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June 18, 2011

UN passes LGBT rights resolution

UN passes LGBT rights resolution – Wikinews, the free news source

UN passes LGBT rights resolution

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

The United Nations Human Rights Council has for the first time passed a proposal condemning discrimination against LGBT people. The vote in Geneva passed 23–19, with opposition coming from African and Islamic Arab nations.

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Image: Wilfried Huss / Anonymous.

South Africa proposed the resolution, which calls for a report on global discrimination based upon sexual orientation and announces “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity.” “The resolution before us today does not seek to impose values on other states,” said South African delegate Jerry Matthews Matjila, presenting his nation’s proposal on the final day of the council’s latest eighteen-day session. “It seeks to initiate a dialogue which will contribute to us ending discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Cquote1.svg The resolution before us today … seeks to initiate a dialogue which will contribute to us ending discrimination and violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Cquote2.svg

—South African delegate Jerry Matthews Matjila

The European Union, United States, and Latin American nations including Brazil agreed. Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Russia were among the opposition; five members did not take either side — China, Burkina Faso, and Zambia entered abstentions, Kyrgyzstan failed to vote and Libya is suspended.

Nigerian delegate Ositadinma Anaedu said, “We are dealing with a matter that falls outside of human rights,” and Pakistani Shafqat Ali Khan said on the Organisation of the Islamic Conference‘s behalf “We are seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce to the United Nations some notions that have no legal foundation in any international human rights instrument.”

Amnesty International rejected this notion. “The principle of non-discrimination and equal protection of the law applies even to people who are excluded sometimes based on their sexual orientation and gender identity,” Whitney Brown said for the organisation. “You can see [the resolution] as an authoritative interpretation of binding treaty law, which does prohibit discrimination.” Amnesty claims 76 nations prohibit same-sex relationships.

Cquote1.svg The Human Rights Council has taken a first bold step into territory previously considered off-limits. Cquote2.svg

—Human Rights Watch

South Africa was accused by other African nations of failing to support its neighbours in favour of Western nations. A Mauritanian diplomat alleged the resolution seeks “to replace the natural rights of a human being with an unnatural right.” South Africa is the first nation to specifically address sexual discrimination in its constitution, which was written in the 1990s.

Human Rights Watch welcomed the move. “The Human Rights Council has taken a first bold step into territory previously considered off-limits,” said Graeme Reid, head of LGBT rights at Human Rights Watch. “Today’s resolution breaks the silence that has been maintained for far too long,” said gay rights campaigners ARC International‘s John Fisher. Hillary Clinton, US Secretary of State, also welcomed the resolution: “This represents a historic moment to highlight the human rights abuses and violations that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people face around the world based solely on who they are and whom they love.”

The review of anti-LGBT discrimination is anticipated to be over by the year’s end.



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April 30, 2010

Algerian driver released by hostage takers in Niger

Algerian driver released by hostage takers in Niger

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Friday, April 30, 2010

Niger
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An Algerian driver has been released by his hostage takers in Niger. The man was abducted on April 20 along with a French tourist he was driving.

The Frenchman, who is in his 70’s, is still being held hostage; the pair were taken at gunpoint near the Mali and Algerian boarders. The gunmen are reported to have links to al-Qaeda.

It is reported that the driver was released in the last few days and has already returned to Algeria. Apparently, he was released in the Mali desert and made his own way back to Algeria. “Some people riding camels found him wandering. After some explanations, they took him to Algeria,” said a Nigerien military source to the Reuters news service.

The pair were abducted only days after four countries near the Sahara opened a military base to combat al-Qaeda. The vicinity in which the kidnapping took place is known as the “red zone”; foreign offices recommend that tourists avoid the area near the Sahara.

Hostage takings have become more frequent with governments having more trouble controlling the problem. Recently the Mali government sparked a row with Mauritania over the release of four militants.



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March 13, 2010

Kidnapped Spanish aid worker is released

Kidnapped Spanish aid worker is released

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

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A Spanish aid worker kidnapped in Mauritania last year has been released, according to the Spanish government. Alicia Gamez, 39, was abducted on 29 November along with two other Spanish aid workers—both men—who are still being held. A North African branch of al-Qaeda claimed responsibility. Spain’s Deputy Prime Minister, María Teresa Fernández de la Vega said in a press conference on Wednesday that Gamez was “safe and sound” and on her way to Barcelona.

Map of Mauritania showing Nouakchott and Nouadhibou

According to Fernández de la Vega, no ransom had been paid for Gamez’s release; she stated that it was a result of work done by Spain’s diplomats and intelligence services. She also expressed thanks for the “collaboration given by other countries”. She said that the Spanish government would continue efforts to see the release of the other aid workers, Roque Pascual and Albert Vilalta, who are reported to be “healthy, nervous and eager to be released soon”.

The three Spanish aid workers had been in Mauritania, working for the Barcelona Solidarity Action organisation. They were kidnapped at gunpoint while delivering relief to villages between the cities of Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. They had become separated from their convoy, approximately 170 kilometers (105 miles) north of the capital city Nouakchott. Vilalta was wounded by a gunshot to the leg but was treated for his injury. In early December, the al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb claimed responsibility. The hostages were believed to have been taken to Mali.

The al-Qaeda Organization in the Islamic Maghreb also claimed responsibility for the abduction in December of an Italian couple in Mauritania. Sergio Cicala, 65, and Philomene Kaboure, 39, were also apparently taken to Mali. Early reports indicated that Kaboure may have been released alongside Alicia Gamez, but these have been unconfirmed and now look doubtful.

A Frenchman, Pierre Camatte, captured in Mali in November by the same group was released last month, following a controversial decision to release four militants from a Malian jail. In the case of the Spanish aid workers, there have been reports that the kidnappers are demanding similar releases of detainees from Spanish custody, as well as a ransom. Spain currently holds dozens of convicted or suspected Islamic militants, including those convicted for the 2004 Madrid train bombings.

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March 7, 2010

Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children

Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children

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Sunday, March 7, 2010

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An electron micrograph of the poliovirus
Image: CDC/ Dr. Fred Murphy, Sylvia Whitfield.

An extensive vaccination campaign across 19 West and Central African countries is to begin today in an attempt to stem a year-long polio epidemic in the region. The United Nations and international aid agencies plan to immunize 85 million children under five. More than 400, 000 volunteers and health workers will take part in the campaign, visiting children in their homes.

The current polio epidemic has been going on for a year and there have been outbreaks in the last six months in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Chad, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania, Senegal and Sierra Leone. These countries will be the focus of the campaign, along with Benin, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Côte d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea-Bissau, Niger, Nigeria and Togo.

Efforts last year failed to halt the disease because not enough children were vaccinated. The program failed in part because local religious leaders told parents that the vaccines would sterilize their children, or cause AIDS. As well as targeting more children, today’s campaign features better training for volunteers. Vaccinations will be repeated on 26 March in the six key countries, and again on 24 April for all 19 countries involved. The campaign is funded by Rotary International who have provided $30 million.

In 2009 the World Health Organization reported that approximately 1,600 children were paralysed by the virus worldwide.

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March 6, 2009

Mauritania cuts ties with Israel, expels Israeli diplomats

Mauritania cuts ties with Israel, expels Israeli diplomats

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Friday, March 6, 2009

Mauritania
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Location of Mauritania

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Mauritania, see the Mauritania Portal
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In response to the Israeli offensive into the Gaza Strip in December 2008 and the early part of 2009, the African country of Mauritania has cut diplomatic ties with Israel and expelled the Israeli diplomats in the country. They have been ordered to leave the country in no more than 48 hours.

As a result of the expulsion, the Israeli government has closed their embassy in Nouakchott and staff could be seen leaving the building. Military personnel were also seen dismantling security features around the embassy and the guards have been ordered to stand down.

“The Mauritanian authorities have given staff at the Israeli embassy in Nouakchott 48 hours to leave the country. After General Aziz took the decision at the Doha summit, an envoy from the Mauritanian Foreign Ministry sent a letter to the ambassador of Israel to leave the country,” said an unnamed Mauritanian official.

The official also adds that the country’s decision to cut ties with Israel was made in January, during an Arabic nation summit in Qatar. Despite the decision, Israeli officials said they were not aware of the expulsions.

“We don’t know what is happening there exactly. We are still checking. They did not tell us they intend to expel our ambassador,” said an Israeli official. The official also said that the expulsions could be a show of power ahead of the visit of Muammar Gaddafi, the president of Libya. “Maybe they are just showing they’re tough.”



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December 21, 2008

Deposed Mauritanian president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi is released

Deposed Mauritanian president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi is released

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Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi.

Mauritania
Other stories from Mauritania
  • 18 June 2011: UN passes LGBT rights resolution
  • 30 April 2010: Algerian driver released by hostage takers in Niger
  • 13 March 2010: Kidnapped Spanish aid worker is released
  • 7 March 2010: Polio vaccination campaign targets 85 million African children
  • 6 March 2009: Mauritania cuts ties with Israel, expels Israeli diplomats
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Mauritania’s President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi has been freed “without conditions” from house arrest by the military junta on Sunday.

Sidi Mohamed Ould Cheikh Abdallahi (Arabic: سيدي محمد ولد الشيخ عبد الله) is a Mauritanian politician who served in the government during the 1970s, and after a long period of absence from politics he won the March 2007 presidential election, taking office on 19 April 2007. He was deposed in a military coup d’etat on August 6, 2008.

He was removed from Lemden to his soldiers guarded private residence in Nouakchott (Arabic: نواكشوط or انواكشوط), the Capital and by far the largest city of Mauritania. It is one of the largest cities in the Sahara. The city is the administrative and economic centre of Mauritania.

Sidi’s release is a result of protracted and intense international pressure on the ruling military High Council of State headed by General Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz, to restore constitutional rule to the nation. France and the US had canceled their aid, while the African Union has also suspended the country due to the 6 August coup d’état. But the leaders still refused to reinstate Sidi, amid the demands of the EU, the United States and other major donors.

Aerial view of Nouakchott.

Reuters has reported that “the EU says it will avoid sanctions that would hurt Mauritania’s 3 million people, and continues to pay Nouakchott over $100 million a year for fishing rights, underpinning the state budget.” Further, the United States on Friday announced it would cut trade benefits for Mauritania as of January 1.

It is expected that Sidi will be allowed to participate in a “national consultation meeting” on December 27. But in an interview by the French newspaper Le Monde, he said that “participating in the December 27 talks would be to legitimise the coup d’état”.



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  • “Mauritania president Abdallahi arrested in coup” — Wikinews, August 6, 2008

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August 6, 2008

Mauritania president Abdallahi arrested in coup

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Mauritania,Politics and conflicts — admin @ 5:00 am

Mauritania president Abdallahi arrested in coup

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Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mauritania
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Location of Mauritania

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To write, edit, start or view other articles on Mauritania, see the Mauritania Portal
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Mauritania’s President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi and Prime Minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf were arrested Wednesday in a military coup in Nouakchott, the country’s capital. The coup has shut down state radio and television.

Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi, who was the President of Mauritania until the coup
Image: Marcello Casal Jr./Abr.

“The security agents of the BASEP [Presidential Security Battalion] came to our home around 9:20 and took away my father,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi said, confirming that presidential guardsmen seized her father.

Soldiers gathered at the presidential palace after Abdallahi replaced senior army officers during a political crisis in the northwest African country, one of the continent’s newest oil producers which also mines iron, copper and gold.

A state council is forming under the command of former presidential guard chief Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz. The council’s “Statement No. 1”, which was broadcast by Gulf-based al-Arabiya television, announced that Abdallahi is now a “former president” and that his previous decision of sacking Abdelaziz as the head of the presidential guard had been voided.

The country, which has a long history of military coups, staged free elections in June 2007, two years after a previous coup.



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Anther military coup in Mauritania & the president is arrested

Filed under: Mauritania — admin @ 5:00 am

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Other stories from Mauritania
  • 29 January 2008: Mauritanian refugees begin returning home from Senegal
  • 6 January 2008: 2008 Dakar Rally cancelled over terrorist threat
  • 25 December 2007: Four French tourists killed in Mauritania
  • 15 February 2007: Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked
  • 27 June 2006: Mauritanians vote for new constitution
…More articles here
Location of Mauritania

A map showing the location of Mauritania

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Mauritania, see the Mauritania Portal
Portal:Mauritania

Another coup occurred on Wednesday 6th of August in Nouakchottwhen troops arrested the Mauritanian president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi & his prime minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf and shut down state radio and television.


Sources

  • “Coup in Mauritania as president, PM arrested”. AFP, 6/8/2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

Another military coup in Mauritania & the president is arrested

Filed under: Articles with broken source templates,Mauritania — admin @ 5:00 am

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Other stories from Mauritania
  • 29 January 2008: Mauritanian refugees begin returning home from Senegal
  • 6 January 2008: 2008 Dakar Rally cancelled over terrorist threat
  • 25 December 2007: Four French tourists killed in Mauritania
  • 15 February 2007: Air Mauritania Boeing 737 hijacked
  • 27 June 2006: Mauritanians vote for new constitution
…More articles here
Location of Mauritania

A map showing the location of Mauritania

To write, edit, start or view other articles on Mauritania, see the Mauritania Portal
Portal:Mauritania

Another coup occurred on Wednesday 6th of August in Nouakchottwhen troops from the presidential guards,em arrested the Mauritanian president Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi & his prime minister Yahya Ould Ahmed Waghf and shut down state radio and television. The country staged free and fair elections in June 2007, two years after a military coup. The country also has a long history of military coups

“The security agents of the BASEP (Presidential Security Battalion) came to our home around 9.20 and took away my father,” Amal Mint Cheikh Abdallahi said confirming that presidential guardsmen seized have seized her father.

Soldiers gathered at the presidential palace after Abdallahi replaced senior army officers during a political crisis in the northwest African country, one of the continent’s newest oil producers which also mines iron, copper and gold.

A state council is forming under the command of former presidential guard chief Mohamed Ould Abdelaziz & announced in a statement that Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi is now a “former president” & voided his previous decision of sacking Muhammad Ould ‘Abd Al-‘Aziz the head of the presidential guard.


Sources

  • “Coup in Mauritania as president, PM arrested”. AFP, 6/8/2008
  • “Mauritania coup leaders seize President, PM”. [[w:|]], 6/8/2008
  • “[ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/7544834.stm”. BBC, 6/8/2008
This text comes from Wikinews. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts, and no Back-Cover Texts. For a complete list of contributors for this article, visit the corresponding history entry on Wikinews.

January 29, 2008

Mauritanian refugees begin returning home from Senegal

Filed under: Africa,Archived,Mauritania,Politics and conflicts,Senegal — admin @ 5:00 am

Mauritanian refugees begin returning home from Senegal

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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A Fula village in Senegal.
Image: KaBa.

Mauritanian refugees stuck in Senegal for nearly two decades after fleeing ethnic clashes in their home country have begun returning to Mauritania under a U.N.-sponsored program. But many do not want to return.

There were goodbye ceremonies and welcoming ceremonies attended by officials on both sides of the Senegal River as more than 100 former refugees were ferried on motorized pirogues.

A spokesman for the United Nations refugee agency, Alphonse Munyaneza, explained international funding will help pay for resettlement.

“Each refugee returning back to Mauritania will receive a piece of land equivalent to 140 square meters for establishing a house. UNHCR and the government of Mauritania will provide construction material so that they can build a house,” explained Munyaneza. “We will provide three months of food ration. We will provide a tent also.”

Cquote1.svg Each refugee returning back to Mauritania will receive a piece of land equivalent to 140 square meters for establishing a house. Cquote2.svg

—Alphonse Munyaneza

Mauritanian refugee children broke out in song and laughter when officials arrived at their camps close to the border to get the process going.

There are more than 20,000 Mauritanian refugees in Senegal. Officials say the return program will extend over 18 months.

One of those happy to go is Haddy Sy. She says she left Mauritania after she was beaten up. This took place during a wave of ethnic violence that began in Arab Moor-dominated Mauritania in 1989 and escalated into border clashes, forcing tens of thousands of black, mostly ethnic Fula, Mauritanians into exile.

In the late 1990s, more than 30,000 refugees returned by their own means and some U.N. assistance.

Sy says she is leaving behind many good things in Senegal, including a peaceful setting, but that she is still happy to return to her home country.

Since taking office last year, the government of the elected, post-coup President Sidi Ould Cheikh Abdallahi has been making efforts to bring home the refugees, including several thousand more in Mali.

But many in Senegal do not want to return home, like Yaraah Sow, who lives in the Dagana refugee camp about 400 kilometers northwest of Dakar.

He says he is still very bitter about what happened nearly 20 years ago. He said his father, who was a civil servant, was attacked by a mob and died of internal bleeding at the gates of a hospital after doctors refused to treat him.

Sow accuses the military of seizing all his family’s property. He says that two of his younger brothers died on the trip to Senegal. He says his children are now going to school and that they are better off in Senegal.

One of the refugee leaders, Mohamed Ali Sow, who left when he was 10, says he is studying at a university in Senegal to become a lawyer to defend the rights of chased out Mauritanians.

He says the return program has been rushed, because he says people who had their property seized, houses burned, and jobs taken away, should have guarantees these will be restored. He says until then, he does not think it is wise to go back.



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