohardasht prison in Karaj, near Tehran. The killings were allegedly an act of revenge ordered by supreme leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against members of the Mujahideen-e-Khalq, who supported the 1979 revolution but then turned against the new leadership and fought for Iraq under Saddam Hussein, during the Iran-Iraq war. In 2018, the UN deemed the massacre a “crime against humanity”. Charged with more than 100 murders and grave war crimes, Nouri is expected to give evidence that allegedly implicates Iran’s current president Ebrahim Raisi. The trial even had to be relocated to Albania for a few weeks to hear evidence from seven witnesses unable to travel to Sweden. The trial is expected to conclude in April of next year.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/11/23/hamid-nouri-prison-massacre-accused-to-give-evidence-at-landmark-trial-in-sweden

https://www.arabnews.com/node/1973516/middle-east


USA: First Day of Deliberations in the Ahmaud Arbery’s Killing Ends

On 23 November 2021, Jurors ended the deliberations without reaching a verdict in the case of the three men accused of murder and other charges over the killing of Ahmaud Arbery in Glynn County, Ga., in February 2020. During a roughly two-hour response to closing arguments by the defence during the early morning, lead prosecutor Linda Dunikoski outlined the charges against the defendants and made the case for their guilt. The trial has been one of the most closely watched cases amid the ongoing reckoning over racial injustice. After the prosecution’s rebuttal, the Superior Court judge gave the jury its instructions before sending the jurors out of the courtroom to begin deliberations. The jury will face several complicated legal questions, including what’s justifiable under the state’s now-repealed citizen’s arrest law. The men all face the same nine counts: one count of malice murder, four counts of felony murder, two counts of aggravated assault, one count of false imprisonment and one count of criminal intent to commit a felony.

https://www.krwg.org/post/watch-live-prosecution-makes-its-rebuttal-trial-over-ahmaud-arberys-killing


Kosovo: Witness Changes Testimony in Kosovo Serb Politician’s Murder Trial

On 24 November 2021, a witness at the Pristina Basic Court wanted to change the testimony he previously gave to Kosovo’s Special Prosecution at the trial for the 2018 killing of Kosovo Serb political party leader Oliver Ivanovic. The witness said that he made such a decision because he was fearful and afraid. He did not want to risk his family and said there was an informal “law of silence” in the Serb-dominated north of Kosovo, where Ivanovic was killed, and that he made a mistake by getting involved in the legal process. The primary reason for changing his initial statement was that he had stated that “Belgrade is to blame” for the murder of Ivanovic, who was shot dead outside his political party’s office in Mitrovica in January 2018, which he is no longer sure of. Ivanovic’s Freedom, Democracy, Justice party was in opposition to the main Belgrade-backed Kosovo Serb party, Srpska Lista, and he has warned said several times before he was killed that he and his family had received threats. The first witness this week, Ksenija Bozovic, declined to tell the court the names of organised criminal groups which the slain politician had warned her about before his murder.

https://balkaninsight.com/2021/11/24/fearful-witness-in-kosovo-serb-politicians-murder-trial-changes-testimony/


Bangladesh: Former Lawmaker Momin Sentenced to Death for War Crimes

On 24 November 2021, a domestic court in Bangladesh named the International Crimes Tribunal-1 sentenced another political opponent of the ruling Government of Shekih Hasina. The domestic tribunal found Momin (in absentia) guilty on all the three charges against him and sentenced him to death. Momin was sentenced to death for killing 10 people, including former zamindar Shurendra Nath Das, after torturing them in confinement and setting fire to their houses at Kalsha, Rathabari villages under the then-Adamdighi police station on 22 April 1971. He was given two more death sentences for killing five people of Kashimala village under the same police station on 27 October 1971, and for killing four people after taking them away from the Adamdighi police custody and for abducting and torturing several people and carrying out several arson attacks. The tribunal merged all sentences to a single death sentence. The so-called International Crimes Tribunal first came in limelight after an infamous Skype controversy exposed by the Economist in 2012 that had become a major source of frustration and shows a political vendetta against the opposition parties in Bangladesh.

https://www.newagebd.net/article/155554/ex-bnp-lawmaker-momin-sentenced-to-death

https://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21568349-week-chairman-bangladeshs-international-crimes-tribunal-resigned-we-explain


 ICC: Review Concerning Reduction of Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi’s Sentence

On 25 November 2021, the Appeals Chamber of the International Criminal Court (ICC) reduced Mr Ahmad Al Faqi Al Mahdi’s sentence from nine years of imprisonment by two years. The judges took into consideration various factors while reviewing the prison sentence such as the instability that might be caused due to an early release in Northern Mali. Mr Al Mahdi’s prospect for resocialization and resettlement and his cooperation since he was surrendered to the Court in September 2015. The Judges considered that any reduction of the sentence should not be applied to the entirety of Mr Al Mahdi’s remaining term of imprisonment, keeping in mind the views expressed by the Republic of Mali and the victims. Mr Al Mahdi will serve the rest of his sentence until 18 September 2022. On 27 September 2021, Mr Al Mahdi was found guilty of the war crime consisting in intentionally directing attacks against religious and historic buildings in Timbuktu, Mali, in June and July 2012 and sentenced to nine years imprisonment by the Trial Chamber VIII.

https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/record.aspx?docNo=ICC-01/12-01/15-434-Red3

https://www.icc-cpi.int/Pages/item.aspx?name=pr1629


ECtHR: Criminal Proceedings and Convictions Did Not Rely on Intelligence Collected during Applicants’ Detention at Guantánamo Bay in the Sassi and Benchellali v. France Case

On 25 November 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously, that there had been no violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of Sassi and Benchellali v. France. The case concerned the fairness of the criminal proceedings in France against the applicants, who had been held at the Guantánamo Bay US naval base before being deported. They claimed that statements they had made during that period of detention had consequently been used against them in France in the criminal proceedings. They believed that the statements were also relied upon by the courts when convicting them. The Court confirmed the assessment of the domestic courts at first, where they considered that the tripartite missions to Guantánamo Bay had been purely administrative in nature and unrelated to the parallel judicial proceedings in France. Depending on the case file, the Court found that the purpose of the missions had been to identify detainees and gather intelligence, not to collect evidence of a suspected criminal offence.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press?i=003-7191282-9765267


ECtHR: Burden of Proof Lies on the Authorities in Damages Claim for Killing of Wartime Detainee in Baljak and Others v. Croatia Judgment

On 25 November 2021, the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) held unanimously, that there had been a violation of the right to a fair trial in the case of Baljak and Others v. Croatia. The case concerned the domestic courts’ dismissal of the applicants’ claims for damages against the State based on the fact that they had failed to prove that the State was responsible for the death of their relative, despite interned by Croatian soldiers and taken to an unknown location, with his body being found years later in a mass grave with a gunshot wound in the head. The conclusion that was reached by the domestic courts while dismissing the claim was found by the Court manifestly unreasonable. An unreachable standard of proof on the applicants was imposed by the domestic courts, where it was believed to be unacceptable in view of the seriousness of the acts concerned. In addition, the applicants’ complaint concerning the domestic courts’ order to pay the costs of the State’s representation in the civil proceedings was considered by the Court to be premature and rejected.

https://hudoc.echr.coe.int/eng-press?i=003-7191288-9765275


Turkey: Osman Kavala’s Detention Extended by a Turkish Court

On 26 November 2021, the imprisonment of philanthropist Osman Kavala was extended by a Turkish court. Kavala’s case caused a diplomatic crisis with the US and other Western countries after they called for his release. Kavala, 64, is accused of funding nationwide anti-government protests in 2013 and helping orchestrate a coup attempt three years later. He denies the charges, which carry a life sentence without the chance of parole. The court’s decision paves the way for the Council of Europe to launch infringement proceedings against Turkey. Ambassadors from 10 countries including the US, Germany and France, last month demanded Kavala’s immediate release in line with a 2019 European Court of Human Rights ruling. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan threatened to expel the envoys before backing down. The European court’s decisions are binding on its members and had demanded Kavala’s release two years ago pending trial, saying his imprisonment aimed to silence him and was not supported by evidence of an offence. Turkey maintained he was being held according to the rulings of its independent judiciary. The next hearing will be held on Jan. 17.

https://www.euronews.com/2021/11/26/turkish-court-extends-activist-osman-kavala-s-detention-despite-pressure


Argentina: A Genocide Court Case Opens against the Myanmar Military

On 26 November 2021, the Second Chamber of the Federal Criminal Court in Buenos Aires confirmed that it would launch a case against senior Myanmar officials under the principle of universal jurisdiction. The Argentinian judiciary has taken the step to open a court case against the Myanmar military – including Min Aung Hlaing and much of the current junta’s senior leadership – over the ongoing genocide against the Rohingya. Since November 2019, the Argentinian judiciary has maintained a dialogue with the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure that a universal jurisdiction case would complement and not duplicate the ICC case against Myanmar. The case in Argentina will cover the full range of crimes committed against the Rohingya in Myanmar, unlike the ICC case which is limited to only crimes which have at least partially been committed on Bangladeshi territory.

https://www.brouk.org.uk/historic-decision-by-argentinian-courts-to-take-up-genocide-case-against-myanmar/

https://www.aa.com.tr/en/asia-pacific/argentine-court-to-hear-rohingya-genocide-case-advocacy-group/2432955


INTERNATIONAL PEACE AND SECURITY SECTION

UNGA: Commitment to Combat Human Trafficking Reaffirmed

On 22 November 2021, on the opening of a two-day high-level meeting, Abdulla Shahid, UNGA President stated that the ongoing pandemic has left survivors of trafficking with less support, while countries have been weakened in their ability to identify and hold perpetrators accountable. Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General in her remarks pointed out that women and girls are disproportionately targeted for trafficking as they are forced into marriage including child marriage. She also pointed out that children are increasingly targeted by traffickers as traffickers use social media to recruit new victims and profit from the demand for child sexual exploitation material. She further added that the survivors should be at the centre of policies to prevent and counter human trafficking. Ms Oringo outlined several recommendations put forward by survivors, including shifting from “symbolic” engagement to a meaningful partnership, and improving how victims are treated in legal proceedings. Following the opening ceremony, countries adopted a political declaration reaffirming their commitments under the UN Global Plan of Action and expressed solidarity with victims and survivors, and recognized their role as “agents of change” in the global fight against human trafficking.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106292


UNIDIR: Arms Trafficking a Defining Factor

22 November 2021, Robin Geiss, United Nations Institute for Disarmament Research (UNIDIR) Director stated that diversion and trafficking of arms “destabilized communities and exacerbates the situation of insecurity including by committing serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. Mr Geiss also stated that small arms’ trafficking is a “defining factor in undermining peace and security” during the multilateral debate. According to the concept note, as the unrestricted flow of weapons continues to fuel violence, it is a shared global responsibility to seek solutions. The UNIDIR Director upheld this and stated that this destabilizes communities and exacerbates situations of insecurity, including by committing serious violations of international humanitarian law and human rights law. A UNIDIR review of 200 documented cases highlighted the importance of preventing diversion, not only from national stockpiles but also from the country that manufactured and exported them as between 2015 and 2020. The UNIDIR supported 11 States in conducting assessments on weapons and ammunition management, known as WAM. Council Members also heard from Maria Pia Devoto who represented Argentina Coalición Armas Bajo Control which is a coalition of 150 civil society organisations created to implement the Arms Trade Treaty. She upheld the fact that the “devastating impact” of this problem “is felt most acutely among communities in conflict-affected regions, where these weapons perpetuate a vicious cycle of violence and insecurity.” She urged that to tackle the trafficking of small weapons there is a need for finding the political will to do it.

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106282


FAO: One Billion Could Join Those Already Unable to Afford Healthy Diet

On 23 November 2021, the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) released its 2021 State of Food and Agriculture report titled “Making agri-food systems more resilient to shocks and stresses”. The report indicates that without proper preparation unpredictable shocks would continue to undermine agri-food-systems with further defining shocks. FAO on launching the report stated that approximately 3 billion people, cannot afford a healthy diet and another one billion people could join their ranks should further unpredictable events reduce incomes by one-third. FAO stressed that the need for countries to make their systems more resilient to sudden shocks, like the COVID-19 pandemic, which played a large part in the latest global hunger surge. Agri-food systems which are the web of activities involved in the production of food and non-food agricultural products and their storage, processing, transportation, distribution and consumption – produce 11 billion tonnes of food a year and employ billions of people, directly or indirectly. The report includes country-level indicators in over 100 Member States by analysing factors such as transport networks, trade flows and the availability of healthy and varied diets and while low-income countries generally face much greater challenges. Middle-income countries are also at risk. For example, in Brazil, 60 per cent of the country’s export value comes from just one trading partner which narrows its options should shock hit that partner country, and even high-income countries, such as Australia and Canada, are at risk because of the long distances involved in the distribution of food. Based upon these factors FAO makes recommendations that state that the key is diversification of actors, input sources, production, markets and supply chains to create multiple pathways for absorbing shocks. It further recommended that supporting the development of small and medium agri-food enterprises and cooperatives would also help in maintaining the diversity in domestic value chains. Finally, improving the resilience of vulnerable households is critical to ensure a world free from hunger. This can be done by improving access to assets, diversified income sources and social protection programmes.  

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106342

https://www.fao.org/newsroom/detail/fao-agrifood-systems-agriculture-resilience-SOFA-covid/en


UNDP: Recovery in Yemen is still Possible

On 23 November 2021, UNDP published a report which stated that war-torn Yemen is among the poorest countries in the world but recovery is possible if the conflict ends now. Yemen has been mired in seven years of fighting between a pro-Government Saudi-led coalition and Houthi rebels, generating the world’s worst humanitarian and development crisis. The report sends a hopeful message that all is not lost and that extreme poverty could be eradicated within a generation, or by 2047 if the fighting ceases. Achim Steiner, UNDP Administrator stated that the report presents a clear picture of what the future could look like with lasting peace inclusive of new, sustainable opportunities for people in Yemen. According to the UNDP, the brutal war in Yemen has already caused the country to miss out on $126 billion of potential economic growth. The UN humanitarian affairs office, OCHA, has estimated 80 per cent of the population, or 24 million people, rely on aid and protection assistance. Through statistical modelling analysing future scenarios, the report reveals how securing peace by January 2022, coupled with an inclusive and holistic recovery process which help reverse deep trends of impoverishment and see Yemen reach middle-income status by 2050. The report was carried out by the Frederick S. Pardee Center for International Futures at the University of Denver, located in the United States. While outlining potential peace dividends, it also provides grim future trajectories should the conflict continue into 2022 and beyond. The UNDP said there is no time to waste, and plans to support recovery must be continuously developed even as the fighting rages on. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106362

https://www.undp.org/press-releases/undp-recovery-yemen-possible-despite-fast-deteriorating-situation

https://www.ye.undp.org/content/yemen/en/home/library/assessing-the-impact-of-war-in-yemen–pathways-for-recovery.html


WFP: Each Year 378,000 Central Americans are Being Pushed North

On 23 November 2021, a joint report was published by World Food Programme (WFP), Migration Policy Institute and Civic data Design Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The joint report showcased that a high price was paid in human and economic costs including an annual $2.2 billion on regular and irregular travel. The publication draws from a unique survey of thousands of Central American households in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras with the report revealing that in just two years. The percentage of people who considered migrating internationally has increased more than five-fold, jumping from eight per cent in 2019 to 43 per cent in 2021. However only three per cent, had made concrete plans with family separation and high costs associated with migrating were cited as deterrents. Most migrants, 55 per cent, were said to have hired a smuggler at an average cost of $7,500 per person while going through legal channels came at $4,500; while for 89 per cent of people. According to the report, food-insecure people are three times more likely to make concrete plans to migrate than people who are not. As of last month, WFP estimates that the number of food-insecure people in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras grew three-fold, to 6.4 million from 2.2 million in 2019; with migration flows being impacted by violence and insecurity as well as climate-related-shocks, such as severe droughts in the Central American Dry Corridor and more frequent and stronger storms in the Atlantic. The report also presented Governments with a blueprint to confront the problem, recommending that the expansion of national social protection programmes can help alleviate poverty and eradicate hunger for at-risk populations. The report recommended economic development and investment initiatives that are tailored to community needs, including agricultural programmes to build climate shock resilience, diversify crops and boost production and job training programmes for youth and women in rural and urban areas. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106432


Libya: At the Critical Juncture

On 24 November 2021, the UN special envoy called for International support as Libya’s election draws nigh. The special envoy stated that even though Libyans are eager to vote at the upcoming elections, vocal opposition persists surrounding the legal framework for the elections. As tension prevails over the eligibility of some high-profile presidential candidates, the envoy urged objectors to channel their concerns through existing judicial mechanisms and to respect their verdicts. He pointed out that not holding the elections as a result of the risks associated with the ongoing polarization around the elections would lead to grave consequences. According to Libya’s High National Electoral Commission (HNEC), the first round of elections will be held on 24 December 2021 while the second round would follow some 50 days later.  The HNEC also stated that the preliminary registrations would end on 7 December stating that over 2,000 people have stepped forward as candidates. Going further, nearly two million voter cards have been distributed as a host of international observation organizations have applied for HNEC accreditation. The special envoy noted that the large number of registered voters as wells as candidates for the election show that Libyans are eager to elect their leaders while also calling for international support. He further pointed out that the ultimate decision regarding any objections raised would be made by the people without prejudice to the final words of the judiciary. He accordingly encouraged Libyans to participate in the elections and vote incredible persons. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106492


IOM: More People at Risk in Yemen

On 24 November 2021, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sounded a warning regarding the deteriorating humanitarian condition in Ma‘rib governorate where the armed conflict is having serious negative impacts on displaced persons. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, (DTM), the number of people forced to flee their homes in Ma’rib since September numbers above 45,000. IOM’s Chief of Mission stated that IOM is concerned about the prospect that hundreds of thousands of people might be forced to move again if violence reaches the city. She further calls for an end to hostility and respect for International Humanitarian Law. As the governorate’s 137 displacement sites increase in ten-folds since September, the IOM provides essential relief material and cash to cover urgent needs in some sites. The Chief of Missions pointed out that in the past two months, the number of displaced persons increases exponentially in comparison to the past two years. She pointed out that up to 40 persons now share a small tent with no choice. Going further, it is reported that as of 20 November, more than 15,000 people fled conflict-affected areas to safer places in Ma’rib and more people continue to flee as the conflict escalates.

https://www.iom.int/news/alarming-rise-people-risk-amid-ongoing-hostilities-yemens-marib-iom


Colombia: UN Secretary-General Encourages All Work Together

On 24 November 2021, UN Secretary-General in Bogota during an event commemorating the 2016 peace deal between Colombia Government and the Revolutionary Forces observed the fifth anniversary of the peace deal. The Secretary-General said that the fifth anniversary is a testimony to the commitment of the parties and also the commitment of State institutions and the vibrant Colombian Civil Society working together despite many difficulties. Mr. Guterres noted that the Guerrilla movement which waged war for half a century is now a political party with the majority of ex-combatants striving to build new lives. He recalled his visit to one of the villages where he saw ex-combatants of the local community working side by side with the police as well as the expansion of locally designed development and social protection programs that brings peace dividends to conflict-affected communities. He added that Colombia has sent a strong message that the time has come to invest in peace stating that a peace agreement negotiated to end the conflict is something extremely unique and valuable. The Secretary-General warned that all sides must be clear about the risks that may threaten the long-term sustainability of the agreement. Mr. Guterres pointed out that although there are challenges which is part of the peace process, peace can no longer be one of the issues that must be disagreed about in a democracy. He called on Colombia to remain on the path of peace-building and persist in overcoming challenges. He also encouraged Colombians to follow the roadmap set out in the Peace Agreement which sought among other things to transform the root cause of the conflict. Later at a press conference, the Secretary-General acknowledges how Colombians has come along in the past 5 years and that he has been inspired by that to make an urgent plea for a ceasefire in Ethiopia. 

https://news.un.org/en/story/2021/11/1106542


France: At Least 27 Dead after Migrant Boat Sinks Crossing English Channel

On 24 November 2021, more than 40 migrants including children got on an inflatable dinghy in an attempt to leave the coast of northern France to cross the English Channel trying to reach England. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron, in an effort to combat human trafficking mobs, had agreed to “keep all options on the table” claiming that these gangs are responsible for pushing people and putting them at risk. According to The International Organization for Migration, this incident is the biggest loss of life in the Channel since 2014. Throughout the day, the death toll has risen as rescue teams kept on searching the waters with a confirmation from the French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin of 27 people sank, including five women and a little girl. Prime Minister Boris Johnson stated that he was “shocked, appalled and deeply saddened at the disaster” adding that four people have been arrested found in relation to the case and later in court two suspects appeared. He also mentioned that UK and France must find a better solution to the migrant crisis.

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/least-27-dead-migrant-boat-sinks-bid-reach-british-shores-rcna6619


FAO: Expresses the Intent to Prevent as Many from Relying Solely on Food Assistance

On 25 November 2021, the representative of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in Kenya stressed in an interview the need to scale up efforts to improve the resilience of rural and pastoral communities in the Horn of Africa. Four cumulative shocks were stated as triggering the fragility in the horn of Africa. A human-induced conflict that is particularly exacerbated in Ethiopia, Somalia and South Sudan which forces people to leave their homes were listed among the problems of the region. Climate shocks too which have accelerated in the past 20-30 years both in terms of frequency and magnitude no longer trigger significant livelihood impacts. There is poor rainfall too. These poor rains are related to climate change and tend to be more prolonged. According to the 2021 FAO damage and loss report, droughts impacts agriculture and the most serious manifestation of drought-related crises starts with pastoral communities that depend on livestock. The Kenyan representative stated that there is the likelihood of more conflict that emerges over natural resources in Kenya not just between humans and wildlife but also between communities. As data shows, there is an increase in the prices of food in the market. As per the number of people suffering from food insecurity, there are no pictures yet for Ethiopia but the number of people in Kenya and Somalia or crisis or worse is already increasing. Meanwhile, according to Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, an additional 1.4 million people are in need in Somalia. Both Somalia and Ethiopia are unfortunately in chronic crises and both countries have a humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for 2021 although there are appeals for finance from partners. It was stated that 32,000 bags of livestock supplement feed have been supplied to pastoral communities since August. Livelihood assistance is so important at the moment as against the need for immediate food because the FAO wants to prevent more people from relying solely on food assistance. Efforts must be put in ensuring that animals remain productive, in other words, produce milk. Farmers experiencing poor harvests would need both food and cash. Lastly, the representative stated that it is important to act now to prepare for an increasing number of people being vulnerable until June 2022 pointing to the signals of a similar crisis in the past. 

https://www.fao.org/newsroom/detail/en/horn-of-africa-we-want-to-prevent-as-many-people-as-possible-from-having-to-rely-solely-on-food-assistance


WFP: Millions in Need of Food Assistance as Conflict Continues in Ethiopia 

On 26 November 2021, United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) announced that the number of people in need of humanitarian food assistance in Northern Ethiopia has increased as conflict continues in the country. WPF delivered food to over 10,000 people in Amhara Towns of Dessie and Kombolcha on behalf of the Joint Emergency Operation (JEOP). According to the statistics, 16 % to 28% of children are malnourished as well as 50% of pregnant women from all three regions. A good number of persons, as well as vulnerable mothers and children, were reached with emergency food and nutrition assistance across Northern Ethiopia. Going further, the United Nations Humanitarian Air Service (UNHAS) resumed flights on Wednesday after a security incident on 22 October. The WPF has stated that a million litres of fuel are needed to reach more people currently behind battle lines this is in addition to the 45,000 litres of fuel made available by the Tigray Authorities to support scale-up food assistance in Tigray. Several trucks of loaded food were sent to several regions and about 35 Trucks had arrived so far. In Tigray, WPF has reached just 7% of the 2.5 million it needs to reach. In Amhara on the other hand, WPF is scaling to reach 650 people with food and nutrition assistance while in Afar, WPF has distributed food to 124,000 people out of its targeted 534,000. The WPS urgently requires USD 579 million to deliver assistance over the next six months in Northern Ethiopia while more funding is required to provide food assistance to more people in the whole country. The agency reported that funding shortages have already forced ratio cuts for most refugees and most food-insecure people in the Somalia region.

https://www.wfp.org/news/millions-more-need-food-assistance-direct-result-conflict-northern-ethiopia-says-wfp

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