Burundi’s main opposition party, the National Freedom Council (CNL), has condemned what it calls the mass arrest of its members who are accused of being linked to rebel attacks in the west of the country.
The party said nearly 100 of its members have been arrested in less than two weeks and most of them have not been taken to court.
Party leader Agathon Rwasa told the BBC, that CNL members are being arrested while we have nothing to do with the rebels. CNL was the main challenger in may’s general election that saw the ruling party, CNDD-FDD, retain the presidency.
He said his party’s representatives in the south-western Bururi province have been arrested for holding an “illegal meeting”. Rwasa added that there was “nothing illegal in a regular meeting of a political. The ministries of justice and security have not responded to the media`s request for comment.
Rwasa finished second with 24% of the vote.
EU Eyes Scheme To Share Surplus COVID-19 Vaccines With Poorer Nations
The European Union says it wants to set up a mechanism that would allow the sharing of surplus COVID-19 vaccines with poorer neighbouring states and Africa, in a move that may undercut a W.H.O.-led global vaccine initiative.
The EU, with a population of 450 million, has already secured nearly two and a half billion COVID-19 vaccine doses and candidates from six companies, although most of them still need regulatory approval.
EU health commissioner, Stella Kyriakides, told lawmakers on Tuesday the body is working with EU member states to propose a European mechanism to share vaccines beyond their borders.
She said the mechanism would get vaccines to poorer countries “before COVAX is fully operational.” COVAX is the global scheme co-led by the World Health Organization. It was set up last summer to ensure a fair distribution of COVID-19 shots around the world.
COVAX is already operational but has so far struggled to secure vaccines. It announced in December deals for nearly 2 billion doses, but the largest part of these shots has been pledged by vaccine makers under non-binding accords because COVAX is currently short of money to book them in advance.
“Firms will not give you doses if you don’t pay in advance,” a senior EU vaccine negotiator said on condition of anonymity, noting that the EU initiative was the result of COVAX having fallen short of expectations.
Internal documents seen by Reuters showed in December that COVAX co-leaders saw high risks of failure for the mechanism because of insufficient funds and complex contractual arrangements.
The WHO has warned of risks to fair distribution caused by rich nations’ hoarding of available shots, but publicly remains upbeat about COVAX and the possibility of delivering the first vaccines this quarter.
Kyriakides said the EU vaccine-sharing scheme should prioritize health workers and most vulnerable people in the western Balkans, north Africa and poorer sub-Saharan African countries.
The EU official said the EU could give some vaccines to COVAX which would then distribute them to poor countries.
It is however unclear whether the EU will donate or sell its excess doses. Sweden has set up a mechanism to sell its surplus vaccines. Decisions on sharing vaccines are taken by EU governments.
Violence Create Food Crisis In Northern Mozambique – WFP
The United Nations has cried out on the humanitarian crisis situation in Mozambique caused by Islamist insurgency in the north.
The World Food Programme says the cost of food had soared and that the violence had limited access to water, sanitation and education.
Nearly six hundred thousand 570,000 persons have been forced to flee their homes. Hundreds have been killed by the jihadists, who launched their insurgency more than three years ago.
Militant attacks have forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes in Mozambique’s northern Cabo Delgado province.
The U.N. World Food Programme (WFP) spokesman Tomson Phiri told a U.N. Briefing on Tuesday, “what is happening is nothing short of a food security and nutritional crisis,” which he further described as a “humanitarian disaster.”
The attacks have forced 570,000 people to flee, Mozambique president Filipe Nyusi said last month, saying he would defeat insurgents who stepped up attacks since pledging loyalty to Islamic state last year.
Speaking ahead of a joint briefing by U.N. agencies on Wednesday, Phiri said there were limited supplies so the cost of food had soared, while access to water and sanitation was also impacted, as was education.
The insurgent group, Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama, staged its first attack in 2017. Known at first mainly for beheadings, the fighters declared allegiance to Islamic State in June 2019 and since then have increased attacks in scale and frequency.
Nine African Nations In Debt To UN Lose Voting Rights
Nine African countries, who are owing membership dues to the United Nations, are about to lose their voting rights in the general assembly. Niger, Central African Republic, Somalia, Comoros, Libya, the Congo, Zimbabwe, South Sudan and Sao Tome and Principe are reported to be indebted to the United Nations.
U.N. Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, says the African nations, and Iran, should lose their voting rights as required under the U.N. Charter after defaulting on payment of their dues to the united nations’ operating budget.
Guterres listed in a letter to the United Nations General Assembly president, Volkan Bozkir, on monday, the minimum each country must pay for their voting rights to be restored.
The U.N. Charter gives the 193-member general assembly the authority to decide “that the failure to pay is due to conditions beyond the control of the member,” and in that case a country can continue to vote. That has not been invoked in these cases.
Iran topped the list and needs to pay $16,251,298 followed by Somalia, which must pay $1,443,640. Comoros $871,632, Sao Tome and Principe $829,888, Libya $705,391, Congo $90,844, Zimbabwe $81,770, Central African Republic $29,395, south Sudan $22,804, and Niger $6,733 are the remaining countries. And Iran
The Republic of Congo was also sanctioned. Brazzaville must pay 90,844 dollars to recover its right to vote. South Sudan (22,804 dollars) and Zimbabwe (81,770 dollars).
While Comoros, Sao Tome and Principe and Somalia are on probation.
The annual operating budget of the un is about 3.2 billion dollars. The separate budget for peace operations is about 6.5 billion dollars.