UN Migration Agency Helps Over 100 Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Yemen

UN Migration Agency Helps Over 100 Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Yemen

GENEVA, Switzerland, May 30, 2018/ — Yesterday (29/05), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, helped some 101 Ethiopian migrants leave Yemen through Hudaydah Port as clashes grew closer to the area. The migrants are currently travelling via the Gulf of Aden to Djibouti, which they will transit through on their way home to Ethiopia. IOM is providing transport assistance at all stages of the journey in cooperation with its Government partners.

The group that left Yemen around noon yesterday, included nearly 51 women and 33 children, who had become stranded in the country. They are the most vulnerable cases from a larger group of about 300 migrants in total, who IOM will help leave Yemen in the coming days provided weather conditions are conducive to sea travel and the security situation allows for the movement.

The majority of the 300 migrants had been in a Sana’a holding facility run by the authorities, which Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergency, had visited at the start of this month. Some others from had been staying with host families. IOM works with families to host vulnerable cases as they wait for voluntary humanitarian return assistance. IOM provides meals, aid items, psychosocial support and health assistance to the migrants living with these host families.

In 2017, 100,000 migrants entered Yemen, of whom the majority were Ethiopian and some were Somali migrants. They were typically headed to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in search of work and better living conditions. Even just in the period 6-12 May of this year, IOM’s coastal search and rescue teams for migrants assisted 313 new arrivals (80 boys and 233 men) in Lahj Governorate with information, food, water, emergency aid items and medical assistance, as necessary.

Both while travelling to and in Yemen, migrants are abused by smugglers and other criminals, including physical and sexual abuse, torture for ransom, arbitrary detention for long periods of time, forced labour and even death. Some migrants get caught up in the conflict, sustaining injuries or dying from shelling, and some are taken to detention centres, both official and unofficial.

Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries.

In 2017, IOM helped around 2,900 migrants and refugees return home from Yemen: 73 per cent of them were Somalis, 25 per cent Ethiopians and 2 per cent other nationalities. IOM has also helped 298 Ethiopian and 1,064 Somali migrants and refugees return home voluntarily to date (30/05) in 2018. Assisted spontaneous returns of Somali refugees are carried out in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

In Yemen, IOM provides additional humanitarian assistance to migrants, including health care, shelter and aid items and psychosocial support, while also supporting displaced and conflict affected Yemenis. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, IOM also provides emergency support to migrants starting out their journeys, while in transit and when returning.

“Thousands of migrants are stranded in Yemen and are in desperate need of assistance and protection, as well as the international community’s general attention and support,” said Abdiker, following his recent visit to Yemen. “When I was in the country, I met with many of these young migrants, who we helped leave Yemen today. They told me that they about their shocking experiences and that they wanted to go home. No migrant should be stranded in a conflict. However, there are reasons why they left their countries and without further support when they get home, it is likely they will attempt the perilous journey again. Right now, IOM is only funded to provide reintegration support to some vulnerable cases but not the majority of Ethiopian returnees from Yemen,” added Abdiker.

This return movement from Yemen is funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the Government of Germany and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fund.

Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on Corruption

Joint Statement by Heads of Mission in Kenya on Corruption

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 30, 2018/ –Corruption has long undermined Kenya’s prosperity, security, and democracy. It is, quite simply, theft from the Kenyan people. As friends, we welcome the recent action by the Director of Public Prosecutions, working with the Directorate of Criminal Investigations, to charge officials and others in connection with reports of widespread corruption at the National Youth Service. We also welcome President Kenyatta’s statements and actions to address the corruption scourge. We urge that Kenya’s judiciary take swift action, consistent with the rule of law, to ensure fair trials and justice.

No country is free of corruption, and many of ours have faced challenges. There are no shortcuts to tackling the problem. It requires strong Kenyan political leadership, a commitment to zero tolerance for corruption, and all government and law enforcement agencies working together. When there is evidence of corruption, those responsible should be prosecuted regardless of political party, social stature, or personal connections. Individuals or organizations found guilty of stealing should be held accountable, to include forfeiting the proceeds of their crimes. And Kenyans need strong, reliable institutions and systems that reduce the opportunities for corruption.

As partners, we stand with Kenyans in the fight against corruption. Many of us are providing wide-ranging assistance and support in this effort and we will continue to do so. We know Kenyans can end corruption. The challenge is for all Kenyans to join hands, take decisive action, and make the changes that are needed.

Robert F. Godec
Ambassador of the United States

Stefano Dejak
Ambassador, European Union Delegation to Kenya

Anna Jardfeldt
Ambassador of Sweden

Frans Makken
Ambassador of the Netherlands

Jutta Frasch
Ambassador of Germany

Mauro Massoni
Ambassador of Italy

Pavel Rezac
Ambassador of Czech Republic

Frantisek Dlhopolcek
Ambassador of Slovak Republic

Lisa Doherty,
Chargé’ d’Affaires of Ireland

Nic Hailey
High Commissioner for the United Kingdom

Mette Knudsen
Ambassador of Denmark

Ralf Heckner
Ambassador of Switzerland

Tarja Fernández
Ambassador of Finland

Alison Chartres
High Commissioner for Australia

Sara Hradecky
High Commissioner for Canada

Jacek Bazanski
Ambassador of Poland

Julia Pataki
Ambassador of Romania

Vebjørn Heines
Chargé d’Affaires of Norway

By APO Group on behalf of EU Delegation to Kenya.

How the Ancestors of a Russian Countess Changed The World

How the Ancestors of a Russian Countess Changed The World

By Robert Golomb

If a 94-year old woman told you that her father was one of the pioneers in the field of sociology, his father- her grandfather- founded one of the first worker’s compensation systems in the world and her late husband’s great, great, great grandmother made a decision which proved instrumental to America winning the Revolutionary War, you would probably believe she made up these claims.

If so, you would be wrong. A beautiful 94-year old Russian born woman named Countess Tatiana Bobrinkskoy offered those very same claims to me when I interviewed her last week. And I wisely and correctly believed every word she told me.

“Let’s just start with my father first”, she stated. “His books and essays on the then nascent field of sociology were considered revolutionary at the time and still are widely studied today, and his life is as interesting as his writings”. The Countess was not lying, or even slightly exaggerating: her father, Dr. Nicholas Timasheff, was in fact a world- renowned scholar and author, whose dozens of books and more than 2,000 articles on sociology and other related topics are still read by students of that discipline today, even 48 years after his death in 1970, at the age of 83. And it also seems true, as the Countess contended, that her father’s life was as interesting as were his writings.

A recent photo of Countess Tatiana Bobrinkskoy
Credit Photo : Alan Platt SandsBorn in Czarist Russia in 1886 to a family descended from a long line of Russian nobility, Timasheff proved his own nobility in the world of academics, earning a doctorate in sociology and, shortly later, a law degree, both from prestigious Russian universities- all before his thirtieth birthday. “My father was one of the youngest people in the history of Russia to earn a doctorate and also a law degree”, the Countess proudly stated.

Timasheff’s life, though, would be shaped more by world events than by his academic achievements. The Communist Revolution took place in 1917, and by 1921, Timasheff, who by then had already published several iconic books and hundreds of articles on sociology, law, and criminal justice, was forced by the new Communist rulers to flee the country, along with his then new bride (The Countess’ mother) and his younger brother. “The Communists hated scholars and independent thinkers”, the Countess explained. “So my father, under the threat of arrest and execution, fled the country along with my mother and his brother.”

A recent photo of Countess Tatiana Bobrinkskoy. (Credit Photo : Alan Platt Sands)

Becoming something of nomads, Timasheff, his wife and brother first immigrated to Germany and then to Czechoslovakia, eventually settling in Paris, France, where they lived from 1928- to 1936- until the growing winds of war in Europe forced him, soon followed by his family, which by then included young Tatiana and his son, Sergei, to move again. This time to America.

It was the country the Countess told me her father loved more than any other. “My father loved America,”, she stated. “He loved the goodness of its people, and he loved the freedom that it provided to all Americans, including those born here, and those like him and his family, who were blessed to be welcomed here as immigrants and later blessed to become American citizens.”

It was the freedom found in America, the Countess told me she believes, which inspired her father – who also was a college professor and guest lecturer in America, and before that in Europe- to write hundreds of more articles and several more books, including his two best known and most time- tested texts. In the first, “An Introduction to the Sociology of Law”, published in 1939, Timasheff postulated that there is an unbreakable interconnection between the law and sociology; and that this (what he argued to be) inextricable interconnection had strongly impacted upon the behavior of both society as a whole and people as separate and unique individuals. As a result of this ground- breaking work, Timasheff was acclaimed by scholars in his field as the founder of the “Study of the Sociology of Law”- an honorary title which he posthumously holds to this day.

In the second- “Sociological Theory, its Nature and Growth”- Timasheff, again as a revolutionary concept, presented the idea that sociologists- no less than authors, teachers and practitioners of other human behavioral based disciplines -had to apply the rules of scientific evidence and methodology to the study of sociology. First published in 1955, the book, for the following four decades, became one of the most frequently assigned readings for graduate and undergraduate sociology students.

While these books further enhanced her father’s standing in the field of sociology, he remained, the Countess recalled, a very modest man. “Of my father’s many books, these two helped him achieve the greatest recognition. But my father was a very humble man, who never bragged about nor even referred to the many accolades he received after these two, or any other book or article he ever wrote, was published and favorably reviewed”, she said.

The Countess’ grandfather, Sergei Timasheff, whom we discussed next, was, according to her, as humble and as brilliant as was his son. Unlike his son, however, his name has been largely lost to history- even though he designed and implemented, as she earlier maintained, one of the world’s first worker’s compensation systems. “All that the Timasheffs and the Bobrinkskoys have accomplished goes back to imperial Russia. And it was in Russia that my grandfather created one of the first worker’s compensation systems in the world”, she stated.

The Countess explained that her grandfather achieved this accomplishment while working for 12 years as Minister of Industry and Trade under Tsar Nicholas II Russia- a descendant of a five- century old dynasty. That dynasty ended with the Russian Communist Revolution in 1917, with Nicholas II, his wife and five children executed the following year by order of the same Communist leaders who were to later force Dr. Timasheff and his family to leave the country.

However, the tragic fate of Nicholas II and his family has been cause of little sorrow for many historians of the Russian Revolution, who have long portrayed him as a weak leader indifferent to the economic hardships endured by millions of his country’s poor. According to the Countess, however, these historians got it only half right. “It is true that Nicholas II was a weak leader,who oversaw a horrible economy and a terribly weak military” she stated. “In fact, Nicholas himself would openly admit that he never wanted to be Tsar because he felt he was unqualified to rule the nation.”

She quickly added, though, that the characterization of Nicholas II as being indifferent to the suffering of the poor was unfair. “He started some major reforms that helped the economy and the working- class poor”, she stated. “He is responsible for initiating a series of agricultural reforms which led to a rise in jobs for farm workers and an improvement in the machinery farmers used to raise crops that helped feed the populace. Also, to protect jobs, he placed tariffs on foreign goods. And, I will proudly add, he put into effect my grandfather’s worker’s compensation system.”

The Countess acknowledged that while her grandfather’s system was less advanced than the one President Roosevelt later began in America as part of his New Deal program in the mid- 193O’s, it did provide some financial assistance for the many Russian agricultural and industrial workers who suffered work related disease or injury, becoming the prototype for other plans that would follow. “My grandfather laid the foundation for all of the workers compensations systems from President Roosevelt on to what over the past 4 generations has been put into effect throughout the industrial world”, she asserted.

Her grandfather, though, was never to see the historical fruits of his labor. As was the common fate for most high government officials who served under the Tsar, the Communist leaders, shortly after they came to power, imprisoned him in a Soviet penitentiary, where he later died.

It was a tragedy, the Countess told me, her father would carry to his own grave. “My father never got over the fact that he was powerless to help his own father get out of prison. He often talked about his great hurt about this, and he spoke about his incredible love for his father until his last days in this world”, she stated.

As significant as were the contributions made to the world by the Countess’ father and grandfather, they seem to pale by comparison to the influence that her husband’s great, great, great grandmother had on the history of the planet. Her story, though, begins very simply. Her husband was named Count Nicolai Alexeevich Bobrinkskoy, and both he and the Countess were members of old Russian families living in exile in America. They met in New York City in 1959 and married one year later. They had two children and remained lovingly together until his death in 2006.

This seemingly common and unexceptional story would end here, except for one incredible historical footnote: the name of Count Bobrinkskoy’s great, great, great Grandmother was Catherine the Great, the longest serving monarch in the history of Russia, who ruled that
nation from 1762- 1796.

“Without my husband’s ancestral grandmother {Catherine the Great}, America would have probably lost the Revolutionary War”, said the Countess. Sounds like a wild claim. But it’s a claim confirmed by history: England’s King George realized by the beginning of 1776 (just nine months after the war began) that America actually posed a real threat of defeating England. So, he penned the following letter to Catherine the Great: “Dear Catherine of Russia: May I please have 20,000 troops to crush American freedom. Regards, George.”

Because King George knew that a cash strapped Russia was in dire need of the substantial amount of money he pledged to pay for the services of these troops, he was said to have been confident that Catherine would agree to his request. But she shocked him by turning him down. It was a decision that many historians of that war believe changed its outcome.

The theory of such historians is that had these 20,000 Russian troops, already battle hardened by their recent victory in a war against Turkey, teamed up with British forces, America would have been quickly defeated. Catherine’s motive though in rebuffing King George has been written off by these same historians as a decision made, not for the cause of American freedom, but rather made to serve her nation’s political interests: Russia and England were both economic and military rival European superpowers at the time, and Catherine believed that an American victory would reduce England’s prestige and influence, benefitting Russia.

To the Countess, though, the motive behind Catherine the Great’s decision not to aid the British is irrelevant. “All leaders make geo- political decisions based upon the best interests of their nations. That is what true leaders of sovereign nations are supposed to do”, the Countess contended. “Ultimately what matters is how their decisions impact upon their own nations and influence the world. And Catherine II’s decision to not aid the British during the Revolutionary War proved pivotal to the eventual victory of the colonists. Nothing historians say can diminish that fact.”

While at first reluctant to discuss her own personal achievements, the Countess herself has done much in her own life for which she has the right to feel very proud. In the past, she co-authored several books on Russian Literature, and served as a college professor of that subject. And now even at the ripe young age of 94, she divides her time between running Zina Studios, a wall paper design shop she started with her husband many years ago, and serving as a volunteer with the Knights of Malta, an international charitable organization, which focuses on providing relief services to victims of natural disasters.

“I am very proud to be able to continue the business I started with my husband. And I am proud to be able to assist a wonderful charity”, she stated.

Still, what keeps her most proud is her two children and four grandchildren. “I want to protect their privacy, so I will not get into the details of their lives”, she said. “Suffice it to say they are all involved in the type of work that would make their ancestors proud…. Through my children and grandchildren the legacy of the Bobrinkskoys and Timasheffs will live on.”

Let’s hope it does.

A recent photo of Countess Tatiana Bobrinkskoy. (Credit Photo : Alan Platt Sands)

Robert Golomb is a nationally and internationally published columnist. Mail him at MrBob347@aol.com or follow him on Twitter@RobertGolomb

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United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Health and Population Launch Family Planning Program

United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and Ministry of Health and Population Launch Family Planning Program

By APO Group:

CAIRO, Egypt, May 14, 2018/ — Responding to a request by the Government of Egypt to contribute to Egypt’s family planning efforts, USAID Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin joined Minister of Health and Population Dr. Ahmed Emad Rady to launch a new program to strengthen Egypt’s family planning in response to Egypt’s rapid population growth.

This new effort comes in response to calls by Egyptian officials, including President Sisi, to recognize how overpopulation poses a threat to Egypt’s national development, and is part of the U.S. government’s commitment to stand with Egypt in its economic and social development.

USAID will provide technical assistance and training to the Ministry of Health and Population to strengthen its Family Planning and Reproductive Health Program. Activities will help increase demand for family planning services and enhance the quality of services, aiming to improve contraceptive use and reduce fertility over time. The 5-year, $19 million program will be implemented in nine governorates in Upper Egypt and areas of Cairo and Alexandria.

At the program launch, USAID/Egypt Mission Director Sherry F. Carlin said, “We know that USAID family planning programs have made tremendous impact in the past. We stand poised again to be a part of the solution to the rapid growth in Egypt’s fertility rate.”

For nearly 40 years, USAID has worked with the Egyptian people to improve healthy behaviors by supporting maternal and child health, family planning, nutrition, immunization, and disease prevention activities. The new family planning program is part of the $30 billion that the American people have invested in Egypt through USAID since 1978.

Demcratic Republic of Congo: Red Cross team deploys to Ebola epicentre with life-saving supplies.

Demcratic Republic of Congo: Red Cross team deploys to Ebola epicentre with life-saving supplies.

By APO Group:

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 14, 2018/ — A Red Cross team has deployed to Equateur province in north-western Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), bringing with them much needed stocks of life-saving equipment and supplies to prevent the further spread of Ebola.

Nearly 40 local Red Cross volunteers on the ground have also been mobilized to support affected communities.

“Our main concerns are that the affected area is difficult to access and that the existing health centres in this isolated area have little or no basic medical supplies,” said Dr Fatoumata Nafo-Traoré, the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent’s (IFRC) Regional Director for Africa. “We are kickstarting this response by using our stocks from the 2017 Ebola outbreak. This includes essential items like stretchers, chlorine disinfectant, Ebola kits, informational posters and other supplies to support the local communities and health centres.”

At least 18 people have died of suspected haemorrhagic fever in an outbreak that was first confirmed on 8 May in Bikoro health zone, a remote part of the country. Two of those cases are confirmed to be Ebola.

This is the ninth Ebola outbreak in Congo since 1976, when the deadly disease was first identified. There is no specific treatment for Ebola, which is spread through the bodily fluids of people exhibiting symptoms. Without preventive measures, the virus can spread quickly between people and is fatal in up to 50 per cent of cases.

The DRC Red Cross has responded to all past Ebola outbreaks in the country and has a strong, in-country network of experts.

The IFRC and the DRC Red Cross will support surveillance, water, sanitation and hygiene and contact tracing services. Red Cross teams will also lead on safe and dignified burials, and support infection prevention and control, and social mobilization.

“Community volunteers and groups are critical to stopping the spread of disease, especially in isolated areas, such as the epicentre of this current outbreak,” said Dr Nafo-Traoré. “Local Red Cross staff and volunteers are embedded in many of the most vulnerable and hardest-to-reach communities and are key to provide awareness-raising, meticulous surveillance and a high degree of vigilance that are essential to detect and properly manage any new suspected Ebola cases.”

The lessons learned during the West Africa outbreak, as well as previous outbreaks in DRC, will be key.

“We have mobilized volunteers and staff who have previous experience in fighting Ebola to work with the affected communities to prevent further spread of the disease,” said Grégoire Mateso, President of the DRC Red Cross. “In the coming days, we will train another 150 volunteers on the ground to strengthen community surveillance in Bikoro and neighbouring health zones.”

IFRC has released more than 216,000 Swiss francs from its Disaster Relief Emergency Fund to bring supplies and personnel to the affected area. IFRC’s Head of Health for Africa has deployed to Kinshasa while experts in logistics, water, sanitation and hygiene are headed to Equateur province. Infection and prevention control, finance and emergency health experts are being mobilized for further support.