Saturday, July 9, 2011

Free at last': South Sudan is world's newest nation

THE 6th East African Nation BORN

Thousands of South Sudanese danced through the night to mark the first hours of their independence on Saturday, a hard-won separation from the north that also plunged the fractured region into a new period of uncertainty.

The Republic of South Sudan, an under-developed oil producer, became the world's newest nation on the stroke of midnight.

It won its independence in a January referendum — the climax of a 2005 peace deal that ended decades of civil war with the north.

Security forces at first tried to control the dusty streets of the southern capital Juba, but retreated as jubilant crowds moved in waving flags, dancing and chanting "South Sudan o-yei, freedom o-yei."
Image: Map of Sudan

After the sun came up, thousands poured onto the site of the day's independence ceremony — a possible headache for officials keen to guard dignitaries including the President of Sudan, the south's old civil war foe, Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

In a statement, President Barack Obama said he was "proud" to formally recognize the Republic of South Sudan "as a sovereign and independent state," NBC News reported.

A 'dream realized'
He recalled Martin Luther King reflecting on the first moment of independence on the African continent in Ghana.

"I knew about all of the struggles, and all of the pain, and all of the agony that these people had gone through for this moment," the president quoted King as saying.

Obama said that now, decades later, "we are moved by the story of struggle that led to this time of hope in South Sudan, and we think of those who didn't live to see their dream realized."

"Today is a reminder that after the darkness of war, the light of a new dawn is possible. A proud flag flies over Juba and the map of the world has been redrawn. These symbols speak to the blood that has been spilled, the tears that have been shed, the ballots that have been cast, and the hopes that have been realized by so many millions of people," he said.

Obama said many Americans had been "deeply moved by the aspirations of the Sudanese people, and support for South Sudan extends across different races, regions, and political persuasions in the United States."

Years of war have flooded South Sudan with weapons.
Story: Birthday wish: 'Lost boys' pin hopes on independent South Sudan

In a possible sign of the South's new allegiances, the crowd included about 200 supporters of Darfur rebel leader Abdel Wahed al-Nur, whose forces are fighting Khartoum in an eight-year insurgency just over South Sudan's border in the north.

The supporters of Nur's rebel Sudan Liberation Army faction stood in a line chanting "Welcome, welcome new state," wearing T-shirts bearing their leader's image. One carried a banner reading "El Bashir is wanted dead or alive."
PhotoBlog: Last few licks of paint for world's newest country

Traditional dance groups drummed and waved shields and staffs in a carnival atmosphere.

"I am very pleased," said Joma Cirilow, 47, his hand on his son's shoulder. "Do you want to be a second-class citizen? No, I want to be a first-class citizen in my own country."

'Join the nations of the world'
Christian priests in full robes blessed the ceremony site in central Juba where a large statue stood draped in a flag near the mausoleum of the south's civil war hero John Garang.

"Today we raise the flag of South Sudan to join the nations of the world. A day of victory and celebration," Pagan Amum, the secretary general of the South's ruling Sudan People's Liberation Movement (SPLM) told Reuters.

"Free at last," said Simon Agany, 34, as he walked around shaking hands. "Coming away from the north is total freedom."

North Sudan's Khartoum government was the first to recognize the new state on Friday, hours before the formal split took place, a move that smoothed the way to the division of what was, until Saturday, Africa's largest country.

Thursday, July 7, 2011



The Commonwealth law ministers meeting takes place on Monday next to look at ways of strengethening laws that will promote democracy among the commonwealth countries including Uganda. Uganda has just held it's national general elections where president Yoweri Museveni was elected for a forth term in office.

The meeting, which will be hosted by Australian Attorney-General Robert McClelland, provides the opportunity for the First Law Officers of the Commonwealth of Nations to discuss law and justice issues of common concern, including counter-terrorism, crime prevention, human rights, access to justice and intellectual property as well as ‘Women as agents of change’.

A Ugandan, Ms. Elizabeth Bakibinga-Gaswaga, Vice President of the Commonwealth Association of Legislative Counsel (CALC), will lead the CALC’s delegation to the 2011 Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting to be held in Sydney at the InterContinental Hotel from Monday 11 to Thursday 14 July 2011.

The international meeting under the theme: ‘Fostering a Just and Secure Society’ involves Commonwealth Law Ministers discussing and providing the strategic vision and direction on law and justice issues of common concern. In doing so, they will identify and drive the capacity building and technical assistance needs required by member states to promote the rule of law across the Commonwealth, in order to further enhance and strengthen democracy, good governance and development.

Representatives from more than 50 Commonwealth countries are expected to attend.

The delegates include Ministers and Senior Officials from Commonwealth member states, including Uganda’s Attorney General, Mr Peter Nyombi Mrs Robina Rwakoojo, Ag. Director Civil Litigation, Australia’s Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, the UK Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Mr. Kenneth Clarke, the Indian Minister for Law & Justice, Mr. M. Veerappa Moily and New Zealand’s Minister of Justice, Simon Power. The Commonwealth Secretary-General, Kamalesh Sharma will also attend CLMM and officially open the meeting. According to Mr. Sharma, “The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”

The Meeting will be followed by the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Perth in October 2011.

CALC has observer status with the Commonwealth and, at this meeting, the CALC delegation will endeavour to draw the attention of participants to activities and opportunities for interaction that enhance the visibility of legislative counsel and highlight the role of legislative counsel in transforming policy and programmes into enforceable legislation for good governance and development. This should specifically benefit the 250 legislative counsel in Botswana, Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, the Gambia, Uganda and Zambia. The meeting also serves as a pre-cursor to the 2nd CALC Africa regional conference scheduled to be held in 2012.

Official release from the Commonwealth Secretariat, also available at

Commonwealth law ministers to hold triennial meeting in Australia

4 July 2011

Meeting provides a periodic opportunity, every three years, for ministers and senior officials to come together to stock take and look ahead

Law ministers and attorneys-general from the 54-member Commonwealth will hold their triennial meeting in Sydney, Australia, 11-14 July 2011, to discuss important legal issues affecting Commonwealth citizens.

Commonwealth Secretary-General Kamalesh Sharma and Commonwealth Deputy Secretary-General Mmasekgoa Masire-Mwamba will join host Australia's Attorney-General Robert McClelland for the Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting (CLMM 2011) under the theme 'Fostering a Just and Secure Commonwealth'.

“CLMM 2011 will be an excellent opportunity for law ministers from across the Commonwealth to work together to advance a broad range of initiatives aimed at achieving this year’s theme of fostering a just and secure Commonwealth,” Mr McClelland said.

“There will be a special thematic session on cyber crime and further discussion on the development of a Commonwealth plan of action to combat human trafficking. Concrete solutions in these areas really matter to Commonwealth citizens in order to foster a just and secure Commonwealth for all,” stated Mr Sharma.

“The Commonwealth Law Ministers Meeting is unique in the legal calendar. It is the only high-level event on the international stage that facilitates information sharing, best practice and collaboration among law ministers and attorneys-general from both developing and developed countries from every continent in the world who share a common legal tradition.”

Akbar Khan, Director of the Legal and Constitutional Affairs Division at the Commonwealth Secretariat, offered more details on the conference.

“We are talking about those global threats for which collectively we need to find solutions. Today many of the legal threats don’t have borders. We’re talking about human trafficking, we’re talking about cyber crime, and we’re talking about forced marriages,” Mr Khan said.

“These issues need to be dealt with on a collective basis and ministers have that experience in providing the protection and security and respect for human rights that need to come to bear to decide these issues.”

A special feature of CLMM 2011 will be its focus also on youth, marked with an event for young lawyers from the Pacific region to promote youth mainstreaming within the Commonwealth and to discuss the challenges they face in the legal profession.

Another special event will focus on access to justice for women, under the Commonwealth’s theme for 2011, 'Women as Agents of Change'.

The women’s event will hear about the challenges that women in the Commonwealth face in accessing their rights through judicial mechanisms and legal systems.

The CLMM is the summit meeting of First Law Officers of the Commonwealth and is held every three years. This is the first time Australia has hosted the meeting, which is a precursor to the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth, Western Australia, in October 2011.

To access further information regarding CLMM, go to

For video sound bites of Mr Khan, visit the Commonwealth Secretariat website homepage

For media enquiries: Manoah Esipisu, Conference Spokesperson, +44 789 446 2021 and