Friday, 10 January 2014

Meeting of African Ministers of Defense, Safety and Security
Addis Ababa, 10 January 2014 – Within the framework of the African Peace and Security Architecture (APSA), the 7th Ordinary Meeting of the Specialized Technical Committee on Defense, Safety and Security (STCDSS) will take place at the African Union (AU) Headquarters, in Addis Ababa on 14th January 2014. The Meeting will bring together African Ministers of Defense, Safety and Security, and will be preceded on 10-11 January 2014 by a meeting of Experts and on 12 January 2014 by a meeting of African Chiefs of Defense Staff and Heads of Security Services.
Two key issues are scheduled for discussion at these Meetings, namely: i) The Report of the recently concluded assessment of the African Standby Force (ASF), and ii) Progress made towards the operationalization of the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crises (ACIRC), which was established by African leaders at the 22nd Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly, in May 2013. The ACIRC is intended to serve as a transitional arrangement pending the full operationalization of the ASF and its Rapid Deployment Capability, in order to provide the AU with a flexible and robust rapidly deployable force to effectively respond to emergency situations in the Continent.   
With regard to the ASF, the 6th STCDSS, on 30 January 2013 requested the AU Commission, in collaboration with Member States and relevant Regional Economic Communities and Regional Mechanisms (RECs/RMs) to conduct a comprehensive assessment of the African Standby Force, including its RDC, as an important step towards the full implementation of the decision of the 20th Ordinary Session of the AU Assembly of Heads of State and Government. The Chairperson of the Commission appointed an Independent Panel of Experts to conduct the assessment.
The ASF Assessment Panel consisted of a multi-disciplinary Team of peace operations experts headed by Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the former Joint Special Representative of the United Nations - African Union Hybrid Peacekeeping Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) and former Foreign Affairs Minister of Nigeria. Professor Gambari and his Team conducted the Assessment from July to December 2013, during which period they visited the AU Commission and met with all the Planning Elements of the RECs/RMs. The Panel also consulted AU member states, the United Nations Office to the AU (UNOAU) and a large number of external partners, and submitted a comprehensive report on the progress made towards the operationalization of the ASF and its Rapid deployment Capability (RDC). That is the report the Ministers of Defense, Safety and Security will examine at their upcoming meeting.

Duggan family decline to meet Met police chief after lawful killing verdict

Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe to meet community leaders from Tottenham as Duggan family vow to continue 'struggle'

Carole Duggan (C), aunt of Mark Duggan,
Mark Duggan's aunt Carole told BBC radio: 'We will just keep asking questions.' Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images
The head of the Metropolitan police is to meet community leaders from Tottenham on Thursday after an inquest jury's verdict into a police marksman's killing of Mark Duggan sparked an angry reaction from his family and supporters.
But Duggan's family members have said they will not be attending the meeting with Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe and that their struggle for justice will go on. Duggan's aunt, Carole, said the family was still in shock and turmoil following the verdict .
And she confirmed that they would be seeking a review of the inquest jury's decision. "We don't know how they reached the conclusion they did," she told BBC Radio 4's Today programme on Thursday.
She said the family did not want to see any more violence or demonstrations, after Duggan's death sparked the 2011 summer riots. But she added: "We will keep coming back with questions. The struggle will go on peacefully. But we will not give peace to the authorities until we get justice. We will just keep asking questions."
She was asked whether the slogan "no justice, no peace", which the family shouted after the verdict, meant they wanted to see more trouble. Carole Duggan insisted that was not the case.
She added: "There are also questions around the IPCC [Independent Police Complaints Commission] investigation in the beginning, which may have brought the jury to the verdict that they came to." On the evening of the shooting the Met wrongly told the IPCC that Duggan had fired at officers. The IPCC spread this misinformation to journalists.
Hogan-Howe said he accepted the police needed to do "much more" to build the trust of black Londoners and said he was "open to ideas and advice".
Asked if the family would be attending the meeting, Carole Duggan said: "Not just yet. The family are still in shock right now about the results of yesterday. We are in turmoil, we don't know what's going to happen right now."
Hogan-Howe has agreed to a pilot project involving firearms officers wearing video cameras to record incidents such as the one in which Duggan was killed.
"We want to see if this is an effective way to record evidence and ensure public confidence," he said in a statement on Wednesday night.
The move was welcomed by former Met commissioner Lord Blair. "If everything is on film then it becomes easier to understand what's happened," he told Today.
He added that video of the death of Lee Rigby showed the public that police officers have to react in "milliseconds".
Hogan-Howe welcomed the lawful killing verdict, but recognised the lingering anger and added: " I know that we have much work to do with black Londoners to build trust and confidence in the Metropolitan police."
The commissioner stressed that his armed officers' aim was to save lives but recognised the jury's verdict would not end the debate about the Duggan shooting: "We know that the arguments will continue about what happened in this case. So we appeal for a balanced debate about the risks to the public from gun crime."
Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley, who was shouted down with cries of "scum" and "murderer" when he made a statement outside the Royal Courts of Justice following Wednesday's verdict, said he understood the family's anger.
Speaking on Today, he said: "I can understand their grief and anguish, but 10 ordinary Londoners have looked at all the evidence over three months, rather than some of the nonsense that's been put on the internet over the last two-and-a-half years, and their conclusion was that Mark Duggan was lawfully killed.
"The important thing for us is looking forward in terms of the confidence of Londoners in the local area, and our relations, particularly with the black community, and the commissioner is doing that today.
"We want to reassure Londoners that they can have confidence in our firearms policing and the way they tackle gun crime in London, as indeed the jury demonstrated they had yesterday.
"We are not here to pretend that relations with all sectors of the community are perfect in every regard, and that's why the commissioner wants to talk to the community leaders this morning."
He confirmed that from April the Met would be testing having firearms officers wear cameras. "We are committed to it, but there are some technical complexities over how we make it happen," he said.
He said the move should help speed up inquests into deaths at the hands of police. "We can get there much quicker if we have got it on video, so why wouldn't we?" he said.
Hackney North and Stoke Newington MP, Diane Abbott, said it was important to understand the "history to that bitterness and anger" due to the relationship between police and urban communities.
Speaking on ITV's Daybreak, she said: "People have to understand how unhappy some people are about this verdict and why they're unhappy, and it's because of the relationship between the police and some of the community in our urban areas.
"There's still a lot of concern about stop and search and the fact that black youth and Muslim youth get stopped and searched far more than white youth and it bears no relationship to the actual criminality.
"We just have to understand that there's a history to that bitterness and anger and there's still work to do to build the community's confidence in the police.
"You can't deal with gun crime and gang crime in London unless you have the consent of the community and that's why these sorts of issues have to be dealt with very carefully," she said.