BRIEFING

IPIS Briefing December 2020 – Potential risks to a successful implementation of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation

The IPIS briefing offers a selection of articles, news and updates on natural resources, armed conflict, Business & Human Rights and arms trade.  Every month, an editorial and related publications shed a light on a specific topic in IPIS’ areas of research.

In focus: Potential risks to a successful implementation of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation.

In the news: Ethnic profiling of Tigrayans heightens tensions in Ethiopia; The secret war in Tigray; EU adopts a global human rights sanctions regime.

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This briefing is produced with the financial assistance of the European Union. The contents of this document are the sole responsibility of IPIS and can under no circumstances be regarded as reflecting the position of the European Union.


IN FOCUS: POTENTIAL RISKS TO A SUCCESSFUL IMPLEMENTATION OF THE EU CONFLICT MINERALS REGULATION

The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation (EU CMR) has entered into force on January 1, 2021. The EU CMR intends to ensure that ores and metals of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold (3TG) which enter the EU are subject to mandatory due diligence in line with the standards developed by the OECD. The EU reasons that responsible behaviour by companies operating in conflict-affected or high-risk areas (CAHRAs) can play a powerful and positive socio-economic role in these areas (1).

In this briefing we highlight three potential risks to the successful implementation of the EU CMR. First of all, the limited preparedness at the level of producing countries can increase the risk of an economic disengagement from CAHRAs. Secondly, implementation and enforcement at Member State level risks to be non-transparent and unaligned. Thirdly, the import volume thresholds for EU importers could result in partly excluding the riskiest imports from CAHRAs. These risks are explained in more detail below.

The risk of disengagement from CAHRAs

Companies importing 3TG into the EU above certain thresholds must make all reasonable efforts to identify, prevent and mitigate risks and provide evidence that their operations are not financing conflicts or human rights violations along the supply chain. By sourcing responsibly, the EU CMR aims to improve the impact of 3TG mining in producing countries. Yet, in order for the EU CMR to have the desired effect on the ground, 3TG producing countries, especially CAHRAs, should be aware and prepared for the due diligence requirements this regulation imposes on companies sourcing from their mines. Effective measures at both artisanal and small-scale (ASM) and large-scale (LSM) mining operations should be put in place to avoid human rights abuses and conflict financing. Moreover, transparency and accessibility of data is needed to assure potential buyers of the absence of red flags on the ground.

Without these efforts, there is a risk that industry actors (including smelters and refiners on the so-called EU White List (2)) will disengage from CAHRAs and/ or stop purchasing artisanally mined minerals. Mining actors in CAHRAs may increasingly depend on a reduced number of purchasers e.g. from China, which can negatively impact their trading position in the market.

The EU has committed to a series of accompanying measures specifically intended to support responsible mineral sourcing in CAHRAs. These accompanying measures aim at supporting artisanal miners, state and non-state actors in creating the conditions on the ground for transparent and responsible supply chains. Despite these efforts, stakeholders in producing countries have little knowledge of the upcoming EU CMR and how this might impact their mining sector. During an online event that brought together representatives from civil society organizations from 3TG producing countries in Africa and South-America, it became clear that very few were aware of the EU CMR. Moreover, except for the DRC and its neighbouring countries (3), stakeholders such as government officials, mining operators and civil society have little to no experience with regulatory measures concerning responsible sourcing. This limited preparedness in producing countries increases the risk of an economic disengagement from CAHRAs, which would negatively impact the (ASM) mining communities in these countries.

The risk of non-transparent and unaligned implementation

The EU Member States are responsible for checking that EU importers respect the requirements which the EU CMR sets out. Member States are also responsible to establish the rules applicable to infringements of the EU CMR. While there is hence an important role for EU Member States, the state of implementation, and the transparency on this process, varies greatly among Member States. To date, there are still many uncertainties on how things stand with the implementation and the harmonization of the EU CMR implementation at Member State level. A Joint Policy Note dedicated to this subject will be published in January 2021 by a consortium of European NGOs, giving an overview of the state of implementation, including an analysis of gaps and risks (4).

The risk of excluding the riskiest imports

EU importers that fall below certain annual volume thresholds will not be subject to the requirements of the EU CMR (5). All volume thresholds are set at a level that ensures that no less than 95% of the total volumes imported into the EU of each mineral and metal is covered. The initial motivation for the thresholds was to avoid an excessive compliance burden on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The thresholds, however, do not guarantee that only lower risk imports will be exempted from the requirements of the EU CMR. On the contrary, there are good reasons to suspect that many of the highest-risk imports into the EU are transacted in relatively low quantities, some of which may fall below the thresholds and therefore will fall outside the scope of the EU CMR.

The EU has not disclosed a dataset with imported volumes and their origin disaggregated by individual EU importers. Hence, it is currently difficult to anticipate whether direct EU imports from specific countries, such as the Central African Republic, Sudan and Colombia, will be affected by the EU CMR. For example, based on their value (6), as volumes are not available, gold imports from several countries on the recently published list of CAHRA countries, would likely fall below the EU’s thresholds if these were imported by companies that do not import additional gold from other countries.

Where in reality possibly few direct imports into the EU from CAHRAs will be covered by the EU CMR, the above-mentioned accompanying measures and enforcement efforts could more productively focus on indirect imports via trading hubs. Trading hubs are however not included on the CAHRA list. Yet, some notorious trading centers such as Dubai (UAE) (7), can be considered as high-risk areas in the context of illicit trade and conflict financing.

Concluding remarks

The EU Regulation on Conflict Minerals has entered into force, but as is summarized in this briefing, to date there are several risks to the successful implementation of the EU CMR. Successful implementation includes positive impact on the ground, reduced number of serious human rights violations during the exploitation and trade of 3TG minerals and, by controlling the trade in minerals from conflict areas, eliminating the financing of armed groups. In 2023 the EU CMR will be reviewed. Baseline data and continuous monitoring are essential to assess the risks mentioned in this briefing. With the EU CMR just entering into force, stakeholders from civil society, government institutions and industry should start sooner rather than later with identifying and mitigating potential adverse impacts along the supply chain.

Lotte Hoex

 

Notes:

  • Joint Communication, https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=celex%3A52014JC0008
  • Importers that demonstrate, a.o. through third party audits, that they source exclusively from smelters and refiners on the White List, will not have to carry out audits on their suppliers. The so-called White List is drawn up taking into account global responsible smelters and refiners covered by supply chain due diligence schemes recognised by the EU Commission.
  • The US Dodd Frank Act Section 1502 is specifically targeted towards 3TG minerals from the DRC and neighbouring countries. Since it has entered into force, in 2010, multiple responsible sourcing initiatives have been set up in the DRC and its neighbouring countries.
  • Joint Policy Note, forthcoming.
  • Volume thresholds are specified in Annex 1 of the EU Regulation.
  • See DG Trade Market Access Database, accessible through https://trade.ec.europa.eu/access-to-markets/en/statistics. These statistics are not disaggregated by individual EU importer but only per EU Member State.
  • https://thesentry.org/2020/11/10/4869/conflict-gold-flooding-dubai-linked-money-laundering-mass-violence/; https://www.reuters.com/investigates/special-report/gold-africa-smuggling/.

FURTHER READING

Combatting conflict minerals | European Commission

In politically unstable areas, armed groups often use forced labour to mine minerals. They then sell those minerals to fund their activities, for example to buy weapons. These so-called ‘conflict minerals’, such as tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold, can find their way into our mobile phones, cars and jewellery.

Conflict Affected and High-Risk Areas (CAHRAs) | Responsible Minerals Initiative

The RMI encourages responsible sourcing from conflict affected and high risk areas (CAHRAs). The RMI does not provide lists of countries that may be conflict-free or conflict-affected. The nature of conflict is ever-changing, while some conflicts may be country-wide, many conflict-related and high-risk incidents are concentrated on a regional or local level, or involve individual sites, entities, and actors…

Conflict Minerals Compliance – European Commission Publishes Global List of Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas | 21 December 2020 | Ropes & Gray LLP

The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation takes effect on January 1, 2021. With the effective date of the Regulation nearing, last Thursday, the European Commission published its long-awaited global list of conflict-affected and high-risk areas, or CAHRAs. The Regulation is concerned with sourcing from CAHRAs anywhere in the world.

The relevance of the EU Conflict Minerals Regulation for 3TG producing countries | 17 December 2020 | IPIS vzw

The EU Conflict Minerals Regulation will come into force on January 1, 2021. From this date, European 3TG importers will need to carry out due diligence to identify, manage and report on risks in their supply chains. Concerned companies, the Member State Competent Authorities, the EU Commission and producing countries all need to make the necessary adjustments in the coming months. Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) also have a role to play in the effective implementation of the EU CMR. IPIS contributes to this effort by focussing on the effective implementation in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

Commission Delegated Regulation (EU) 2019/429 of 11 January 2019 supplementing Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council as regards the methodology and criteria for the assessment and recognition of supply chain due diligence | 19 March 2019 | Official Journal of the European Union

Regulation (EU) 2017/821 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-ri | 19 May 2017 | Official Journal of the European Union

EU Reaches Landmark Agreement on Conflict Minerals Regulation | 22 November 2016 | European Commission

The EU Institutions today reached an agreement on the final shape of an EU Regulation on conflict minerals, which aims to stop the financing of armed groups in developing countries through the trade of tin, tantalum, tungsten and gold. The agreement on the Regulation, brokered by the Commission, will ensure that the vast majority of these minerals and metals imported to the EU are sourced responsibly.

IN THE NEWS

BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

DRC Minister of Mines Joins Cobalt Action Partnership | 23 December 2020 | CSR Wire

The Responsible Minerals Initiative (RMI), as the Partnership Lead of the Cobalt Action Partnership (CAP), today with CAP Implementing Partners announced that His Excellency Professor Willy Kitobo Samsoni, National Minister of Mines of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), is joining the CAP Steering Committee. This step demonstrates a significant step to link the global desire for responsible cobalt supply chains with the important commitment of DRC government actors.

Working Towards the Elimination of Child Labour in Supply Chains in Africa | Winter 2020 | The Business & Human Rights Review | Allen & Overy LLP | JD Supra

With one in five children in child labour – and about 62 million children in child labour in agriculture – Africa currently represents the region with the highest prevalence of child labour in both absolute numbers and percentage. Most of child labour is found into the lower tiers of global supply chains (GSCs) where decent work deficits such as informal and seasonal employment contracts, poor working conditions and low wages are prevalent, and where child labour can be difficult to detect and manage.

Towards an EU Regulation on Human Rights and Environmental Due Diligence | Winter 2020 | The Business & Human Rights Review | Allen & Overy LLP | JD Supra

On 29 April 2020, the European Commissioner for Justice, Didier Reynders, announced that the European Commission will develop legislation, to be introduced in 2021, which would require all businesses in the European Union to undertake mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence.

Finding a silver lining in the rejection of the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative: a hope of legal accountability in the parliamentary counterproposal (Part 1) (Part 2) | 17 December 2020 | Opinio Juris

On 29th November 2020, Switzerland narrowly rejected the popular Responsible Business Initiative (RBI) which would have obliged Swiss companies and the businesses they control anywhere in the world to respect human rights and environmental standards and introduced civil liability for the controlling company for breaches of those norms. Instead, a Parliament counterproposal, introducing mainly new reporting obligations, will automatically enter into force.

Business and Human Rights: Corporate Human Rights Benchmark 2020 signals the need for businesses to do more | 17 December 2020 | Mayer Brown

In November 2020, the World Benchmarking Alliance published the 2020 Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (“CHRB”), which ranks the human rights performance of 230 companies.1 The CHRB has been increasing in prominence since its inception in 2017. The publication of the 2020 CHRB comes at a time when investors, shareholders and lenders are increasingly looking for meaningful data to measure the Environmental, Social and Governance (“ESG”) performance of companies – particularly “Social” factors, where performance has traditionally been harder to measure.

The EU’s Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime Comes into Force | 16 December 2020 | JD Supra

The EU’s struggles with its new human rights regime | 21 December 2020 | EU Reporter

The EU’s new global human rights sanctions regime came into force on December 8. Council Regulation (EU) 2020/1998 provides for the freezing of funds and economic resources and travel bans on those responsible for or involved in serious human rights violations and abuses worldwide. Individuals and entities who provide financial, technical or material support for, or are otherwise involved in or associated with, listed individuals or entities may also be targeted.

Switzerland to Impose Legal Obligation on Swiss-Based Firms for Environment and Human Rights Enforcement across the world | 16 December 2020 | The CSR Journal

Switzerland is all set to bring about landmark legislation that is aimed at tightening the responsibilities of Swiss-based companies with respect to their global activities. The key element of the mandate was the introduction of a legal obligation on Swiss-based multinationals to respect international environmental standards as well as human rights in all of their business activities worldwide.

The art of using supply chains to defend worker rights | 14 December 2020 | OpenDemocracy

The Fair Food Program protects farmworkers by closing the accountability loophole in the tomato supply chain. But can it be replicated?

Council of the EU calls for due diligence rules along global supply chains | 9 December 2020 | Steptoe & Johnson LLP

On December 1, 2020 the Council of the EU adopted Conclusions calling on the Commission to launch an Action Plan by 2021 focusing on shaping global supply chains sustainably, promoting human rights, social and environmental due diligence standards and transparency. In April 2020, the Commission already announced its intention to develop a legislative proposal and published a study on due diligence requirements through the supply chain.

Global CSR Report: De Beers Group Committed to ‘Building Forever’ | 8 December 2020 | The CSR Journal

The De Beers Group is the world’s leading diamond company, with unrivalled expertise in the exploration, mining and marketing of rough diamonds since 1888. As the world’s largest producer and distributor of diamonds, and in partnership with the countries where they operate, the De Beers Group considers it their responsibility to protect the natural world and improve the lives of people along a diamond’s journey. This is why ‘Building Forever’ – their blueprint for creating a positive and sustainable impact that will endure well beyond the discovery of their last diamond – is at the heart of everything they do.

Mining companies on the spot over working conditions | 8 December 2020 | The New Times

Rwanda Miners Union has called on companies involved in the mining business to seek sustainable solutions to major problems that are hampering workers’ productivity and welfare in the sector.

In Cameroon, child gold miners sacrifice education for survival (video) | 7 December 2020 | France24

According to the International Labour Organization, at least one million children aged five to 17 work in gold mines around the world. In eastern Cameroon, thousands of children spend their days at makeshift mines. They risk their health for small amounts of gold they then sell for a pittance at the local black market. Most of these children have never been to school, sacrificing their education for the survival of their families. It’s a bleak reality that a handful of NGO workers are trying to change. Our correspondents report.

EU approves its ‘Magnitsky Act’ to target human rights abuses | 7 December 2020 | DW

EU adopts a global human rights sanctions regime | 7 December 2020 | Council of the EU

Under a new system similar to the US Magnitsky Act, the EU now has more powers to punish individuals involved in human rights violations. The new rules will make it easier to ban them from entering the bloc.

Steinmetz to face corruption charges at Geneva trial | 7 December 2020 | Mining

Israeli diamond tycoon will attend Guinea graft trial in Geneva, says lawyer | 6 December 2020 | The Times of Israel

Israeli diamond tycoon Beny Steinmetz will appear in a Geneva court in January to face charges of corruption and forgery relating to contracts in Guinea, Reuters reported, citing his lawyer.

Turning Blind Eye to Human Rights Violations, Corruption Hurts Africans Today and Tomorrow and the Oil and Gas Industry | 7 December 2020 | African Energy Chamber | AfricaNews

Nigeria has been attracting the world’s attention in recent months for all the wrong reasons. Nigerians have taken to the streets to protest police brutality after social media users spread accounts of an unarmed youth being shot and killed by a police officer with the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS). The protests quickly grew, from their epicenter in Lagos, into a nationwide plea to end government corruption and widespread human rights abuses.

New corporate responsibility rules hand power to consumers | 6 December 2020 | SwissInfo

The corporate liability initiative was rejected by popular vote last Sunday. But multinationals based in Switzerland will still have to comply with new rules introduced by the counter-proposal. This is a chance for consumers to play a greater role, says economist Emmanuel Fragnière.

Switzerland set to adopt human rights reporting and limited due diligence law after referendum on stricter proposal fails | 4 December 2020 | Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

On 29 November 2020, a far-reaching proposal to introduce new human rights and environmental due diligence and corporate liability obligations into Swiss law failed to get the required ‘double majority’ in a referendum in Switzerland.

A New Transparency Law Could Change the Jewelry Business | 4 December 2020 | JCK Online

De Grisogono’s bankruptcy earlier this year demonstrated that jewelers need to have a better sense of who the companies are that they’re dealing with. Under new legislation, they may no longer have a choice.

Behind the shine: how the jewellery trade relies on minerals tainted with death | 4 December 2020 | Open Democracy

Leading companies are turning a blind eye to violence, exploitation and environmental destruction in the global mining industry.

Human Rights: Industry Could do Better… and so Could Watchdogs | 3 December 2020 | IDEX Online

The jewelry industry did not get good marks in its end-of-term report from Human Rights Watch (HRW). None of the firms surveyed in the NGO’s report, entitled Sparkling Jewels, Opaque Supply Chains, achieved an “excellent”. Most were rated moderate, fair or weak, and a few got no score at all because they didn’t bother handing in their homework – that’s to say they didn’t respond to HRW questions.

Nestlé & Cargill v. Doe Series: A Canadian Perspective – Takeaways from Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Araya | 3 December 2020 | Just Security

Canadians working to promote human rights accountability for multinational businesses have long looked to Alien Tort Statute (ATS) litigation in the United States with a mixture of admiration and envy. Canada is home to almost half of the world’s publicly listed mining and exploration companies, many of which are associated with allegations of human rights violations in connection with their overseas operations. Yet, early attempts in the 1990s and 2000s at bringing lawsuits in Canada against Canadian corporations for human rights violations linked to their activities abroad were unsuccessful. (See e.g. cases against Anvil Mining Ltd. and Cambior Inc.)

Glencore ups ante on responsible cobalt, extends GEM supply deal | 3 December 2020 | S&P Global

Diversified natural resources company Glencore and China’s GEM have extended their partnership on the supply of cobalt hydroxide by another five years and have formally embedded responsible sourcing and sustainability into it.

International Human Rights Litigation Coming Home With Help From The Canadian Senate And The U.S. SEC | 2 December 2020 | Vinson & Elkins LLP | JD Supra

In the past, U.S. and Canadian courts have not been receptive to litigation of human rights issues solely related to plaintiffs who are neither citizens of nor located in either country. These courts believed that what happened in a place such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo should stay in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. As a result, the fear of litigation in a home country legal system did not impact U.S. and Canadian companies’ behavior in international projects or international supply chains.

Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Initiative Brought to a Public Vote in Switzerland Initiative Fails, Parliament Indirect Counterproposal Moves Forward | 1 December 2020 | Ropes & Gray LLP

On November 29, a public referendum was held to amend the Swiss constitution that would have required mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence by businesses and introduced liability for extraterritorial human rights and environmental violations. The initiative failed. However, the story does not end there. The Swiss government will be tasked with implementing the narrower indirect counterproposal previously agreed upon by the Parliament, unless a popular vote is requested and the indirect counterproposal is rejected.

U.S. Supreme Court justices question human rights claims against Nestle and Cargill | 1 December 2020 | Reuters

Supreme Court Seems Ready to Limit Human Rights Suits Against Corporations | 1 December 2020 | NYT

Nestle, Cargill at high court in child labor case | 1 December 2020 | The Business Journal

High Court Signals Narrow Nestle Win on Human-Rights Suits (2) | 2 December 2020 | Bloomberg

U.S. Supreme Court justices on Tuesday appeared wary of barring lawsuits against American companies over alleged human rights abuses abroad but signaled they could toss out a case accusing Cargill Inc and a Nestle SA subsidiary of knowingly helping to perpetuate slavery at Ivory Coast cocoa farms.

Chinese dominance of DRC mining sector increases economic dependence: Mines Chamber | 1 December 2020 | S&P Global

The Democratic Republic of Congo’s mining sector is now almost 70% dominated by Chinese investors and that makes it vulnerable to Chinese economic developments, John Kanyoni, vice-president of the country’s Chamber of Mines said during the DRC Mining Week organized by Mining Review Africa.

Human rights and decent work in global supply chains: the Council approves conclusions | 1 December 2020 | Council of the European Union

The Council approved conclusions calling on member states and the Commission to promote human rights in global supply chains and decent work worldwide.

European Commission seeks feedback on sustainable corporate governance | 30 November 2020 | Herbert Smith Freehills LLP

Earlier this year, we reported on the European Commission’s proposal to introduce a legislative initiative on mandatory human rights due diligence, and on an early draft directive prepared for the European Parliament’s Committee on Legal Affairs (the “EP draft directive”).

NATURAL RESOURCES

Pour tout l’or de l’Afrique | 28 December 2020 | MediaCongo.net

La contrebande de métal jaune fait perdre des milliards de dollars au continent. Son trafic génère évasion fiscale et blanchiment d’argent tandis que la RDC est pillée par ses voisins.

Chinese companies are betting heavily on Democratic Republic of Congo’s mines | 27 December 2020 | South China Morning Post

Chinese companies are betting big on the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)’s mining industry as copper prices surged to a seven-year high driven by China’s strong recovery and the push for electric cars.

Dubai, Switzerland, London: How the UAE became a smuggling hub for ‘blood gold’ | 26 December 2020 | Middle East Eye

There are no mines under Dubai’s sands with artisanal miners or children toiling away trying to strike gold. But there is the Dubai Gold Souk and refineries that vie with the largest global operations as the United Arab Emirates (UAE) strives to expand its position as a major gold hub.

Corruption runs rampant in Cameroon’s mining sector – report | 23 December 2020 | Mining.com

A report prepared by Transparency International Cameroon and Forêts et Développement Rural states that the lack of a clear regulatory framework has led to the entrenchment of illegal practices within Cameroon’s mining sector, which are supported by rampant corruption.

Tanzania nationalizes nearly $30M in diamonds | 19 December 2020 | Anadolu Agency

Tanzania’s government on Saturday officially nationalized a $29.5 million diamond consignment seized three years ago in a case highlighting a tug-of-war with economic saboteurs.

RDC : le GWC et l’UE vont investir 4 M€ pour préserver le parc national des Virunga | 18 December 2020 | Afrik21

La direction du parc national des Virunga, situé à l’est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC) bénéficiera bientôt d’un financement de 4 millions d’euros (plus de 2,6 milliards de francs CFA) pour sauvegarder l’espace de biodiversité. Les fonds proviendront du Global Wildlife Conservation (GWC) et de l’Union européenne (UE).

Gold in Africa: Exploring West Africa’s Birimian Greenstone Belt | 17 December 2020 | InvestingNews

In recent years, West Africa has been the target of widespread gold exploration by many mining companies, and a staggering number of new finds have been made. This is not surprising—many of West Africa’s natural resources have gone untapped due to political unrest, poor access or inadequate infrastructure.

Trafigura’s Congo artisanal cobalt project to end, replaced by industrial mining | 17 December 2020 | Reuters

Trafigura is ending an artisanal cobalt formalisation project in Democratic Republic of Congo, which it has run alongside miner Chemaf and NGO PACT for nearly two years, the commodities trader said on Thursday.

RCA : Les diamants au détriment des Centrafricains | 9 December 2020 | Corbeau News

Avant la crise politique, économique et sécuritaire de 2013, derrière l’agriculture et l’exploitation forestière, les ressources minières constituaient l’une des principales sources de richesse du Pays. Cependant, ces ressources profitent aujourd’hui davantage aux nouveaux investisseurs qu’à la population centrafricaine.

Business as usual is not an option: The future of natural resource governance | 9 December 2020 | Brookings

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have been dire around the world, and resource-rich countries are no exception. Arguably, lower-income resource-dependent countries face the direst challenges. A “perfect storm” of the pandemic itself, acute governance challenges, socioeconomic crises, and a drop in commodity prices (particularly oil) has left resource-rich countries struggling to cope. These lower prices for oil and certain metals and reduced investment prospects translate into multiple risks, including a “race to the bottom” in terms of reduction of transparency and governance standards and social and environmental protections.

Armed poachers kill ranger in Uganda national park | 7 December 2020 | Xinhua

Armed poachers have killed a ranger in western Uganda’s Kibale National Park, Uganda Wildlife Authority (UWA) said on Monday.

Zimbabwe: Losing millions from illicit gold mining trade | 7 December 2020 | The Africa Report

In Zimbabwe, the majority of the working population can be found in the informal sector. And in mineral-rich areas of the country, people are continuously risking their lives digging underground in search of gold, hoping to make enough money to take them out of poverty.

Saving Senegal’s Forests: Group Turns Straw Into Fuel | 6 December 2020 | VoA

Wood and charcoal burning account for 50% of Senegal’s household energy consumption, contributing to air pollution and deforestation. To reduce ecological damage, an association called Nebeday, which means “tree” in Wolof, the predominant local language in Senegal, hires villagers to produce an innovative energy alternative.

Turmoil in Zimbabwe’s Gold Mining Sector | 6 December 2020 | The Standard | allAfrica

Over the past year, a wave of violence has rocked Zimbabwe. Armed gangs, alternatively portrayed as consisting of or preying upon small-scale miners, have wreaked deadly havoc, especially in the country’s many gold mining areas.

Some Perspective on China and “Rare Earth” Minerals | 3 December 2020 | CATO

For more than a decade now, Chinese production and processing of “rare earth” minerals — critical inputs in many high-tech products — has raised concerns among U.S. policymakers about the economic and national security risks arising from potential American “dependence” on China for these goods. Though the specific minerals at issue change from year-to-year, the concerns remain the same, as do domestic producers’ use of the “China Threat” to seek financial and other support from the federal government. Today, the mineral is cobalt…

Glencore reshapes cobalt supply to China’s GEM, adding critical oversight pledges | 3 December 2020 | Mining Mx

Glencore has extended a cobalt supply agreement with China’s GEM by five years to which the parties have added audit pledges they hope will ease customer fears regarding the provenance of the new energy mineral.

Convicted Poachers In South Africa Explain Why Heavy Policing Is Ineffective | 3 December 2020 | Forbes

It’s clear why the illegal wildlife trade exists. Where there’s consumer demand for products from endangered species, there are bound to be networks seeking to profit from that demand.

Uganda approves EACOP study | 3 December 2020 | EnergyVoice

Uganda’s National Environment Management Authority (NEMA) has approved Total East Africa Midstream’s (TEAM) environmental report on the Ugandan part of the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).

Children head to diamond mines in pandemic-hit Central African Republic | 2 December 2020 | Reuters

S ince the coronavirus forced his school to close in March, Papin has been working six days a week at a diamond mine in the Central African Republic (CAR) – hauling sacks of mud and rubble under a hot sun.

UN warns child labor, trafficking on the rise in troubled Mali | 2 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

More children have been trafficked, forced to work in gold mines and to fight as soldiers in Mali this year as conflict worsened and COVID-19 shut schools, the United Nations said on Tuesday.

ARMS TRADE

Midterm report of the Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2020/1283) | 31 December 2020 | UN Security Council | ReliefWeb

During the reporting period, the security situation in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo was characterized by pockets of intense violence. In this context, in early October 2020, President Félix Tshisekedi made a three-day visit to Goma, holding a series of consultations and chairing a mini-summit, including on security issues, with the Heads of States of Angola, Rwanda and Uganda.

Governor: ‘Smuggling widespread in West Darfur’ | 30 December 2020 | Dabanga

West Darfur wali (governor) Mohamed El Doma said at a press conference yesterday that arms trade, drug trafficking and commodity smuggling are widespread in his state, “both in the cities and in the camps for displaced people”.

EU in Libya: Foreign Interference and Disarmament | 16 December 2020 | EU Bulletin

Building on this momentum created by the „permanent“ ceasefire agreed by the UN-backed Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) and the Tobruk-based Haftar-led Libyan National Army (LNA), UN-endorsed peace talks began on 9 November, bringing together 75 Libyan stakeholders. The UN’s interim special envoy to Libya Stephanie Williams stated that “the road will not be paved with roses and it will not be easy” to definitively put an end to a civil war that has ravaged Libya since 2011.

Nigeria: Land Borders and Small Arms | 11 December 2020 | This Day | AllAfrica

There is need to establish special border patrols to contain the flow of arms. The closure of Nigeria’s land borders for more than a year has not in any way diminished the country’s security challenge. But the borders cannot forever remain closed, especially by an administration that has adopted a selective approach to who uses them. The issue of illicit arms flow, however, needs to be addressed as a national security imperative.

Al-Shabaab Militias ‘Smuggle’ Small Arms Through Somaliland | 10 December 2020 | The Taiwan Times

Al-shabaab militias in coastal areas of Sanaag, in Somaliland, a diplomatic ally of Taiwan have managed to import small arms from Yemen.

Côte d’Ivoire – Le projet transfrontalier contre le trafic et la détention illicites des armes et munitions présenté à Bondoukou | 4 December 2020 | Abidjab.net

Le projet transfrontalier contre le trafic et la détention illicites des armes et munitions a été présenté, jeudi 04 décembre 2020 à Bondoukou, à l’initiative de la Commission nationale de lutte contre la prolifération et la circulation illicite des armes légères et de petit calibre (ComNat-APLC).

South African armoured vehicles spotted in Mozambique | 1 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

It appears that South African-made armoured personnel carriers (APCs) have made their way to Mozambique as part of efforts to control the violent insurgency in the northern Cabo Delgado province.

G5 howitzers seen in Libya | 1 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

It appears the Libyan National Army (LNA) is now operating South African-made G5 155 mm howitzers, mostly likely delivered by the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

CONFLICT

Declaration relative aux elections en cours en République Centrafricaine | 31 December 2020 | Mouvement de Libération du Peuple Centrafricain | Corbeaunews

Le premier tour des élections groupées – présidentielle et législatives – a été organisé le 27 décembre 2020. Prévues de longue date, ces élections ont été précédés par une explosion concomitante d’attaques de nombreuses villes de l’arrière-pays par une coalition de groupes armés.

RCA : les rebelles du CPC quittent la ville de Carnot | 31 December 2020 | Corbeaunews

72 heures après à voir mis complètement la ville dans le sac, les rebelles de la coalition des patriotes pour le changement (CPC) ont quitté volontairement la ville de Carnot, située à environ 431 kilomètres de Bangui. Selon des sources locales, les rebelles auraient pris la direction de la ville de Baoro, située non loin de la ville de Bouar, dans la préfecture de la Nana-Mambéré.

SSPDF soldiers set men on fire in Loka | 31 December 2020 | Radio Tamazuj

Dr. Paul Pitiya Benjamin Yugusuk, the Episcopal Church of South Sudan Archbishop of the Central Equatoria Internal Province said three SSPDF soldiers forced Christians to drink alcohol, looted civilians, and forced five men into a hut before setting it on fire in Lainya County on Christmas Eve.

Rwanda rejects request to deport suspected Burundian coup plotters | 31 December 2020 | The East African

Rwanda has reiterated its unwillingness to deport individuals accused of orchestrating the 2015 coup plot against former Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza.

En Centrafrique, la coalition de l’opposition demande l’annulation des élections | 30 December 2020 | France24

La coalition de l’opposition a demandé l’annulation des élections présidentielle et législatives du 27 décembre en Centrafrique, perturbées par des groupes rebelles. Le scrutin est pourtant salué comme “crédible” et “légitime” par le gouvernement et la communauté internationale.

Mandats d’arrêt contre des paramilitaires au Soudan après la mort d’un civil torturé | 29 December 2020 | VoA

Au Soudan, le procureur général a émis lundi des mandats d’arrêt contre plusieurs responsables d’une force paramilitaire soudanaise soupçonnés d’avoir enlevé à Khartoum et torturé à mort un civil. Cette affaire avait provoqué une vive indignation.

Central African Republic soldiers flee to Cameroon | 28 December 2020 | Anadolu Agency

At least 117 Central African Republic’s (CAR) soldiers have found refuge in neighbouring Cameroon following repeated rebel attacks in their country, Cameroonian authorities told Anadolu Agency on Monday.

Ugandan Journalists Protest Security Brutality | 28 December 2020 | VoA

Journalists in Kampala Monday walked out of a news conference after a top military officer refused to apologize for injuries meted on journalists covering the campaign trail Sunday. Instead, the police deployed heavily with officers saying they were scared journalists were going to harm them.

Why are insurgents beheading people in Mozambique? (video) | 28 December 2020 | BBC News

Sudan Deploys Troops in South Darfur After Tribal Violence | 27 December 2020 | US News

Sudan will deploy “large numbers” of troops to South Darfur state after the killing of 15 people in tribal violence recently, the state news agency cited the state governor as saying on Sunday.

Boko Haram kidnaps 40 loggers and kills three in north-east Nigeria | 26 December 2020 | The Guardian

Boko Haram jihadists have seized about 40 loggers and killed three others in north-east Nigeria near the border with Cameroon, militia sources and residents have said.

Ethiopia military ‘kills 40’ after Benishangul-Gumuz massacre | 25 December 2020 | BBC News

Ethiopia’s military has killed more than 40 men suspected to be linked to the massacre of at least 100 people, including children, in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, state media report.

Ethiopia deploys troops to restive region after village massacre | 24 December 2020 | France24

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed said on Thursday he had deployed forces to the western Benishangul-Gumuz region, a day after gunmen killed more than 100 people in the area, which has seen regular ethnic violence.

Who’s behind renewed crisis in Central African Republic? | 24 December 2020 | The New Times

Rwanda early this week deployed force protection troops to the Central African Republic (CAR), under an existing bilateral agreement on defence between both countries.

Four jailed Burundian journalists pardoned by president | 24 December 2020 | Devdiscourse

They were jailed in January for 2-1/2 years for offences including undermining state security, a ruling criticised by Amnesty International as a sad day for press freedom in the central African country. The journalists spent 430 days in prison before their release on Thursday, according to Antoine Kaburahe, head of the Iwacu press group.

Uganda charges leading lawyer for LGBT rights with money laundering | 24 December 2020 | The Guardian

Nicholas Opiyo, one of Uganda’s most prominent human rights lawyers, has been charged with money laundering. Opiyo, known for representing LGBTQ+ people, appeared before magistrates in Kampala on Thursday and was remanded in custody until 28 December.

Nigeria: ICC’s War Crimes Investigation in Nigeria | 24 December 2020 | Daily Trust | AllAfrica

The International Criminal Court (ICC) Prosecutor, Fatou Bensouda, issued a statement on December 11, 2020, stating that after about a decade of preliminary investigations into the activities of the Nigerian Army and Boko Haram, there was enough evidence to prove that both forces have committed war crimes. As a result, the ICC, she said, would initiate an investigation to gather enough evidence which could be used to prosecute perpetrators of the crimes.

Uganda authorities arrest prominent human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo | 23 December 2020 | Jurist

Ugandan authorities Tuesday arrested prominent human rights lawyer Nicholas Opiyo. Eyewitnesses maintain that plainclothes police handcuffed Opiyo along with four others and drove them away in vehicles with tinted windows. Since the arrest, Opiyo has had no contact with his lawyers or his family, a violation of both international human rights law and African human rights law.

Russia sends 300 military instructors to Central Africa Republic | 22 December 2020 | Reuters

Russia has sent 300 military instructors to the Central African Republic at the request of the country’s leadership to help counter a surge in rebel violence ahead of Sunday’s election, Russia’s foreign ministry said on Tuesday.

UN probe accuses Mali army of war crimes, armed groups of crimes against humanity | 22 December 2020 | France24

Will perpetrators of war crimes in Mali be held accountable? (video) | 23 December 2020 | al Jazeera

UN probe in Mali sees war crimes, crimes against humanity: Report | 22 December 2020 | al Jazeera

UN investigators into violence in Mali have told the Security Council of evidence that security forces committed war crimes, while jihadists and other armed groups perpetrated crimes against humanity.

Sudan: Security Forces Kill Protesters in Eastern Sudan | 21 December 2020 | HRW

Sudanese authorities used excessive force, including lethal force, against protesters on October 15, 2020, leading to the deaths of seven protesters, including a 16-year old boy, as well as a security official, Human Rights Watch said today. About 25 people were injured, most from bullet wounds.

Central African Republic opposition calls for election delay due to violence | 20 December 2020 | Reuters

Central African Republic’s main opposition coalition on Sunday demanded the Dec. 27 general election be postponed due to violence by armed groups outside the capital Bangui, while the government insisted the vote would go ahead.

A quelques jours de la présidentielles en République Centrafricaine : Menace de guerre civile | 20 December 2020 | el Watan

Le gouvernement centrafricain a accusé, hier, son principal opposant, l’ancien chef de l’Etat François Bozizé, de tenter de fomenter un «coup d’Etat» à une semaine des élections présidentielle et législatives, rapporte l’AFP citant un responsable de l’Exécutif.

Tanzanian Activist Still Jailed One Year On | 18 December 2020 | HRW

This Sunday marks one year since police in Dar es Salaam arrested Tanzanian human rights activist Tito Magoti and his friend Theodory Giyani in violation of their basic rights.

Mozambique’s Islamist insurgency: UN warns of rising violence in Cabo Delgado | 18 December 2020 | BBC News

More than 530,000 displaced in Mozambique’s conflict-torn north | 18 December 2020 | UNHCR

The number of civilians forced from their homes by conflict in northern Mozambique has quadrupled this year – to 420,000 – according to the United Nations. It links the crisis in Cabo Delgado province not just to attacks by Islamist militants, but to a perceived failure to distribute vast mineral and off-shore gas revenues to the local population.

Kabila’s Hold Over Congo Is Under Threat | 18 December 2020 | Bloomberg

The 23-year hold of the Kabila family on the levers of power in the Democratic Republic of Congo is slipping. President Felix Tshisekedi’s alliance with former leader Joseph Kabila to win 2018 elections in a contested vote is fraying and he’s acting to diminish the influence of his predecessor. At stake is control of a nation whose mineral endowment is key to the future of the electric-vehicle industry.

Arrestation de l’officier FARDC disparu avec 85.000$ destinés à la paie des militaires | 17 December 2020 | Politico.cd

Les Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) ont annoncé ce mercredi 16 décembre 2020, l’arrestation de l’officier militaire qui s’était volatilisé avec 172 287 127 Francs Congolais, l’équivalent de plus de 85 000 dollars.

Violence in Nigeria – what and where | 17 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

Islamist extremist group Boko Haram claimed responsibility for abducting hundreds of boys from a boarding school in Nigeria’s Katsina state, according to an audio recording.

Niger : 28 personnes tuées par le groupe terroriste Boko Haram dans l’extrême sud-est | 16 December 2020 | Sahel Intelligence

Au moins 28 civils ont été tués et une centaine d’autres blessés, dans une attaque du groupe terroriste Boko Haram, dans la nuit du samedi au dimanche dernier, à Toumour, région de Diffa (extrême sud-est du Niger, proche de la frontière du Nigeria), a annoncé le gouvernement dans un communiqué lundi soir sur la télévision publique nigérienne « Télé-Sahel ».

UN and African experts call on Central African Republic and armed groups to ensure basic rights during elections | 16 December 2020 | OHCHR | ReliefWeb

The Central African Republic must ban hate speech and ensure respect for fundamental rights as the country heads for presidential and legislative elections on 27 December, UN and African human rights experts* said today.

Tchad: 11 morts dans de nouveaux affrontements intercommunautaires | 16 December 2020 | Sahel Intelligence

Onze personnes ont été tuées dans de nouveaux affrontements intercommunautaires entre éleveurs et cultivateurs dans le sud du Tchad.

Somalia cuts ties with Kenya over accusations of meddling in Somaliland | 15 December 2020 | RFI

Somalia has announced it is severing ties with Kenya, accusing its neighbour of interfering in its affairs on the eve of anticipated elections in 2021.

Landmine casualty rates in Nigeria now fifth highest in the world | 14 December 2020 | The Guardian

More than 100 people were killed or injured by landmines across north-east Nigeria in the first three months of this year, according to a new report.

ICC prosecutor seeks full investigation into Nigerian conflict | 11 December 2020 | Devdiscourse

The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court on Friday said she would seek a full investigation into possible war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed during Nigeria’s conflict with the Islamist rebel group Boko Haram. Fatou Bensouda said in a statement her office had completed a preliminary examination and found a “reasonable basis to believe” that Boko Haram and its splinter groups had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, through murder, rape, sexual slavery, and torture.

Niger : l’armée doit se battre contre les djihadistes et la corruption | 11 December 2020 | TV5 Monde

Ce 27 décembre, les Nigériens se rendront aux urnes pour élire leur prochain président. Le pays est confronté à une forte pression des groupes djihadistes, tant à l’est qu’à l’ouest du pays. L’armée fait front mais des scandales de corruption et la mort de civils tués par des soldats ont entaché sa crédibilité.

Opposition party Oromo Federalist Congress says it will find it “extremely hard” to take part in coming elections under existing conditions | 9 December 2020 | Addis Standard

In a statement it released today, the opposition party, Oromo Federalist Congress (OFC) says despite having the willingness, it finds it “extremely hard” to take part in coming elections under the existing conditions in the country whereby many of its leadership as well as rank and file members remained jailed, most of its offices are closed by the government, and the free movements of its members are restricted.

Benishagul Gumuz region “begins taking decisive measures” against armed groups after deadline to surrender ends; more than 10 civilians killed in a fresh attack | 9 December 2020 | Addis Standard

Benishangul Gumuz regional state communication bureau announced that security forces in the regional state have started taking “decisive measures” against armed groups accused of killing civilians in Meteke Zone of the region.

Nord-Kivu : de 6 à 20 ans d’emprisonnement et une peine de servitude pénale à perpétuité à charge des responsables de tueries de Miriki | 8 December 2020 | Actualite.cd

Après plusieurs mois de confrontation entre les parties au procès, le verdict dans l’affaire Miriki a été rendu le vendredi 30 septembre 2020 par la Cour Militaire Opérationnelle du Nord-Kivu. 16 prévenus sur les 21 ont été reconnus coupables de crimes de guerre et crimes contre l’humanité par meurtre, pillage des biens et bétails, incendies des maisons…

Russia’s Port Sudan Naval Base: A Power Play on the Red Sea | 7 December 2020 | RUSI

In November, Russia’s Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin approved a draft agreement to establish a naval base in Port Sudan, on Sudan’s Red Sea coast. According to Russian state media outlet TASS, the Port Sudan logistics facility would be ‘defensive’ in nature and aimed at ‘maintaining peace and stability in the region’. The facility would also be used to carry out repairs, replenish supplies and as a resting spot for Russian navy personnel.

Crimes de guerre: “C’est facile de nous juger 20 ans après” | 7 December 2020 | SwissInfo

Le procès d’un Libérien accusé de crimes de guerre a repris lundi devant le Tribunal pénal fédéral. Cet ancien commandant a été interrogé sur ses actions durant la première guerre civile dans son pays. L’audience reprendra mardi avec les questions de la défense.

Beni : les FARDC stoppent la traversée des rebelles Ougandais ADF de l’Est vers l’Ouest près de Eringeti | 7 December 2020 | Mediacongo.net

Des coups de feu se sont faits entendre depuis le matin de ce dimanche 6 décembre 2020, dans la commune rurale de Eringeti, groupement Bambuba-Kisiki, en territoire de Beni, au Nord-Kivu.

Violence, deaths continue ahead of Uganda elections | 7 December 2020 | Monitor Daily

Last Monday, following weeks of deadly encounters between its supporters and Ugandan security agencies, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s National Unity Platform tweeted: “This is war, not presidential campaigns.”

Jean-Pierre Bemba souscrit à la cohésion nationale prônée par le Chef de l’Etat | 7 December 2020 | Mediacongo.net

Le Mouvement de Libération du Congo, parti cher à Jean-Pierre Bemba, salue le discours du Chef de l’Etat à la Nation en réponse aux consultations qu’il avait initiées.

Military prosecution seeks life sentence for Rtd Major Mudathiru, co-accused | 7 December 2020 | The New Times

The military prosecution has sought life sentence for a group of 32 people led by Maj (Rtd) Habib Mudathiru, accused of plotting acts of terrorism against Rwanda.

Nigeria’s women on the front line | 7 December 2020 | Mail & Guardian

All Rinu Oduala wanted was for the government to take action against Nigeria’s Special Anti-Robbery Squad (Sars). After videos of police officers of the squad went viral in the first week of October, she started mobilising other young people to attend a 72-hour demonstration at the Lagos police headquarters and State House of Assembly. She hoped that the demonstration would show the government that, unlike previous protests, they were no longer accepting promises.

RDC: huit morts dans une fusillade à Goma | 6 December 2020 | La Libre Afrique

Huit personnes ont été tuées par des personnes armées non identifiées lors d’une fusillade vendredi soir dans un quartier populaire de Goma dans l’est de la République démocratique du Congo (RDC), a-t-on appris auprès du gouverneur du Nord-Kivu.

1 Killed, Others Wounded as Cameroon Holds First Regional Elections | 6 December 2020 | VoA

Scattered violence marred Cameroon’s first election to appoint regional councils on Sunday, with one voter killed by separatist insurgents in the English-speaking Northwest region.

Tchad : le M12R qualifie l’adoption de la Loi constitutionnelle de “grand recul en arrière” | 5 December 2020 | alwihda

Le mouvement des 12 revendications (M12R) a estimé samedi que l’adoption par l’Assemblée nationale de la nouvelle Loi constitutionnelle constitue “un grand recul en arrière” et un chemin “vers le parti unique et la mise à l’écart des jeunes dans la gestion de la chose publique et l’accès aux instances décisionnelles”.

Turkey goes on charm offensive in West Africa | 5 December 2020 | Mail & Guardian

In a lengthy interview with Jeune Afrique magazine earlier this month, French President Emmanuel Macron accused Turkey of fuelling anti-French sentiments in Africa by playing on “post-colonial resentment”.

Mozambique Insurgency Tramples Human Rights | 4 December 2020 | The Organization for World Peace

Militant Islamists have taken to the rich province of Cabo Delgado in Mozambique to commit the next attack in a gruesome series – the decapitation and dismemberment of more than 50 people of the Nanjaba Village. The football pitch turn “execution ground” was the stage for “probably the worst carried out by the militants” since 2017, BBC reports. The terrorists are locally known as “al-Shabab.” The gun-men fired shots and lit homes ablaze throughout the village while chanting “Allahu Akbar,” translated to God is Greatest.

Millions more pushed into food insecurity in Democratic Republic of Congo, now world’s biggest food crisis | 4 December 2020 | The Telegraph

Nearly 22 million people face “crisis-level or worse” food insecurity in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) due to conflict and the Covid-19 pandemic, an arm of the United Nations has warned.

Ituri : 6 morts et plusieurs blessées dans une attaque des miliciens à Irumu | 4 December 2020 | Actualite.cd

Une attaque armée attribuée aux miliciens de Forces Patriotiques pour l’Intégrationnistes du Congo (FPIC) appelé Kyini Ya Kilima a fait 6 morts et 7 blessés. L’incident s’est déroulé ce vendredi 04 décembre à Bukela, chefferie de Babelebe, dans le territoire D’Irumu (Ituri).

Separatism in Africa: Exploring colonial legacies | 3 December 2020 | DW

Diverse secessionist movements are back in the spotlight in Africa. The Tigray Region in Ethiopia is only one example. The roots often go back to the colonial era, and some of these conflicts still smolder today.

CIA officer killed in Somali raid on suspected al-Shabaab bomb-maker | 3 December 2020 | The Guardian

A CIA officer died during a raid in Somalia last month targeting a key extremist thought to be responsible for an attack that killed an American soldier in Kenya last year, local intelligence officials have told the Guardian.

Liberian rebel commander accused of cannibalism goes on trial in Switzerland | 3 December 2020 | The Guardian

Le procès d’un Libérien accusé de crimes de guerre a repris | 4 December 2020 | SwissInfo

Former ULIMO-K General’s Trial Commences on Dec. 3 | 2 December 2020 | Liberian Observer

Milestone Swiss Trial for Wartime Atrocities | 1 December 2020 | HRW

A former rebel commander accused of involvement in killing civilians, rape and eating pieces of a schoolteacher’s heart during Liberia’s civil war has decried his long pre-trial detention as proceedings began in Switzerland on Thursday.

RDC: Les généraux des FARDC et de la Police réitérent leur loyauté inébranlable au Chef de l’Etat | 3 December 2020 | ZoomEco

Pendant près de quatre heures, le Président de la République démocratique du Congo, Félix-Antoine Tshisekedi a échangé avec une centaine d’officiers généraux et supérieurs dont 70 du FARDC et 64 de la Police Nationale Congolaise, le mardi premier décembre 2020 au Palais de la Nation.

Islamist violence escalates in Burkina Faso, making widespread hunger worse | 2 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

Habibou Sore had to pause for breath as she ran barefoot from the approaching gunmen. She was pregnant with twins, due any day.

RDC : le BCNUDH documente 611 violations des droits de l’homme en octobre | 2 December 2020 | Radio Okapi

Le bureau conjoint des Nations unies aux droits de l’homme renseigne que durant le mois d’octobre 2020, il a documenté 611 violations des droits de l’homme sur tout le territoire de la République démocratique du Congo.

After Outcry Over Abuse, Nigeria’s Police Reform Efforts Under Scrutiny | 2 December 2020 | VoA

Lekki Toll Gate, a nondescript toll plaza on a busy Lagos highway, has become a rallying cry for Nigerians demanding police reform.

Democratic Republic of Congo’s shady political alliance unravels | 1 December 2020 | Daily Maverick

President Félix Tshisekedi is struggling to escape the shackles of a deal gone bad with the DRC’s former president.

RDC: une douzaine de morts dans des violences en Ituri après quelques semaines d’accalmie | 1 December 2020 | La Libre Afrique

Une douzaine de personnes ont été tuées en deux incidents en Ituri après plusieurs semaines d’accalmie dans cette province du nord-est de la République démocratique du Congo, où les violences ont fait plus de 1.000 morts en trois ans, a-t-on appris de sources locales. Cinq femmes et quatre enfants ont été massacrés lundi soir par des assaillants armés dans le territoire de Djugu, a déclaré le président de la société civile de ce territoire, Jules Tsuba, à l’AFP.

RDC: la Garde républicaine invitée à « ne pas comploter » contre le président | 1 December 2020 | La Libre Afrique

Le chef de la Garde républicaine de la République démocratique du Congo a ordonné à ses hommes de « ne pas comploter » contre le président Félix Tshisekedi, en pleine crise au sein de la coalition au pouvoir avec les forces politiques de son prédécesseur Joseph Kabila. « Je vous invite à ne pas comploter contre le pouvoir en participant à des réunions clandestines.

Tanzania: Burundian Refugees ‘Disappeared,’ Tortured | 30 November 2020 | HRW

Tanzanian authorities have gravely abused at least 18 Burundian refugees and asylum seekers since late 2019. The whereabouts of several who were forcibly disappeared remain unknown, and additional Burundians may have suffered similar abuse.

RDC: les victimes oubliées des viols commis à la prison de Lubumbashi | 30 November 2020 | RFI

RDC: MSF examine les détenues violées à la prison de Lubumbashi | 3 December 2020 | RFI

Une cinquantaine de femmes violées à la prison de Kasapa à Lubumbashi attendent toujours d’être prises en charge. Ces femmes étaient détenues dans cet établissement carcéral lors des émeutes qui ont secoué la prison les 25, 26 et 27 septembre derniers. Depuis, elles n’ont vu ni gynécologue, ni magistrat. Elles ont été abandonnées à leur triste sort. RFI a pu les rencontrer sur place.

Interim report of the Panel of Experts on South Sudan submitted pursuant to resolution 2521 (2020) (S/2020/1141) | 25 November 2020 | UNSC | ReliefWeb

Since the formation of the Revitalized Transitional Government of National Unity in February 2020, the implementation of the Revitalized Agreement on the Resolution of the Conflict in the Republic of South Sudan, signed in September 2018, has mostly stalled, as the signatories have failed to adhere to the deadlines set in the peace agreement and have backtracked on aspects of its political, security and economic provisions. Accountability measures, including the Hybrid Court for South Sudan, have not been implemented, while the South Sudan People’s Defence Forces (SSPDF) and Sudan People’s Liberation Army in Opposition (SPLA-IO) have continued to commit serious human rights violations against civilians.

ETHIOPIA-TIGRAY CONFLICT

Sudan declares full control of border territory settled by Ethiopians | 31 December 2020 | Reuters

Sudan said on Thursday its forces had taken control of all of Sudanese territory in a border area settled by Ethiopian farmers, after weeks of clashes.

Is Ethiopia the Next Yugoslavia? | 31 December 2020 | Foreign Policy

A country that once seemed to hold great promise for peaceful democratization has descended into conflict. Here’s what could happen next.

Ethiopia’s Tigray conflict revives bitter disputes over land | 30 December 2020 | Business Recorder

As rifle-toting militiamen fired celebratory rounds into the air, young men marched through the streets denouncing the former ruling party of Ethiopia’s Tigray region as “thieves.”

Reuters cameraman detained in Ethiopia has seen no evidence against him, lawyer says | 30 December 2020 | Reuters

Reuters cameraman Kumerra Gemechu has been held in solitary confinement for nearly a week without charge or being given any evidence of wrongdoing, his lawyer said.

Arrest of Cameraman in Ethiopia Signals Wider Crackdown | 29 December 2020 | NYT

The government of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed has stepped up the arrests of journalists since going to war in the country’s northern region of Tigray.

Tigray crisis: Eritrea’s role in Ethiopian conflict | 28 December 2020 | BBC News

In a sign of the changing political fortunes of a man who was once a pariah, Eritrea’s President Isaias Afwerki has proven to be a staunch ally of Ethiopia’s Nobel Peace Prize winner and Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed, giving his troops much-needed support to fight the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) in Tigray.

Ethiopian police arrest Reuters cameraman | 28 December 2020 | Reuters

A Reuters cameraman, Kumerra Gemechu, was arrested in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on Thursday and will be kept in custody for at least two weeks, his family said. He has not been charged.

Ethiopia accused of war crimes in Mai Kadra massacre | 27 December 2020 | Morning Star

Investigations into potential war crimes committed during Ethiopia’s military offensive against the northern Tigray region must be impartial, thorough and transparent, the United Nations said today.

Ethiopia: Declaration by the High Representative on behalf of the European Union | 25 December 2020 | Council of the EU

The European Union is closely following the crisis in Ethiopia. The EU remains concerned by the humanitarian situation, as well as allegations of human rights violations and ethnic targeting. Ongoing reports of non-Ethiopian involvement raise additional worries.

The secret war in Tigray | 23 December 2020 | Ethiopia Insight

The intervention has been covert to mask the involvement of Eritrean troops, control the narrative, and obscure civilian suffering. International action is needed.

Eritrea: Who Will Call Out Eritrea’s War Crimes in Tigray? | 23 December 2020 | African Arguments | AllAfrica

Eritrea has deployed most of its army in Tigray region of Ethiopia. This is no secret. At minimum, 12 divisions have been fighting inside Tigray. At first, the United States gave Eritrea a free pass, expressing “thanks to Eritrea for not being provoked” into retaliating after a TPLF rocket attack on Asmara. Later it admitted that Eritrea was a belligerent. The United Nations Secretary General repeated Ethiopian PM Abiy Ahmed’s assertion that Eritrean troops had not crossed the border. The Chairperson of the African Union has carefully said nothing on the issue.

U.N. pushes for war crimes probe in Tigray (video) | 23 December 2020 | Reuters

The United Nations has appealed for tens of millions of dollars to help refugees from Ethiopia’s Tigray and wants a team on the ground in the northern Ethiopian region to investigate alleged violations of human rights.

Violations of International Law Imperil Civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray Region | 22 December 2020 | VoA News

The U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michele Bachelet, is warning that civilians in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are in extreme peril amid allegations of widespread violations, some possibly amounting to war crimes.

Tigray: Hundreds of civilians reported killed in artillery strikes, warns UN rights chief | 22 December 2020 | UN News

Reports of artillery strikes on civilians and mass killings of non-combatants in Ethiopia’s Tigray region, must be investigated and full access granted to independent investigators, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Tuesday.

Le Tigré, en Ethiopie, une région en souffrance | 22 December 2020 | RTBF

L’Ethiopie est un pays d’Afrique particulièrement marqué par la diversité de ses peuples. On y trouve plus de 80 ethnies différentes dispersées géographiquement. Cette diversité de cultures fait de l’Ethiopie une terre particulièrement riche mais aussi fertile aux conflits.

Éthiopie: un rapport documente les atrocités commises dans le Tigré | 20 December 2020 | RFI

Depuis le début du conflit dans le Tigré, au nord de l’Éthiopie, le 4 novembre, près de 50 000 réfugiés ont traversé la frontière pour trouver refuge au Soudan voisin. Leurs témoignages ont été recueillis par la presse internationale qui s’est fait l’écho de leurs histoires individuelles. Un rapport basé sur plusieurs de ces témoignages, publié le vendredi 18 décembre, permet de mieux comprendre ce qui s’est déroulé, pendant un mois, dans cette province éthiopienne coupée du monde.

Éthiopie: poursuite des combats au Tigré, menace d’extension du conflit | 19 December 2020 | RFI

En Éthiopie, les combats continuent au Tigré sans que l’on puisse savoir exactement où ils se situent car les télécommunications sont toujours coupées dans l’ensemble de la province. Cela fait désormais 45 jours que le Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed a lancé son offensive. Une opération qu’il estime terminée bien qu’aucun des leaders du parti du tigréen TPLF n’ait été arrêté pour le moment.

Ethiopia offers reward for word on fugitive Tigrayan leaders | 18 December 2020 | Reuters

Ethiopia offered a 10 million birr ($260,000) reward on Friday for information on the location of fugitive leaders of a rebellious force in northern Tigray region.

The War in Tigray Is a Fight Over Ethiopia’s Past—and Future | 18 December 2020 | Foreign Policy

The current conflict is the latest battle in a long-running war over the country’s identity as a unitary or federal state. The United States can restore its credibility as an honest broker by helping resolve it.

Sudan claims its officers were ambushed by Ethiopian forces | 17 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

A number of Sudan armed forces officers were ambushed by “Ethiopian forces and militias” during a security patrol of the border region.

Inside a Military Base in Ethiopia’s Tigray: Soldiers Decry Betrayal by Former Comrades | 17 December 2020 | US News

Rebellious soldiers used government tanks to attack their former comrades in a military base in the first chaotic days of Ethiopia’s month-long war in the region of Tigray, according to two soldiers caught in what they described as a 10-day siege.

Ethnic profiling of Tigrayans heightens tensions in Ethiopia | 16 December 2020 | The New Humanitarian

The fighting between Ethiopia’s federal government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) wasn’t a surprise to Tigrayans living in Addis Ababa: They had seen it coming for years. What they didn’t expect was to be living in fear so far away from the front lines.

Did Ethiopia’s attack on Tigray violate international laws? | 15 December 2020 | The Africa Report

A legal scholar weighs in on the decision taken by Ethiopian prime minister Ahmed Abiy to send troops into the northern Ethiopian region of Tigray, to quell what the government sees as an insurgency.

Ruling party members speak of need to repeat Tigray military operation in Benishangul Gumuz as Amhara region | 15 December 2020 | Addis Standard

Members of the Benishangul Gumuz Regional State Prosperity Party (PP) Women’s League have demanded the federal government to repeat in Benishangul Gumuz regional state, Metekel Zone the ongoing “law enforcement operations in Tigray.”

Mekelle’s plight: A doctor’s account of Ethiopia’s Tigray war | 14 December 2020 | al Jazeera

Doctor at regional capital’s main hospital offers dramatic account of dire medical shortages, threat of starvation and widespread fear during the conflict.

US says reports of Eritrean troops in Ethiopia’s Tigray are ‘credible’ | 11 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

The United States believes reports of Eritrean military involvement in the conflict in Ethiopia’s Tigray region are “credible,” a State Department spokesperson told Reuters on Thursday, despite denials by both nations.

Ethiopia volatile with fighting, ethnic profiling of Tigrayans – UN rights boss | 9 December 2020 | Reuters

The situation in Ethiopia is “worrying and volatile” as fighting in the Tigray region continues amid reports of ethnic profiling of Tigrayans including in Addis Ababa, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet said on Wednesday.

Ethiopie : Accès interdit au Tigray | 9 December 2020 | Sahel Intelligence

Le Secrétaire général de l’ONU, Antonio Guterres, a exhorté le gouvernement éthiopien à rétablir rapidement l’état de droit au Tigray et assurer un accès sans entrave de l’aide humanitaire dans la région.

Ethiopia says U.N. team shot at in Tigray after defying checkpoints | 8 December 2020 | Reuters

A United Nations team visiting refugees in Ethiopia’s war-hit Tigray region had failed to stop at two checkpoints when it was shot at over the weekend, the government said on Tuesday, proclaiming it did not need a “baby-sitter”.

Eritreans caught in dilemma over Tigray conflict | 7 December 2020 | Ethiopia Insight

Many Eritreans, including those that oppose President Isaias Afwerki’s rule, are in a dilemma regarding the conflict in Tigray. Most Eritreans agree that he is the mastermind of it and stand against any involvement by their country. There is also a die-hard few that believe he is doing this in the interests of Eritrea.

Ethiopia’s Abiy Denies Guerrilla War Emerging in Tigray | 7 December 2020 | VoA

Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed denied on Monday that a rebellious northern force his troops have battled for over a month would have the capacity to mount a guerrilla war from the mountains of Tigray.

La guerre du Tigré, prélude à l’éclatement de l’Ethiopie sur le modèle de l’ex Yougoslavie ? | 6 December 2020 | Atlantico.fr

Depuis plus d’un mois déjà, une guerre particulièrement meurtrière secoue le nord de l’Ethiopie dans la province fédérale du Tigré. Elle a déjà causé des milliers de morts et plus de 50.000 réfugiés aujourd’hui accueillis dans des conditions précaires au Soudan.

Now I have nothing’: Tigray conflict has changed Ethiopia for ever, say refugees | 6 December 2020 | The Guardian

Before shelling by Ethiopia’s army ripped through Humera in early November, life in the airy, agricultural city in Tigray was idyllic, says Brhane Haftu, a geography teacher.

En marge du conflit au Tigré, l’armée soudanaise reprend une partie du triangle d’el-Fashaga | 6 December 2020 | RFI

La tension monte à la frontière entre l’Éthiopie et le Soudan, notamment dans la région du triangle d’el-Fashaga, une zone dont la démarcation pose problème entre les deux pays depuis des décennies. Or, à la faveur du conflit au Tigré, l’armée soudanaise a pris possession d’une partie de ce territoire agricole.

Fighting flares in Ethiopia’s Tigray as army says closing in on rebellious force | 5 December 2020 | Reuters

Bombing, looting and skirmishes persisted in parts of Ethiopia’s Tigray on Saturday, a rebellious force in the northern region said after government troops declared they were within days of capturing the group’s leaders.

Eritrea’s Role in Ethiopia’s Conflict and the Fate of Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia | 4 December 2020 | African Arguments

In the following article, Mesfin Hagos (founding member of the Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF) in the 1970s who served as Minister of Defense in the 1990s), the most authoritative voice on Eritrean military affairs, reveals the extent of Eritrean involvement in the Ethiopian war.

Ethiopia’s war in Tigray shows no signs of abating, despite government’s victory claims | 4 December 2020 | The Washington Post

Clashes continued across Ethiopia’s Tigray region and humanitarian aid remained paused at its border Friday, despite government claims that military operations had ceased and pledges to allow U.N. agencies access to hundreds of thousands of people who rely on them for food.

Ethiopie : les 5 clés pour comprendre la guerre au Tigré | 4 December 2020 | Agence Ecofin

Depuis plusieurs semaines, la région du Tigré en Ethiopie est le théâtre d’un conflit sanglant entre le gouvernement central siégeant à Addis-Abeba et le Front pour la libération du peuple du Tigré (TPLF). Au cœur de ce nouvel épisode de guerre civile, des revendications indépendantistes du TPLF qui ne reconnaît plus l’autorité du pouvoir central. Mais les racines de ce conflit sont plus profondes. Il est en réalité le résultat de frustrations et de tensions accumulées, dues au passé politique de l’Ethiopie et à son système de gouvernance. Décryptage.

Ethnic Cleansing Feared as Ethiopia Wages War on Tigray Region Amid Communication Blackout | 3 December 2020 | DemocracyNow

The United Nations has reached a deal with Ethiopia’s government to allow humanitarian access to the northern Tigray region and start providing aid. Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed launched military action against regional forces one month ago, setting off a bloody conflict and adding to the already alarming number of displaced people and refugees in the country and neighboring nations.

Why Ethiopia’s Tensions Are Boiling Over in Tigray | 3 December 2020 | The Washington Post

Long-standing tensions between Ethiopia’s federal government and the northern state of Tigray have escalated into all-out conflict. In early November, Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to respond to a raid on an army camp in the restive region. After almost four weeks of fighting, Abiy said his forces had taken full control of Tigray.

Le Tigré sera-t-il le tombeau de l’Éthiopie ? | 3 December 2020 | Le Point

ANALYSE. La rébellion au Tigré menace d’aboutir à une sécession qui pourrait en entraîner d’autres et mettre à mal le fédéralisme ethnique éthiopien. Voilà pourquoi.

Tigray: War drums were sounding for two years | 3 December 2020 | The Standard

I grew up in Ethiopia during the days of the military government. For years before its overthrow in 1991, the national army was locked in a protracted war against rebel movements in the north. It was common in those days to hear state media reporting the capture or recapture of towns from rebel forces. The parading of prisoners of war made daily headlines.

Ethiopia war may turn into guerrilla insurgency, experts say | 2 December 2020 | DefenceWeb

Ethiopia’s nearly month-long war against rebellious northern forces may be transforming into a guerrilla conflict, experts said on Tuesday, even though federal troops declared victory after capturing the Tigrayan regional capital at the weekend.

Éthiopie : les principales dates du conflit armé au Tigré | 30 November 2020 | TV5 Monde

Les hôpitaux de Mekele sont débordés. Depuis l’annonce de la prise de contrôle de la capitale du Tigré par le gouvernement éthiopien, les blessés affluent. Les civils sont les premières victimes de la vaste opération militaire lancée le 4 novembre par le Premier ministre Abiy Ahmed. Aucun bilan précis n’est disponible, mais plus de 43.000 Ethiopiens ont fui au Soudan voisin. Comment est né ce conflit armé ? Qui en sont les principaux acteurs ? Rappel des faits.

Ethiopia’s PM savours victory, Tigrayan leader says war not finished | 30 November 2020 | Reuters

Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed lauded his troops on Monday for ousting a rebellious northern movement, but the leader of Tigrayan forces said they were still resisting amid fears of a protracted guerrilla conflict.

Once enemies, Ethiopia and Eritrea ally against Tigray | 29 November 2020 | DW

Eritrea has been involved in the Tigray crisis in Ethiopia from day one, experts have said. But even though the two countries are fighting together against a common enemy, that does not make them friends.

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