Niger Coup Leaders Repeal Law Criminalising Migrant Smuggling, Raising Concerns

Niger Coup Leaders Repeal Law Criminalising Migrant Smuggling, Raising Concerns

The coup leaders in Niger have overturned an eight-year-old law that criminalised migrant smuggling in the country, signalling a shift in the country’s approach to managing migration. The legislation, which aimed to combat the trafficking of migrants through Niger’s vast desert to Libya and Europe, had been instrumental in reducing the number of asylum seekers and migrants attempting to reach Europe in 2015.

President Mohamed Bazoum, who had collaborated with the European Union (EU) to stem the flow of people across the Mediterranean, was ousted in a coup in July. General Abdourahmane Tchiani has since declared himself the new head of state, and his ruling junta announced the repeal of the law, stating that it did not align with Niger’s interests.

The junta also declared that convictions made under the 2015 law would be nullified. This move indicates the junta’s intention to assert its authority over Niger’s sovereignty, defying international pressure. Following the coup, the EU suspended all security cooperation with Niger, and its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, along with the United States and France, refused to recognise Gen Tchiani as the leader. Borrell also announced the indefinite suspension of budgetary aid to Niger.

The repeal of the law poses a significant challenge to the EU’s strategy for managing migration flows from Africa. While it successfully reduced the number of migrants attempting the perilous journey to Europe, traffickers criticised the law’s strictness, as it carried severe penalties, including lengthy prison sentences and vehicle confiscation.

Concerns now arise that trafficking networks may seize the opportunity presented by the law’s repeal to resume pushing migrants into neighbouring countries such as Libya or Algeria, for onward transportation to Europe. Niger occupies a crucial position in the Sahel region, a belt of land stretching from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, making it a key transit route for migration.

The response from the EU regarding this setback to its migration management strategy remains uncertain. The repeal of the law by the coup leaders in Niger underscores the complexities and challenges associated with addressing migration issues and highlights the delicate balance between migration control measures and human rights considerations.


Source: BBC

Kenya Celebrates Impressive Strides in HIV/AIDS Fight, Acknowledges Partnership with PEPFAR

Kenya Celebrates Impressive Strides In Hivaids Fight, Acknowledges Partnership With Pepfar

President Ruto of Kenya expressed gratitude for the United States’ support through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR), highlighting the remarkable progress made in the country’s battle against the HIV/AIDS pandemic. Speaking at the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) 20th Anniversary Celebration in Kenya, President Ruto emphasised the transformative impact of the partnership between the two nations.

“We are highly grateful to the US government for this partnership that has changed the fortunes of our nation. Such a strong show of solidarity is highly appreciated, and we do not take the friendship and support for granted,” said President Ruto, acknowledging the rare nature of the collaboration.

President Ruto reflected on the devastating toll HIV/AIDS had taken on Kenyan households and communities just two decades ago, leaving behind a trail of death, illness, orphaned children, and socioeconomic devastation. However, he praised the significant strides made since then, attributing them to the support received from PEPFAR.

Over the past two years, President Ruto’s administration has increased financial investment in the HIV commodity pipeline by Sh 1 billion to prevent disruptions in the supply of essential resources. Furthermore, the government is committed to ending AIDS in children by 2027, in alignment with the goals set by the Global Alliance.

“The time is now to take a strong stand and make up for lost ground for the sake of Kenya’s children,” emphasised President Ruto, highlighting the universal healthcare coverage pillar of the Bottom-Up Economic Transformation Agenda as a crucial opportunity to address the domestic financing gap related to HIV/AIDS effectively.

President Ruto expressed his gratitude to PEPFAR, which has channelled over US dollars 6.5 billion into Kenya’s fight against the disease since 2004. The impact of this support has resulted in a 68.5 percent reduction in new HIV infections and a 53 percent reduction in HIV-related mortality. The quality of life for individuals living with HIV has also significantly improved.

Currently, 1.4 million people in Kenya are living with HIV, with 1.3 million receiving anti-retroviral therapy (ART) through more than 3,000 health facilities nationwide. Among the recipients are over 48,000 children and 55,000 breastfeeding mothers.

US Ambassador to Kenya, Meg Whitman, emphasised the importance of partnership between the government and the private sector in the fight against HIV/AIDS. She called for continued collaboration with the private sector to raise awareness about the disease and contain its spread.

Health Cabinet Secretary Susan Nakhumicha expressed satisfaction with the progress made in Kenya’s efforts against HIV/AIDS, highlighting that 95 percent of those afflicted with the disease are receiving treatment. Kenya is determined to end HIV/AIDS in children by 2027, aiming to achieve this milestone ahead of the global target of 2030.

Joyce Ouma, a representative from the Network of People Living with HIV/AIDS, extended gratitude to the government and PEPFAR for their support in providing life-saving medications to individuals affected by the disease.

The celebration of Kenya’s achievements in combating HIV/AIDS serves as a testament to the power of international partnerships and collective efforts in overcoming significant health challenges. As the country continues its fight against the pandemic, the commitment to ending AIDS and ensuring the well-being of its citizens remains at the forefront of Kenya’s agenda.


Source: Capital FM Kenya

New Gorbals Housing Association Granted Permission to Develop Homes at Pine Place

New Gorbals Housing Association Granted Permission To Develop Homes At Pine Place

In an exciting development for the Gorbals neighbourhood in Glasgow, the New Gorbals Housing Association has been granted permission to construct 18 flats and 10 houses at Pine Place. The land, previously occupied by the Gorbals Health Centre, which was demolished in early 2020, will now be transformed into a vibrant residential community.

The plans, submitted to the Glasgow City Council, outline the association’s vision of providing high-quality homes for social rent in close proximity to the centre of Glasgow. This initiative builds upon the ongoing regeneration efforts in the wider Gorbals area.

Purchased from NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, the site will feature a terrace of 10 townhouses, offering a combination of four and five bedrooms, each equipped with private gardens. Additionally, a five-storey block of flats will be constructed at the north end of Pine Place, with ground-floor properties specifically designed to be wheelchair-accessible.

The location of the development, near the Gorbals Rose Garden, is particularly noteworthy, as it is regarded as “one of the few places” in the area suitable for the construction of family-sized houses. The New Gorbals Housing Association has expressed its commitment to maximising the number of family homes that can be comfortably accommodated on the street.

To meet the needs of residents, the project will include the provision of 22 car parking spaces, ensuring convenient access for homeowners and tenants alike.

With the approval of the Glasgow City Council, the New Gorbals Housing Association is poised to create a thriving residential community at Pine Place, offering modern and affordable housing options in the heart of Glasgow. This development represents another positive step in the ongoing revitalisation of the Gorbals area, bringing new life and opportunities to the local community.


Source: Glasgow World