Homophobia and the Churches in Africa

29 April 2016

the other foundationA regional dialogue of more than 100 participants representing church-based lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) groups, interested ministers from local congregations and church leadership structures, leaders of ecumenical organizations and representatives of LGBTI community groups from 13 countries, was held in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, on 7 and 8 April 2016.

The convening explored and assessed current church-based approaches to affirm the dignity of women and men who are homosexual, as well as transgender and intersex people, and to counteract homophobic social attitudes.

It was designed to enable practitioners in the field to collectively reflect on their current approaches while in conversation with engaged individuals from within the churches. The intention was to firmly ground the work being done by various groups in the social realities and opportunities within Africa rather than in international debates that are either focused on abstract church doctrinal debates or political posturing in international organizations.

Click here to download the inputs given, read a summary report of the outcomes, and watch videos of all the main discussions during the dialogue, via the Other Foundation website.

The Other Foundation


L’autonomie stratégique de l’Union européenne – Perspectives, responsabilité, ambitions et limites de la défense européenne

EU Defence jpegA new book on EU Defence entitled “L’autonomie stratégique de l’Union européenne – Perspectives, responsabilité, ambitions et limites de la défense européenne” with contributions from scholars around the world is now available to buy online. The book, written in French, includes a contribution from Simon P. Alain Handy who spoke at a SALO workshop on the 2nd of September 2015 entitled “Consensus Building Dialogue: Central African Republic, Sudan/South Sudan”.

Simon P. Alain Handy is a policy analyst at the United Nations and a specialist on issues of peace, post-conflict reconstruction, mediation and international security. He is a former Young Associate Expert at La Francophonie, a former Visiting Fellow at the European Union Institute for Security Studies (EUISS, Paris in 2009) and a Senior Executive Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School of Government (2011). In 1998, following an executive program at the Pearson Peacekeeping Centre in Cornwallis Nova Scotia, he wrote his Post-Graduate thesis at the Paris Institute for International Relations and Strategic Studies (IRIS) entitled “Peacekeeping operations: A foreign policy strategy for Canada”.

Faute d’autonomie, la défense européenne a-t-elle un sens ? Quasi-absente des conflits libyen en 2011 et malien en 2012/2013, elle symbolise plus que jamais les errements de la construction de l’Europe politique. À l’origine, le plan Schumann du 9 mai 1950 fit le pari du long terme : « L’Europe ne se fera pas d’un coup, ni dans une construction d’ensemble : elle se fera par des réalisations concrètes créant d’abord une solidarité de fait ». Il fallut dans un premier temps préserver la paix en fédérant l’économie de la guerre. Concrétisé par le Traité CECA, du 18 avril 1951, ce début de construction fédérale à l’envers ouvrit la voie aux négociations du Traité CED. Après l’amorce économique, ce passage, sans doute trop hâtif, à l’Europe politique fut rejeté par le Parlement français en 1954. La construction européenne resta longtemps orpheline de sa défense. Mais, au début des années 1990, la guerre des Balkans constitua une nouvelle menace au coeur même du Vieux continent et imposa la relance du projet de défense européenne. Devenue réalité, la PSDC s’affirme au travers de ses multiples opérations civiles et militaires. Pourtant, elle peine encore à s’imposer. Sujet crucial et paradoxalement méconnu, la défense européenne soulève de multiples questions. Cet ouvrage dresse le bilan et offre autant de pistes de réflexion pour tenter d’y répondre.

L’ouvrage intéresse les cadres et les dirigeants d’entreprise, les consultants et les experts en stratégie, ainsi que les fonctionnaires spécialisés dans la défense, l’armement et l’Union européenne.

For more information on this publication, please click here.

Africa – 29 April 2016

The U.N. Is Ending Its Arms Embargo on the Ivory Coast and Planning a Withdrawal

The U.N. Security Council unanimously voted Thursday to remove 12-year-old arms embargo, travel and financial sanctions against Ivory Coast, welcoming the West African nation’s “remarkable progress towards lasting peace, stability and economic prosperity.”

In a second resolution, the Security Council also voted to draw down its peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast by June 30, 2017, according to a statement, ordering its 6,900 uniformed personnel to leave by April 30, 2017.



Stronger African security architecture urged at meeting

African Union Commissioner for Peace and Security Council Smail Chergui has called on the international community to support strengthening the continent’s peace and security architecture.

Chergui’s remarks came at the opening in the Ethiopian capital on Thursday of a two-day security meeting convened for the first time in Africa by the Munich Security Conference, a 50-year-old major international think-tank.



Africa’s longest-serving leader re-elected

Africa’s longest-serving leader, Equatorial Guinea’s President Teodoro Obiang Nguema, extended his 36-year rule on Thursday after being re-elected with 93.7 percent of the vote, according to provisional results.

The results announced by the National Election Commission showed his two closest rivals, Bonaventura Monsuy Asumu and Avelino Mocache Mehengap, trailing far behind with 1.5 percent each in last Sunday’s vote.

Turnout in the oil-rich west African country was also 93.7 percent, according to the results which are subject to confirmation on May 2 by the constitutional court.


Zimbabwe – 29 April 2016

MDC Says Govt Must Slash Mugabe’s Travel Budget and Remove Mphoko From His Hotel

THE Welshman Ncube led MDC says government should either reduce President Robert Mugabe’s international travel budget or cancel it altogether or evict VP Mphoko from his hotel accommodation and finance the repatriation of 32 Zimbabwean women who are stranded in Kuwait.

Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Foreign Affairs, which is being led by the speaker of the National Assembly Jacob Mudenda, is currently in Kuwait where it has identified 32 Zimbabwean maids who are victims of human trafficking.



Mugabe Attacked for Failing to Rescue Zimbabwe Women in Kuwait

The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC-N) formation of Welshman Ncube says it is shameful that the government has failed to assist in the repatriation of 32 Zimbabwean women stranded in Kuwait, who were promised lucrative jobs but found themselves performing menial jobs.

In a statement, the MDC-N said it is ironic that President Robert Mugabe recently travelled to New York to sign a climate change agreement, blowing thousands of dollars in the process, and yet his government cannot rescue the women and girls.

Voice of America

Swaziland – 29 April 2016

Swaziland Groups Kick Against Amendment Bills

Civil society and pro-democracy groups have called on parliamentarians in Swaziland to scrap debates on three proposed amendments that they say would further erode the fundamental human rights of citizens in the southern African kingdom.

Parliament is debating the amendment of the public order act, the professional terrorism act and the police act.

Voice of America


Zuma concludes Swaziland visit

President Jacob Zuma concluded his two day visit to Swaziland on Friday. He was in the Kingdom to have talks with King Mswati III and government officials on Southern African Customs Union (Sacu) related matters.

The President wrapped up his visit by attending King Mswati III’s 48th birthday celebrations.

Discussions on how to make the Southern African Customs Union function better were fruitful.

“We have been having meetings about Sacu, and I can tell you that we are going to have a summit as Sacu member states in June. That is when proposals will be presented and a way forward [will be] mapped,” says Zuma.


Madagascar – 29 April 2016

Tourism Ministers from South Africa, Madagascar and Seychelles meet during carnival

Tourism Ministers from South Africa and Madagascar took the opportunity to meet with the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture while in the islands for the annual carnival.

Derek Hanekom, the Minister of Tourism of South Africa; Roland Ratsiraka, the Minister of Tourism of Madagascar; and Alain St.Ange, the Seychelles Minister of Tourism and Culture and their tourism heads made time during the 6th Edition of the Carnaval International de Victoria in the Seychelles for them to meet to discuss cooperation and tourism.

Eturbo News

Western Sahara – 29 April 2016

UN to Vote On Western Sahara Mandate

The UN Security Council is to vote on renewing a 25-year-old mission in Western Sahara, which recently plunged into crisis over remarks made by the Secretary General. Council members are divided.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has made an urgent plea for the retention of the mandate for the UN mission in Western Sahara (MINURSO).

He warned that the danger of an escalation into full-scale war would “grow significantly” if “MINURSO is forced to depart or finds itself unable to execute the mandate.”

Ban said the Security Council must “restore and support” the mandate and any weakening of the mission “can be expected to be exploited by terrorist and radical elements.”



Western Sahara warning over UN staff expulsion row

The UN brokered a truce between Morocco and the indigenous Saharawi people in 1991, ending a 16-year insurgency.

Last month, Morocco expelled 84 UN civilian staff after the UN chief used the term “occupation” about the region. This has hampered the UN mission, whose mandate is up for renewal this month.

Morocco has threatened to pull out the soldiers it contributes to UN global peacekeeping missions, mainly in Africa, over the row.

“The Western Sahara problem may be seen as a small problem, but let us not forget that a spark may put a forest on fire,” the AU’s Western Sahara envoy Joaquim Chissano, a former president of Mozambique, told an informal meeting of the UN Security Council.


South Sudan – 29 April 2016

US announces $86 million for additional aide to South Sudan

United States (US) government has announced additional humanitarian assistance of $86 million to help conflict-affected people in South Sudan, as well as South Sudanese refugees in the region.

This new funding, announced on Wednesday, it said will provide much-needed “safe drinking water, emergency health care, nutrition services, shelter, improved sanitation facilities, agricultural training, and seeds, tools, and fishing supplies for the most vulnerable families and communities.”

Sudan Tribune


South Sudan to appoint new cabinet

South Sudan’s new cabinet is expected to be appointed on Thursday in preparation for its first meeting on Friday.

This first step towards the establishment of a new transitional government of national unity (TGoNU), to unite the two main factions divided by the two-year civil war, follows the arrival of vice presidential nominee Riek Machar in the capital Juba on Tuesday.

Machar’s much anticipated arrival follows repeated delays as he clashed with President Salva Kiir over the number of his followers, and the number and type of weapons they would be permitted to carry, who would be allowed to accompany him on his return to Juba.


Sudan – 29 April 2016

Sudan police teargas students

Sudanese police fired tear gas Thursday as clashes broke out during a protest at Khartoum University over the killing of a student by security forces, an AFP correspondent reported.

About 1 000 students staged a fresh demonstration at the campus on the banks of the Blue Nile in central Khartoum, the scene of regular protests.



Sudan’s armed groups declare six-month unilateral cessation of hostilities

Sudanese Revolutionary Front (SRF) has declared a six- month unilateral cessation of hostilities, and urged African Union mediators to organize a meeting with the government to make it effective.

In October 2016, armed groups from Darfur region, Blue Nile and South Kordofan states announced an unilateral six-month truce. However, since the end of last year, the fighting has been raging in the Two Areas with no end in sight.

Sudan Tribune

Central African Republic – 29 April 2016

In Central African Republic, UN Security Council Extends MINUSCA Peacekeeping Force Mandate

The United Nations Security Council decided Tuesday to extend the mandate of its peacekeeping force in Central African Republic after concluding that the war-torn country remains a threat to international peace and security. The 15-member world body said MINUSCA, as the force is known, will now be deployed until July 31.

MINUSCA recently oversaw the peaceful organization of a constitutional referendum in December last year, as well as mostly nonviolent elections that led to last month’s inauguration of President Faustin-Archange Touadéra, a former prime minister and math teacher.

International Business Times


Red Cross volunteers determined to combat malaria in hard to reach areas

Meri Line Sounget, of the Central African Red Cross Society, is the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies’ (IFRC) focal person for the HIV and tuberculosis programmes in the country, financed by the Global Fund.

However, this mother of three also doubles up as the person who oversees the mass distribution of long-lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets by Red Cross volunteers, in collaboration with the IFRC.

“I was very excited when I was first told that I would be leading Red Cross volunteers in the mass distribution of nets in the hard to reach areas of the country,” said Meri Line. “I had heard of the suffering of many families in overcrowded camps, those living in the open air and in bushes, so this was going to be an opportunity to be of service to them.