Foreign Minister Marjon V. Kamara has told Liberians that the withdrawal of United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) from Liberia by June 30, 2016, puts the nation at a crossroad. “We are being closely watched by the international community, to see if the years of reform and investments in democratic processes, including security sector reform will indeed yield sustainable peace,” Ambassador Kamara said. “Our partners have high expectations of us.”Minister Kamara made these remarks on Thursday, February 11, when she served as the Keynote Speaker at Liberia’s 59th Armed Forces Day celebrations, held at the Barclay Training Center (BTC) in Monrovia.She, however, expressed her confidence that Liberia can provide security and maintain peace after the inevitable departure of UNMIL. “I believe sincerely that we can and, indeed, we must,” she added.The new Foreign Minister nevertheless warned that the security of the state and the maintenance of peace in the post-UNMIL era will not and should not rest with the military alone. Reflecting on history, she said, sustainable security and continuing stability in this country will be defined more by the efforts all Liberians make – as a government and as a people – in addressing national challenges such as youth unemployment, reducing inequalities in income and opportunities, reconciliation and national healing, decentralizing social and security services, improving the quality of education and maintaining an enabling environment for investment. She indicated that cooperation and coordination between military and civil law institutions are key in the post-UNMIL environment; noting that the military can be useful in multidimensional ways in that environment.The Foreign Minister noted that some Liberians do not believe that Liberians have the ability to secure the country. “We must make our people understand – even if it means communicating in our local dialects – that there will remain a reduced UNMIL presence of military personnel and civilian police beyond June 30. However, security responsibilities once performed by UNMIL will now be solely in the hands of state security,” she clarified. Reflecting on the military in the past, the Minister said today’s Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) has evolved to become the most educated in the nation’s history with specialized skills in many disciplines.“Our men and women in uniform reflect high quality and standards, integrity, loyalty and commitment not to any particular ethnic group but to the nation. They are being trained not only in national defense but also in strategic institution building and civic responsibilities,” she told the audience. She stated that the military has also moved beyond its traditional role to being more civil and has become true to its mandate, as enshrined in the National Defense Act of 2008, in building a respectable track record for supporting civil authority. “The Health Department of the Ministry and the Medical Command of the Armed Forces have been providing medical examinations, treatment and HIV/AIDS counseling as part of their outreach to communities,” she said.She thanked President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, who is also Commander-in-Chief (CIC) of AFL, for her able and farsighted leadership and direction of the country and for the orientation of the nation’s security architecture, which began when she served as Chairperson of the Governance Reform Commission.Among other things, the Foreign Minister said that she is particularly impressed with the progress that the military has made in integrating women. “I understand that seven female officers and 73 enlisted women currently serve in the military, and that the Ministry of National Defense desires to reach a goal of 20 percent female enlistment.”Minister Kamara urged the Defense Ministry and the AFL to attain this target, which will contribute to the national objective of gender mainstreaming. “We congratulate the AFL for all of these exemplary works and the continuing dedication to helping breach capacity gaps and render assistance where it is needed. In the presence of UNMIL, the military has demonstrated that, in addition to its statutory responsibility to defend the territorial integrity of the state, it can provide effective support to civil authority. We expect them to do no less in the post UNMIL environment,” she added. The Foreign Minister reminded Liberians that they should not lose sight of the fact that the military is a part of the broader security architecture of the country that encompasses the police, immigration and other agencies. She asked these security agencies to collaborate under a well-coordinated framework to build synergies for the protection of Liberians within safe and secure borders. Ambassador Kamara also called on Liberians to envisage a post-UNMIL environment with a strong, well-trained, equipped and people-friendly national police force, decentralized and deployed throughout the length and breadth of this country. Following her speech, the Commander-In-Chief of the AFL, President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf conferred upon her the nation’s Distinguished Service Order (DSO).Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
Joao Carlos Teixeira [right] in action for Liverpool Joao Teixeira is set to leave Liverpool to join Fiorentina in the summer, claim reports in Italy.The Portuguese signed for the Merseyside club from Sporting Lisbon in 2012 but has grown frustrated by his lack of opportunities at Anfield.Having spent time on loan at Brentford and Brighton since his arrival at Liverpool, the 23-year-old was aiming to nail down a regular place in the club’s starting XI this term.But Teixeira has made just seven appearances under Jurgen Klopp and now, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, contact has been made between his representatives and Fiorentina.Teixeira’s contract at Anfield expires in the summer and there has been no sign of any renewal offer from Liverpool, who are prepared to lose the playmaker on a free. 1
1 December 2005Wits University’s Faculty of Health Sciences has come out strongly in support of anti-retroviral therapy (ART) for HIV/Aids on World Aids Day 2005.“This is important in the light of ongoing public confusion and fear surrounding ART, which we believe may prevent people from making use of life-saving medication that is increasingly available in the Gauteng province,” Professor Max Price, dean of the faculty, said in a statement.Faculty doctors working in public hospitals have been closely associated with Gauteng province’s ART programme since its inception in April 2004 and are collectively following up more than 10 000 people on ART, Price said.“The results are dramatic and unequivocal,” said Dr Francois Venter, an HIV clinician who works at the Johannesburg Hospital and who is currently president of the Southern African HIV Clinicians Society.“At Johannesburg Hospital, out of every 100 of patients started on ART, 90 are able to return to work and family life within months,” Venter said. “In the era before ART was made available, of these 100 patients, 40 would have died and another 40 would have become severely ill within one year.”According to Price, these findings are similar across all the ART treatment sites where Wits faculty doctors are involved.Positive personal testimonies of people on the public sector ART programme have been found at the Harriet Shezi Children’s HIV clinic at Chris Hani Baragwanath Hospital in Soweto.“Every life saved is a household spared the devastating loss of a parent, a bread-winner or a child,” said Dr Tammy Meyers, the paediatrician in charge of this clinic.“We strongly encourage all people living with HIV to seek care from health facilities in the province to enable them to make an informed choice about whether to start treatment and to find out how and where they can obtain treatment for HIV.”SouthAfrica.info reporter
South Africa is to intensify its anti-poaching strategy. (Image: WWF UK)Water and Environmental Affairs Minister Buyelwa Sonjica has announced the formation of a new special investigations team dedicated to the eradication of rhino poaching. This will help safeguard one of South Africa’s most enduring tourist attractions, its wildlife.The initiative could not have come sooner. Horrifying statistics show that since January 2009 84 rhino have been killed by poachers in provinces across South Africa. A breakdown reveals that the world-famous Kruger National Park is the country’s poaching hotspot, with KwaZulu-Natal’s rhino-rich nature reserves not far behind.The current poaching statistics are as follows:• Kruger National Park: 33• Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife: 19• Gauteng: 3• North West: 5• Limpopo: 7• Eastern Cape: 1• Mpumalanga: 16Sonjica made the announcement at a September 2009 meeting between herself, deputy environment minister Rejoice Mabudafhasi and various members of the executive council (MEC) from the provinces. The meeting was held to discuss new strategies to fight the recent spate of rhino deaths.The new unit is expected to tackle not only poaching, but other high-priority and organised environmental and conservation crimes. It forms part of an integrated anti-poaching strategy in which the Department of Environmental Affairs is working closely with all provinces where rhino are found.Experts hope that the unit will function in much the same way as the former Endangered Species Protection Unit of the South African Police Service. From 1989 until its disbandment in 2003 this elite unit was responsible for wildlife crime investigation and notched up great successes in its fight against international trade in endangered species.Coordinated effortsDuring the meeting the delegates discussed ways of supporting the anti-poaching initiatives of various conservation authorities around the country.The national parks authority, South African National Parks (Sanparks), is to lead a task team of conservation agencies from all provinces, with the aim of coordinating their efforts.Earlier in the year, as part of the integrated strategy, the Department of Environmental Affairs established a national biodiversity investigators’ forum in its Biodiversity and Conservation branch.This initiative enables the coordination of biodiversity-related law enforcement work, such as the efforts to stamp out rhino poaching, and will help authorities enforce national environmental legislation.War against poachingWhile poaching is still rife, the ongoing war against poachers is proving fruitful. Sanparks recently announced that it would channel US$260 000 (R2-million) from the Parks Development Fund into providing an additional 57 game rangers in the Kruger Park and equipping them with motorbikes, enabling them to cover their patrol areas more efficiently.The funds will also provide for the installation of a hi-tech crime information management system. Sanparks hopes that these new developments will give it the edge over would-be poachers.A further blow to criminal activities is the return of the South African military to patrol the vulnerable 450km national border between South Africa and Mozambique, in the east of the park. Military patrols along the border stopped three years ago.All 33 poached rhinos in the Kruger Park were killed along the eastern border, said Sanparks.“We intend to increase our efforts even more in ensuring that this scourge is routed out,” said Sanparks CEO David Mabunda. “Discussions have been started with Mozambican authorities to solicit their assistance in apprehending suspects and preventing illegal activities from proliferating on their side of the fence.”During 2009 at least 14 poachers, all of Mozambican origin, have been arrested and several illegal firearms seized in the Kruger Park. Altogether, 22 poachers around South Africa have been taken into custody since the beginning of 2009.In KwaZulu-Natal, which has also seen a surge in the number of rhino deaths, several suspects have been arrested in recent months. By late September 2009 the province had lost 19 rhino to poachers, 15 in areas managed by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife – formerly known as the Natal Parks Board – and four in private reserves.In January 2009 police and wildlife authorities cracked an international rhino-smuggling ring and arrested 11 people of South African, Chinese and Mozambican origin.Zero toleranceA report released in July 2009 by the World Wide Fund for Nature, the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, and wildlife trade monitoring network Traffic, says that illegal international trade in rhino horns is almost at a 15-year high.But South Africa is sending out a stern warning that it will not tolerate this unlawful trade: “Poachers must beware, because we will seek them out, we will find them and they will be dealt with. This is a war that we plan on winning,” Mabunda said.