Elon Musk reveals his plan to link your brain to your smartphone

Elon Musk reveals his plan to link your brain to your smartphone

Emerging Tech Trends:

Step one: Drill holes in the skull. Step two: Implant “threads” into the brain.

Neuralink, one of Musk’s secretive companies, revealed the advance at a San Francisco event Tuesday, giving the public its first real peek at what the startup’s been up to since its launch two years ago. Neuralink has also created a neurosurgical robot reminiscent of a sewing machine, which can embed the threads — each much thinner than a human hair — in the brain.

So far, the threads have only been tested in animals, but Musk said he hopes to start testing in humans “by the end of next year,” a timeline that seems unrealistically ambitious. He’ll need to get the green light from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration first, which promises to be a complicated feat: The current procedure for implanting the threads requires drilling holes in the skull.

If he succeeds in getting FDA approval, it’ll likely be because he’s pitching the advance as a technology meant to address a medical condition: paralysis. The idea is that the threads will read neuronal signals from a paralyzed patient’s brain and transmit that data to a machine — say, an iPhone — enabling the patient to control it without having to tap or type or swipe.

Neuralink’s trials so far have been conducted on rats, and, it seems, monkeys. In a telling moment during the Q&A portion of the event, Musk veered off-script, saying, “A monkey has been able to control the computer with its brain. Just FYI.” (We don’t yet have evidence to that effect.) Neuralink president Max Hodak’s response: “I didn’t realize we were running that result today, but there it goes.”

If this technology is functional in human patients — and we should always be careful not to extrapolate too much from early animal studies to humans, particularly when dealing with complex brain systems — it could significantly improve quality of life for millions of people. Approximately 5.4 million people are living with paralysis in the US alone, according to a Reeve Foundation study.

As if to underscore Neuralink’s medicinal ambitions, the company’s head surgeon, Matthew MacDougall, spoke onstage dressed in blue scrubs. He emphasized that Neuralink’s main concern is patient safety, adding that eventually the company wants its brain implant procedure to be as non-invasive as Lasik eye surgery. He also said it’s “only intended for patients with serious unmet medical diseases,” like people who’ve been completely paralyzed as the result of a spinal cord injury.

But helping people with paralysis is not, it seems, Musk’s end goal — the futurist made clear he has much grander ambitions. Ultimately, he said, he aims “to achieve a symbiosis with artificial intelligence.” The goal is to develop a technology that enables humans “merging with AI” so that we won’t be “left behind” as AI systems become more and more advanced.

This fantastical vision is not the sort of thing for which the FDA greenlights human trials. But a study on helping people with paralysis? That may get a warmer reception.

Neuralink is arguably one of the foremost startups dedicated to biohacking, the quest to augment human beings’ physical and cognitive performance, often by performing radical experiments on ourselves. It’s now facing a problem common to many biohackers: The medical system, they complain, holds back progress.

“If you were to come up with a compound right now that literally cures aging, you couldn’t get it approved,” Oliver Medvedik, a biohacking advocate who directs the Kanbar Center for Biomedical Engineering at Cooper Union, recently told me. “By the definition we’ve set up, aging isn’t a disease, and if you want to get it approved by the FDA you have to target a certain disease. That just seems very strange and antiquated and broken.”

Musk said that the event, which was live-streamed, was not about showing off. “The main reason for doing this presentation is recruiting,” he said. He wants more people to apply to Neuralink’s open positions. The company currently has about 90 employees and $158 million in funding, $100 million of which reportedly came from Musk himself.

But Hodak described the purpose of the presentation differently in an interview with the New York Times. “We want this burden of stealth mode off of us so that we can keep building and do things like normal people, such as publish papers,” he said. (The company recently released a white paper explaining its new technology.)

Neuralink isn’t the first to explore brain-machine interfaces. Other companies like Kernel and Paradromics are also working in this space, as is the US military. Some scientists are currently working on brain implants that would translate paralyzed people’s thoughts into speech.

In other words, if Neuralink really has achieved what it says it’s achieved, this could be a major advance with promising applications for people down the road.

Just don’t expect those applications too soon: The company still has to prove that its system can work in human brains, and that the threads, once implanted, can survive in our brains for years without deteriorating — or causing our brains themselves to deteriorate.

nile-explorer-magazine

AFCON 2019: Algeria and Senegal face one in a generation chance to make history

AFCON 2019: Algeria and Senegal face one in a generation chance to make history

From: Sports Desk

The last time Algeria reached the Africa Cup of Nations final, Riyad Mahrez wasn’t yet born.

The Manchester City star’s stunning stoppage time free-kick against Nigeria in Sunday’s semifinal booked the Fennec Foxes a spot in the final for the first time in 29 years.

Algeria also beat Nigeria on that day in 1990, winning 1-0 in front of 105,000 fans on home soil in a match that has gone down in Algerian footballing folklore.

nile-explorer-magazine

Algeria supporters could see their team lift a first AFCON trophy for 29 years.

It remains the nation’s only AFCON triumph to date and for a country with the pedigree and talent that Algeria boasts, the turbulent intervening years have made for a painful wait to once again reach the pinnacle of African football.

“We are so happy to be in the final because it is something unbelievable,” Mahrez said after his dramatic match-winning display. “It is a great feeling.

“We have been very good in this tournament. We have scored 12 goals and conceded only two but definitely this game (vs. Nigeria) has given us more confidence to play the final. We are capable of winning it.

When Algeria take on Senegal in Friday’s final, it will be the second time they have faced off in the competition.

Algeria supporters celebrated long into the night in Paris.

The Fennec Foxes got the better of their opponents in a tight group stage match, edging past Senegal with a narrow 1-0 win.

“We played Senegal in the group stages and we know they are a very good team,” Mahrez said. “It will be a tough final.

“Always, even if it is another team, finals are always tough. But for Senegal, we know their strengths and weaknesses and we will go to give them a good game.”

The semifinal win sparked jubilant celebrations from Algerian communities around the world. In France, fans took to the Champs-Elysees in Paris and the streets of Lyon and Marseille and partied late into the night.

Meanwhile, fans shut down roads in north and south London as celebrations even overshadowed those of England’s Cricket World Cup win just a couple of hours earlier.

‘This is a game for history’

Friday will be the fifth AFCON meeting between these two sides and Senegal will be hoping to do something they have not previous been able to achieve: Win.

nile-explorer-south-sudan

Only once have the Lions of Teranga not tasted defeat against Algeria in the continent’s most prestigious competition, a 2-2 draw back in 2017.

But coach Aliou Cisse believes this generation of players — that includes Liverpool star forward Sadio Mane and Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly — is better than the one he captained to the country’s first AFCON final 17 years ago.

Supporters in Dakar celebrate after Senegal won the AFCON semifinal against Tunisia.

“I feel very proud,” he said after the 1-0 extra time win against Tunisia in the semifinal. “We haven’t reached the final since 17 years. This is the fruit of a long-time preparation. Those players worked hard for five full years and now we get the fruit of this hard work.

“Football is always charming. This is a game for history. Pressure is a part of the game, it is a part of my work. I played football since I was 12, and had always felt the pressure since then.

“I am not thinking of the final now, I’m just happy that I made Senegal’s people happy.”

That final ended in a painful penalty shootout defeat to Cameroon but Cisse is confident his players, with who he has developed a close bond since taking up the job in 2015, can go one better.

However, they will have to do so without the leadership of Koulibaly, who misses out on his country’s biggest game through suspension.

Senegal fans are dreaming of a first ever AFCON triumph.

“I have unlimited trust in my players and I felt they want to achieve something, Cisse said. “They did all what is needed to win. This generation is better than the 2002 one. My players told me they will be better than us, and they did.

“My relationship with them is like father-sons. When I became their coach in 2015 I told them our target is to reach the FIFA World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations final. That was the way to convince Kalidou Koulibaly to play for Senegal instead of France. Now here we are”.

nile-explorer-magazine

The Independent Day

The Independent Day

By Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

When the first bullet of freedom broke out from the barrel of a gun on 18 August 1955, all South Sudanese rose up in unity behind their leaders: fr. Saturino Lohuhre, Aggrey Jadeen, William Deng, Joseph Oduho, Gordon Mortat and Joseph Lagu, the SANU/Anya-Nya-one top leaders from 1955 to 1983. The vision and mission was the sole liberation of territorial integrity of Southern Sudan, total freedom and independence from Khartoum, within the bounds of its three provinces of Equatoria, Bahr Al Ghazal and Upper Nile, as they stood from 1.1.1956, the time the British and Egyptians colonisers left Southern Sudan and Sudan. The SANU/Anya-Nya-one failed to accomplish the mission.

In 1980, the Anya-Patroitic-Front reenforced by Anya-Nya-two took off for a new liberation leadership, principled on Anya-Nya-one. This new leadership was composed of: Gordon Mortat Mayen, Elia Duang Arop, Dr. Mayar Akoon Wakbeek, Dr. Ajou Akuen Ajou, Agolong Chol and others (for Anya Patriotic Front, from 1972 to 1983). The extended Anya-Nya-Two leaders: Akuot Atem Mayen, Gai Tut, Abdellah Chuol, Joseph Oduho, Benjamin Bol Akok and others. They were united on the ground in South Sudan and abroad, fighting for independence of one South Sudan.

On 16 May 1983, Col. John Garang de Mabior, Major Kerubino Kuanyin Bol, major William Nyuon Beny, major Salva Kiir Mayardit, major Ngor Maciec, ignited the new liberation fire, this time from Bor, Jonglei military garrison and moved their military base to Ethiopian borders. Here Dr. John group joined hands with Anya-Nya-Two leaders. Dr. John and Anya- Nya-Two leaders, then in Ethiopia, differed on vision and mission over separating South Sudan from Sudan and unifying New Sudan approach. But, eventually, they two agreed to unity of their forces in one army one movement.

On 18 August 1983, the Sudan People’s Liberation Army/Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLA/SPLM) were born. The SPLA/SPLM led by Dr. John, in its new manifesto and constitution, trajectories for liberation settled for revolution of what emerged to be known as “New Sudan;” taking the Sudan and South Sudan as a unit. Dr. John planned to transformed the Sudan for all the Sudanese, not just for the “Arab minority clique,” governing Khartoum and colonising South Sudan since 1956. Dr. John, in his capacity as a charismatic, political philosopher with major ideological commitments and as a good solider, managed the leadership of the Movement to a successful peaceful resolution in 2005. The 9 January 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) between the SPLM and Khartoum Government, signed by Dr. John and President Al Bashir respectively, broke opened the way for democratic referendum, favouring yet, the successful unanimous vote of 99% for independence on 9 January 2011. Thus, for veterans freedom fighters, President Salva Kiir Mayardit, Dr. Riek Machar Teny and their colleagues in the leadership of the SPLM and Government, along with all the citizens of South Sudan, raised the Flag of the SPLM/SPLA, turned National, in the image of the abled leader John Garang, the people and the sovereign nation of South Sudan among the world nations.

This is the sovereign Independence Day we are about to commemorate and celebrate together in unity. We fought for it together, we voted unanimously for it together and we raised its flag together on 9 July 2011. There cannot be a genuine reason, whatsoever, for any one of us to refrain over the celebration and honouring of our sovereign flag since it is void of any political contention.

In my opinion the Opposition parties can celebrate alone in the premises of their parties if they don’t want to Join President Salva Kiir’s State celebrations, tomorrow 9 July 2019 at the freedom square.

God bless
Peace and security ever
Violence and war never. Aldo Ajou Deng Akuey

UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s accession to the International Convention to protect Internally Displaced

UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s accession to the International Convention to protect Internally Displaced

Source: EIN Presswire

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency welcomes South Sudan’s ground-breaking accession to the 2009 African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa, also known as the Kampala Convention.

The Kampala Convention is the first and only regional legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons, which incorporates the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

“South Sudan becomes the 28th country to ratify the Kampala Convention. This is a significant milestone achieved by the world’s newest country. It is also timely as this year marks the tenth anniversary of the Convention.” UNHCR Representative to South Sudan, Mr. Johann Siffointe said.

Its accession has come at a time when South Sudan and the whole Africa region are faced with complex and protracted internal displacement challenges affecting millions of men, women and children. The Kampala Convention will guide a critically important legal framework in South Sudan for protecting, assisting and finding solutions for almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese, as well as for the prevention of future displacement by addressing the root causes.

“While congratulating South Sudan’s important and historic step forward, UNHCR urges South Sudan to move beyond accession and towards national legislation. South Sudan must ensure that the Convention leads to positive changes which will enable South Sudan to respond and find solutions for internally displaced South Sudanese,” Mr. Siffointe emphasized.

UNHCR applauds South Sudan’s encouraging step forward to protect almost 2 million internally displaced South Sudanese as well as more than 2.3 million South Sudanese refugees in neighbouring countries.

While the government is primarily responsible for the provision of emergency assistance and effective protection for internally displaced persons, UNHCR will continue to ensure that internally displaced South Sudanese have an access to adequate assistance and protection, and seek durable solutions.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). 

First Vice President of South Sudan H.E. Taban Deng Gai Calls for More Cooperation with Russia

First Vice President of South Sudan H.E. Taban Deng Gai Calls for More Cooperation with Russia

Source: EIN Presswire

The First President of the Republic of South Sudan, H.E. Taban Deng Gai, is leading this week a South Sudanese delegation to the Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum, where he talked about investment opportunities and the need for a stronger cooperation between Russia and South Sudan.

“With the resumption of peace and security, the government of the Republic of South Sudan has been especially active in attracting investment to the country. These efforts are proving successful: we have recently signed a second Exploration & Production Sharing Agreement for our biggest oil block last month, and are proud to have welcomed sizeable new entrants into our oil licenses over the past few years. We are proud to count Rosneft and other Russian energy companies as the partners of the rebuilding of South Sudan’s economy and oil industry,” he said.

H.E. the First Vice President notably insisted on the importance of the Russian support to South Sudan’s political stability and economic prosperity. He welcomed Russia’s various initiatives to strengthen its dialogue with Africa this year, and invited more Russian companies to come and do business in South Sudan. “We have committed to a long-lasting peace, prosperity and security for our people, and have emerged as a true African and global frontier of opportunity where everything is possible and the prospect of building a new world has become a reality,” he added.

Talking about the importance of South Sudan’s cooperation with Russia when it comes to energy and oil & gas, H.E. Taban Deng Gai notably highlighted the numerous investment opportunities offered to foreign investors within South Sudan’s oil industry. These include blocks B1, A1 to A6, E1 and E2, but also opportunities in pipeline infrastructure to the Indian Ocean, and in downstream infrastructure with the Safinat Refinery. “Our energy relations with Russia go beyond that of investments,” he explained. “We welcomed Russia’s support and engagement in South Sudan across the value chain, including when it comes to sharing experiences on local content and developing capacity building programs for our engineers.” H.E the First Vice President was accompagnied by Minister of Petroleum, H.E. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, who invited Russian companies and investors to participate in the upcoming South Sudan Oil & Power Conference in Juba on October 28-30, 2019.

The Republic of South Sudan has been successful in bringing back damaged and oilfields into production. The national oil production has been steadily increasing to reach a current state of over 180,000 bopd. As efforts continue to develop the sector, pre-independence production levels of 350,000 bopd should be reached by 2020. The government has been reforming the business climate to attract investments across South Sudan’s economy and welcomes all foreign investors to come and make business in the country.

Source: Distributed by APO Group on behalf of South Sudan Ministry of Petroleum.

Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

Scores killed in ‘barbaric’ attack on Mali village, UN chief urges restraint, calls for ‘dialogue’ to resolve tensions

Source: UN NEWS

The Secretary-General said he was “outraged by reports that at least 95 civilians, including women and children, have been killed and many injured”, following the assault on Sobanou-Kou village in the Mopti region of central Mali, according to a statement issued by his Spokesperson.

He also “strongly” condemned the attack and called on the Malian authorities “to investigate this tragedy”.

The Secretary-General expressed his “heartfelt condolences” to the families of the victims, the people and the Government, and wished a “speedy recovery to the injured”, the statement continued. He urged the Government and all actors to “engage in intercommunal dialogue to resolve tensions and differences”.

‘Unspeakable barbarity’

Meanwhile, the UN Stabilization Mission in Mali, (MINUSMA) said it was “extremely concerned” at the news of the attack, which has been corroborated by local authorities on the ground.

Preliminary information points to the attack being led by a group of armed men, and according to news reports, many of the bodies of the dead had been burned. Clashes between Dogon hunters – who have a highly distinctive traditional culture dating back centuries – and the semi-nomadic Fulani herders, have become a growing flash point in recent years.

While no one has yet claimed responsibility for this attack, tensions have been rising since the ethnic Dogon hunters were accused of carrying out a massacre on the semi-nomadic Fulani herders’ village back in March.

The situation has passed the threshold of tolerable, and it is time for the nation to wake up – UN Special Representative in Mali

Spokesperson for the UN human rights office (OHCHR), Ravina Shamdasani, said “these traditional disputes have always been there”, often fuelled by disputes over access to land and water. “But lately it has taken on a particularly deadly turn because entire Fulani communities – and we are talking about millions of people – are being painted as violent extremists simply because they are Muslim.”

Sobanou-Kou village reportedly had around 300 inhabitants, and the mayor, said the death toll could increase, amid reports that some 19 people are still missing.

The Special Representative in Mali, Mahamat Saleh Annadif, said he was “shocked and outraged” by the attack.

“I strongly condemn this act of unspeakable barbarity”, he stated, adding that this “spiral of violence” underscores that there are no bad guys on one side and good on the other.

“Everyone is responsible”, he stressed. “The situation has passed the threshold of tolerable, and it is time for the nation to wake up”, added the MINUSMA chief.

As of Monday Morning, MINUSMA had coordinated its response in support of the Malian authorities and is mobilizing humanitarian assistance to the affected populations.

Moreover, its security operations in central Mali are being redeployed to support the Malian Defense and Security Forces in securing and protecting the population. The UN mission also provided air assistance to help prevent further offenses.

And MINUSMA is currently deploying a special human rights fact-finding mission to investigate and bolster the Malian authorities in their judicial investigations.

Mr. Annadif indicated that MINUSMA stands ready to back the Government in any action that may alleviate the situation.

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

International partners pledge $1.2 billion to help cyclone-hit Mozambique recover, ‘build back better’

Donors have pledged an initial $1.2 billion to help restore livelihoods and rebuild infrastructure destroyed by cyclones Kenneth and Idai in Mozambique, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) announced on Sunday.

According to UNDP, a two-day international pledging conference in the central Mozambique city of Beira – one of the areas worst hit by cyclones Idai and Kenneth – wrapped up with development partners committing financial and technical resources to support recovery interventions as the country deals with the challenging devastation.

The powerful tropical cyclones, which struck Mozambique in quick succession this past March and April respectively, killed hundreds and impacted close to two million.

“The important point coming out of this conference is that this recovery needs to be resilient. Mozambique is prone to climate change disasters, and those cyclones were not a one-time event – unfortunately – and the probability of these disasters reoccurring, many times in the future, is very high,” said Noura Hamladji, UNDP Africa Bureau Reginal Director, representing UNDP at the conference.

Ms. Hamladji added that “there is a need to ‘build back better’, to look at infrastructure, resilience of communities in a different way. This is what this conference is all about, over and above requesting the solidarity of the international community to fund the reconstruction.”

UNDP said the Mozambique Government is establishing a Disaster Management Fund that includes a contribution to its capitalization of 0.1 per cent of the State budget, as well as contributions from partners. Regular external audits will be conducted to ensure transparency and accountability.

Partners, in particular UNDP, pledged to also support capacity development of the Reconstruction Cabinet, a platform established by the Government to ensure transparency and accountability in the achievement of results as well as promoting the development of norms for better reconstruction – building back better, and technical capacity to conduct feasibility studies and procurement, among others.

UN chief Guterres urged donors to turn solidarity into action for Mozambique

Sending warm greetings to the Conference on Saturday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres  said in a message that he was certain he shared with all a deep sense of distress at the loss of life, the devastation and the suffering caused by the deadly cyclones.

He reiterated his condolences and deep solidarity with the Government and the people of Mozambique, especially the communities most affected by these natural disasters.

“I would also like to express my sincere appreciation to all those who have contributed – and continue to do so – to alleviate the suffering of the people who have been deprived of their goods, houses, infrastructure and livelihoods,” said Mr. Guterres, noting that the UN and its humanitarian partners had been on the ground since the start of the crisis.

The world body’s support to the Government’s efforts included contributing to the coordination of international support; distributing food, drinking water and medicine; and providing shelter to those displaced.

But Mr. Guterres stressed that while the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated $24 million to Mozambique, it was necessary to recognize that to face the scale of the disaster, large additional resources are needed.

“The means at our disposal are not at all enough. We face enormous challenges: people’s basic needs remain unmet; the risk of disease outbreaks is evident; and the negative impact on food security due to the loss of crops will be very significant,” he said in his message.

He also noted that in order to strengthen the response to the tragedy, the United Nations launched an emergency humanitarian appeal of $282 million, which remained deeply underfunded.

Against this background, Mr. Guterres reiterated his appeal to the generosity of the international community, saying “this is the moment to translate into concrete gestures our solidarity with a country affected by one of the worst weather-related catastrophes in African history – and which also warns us about the urgency of tackling climate change.”

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

‘Regional security and integration’ in Central Africa under threat, Security Council warned

“Recent inter-communal tensions in eastern Chad opposing nomadic herders and sedentary farmers, as well as the attacks against villages in the Central African Republic…remind us of the urgency of addressing the issue of pastoralism and transhumance”, said François Louncény Fall, referring to the traditional practice of moving livestock from one grazing area to another on a seasonal basis, which has been a persistent source of conflict in the region.

On a more positive note, the UN Special Representative and Head of the Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) said he was “pleased” that the issue is “receiving increasing attention in Central Africa” and welcomed a draft regulation instrument on pastoralism and transhumance from a 27-28 May workshop in Kinshasa.

He reminded the Council that the UN Standing Advisory Committee on Security Questions in Central Africa (UNSAC) remains “the primary platform” where the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) meet to discuss peace and security issues and recommends actions to address threats to regional stability.

François Louncény Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), briefs the Security Council on Central African region. (file photo), by UN Photo/Manuel Elias

François Louncény Fall, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), briefs the Security Council on Central African region. (file photo), by UN Photo/Manuel Elias

Given the inter-regional dimension of the tensions, Mr. Fall made assurances that “UNOCA will continue to support ECCAS efforts in this area” and work with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel, “to promote cooperation and exchange of good practices between Central, East and West Africa on the issue”.

The UNOCA chief said that on 31 May, UNSAC noted the positive impact of the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s elections at the end of last year that have “enabled the country to experience a peaceful alternation of power”.

“They also welcomed the signing of the Political Agreement for Peace and Reconciliation in the Central African Republic (CAR)” and expressed support for completely lifting the arms embargo. Furthermore, they took note of Cameroon’s efforts to find “a lasting solution to the crisis in the North-West and South-West regions and encouraged the Government to pursue dialogue to that end”.

Since his last briefing, Mr. Fall reported that ECCAS “has made noticeable progress” on its reform process, that he said should help transform it into “a more effective organization for regional integration, conflict prevention and resolution, as well as peacebuilding”.

“UNOCA remains committed to help enhance these capacities, building on the valuable expertise already available”, he said.

According to the Special Representative, the reform should also provide the organization with “a more adequate mandate” as well as tools and the means to carry it out.

“I appeal to ECCAS member States to enhance their support to this process…for the benefit of regional peace, stability and integration”, Mr. Fall concluded.

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Accountability in Sudan ‘crucial’ to avoid ‘further bloodshed’, says UN rights office

Spokesperson Rupert Colville told journalists in Geneva on Friday that the UN was seeking the military Government’s cooperation to deploy the mission, which would seek, at the earliest opportunity, “to engage with relevant Sudanese authorities, civil society organizations and others”.

After the three-decade autocratic rule of President Omar al-Bashir ended in a military takeover in April, talks faltered in May between protesters and the ruling Transitional Military Council over a timetable for civilian rule.

The violence on Monday began when security forces fired on pro-democracy protesters in Khartoum, leaving a number of people dead and many more injured.

“Once again, we call on the authorities to ensure a prompt, independent investigation into the use of excessive force against protest camps – including the alleged involvement of the Rapid Support Forces”, he said.

He elaborated out that among its troops were members of the former Janjaweed militias that are linked to systematic human rights abuses in the Darfur region between 2003 and 2008.

“Accountability is crucial to avoid further bloodshed”, he spelled out. “We stress the need for a swift transition to a civilian administration”.

Also, on Friday the Office of Ethiopia’s Prime Minister tweeted that PM Abiy Ahmed and his delegation arrived in Khartoum “for talks with the Chief of the Sudanese Transitional Military Council, Lt. Gen Abdel Fattah al-Burhan”.

Meanwhile, amid the uptick in violence, a five-hour meeting on Thursday of the African Union ended with the suspension of Sudan’s membership to the pan-African group “with immediate effect”, according to an AU tweet.

Protect health care

For its part, the World Health Organization, WHO, expressed serious concern over incursions into Khartoum hospitals, which have resulted in the shutting down of emergency services, unwarrantedly transferring patients and injuries to medical staff and patients.

“Health care workers appear to have been targeted for fulfilling their professional duties in providing care to the injured”, WHO Regional Director Ahmed Al-Mandhari said in a statement.

This unacceptable situation…attacks against the very professionals and facilities meant to help – WHO Regional Director

He lamented that mobile health tent clinics that were set up to treat injured protestors, have been “set on fire and destroyed; medical equipment looted, and health care workers assaulted” and highlighted reports alleging that that female health workers have been raped.

“These actions represent a total and unacceptable violation of international human rights law and must stop”, stressed Dr. Al-Mandhari.

He maintained that health care “should be protected from political interference and security operations” and that health workers “must be allowed to treat the injured and sick, without concern for their own safety or that of their patients”.

“We call for an immediate cessation of all activities that put the lives of health staff and patients at risk and disrupt the delivery of essential health services”, underscored the senior WHO official.

WHO and Sudan’s Health Ministry continue to play a critical role in ensuring that hospitals remain operational and that essential medicines are brought into the country in a timely manner. Nine trucks carrying WHO medical supplies have already arrived in Khartoum.

“WHO will continue to monitor the situation and speak out as necessary about this unacceptable situation that has not only resulted in deaths and injuries, but also attacks against the very professionals and facilities meant to help”, concluded the Regional Director.

We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005

We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005

The Government of the SPLM and the opposition led by SPLM IO, are convinced beyond reasonable doubt, that “the leadership’s war is unwinnable by either side.” A fact which brought them to peace table and committed themselves to the R-ARCSS 2018. With outgoing declarations of commitment, the Government and opposition agreed to work together and realise the people’s peace expectations. The IGAD, AU and UN expressed the same. But the Troika (the US, UK and Norway) differed and expressed skepticism, doubting the commitment of the warring parties and possible mismanagement of the peace deal. Troika’s ambivalence, regime change and peace-making contradicted “good-faith” and mediation principles.

For this peace to succeed, the SPLM and SPLM IO must join hands and uphold the fundamental sovereign interests of the Republic of South Sudan. This means that South Sudan should identify true friends if it lacks ones at the moment. There is no shame in international diplomacy where friend “in needs is a friend indeed.”

By this summary, President Salva Kiir was genuine, and not desperate as some care-nothing South Sudanese commented, when he declared and emphasised before the parliament that “I have completely forgiven Dr. Riek Machar and ready to welcome him home.” Kiir wanted Riek and all South Sudanese to take charge of their country’s interests and co-operate with friendly countries and distant the enemies at this stage.

Kiir and Riek went to war against one another and we want them to restore back our lost peace before they retire peacefully enjoying their joined legacy of having liberated the lands they fought for for three quarters of their ages.

I appeal to them and the political leaders who signed the R-ARCSS to work for successful peace. No return to war because South Sudan is nothing now in the eyes of the world, but “a laughing stock.” We must restore our dignity, a pride of our liberation movements from 1955-2005.