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The United States of America ready to support the ICGLR

Wednesday 19 December 2012

 The ICGLR Executive Secretary, Professor Ntumba Luaba received in his office on 12th December 2012 a delegation from the United States of America led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the United States Department of State, Mrs Victoria K. Holt that had come to discuss on the progress of the regional peace talks on Eastern DRC and the implementation of the Protocol on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of discrimination with specific reference to the work of the Regional Committee .

The Executive Secretary in his office discussing with the Deputy Assistant Secretary at the U.S. Department of State. Next to her, the Charge d’ Affaires at the US Embassy in Bujumbura.

Bujumbura, 12th December 2012: The ICGLR Executive Secretary, Professor Ntumba Luaba received in his office on 12th December 2012 a delegation from the United States of America led by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Bureau of International Organization Affairs at the United States Department of State, Mrs Victoria K. Holt that had come to discuss on the progress of the regional peace talks on Eastern DRC and the implementation of the Protocol on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of discrimination with specific reference to the work of the Regional Committee .

In addition Professor Ntumba explained that the Committee already has an action plan and Rules of Procedure and is currently collaborating with the George Mason University and the UN Office of the Special advisor on Prevention of Genocide. The Regional Committee regularly meets at least two times per year but is now looking for funds to make it fully functional. The Committee is planning to meet again in January in Goma (DRC) in an extraordinary session on the issue of conflict in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). He expressed the wish to have the committee also involved in the electoral processes like the upcoming one in Kenya.

Nathan Byamukama, the Programme Officer in charge of Cross Cutting Issues and a Secretary to the Regional Committee on Prevention of Genocide informed that national Committees on Prevention of Genocide have been established in Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda and that it is planned that by end of 2013 all the 12 member states of ICGLR should have established. He saw this as the most important achievement of the Regional Committee since its inception. The role of those national committees is to do the general functions of the regional committee at national level. They are largely multi- sectoral composed of representatives from government and civil society institutions, security organs, members of the ministry of internal affairs, ministry of youth, civil society, media etc. A member of the regional Committee from the Member state is one of the members of the national Committee and this helps to link the regional to the national committees.

Signing of the Visitor’s Book

It was also reported by the Executive Secretary that initiatives are in place towards implementing the protocol on the media so that they can also contribute to the ongoing process of pacification of the region by making constructive comments.

As for the regional effort to stabilize the eastern DRC, the Executive Secretary informed the delegation that the negotiations are going on in Kampala now and that the ICGLR regional mechanisms are operational.

He talked about the Neutral International Force (NIF) a unique regional force whose mandate will be to “eradicate” all the negative forces and armed groups operating in Eastern DRC and ensure trans-border security. They will benefit from the logistic support of MONUSCO and South Africa.

Up to now Tanzania has made pledges to provide one battalion and recently during the SADC Summit held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the SADC leaders promised to provide forces as a bloc forces from the Standby Force. Professor Ntumba urged for support by the US to ensure that the regional initiative works. Their discussions also evolved around the Regional Initiatives on the Fight against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and the fight against Sexual Gender Based Violence.

Mrs Holt on her part informed that they are ready to support the Protocol on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination as it is one of the resolutions passed by President Obama. She further promised to follow up on the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations for the support that was channeled to the ICGLR through DPA and promised to be the ICGLR goodwill ambassador as per the Executive Secretary request.

Group photo

 

Signing of the Visitor’s Book

It was also reported by the Executive Secretary that initiatives are in place towards implementing the protocol on the media so that they can also contribute to the ongoing process of pacification of the region by making constructive comments.

As for the regional effort to stabilize the eastern DRC, the Executive Secretary informed the delegation that the negotiations are going on in Kampala now and that the ICGLR regional mechanisms are operational.

He talked about the Neutral International Force (NIF) a unique regional force whose mandate will be to “eradicate” all the negative forces and armed groups operating in Eastern DRC and ensure trans-border security. They will benefit from the logistic support of MONUSCO and South Africa.

Up to now Tanzania has made pledges to provide one battalion and recently during the SADC Summit held in Dar-es-Salaam, Tanzania, the SADC leaders promised to provide forces as a bloc forces from the Standby Force. Professor Ntumba urged for support by the US to ensure that the regional initiative works. Their discussions also evolved around the Regional Initiatives on the Fight against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources and the fight against Sexual Gender Based Violence.

Mrs Holt on her part informed that they are ready to support the Protocol on Prevention and Punishment of Genocide, War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity and all forms of Discrimination as it is one of the resolutions passed by President Obama. She further promised to follow up on the Department of Political Affairs of the United Nations for the support that was channeled to the ICGLR through DPA and promised to be the ICGLR goodwill ambassador as per the Executive Secretary request.

 

Declaration of Heads of State of the ICGLR on the Security Situation in Eastern DRCongo

Monday 26 November 2012

Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) meeting in Kampala,...(Download full Declaration in PDF:English-French

 

Sudan launches Tolerance Zero Now on SGBV

Monday 26 November 2012

 The "Zero Tolerance Now" campaign against SGBV was launched on Sunday 25th November 2012 in Khartoum by the Vice- President of Sudan , Honorable Dr. Al-Haj Adam Yousuf accompanied by his spouse in presence of some government ministers, representatives of the international community and the civil society organizations along with representatives of the International Conference on the Great lakes Region.

 

 

                                                                              Hon. Dr. Al-Haj Adam Yousuf

The event took place at the Sudan National Meuseum where ceremonies included dramas and music lyrics played by young girls and boys on gender tolerance.

We will ensure that all criminals of violence against women are punished with no tolerance” pointed out Honorable Dr. Al-Haj Adam Yousuf who also announced that Sudan is committed to all ICGLR recommendations regarding the scourge.

Taking the floor, the UNWOMEN country representative, Ms.Jebbeh Fortser said UN Women and other UN agencies in Sudan will continue to support government’s efforts to address violence against women.

We are committed to support the government in the implementation of the decisions of the ICGLR conference of Gender and justice Ministers held in Kinshasa in July 2012 and the recommendations of the special summit on SGBV held in Kampala in December 2011”. These include support for the establishment of special courts or measures to fast track SGBV cases, national data collection on the type and prevalence of SGBV to enable appropriate and targeted responses and dissemination of the relevant ICGLR protocols as Ms. Jebbeh Fortser said.

                                                                                        Ms. Jebbeh Fortser

The Campaign in Sudan includes songs competition, radio and television shows, SMS messages, drama and historical crafts exhibitions.

It was prepared by an interministerial committee headed by the Vice president and including ministries of justice, the Interior ministry, general education, external affairs, communication and media, youth and culture, finance ministry, representatives of the judiciary and Khartoum State government.

 

                                          Partial view of the Conference room

 

Presse Statement: ICGLR efforts to stabilize the Eastern Part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Member States affected by the crisis

Wednesday 14 November 2012

 The Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is pleased to inform the international, regional and public community that efforts are underway to stabilize the Eastern Part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Member States affected by the crisis.

In this regard, the ICGLR Executive Secretariat would like to recall that since the eruption of the crisis, Heads of States and Government of the Region demonstrated their commitment and will to combine their efforts as witnessed through the four Extraordinary Summits successfully held in Addis-Ababa and Kampala. The major objective pursued through the Summits was to find a rapid and sustainable solution to the crisis.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat is pleased to note that as a result of these Summits, considerable progress has been made on the ground including cessation of hostilities, establishment of an Expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) and a Military Assessment Team (MAT) whose mandate was to prepare the operationalization of the International Neutral Force.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat would like to encourage Member States to pursue the efforts towards a final settlement of the crisis and urge the International Community to continue supporting Member States initiatives including the efforts of the ICGLR Chairman under the able Leadership of H.E. President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of the Republic of Uganda, in his quest for sustainable peace as provided for in the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, signed in Nairobi, Kenya, on 15 December 2006.

 

4th ICGLR Extraordinary Summit on DRC to take place in Kampala

Tuesday 2 October 2012

The Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) are set to meet again in Kampala, Uganda on 7 and 8 October 2012 to make an assessment of previous decisions made at their Summits in Addis Ababa, Kampala I and Kampala II on the consolidation of peace and security in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

This coming Summit is the fourth to be hosted by the ICGLR within four months and comes after a Mini - Summit organized by the United Nations Secretary-General in New York on 27 September 2012 at the margins of the 67th ordinary Session of the General Assembly.

In their previous encounters, the Heads of State and Government requested that the Committee of the Ministers of Defence meet immediately "to work on the operationalization of the international neutral force, with a view of deploying it within a period of three months". This international neutral force is aimed at eradicating all the negatives forces operating in Eastern DRC namely the FDLR, the Movement of March 23 (M23) etc.

It should be noted that during the month of September there was the launch of the activities of the Military Assessment Team (MAT) whose mandate is to undertake a field and verify the actual number of FDLR, M23 and other negative forces operating in Eastern DRC as well as the launching of the expanded Joint Verification Mechanism (JVM) which will monitor the borders.

Press contacts:

Dorine Nininahazwe

Tel: (+257) 79 492 064

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Launching of the activities of the Military Assessment Team in Goma, DRC

Wednesday 26 September 2012

 The launching of the Military Assessment Team activities took place on 22 September, 2012 in the ICGLR Joint Fusion Centre in Goma, Democratic Republic of the Congo.

View of the Officials who attended the launcing

The Ceremonies started with the handover of the ICGLR symbols (berets and armbands) to the Military Officers who will be part of this Military Assessment Team (MAT). It consists of 22 officers, two for each ICGLR Member State. In attendance at the ceremony were officers from Burundi, Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Rwanda, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda. Officers from Angola, the Central African Republic, Kenya, and Zambia are expected to join the team in the next few days. The MAT is under the command of a Tanzanian General who will be assisted by a Burundian Colonel.

The Deputy Governor of the North Kivu province, Feller Lutayichirwa Mulwahale, welcomed all the guests present in the province and pointed out that the population in the Kivu has long suffered due to the instability in the region and were expecting a lot from the MAT. He then promised to assist and support the team when necessary. The Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, Professor Ntumba Luaba, in his remarks, said that this ceremony was an important step towards the implementation of the recommendations of the Heads of State and Government at their Summit in Addis Ababa and Kampala I and II.

The Chief of Defense of the Ugandan Armed Forces, General Aronda Nyakairima, then proceeded with the introduction of the team and added that it was for the first time that he saw a crisis that brought so much attention and commitment from the leaders of the region in the history of the African continent. He added that the number of Summits, meetings of Ministers

and meetings of military officials is a powerful testimony of the commitment of Member States to eradicate all the negative forces and armed groups operating in the region.

The Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Defense and Former Combatants of DRC, Alexandre Luba Ntambo, reiterated the confidence of his Government in this ICGLR process and expressed the hope that for the next Summit of Heads of State and Government which will be held in Kampala on October 8, concrete and tangible proposals will be presented.

The representative of MONUSCO in North Kivu, Ms Yérouthe Guèbre Sélassié expressed the will of the United Nations to support the efforts of the region and reiterated the support of MONUSCO to secure the MAT.

It should be recalled that the mandate of the MAT is to undertake an assessment on the actual size, location and numbers of FDLR, M23 and other negative forces operating in Eastern DRC.

 

The Military Assessment Team

The ceremony ended with the presentation of the ICGLR flag and office equipment to the Commander of MAT by the Ugandan Minister of defense and Chairman of the Ministers of Defense Committee, Dr. Crispus Kayonga, who wished them success in their endeavors.

 

Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Monday 10 September 2012

Download Declaration here

Joint Declaration on 31st August 2012 General Elections of the Republic of ANGOLA

Monday 3 September 2012

We, the African union (AU), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), Electoral Commissions Forum of the Southern African Development Community (ECF-SADC) and the Community of Portuguese Speaking Conutries (CPLP).

Following the Conlusion of the General Elections held on 31st August 2012, and indepth discussions that took place among the above mentioned Observation Missions; in light of:

Download full Declaration in PDF for more Details: English, French, Portuguese

 

Press release: The meeting of the Sub-Committee of Ministers of Defence on Security in East of DRC. Goma,DRC 16 August 2012.

Thursday 16 August 2012

Goma, 16th August 2012, The ICGLR sub-committee of Ministers of Defence on security in East of DRC met in Goma, DRC on 16th August 2012 following the decision of the Summit of Heads of State and Government held in Kampala, Uganda on 8th August 2012.

The meeting was composed of Ministers of Defence drown from the following countries : Angola, Burundi, Republic of Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania. The meeting was also attended by the Chiefs of Defence Staff and Chief of Military intelligence. The Special Representative of the UN Secretary General was also in attendance.

The meeting had the following objectives:

• Identify urgent actionable steps to ensure that fighting stops in East of DRC in order to allow consolidation of Peace, Security and Stability.

• Propose specific elements for the operationalization of the Neutral International Force to be deployed in Eastern DRC

The meeting of Ministers was held in a cordial and brotherly atmosphere.

Concerning the Neutral International Force, Ministers decided that it should work under the mandate of African Union and United Nations, and shall be composed of African troops.

The ICGLR sub-committee of Ministers of Defence on security in Eastern of DRC adopted a report which shall be presented the ICGLR Chairman His Excellency Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, President of Republic of Uganda for onward transmission to the ICGLR Summit due in September 2012.

Done in Goma, DRC, 16th August 2012

ICGLR Secretariat

Contact :

Tel : +257 22 256824

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Kampala, Uganda, August 2012

Thursday 9 August 2012

EXTRAORDINARY SUMMIT OF THE HEADS OF STATE AND GOVERNMENT

 

  • We, Heads of State and Government of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), meeting in Kampala, Uganda, on 7th and 8th August, at the invitation of H.E. President Yoweri Museveni, the President of the Republic of Uganda and Chairperson of the ICGLR, to discuss the security situation in Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo;
  • Recalling our decision made in Addis Abbab on 15th july 2012 to meet in Kampala, Uganda to discuss the root causes of insecurity in...(more)

 

ICGLR Heads of State to discuss DRC Crisis in Kampala

Monday 6 August 2012

Kampala, 5th August 2012: As part of efforts aimed at find a lasting solution to conflicts in the region, the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has convened an Extraordinary Summit in Kampala on 7-8 August, 2012 to discuss the security situation in Eastern DRC. The meeting is a follow up of the ICGLR Heads of State Summit on the Security Situation in Eastern DRC held on 15 July 2012 in Addis Ababa. The Extra-Ordinary Summit in Kampala will be preceded by the meeting of ...(more)

 

Communiqué: ICGLR Regional High Level Consultation of Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender on Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Monday 6 August 2012

1. The ICGLR Regional High Level Consultation with Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender from the Great Lakes Region in Grand Hotel, Kinshasa 28 July 2012 to follow up on the ICGLR Heads of State and Government Kampala Declaration on SGBV and...(more)

 

ICGLR Ministers of Defence to meet in Khartoum, Sudan.

Monday 30 July 2012

 As regional efforts towards eradication of negative forces intensify, Ministers of Defence of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) are scheduled to meet in Khartoum, in the Republic of Sudan from 1st- 2nd August 2012. This meeting is one of series of meetings that have been taking place in the region to come up with realistic and concrete solutions to...(more)

 

ICGLR Regional Experts Meeting close session to prepare High Level Consultation with Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender from the Great Lakes Region on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Monday 30 July 2012

Delegates from the International Conference on the Great Lakes region member countries have ended their meeting in Kinshasa preparing the High level consultation between Ministers of Gender and Justice on SGBV. During the last 3 days, the participants have discussed and analyzed different modalities to speed up the domestication process of ICGLR juridical instruments in the Member States and to establish Special Courts, Sessions and Procedures to fast track SGBV cases.

The experts received reports from ICGLR Member States revealing that there are different domestication processes and that there are no Special Courts on SGBV in any of the Member States.

They made recommendations that will be brought to the ministers for their validation Saturday before the launch of “Zero Tolerance” campaign against SGBV. The experts have recognized that some countries have got sessions and procedures to handle specific cases, including SGBV cases.

About 20 ministers or their delegates from the ICGLR Member States are expected to attend Saturday meeting that will culminate in a launch of Zero Tolerance campaign on SGBV on regional level. Participants are expected to go on a walk from the conference venue to the Justice esplanade where the campaign will be launched on regional level.

 

High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Justice and Gender on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Kinshasa 25-28 July 2012

Wednesday 25 July 2012

The ICGLR Secretariat, in collaboration with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is organising a High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers responsible for Justice and Gender, Representatives of General Prosecutors and Representatives of Supreme Courts from the 11 ICGLR Member States in Kinshasa on 25 through 28 July 2012. The meeting, which is a follow-up to Kampala Declaration of regional Heads of States on SGBV, will culminate into the regional launching of the Campaign “Zero Tolerance Now” on SGBV that will be precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national level in all the 11 Member States.

The meeting is aimed at reaching an agreement on modalities for establishment of specialised mechanisms to deal with SGBV cases in justice.

The first 3 days of the meeting will be devoted to discussions by judiciary experts, gender experts, participants from the ICGLR Regional women Forum, youth and civil society fora, who will discuss and make recommendations on modalities and functioning of special courts and sessions, specialized judiciary procedures to deal with SGBV cases and the best way to follow for quick domestication of ICGLR instruments, Kampala declaration included.

The session will hear from a regional study on special courts and experiences from member States in the fight against impunity on the SGBV crime.

The experts session will be followed by that of ministers for gender and justice to validate the recommendations and launch the regional «Zero Tolerance campaign ». The launching will be a precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national levels in all the 11 ICGLR Member States.

The meeting is expected to gather around 150 participants.

Contact Presse :

Marie-Goretti Muhitira

Tel. (257) 79 923501

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ICGLR Heads of State to discuss DRC Crisis in Kampala

 Monday 6 August 2012

As part of efforts aimed at find a lasting solution to conflicts in the region, the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has convened an Extraordinary Summit in Kampala on 7-8 August, 2012 to discuss the security situation in Eastern DRC. The meeting is a follow up of the ICGLR Heads of State Summit on the Security Situation in Eastern DRC held on 15 July 2012 in Addis Ababa. The Extra-Ordinary Summit in Kampala will be preceded by the meeting of ICGLR National Coordinators and a Special session of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC).

The meeting is also in spirit of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development signed by the ICGLR Heads of State in Nairobi, Kenya in 2006. The Pact’s Article 5 (b) on the protocol on Non Aggression and Mutual Defence in the Great Lakes Region states that; Member states undertake to abstain from sending or supporting armed opposition forces or armed groups or insurgents onto the territory of other Member States, or from tolerating the presence on their territories of armed groups or insurgents engaged in armed conflicts or involved in acts of violence or subversion against the Government of another State.”

The ICGLR Heads of State Summit on the Security Situation in Eastern DRC held on in Addis Ababa on 15 July 2012 also directed that; “The appropriate structures of the ICGLR shall work with the AU and the UN for an immediate establishment of a neutral international force to eradicate M23, FDLR and all other negative forces in Eastern DRC and patrol and secure the Border Zones.”

Press Contact:

Dorine Nininahazwe

Media Associate

Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)

  • Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Tel : + 256781468548

 

Communiqué: ICGLR Regional High Level Consultation of Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender on Kampala Declaration on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Monday 6 August 2012

The ICGLR Regional High Level Consultation with Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender from the Great Lakes Region met in Grand Hotel, Kinshasa 28 July 2012 to follow up on the ICGLR Heads of State and Government Kampala Declaration on SGBV and its Work Plan, in particular the implementation of Decisions 2,7 and 8. The Meeting was opened by the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Budget of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), HE Daniel Mukoko Samba and chaired by Hon Frederick Ruhindi, Minister of State of Justice & Constitutional Affairs of Uganda;

II. In attendance were: H.E. Ms. Ana Canene Meireles de Vasconcelos Deputy Minister of Justice of Angola; Ms. Petro Koni Zeze, Zarambaud Minister of National Solidarity and Social Affairs and Gender from Central Africa Republic; H.E Ms. Wivine Mumba Matipa Minister of Justice & Human Rights, DRC; H.E.Hon. Géneviève Inagosi Bulo Ibambi Minister of Gender, Family and Children of DRC; H.E. Moubangat Moukonzi Alphonse Dinard Permanent Secretary for State Ministry of the Republic of Congo; H.E. Madeleine Yila Boumpoto Minister for Women Promotion and Women integration in Development of the Republic of Congo; H.E. Hon. Keya Atanas Manyala, Minister for Gender & Children, and So- cial Development of Kenya; H.E. Ibrahim Adam Ibrahim State Minister at the Ministry of Welfare and Social Security of Sudan; H.E. Julienne Munyaneza Permanent Secretary/ Ministry of Gender & Family Promotion of Rwanda; H.E. Hon. Sophia Simba, Minister of Community Development, Gender & Children of Tanzania; H.E. Hon. Aboubakar Khamis Bakari, Minister of Constitutional Affairs and Justice of Tanzania; H.E. Hon. Rukia Isanga Nakadama, Minister in Charge of gender, Labour & Social Development of Uganda; H.E. Hon. Anjellah J. Kariuki, Deputy Minister for Justice & Constitutional Affairs of Tanzania; H.E. Hon. Alfreda Kansembe, Deputy Minister of Justice of Zambia; H.E. Hon. Esther Mwilwa Banda Deputy Minister of Gender & Child Development of Zambia; Ms. Victoire Nahimana Permanent Secretary of Burundi Ministry of National Solidarity, Human Rights and Gender; H.E. Hon. William Cheptumo Deputy, Minister for Jus- tice, National Cohesion & Constitutional Affairs Kipkorir, of Kenya; Mr. Essam Aldeen Abdulgadir Undersecretary of the Minister of Justice of Sudan;

III. Several personalities have taken floor at the High Level Consultation, namely: the Justice Minister of Uganda, the Gender Minister of Uganda, the Justice Minister of DRC, the Gender Minister of DRC, the ICGLR Executive Secretary, the Chairperson of the Regional Women Forum, and the Representative of UNWOMEN in DRC;

IV. Also in attendance were representatives of regional and international organizations, Diplomatic Corps and ICGLR Civil Society, Youth, Parliament and Women Fora;

 

photo

Group photo

V. The objective of the meeting was to strategise on the implementation of the Decisions made by the Heads of State and Government in Kampala Uganda on 15-16th December 2011 with particular emphasis on decision 2, 7 and 8 pertaining the need to accelerate the domestication process of the ICGLR Protocol on Non aggression and Mutual Defence, the Protocol on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children as well as the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation, in order to eradicate existing armed groups, com- bat Sexual and Gender Based Violence and cooperate in matters of extradition, judicial investigation and prosecution of perpetrators (Decision 2); to launch the Zero Tolerance Now campaign on SGBV crimes and impunity (Decision 7); and lastly on the establishing and strengthening of Special Courts, Sessions and Procedures in order to fast track SGBV cases in the Police and the Judiciary (with adequate financing, facilities and gender sensitive Officers) to improve access to justice and protect SGBV victims/survivors (Decision 8);

VI. The High Level Meeting was addressed by Minister of Justice of Uganda, Minister of Gender of Uganda, the Minister of Justice of DRC, the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, the Chair- person of the Regional Women Forum, the Minister of Gender of DRC;

VII. The Ministers of Justice and Gender received, considered and adopted the recommendations of the Regional Experts Meeting;

VIII. In their deliberations, the Ministers of Justice and Gender took cognizance of the importance of the Kampala SGBV Declaration on SGBV in general and Decisions 2,7 and 8 in particular, namely: on domestication, special courts, sessions and zero tolerance on SGBV crimes and impunity, reiterating that Member States should as a matter of urgency address the issue of Negative Forces as envisaged in the Kampala

Declaration on SGBV (2012) and the Addis Ababa Extraordinary Summit Declaration (2012) on Negative Forces;

IX. In order to implement the Kampala Declaration and to fast-track decisions 2,7 and 8, the Ministers decide as follows:

On Domestication Process (Decision 2)

1. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to simplify, translate and accordingly disseminate the provisions of the three Protocols, namely: the Protocol on Non-Aggression and Mutual Defence, the Protocol on the Prevention and the Suppression of Sexual violence against Women and Children and the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation to all stakeholders and lobby all those involved in the domestication process within Government, Parliament, Law Enforcement Institutions, Regional Women Forum , Civil Society and the Citizenry for speeding up the domestication process;

2. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States request the ICGLR Conference Secretariat to formulate Model legislations with a view to assist the domestication process;

3. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to develop Action Plans with measurable indicators/steps and a time frame to facilitate tracking of the domestication process within three (3) months after this Meeting;

4. The Ministers of Gender from the ICGLR Member States request the Ministers of Justice to designate a Legal Focal Point officer, where she/he doesn’t exist, to work closely with the ICGLR National Coordinator in order to speed up the domestication process of the relevant ICGLR Instruments;

On Establishment and Strengthening of Special Courts, Sessions and Procedures on SGBV (Decision 8)

5. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States commit to coordinate with their respective Chiefs of Justice, where necessary, to establish and strengthen Special Courts to handle SGBV cases and provide progress reports to the Conference Secretariat by December 2012;

6. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States Commit to strengthen existing Courts/ Tribunals, as the case may be, in each Member State by broadening the jurisdiction of relevant Courts; building the capacity of staff involved in case handling and designating specialized services so as to enable the Courts/ Tribunals to effectively handle SGBV cases;

7. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States Commit to use existing institutions to organize Special Sessions, establish Mobile Courts by December 2012 to handle SGBV cases and allocate sufficient funds for operationalisation of SGBV Courts and Sessions;

8. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States commit to create, where feasible, SGBV case procedures to deny any request for amnesty or parole for perpetrators of SGBV and amend national laws to make them more deterrent in order to comply with zero tolerance on SGBV crimes and impunity;

9. The Ministers responsible for Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to establish National Coordination Committees on SGBV comprising of relevant stakeholders including: Ministry of Justice, Security, Social Affairs, Judiciary, Health, Police/Investigator, Medical Experts, Social Workers, Probation Officers, Lawyers, Military, Prison Officers, Psychosocial Officers, Community Based Organizations, media Non Governmental Organizations, National Human Rights Institutions and Faith Based Organizations, to coordinate SGBV prevention and response;

10. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States commit to adopt common procedures for flagrant SGBV crime in all Member States with a time limit of investigation and trial not exceeding six (6) months;

11. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States Commit to introduce scientific based evidence in the Justice System through the use of DNA technology and other effective measures as a mechanism for prevention and action against SGBV;

12. The Ministers of Justice from the ICGLR Member States commit to ensure access to justice for victims/survivors to include free legal representation and reparation;

On SGBV “Zero Tolerance Now” Campaign (Decision 7)

13. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to simultaneously launch the “Zero Tolerance Now” campaign in every ICGLR Member State on 25th November 2012, coinciding with the 16 days of activism and ensure that the campaign is sustained for two (2) years;

14. The objectives of the campaign are to raise awareness, reduce stigma from survivors and occurrence of SGBV cases within communities; initiate training programmes in school curricula; strengthen and implement the law to end impunity and improve the living conditions of victims and assist to access justice;

15. Each country to decide on the venue to launch the Zero Tolerance Now campaign on SGBV crimes and impunity, bearing in mind that the venue must be of national significance;

16. The campaign to be coordinated by an Inter-Ministerial Committee and the launch to be led by the Heads of State and the First Ladies. The launch to involve all stakeholders, including: Ministries of Justice, Gender, Judiciary, Police/Investigator, Military, Health, Media and Security, Medical Experts, Social Workers, Probation Officers, Lawyers, Prison Officers,

Psychosocial Officers, Community Based Organizations, Non Governmental Organizations, Traditional Leaders, Women, Men, Youth, Political Parties, Human Rights Institutions, Vulnerable Groups, Persons with Disabilities and Faith Based Organizations;

17. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to work with all relevant public and private stakeholders, in particular with telecommunication companies in Member States to disseminate sharp anti-SGBV short messages to all mobile telephone users in different languages; Examples of anti-SGBV messages to include: (i) “Stop SGBV”, (ii)”say no to violence against women”, (iii) “weak men rape” (iv) “men of value don’t rape”, (v) “Rapist: How would you feel if it were your mother, sister or daughter?” (vi) “United to end SGBV impunity”;

photo

Walk: Stop SGBV

18. The activities of the campaign to include but not limited to: SGBV caravans in all Member States; voluntary contribution of the equivalent of a one dollar per person in the ICGLR Member States and by well wishers for victims of SGBV;

19. Funds for the Zero tolerance campaign to be mobilized from Governments, Development Partners, Public and Private Sector;

20. The communication strategy to include Drama, Talk Shows, Songs, Adverts, Radio and TV Programs, Social Networks and other appropriate methods for targeted audiences;

21. The campaigns outcome to include more reported SGBV cases, more perpetrators prosecuted and convicted, new or amended national laws, policies and programmes responding to SGBV issues;

General

22. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to provide, on regular basis, gender disaggregated data and relevant information on the above recommendations, to enable the Conference Secretariat through the Levy Mwanawasa Centre to monitor, evaluate progress and report to RIMC on the Member States` implementation of these decisions in particular and the Kampala Declaration in general;

23. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States request Development Partners to support the ICGLR Member States where necessary, by providing technical assistance, training and funding for the implementation of SGBV Special Courts and Sessions, the Zero Tolerance Campaign and domestication of Protocols;

24. The Ministers of Justice and Gender from the ICGLR Member States commit to strengthen the Regional Research and Documentation Centre on Women, Gender peace building in the Great Lakes Region so that it can fulfill its mandate;

25. The Ministers of Gender and Justice request the ICGLR Secretariat to expedite the budget of the Regional Training Facility that Uganda had offered to host as per Decision 14 of the Kampala Declaration.

Done in Kinshasa, DRC

28th July 2012

Download the Communiqué. PDF

 

ICGLR Ministers of Defence to meet in Khartoum, Sudan.

Monday 30 July 2012

As regional efforts towards eradication of negative forcesintensify, Ministers of Defence of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) are scheduled to meet in Khartoum, in the Republic of Sudan from 1st- 2nd August 2012. This meeting is one of series of meetings that have been taking place in the region to come up with realistic and concrete solutions to what has been an endemic problem in the region. In their previous meetings, ministers have been reviewing the challenges to fighting the scourge of negative forces and have found out that the lack of shared information and intelligence on the identity, size, whereabouts, operations, capability and the general nature and character of existing armed negative forces in the region was a big problem. It then resulted in the establishment of a Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre charged with the responsibility of collecting and sharing actionable intelligence on the problem of Armed Negative Forces in the region. The Ministers also decided on the establishment of a Regional Coordination Committee chaired on rotational basis by the Member States. They also agreed to meet annually to assess progress made in the fight against Negative Forces in the region. The Ministers further tasked the Chiefs of Intelligence in conjunction with the Conference Secretariat to expedite the process of setting up and operationalizing the Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre. The launching of the Joint Fusion Centre took place in June 2012 in Goma, Democratic Republic of Congo.

The upcoming ministerial meeting which will be preceded by that of regional experts will focus on sharing relevant information and exchange views on the challenges and opportunities for regional cooperation in the fight against armed Negative Forces in the region, review progress so far made in the ICGLR regional effort to fight Armed Negative Forces in line with the decisions of the Kigali meeting of ICGLR Ministers of Defence of September 2011, elaborating and adopting a Plan of Action to eradicate Armed Negative Forces, discussing and agreeing on resource mobilization strategy for the operations of the Joint Intelligence Fusion Centre in Goma, as well as the implementation of the Plan of Action to eradicate Armed Negative Forces.

This ministerial meeting which will also assess ongoing regional diplomatic and political initiatives to deal with armed negative forces within the scope of the regional approach takes place after an Extraordinary Summit of ICGLR Heads of State held in the margins of the African Union Summit held in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on 15th July 2012 . Further, it will discuss and make suitable recommendations pertaining to the development and implementation of a Plan of Action against the Negative Forces in line with the decisions of the Heads of State Summit held in Kampala on 15-16th December 2011.

The recommendations will be presented to the next Extraordinary Summit of Heads of State of the 11 ICGLR Member States on the security situation in DRC scheduled to be held in Kampala, Uganda on August 7-8th, 2012.

Press contacts:

Dorine Nininahazwe

Media Associate

Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR)

- Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
- Tel : + 249 964 233 475

ICGLR Regional Experts Meeting close session to prepare High Level Consultation with Ministers in Charge of Justice and Gender from the Great Lakes Region on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV)

Monday 30 July 2012

Delegates from the International Conference on the Great Lakes region member countries have ended their meeting in Kinshasa preparing the High level consultation between Ministers of Gender and Justice on SGBV. During the last 3 days, the participants have discussed and analyzed different modalities to speed up the domestication process of ICGLR juridical instruments in the Member States and to establish Special Courts, Sessions and Procedures to fast track SGBV cases.

The experts received reports from ICGLR Member States revealing that there are different domestication processes and that there are no Special Courts on SGBV in any of the Member States.

They made recommendations that will be brought to the ministers for their validation Saturday before the launch of “Zero Tolerance” campaign against SGBV. The experts have recognized that some countries have got sessions and procedures to handle specific cases, including SGBV cases.

About 20 ministers or their delegates from the ICGLR Member States are expected to attend Saturday meeting that will culminate in a launch of Zero Tolerance campaign on SGBV on regional level. Participants are expected to go on a walk from the conference venue to the Justice esplanade where the campaign will be launched on regional level.

 

High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Justice and Gender on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Kinshasa 25-28 July 2012

Wednesday 25 July 2012

The ICGLR Secretariat, in collaboration with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is organising a High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers responsible for Justice and Gender, Representatives of General Prosecutors and Representatives of Supreme Courts from the 11 ICGLR Member States in Kinshasa on 25 through 28 July 2012. The meeting, which is a follow-up to Kampala Declaration of regional Heads of States on SGBV, will culminate into the regional launching of the Campaign “Zero Tolerance Now” on SGBV that will be precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national level in all the 11 Member States.

The meeting is aimed at reaching an agreement on modalities for establishment of specialised mechanisms to deal with SGBV cases in justice.

The first 3 days of the meeting will be devoted to discussions by judiciary experts, gender experts, participants from the ICGLR Regional women Forum, youth and civil society fora, who will discuss and make recommendations on modalities and functioning of special courts and sessions, specialized judiciary procedures to deal with SGBV cases and the best way to follow for quick domestication of ICGLR instruments, Kampala declaration included.

The session will hear from a regional study on special courts and experiences from member States in the fight against impunity on the SGBV crime.

The experts session will be followed by that of ministers for gender and justice to validate the recommendations and launch the regional «Zero Tolerance campaign ». The launching will be a precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national levels in all the 11 ICGLR Member States.

The meeting is expected to gather around 150 participants.

Contact Presse :

Marie-Goretti Muhitira

Tel. (257) 79 923501

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Justice and Gender on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in Kinshasa 25-28 July 2012

Wednesday 25 July 2012

The ICGLR Secretariat, in collaboration with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo, is organising a High Level Consultation Meeting of Ministers responsible for Justice and Gender, Representatives of General Prosecutors and Representatives of Supreme Courts from the 11 ICGLR Member States in Kinshasa on 25 through 28 July 2012. The meeting, which is a follow-up to Kampala Declaration of regional Heads of States on SGBV, will culminate into the regional launching of the Campaign “Zero Tolerance Now” on SGBV that will be precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national level in all the 11 Member States.

The meeting is aimed at reaching an agreement on modalities for establishment of specialised mechanisms to deal with SGBV cases in justice.

The first 3 days of the meeting will be devoted to discussions by judiciary experts, gender experts, participants from the ICGLR Regional women Forum, youth and civil society fora, who will discuss and make recommendations on modalities and functioning of special courts and sessions, specialized judiciary procedures to deal with SGBV cases and the best way to follow for quick domestication of ICGLR instruments, Kampala declaration included.

The session will hear from a regional study on special courts and experiences from member States in the fight against impunity on the SGBV crime.

The experts session will be followed by that of ministers for gender and justice to validate the recommendations and launch the regional «Zero Tolerance campaign ». The launching will be a precursor to the simultaneous launching of a similar campaign at national levels in all the 11 ICGLR Member States.

The meeting is expected to gather around 150 participants.

Contact Presse :

Marie-Goretti Muhitira

Tel. (257) 79 923501

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) on the Security Situation in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Tuesday 17 July 2012

Extraordianry Summit of the Heads of State and Government.

Addis Ababa, Ethipia, 15th July 2012.

Download Declaration. PDF.

 

Report of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Regional Inter-Ministerial Extraordinary Meeting on the security sitauation in Eastern DRC. Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, 11th July 2012.

Friday 13 July 2012

The Extraordinary meeting of the ICGLR Regional Interministerial Committee and Ministers of Defence on the security situation on Eastern DRC was held...(more)

 

 

REGIONAL COLLABORATION ON GOVERNANCE ISSUES: RGB and ICGLR Lusaka Regional Centre sign a MoU

Tuesday 10 July 2012

    [photo]  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by Rwanda Governance Board [photo](RGB), represented by the Chief Executive Officer Prof. Anastase Shyaka on the one part, and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education based in Lusaka, Zambia, represented by the Executive Director Dr. Frank Okuthe on the other part.

The MoU provides a framework for cooperation between the two institutions in all activities especially those that seek to promote Good Governance and Democracy, Peace and Security and Capacity Building of partner institutions including public, private and civil society organizations in Rwanda and ICGLR Member States.

The MoU will also enable signatory parties to contribute to the promotion of activities and policy intended to ensuring the implementation of framework aimed at preventing and fighting sexual and gender based violence (SGBV).

[photo]

 

As far as implementation is concerned, the Parties will use different approaches, namely conducting research activities and analysis on existing policies and practices; undertake capacity building activities to strengthen Rwandan Actors and Institutions; monitor the implementation of ICGLR Protocols as well as facilitating multi-actor dialogue between Rwandan and Regional Stakeholders.

The MoU comes in the wake of the highly successful International Conference on Governance and Democracy which took place in Kigali from 28th to 30th June, 2012 prior to the 50th celebrations of Rwanda’s independence. According to Prof. Anastase Shyaka, “..the two parties would liket to take the appreciation of measuring governance to a higher level”, adding that “we also want to use scientific and objective approaches to the analysis of democracy and governance in the Region”.

A need for practical actions is indeed a joint commitment as reiterated by Dr. Frank Okuthe: “We are moving from theory to practice, we want to walk the talk!”.

 

The ICGLR is convening a Special Session of the Regional

Monday 9 July 2012

The Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is convening a special session of the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) Meeting on the security situation in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) on Wednesday, July 11, 2012 in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on the margins of the African Union Summit of Head of States.

The main objective of the extraordinary RIMC is to provide an opportunity for the Executive Organ of the ICGLR to deliberate on the security situation in Eastern DRC and, based on the provisions of the Pact and its Protocols, agree on mutual solutions and way forward to ensure durable Peace and Stability in Eastern DRC and the region at large.

The Executive Secretariat of the ICGLR recalls to Member States "their collective determination to make the Great Lakes Region, a space of lasting peace and security, politicaland social stability, shared growth and development " as highlighted in their vision as contained in the Dar–es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat reminds the Member States their commitments towards the implementation of the Pact, especially the 2012 Kampala Declaration of Heads of State and Government who affirmed, "within an agreed time", to eradicate existing armed groups currently operating in the region based on the ICGLR Protocol on non-Aggression and Mutual Defense".

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat deplores the ongoing humanitarian crisis in North- Kivu province that is characterized by the growing number of displaced persons and refugees.

It also warns all the perpetrators of ongoing serious and massive human rights violations in the Eastern DRC, including war crimes and crimes against humanity, such as the forced recruitment of children in Armed Groups, Sexual Gender Based Violence, especially rape, etc. that their crimes in the region will not remain unpunished.

 

Le Secretaire de la CIRGL reçu par le President Tanzanien, S.E Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete

Thursday 5 July 2012

 Le Secrétaire Exécutif de la Conférence Internationale sur la Région des Grands Lacs (CIRGL), le Professeur Alphonse Ntumba Luaba a été reçu en audience hier matin à Bujumbura par le Président de la République Unie de Tanzanie, S.E. Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, en marge des festivités commémorant les 50 ans l’indépendance de la République du Burundi.

Au cours de l’audience, le Professeur Ntumba Luaba a vivement remercié le Président tanzanien de l’appui continu de son pays aux mécanismes de la CIRGL, et a recueilli les conseils du chef de l´Etat sur la situation à l’Est de la République Démocratique du Congo (RDC).

A ce sujet, le Professeur Ntumba Luaba a informé S. E le Président de la République Unie de Tanzanie de l’état d’avancement des programmes prioritaires de la CIRGL. Le Professeur Ntumba Luaba a aussi informé S.E le Président de la République des démarches entreprises par le Secrétariat Exécutif de la CIRGL en vue de la tenue d’une session extraordinaire du Comité Interministériel de la CIRGL sur la situation à l’Est de la RDC, à la demande du Gouvernement de la RDC. Il a précisé que cette session se tiendra vraisemblablement le 11 Juillet 2012 à Addis Abeba, en marge du Sommet des Chefs d’Etat de l’Union Africaine.

De son côté, le Président Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete a félicité le Professeur Ntumba Luaba pour sa nomination à la tête du Secrétariat Exécutif de la CIRGL. Le Président tanzanien a encouragé la tenue d´une session interministérielle extraordinaire sur l’Est de la RDC, ajoutant que la sécurité à l’Est de la RDC reste une grande préoccupation pour toute la région.

Le Président Kikwete était entouré de ses proches conseillers, notamment de son Conseiller principal diplomatique, l’Ambassadeur Liberata Mulamula, qui fut la première Secrétaire Exécutive de la CIRGL.

 

The Rwanda Government in collaboration with the International Conference on the Great lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Commonwealth Secreatariat orgise a High Level Conference on ’’Governance and Democracy’’: An African Perspective.:

Friday 29 June 2012

The Rwanda Government, in collaboration with theICGLR and the Commonwealth Secretariat organise a high level Conference on “Governance and Democracy: an African Perspective”, from 28th to 30th June 2012, in the Parliament Buildings, Kigali (Rwanda).

The objective of the Conference is to provide an ideal setting for political leaders, policy makers and scholars to reflect on Governance and Democracy issues in an African Perspective after Rwanda and several African countries’fifty years of independence.

On the sidelines of this Conference, the ICGLR Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance will sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rwanda Governance Board (RGB).

For more details on this important Conference, visit the website dedicated to it on the following link here.

 

Press release: ICGLR and COCAFEM-GL Condemn ongoing massive human rights abuses in Eastern DRC

 

Thursday 28 June 2012

Following a Senior Management Meeting in Bujumbura between the Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and the Concertation of Women’s Organizations operating in the Great Lakes Region (COCAFEM-GL), the ICGLR Executive Secretariat and COCAFEM-GL convened to join forces for a rapid end of hostilities in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and more specifically in the North-Kivu Province, as part of their effort to stop the ongoing massive Human Rights abuses, including Rape, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV), forced recruitment of Child Soldiers, Unlawful Killings, thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) and Refugees and Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources, etc.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat and COCAFEM-GL urges all armed groups and other negatives forces operating in the Eastern part of the DRC to immediately put an end to War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity which are being committed in the concerned region.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat and COCAFEM-GL have decided to join forces in mobilizing and sensitizing the Political leadership, development partners, Medias and Civil Society for the implementation of the ICGLR Pact on Peace, Security, Stability and Development and its related Protocols, including the Protocol of Non-Aggression and Mutual Defense and the Protocol for the Prevention and the Repression of Sexual Violence Against Women and Children which engages all ICGLR Member States.

CONTACTS :

- ICGLR Secretariat:

  • This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ICGLR to convene a special session of the Regional Interministerial Committee on the situation in North-Kivu Province (DRC)

Saturday 16 June 2012

The Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is pleased with the trust that ICGLR Member States continues to demonstrate in its ability to lead the implementation of the Pact on Peace, Security, Stability, and Development in the Great Lakes Region, including all related Protocols.

Referring to the vision of the founding fathers of the ICGLR as highlighted in the Dar Es Salaam Declaration of 20 November 2004, the Pact demonstrates « our collective determination to transform the Great Lakes Region into a space of sustainable peace and security for States and peoples… ».

In this perspective, the ICGLR Executive Secretariat has received, on 11 June 2012, a formal request from the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) calling upon ICGLR to urgently convene an extraordinary Regional Interministerial Committee Meeting (RMIC). This request is « due to the recent developments in the North Kivu province in order to prevent a deep deterioration of the security situation in this province and to preserve, between the states of the region, the relations that are compatible with the spirit and the content of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region»

Consequently, on 14 June 2012, in Kampala (Uganda), the ICGLR Executive Secretary had a special working session with the Ugandan Minister of Foreign Affairs, who is currently chairing the ICGLR Regional Interministerial Committee.

As matter of fact, it is envisaged to convene, very shortly, in Kampala, a special session on the situation in the North Kivu province (DRC).

The Ugandan President, H.E. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, the current Chair of ICGLR, is very closely monitoring the security situation in the Great Lakes Region and invites all ICGLR Member States to remain loyal and committed to the ICGLR core instruments.

 

Press release: The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) firmly condemns the resuming violence in the North-Kivu province of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)

Friday 18 May 2012

The Executive Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Regions (ICGLR) is deeply concerned about the resuming of the violence related to the negatives forces in the North-Kivu province in the Eastern part of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), specifically in the districts of Masisi and Rutshuru since April 2012.

Several elements of the ex-rebel movement, the People’s Defense National Congress (CNDP) which has been integrated into the National Army of the DRC (FARDC) following the 2009 Goma Peace Agreement had decided to mutined from the FARDC and since then, they are conducting several attacks in the North-Kivu province, raping, killing, stilling, burning villages and recruiting children in schools and send them at the frontlines.

In the night of 13 to 14 May 2012, following a deadly attack attributed to the Democratic Alliance for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), one of the prominent negative forces in the region, against the population of Kamaniga village, in the Sector of Bunyakiri (Kalehe district), South Kivu province. This attack against the village had caused severe casualties among the local communities. The survivals of the tragedy, very frustrated and disappointed for being totally left without any protection against the various armed groups operating in the region, had conducted a punitive attack against a UN peacekeeping position stationed in Kanamiga, wounding 11 among whom, 7 in are in a critical condition.

The ICGLR Secretariat firmly condemns the massive human rights committed by all negative forces in the North Kivu province by the various illegal armed groups. The insecurity generated by the military operations related to these armed groups had caused deaths, massive rape cases, Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), Refugees, etc. Several villages had been burnt, and children abducted and sent by force on the frontlines. During his official visit to Uganda and Rwanda the last week, the ICGLR Executive Secretary met with Senior political and military officials of both countries, both countries having being the signing members of the ICGLR Pact on Peace, Security, Stability, Development and Regional Integration in the Great Lakes Regions.

He highly appreciated the efforts deployed by the DRC and Rwanda in collaborating to ensure that peace and security prevail in both countries. He encouraged all ICGLR member states to act commonly in the spirit and the framework of the Pact.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat encourages the countries of the Great Lakes Regions as well as the International community to strengthen their support to all the victims of the political instability in the North-Kivu province, especially for the vulnerable groups including the Victims of Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, IDPs, Refugees, etc. In the same perspective, the ICGLR Executive Secretariat had highly appreciated the outcomes of the joint meeting between DRC-Rwanda on the Security issues in the North-Kivu province which took place in Rubavu (Gisenyi/Rwanda) on 12 May 2012.

The meeting, chaired by the Ministers of Defense of the two countries, issued a statement indicating the commitments of both countries to immediately conduct joint verifications at their common borders, but also, within each one of the countries. The two countries also decided to develop a common operational plan against the negatives forces in the region, among which the FDLR. During the meeting, the Government of Rwanda also committed to continue providing support to the DRC’s efforts in rehabilitating and maintaining Peace and Security in the Eastern part of its territory.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat recalls that the renegate General Bosco Ntaganda, who is re-engaged in massive Human rights abuses in the DRC North-Kivu province has been a subject to an warrant for War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity including Rape, recruitment and used of child soldiers in Ituri by the Movement of the Congolese Patriots (UPC) which was headed by Thomas Lubanga, since then detained at The Internal Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague, and who’s indictment has recently been confirmed on the same charges.

The Executive Secretariat strongly believes that arrest of Bosco Ntaganda and other criminals who are still committing massive human rights abuses in the Eastern part of the DRC would send a very strong message to the entire region. Such a move could strengthen the existing efforts in fighting impunity, in rehabilitating the Victims of Rape and Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV). It could also assist in implementing and strengthening the Zero Tolerence against the perpetrators of the Human Rights violations and concretize the Fight against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region.

The ICGLR Executive Secretariat seize this opportunity to reiterate its commitment to work in close collaboration with all existing actors in order to ensure that the 2006 ICGLR Pact on Peace, Security, Stability, Development and Regional Integration is fully implemented in the Great Lakes Region.

GOMA-DRC, The 18th May 2012

CONTACTS :

ICGLR Secretariat, Bujumbura-BURUNDI

-  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. : + 257 22 25 68 24/5/6/7/9.

Services de Communication de la CIRGL :

- Dorine Nininahazwe : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tel.: + 257 794 92 064
- Inabeza Yuhire : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tel: + 257 79568578
- Dr. Jean Jacques S. Purusi : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Tel : + 257 71570 104

 

Sixth follow-up Session of the Regional Committee of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation on Natural Resources (RINR)

 

Wednesday 9 May 2012

 
 

 The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is organizing the Sixth follow-up Session of the Regional Committee of the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation on Natural Resources (RINR), the session will take place in Bujumbura, from 09 to 10 May 2012.

The Committee, which meet twice a year, aims at analyzing and evaluating the progress achieved by the ICGLR in implementing the Lusaka Declaration of ICGLR Head of States on the implementation of the RINR for a better management of the existing Natural Resources in the region.

The Fifth Session, which took place in Bujumbura from 7 to 10 November 2012, had adopted the ICGLR Certification Manual on Natural Resources. This document has been harmonized with the OCDE due diligence guidelines on chain of minerals emanating from conflict-affected minerals or those considered as potentially conflict-high risk areas.

During this sixth session, the participants will have the opportunity to make an assessment of the implementation of the six tools selected by ICGLR Head of States at the Lusaka Summit, the tools aiming at combatting the Illicit Explotation of Natural Ressources in the Great Lakes Regions for a peaceful, secured, developed and integrated region. It will also prepare some concrete proposals to be discussed by the ICGLR Regional Interministerial Committee Meeting (RMIC) on the next steps for the RINR. The RMIC is scheduled to take place in Bangui, end of May 2012.

This Sixth session will develop an action plan for the RINR for 2012. It will also make some concrete proposals on the way the ICGLR Certificates should be issues for those countries and institutions who has fulfilled all the requirements for this purpose and so to be authorized to exploit, treat and trade the minerals currently concerned by the RINR, being the Tin, Tantale, Tungestene (3Ts) and Gold. The ICGLR certificates delivery which is expected very soon, is to be closely monitored by an Independent Mineral Chain Auditor (IMCA), one of the six tools selected by the Head of State during the Lusake Summit and will be operating under the leadership of the ICGLR Executive Secretary.

The session will also address the critical issue of the integration of Women and the consideration of the Gender dimension at all stages of the RINR in its conceptualization, the implementation and the evaluation phases. The Gender and women’s rights dimensions are the key-elements of the success of the RINR as it was rightly highlighted by the ICGLR Head of States in the Kampala summit in December 2011, especially due to the evident linkages between the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence, Gender inequalities and women’s rights violations, the proliferation of Negatives Forces and Small Arms and Light Weapons (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Regions.

The Session, organized by ICGLR Executive Secretariat and its National Coordinating Mechanism of Burundi, is supported by the Government of Germany (GIZ-BGR) and will be attended by several local, regional and international actors, directly or indirectly engaged in the RINR.

Press Contacts :

- Madame Marie-Goretti Muhitira
-  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
-  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Press release: ICGLR is seriously concerned about the worsening security crisis along the Sudan-south Sudan common border

Monday 16 April 2012

The Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) notes with great concern the escalating conflict between the Government of Sudan and that of South Sudan over the control of the Heglig region and other territories along the common border between the two neighboring states.

The ICGLR deeply regrets the reported fighting between the armed forces of the two neighboring countries, which defies an existing framework for peace, in the form of the Sudanese Comprehensive Peace Agreement, the ICGLR Head of State’s Pact of Peace, Security, Stability and Developrnent as well as ongoing mediation efforts led by the African Union and supported by the International Community, including Egypt, etc.

The Executive Secretary of the ICGLR calls upon the two neighboring states to immediately cease hostilities and return to the negotiating table with a view to resolving all their outstanding issues and differences through dialogue, in the framework of the protocols of Non-Aggression and Mutual Defense to which theStates of the Great Lakes Regions are fully committed and also insists upon theleadership of Sudan and that of South Sudan to desist from acts of violence that only serve to worsen the existing volatile situation.

We call upon Sudan and South Sudan to give Peace a chance.

(Download the article in PDF)

 

 

 

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and the Danish Refugee Council sign a Memorandum of Understanding

Wednesday 4 April 2012

 
 

Bujumbura, 02 April 2012- The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Professor Ntumba Luaba and the Regional Director of Danish Refugee Council ‘s Great Lakes Civil Society Project (DRC Great Lakes), Mr.Peter Klansoe signed on 02 April 2012 in Bujumbura a Memorandum of Understanding between their two organizations whereby they committed to combine strengths, capacities and comparative advantages to implement the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the context of responding to conflict, displacement and forced migration in the Great Lakes Region.

From letf to right: Pr. Ntumba Luaba, Mr. Peter Klansoe

[Photo]

 

The overall aim of the Memorandum is to contribute to the achievements of the ICGLR’s Regional programme of action on humanitarian and social issues and the Danish Refugee Council’s Great Lakes Civil Society Project objectives.

Subject to the provisions of the Memorandum, the parties shall collaborate in priority areas including exchange of information on ICGLR and DRC’s activities around conflict and forced migration in the Great Lakes Region. These are specifically events organized in the framework of the ICGLR aimed at reviewing the status of implementation of specific policy framework linked to forced migration, land issues or conflict in the region.

The Danish Refugee Council ‘s Great lakes Civil Society Project shall provide access to documents, data and reports relevant to the partnership between the two parties and those that would improve the development policies for the protection and assistance to IDPs and refugees in the Great Lakes Region. DRC shall also facilitate participation of ICGLR experts at DRC Great Lakes ‘workshops and seminars, and support ICGLR Secretariat in mobilizing the necessary resources for the domestication of the IDP and Property Protocols of the ICGLR Pact.

On its part, ICGLR Secretariat shall provide DRC Great lakes with periodic reports, briefs and assessments covering areas relevant to the cooperation between the two parties. It shall facilitate the participation of DRC Great lakes and its partners in ICGLR conferences, workshops and seminars. It shall also provide support to DRC Great Lakes and its Partners’ activities in the field of conflict mitigation and forced migration in the Great Lakes Region and facilitate contacts for staff and resource persons working with DRC Great Lakes operating in the region.

Apart from other consultative meetings on matters of common interests, the partnership will be managed and reviewed trough bi-annual meetings between the ICGLR Executive Secretary and the Manager of DRC’s Great lakes Civil Society Project.

 

Zambia: The Anti Gender Based Violence Act, 2011

 

Monday 26 March 2012

[photo]                                                                                                                                            [pho] 

Anti-Gender-Based Violence Act, 2011

 

 

 

GOVERNMENT OF ZAMBIA

 

ACT No. 1 of 2011

An Act to provide for the protection of victims of genderbased violence; constitute the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Committee; establish the Anti-Gender-Based Violence Fund; and provide for matters connected with, or incidental to, the foregoing.

Download the Act for more details. Here

 

ICGLR opens a Planning Meeting to Implement Kampala Declaration of Heads of States and Governments

 

Tuesday 20 March 2012

Kampala, March 19, 2012 - The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region today begun holding a planning meeting on the implementation of the Kampala Declaration on the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting was opened by the Ugandan State Minister of State for Gender and Culture Affairs, Honorable Rukia Madada in presence of ICGLR Executive Secretary, Professor Ntumba Luaba, the Chairperson of the Regional Women Forum, Ms. Immaculée Ingabire and Uganda National Coordinator, Ambassador James Mugume. The State Minister stressed that the meeting should draw work plans whose implementation will lay a foundation for sustainable peace and prosperity for women, men and girls in the Great Lakes region.

Group photo

   [photo]

 

The meeting scheduled for two days has brought together ICGLR National Coordinators, the Steering Committee of the Regional Women Forum, representatives of ICGLR regional forums, Donor representatives as well as ICGLR Secretariat Staff.

The Declaration was issued by ICGLR Heads of State during their 4th Ordinary Summit held in Kampala, Uganda, on 15 and 16 December 2011 under the theme: « United to Prevent, End Impunity and Provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region».

The objectives of the meeting are to facilitate discussion with ICGLR key partners in the fight against SGBV to reach a uniform understanding of the Heads of State’s recommendations and define priority actions, roles and responsibilities, as well as modalities of cooperation.

The Kampala meeting is also to discuss and agree on financial and technical support required with a view to achieving harmonized and coordinated support of ICGLR partners and to prepare a draft implementation plan of identified priorities.

For the ICGLR, prevention and protection of women and children against Sexual and Gender Based Violence is important for security, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region.

 

ICGLR Secretariat to hold a Planning Meeting to Implement Kampala Declaration on SGBV

 

Monday 19 March 2012

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region is organizing a planning meeting on the implementation of the Kampala Declaration on the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence, from 19 to 20 March 2012 in Kampala, Uganda.

The meeting scheduled for 2 days will bring together ICGLR National Coordinators, the Steering Committee of the Regional Women Forum, representatives of ICGLR regional forums, Donor representatives as well as ICGLR Secretariat Staff.

The Declaration was issued by ICGLR Heads of State during their 4th Ordinary Summit held in Kampala, Uganda, on 15 and 16 December 2011 under the theme: « United to Prevent, End Impunity and Provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region». The Objectives of the meeting are to:

• Facilitate discussion with ICGLR key partners in the fight against SGBV to reach a uniform understanding of the Heads of State’s recommendations and define priority actions, roles and responsibilities, as well as modalities of cooperation.

• Discuss and agree on financial and technical support required with a view to achieving harmonized and coordinated support of ICGLR partners and to prepare a draft implementation plan of identified priorities. For the ICGLR, prevention and protection of women and children against Sexual and Gender Based Violence is important for security, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region.

Contact Press:

- Marie-Goretti Muhitira

- nTel. (257) 79 923501

- Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ICGLR signs MoU with BGR

Friday 24 February 2012

 
 

Download MoU here. only available in French.

 

Outgoing Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region bids farewell to Burundi First Lady

 

Friday 27 January 2012

The outgoing Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula was received by Burundi First lady Thursday January 26 th, 2012 in a farewell audience at her office in Bujumbura.

[Photo]

 

Ambassador Mulamula handing over Kampala Declaration to Burundi First lady

It was an occasion for Ambassador Mulamula to tell the First Lady about the outcome of the recent Summit of ICGLR Heads of States held in Kampala on 15-16 December 2011 under theme ”United to prevent, end impunity and provide assistance to SGBV victims”. She handed the Declaration issued by the Heads of States to the First Lady, Mrs Denise Nkurunziza to whom she requested support for the implementation of the recommendations. First Lady Denise Nkurunziza extended her appreciations to the work done by Ambassador Mulamula for women empowerment especially regarding the fight against Sexual and Gender Based Violence. “The Fight against this scourge is a permanent combat… violence often changes forms; God will help us overcome it” she said.

Ambassador Mulamula also expressed the wish for the Burundi First Lady to bring her support to the setting up of the National Women Forum, stressing that the ICGLR Gender Unit headed by Mrs. Hyacinthe Budomo will make a follow-up.

First lady Denise Nkurunziza acknowledged the benefit of uniting women in one strong group. “Once women unite, it’s a victory because we represent the majority”, she pointed out.

Earlier on Wednesday, Ambassador Mulamula was received by the Speaker of Parliament, Honorable Pie Ntavyohanyuma to whom she bid farewell as well. The two personalities tackled the achievements of ICGLR outgoing Executive Secretary to try and stabilize Burundi and the Great Lakes Region during the last 5 years. “You can go home satisfied with the excellent work you did”, said Honorable Pie Ntavyohanyuma.

[photo]

Ambassador Mulamula and Speaker Honorable Pie Ntavyohanyuma

On her part, Ambassador Mulamula extended her gratitude to the Speaker for his support to her work and asked him to do the same for her successor at the head of ICGLR, Professor Ntumba Luaba.The farewell trip in the country took her to the former President of Burundi, Honorable Sylvestre Ntibantungaya, and to senior leaders of political parties in Burundi.

 

Declaration of the Heads of State and Government of the Member States of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region at the Fourth Ordinary Summit and Special Session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV). 15th 1 6th December, 2011 at Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort, Kampala, Uganda

 

Tuesday 20 December 2011

Preamble

WE the Heads of State and ...(more)

                                                               

The 4th Ordinary International Conference on the Great Lakes’ Region Summit opened today in Kampala, Uganda

Friday 16 December 2011

 
 

The 4th Ordinary International Conference on the Great Lakes’ Region Summit opened today in Kampala, Uganda with a call to member states to legislate against Sexual Based Gender Violence and also discipline the Army, Police and other related agencies in order to curb the vice.

The 2-day summit that is taking place at Resort Hotel Munyonyo, near Kampala, is being attended by the Presidents of Zambia, who is also the out-going Chairman of the organization, that of Kenya Mr. Mwai Kibaki, of Tanzania, Mr. Jakaya Kikwete, of Burundi, Mr. Pierre Nkurunzinza and the Vice President of the Republic of South Sudan, Dr. Al Haj Adam Yousuf. Among those in attendance are the First Ladies from ICGLR Member states.

[Photo]

Group photo summit opening

The President of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is represented by a delegation led by the Minister of Defence and Veterans, Mr. Charles Mwamdo Simba. Others at the summit include the Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission, Jean Ping.

The Summit is being held under the theme “United to Prevent, End Impunity and Provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual Gender Based Violence.”

The International Conference on the Great Lakes’ Region was formed in December 2006, mainly to ensure security, peace and stability in the region.

President Museveni, now the new Chairman of the organization for the next 2 years, told the conference participants that in Uganda, the government disciplined the forces by ensuring zero tolerance to sexual violence, rape and murder by invoking the court martial, trying and summarily executing the offenders at the scene. He, therefore, called on member states of the ICGLR to legislate against the vice as well as discipline the Army, Police and all related agencies.

President Museveni, who gave a brief history of the linkages of the people of the Great Lakes’ Region, pointed out that leaders fought together under the umbrella of Pan African Fighters for East, Central and Southern Africa and the liberators met in Mwanza, Tanzania in 1958 and later in Addis Ababa in 1964. He noted that African countries liberated themselves after independence in 1961 and 1964 citing Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Angola and South Africa. He paid tribute to the great leaders who actively joined in the struggle and included Tanzania’s late Mwalimu Julius Nyerere, Dr. Kenneth Kaunda of Zambia, late General Samora Machel of Mozambique, late Agustino Neto of Angola, President Eduardo dos Santos of Angola, President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe, the late John Garang of the Republic of South Sudan, President Salva Kiir of South Sudan, President Paul Kagame of Rwanda, the late Fred Rwingyema of Rwanda, the late President Laurent Kabila of the DRC, Mzee Nelson Mandela and the late Oliver Tambo both of South Africa.

The President said that when the independence of the DRC was disrupted by the schemes of imperialists, the East African countries and Congo Brazzaville, took the correct stand by resisting those schemes and Africa assisted the people of the DRC to get rid of the puppet regime of Mobutu. He said the genocide in Rwanda was stopped by the people of Rwanda themselves assisted by those in East Africa. Peace in Sudan was the work of the people of Sudan and the region adding that Uganda was helped by the region to get rid of Idi Amin in 1979.

Mr. Museveni noted that apart from the political liberation, the region is faced with the challenge of democratization, free market policy and integration, which could be a good value addition to the independence of the countries in the region. He also cited the infrastructure, especially the transport sector involving mainly roads, railways and water transport, which should be woven around the countries of the Great Lakes’ Region.

He also urged member countries to work together in the form of inter-state co-operation to overcome some of the challenges and also to improve the per KW capita of electricity for the people of the region.

The out-going Chairman and also the President of Zambia, Mr. Michael Sata, commended all countries that congratulated him and his Patriotic Front Party upon their elections victory recently. He reported that the region has made remarkable progress in peace, stability and democratization. He regretted to note that the presence of some rebel groups in the region, like the LRA and Al Shabaab, who continue to commit atrocities such as defilement, rape and abductions, remain a great concern. He expressed his optimism that the Great Lakes’ Region countries, will overcome these challenges as these nations strive to bring about peace, security and prosperity in the region.

President Sata was confident that the in-coming Chairperson, President Museveni, will steer the organization to greater heights.

Addressing the conference, the AU Commission Chairperson, Mr. Jean Ping, said the AU is aware of the sexual gender based violence but assured the meeting that the Commission has worked hard to ensure that this is eliminated in areas where the AU forces are on the ground. He added that the Commission, together with the Committee of Security of the AU has developed a manual for AU peace keepers.

The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations (UN), Dr. Asha Rose Migiro, assured the meeting that the line UN Agencies are working to help member States of the GLR to address the sexual gender based violence.

The outgoing Executive Secretary of ICGLR, Ambassador Mulamula, reported that several milestones have been achieved during her tenure of office.

On his part, Acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Mr. Okello Oryem, expressed the need to wipe out and eliminate all activities committed by gangs like Kony and other groups in the region.

 

ICGLR First ladies Meeting on SGBV opens today in Kampala

 

Thursday 15 December 2011

 

The First meeting of the First ladies from the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has opened in Kampala, Uganda today.

The opening ceremony was presided over by the chair of the ICGLR First Ladies, Her Excellency, Dr. Christine Kaseba Sata from the Republic of Zambia.

The First Ladies host, Her Excellency, Janet Museveni said it is good and right to participate in this historic conference on sexual and gender based violence which is aimed at discussing how we can unite as governments and people of the region.

“The opportunity for us to discuss the problem of sexual and gender based violence and collectively work out solutions could not have at a better time. A time when social values in our African communities are disintegrating, when the family unit is threatened by some negative foreign cultural influences, when gender based violence is, painfully, increasing in our society, this indeed is a time to put our heads together to find lasting solutions in this area,” Hon. Janet Museveni said.

Mrs. Museveni said sexual violence comes in many forms but the most often cited is rape and defilement.

“However, sexual and gender-based violence encompasses a wide range of other abuses that many may include sexual threats, exploitation, humiliation, assault, molestation, domestic violence, incest and rape,” the Ugandan First lady told the meeting. “Needless to say, most cases of sexual violence involve female and male perpetrators. However, men and young boys can also be vulnerable to sexual violence especially in detention or war or refugee situations,” she added.

She said it was painful to acknowledge that’s sexual abuse of children including infants happens in our society every day.

She noted that many sexual abuse cases are not reported to the authorities due to social acceptance of these practices, or the stigma most abused women face, or fear of more violence from partners, or failure by authorities to act on the perpetrators and the absence of relevant laws to punish the culprits.

“The time is now up for our governments to be up and running in advancing effective laws preventing gender-based violence and enforcing policies that ensure survivors’ access to acre and legal justice,” she added.

Uganda’s Minister for Gender, labour and Social Development said it is fitting that this extraordinary opportunity, of having our leaders engage in a dedicated dialogue on practical strategies to curb a scourge that has for centuries epitomized social behavior, not only in situations of war but also during peace times, is held here in Kampala, the capital city of Uganda.

“I am confident that Uganda offers a lot to learn in the area of SGBV prevention and response. I take this opportunity to thank all our partners for joining us in this struggle to make Uganda, the Great Lakes Region, Africa and indeed the world a safe place for women, men, boys and girls,” she added.

“Excellencies, as First Ladies, your track record in advancing the cause of protecting the rights of vulnerable groups most especially women and children is clearly visible in your countries, the region and globally,” the Minister said. She said the meeting is a testimony that their Excellencies, the First Ladies are a critical component of the cure for SGBV in the Great Lakes Region.

“Your privileged position provides a strategic platform to strengthen measures for prevention, ending impunity and providing requisite support by relevant actors to survivors of SGBV,” the Minister added.

She said the nature of violence that women experience unlike men, is based on their gender and how society perceives womanhood.

“Because of being female, a woman is vulnerable to rape, domestic violence, sexual harassment, confinement and the like. Data around these pervasive acts is very disturbing. Globally, it is estimated that seven in ten women have experienced either physical or sexual violence in their life time and one in four women have suffered sexual violence,” she added.

The effects of these acts of aggression against nearly half of the world’s population are grave: HIV infection, unwanted pregnancy, death, obstetric fistula, insecurity and low productivity, name it.

There is need to take collective and concerted action, on all fronts. Action cures fear; the lack of it creates terror.

Source: Ug Media Services

 

Statement made by Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the Executive Secretary of the ICGLR at Special session of the First ladies Meeting in Kampala today

 

Thursday 15 December 2011

Your Excellency, Janet Museveni, First Lady of the Republic of Uganda and our Gracious Host;

Your Excellency Dr. Christine Mwela Kaseba Sata, First Lady of the Republic of Zambia and the Chair of this Meeting;

Honorable, Syda Bbumba Minister in charge of Gender of Republic of Uganda; Excellencies First Ladies from the ICGLR Member States

Honorable Ministers in Charge of Gender from the ICGLR Member States; Excellencies Heads of Diplomatic Mission of the ICGLR Member States accredited to the Republic of Uganda;

Excellencies of Heads of Diplomatic Mission and International Organisation here present;

Excellencies Ambassadors and Distinguished ICGLR National Coordinators; Mzee Joseph Butiku and Honourable Immaculee Ingabire Chairpersons of Regional Civil Society Forum and Regional Women Forum respectively;

Representative and Chairperson of the ICGLR Youth Forum;

Invited Guests;

Ladies and gentlemen;

I feel great honoured and ...(more)

                                                                                       

5 yearss of ICGLR, what has been achieved?

 

Thursday 15 December 2011

From scratch Amb. Liberata Mulamula and her team today leave a land mark achievement—leaving the Great Lakes a more stable region after five years of dedicated service.

In 2006, when 11 countries from the Great Lakes came together to form the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, an organisation tasked with stabilising the region, there was a lot of skepticism on whether and how such an organisation would achieve its goals.

But because of the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that shocked the world the African Union and the United Nations took up the initiative to formulate the pact on peace, stability and development which was the foundation of the ICGLR formation.

The UN was particularyly concerned that even after signing a total of eight peace treaties there still was no little peace, less stability and minimal development in the Great Lakes especially in countries like Burundi, Rwanda, the DR Congo, Uganda and Sudan.

This process of integrating the Great Lakes countries , which recognised the interconnectedness of the region’s populations, its security and economies, and the imperative of seeking regional solutions, culminated in the signing of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development by 11 states in the Great Lakes Region.

That historical initiative, according to a number of analysts, paved way for a peaceful and more stable region, which can be collaborated by the ICGLR Executive Secretary Amb. Liberata Mulamula.

“The region was very insecure five years ago. However, one could say it is stable apart from a few incidents,” said Mulamula, who winds up her term of office this year.

Ambassador Mulamula says as part of their mandate to instill peace in the region they have frustrated activities of most negative forces in eastern DR Congo that have been fighting different governments except the ragtag ones like the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels (presently holed up in CAR) and Sudan rebel groups in Darfur.

Early December the ICGLR dispatched a peace and security team to meet Sudan’s senior security officials and traveled to northern Darfur. The mission resulted in acknowledgement of presence of negatives forces which are supposed to be dealt with. Should the Sudan rebels be neutralized disputes between South Sudan and Khartoum are bound to cease.

Secondly, in regard to stability ICGLR Ministers of Defence have asked for an expeditious implementation of the organization’s protocol on non-aggression and mutual defence in the Great Lakes Region that partly requires member states not to harbour rebel groups fighting the other countries.

The ICGLR has also supported regional cooperation initiatives curbing proliferation of illegal guns by the Regional Centre on Small Arms and the Small Arms and Light Weapons and disarmament of armed nomadic pastoralists in north western Kenya, north eastern Uganda, south eastern Sudan and south western Ethiopia.

The ICGLR has in addition been able to fight illicit mineral trade within the region. Today, it is becoming difficult for mineral dealers to sell their minerals from conflict zones because of the ban initiated by the Great Lakes Region. Such an initiative is bound to discourage warmongers from starting conflicts that have led to gross human rights abuses like sexual and gender based violence.

On the part of democratization, ICGLR has started observer missions, which have partly reduced election disputes because political leaders particularly candidates are engaged at early stages of the election period to pre-empt any disruptive efforts. For instance, the organization deployed observers in about nine countries in the last two periods.

In addition, a think-tank that is supposed to promote democracy and good governance was started. The Levy Mwanasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education based in Zambia is expected to influence policies that favour Africans using indeginously generated research data.

It is therefore agreeable to say that five years down the road Amb. Mulamula has left the Great Lakes region a better place to live in except a few areas like terrorism by members of the Al Shabaab, proliferation of illegal small arms and light weapons, budget constraints, continued presence of negative groups and human rights abuses.

But overall the consolidated efforts by the region to fight sexual and gender based sexual violence could yield peace in the 11 member states and more after the admission of the Republic of South Sudan and Somalia

Source: Ug Media Services

 

Professor Alphonse Lumu Ntumba Luaba is the new International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Executive Secretary designated

Wednesday 14 December 2011

Professor Alphonse Lumu Ntumba Luaba is the new International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Executive Secretary designated, taking over from Amb. Liberata Mulamula after a five year sucessful term.

[photo]

Professor Alphonse Lumu Ntumba Luaba

The DRC candidate was able to beat off competition from Kenya’s Philip Okanda Owade, a career diplomat working as the Secretary Local Authorities Administration in the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Local Government Sudan’s Dr. Mohammed Ahmed Abdelghaffar also a career diplomat and accomplished academician.

Ntumba, who has been the deputy Executive Secretary at the Economic Community for the Great Lakes countries (CEPGL)—an umbrella uniting Rwanda, Burundi and the DRC—was unanimously endorsed by the ICGLR member States’ Ministers meeting during the organisation’s inter-ministerial committee preceding the special summit.

The law professor was advisor to the Prime Minister’s Office from1990 to 1993, Director of Cabinet of the Second Vice-President of the High Council of Republic-Parliament of Transitional from 1994 to 1996, advisor to the Minister of Human Rights from 1999 to 2000, member of the Constitutional Commission and Legislative Assembly-parliament of Transition in 2000, Vice Minister of Justice and Parliamentary Affairs from 2000 to 2001, Minister for Human Rights from 2001 to 2003, Secretary General of the Transitional Government from 2004 to 2006 and National Director of National Unit of the Disarmament, Demobilisation and Social Reinsertion Programme from 2007 to 2009.

Analysts claim DRC leadership of ICGLR would steer the region in the right direction considering that eastern DR Congo has been and still is hideout of about half a dozen negative forces that have terrorized the region.

 

ICGL Interministerial Committee meets in Kampala

Wednesday 14 December 2011

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region inter-ministerial meeting enters second day today with discussions focussing on sexual gender based violence, illegal exploitation of natural resources, prevention of genocide, appointment of a new Executive Secretary, admission of Southern Sudan and the organization’s budget.

The inter-ministerial meeting is part of the several meetings held prior to the ICGLR Summit to be held from 15th-16th December 2011. The theme of the Summit is: United to Prevent, End Impunity and provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual Gender Based Violence.

The other meetings include the First Ladies meeting preceded by the ministers of Foreign Affairs, the ministers of gender and the national Coordinators and experts from government and civil society organizations from the 11 Member States of the ICGLR and beyond.

During the Special Summit on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources held in Lusaka, Zambia, on December 15,2010, the ICGLR Heads of State and Government resolved to organize a Special Summit on Sexual and Gender Based Violence following a request from the ICGLR Regional Women Forum (RWF).

During the Inter-Ministerial Committee Meeting which was subsequently held in Brazzaville, Republic of Congo, in May 2011, Ministers, National Coordinators and the RWF agreed that a Special Session on SGBV should be held during the Ordinary Summit of ICGLR Heads of State scheduled for Kampala, Uganda, on 15 December 2011.

It is then that ministers also resolved that the theme of the Special Session should be : “United to Prevent, End Impunity and provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence.”

The Kampala summit will make decisions that will significantly contribute to prevention of the crime, ending impunity of perpetuators and supporting the victims and survivors.

During the pre summit meetings experts on gender issues met and deliberate don issues affecting women and other vulnerable groups in the Great Lakes region.

On 15th December 2011, the Summit will dedicate a Special Session to deliberate and strategize on addressing the pervasive challenge of Sexual gender based violence in the Great Lakes Region both in conflict and peace times in all its various manifestations.

The ICGLR is an Inter–Governmental Organization established in 2006 by 11 Heads of State and Government of countries of the Great Lakes Region, under the auspices of the United Nations and the African Union, who were deeply concerned with the endemic conflicts and insecurity in the region. The ICGLR provides a mechanism for Peace, Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region-a region, hitherto characterized by war and conflict.

Source: Uganda Media

 

ICGLR Forum of Parliaments appoints its first Secretary General

 Wednesday 14 December 2011

Honorable Prosper Higiro, from the Republic of Rwanda, has just been elected by the Speakers of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Member States Parliamentary Institutions to be the first Secretary General of the ICGLR Forum of Parliaments.

The announcement was made during the Second Plenary session of the Forum of Parliaments that was held from the 12th to the 13th December 2011 in Kampala, Uganda. Convened by the Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda, the meeting was supported by the Association of European Parliamentarians for Africa (AWEPA) and the ICGLR Executive Secretariat. He will serve for a term of three years renewable.

In his acceptance speech, Hon. Higiro thanked the Honorable Parliamentarians present for the trust they have vested in him to head the Forum of Parliaments of the Member States of the ICGLR (PF/ICGLR).

[Photo]

Hon. Higiro addressing the audience

“I am urgently going to work on how we can get premises for the Forum but also start straight away to tackle pressing problems in the region like the negative forces around and the issue of sexual gender based violence,” he said.

Hon. Higiro added that he will ask Parliaments to push their governments to apportion enough funds to fight insecurity and sexual gender based violence in the region.

“We shall make sure we fully utilize our positions because we are the ones charged with monitoring government programmes and we are also responsible for drafting laws” he continued.

The plenary session deliberated on different matters, among others the status of the implementation of the Declaration of the Summit of Heads of State on the fight against the illegal exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region, the Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the ICGLR Member States and the instruments governing the Forum. The new leader of the 11 Member States Parliamentary Forum will have the task of following up the setting up of office premises to be located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), mobilize financial contributions from Member States Parliaments and prepare and conduct the recruitment of international and local staff.

Finally, the budget for the functioning of the Forum Secretariat was approved for the period of January 2012 - June 2013. The next meeting of the Forum shall be held in Bangui, Central African Republic, in May 2012.

 

Sexual Gender Based Violence Summit in Uganda important to the world, says UN

 

Wednesday 14 December 2011

[photo]                                                                                                             [Photo]

Nations Entity for Gender Equality (UN Women) and the Secretariat of the Africa UNiTEcampaign to end violence against women and girls, have said, the agenda of the Summit in Kampala is important, not just for the region, but also for all women in Africa and beyond.

“It is a measure of the level of awareness among the leaders of the ICGLR of the seriousness of SGBV, and its link with the goals of peace, security, stability and development in the region,” the UN WOMEN and Unite campaign said in their presentation this morning to the Regional Inert—Ministerial Committee. “For the ICGLR is showing leadership in involving its highest policy organs and building consensus on strategic actions necessary to prevent, end impunity and provide services to survivors of SGBV,” the two said in joint presentation presented by Mrs Florence Butegwa, a representative to the African Union and UNECA.

On January 30, 2010 the Chairperson of the African Union and the UN Secretary General launched the Africa UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Africa UNiTE is the Africa component of the global UNiTE campaign launched by Secretary General Ban Ki Moon in February 2008. The ultimate aim of the UNiTE campaign is to mobilize and support governments in fulfilling their commitment to ending violence against women and to empower women and their communities in stopping gender-based violence and demanding accountability.

The campaign aims to contribute towards six outcomes namely, the adoption and enforcement of national laws to address and punish all forms of violence against women and girls, in line with international human rights standards, the adoption and implementation of multi-sectoral national plans of action that emphasize prevention and that are adequately resourced.

Other aims include the establishment of data collection and analysis systems, on the prevalence of various forms of violence against women and girls, the establishment of national and/or local campaigns and the engagement of a diverse range of civil society actors in preventing violence and in supporting women and girls who have been abused.

The last but not least other two is the systematic efforts to address sexual violence in conflict situations and to protect women and girls from rape as a tactic of war, and the full implementation of related laws and policies and ensuring safety for women and girls in public space. Many of these outcomes are directly or indirectly relevant to the ICGLR Protocol for the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children in the International Conference of the Great Lakes Region.

“It is acknowledged that there is a continuum between violence against women in peacetime, conflict and post-conflict situations with aggravated and widespread sexual violence during armed conflicts,” Mrs. Butegwa said.

The meeting was informed that Mr. Ban Kimoon has obligated all UN organisations to join hands to support countries to launch campaigns and take concerted actions towards the prevention of Violence against women and girls.

“There is great potential in the ICGLR tapping into opportunities created by the UNiTE campaign by partnering with the UN System and other partners in their respective countries to make progress on the three aspects of the theme of this Special Session on SGBV – namely preventing, ending impunity and providing support and services to survivors of SGBV,” the two organisations noted in their presentation. “There are many good practices in the ICGLR that can benefit other regions of Africa through the UNiTE infrastructure and vice versa” they added.

The Africa UNiTE campaign in collaboration with several international and African partners are organising an Africa UNiTE Mount Kilimanjaro Climb initiative under the theme ‘Speak Out, Climb Up’, Butegwa said. She said, the climb is scheduled to take place from 5 to 9 March 2012, to symbolically coincide with International Women’s Day on 8 March, and will involve a series of activities and events. Participating will be over 80 climbers, 54 of whom will represent each of the AU member states selected in national consultative processes. The objectives of the Climb are to raise awareness and the visibility of violence against women and girls as a key issue for development, peace and security in Africa and to mobilise national commitments from all African governments to be implemented by 2015. The commitments will be carried to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro (the rooftop of Africa!).

She invited member states of the ICGLR to see this initiative as an opportunity to mobilise stakeholders in their respective countries towards implementation of the ICGLR Protocol and the commitments in the Declaration to be adopted at this 4th Ordinary Summit and special session on SGBV.

“I invite you to actively get involved in the nomination of and support for the country’s representative to climb Mt. Kilimanjaro, and to organise comparable or other activities in their respective countries,” she added. UN Women, during the commemoration of this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, outlined a policy agenda with 16 steps to end violence against women. They are namely ratify international and regional treaties that protect the rights of women and girls, and ensure that national laws and services meet international human rights standards. The second is to adopt and enforce laws to end impunity, bring perpetrators of violence against women and girls to justice and provide women with reparations and remedy for the violations perpetrated against them. The third step is to develop national and local action plans for ending violence against women and girls in every country that bring the government, women’s and other civil society organizations, the mass media and the private sector into a coordinated front against such human rights violations.

The other is to make justice accessible to women and girls by providing free legal and specialized services, and increasing women in law enforcement and frontline services and the fifth being to end impunity towards conflict-related sexual violence by prosecuting perpetrators in conflict and post-conflict contexts and fulfilling survivors’ right to comprehensive reparations programmes that are non-stigmatizing and have a transformative impact on women and girls’ lives.

The six step is to ensure universal access to critical services at a minimum, women’s and girls’ emergency and immediate needs should be met through free 24-hour hotlines, prompt intervention for their safety and protection, safe housing and shelter for them and their children, counseling and psycho-social support, post-rape care, and free legal aid to understand their rights and options.

The other step is train providers of frontline services especially the police, lawyers and judges, social workers and health personnel to ensure that they follow quality standards and protocols. Services should be confidential, sensitive and convenient to women survivors.

The other is to provide adequate public resources, dessiminate national data on prevalence, invest in gender equality and women’s empowerment …to tackle the root causes of violence against women and girls, enhance women’s economic empowerment, increase public awareness, work for and with young people and donate to the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.

Butegwa saluted the efforts of the ministries responsible for gender and women’s affairs and the civil society organisations, whose advocacy and leadership role, under fairly difficult and resource constrained conditions, have contributed to the achievements that the ICGLR have made to date.

“UN Women will continue to work with you and with the ICGLR Secretariat as you build onto the important decisions at this Summit and special session on SGBV,” she concluded.

 

Sexual Gender Based Violence undermining Great Lakes Development Agenda

Wednesday 14 December 2011

The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes (ICGLR), Ambassador Liberata Mulamula has said Sexual Gender Based Violence (SGBV) is undermining the regional efforts to develop further.

[Photo]

“Iam pleased to report that for the last five years of existence of the ICGLR, significant progress has been made in the search for peace and stability in the region,” Ambassador Mulamula told the regional inert-ministerial committee preceding the ICGLR Summit and Special session in Kampala, Uganda yesterday. “However, these achievements notwithstanding, we are gathered here in this august body to tackle collectively the SGBV in the region has eluded us , the pandemic still persists and continue to undermine all efforts,” she observed.

Ambassador Mulamula called for more efforts to concretize the commitment regional Leaders pledged as stipulated in the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration of 2004 in combating, criminalizing, and punishing acts of sexual violence both in time of peace and war.

She noted that the Protocol on Prevention and suppression of sexual violence against women and children is an important legal instrument that provide solutions and address this protracted challenge of SGBV. The Executive Secretary particularly thanked Ministers in Charge of Gender from the region for their efforts in supporting ICGLR against SGBV.

“It is an indisputable the fact that Sexual and Gender Based Violence inhibits the ability of women to contribute to and benefit from development. It also limits them to enjoy human and peoples rights and fundamental freedoms in public or private life,” Mulamula said. “The fear of sexual violence is even more heightened in armed conflicts areas. The causes and consequences of sexual and gender based violence have crippled human resources and skills development and constrained economic production and productivity,” she noted.

Uganda’s Deputy Prime Minister, Gen. Moses Ali, who presided over the opening ceremony called for regional efforts to stop negative forces roaming the area. He said, the negatives forces are responsible for perpetrating the violence against women.

The Prime Minister said there was need to train regional armies so that they do their work professionally in an effort to stop the Sexual Gender Based Violence vice.

The meeting also received the report from ICGLR Minister in charge of Defence and Security on the fight against negative forces in the region, following RIMC directive in Brazzaville in May 2011, that Secretariat in collaboration with the Member States organize a meeting of Ministers of Defence of the ICGLR Member State to deliberate and address the problem of negative forces in the Region.

Subsequently, the meeting was successful held on 9th September 2011, in Kigali, Rwanda.

She took the opportunity to extend her appreciation to RIMC for the trust, support and guidance during the last five years of discharging her duties as well as GIZ for its generosity and invaluable support. Honourable Chishimba Kambwili, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Zambia and Chairperson of the RIMC addressed the meeting as well.

Source: Uganda Media Services

 

Great Lakes States in race to end illicit mineral trade

Tuesday 13 December 2011

The Great Lakes region member States have embarked on a race to certify their mineral to end illegal exploitation of their countries natural resources.

So far Rwanda has indicated it will issue the first certificate and the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) arrangement between January and February next year and the DR Congo says it will issue hers in the second quarter of 2012. Uganda is also expected to issue hers in 2013.

Certification of minerals, which is one of the six tools to curb illicit mineral trade applied by ICGLR, is a process that requires a country to identify her minerals by origin as demanded by the ICGLR protocol on illegal exploitation of natural resources.

East and Central African states have agreed to issue a regional export certificate to dealers in precious minerals by the end of the year to avert conflicts fuelled by illegal exploitation. The move is a follow-up on a joint protocol signed by regional Heads of State which had sought to address regional conflicts fuelled by minerals. The certificate would enable governments to track all minerals produced in their countries while streamlining the trade to ensure that proceeds are enjoyed by local communities.

Although the 11 member states of ICGLR have not met the December 2011 deadline for the certification process the mood within the region is very positive, and many countries within the Great Lakes are working around the clock to begin certifying their minerals. Amb. Liberata Mulamula, the Executive Secretary at the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region says that availability of precious minerals in the region including gold and diamond have propagated conflicts, and risk tearing countries since they are exchanged for arms.

Blood minerals have recently fuelled conflicts especially in eastern DRC and Sudan leading to gross human rights abuses particularly sexual gender-based violence, which is currently a subject of discussion in the ongoing ICGLR special session summit in Kampala, Uganda. Militarized mining has meant massive use of forced labor, widespread violence against workers and the population in general, continued abuses of human rights, and unending war.

The Great Lakes efforts to end illegal mineral resource exploitation are further reinforced by the United States Legislation that bans blood minerals. Partly, because of the ICGLR imitative to end the illicit trade the US enacted the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 that requires US companies to disclose origins of the minerals they use.

However, the Congolese complain that the lopsided implementation of the Act has essentially led to a de facto embargo on the entire mining industry in the DRC because the institutional framework needed to sufficiently carry out due diligence is not there, and many companies have chosen to play it safe and simply get their minerals elsewhere.

How they are smuggled

The minerals are transported in small aircraft from the mines in rebel-held areas or to the orders of some rich companies from outside the continent in collusion with corrupt government officials. Minerals mined in one country are often exported clandestinely to one or more neighbouring countries in order to disguise their origins.

The ICGLR efforts to curb illegal exploitation of natural resources appear to yield positive results. For instance, because of the ICGLR foundation the DRC in September 2010 slapped a six-month ban on mining and trade in minerals in the volatile eastern districts of Maniema and North and South Kivu until the government succeeded in clamping down on illegal mining Kinshasa argues that rebel groups have been exploiting some of the world’s most sought after minerals to finance military activities.

Source: UG Media Services

 

Kampala abrite du 15 au 16 décembre 2011 le 4ème Sommet ordinaire des Chefs d’Etat et de Gouvernement de la Conférence Internationale sur la Region des Grands Lacs (CIRGL) et la Session spéciale sur les Violences sexuelles et Basées sur le Genre (VSBG)

Tuesday 13 December 2011

L’Ouganda abrite le 4ème Sommet Ordinaire des Chefs d’Etat de la Conférence Internationale sur la Région Grands Lacs du 15 au 16 décembre 2010. Plus de 11 Chefs d’Etat et de gouvernement sont attendus au Sommet. Le Sommet sera précédé par des Réunions des Premières Dames, des Ministres des Affaires Etrangères, des Ministres du Genre et des Coordonateurs Nationaux de la CIRGL ainsi que des experts gouvernementaux et des organisations des 11 Etats Membres de la CIRGL et au delà.

Les réunions qui précèdent le sommet ont débuté le 11 décembre 2011 par la réunion de deux jours des Coordonnateurs nationaux de la CIRGL et des experts en Genre pour délibérer sur les résolutions à soumettre au Comité régional interministériel le 13 et le 14 décembre. Le 15 décembre 2011, le Sommet consacrera une Session Spéciale pour délibérer et adopter des stratégies de lutte contre le défi de Violences Sexuelles et Basées sur le genre dans la Région des Grands Lacs aussi bien en situation de conflit que de paix sur toutes ses différentes manifestations.

Cette session sera précédée par une considération par les Premières Dames sur les recommandations soumises par les ministres ayant le genre dans leurs attributions lors de leur réunion à Arusha en Tanzanie le 04 novembre 2011.

Le thème du Sommet est : Unis pour la Prévention, la Fin de l’Impunité et l’Assistance aux Victimes des Violences Sexuelles et Basées sur le Genre ». Les Objectifs de la Session Spéciale sont de recevoir, discuter et approuver les recommandations des Ministres et des Experts sur des mesures appropriées pour la prévention, la fin de l’impunité et l’assistance aux victimes des VSBG ; de s’engager à déclarer la Tolérance Zéro aux VSBG et appuyer avec des ressources nécessaires pour la mise en application des décisions du Sommet sur les VSBG.

Le sommet élira également le président de l’Ouganda, son Excellence Yoweri Kaguta Museveni comme nouveau président de la CIRGL, pour succéder à la Zambie. La Zambie avait succédé à la présidence du Kenya et le Kenya avait succédé la Tanzanie.

 

Great Lakes Region to write own human rights story

Tuesday 13 December 2011

In what may widely be seen as a signal to the western world that Africa is taking charge of its own affairs a group of 11 Great Lakes countries have agreed to redefine research standards for human rights abuses.

Under the umbrella organization, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR), member states including Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya, Burundi, Rwanda, Angola, Sudan, DRC, Central African Republic, the Republic of Congo and Zambia have started a home-grown human rights initiative that gives priority to evidence-based research and root causes of human rights abuses.

The new governance project to be undertaken by an ICGLR Think-Tank is likely to water down misrepresentations about Africa as portrayed by the outside and their allied media. The Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance think-tank, which has started collecting data in Zambia and DR Congo will fully roll out its operations in the other Great Lakes region member states next year to try and present the true picture of Africa’s story on human rights violations.

“Ours won’t be armchair research based on media reports. We are interested in credible analysis and evidence-based reports. This implies that we shall be on the ground to establish a realistic picture rather than depend on media reports,” said Dr Frank Okuthe-Oyugi, the think-tank Executive Director during the ICGLR special session on sexual gender based violence in Kampala, Uganda from December 11 to 16.

[Photo]

Dr Frank Okuthe Oyugi, Director of the Lusaka Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance

The think-tank was named after the late President Levy Mwanawasa of Zambia who died during his term as the chairperson of the ICGLR. The Regional centre is poised to provide a strong foundation to the ICGLR’s programme of action on the promotion of good governance and democracy.

It appears the ICGLR has decided to take this latest approach after having been unfairly criticized on its human rights record which have recently culminated in the indictment of African politicians.

However, the decision by the Great Lakes Region to have its way in redefining the context of human rights could pit Africa against the outside world most likely will place the two on a rugged path.

According to Dr Okuthe, the Think-Tank’s findings will help redesign governance policies in the region after adoption by partner States. “Since the data will be generated by ourselves (Africans) we hope our leaders will listen and buy our recommendations,” said Okuthe.

However, what remains unclear is how those Great Lakes regional leaders whose administrations ignite state-sponsored human rights violations will be made to account since those to conduct the investigations are under their jurisdictions.

“That will not be a problem at all. What our main interest is to investigate the root causes of those violations to help us come up with appropriate policy recommendations,” said Okuthe.

Although foreign non-governmental organizations report extensive human rights abuses in several parts of Africa, often under the oversight of the state, the member states in Great Lakes Region say there has been exaggeration and therefore, “the time has come for us to make our own evidence based research and determine our own standards but based on universal principles.”

Some African leaders believe that partly it’s because of this exaggeration of human rights abuses that some of their colleagues like Sudan President Omar al Bashir and Laurent Gbagabo (Ivory Coast ex-President) were indicted.

Various forms of human rights abuses and mass atrocity crimes have been committed in numerous African states, ranging from genocide and crimes against humanity to war crimes. Most notable of these crimes have been unlawful killings of civilians and aid workers, the use and forceful recruitment of child soldiers, and sexual violence against women and children.

Source: Ug Media Services

 

Speech delivered by Hon. Ambassador Liberata Mulamula at the meeting of the Parliamentarians under ICGLR at Speke Resort Munyonyo. Kampala 12th Dec 2011

Tuesday 13 December 2011

I feel greatly honoured and privileged to get this opportunity to address the 2nd Plenary Session of the ICGLR Forum of Parliaments. I wish to thank the Parliament of the Republic of Uganda for hosting and supporting the organization of this 2nd Plenary Session. Our sincere appreciation is extended to our true friend and Partner, AWEPA for its continued invaluable support to the ICGLR Mechanism and to the Great lakes Region as a whole.

I wish to thank most sincerely, His Excellency Luc Dhhoore for his commitment and dedication to supporting this important Forum in the implementation of the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. Indeed, the establishment of the Regional Forum of Parliaments is one of the greater achievements of the ICGLR in fostering dialogue and enhancing co-operation among member states and its Parliaments.

It is also important to recall that the establishment of Regional Forum of Parliaments is in line with the Dar-es-Salaam Declaration on Peace, Security, Democracy and Development in the Great Lakes Region which expresses the commitment of the countries of the Great Lakes Region” to build together a space of lasting peace and security for States and Peoples based on dialogue, respect for the values, principles and standards of democracy and good governance and rule of law, the strengthening of leadership capacities, the transparency of electoral processes, equitable participation widened to all citizens, the strengthening of representative institutions and Civil Society.

To concretize this commitment, the ICGLR Member States through their Leaders resolved to promote the participation of all the social components of the population in all the decision-making processes. It therefore envisaged the creation of a number of Regional fora, namely the Forum of Parliaments, the Forum of Women, the Forum of Civil Society, the Multifunctional Forum of Youth and the Forum against corruption. With the support and cooperation by the Member States and partners, the Secretariat has been able to put in place the Regional Women Forum, the Youth Forum, the Forum of Parliaments and recently the Civil Society Forum.

We are convinced that in the implementation of its mandate, the Forum of Parliaments will strengthen the regional parliamentary framework of dialogue, exchange of experience and improve the parliamentary capacities to legislate and ensure the respect of the rule of law. The Forum will also promote a dynamic framework for consultation between governments and the governed and so encourage political participation of all representatives of the society.

I would like therefore to congratulate the Forum of Parliaments for the progress that it has so far made. We were quite gratified by the fact that immediately after the signing of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region on 15th December 2006 in Nairobi, Kenya, the Parliaments of the ICGLR Member States were the first Institutions to meet in order to support the ratification and implementation of the Pact.

I wish to recall here with appreciation and without going into details that with the support of the AWEPA and the Member States, the Parliaments of the ICGLR Member States met in 2007 in Kinshasa, DRC (the meeting I addressed soon after I was appointed to Office). This was followed by meeting held in 2008 in Bujumbura, Burundi in which among others, the Members of Parliaments discussed their role in implementation of the Pact and contributing to the peace process in Burundi as they set a foundation for the establishment of the Regional Forum of Parliaments.

Subsequently, and again with the support of AWEPA and Member States, the first Plenary Session of the ICGLR Parliaments was held in December 2008 in Kigali, Rwanda. The session signed the Accord setting up the Regional Forum of Parliaments. The accord was signed by the Speakers of Parliaments from ICGLR Member States in a spirit of cooperation which was an important milestone towards strengthening the role of Parliamentary Institutions in the Region. In Kigali, it was unanimously decided that the Headquarters of the Forum of Parliaments should be located in Kinshasa DRC and that the first Secretary General of the Forum should come from Rwanda. The Kigali Session also set up different Commissions, as provided in the Accord, and chosen Member States to chair them.

Having accomplished all these achievements, I am confident that this Second Plenary Session of the Forum is to emerge with positive outcome, as is a continuation of the work previously well done. Looking at the Programme of the Session, I am encouraged by the fact that you have taken a particular interest by looking at important Regional initiatives which are now being implemented in the framework of ICGLR including the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources and Sexual Gender Based Violence. I am therefore convinced that the outcome of your deliberations would help the Secretariat to effectively facilitate the implementation of these initiatives as well as its mandate for peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes Region.

Honourable Speakers; Invited Guests; Ladies and Gentlemen;

I am further pleased to inform you that the organ of the Secretariat mandated to work with the Forum and other Forums such as Women Forum, Youth Forum and Civil Society Forum is now operational. This is the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for the promotion of Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education based in Lusaka, Zambia. The Lusaka Centre, which has just developed its strategic plan, is poised to become our “Think Tank” in the Region, undertaking applied and policy oriented research and facilitating capacity building of social and political institutions in the Member States. I urge the Parliament Forum to take advantage of this Centre of innovation to facilitate the promotion of the Forum’s agenda for the Region. The Executive Director of the Centre and his Staff Team are at this Summit meeting and I hope your Officials will touch base with them to discuss the way forward.

Lastly but no least, I would like to take this opportunity to inform Honourable Members that we are in the preparations of the forthcoming ICGLR Ordinary Summit to be held on 15th -16th December 2011 here in Kampala, at Munyonyo Resort Hotel. The Summit is preceded by the meetings of the National Coordinators and Ministers of foreign Affairs on 11th – 12th and 13th -14th December 2011 respectively.

During the forthcoming Summit, there will be a Special on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in which the Heads of State and Government will endorse and support the Regional Initiative on the fight against SGBV. We shall be briefing you more in details on this initiative n the course of your meeting. I therefore hope that the recommendations emanating from this Session would be valuable contribution to the 4th ICGLR Summit now underway here in Kampala at Munyoyo Resort.

On behalf of the Conference Secretariat I wish to extend our invitation to the Honourable Members to attend the opening session of this important Summit and deliver your statement/declaration of support at the Special Session of the Summit on SGBV with focus on “Prevention, End of Impunity and Protection of Victims of SGBV.”

With this few remarks, let me wish you Honourable Members fruitful deliberations and thanking you for your kind attention.

Download full speech here. PDF

 

DRC, Kenya, Sudan tussle it out for ICGLR ‘hot seat’

Monday 12 December 2011

Four members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region have shown interest in taking over the seat of the Executive Secretary as Amb. Liberata Mulamula winds up her term of office at the end of regional organization’s Summit from 13 to 16 December in Kampala.

Kenya, DR Congo, Sudan and Zambia are candidates though Zambia a week towards the Kampala conference withdrew her candidature. Amb. Liberata Mulamula, a Tanzanian who ends her successful five-year term this month (December 2011) leaves a remarkable record boosted by the establishment of the organisation’s infrastructure and creation of an enabling environment to end conflicts in the 11 partner states.

It is under Mulamula’s reign that warring parties in the DRC have negotiated peace, negative forces in eastern DRC have been dealt with, started election observer missions, trans-border cooperation has improved, proliferation of small arms have reduced and more recently illegal exploitation of mineral resources have reduced through certification mechanism.

Amb. Mulamula’s administration is also credited with the initiation of the establishment of the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance, a think-tank that is poised to provide a strong foundation to the ICGLR’s programme of action on the promotion of good governance and democracy whose vision is that of "a region characterized by deeply entrenched values, principles and norms on democracy, good governance and observance of human rights".

The think-tank seeks to capitalize on methodological approaches combining the principles of subsidiarity, the promotion of synergies among stakeholders at National, Regional and International levels and comparative analysis between different countries in order to promote the dissemination of good practices.

[Photo]

Group photo combining National Coordinators and Gender Experts.

Uganda’s Permanent Secretary who is also the country’s ICGLR National Coordinator , Ambassador James Mugume, said at the opening session Monday in Kampala that Her Excellency Mulamula’s term in office has increased the organisation’s visibility both in the region and the outside word.

“Ambassador Mulamula has been instrumental in promoting development, peace and stability in the region,” Ambassador Mugume said. “She has been able to reach out to all the constituencies right from the lower level to the Heads of State,” he added.

Ambassador Mugume’s commendation was echoed by various delegates from all the countries’ delegation that attended the meeting at the Speke Resort Hotel, Munyonyo, on the Lake Victoria shores near Kampala.

Ambassador Mulamula thanked the ICGLR member States that have made her work and of the team at the Secretariat a success. She however, noted that there are still challenges that have to be overcome if this regional body is to achieve its mission and objectives.

“I wish in a special way to recognize the tireless efforts made by the Gender Ministry and Foreign Affairs teams in close collaboration with the ICGLR Secretariat in organising the hosting of this year’s Great Lakes Region Summit in Kampala and ensuring its success,” Ambassador Mulamula said.

The Executive Secretary presented to the meeting the summary report on the work of the ICGLR in the last five years she has been in office. She paid tribute to UNWOMEN, Norway, Sweden, Swiss Development Cooperation, USA government for their valuable financial contribution to ICGLR.

She also thanked the Ugandan government for the unwavering support to the work of the Secretariat since its establishment.

“To the national coordinators, you have been my strength and inspiration,” the Executive Secretary observed. “I thank you for making me what I am today, for allowing me to serve you and the membership with gratifying sense of accomplishment, however, modest”.

She expressed solidarity with the peoples of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the post electoral period and called for calm to allow the democratic electoral fruits to reach its people.

Uganda’s Minister for Gender, Labour and Social development, Hon. Syda Bbumba said, as leaders, they have made significant efforts in the areas of policy and legislation. She however, noted that research, media reports and the leaders’ assessment is that there are wide gaps between policy and legislation on one hand and the actual reality on other.

“To this I pose the questions” Have these wonderful laws suffered ‘infant mortality’ or is it a case of chronic still births? Clearly, the gap between commitments and implementation must be closed,” Hon. Bumba said.

Source: Uganda Media Services

ICGLR Summit Media coverage. Important links

 

Monday 12 December 2011

 
 

ICGLR Summit News from Uganda Media Centre

Download a detailed press release. PDF

 

Therefore, it is not an over statement to claim that Amb. Mulamula is leaving huge shoes for her replacement to fit in considering that people in the 11 partner states want ICGLR more visible with a more positive impact on their daily lives.

Apart from Kenya the other candidates—Sudan and DRC—have experienced civil conflicts that have in the past destabilized the entire Great Lakes region. One could argue that the candidature of those two suggests that ICGLR is being taken very seriously and its role could in a few years to come propel a fundamental change in the region.

Source: Uganda Media Services

 

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region Executive Secretary commended

Monday 12 December 2011

Delegates at the National Coordinators meeting preparing the ICGLR 4th ordinary Summit of the Heads of State and Special session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence have commended the work done by Ambassador Liberata Mulamula as her term as the Executive Secretary of this regional inter-government organization come to an end.

 

ICGLR Summit Media coverage. Important links

 

Monday 12 December 2011

 

Download a detailed press release. PDF

 

ICGLR Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula meets Uganda First Lady

 

Monday 12 December 2011

Kampala 11 December 2011- The Executive Secretary, International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula met the Ugandan First Lady, whom they discussed issues of Gender Based Sexual Violence in the region.

The meeting took place at The First Lad’s Office in Kampala on Saturday where the two discussed the preparation regarding the ICGLR First ladies Meeting that will precede the 11 Heads of State and Government Summit this week (December 15-16, 2011).

“During the meeting, the First lady and Ambassador Mulamula called for practical solution towards eradication of SGBV especially in assisting institutions such as the Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) to provide legal services to the victims,” Nathan Byamukama, the programme officer cross cutting Issues at ICGLR secretariat in Bujumbura where ICGLR has its headquarters said. Byamukama and the Director of regional cooperation at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Uganda attended the meeting.

“The First Lady said she was looking forward to receive the First Ladies in Munyonyo from December 14 to 15 and thereafter will give declaration to the Heads of State Summit,” Byamukama told the media.

Earlier in the morning, participants at the a strategic workshop for the Levy Mwanawasa Centre on Democracy, Good Governance, Civic Education and Human Rights, which was named after the late Zambian President by the 11 Heads of State, said the institution is important to the region if it is to realize democratic best practices.

“The role of the centre is important at such a time when the region is making an outbreak of the cycle of conflict and poor governance and dictatorship toe establish a culture of dialogue, peace and human rights,” Ambassador Kaisho told participants at Imperial Royale Hotel. “We are here today to reaffirm the region’s commitment to harmonise relations between our states on international legal instruments and the Universal fundamental principles in democracy,” she added.

 

ICGLR deplores violence, calls for calm after violence following announcement of 2011 Election results

Sunday 11 December 2011

 
The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) strongly deplores the acts of violence and looting that has resulted in the loss of lives following the announcement of President Joseph Kabila’s reelection. These acts of violence risk compromising the gains made so far in democratic transition since the general elections of 2006.

The ICGLR therefore calls upon all concerned parties to show restraint and responsibility in finding peaceful solution to all contentious issues emanating from the elections through the legal and mediation mechanisms that have been put in place for the purpose. It should be recalled that the country has been on a steady path of recovering from a war that claimed very many innocent lives and all peace efforts so far put by the Congolese themselves, the Region and the International community should not be compromised.

The ICGLR reaffirms its commitment and determination to continue working closely with the Government and the People of the DRC in strengthening its democracy and good governance while ensuring peace and security in the region.

Download press release here. PDF

 

Uganda All Set to host ICGLR Summit

 

Sunday 11 December 2011

 
 

Kampala, 10th December 2011: Uganda is all set to host the fourth ordinary Summit of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) from the 11th- 16th December 2011 under the theme “United to Prevent, End Impunity and provide Assistance to Victims of Sexual and Gender Based Violence”

The Summit will be preceded by the meetings of the First Ladies, the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, the Ministers of Gender, the National Coordinators and experts from government and civil society organizations from the 11 Member States of the ICGLR and beyond.

Top on the agenda of the Summit is the special session dedicated to deliberate and strategies on tackling the endemic problem of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region. In addition the Summit will also consider the progress report on the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region, as they mark the 5th Anniversary since its signing in 2006, in Nairobi, Kenya.

The Heads of State will also be presented with progress reports on the work of the ICGLR including Regional Committees on the illegal exploitation of natural resources, prevention of genocide and crimes against humanity, election observer missions and the strategic plan for the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy and Good Governance based in Lusaka, Zambia for their consideration.

There will be change of ICGLR chairmanship of the Summit in which the President of Zambia, H.E. Michael Sata will hand over to Ugandan President, H.E. Yoweri Museveni who will hold the position for the next two years. The Summit will also appoint a new ICGLR Executive Secretary as the term of the incumbent expires at the end of this month, December 2011, and would consider the application of the Republic of Southern Sudan for membership.

Finally, in a closed door session, the Heads of State will consult on the security situation in the region, focused on tackling collectively the negative forces and armed groups for sustainable peace and stability

Several delegates from the 11 ICGLR Member States, members of Co-opted countries, Partner States, Development Partners, UN, AU, Regional Economic Communities (RECs), women, youth, civil society and Parliamentary forums as well Observer Organizations have arrived in Kampala to attend the Summit that will take place at the Munyonyo Commonwealth Resort in the outskirts of Kampala city.

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The Great lakes Region dotted with their own Civil Society Forum

Thursday 8 December 2011

Civil society organizations from ICGLR member countries have met in Bujumbura on July 6-7 2011 in order to set up the ICGLR Regional Civil Society Forum.

After long deliberations by delegations from member States, Mzee Joseph Butiku, Executive Director of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation from the United Republic of Tanzania, was elected Chair of the Regional Civil Society Forum and five Vice-Chairs were elected in Specialized Commissions. DRC will deal with Economic Development and Regional Integration Commission, Burundi with Peace and Security Commission, CAR will handle Democracy and Good Governance Commission, Uganda the Cross-cutting Issues and Kenya Humanitarian and Social Issues Commission. For the Secretary, they elected Rwanda.

The Committee was elected for a two year period.

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From left to right : Mr. KABURA Gaspard (ICGLR Burundi National Coordinator), MR. Edouard NDUWIMANA, Ambassadeur Liberata Mulamula and Mzee BUTIKU Joseph

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mulamula stressed that ICGLR legal instruments recognize the central role of the civil society in transforming the Great Lakes Region from the zone of instability to a space of stability and prosperity.

“Although the ICGLR instruments recognized the important role of the civil society, “did she note, there were glaring challenges on the conditions necessary for their effective engagement”. These challenges included lack of a framework for consultation, coordination, dialogue and exchange of experiences between the actors of the civil society in the region.

The ICGLR Civil society therefore comes as a regional platform grouping the civil society organizations in the region in order to allow for consultation and exchange of experience and enhance the impact of their advocacy strategies for peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes region.

The Forum will serve as a framework for open and constructive dialogue allowing members to identify common interests and search for solutions through consultations and cooperation.

Among others, the forum will organize regional or thematic meetings on issues at stake in the ICGLR and mobilize intellectuals and researchers in the region for production and dissemination of knowledge and make analysis on important issues. It will also facilitate sharing of information and experience, strategies of advocacy and critical reflection between civil society organizations in the region.

The meeting which gathered representatives of the civil society in the ICGL member States was opened by the Burundi Interior Minister, Mr Eduard Nduwimana in the presence of the ICGLR Executive Secretary Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the ICGLR National Coordinators and the Executive Director of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Mzee Joseph Butiku.

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Group photo

 

ICGLR gets USD 100.000 from China for budget support

 

Thursday 17 November 2011

 
 

ICGLR Secretariat, Bujumbura, 16thNovember 2011: The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Burundi, Ambassador YU Xuzhong granted the ICGLR Secretariat yesterday a check of USD 100.000 to support its functioning. Upon his arrival, Ambassador Xuzhong was received by the ICGLR Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula in her office where he enquired on how the Executive Secretary’s visit to China went. Indeed, Ambassador Mulamula was invited to participate to the 1st China-Africa Think Tanks Forum (CATTF) that was held in the city of Hangzhou, in the Eastern part of China last month.

They later proceeded to the handing over ceremony that was witnessed by ICGLR Senior staff and the media.

While welcoming the Chinese Ambassador to the ICGLR Headquarters, the Executive Secretary thanked China for the unfailing support that the People’s Republic of China has been giving to the Secretariat. She reminded that it was the third time that such a gesture was made and China has immensely contributed to the search for peace, security and development in the Great Lakes Region.

Ambassador Mulamula also appreciated that while in China she was able to meet various high ranking officials from the Government and most specifically with the Government’s Special Representative on African Affairs, Ambassador Liu Guijin who announced to her the donation that the Ambassador has just honored. A number of projects were submitted by Ambassador Mulamula for increased cooperation. “We are therefore expecting soon a feedback to see what projects will be getting funds”, Ambassador Mulamula further said.

In his turn, Ambassador YU Xuzhong informed that the gesture came as result of appreciation of the tremendous work done by the ICGLR Secretariat in bringing peace, security and stability to the Great Lakes region. It was therefore the reason behind his Government continued support to the Secretariat in achieving its mission.

 

Recommendations of the Ministers of Gender from the Great Lakes Region to their Excellencies the Heads of States for the Special Session on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) on 15th December, 2011 at Kampala Uganda.

 

Sunday 13 November 2011

 
 

Preamble

WE the ICGLR Ministers in charge of Gender present at the High level consultation meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) at the Arusha International Conference Center on 4th November 2011 under the theme: “United to prevent, end impunity and provide support to the Victims of SGBV” in preparation for the Special Session on SGBV

HAVING Considered the report and recommendations on the status of SGBV from the ICGLR Member States, highlighting efforts made by the Member States but also challenges and gaps on prevention, ending impunity and support to survivors

Acknowledging that Sexual and Gender Based Violence in its various manifestations occurs in peacetimes, during conflict and post conflict settings

DEEPLY concerned that the incidence of SGBV in the Great Lakes Region remains alarmingly high, despite the existence of institutional, policy and legal frameworks for the prevention of SGBV and punishment of perpetrators

RECOGNIZING the severe impact of SGBV on the individual, the family, the community and the state CONSCIOUS of the serious threat SGBV poses on Security and Development of states in the region

RECALLING the commitment made by the Heads of State under the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region (2006) and the Protocol on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children (2006)

MINDFUL of other relevant international instruments including the International Convention on the Elimination of all forms of discrimination against women (CEDAW)(1979) and UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 (2000), 1820 (2008), 1888 (2009), 1889 (2009) and 1960 (2010)

AWARE of the forthcoming ICGLR Special Session on SGBV during the fourth ordinary Heads of State Summit scheduled for Kampala 15 December 2011

DO HEREBY recommend to the ICGLR Heads of States as follows:

Prevention of SGBV

1. Within an agreed time-frame to eradicate existing armed groups in the Region in conformity with the ICGLR Protocol on Non Aggression and Mutual Defense.

2. Fully domesticate and implement the Protocol on Non aggression and Mutual Defense, Protocol on Prevention and suppression of sexual Violence against women and children as well as the Protocol on Judicial Cooperation, in order to eradicate the existing armed groups, combat Sexual and Gender based Violence and cooperate in matters of extradition, judicial investigation and prosecution of the perpetrators.

3. Commit to increase financial and technical support for judicial and security sector reform on human and women’s rights and SGBV eradication. This will provide institutional capacity and accountability to protect women, girls, men and boys from sexual and Gender Based violence in peace time, during conflict and post-conflict situations as a political and security strategy within 12 months..

4. Direct responsible institutions to strengthen or establish national level structures, such as national committees for protection and support for women and children against SGBV and early warning mechanisms within 12 months after the special session to facilitate reporting and documentation of SGBV cases from the grassroots and fast track prosecution of those responsible for perpetrating sexual violence to make sure that justice is done swiftly and effectively.

5. Commit to allocate budget lines for prevention and response to SGBV particularly the ministries of Health, Defense, Security, Interior, Local Government, Justice, Education and Youth.

6. To establish Gender desks (where they do not exist) and strengthen them where they exist and allocate relevant budget within the next financial year.

Ending Impunity for SGBV

7. Declare « Zero Tolerance Now » on SGBV crimes and impunity and launch national campaign for zero tolerance on SGBV simultaneously including men in all ICGLR countries after the Special Session of SGBV (2011).

8. Direct concerned ministries to establish and strengthen special courts, sessions and procedures in order to fast track SGBV cases in the Police and the Judiciary (with adequate financing, facilities and gender sensitive officers) within 12 months after the Special Session on SGBV (2011) to improve access to justice and protect SGBV victims/survivors in line with Article 6 (5) of ICGLR Protocol (2006) on Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against women and children

9. Establish appropriate mechanisms to investigate and prosecute sexual violence crimes, including crimes that amounts to genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity committed in the region.

Support to victims/survivors of SGBV

10. To fast-track the contribution to ICGLR special fund for reconstruction and development so that assistance for victims/survivors of SGBV is provided in line with Article 6 (8) of the ICGLR Protocol (2006).

11. To fast track the establishment and/or scale up (decentralization) of “one stop centres” for comprehensive services including free medical, psychosocial, forensic, judicial/prosecution services within the next two years of the Special Session on SGBV. Such centres should be user friendly particularly to women, youth, children, persons with disabilities and men.

12. Direct the relevant ministries and public agencies to establish and strengthen income generating programmes and initiatives to support women especially those in cross-border trade areas, targeting survivors of SGBV.

General Recommendations

13. To strengthen the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance, Human Rights and Civic Education to be able to train and sensitize judicial officers, police units, social workers medical officers and other categories of persons who handle cases of sexual and gender based violence in the great Lakes region in line with Article 6 (9) of ICGLR Protocol (2006) within the next 12 months.

14. Put in place national and regional media strategy for sustainable use of electronic and print media especially radios, news papers, televisions and community/traditional based means to expose the atrocities of sexual and gender based violence, and facilitate the sensitization and fight against SGBV

15. Direct ICGLR Secretariat to follow-up the implementation of the above recommendations and report on regular basis to RIMC and the Summit during ordinary sessions.

 

Ministers responsible for Gender in ICGLR Member States met in Arusha to consider and validate a conference paper on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region

Tuesday 8 November 2011

Arusha, 5 November, 2011- Ministers responsible for Gender in the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Member States have validated a report on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region. That was in a meeting held at the Arusha International Conference Centre on 4th November 2011 where they had to consider a report by experts who discussed on the issue from 1 to 2 November.

The Vice-President of the United Republic of Tanzania, Mr. Mohammed Gharib Bilal, who opened the meeting, stressed that “though women’s concerns on sexual and gender based violence have been given special attention through the protocol on the prevention and suppression of violence against women and children, its perpetuation remains a serious concern for women’s security in the Region”.

“It is now five years since the Secretariat was set up and we have steadily seen the elaboration and signature of relevant instruments to address the enduring problem of SGBV; we are now at an important step where we have to translate will into reality” pointed out on her part Ms.Rose Rwabuhihi who represented the UNWOMEN, at the meeting. She stressed that the region must move from the epicentre of SGBV to the model of sustainable and successful measures to protect women and girls and communities at large as recommended in the different instruments. “The pact (on Security, stability and development) will not be achieved unless women and girls of the region can enjoy life free of violence”. The Ministers validated and edited a number of recommendations that were made by the experts and will be submitted to the forthcoming Special Session of Heads of State.

The International Conference on the Great lakes Region Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula expressed gratitude to the government of Tanzania which agreed to host the meeting.

 

Opening in Arusha, Tanzania this Tuesday 1st November 2011 of the ICGLR Regional Experts Meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes

 

Wednesday 2 November 2011

 
 

Arusha, 01st November, 2011-The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) opened a Regional Experts Meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region in Arusha, Tanzania this 1st November, 2011. It is the Permanent Secretary in Tanzania Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Kijakazi Mtengwa who officially opened the meeting in presence of other distinguished guests. Amomg the latter were Ms. Gillian Holmes who represented the United Nations System, Ms. Ingabire Immaculée, Chairperson of ICGLR Regional Women Forum, Mr Nathan Byamukama, Representative of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and ICGLR National coordinators in Member States.

This meeting gathers more than 100 experts from regional and international NGOs, UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations and researchers with expertise in the field of SGBV.

The objective of the meeting is to deliberate and validate the research findings from the 11 Member States of the ICGLR and make recommendations in the search for lasting solution to this scourge in the region. The final report with the experts’ contributions will be considered by the Ministers of Gender from ICGLR Member States on Thursday 4th November 2011, before submission to the forthcoming Summit of the Great Lakes Region scheduled for Kampala, Uganda from 11-16th December 2011. The theme for the summit on SGBV is “United to prevent, end impunity and provide support to the Victims of SGBV”.

During the Special Session that will take place on 15th December 2011, the Heads of State would approve and commit to several measures to prevent sexual violence, end impunity and support survivors in line with the ICGLR Regional binding Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children and other regional and UN instruments on SGBV.

Contacts :

Marie-Goretti Muhitira,

ICGLR Executive Secretariat

Tel. 257 79 923 501

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Opening in Arusha, Tanzania this Tuesday 1st November 2011 of the ICGLR Regional Experts Meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Arusha, 01st November, 2011-The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) opened a Regional Experts Meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region in Arusha, Tanzania this 1st November, 2011. It is the Permanent Secretary in Tanzania Ministry of Community Development, Gender and Children, Ms Kijakazi Mtengwa who officially opened the meeting in presence of other distinguished guests. Amomg the latter were Ms. Gillian Holmes who represented the United Nations System, Ms. Ingabire Immaculée, Chairperson of ICGLR Regional Women Forum, Mr Nathan Byamukama, Representative of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region and ICGLR National coordinators in Member States.

This meeting gathers more than 100 experts from regional and international NGOs, UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations and researchers with expertise in the field of SGBV.

The objective of the meeting is to deliberate and validate the research findings from the 11 Member States of the ICGLR and make recommendations in the search for lasting solution to this scourge in the region. The final report with the experts’ contributions will be considered by the Ministers of Gender from ICGLR Member States on Thursday 4th November 2011, before submission to the forthcoming Summit of the Great Lakes Region scheduled for Kampala, Uganda from 11-16th December 2011. The theme for the summit on SGBV is “United to prevent, end impunity and provide support to the Victims of SGBV”.

During the Special Session that will take place on 15th December 2011, the Heads of State would approve and commit to several measures to prevent sexual violence, end impunity and support survivors in line with the ICGLR Regional binding Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children and other regional and UN instruments on SGBV.

Contacts :

Marie-Goretti Muhitira,

ICGLR Executive Secretariat

Tel. 257 79 923 501

Email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ICGLR-China strengthen ties

Wednesday 2 November 2011

Relations between the ICGLR and China are set to strengthen following the visit to China by the ICGLR delegation led by the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, 22-29 October 2011

The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Ambassador Liberata Mulamula says that China can play an active role in the areas of peace and security in Africa through strengthening partnership with the African Union and regional actors on the ground. The Ambassador while thanking China for its immense support to reconstruction and development programmes including building infrastructure in the countries of the Great Lakes Region, says there are still many challenges to achieve durable peace and stability for development. Indeed, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, China can support African initiatives including the quest for an African country to take a permanent seat at the UN Security Council in furthering international peace and security.

Ambassador Mulamula made the remarks in her keynote address to the 1st China-Africa Think Tanks Forum (CATTF) that was held in the city of Hangzhou, in the Eastern part of China. The Forum, the first of its kind, was organized in a bid to create a platform for exchange and dialogue between Chinese and African Think Tanks so as to promote Sino-African friendly cooperation in research and dialogue. It also aimed at boosting mutual understanding between China and Africa, expanding common grounds of interest, serving China-African businesses growth both ways as well as presenting suggestions and policy recommendations for the development of Sino-Africa relations.

The Executive Secretary was accompanied by the Executive Director of the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre for Democracy, Good Governance and Civic Education in the Great Lakes Region, Dr Frank Okuthe, so that he could explore how ICGLR can develop partnerships with Chinese and African Think Tanks on issues of common interest. The Great Lakes Regional Centre has been created as a Think Tank to support different stakeholders in policy research, capacity building, dialogue and exchange of best practice in order to strengthen democratic governance and improve the conditions of life of the people through effective public policies for a stable Region.

Besides participating at the Forum, the Executive Secretary and her delegation held talks with high ranking officials from the Government of the People’s Republic of China. Amongst the dignitaries she met was the Chinese Government’s Special Representative on African Affairs, Ambassador Liu Guijin during a dinner hosted by the latter in honor of the visiting ICGLR delegation.

During the working dinner, discussions revolved around the improving security situation in the Great Lakes Region, the upcoming presidential and legislative elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo and the impact of the “Arab spring” on the countries of the Great Lakes Region. Ambassor Guijin commended the ICGLR Secretariat’s work which he said had made an impact in the Region through the improvement of the relations among the countries of the region, and announced that his Government would grant an amount of USD 100,000 in a first phase to support the activities of the Secretariat He acknowledged receipt of the various project proposals presented to his Government by the ICGLR Secretariat and promised to consider them for increased cooperation.

The ICGLR delegation also visited two research and foreign policy institutes namely, the China Institute of International Studies and Chinese People’s Institute of Foreign Affairs where discussions were held to consider partnership on various programmes. The delegation also held discussion with senior officials of the China-Africa Development Fund that supports Chinese companies to establish business enterprises in Africa. They also met the Vice-President of the Provincial Central Committee of the Party Consultative Conference in Xi’an (Shaanxi Province) and the Vice-Mayor of Yiwu International Trade City and Exhibition Centre for African Products.

As a courtesy of the Government of the People’s Republic of China, the ICGLR delegation was taken around to visit the various Chinese wonders of the world and historic sites including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, the Terra Cotta Warriors, the Ancient City wall, among others.

 

Towards Eliminating Sexual and Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region: Regional Experts and Ministers in charge of Gender meeting in Arusha, Tanzania, 1-4th November 2011.

Wednesday 26 October 2011

 
 

Bujumbura, 25 October, 2011-The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) is organizing a Ministerial regional meeting on Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) in the Great Lakes Region that will take place in Arusha, Tanzania on 1-4 November, 2011. This meeting will gather experts from regional and international NGOs, UN agencies, Civil Society Organizations and researchers with expertise in the field of SGBV.

The objective of the meeting is to deliberate and validate the research findings from the 11 Member States of the ICGLR and make recommendations in the search for lasting solution to this scourge in the region.

The final report with the experts’ contributions will be considered by the Ministers of Gender from ICGLR Member States, before submission to the forthcoming Summit of the Great Lakes Region scheduled for Kampala, Uganda from 11-16th December 2011. The theme for the summit on SGBV is “United to prevent, end impunity and provide support to the Victims of SGBV”.

During the Special Session that will take place on 15th December 2011, the Heads of State would approve and commit to several measures to prevent sexual violence, end impunity and support survivors in line with the ICGLR Regional binding Protocol on the Prevention and Suppression of Sexual Violence against Women and Children and other regional and UN instruments on SGBV.

 

ICGLR-GIZ-OHCHR press release on Goma Workshop

Thursday 29 September 2011

The International Conference for the Great Lakes Region, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and GIZ are jointly organizing a training workshop for the media and the civil society on the Regional Initiative against illegal exploitation of natural resources and human rights that will take place in Goma, DRC from 28 to 30 September 2011.

Illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes region is considered as a root cause of endemic conflicts and the violations of human rights.

A regional Initiative was put in place by ICGLR within the framework of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes region. Six tools of this Initiative were adopted by the Summit of Heads of State in Lusaka in December 2010. The Initiative stresses the importance of strengthening the role and capacities of the media and the civil society in the monitoring of exploitation and traceability of resources and in an early warning mechanism so as to contribute to transparency and ensure that the interests of local populations are taken into account.

For the implementation of the Pact, the Great Lakes region is classified into twelve border areas, among them zone 10 made up of Burundi, Rwanda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The aim of the workshop is to bring together the media and civil society representatives from zone 10 to:

- strengthen capacities of the media and civil society for the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources and promotion of human rights;
- sensitize the media and the civil society on the human rights dimension of the Pact and the regional early warning mechanism ;
- share best practices on the role of the media and civil society in the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources, protection of journalists, human rights activists and witnesses ;
- establish a network of stakeholders to discuss the early warning mechanism in order to contribute to transparency in the area and ensure that local populations’ interests are taken into account.

PDF: English. Français

Joint Communiqué OHCHR-ICGLR-GIZ

Monday 26 September 2011

Press release available in French version only. PDF

 

Joint ICGLR-COMESA Statement on ZAMBIA 2011 Tripartite elections

 Thursday 22 September 2011
 
 JOINT STATEMENT ON THE 2011 ZAMBIA PRESIDENTIAL, PARLIAMENTARY AND LOCAL GOVERNMENT ELECTION OBSERVATION MISSION OF COMESA / ICGLR.

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The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) condemns the attack in Gatumba, BURUNDI.

Wednesday 21 September 2011

The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) wishes to express its great concern and strongly condemns the terrorist attack in Gatumba which killed more that 30 innocent people and injured many others.The Executive Secretary of the ICGLR, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, has sent a condolence message to H.E. Pierre Nkurunziza, the Government and the people of the Republic of Burundi.

The message reads as follows:

“It is with great shock that we received the sad news of the deadly attack in Gatumba on 18th September 2011 which killed more than 30 innocent people and injured many others. This terrorist, barbaric and cowardly attack on innocent people can not be justified by any reason whatsoever and we condemn it in the strongest terms. It is our sincere hope that the perpetrators of this crime against humanity will be apprehended and brought to justice.

I would like on behalf of the Secretariat of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) and my own behalf, to convey our heartfelt condolences to Your Excellency, the bereaved families, the people and the Government of the Republic of Burundi on this sad occasion.

Allow me to take this opportunity to assure Your Excellency and the people of Burundi of our support and solidarity during this difficult moment of sorrow. We pray that the Almighty God may grant the bereaved families the strength to bear this heavy loss and wish those injured a quick recovery.”

Done on 20th September 2011, in Bujumbura

257 22 25 6824/5/7/9, Mob +257 79 344 901 Fax: (00257) 22 25 6828 Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. Website : www.icglr.org

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Press Release: ICGLR Observer Team in Zambia for the Tripartite Elections

Tuesday 20 September 2011

Bujumbura, Burundi, 16th September 2011: At the invitation of the Zambian electoral authorities, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has deployed an Election Observation Mission to Zambia to observe the Presidential, Parliamentary and Local Government elections of the Republic of Zambia, scheduled to be held on the 20th September 2011. The Mission is led by the former Kenyan Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Raphael Tuju and other Observers are members of Parliament, Civil society, Electoral Commission of ICGLR Member States namely Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda and Tanzania.

The Mission is operating within the ICGLR framework of Principles and Guidelines governing Democratic elections drawn from the Protocol on Democracy and Good Governance of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

The Mission is accompanying the process until the official proclamation of results. In addition, they will liaise with the country’s national electoral authority, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and all key players in the election process, including national and international observers.

Election Observation Missions are an important instrument for building confidence in the democratic processes of a country as they promote democracy, human rights and the rule of law. It is worth to note that the ICGLR Heads of State and Government during their 2009 Summit in Lusaka, Zambia reaffirmed their wish to have the ICGLR concentrate on the observations presidential elections

It is expected that the wider deployment of the mission facilitates a more accurate assessment of the national political environment and helps to make a balanced report about the electoral process.

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Communique: Meeting of the ICGLR Ministers of Defence on the problem of Negative Forces in the Great Lakes Region

 

Wednesday 14 September 2011

 
 

KIGALI, RWANDA 9th September 2011,

The meeting of ICGLR Ministers of Defence on the ploblem of negative forces in the Great Lakes Region was held on 9th September 2011 in Kigali, Republic o Rwanda. The MeetinE5 was co-chairecl b1’ Honourable Gen. James Kabarcbe, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Rwanda and Hon. Clispus l(iyonga, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Uganda. In attendance were[PDF corrompu]

 

ICGLR Executive Secretary receives UNSG Special Representative for Central Africa and Head of United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), Mr. Abou Moussa on courtesy call

Tuesday 13 September 2011

13 September 2011- The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula received in her office in Bujumbura Monday Mr. Abou Moussa, the United Nations Secretary General Special Representative for Central Africa who came on a courtesy call . Mr Abou Moussa is also Head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), based in Libreville, Gabon. UNOCA was established on 1 January 2011 and inaugurated on 2 March 2011.

The essential functions for UNOCA are among others to cooperate with the Economic and Monetary Community for Central Africa ECCA, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region ICGLR , the Economic Community of the Great Lakes Region CEPGL and other key partners to help them in their efforts aiming at promoting peace and stability in the greater Central Africa sub- region. Mr. Moussa, has got many years of considerable diplomatic, political and humanitarian experience from his long years of service with the United Nations system.

He began his United Nations career in 1980 with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which he served in various capacities. He was UNHCR Regional Coordinator in Côte d’Ivoire, Regional Director for West Africa and UNHCR Representative in Zambia. He also served with UNHCR in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and at its headquarters in Geneva.

From December 2002 to September 2003, Mr. Moussa served as Representative of the Secretary General and Head of the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office in Liberia (UNOL). He was subsequently appointed Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Humanitarian Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative for Liberia, a post he held from October 2003 to September 2005. In May 2005, Mr. Moussa was named Officer-in-Charge of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). He was serving as the Principal Deputy Representative of the Secretary-General in Côte d’Ivoire since September 2005. Mr. Moussa was educated at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, and at Sorbonne University in Paris. He was born in 1950 and is married with three children.

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Great Lakes Regional Leaders to get rid of Negative Forces and Illegal Armed Groups in the region.

Wednesday 7 September 2011

Bujumbura 2nd September 2011: The Great Lakes Region had been long known for being a zone of conflicts but the trend has changed lately and it is slowly but surely returning to peace, stability and development. More and more development projects are taking off in most countries and regional consultations to warm up state-to-state relations and dialogue between former enemies continues,

However, the presence of the ‘negative forces’ and illegal armed groups in the region particularly in the Eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Central African Republic and Sudan remains a major impediment to sustainable stability in the region. Those forces include among others the Forces for the Defence and Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR), a Rwanda Rebel group operating in Eastern DRC and the Diaspora, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) a Ugandan armed rebel group now operating in DRC, Sudan and Central African Republic as well as the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), another Ugandan armed rebel group operating in the Ituri province of DRC.

As the spirit of tackling issues as a region continues to take center stage, the ICGLR Secretariat is organizing a Regional Meeting of Ministers of Defence and Security on the problem of Negative Forces in the region, to be held in Kigali, Rwanda, September 9th, 2011. The meeting is being organized in collaboration with the Nairobi based Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA), and follows a decision reached during the recent meeting of the ICGLR Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC), held in Brazaville, Republic of Congo in May 2011. The Ministers’ meeting will be preceded by a two day meeting of experts who will prepare necessary documents for the Ministers’ consideration.

The meeting of Ministers seeks to share important information and exchange views on the nefarious activities of the negative forces and other armed groups ,make deep analysis of the situation on the ground, and design a lasting solutions to the problem in line with the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes region, and other regional and international instruments. It also seeks to assess progress made in combating the negative forces through the various bilateral and regional initiatives undertaken to deal with the negative forces and outline the challenges; to deliberate on the strategies that will enhance the capabilities of the Region to effectively fight against the negative forces; to receive and consider the Best Practice Guidelines on Practical Disarmament for the Great Lakes Region and Horn of Africa, developed by the Regional Centre for Small Arms and Light Weapons (RECSA), and to agree on a plan of action for effectively dealing with negative forces in the region.

The ministers will also discuss the role of security organs in the initiative to fight illegal exploitation of Natural Resources in the Great Lakes Region and strengthen cooperation in the efforts to deal with the threat of terrorism (the terrorist threat posed by Al-Shabab in particular). As research has shown, the negatives forces have contributed to the increase of sexual and gender-based violence while the illegal exploitation of natural resources continues to fund conflict in the region.

The meeting is seen as a crucial step forward as the region seeks to consolidates recent gains realized in the search for peace and security, with the conclusion of Peace Agreements in DRC and Burundi as well as the normalization of bilateral relations between Rwanda and DRC. The meeting is expected to come up with suitable recommendations for consideration by the ICGLR Ordinary Summit of the Heads of States and Government scheduled to take place on 15th December 2011 in Kampala, Uganda.

Apart from the officials from the eleven Member States of the ICGLR, representatives of the Regional Centre on Small Arms, Regional Economic Communities, the Community of Intelligence and Security Services of Africa (CISSA), Representatives from African Union (AU), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Congo (MONUSCO), the USA Government and European Union (Co- Chair of the International Working Group on negative forces in the Great Lakes Region) will also participate in the meeting.

Version française ici. PDF. Word

 

ICGLR National Coordinators and Secretariat Staff on a three-day retreat in Rwannda

Thursday 1 September 2011

Rubavu(Gisenyi) 29th August 2011: Since 2008, the ICGLR Secretariat annual staff retreat has become a cherished routine. The retreats are developed around the philosophy that holds a break away from the daily routine and travelling to a new environment revitalizes, refreshes and stimulates new thinking.

This year’s retreat that has brought together the eleven National Coordinator of the ICGLR Member States, Senior staff of the Secretariat and the Director of the Levy Mwanawasa Regional Centre on Democracy, Good Governance and Civic Education is being hosted in Rubavu, Rwanda from 29-31 August 2011. The retreat is mainly focusing on taking stock of strategic issues raised and decisions taken in previous retreats.

The past three retreats discussions centered on matters relating to a joint definition and agreement on the strategic focus for the ICGLR, as embodied in the Gitega (Burundi) Resolution focusing on the implementation of Seven Priority Regional Initiatives that were subsequently endorsed by the Regional Inter-Ministerial Committee (RIMC) Meeting in Kampala in May 2010.

However, in February this year in yet another staff retreat at Rumonge, Burundi, the prioritization was further discussed and reviewed, resulting in the identification of three priority strategic areas of focus for the year 2011, in line with the Lusaka Summit decisions. These priority strategic areas have since then been actively pursued by the Conference Secretariat. These three priority areas include:

i) implementation of the Six Tools in the Fight Against Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources;

ii) preparation of the ICGLR Ordinary Summit and Special Session on the Problem of Sexual and Gender Based Violence (SGBV) and

iii) operationalisation of the Lusaka Centre for Democracy and Good Governance;

In pursuing the identified priority areas, other initiatives under Peace and Security, Economic Development, Humanitarian Affairs and Cross- Cutting Issues are still on course in their implementation.

In addition, the three-day retreat is considering the achievements in the implementation of the Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region. Further the participants are engaged in an in-depth reflection on the challenges facing the Secretariat in effectively accomplishing its tasks.

Finally, the participants are expected to agree on coordination strategies between the ICGLR Secretariat and National Coordination Mechanisms including information flows and progress reporting.

Press contacts:

Dorine Nininahazwe

Media Associate.

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Tel: +257 79 492 064

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ACCORD grants 30 000 US dollars to ICGLR to support fight against SGBV

Saturday 13 August 2011

 The International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula and the Founder and Executive Director of the African Centre for the Constructive Resolution of Disputes (ACCORD), Mr Vasu Gounden, signed this 11 August in Bujumbura a Memorendum of understanding between their two organizations, whereby the two parties are to work together to support common objectives.

The two parties agreed to conceptualize, develop and implement strategies for peace and development in the Great lakes Region and to jointly identify specific initiatives and activities that both parties can engage in with each other, in collaboration with other relevant partners, to promote peace and development in the region.

In the terms of this memorandum, ICGLR and ACCORD engaged in regular consultations through the exchange of visits, meetings, retreats and diplomatic channels and to share experiences and lessons learnt from peace building processes in Africa.

After signing the Memorandum, Mr Vasu Gounden told the media that his organization is to support the forthcoming ICGLR Special Summit of member States on SGBV scheduled in December. “Sexual Gender Based Violence is an issue that brings shame to the whole Africa, it is not in our culture, it has never been as such” stressed Mr. Gounden who agreed to contribute 30,000US dollars to the Experts meeting preparing that summit.

“We appreciate the establishment of ICGLR, the Great Lakes Region is a complex system and you cannot resolve the problems in one country without looking at the impact that they will have in other countries” pointed out Mr. Gounden .

“As an important civil society actor, it is our responsibility as an African organization to partner with ICGLR and to complement their work because as an inter- government agency, you (ICGLR) are a lead agency in the region, charged with the responsibility of insuring stability, security and development in the region”, he added.

Ambassador Mulamula commended the work done by ACCORD in the Great Lakes region where it has mediated peace processes and reconciliation in Burundi, DRC and Rwanda.

The Memorandum was signed at a moment South African President Jacob Zuma was visiting Burundi. Mr Gounden said they chose the day because President Zuma has contributed a lot to the peace process in Burundi which he has mediated whereas ACCORD was involved in the support to that process.

Article in French here

 

ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism in Burundi holds a workshop on Lusaka Declaration on Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources

Tuesday 2 August 2011

The National Coordinator of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region in Burundi, held on July27th, 2011 a capacity-building workshop of the Follow-up committee on the Declaration of the Special session held on the 15 December, 2010 on the struggle against illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great lakes Region.

In his remarks, the ICGLR National Coordinator, Mr. Gaspard Kabura praised the setting up of the follow-up committee on the Lusaka Declaration which « constitutes a step forward in the domestication process of the Protocol on the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region » . The Committee’s mission is to disseminate the six tools on the fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region approved by the Special Summit, such as the regional ratification mechanism. The workshop gave an opportunity to members of that committee and members of the ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism to get familiar with advocated legal provisions. Those provisions are such the Protocol on the Fight against illegal exploitation of natural resources the Regional Certification Mechanism of Minerals, presented by Mr.Silas Sinyigaya, Democracy and Good Governance Program Officer. It was also the Initiative on Transparency in Extractive Industries (ITIE) that was presented by Ms. Adeline Defer, GIZ Technical Advisor.

Different presentations made at the workshop showed that ongoing illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region has got link with proliferation of small arms and light weapons as well as the funding of armed groups. Those armed groups also negatively impact the populations in the region where they perpetrate massive violation of Human rights such as Sexual Gender Based Violence.

The workshop was an occasion for Mr.Kabura to inform the public that the ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism, in collaboration with the Gender ministry, are organizing national consultations on the state of implementation of national, regional and international instruments on the fight against Gender Based Violence.

Burundi Minister of Energy and Mines, Mr Moise Bucumi, who opened the workshop, on his part called on members of the Follow-up Committee to do whatever efforts to bring all stakeholders in the in mineral exploitation in Burundi know and thoroughly respect the new measures taken by the Lusaka Summit on illegal exploitation of natural resources.

Thanks to GIZ support, Burundi recently revised its mining code to adapt to the provisions in the Protocol on illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes region. It was approved on July 25th, 2011. Minister Bucumi also announced that a ministerial ordinance bearing on certification procedures for minerals in Burundi is in use since March 2011.

By Goretti Muhitira

Get the same article in french here. PDF

 

Visit of the ICGLR Pre-Election Assessment Mission to the DRC. 25-29 july 2011

Friday 29 July 2011

Interim Statement: English.

Déclaration Préliminaire. Français

 

ICGLR Partners Commit support to the forthcoming summit on Sexual Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes

Friday 22 July 2011

The Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, Ambassador Liberate Mulamula has carried a long mission late June and early July 2011 to meet ICGLR partners in order to mobilize them and sensitize them on the forthcoming summit of member States on Sexual Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes due in Kampala in December, this year. Her tour led her first to DRC where lies the major SGBV issue even though the summit is about the whole region.

In Kinshasa, Ambassador Mulamula met with President Joseph Kabila with whom she shared the roadmap to the Special Session which is about prevention of SGBV, ending impunity and providing support to the victims. President Kabila stressed hope that the summit should not stigmatize the people of DRC and Ambassador Mulamula assured him that the SGBV is not an issue for the sole DRC as it is mainly perpetrated by armed groups who move from a country to another in the region. That is the case for LRA which operates in Uganda, in DRC and in Central African Republic where it rapes women and children. The SGBV therefore is a regional issue, as she pointed out.

After Kinshasa, the ICGLR Executive Secretary proceeded to Germany where she attended the annual Dialogue on Mineral resources organized by GIZ, ICGLR partner. She shared the Great lakes region’s experience with respect to illegal exploitation of natural resources. Ambassador Mulamula tried to link it to the summit with the problem of armed groups who perpetrate rape on women and children using resources got from illegal exploitation of minerals. “As long as there will be negative forces in the region, it will be difficult to end sexual violence”. She told industries owners that they should not go on trading minerals from illegal exploiters who are rebel groups.

In Washington DC, ICGLR Head met with senior US government officials from the State department, such as the Assistant Secretary of State in charge of African Affairs, Ambassador John Carlson and briefed him on the summit to seek US support at the political level. Ambassador Carlson commended ICGLR initiative to hold the summit and assured her of US support. She also asked them if they could work, through their bilateral engagement to get the Heads of State commit themselves for this summit in order to resolve the problem.

The mission to Washington DC also allowed Ambassador Mulamula to meet with Ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s issues, Melane Verveer, who is at the same time Special Advisor to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton for women issues. Ambassador Melane was the most relevant person with regard to the special summit on SGBV. She was briefed on the summit and Ambassador Mulamula gave her the summit proposal and said the US could support any of the activities on the agenda. “In general, I got very good support and a very strong political support towards this initiative”, concluded Ambassador Mulamula.

In New York, she met with Deputy UN Secretary General Dr Asha Rose Migiro, Focal point on women issues on African continent who also gave total commitment of the UN to the summit. She especially mentioned that “ this is one of the major priorities of the Secretary General for this coming year” and said she will communicate it to the Secretary General so that they can have a high level representation at the summit.

For Dr.Migiro, the SGBV issue should not be limited to the only ministers of Gender. She suggested that “SGBV should be a multi sector issue” because it has a number of dimensions: gender, law enforcement, justice and therefore should not be left to the ministers of Gender because they even have got very little budget and limited authority.

The ICGLR Executive Secretary’s visit to New York also allowed her to meet with Ms.Rose Rwabuhihi from UN Women, who is ICGLR Focal point in its technical working team and showed her the Summit proposal because UN Women committed funds to support the summit. The U N Women leaders emphasized their commitment to help in the forthcoming National Consultations on SGBV by using their regional offices in Nairobi, South Africa and Kigali to help member States organize these sessions.

The ICGLR Head also met Assistant Secretary General and Deputy on UN Women, John Hendra. The latter was briefed as well on the forthcoming summit and was very supportive. “He committed to help in whatever way UN Women can help to insure the summit is successful” said Ambassador Mulamula. He promised to send messages to their country offices, regional offices to help in the process of National consultations. “My trip was successful in terms of mobilization of this support, sensitization and getting real commitment from the UN, the Deputy Secretary General and UN Women” said Ambassador Mulamula before pointing out that “our challenge is now to insure that the roadmap which I have shared with them is implemented and keep them informed and share with them planned activities and where”.

Media Contact:

Marie Goretti MUHITIRA

Gender Communication Expert

ICGLR

Tel:+257 79 923 501

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

Actors in Africa Unite Campaign to End Violence against Women and Girls. Addis Ababa-Ethipia 11-12 July

Tuesday 19 July 2011

 Actors in the fight against Gender based violence met in Addis Ababa on 11 and 12 July 2011 to evaluate the Africa Unite Campaign on Sexual Gender Based Violence.

The meeting on the campaign to reduce Violence against Women and Girls, that was coordinated by UN Women and UNFPA, was attended by stakeholders on the African continent in order to share their own experience and progress they are making and also exchange their challenges about it. The campaign that was launched by the UN Secretary General to put an end to violence against women and girls has got several pillars including communicating information about SGBV mainly in African communities.

SGBV, indeed, is a big issue in the Great Lakes region specifically in DRC where recent reports have indicated that it is unsafe for women to live. DRC is one of members of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region, ICGLR.

“When talking about global campaign against SGBV and Africa Unite campaign against SGBV, one has to understand the different dimensions of SGBV”, said Mr. Nathan Byamukama, Cross Cutting Issues Program Officer in ICGLR, who attended Addis Ababa meeting. He pointed out that the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region’s protocol on SGBV gives a wider definition of SGBV. “It goes from female genital mutilation, slavery, rape, violence against woman in war situations and even in peace situations, which are all crimes. That is what is going to be the challenge for ICGLR, which is seeking to see what kind of SGBV we want to handle”.

As far as ICGLR is concerned, the SGBV issue is to be handled within the perspective of the protocol. ICGLR is not directly involved in the Africa Unite campaign. It is indirectly involved because what it is undertaking falls within the framework of that campaign. There are specific centres, UNFPA centers, UN Women centers, regional centers which really handle this issue. ICGLR is however relevant because it makes its contribution through the central African regional office of UN Women.

Mr. Byamukama had an opportunity to hold a specific session on SGBV where they looked at how Africa Unite campaign can fit into the SGBV Summit of ICGLR member States due in Kampala in December. The SGBV actors he met agreed that the Kampala summit, being organized by ICGLR, is an opportunity for the Africa Unite Campaign to be popularized. Stakeholders in Africa Unite Campaign are going to strategize to see how they can do that activity including having a parallel session on the campaign itself in Kampala. They also asked Mr. Byamukama to present them a concept note that details what needs to be done by clearly indicating the methodology so that they can see where to intervene.

UN Women in Tanzania said that with that document they can plan to hold the Experts meeting on SGBV in Arusha.

Africa-UNiTE is the regional component of the United Nations Secretary General’s Global Campaign on Violence against Women and Girls.

 

 

Dr Asha Rose Migiro commits UN support to the ICGLR forthcoming Summit

Friday 15 July 2011

The Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations, Dr Asha Rose Migiro received in her office on July 13th, 2011 the ICGLR Executive Secretary, Ambassador Liberata Mulamula who had come to pay a courtesy call. The main purpose of Ambassador Mulamula visit was to brief her on how far the organization has gone since the Special Summit on the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region held in Zambia in December 2010.

From left to right: Amb. Liberata Mulamula discussing with Dr Asha Rose Migiro

In her remarks, the ICGLR Head mentioned that her visit was also motivated by the need to formalize relations and develop strategies for collaboration between the UN and regional organizations. She further informed her that the Group of ambassadors of the 11 countries of the Great Lakes Regions will be putting “the fight against the illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region” on the agenda of the 2nd committee on the Economic and Social Council. Moreover, she briefed her on the preparations of the forthcoming ICGLR Summit that will take place in Kampala in December which has a special session on Sexual Gender Based Violence in the Great Lakes Region. The whole idea behind having it as a Special Session is to ensure that people of the Great Lakes Region are part of finding the solution to their own problem. The Special Session will also provide an opportunity for Member States to jointly develop a strategy for preventing and ending violence against women.

In her turn, Dr Migiro said that SGBV fits well into the eight priority areas of the Secretary General for this year and that could be certainly an area that they will support. She suggested that the ICGLR organize this Summit using a multi-sectoral approach to ensure maximum participation of all stakeholders. That will then facilitate the implementation of the ICGLR Pact on Security, Stability and Development in the Great Lakes Region.

Press contacts:

Dorine Nininahazwe

Media Associate

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The Great Lakes Region dotted with their own Civil Society Forum

Monday 11 July 2011

Civil society organizations from ICGLR member countries have met in Bujumbura on July 6-7 2011 in order to set up the ICGLR Regional Civil Society Forum.

After long deliberations by delegations from member States, Mzee Joseph Butiku, Executive Director of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation from the United Republic of Tanzania, was elected Chair of the Regional Civil Society Forum and five Vice-Chairs were elected in Specialized Commissions. DRC will deal with Economic Development and Regional Integration Commission, Burundi with Peace and Security Commission, CAR will handle Democracy and Good Governance Commission, Uganda the Cross-cutting Issues and Kenya Humanitarian and Social Issues Commission. For the Secretary, they elected Rwanda.

The Committee was elected for a two year period.

The meeting which gathered representatives of the civil society in the ICGL member States was opened by the Burundi Interior Minister, Mr Eduard Nduwimana in the presence of the ICGLR Executive Secretary Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, the ICGLR National Coordinators and the Executive Director of Mwalimu Nyerere Foundation, Mzee Joseph Butiku.

Ambassador Liberata Mulamula, Middle

Mzee Joseph Butiku, Right

In her remarks, the Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mulamula stressed that ICGLR legal instruments recognize the central role of the civil society in transforming the Great Lakes Region from the zone of instability to a space of stability and prosperity.

“Although the ICGLR instruments recognized the important role of the civil society, “did she note, there were glaring challenges on the conditions necessary for their effective engagement”. These challenges included lack of a framework for consultation, coordination, dialogue and exchange of experiences between the actors of the civil society in the region.

The ICGLR Civil society therefore comes as a regional platform grouping the civil society organizations in the region in order to allow for consultation and exchange of experience and enhance the impact of their advocacy strategies for peace, stability and development in the Great Lakes region.

The Forum will serve as a framework for open and constructive dialogue allowing members to identify common interests and search for solutions through consultations and cooperation.

Among others, the forum will organize regional or thematic meetings on issues at stake in the ICGLR and mobilize intellectuals and researchers in the region for production and dissemination of knowledge and make analysis on important issues. It will also facilitate sharing of information and experience, strategies of advocacy and critical reflection between civil society organizations in the region.

 

ICGLR moves forward in Assisting Survivors of Gender based Violence

Friday 24 June 2011

The Committee on Prevention, Protection, Repression and Assistance to survivals of the Gender based violence presented on Friday 24 June, 2011 the draft-bill on Prevention, Protection, Repression and Support of survivals of the Gender based violence to the Burundi Gender Minister.

The Minister of Gender receives a Draft Bill on Prevention and Repression of SGBV from the ICGLR Burundi National Coordinator

The National Coordinator of the International Conference on the Great Lakes region, Mr Gaspard Kabura, who is also Chairman of that Committee stressed that the document is result of a National consultation meeting held by the ICGLR Secretariat in collaboration with the ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism on September 19 through the 20, 2010 to back the domestication of the ICGLR Protocol on Prevention and Repression of the sexual gender based violence against women and children. In the presence of other members of the Committee, who were from the Civil Society, Mr Kabura recalled that they had and still have the mission to incorporate recommendations from the national consultation in the draft bill initiated by the Association of Women Jurists in Burundi, to validate the draft bill, to submit it to the government for deliberation and to mobilise all stakeholders in the fight against Gender based violence.

The draft bill is made of seven chapters. The first one is about general provisions, the second is about prevention of Gender based violence, whereas the third one deals with protection of witnesses and survivals of the sexual Gender based violence. The remaining fourth, fifth and sixth chapters bear respectively on penal procedure applicable to the perpetrators of the Gender based violence, repression of that violence and assistance to victims. The last chapter deals with final provisions.

Mr. Kabura expressed hope that the bill will be adopted by the government before the summit of Heads of State of ICGLR member countries due in December.

The Minister of Gender, Mrs Immaculate Nahayo on her part promised to do all efforts to have the draft bill tacked by the government in due time.

The draft bill was due to be handed officially to both the Gender and Justice Ministers but the Justice Minister could not join in the event for work reasons. A representative of the Ministry of Justice however attended the ceremony at the Gender Minister’s office.

The elaboration of the draft –bill was supported by UN Women, UN Action against sexual violence, including UNICEF and UN-OHCHR.

- Media Contacts:

Marie Goretti MUHITIRA

Gender Communication Expert

ICGLR

Tel:+257 79 923 501

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

ICGLR Newsflash. May 2011

Tuesday 21 June 2011

Main Items.

- Belgium supports implementation of RINR

- ICGLR Ministers of Foreign Affairs pleased with the great strides made by the organisation

- OECD, ICGLR an UN Group of Experts discuss responsible mineral supply chains

- Visit to EAC Secretary General

- Main upcoming events

Download PDF document here for more details

 

Media and Stakeholders Sensitization Workshops on the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resource

Monday 20 June 2011

The link between minerals and armed conflict in the Great Lakes Region remains a burning issue as the label “blood minerals” threatens to result in a decline in this important economic sector. Therefore, the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR) has launched the Regional Initiative against the Illegal Exploitation of Natural Resources (RINR) which amongst other tools envisages the introduction of a regional certification mechanism for minerals.

As this Initiative is now moving on to the implementation phase, the ICGLR reaches out to media practitioners and stakeholders in the mineral sector to include them in the process. For this purpose, the ICGLR National Coordination Mechanism in Kenya has organized two workshops in Nairobi; a first one on 14th June 2011 for regional representatives of the media and a second one on 16th-17th June 2011 for national stakeholders in Kenya. Both workshops had a successful outcome and clarified the role that these actors can play in the fight against the illegal exploitation and trade of minerals in the region.

At the media sensitization workshop, media representatives from all the eleven ICGLR Member States were sensitized on the functioning of the ICGLR as an intergovernmental organization with a particular focus on the RINR and its six tools that were adopted at the ICGLR Special Summit on the illegal exploitation of natural resources held in Lusaka, Zambia on 15th December 2010. The sensitization workshop served as a platform to discuss how the media can facilitate the dissemination of information concerning the ICGLR process and vice versa share their ideas and concerns on the implementation of the RINR with the Conference Secretariat.

In her opening remarks to this workshop the ICGLR Executive Secretary, Ambassador Mulamula, acknowledged the critical role that the media plays in promoting good governance and keeping the public informed. For this reason, the ICGLR seeks the active engagement and participation of the media in finding solutions to the intractable challenges facing the Region.

The national stakeholders workshop gathered representatives of the respective state authorities, large-scale and artisanal miners as well as exporting companies. These actors were sensitized on the ICGLR in general and the expected changes associated with the RINR. Even though the production of so-called ‘conflict minerals’ in Kenya is limited to gold, the role of Kenya as a transit country for the illicit trade of other minerals such as coltan was well considered. The participants used this workshop to discuss and express their expectations and concerns in particular in regard to their role in the regional certification mechanism and the formalization of the artisanal mining sector.

In conclusion, these two workshops served the purpose of sensitizing regional media practitioners and national stakeholders on the illegal exploitation of minerals as a key factor that fuels conflict in the Great Lakes Region. They mark the beginning of a continuous and interactive dialogue that the ICGLR aims to hold with the media and stakeholders in the mineral sector of its Member States.

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