Algerias Gaid Salah Calls for Mutual Concessions amid Unrest

Rabat – Algerian army chief Gaid Salah has once again called on  protesters to engage in a dialogue with the interim president to end the major  crisis in Algeria in the wake of the resignation ofAbdelaziz Bouteflika.On Tuesday, the army chief called for “mutual concessions” between the interim government and demonstrators, who have been calling for a radical change since February 22.Gaid Salah stated that the priority for the unrest to be solved is to “move towards a productive  dialogue that will help our country,” according to APF. The army chief also warned against any delay in the election, scheduled by the interim government for July 4.The Defense Ministry said: “Establishing dialogue means the willingness of all to listen to each other… and a sincere desire for the need to find appropriate solutions without delay.”Salah also suggested  a “serious, rational, constructive and clear-sighted dialogue” and “mutual concessions” to overcome the crisis.Read Also: Algerian Elections to Proceed Despite Popular OppositionGaid Salah also referred to  the Algerian civil war of 1990, urging the protesters to learn from “previous experiences and past events.”“The Algerian people do not want to forget” the bloody civil war that tore apart Algeria “in the 1990s,” he said, calling for “lessons from previous experiences and past events” before repeating that he has “no political ambition”. May 24 marked the 14th week of protests across Algeria.  Throughout the protests, demonstrators have carried banners and Algerian flags, opposing the July 4 election.This is not the first time when Gaid Salah called for a dialogue with protesters.  Amid the unrest, Algeria’s military chief Gaid Salah has warned protesters against election delay once before.“Holding a presidential election could help [Algeria] avoid falling into the trap of a constitutional void, with its accompanying dangers and unwelcome consequences,” Gaid Salah said last week.The Algerian government  also deployed hundreds of police officers to “surprise” the protesters. The Algerian political party,  Socialist Forces Front (FFS), denounced the crackdown on protesters.“The FFS strongly dencounces the systematic repression and violence used this morning by those in power against protesters and those who want to rally [in] the capital to march peacefully.”The party demanded  that all individuals under arrest be released immediately. read more

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Armed groups threaten every child in Central African Republic UNICEF warns

The report, “Crisis in the Central African Republic: In a neglected emergency, children need aid, protection – and a future”, finds that life has become harsher and more dangerous for children: thousands are trapped within armed groups, with thousands more, subject to sexual violence.Beyond the direct threats associated with the conflict, the country is suffering from a severe humanitarian crisis: 1.5 million children now require humanitarian assistance, an increase of 300,000 since 2016; over 43,000 children below five years old are projected to face an extremely high risk of death due to severe acute malnutrition next year; and one in four children is either displaced or a refugee.This crisis is taking place in one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, and one of the most dangerous for humanitarian workers – UNICEF’s Christine MuhiganaIn addition, the number of attacks against aid-workers more than quadrupled – from 67 incidents in all of 2017, to 294 in just the first eight and a half months of 2018: “This crisis is taking place in one of the poorest and least developed countries in the world, and one of the most dangerous for humanitarian workers,” said Christine Muhigana, UNICEF’s Representative in the Central African Republic. “Conditions for children are desperate.”Civilians bear the brunt of the armed conflict in CAR, which is driven largely by fighting between a dozen or so armed groups over cattle routes and lands rich in diamonds, gold and uranium.The warring parties attack health and education facilities and their staff, together with mosques and churches, as well as sites where displaced people have taken shelter. Consequently, almost 643,000 people – at least half of whom are children – were displaced across CAR, and over 573,000 had sought refuge in neighboring countries as of September.Displaced children are being hit by a malnutrition crisis, many with extremely limited access to health care, safe water and sanitation and – for children forced into the bush – conditions are even more dire.CAR has the world’s second-highest newborn death rate and maternal mortality ratio, fewer than three out of five children make it through primary school, and almost half the population has no access to clean water. The country ranks 188 out of 189 countries on the UN’s Human Development Index, a composite indicator measuring life expectancy, income and education.Despite the difficult and dangerous conditions in which its staff are operating, UNICEF is working to reach children in desperate need, in a variety of ways.These include providing lifesaving food to 890,000 women and children to stave off malnutrition, immunizing children from deadly disease, providing emergency education and recreation, and aiding the recovery of children brutalized by armed groups.Despite the major upsurge in fighting and displacement, only 44 per cent of UNICEF’s US$56.5 million funding appeal for 2018 had been met as of the end of October. “The children of the Central African Republic have been abandoned for too long,” Muhigana said. “They need attention and help now, and they will need it for the long run.” read more

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