Wednesday, 26 March 2014

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BFI African Odysseys Film Programme*  
presents the screening of   

Comrade President 

Saturday 26th April 2014

This historical portrait is about an intriguing figure in African liberation   

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Speech by Ed Miliband to Scottish Labour Conference


Can I start by saying what a privilege it is to be here in Perth.

In May it will be 20 years since the death of Labour’s lost leader, Scotland’s lost leader, Britain’s lost leader, John Smith.

The outpouring of grief we saw back then was because of John’s decency, compassion and his commitment to social justice.

20 years on his inspiration still lives.

The flame of social justice still burns.

And we must honour his legacy by winning the fight for Scotland to remain in the United Kingdom.

And I want to thank our brilliant Scottish leader who is leading that fight.

She is tough, she is determined, she is Labour.

Johann Lamont.

And I want also to thank her dynamic deputy, Anas Sawar.

And my friend, our brilliant Shadow Secretary of State, Margaret Curran.

Let us also thank someone who could have decided to have an easier life after years of frontline politics.

But who instead was determined to fight for the nation he loves, Alistair Darling.


Friends, we meet here, conscious of our duties to our country.

This is no ordinary time and no ordinary conference.

Because in 180 days Scotland will determine its future.

It is Scotland's decision.

And Scotland's alone.

But everyone in this Labour Party knows: we’re better together.

Today I want to set out why I so passionately believe in Scotland choosing to stay in the United Kingdom.

It is rooted in the history and common bonds that we share together across our country.

A history that has enabled us to fight for equality and social justice.

And it is driven by a belief we all share to tackle injustice and inequality wherever we find them.

Better Together

Almost every family in Britain has a special story about their connection with Scotland.

This is mine.

My Dad came to Britain as a refugee from Belgium, fleeing from the Nazis. 

He wanted to fight Fascism so he joined the Royal Navy.

Seventy years ago, he was stationed just 30 miles from here in Inverkeithing.

Where I was yesterday.

He wrote in his diary about the thrill of saying “Miliband, reporting for duty.”

His ship was HMS Valorous.

There were people from all parts of our country on that ship. 

People from all walks of life, all backgrounds, who had come together for one purpose.

This year marks 70 years since the D-Day landings.

Where would be without that great generation that worked together for a common cause: fighting Fascism?

Let us pay tribute to them today. 

And their story reflects the history of the United Kingdom. 

A history of great causes.

For internationalism.

And so often the struggle for social justice. 

But my interest in this history is not just in monuments to what we have achieved.

But what it teaches us about what we can achieve in the future.

Let us resolve to write new chapters in the story of our country.

Stories that our children will be able to tell.

About how we made our country more fair, more just, more equal.

Our Vision and Policy

Like every generation we must confront the challenges we face and rise to them.

Never has that been clearer than this week.

A Conservative Budget that did nothing to restore the promise of Britain for our young people, that the next generation should always do better than the last.

A Conservative Budget that did nothing truly to take the side of hard-pressed consumers. 

A Conservative Budget that did nothing genuinely to help family budgets that are being so squeezed by the cost-of-living crisis.

And what was the answer to the cost of living crisis from Conservative Central Office on Wednesday night?

George Osborne’s generous offer, buy 300 pints of beer and get one free.

Cheaper Bingo, except even on that one, there was a catch.

As the Bingo companies say they can’t pass on the savings.

And what about that advert that they released?

Have you seen a more condescending, patronising, arrogant, haughty, out-of-touch, misconceived piece of nonsense? 

And didn’t the mask slip?

The “hardworking people of Britain”.

The Conservatives say “they”.

We say “us”.

We are the party of the hardworking people of every part of our United Kingdom.

Indeed, the whole idea of One Nation: using the talents of all.

And that is the idea too of the United Kingdom.

Sharing risks and gains across Britain.

We support each other across the UK whether we are Scottish, English, Welsh or Northern Irish.

Because of our history, our ties, we are willing to redistribute.

Because we know we are better together.

Think about what the last Labour government did.

It took 200,000 children out of poverty here in Scotland.

And how did we do it?

By creating new jobs, tax credits and a National Minimum Wage across the whole United Kingdom. 

Because we know we’re better together.

And the same will be true for the next Labour government too.

There are more young unemployed people in some parts of the UK than others.

But we will tax the bankers’ bonuses to guarantee a job to every young person unemployed for more than a year, across every part of the United Kingdom.

Because we know we’re better together.

And there are more top-rate tax-payers in some parts of the country than others.

But we will restore the 50p rate because we know it is right to ask those who are doing well to pay their fair share to improve our country for everyone.

Because we know we’re better together. 

And the strength of the United Kingdom goes beyond that too.

It is about how we build prosperity for the future.

We need a race to the top, not a race to the bottom.

Supporting all of those great businesses who want high standards.

Creating those good, high-paying jobs that people have the right to expect.

And to do that we have to take on some of the vested interests that can hold us back.

We need to reform our banking system so it isn’t businesses working for our banks, but banks working for our businesses once again.

We need to stand up the energy companies, reform the energy market and freeze energy prices. 

And we need to call time on unscrupulous employers who undermine all the good employers, misusing zero-hours contracts or not paying the minimum wage. 

Under a Labour government, firms won’t be able to get away with misusing zero-hours contracts.

And we will ensure all firms are paying the minimum wage.

But to do this, we need to stay together. 

Because some of those vested interests will always try to play one country off against another.

“You put in place that policy and we move our company somewhere else.”

In other words, they try to force counties into a race to the bottom.

And think how much harder it would be to stop that race to the bottom if we had a border running along the middle of the UK. 

England, Scotland divided in two. 

We need to set fair rules for all across our country.

To stop that race to the bottom and to start to run a race to the top.

That’s the Labour way.

And we need to combine this fight for fairness and redistribution with bringing power closer to people.

That was the vision that inspired the Scottish Parliament.

And now once again it inspires our Policy Review and the Devolution Commission.

So for Scotland:

More devolution of social security, but still sharing risks. 

Greater flexibility over income tax rates but no race to the bottom on income tax.

We will bring power closer to people.

And then we will work together to build social justice.

Because we know we’re better together.

Labour governments in Westminster and Holyrood.

Two governments working together.

Not wrestling against each other.

But never resting until we have built the more just, the more equal society that every part of the United Kingdom should be.

Independence: Race to the Bottom

And what is the alternative?

What do the SNP say?

We’ve seen it all as this referendum campaign has gone on.

No answer on the currency.

No answer on the European Union.

But there is one thing that is worse than any of this.

Because for all the rhetoric.

All the warm words.

The SNP have no plan for social justice.

Remember the “progressive beacon”, they were going to be?

They can’t say that any more.

The SNP had to be dragged kicking and screaming to abolish the Bedroom Tax.

It was Labour’s campaign that forced them to do it.

And let’s applaud everyone who made that possible.

Where do the SNP stand on Labour’s energy price freeze?

They can’t match it.

Where do they stand on the 50p tax rate?

They can’t match it.

In fact, Alex Salmond said:

“We certainly are not going to put ourselves at a tax disadvantage with the rest of the UK”.

In other words, an independent Scotland’s top tax rate would actually be set in London.

By the government in London.

Even a Tory government, with Tory values, and Tory priorities.

Well, I can tell you, here’s the difference: under a Labour government, the top rate of tax will be determined by Labour values, Labour priorities, by a Labour government. 

He has given the game away.

It would be a race to the bottom.

Not just on tax rates.

But on wage rates.

On terms and conditions.

On zero hours contracts.

On dealing with the energy companies.

On reforming the banks.

And what does he say his first priority would be if there would be an independent Scotland?

Not to spend more on the NHS.

Not to invest in education.

Instead, a 3p cut in Corporation Tax.

Because he says it is essential to “counter the gravitational pull of London.”

The race to the bottom once again.

Those companies who can afford it paying less.

And those who can least afford it, hardworking families across Scotland will pay more and see their services suffer.

And so we find, Alex Salmond who claims to be a great social democrat, pushed into the same race to the bottom as the Tories he denounces.

That’s the SNP’s vision of an independent Scotland.

Two lanes in a race to the bottom.

David Cameron and Alex Salmond at the starting blocks.

The SNP can talk about social justice.

But they can’t build it.

Because you can’t be a narrow nationalist and serve social justice at the same time. 

Well, their vision is not the Scotland you believe in.

That’s not the Scotland I believe in.

That’s not the Scotland this Labour Party will help to build.


I know many of you are deeply angry at this Tory government.

And I share your anger about that government too.

And I know we can do something about it.

Don’t believe the SNP when they contrast a progressive Scotland and a Tory England.

Because there are millions of people across every part of our country who think it is wrong that there are young people without work.

And they want us to do something about it.

There are millions of people who say it is just wrong that so many people in work find themselves in poverty.

And they want us to do something about it.

There are millions of people who want to be part of a country that is more just, more equal, more fair.

And they want us to make that vision happen.

And the history of our country and our Party is mobilising people in great causes.

Workers’ rights at the start of the 20th century.

The Suffragettes demanding the vote.

An NHS after 1945.

A Scottish Parliament.

A minimum wage in the 1990s.

We can do so again.

Let’s be inspired by the example of all of our pioneers from Keir Hardie to John Smith.

Fairness for the people of Scotland and the United Kingdom.

Together, not alone.

Neighbours, not strangers.

Friends, not competitors. 

A race to the top, not a race to the bottom.

Let’s fight for social justice.

Let’s earn the chance to serve.

Let’s win for the people of Scotland.

Centre of African studies, Africa seminar series


Monday 24 March, at 5pm, Room 4429, SOAS

War in Northern Uganda: Background and Effects
By Vincent Oling, Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD) Uganda.

This paper aims to discuss the background and consequences of the war in Northern Uganda. I will look at what have been seen as the main national and local-level causes for the war, the course the war took as it developed differently in different regions, and the war’s effects on national and regional services and community life. Moreover, I will consider the economic, ethnic, and class dimensions of the war for Uganda’s society, and the perceptions of the international community.

Bio: Vincent Oling is a Ugandan peace activist, and the founder of Uganda’s Concerned Parents Association in the aftermath of the Aboke Girls’ Abduction in 1996, as well as of several other development and post-war reconstruction-focused NGOs. Since 2004 he has been the acting Chairman of Facilitation for Peace and Development (FAPAD) Uganda.

Description: Vincent Oling photo

ALL WELCOME, no need to register

For more information contact:

3nd Annual Igbo Conference
Igbo Heritage: Production, Diffusion and Legacy
2nd-3rd May 2014, SOAS, Brunei Lecture Theatre and Suite

The third annual Igbo Conference will provide a platform to examine various aspects of the Igbo heritage, including but not limited to: Igbo Heritage and the Arts, Food, Diet and Lifestyle, Igbo Heritage in the Diaspora(s), Igbo Spirituality and the Igbo Worldview.

The two day conference will comprise of plenary panels and performances which will include live oja (Igbo flute) music, masquerade, a performance of exerts of a new play and film screenings. There will also be an Igbo Language Master Class (on Friday 2nd at 1pm) and a Natural Hair Care workshop (on Saturday 3rd at 1pm). Workshops are free to attend for registered conference attendees, but as space is limited please email to confirm your place.
*Early Bird Discountavailable on registration fees until 31st March. To register please visit 
Please note, registration must be completed online prior to the conference. The conference registration fee will cover conference attendance, conference materials, lunch and refreshments.

Please visit the conference pages for more and  The preliminary conference schedule is attached to this email and can also be accessed at

Keynote Speaker:

Douglas B. Chambers, Associate Professor in the Department of History, The University of Southern Mississippi. 
Professor Chambers' research examines ‘Atlantic Africa’ in the era of the transatlantic slave trade, with a focus on the Igbo (Ibo) diaspora. His particular interests are in social and cultural history, including questions of creolization. Professor Chambers' current research centers on the slave trade from the Bight of Biafra in West Africa, ca.1650-1850, and its intersection with the new Atlantic history. His keynote address is entitled 'The Igbo Diaspora in the Era of the Slave Trade: Historical and Cultural Connections'
Featured Speakers:
Chike Azuonye (Nigeria Art Society UK) will speak on 'The Relevance of Uli in Contemporary Nigeria Art'

Obi Okigbo (Christopher Okigbo Foundation) will be reading from Christopher Okigbo's Labyrinths followed by a discussion on how her father's poetry has influenced her artwork.

Emeka Keazor's (Alto Historical Media) presentation is entitled '30 Igbo Pioneers in History'
The conference will also screen Obi Emelonye's Igbo language filmOnye Ozi, followed by a Q&A with Obi Emelonye (The Nollywood Factory).

Please note that the conference will be filmed.    

Enquiries to Louisa Uchum Egbunike



For immediate release: 
Tullow’s tax disclosures torpedo Big Oil’s campaign for secrecy
UK oil company becomes the world’s first extractive firm to publish revenue payments to governments by project

The UK company Tullow Oil today became the world’s first extractive firm to publish details of its revenue payments to governments broken down by each project the company operates worldwide. The disclosures, released today in Tullow’s annual report, show the taxes, royalties, licence fees and other public revenues generated by the company’s operations across 21 countries – 14 of which are in sub-Saharan Africa – for the years 2012 and 2013.

Tullow’s voluntary disclosures are being released in advance of a new EU law, due to come into force in the UK in 2015, that will require EU oil, mining and logging companies to publish their payments to governments on a project-by-project basis. These detailed disclosures will enable citizens in economically poor but resource-rich regions to monitor public revenues worth hundreds of billions of dollars and hold governments to account for how the money is used.

The disclosures deal a heavy blow to a lobbying campaign being waged by some of Tullow’s industry competitors to keep revenue payments secret. The American Petroleum Institute, an oil lobby group whose leading members include ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron and BP, is trying to weaken the implementing rule for a U.S. law that requires U.S.-listed oil and mining companies to publish their payments on a project-by-project basis. The rule is currently under review by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

“Tullow’s welcome disclosure blows a hole in the argument made by some oil companies that project-level reporting will impose a heavy burden on business,” said Dominic Eagleton, a senior campaigner with Global Witness. “This should encourage the Securities and Exchange Commission to create a strong payment disclosure rule that allows citizens to identify which companies are making payments and the amounts they contribute.”

Tullow’s disclosure reflects the emergence of a new global reporting standard for natural resource payments. All 28 EU Member States are required to have project-level disclosure legislation in place by July 2015, with the UK, Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Denmark and Finland publicly committed to swift implementation of the rules. Outside the EU, Norway brought an equivalent law into force in January 2014, Canada is on track to creating a matching legal standard by April 2015, and Switzerland’s government is developing options for similar legislation.

In addition, the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a revenue reporting scheme that governments sign up to voluntarily, made project-level disclosure a requirement for all 44 of its implementing countries when the EITI’s global standard was revised in May 2013.

“Instead of trying to weaken transparency rules designed to combat corruption and poverty in resource-dependent countries, the oil majors should follow Tullow’s lead and embrace the fact that project-by-project reporting is now the new global standard,” Eagleton added.


Notes to Editors:

The Deputy Chairperson of the Commission meets with the Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia,  2014: The Deputy Chairperson of the African Union Commission, H.E Erastus Mwencha, received H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed AI Masnoori, Minister of Economy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at his office today to discuss possible areas of cooperation.

The visit was part of an African Tour undertaken by the UAE Delegation of 50 people businessmen, aimed at reinforcing economic relations with the Continent, whereas Sultan Bin Saeed AI Masnoori, stressed the importance his country attaches to its relationship and cooperation with Africa in all areas. The UAE wishes to strengthen its business ties with AU Member States, through experience sharing in the fields of infrastructure, trade, Small and Medium Enterprise development using a transfer of technology, all aimed at increasing regional trade.

On behalf of the AUC, the Deputy Chairperson welcomed and congratulated H.E. Eng. Sultan Bin Saeed AI MAsnoori and his delegation for the excellent initiative to visit Africa that will no doubt boost the existing Business cooperation already underway with UAE. He also indicated that the African Union Commission greatly appreciates such ventures along with bringing support to the continent in areas where it has more experience and skills.

Monday, 24 March 2014

CAADP Awards Africa’s top agricultural journalists

Description: Description: Day 3-0276Durban, South Africa - March 2014 – during a lively awards ceremony at the 10thComprehensive Africa Agriculture Development (CAADP) Partnership Platform conference in Durban, South Africa, on 20th March 2014, the continent’s winners of the African Union Commission and NEPAD Agency CAADP Media Awards were announced.

The media awards were announced at the on-going CAADP PP, which brought together African and global leaders from a number of international organisations, African Governments including ministers, private agribusiness firms, financial institutions, farmers, NGOs and civil society organizations to discuss and develop concrete investment plans for scaling agricultural development success in Africa.

“The media have a significant role to play in telling the CAADP story and ensuring our messages are heard across the continent said, H.E Tumusiime Rhoda Peace, Commissioner for Rural Economy and Agriculture of the African Union Commission. “Through these strong voices we can reach small holder farmers, youth, and women that are critical to the advancement of our initiatives and Africa’s success.”

Winners and runner-ups were announced from Burkina Faso, Senegal, Uganda, Zambia, Cameroon and Ghana; all bringing a unique perspective to how the developing agriculture narrative is being told. Four finalists and four runner ups were brought on stage to accept awards – their work ranged from reporting on the crucial role woman play in agriculture to the importance of bio-gas.

Finalists of the awards are:
  • News articles & stories category:Sitembile Siwawa from Zambia - “Female Farmers Empowerment Vital”
  • News articles & stories category: Idrissa Konditamdé from Burkina Faso - “Le zaïou comment récolterdeux tonnes à l’hectaresur un sol aride”
  • Video, documentary and television category:IbrahimaDiallo from Senegal “La Salinsation des Terres en Casamance”
  • Radio and audio broadcast category: Richard KatamiBwayo from Uganda - “The Importance of Bio-gas in Promoting Sustainable Land Management”

Runners up included:
  • Doreen Nawa from Zambia – “ICTs: helping farmers make the most of produce”
  • Seydou Prosper Sadio from Senegal -“Une centaine de variétés d’arachides en cours d’expérimentation dans les stations de l’Isra”
  • Ngala Chimtom from Cameroon – “Farmers coping with water shortage in Cameroon”
  • Adelaide Arthur from Ghana – “Push pull”

Organisation: HelpAge International
Closing date: 30 March 2014
Job type: Paid
Salary: £33,000
Salary notes: Gross per annum (Pro Rata) plus benefits (Pension, Insurance & R&R) £3,000 per annum hardship allowance (Pro Rata) 6 month contract (with possible extension)

HelpAge International helps older people claim their rights, challenge discrimination and overcome poverty, so that they can lead dignified, secure, active and healthy lives. Our work in over 75 countries is strengthened through our global network of like-minded organisations - the only one of its kind in the world. In December 2013 a new emergency erupted in the form of fierce infighting between the two major ethnic groups in South Sudan the Dinkas and Nur which has caused the additional internal displacement of over 700,000 people and movement of 226,000 refugees into neighbouring Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda. HelpAge East, West and Central Africa Regional Development Centre therefore seek an experienced professional to support in the development of a new programme of work to respond to the current emergency situation in South Sudan.
The Emergency Programme Manager will support HelpAge International to develop and manage a new programme of emergency work in South Sudan, networking with international and national partners and advocating for older people’s protection needs within the humanitarian response in South Sudan. A major aspect of the role will be around engaging with potential donors on aspects of the planned programming and developing solid proposals.
The ideal candidate will have substantial experience of proposal development, compiling and managing substantial multi-donor budgets. You will possess excellent networking and representation skills and ability to work flexibly (with tact and diplomacy) at the highest level to lobby and advocate for inclusion of older people’s issues. You should have an understanding of key technical issues in one or more areas of humanitarian protection, livelihoods and food security, health, nutrition, disaster preparedness and recovery as well as Substantial experience in developing, implementing, managing and reporting of humanitarian programmes at field level in crisis and chronic complex emergencies. Good budgeting, financial management and reporting skills is also essential.
Closing date: 30th March 2014
Due to the urgency of filling this role, candidates may be contacted before the closing date. Start date: ASAP
HelpAge International is an equal opportunities employer

How to apply

To visit our website for a full description of this role please click ApplyNow.
Please mention Bond when you apply for this position.

Further details

Location: Juba, South Sudan
Area of work: Projects and programmes

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Victory: CPS to prosecute G4S guards
for the manslaughter of Jimmy Mubenga
Please keep signing the petition
 Keep up pressure for corporate manslaughter charges against G4S, and for the government to revoke their contracts.
It has taken nearly four years of pressure from the family and supporters of Mr Mubenga, and much public outrage, for the Crown Prosecution Service to finally bring criminal charges against his G4S killers. 

An inquest in 2013 heard how three G4S guards deporting Mr Mubenga on a British Airways flight, violently restrained him in a position known to cause asphyxia. Having considered the evidence of Mr Mubenga’s harrowing death, the jury found that he had been “unlawfully killed”.

Despite the verdict, Mr Mubenga’s relatives heard nothing from the CPS for a further eight months. They wrote in February, reminding the CPS that the jury had found that the guards “were using unreasonable force and acting in an unlawful manner.” The family said: “the CPS should act following the comprehensive verdict of the inquest. We urge you to bring justice to our family with due speed. We cannot rest while this trauma hangs over us.” 

The All Africa Women’s Group, a self-help group of women asylum seekers some of whom who attended the inquest, said: “The family has suffered terribly; no one should have to endure that. What happened to Jimmy could have happened to one of our members; a number of us have suffered assaults in detention and violent deportations. Unless those abusing asylum seekers – women, children and men fleeing genocide, war and rape – are stopped, all our lives are at risk.” 

Over 70 members of AAWG signed the petition, plus hundreds of others including MP Jeremy Corbyn, Linton Kwesi Johnson, whistle-blower Ayo Amotade (who protested against a violent deportation on another BA flight), Melissa Benn, poet Dean Atta; members of family campaigns for justice including Carol Duggan, Nas Mahmood, Marcia Rigg, Becky Shah, Myrna Simpson; and Winston Silcott, Satpal Ram, Alfie Meadows, Deepa Naik and Trenton Oldfield.

Despite the death of Mr Mubenga and harrowing evidence from the Inquest, a report this month found that brutal and inhuman deportations continue. Racist violence and other degrading treatment in detention centres remain largely unreported. Vulnerable and traumatised people are facing daily cruel and degrading treatment. 70% of women in Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre report being victims of rape and other torture and are being held in detention in breach of gender guidelines. 

In September last year, the Observer reported rape and sexual assaults by guards in Yarl's Wood. Instead of acting against criminal guards, the authorities routinely threaten to deport detainees before they can bring the perpetrators to justice.

Mr Mubenga's family should never have had to wait so long. Nor should the many others whose loved ones have been killed in custody – or who have had their lives destroyed in other ways. Increasingly the public is demanding justice and an end to the police and other cover ups, lies, corruption and botched CPS and IPCC inquiries and investigations, like the ones into the killings of Stephen Lawrence, Ian Tomlinson, Jean Charles de Menezes, the 96 Liverpool fans at Hillsborough, the victims of undercover policing, and the victims of rape like Layla Ibrahim and Gail Sherwood who were prosecuted and imprisoned while their attackers went free. 

Please continue supporting Mr Mubenga's family's efforts to get justice. Pressing on the demands below helps keep up momentum for: the CPS to present a robust case in court against the G4S guards; G4S corporation also to be brought to justice not just the guards; an end to all violence against detainees; and an end to police and guards being allowed to rape and kill with impunity. 

Sign the on-line petition here to demand that:

• G4S to be charged with corporate murder and their government contracts to be revoked.
• A proper compensation for the family. 
• BA crew and staff who allowed the assault to continue to be sacked and prosecuted. 
• Anyone involved in assaulting people in detention or being deported, to be prosecuted for these crimes.