Three Seychellois trained in media peace support operations


(From left to right): Govinden, Fanchette and Rose-Hoareau attending the course

Maria Fanchette of the Red Cross Society of Seychelles, Norlis Rose-Hoareau of the Citizens Democracy Watch of Seychelles and Gerard Govinden of the National Information Services Agency (Nisa) are among the pioneers in this project as it was the first time the course was run in Africa.

The course, which took place at the Sudan Peace Operations Training Centre in Khartoum, ended yesterday morning with the certificate presentation ceremony attended by guest of honour major general Hassan Saleh Omer, German International Cooperation (GIZ) representative Fridah Kibuko, lead lecturer Omer Abdelaziz Ali, lecturer Awad Ibrahim Awad and other guests.

Among the topics covered are media monitoring and analysis; reporting skills; report writing; advocacy campaigns planning and organisation; documentation and information management; press release writing techniques; press conference techniques; impacts of media on politics, public opinion, conflict dynamics and peace support operations; and interview techniques.

Visits to the Sudan national radio and television stations, and the Sudan news agency were organised to give the delegates the opportunity to see how journalists work and understand the news gathering process.

The delegates also spent three days in El Fasher, the capital city North Darfur, where they worked in groups to collect information about the humanitarian work taking place there, the roles of women’s groups, the demilitarisation, demobilisation and rehabilitation (DDR), and the work being done by Unamid (United Nations Assistant Mission in Darfur).

Unamid is the first ever hybrid mission and is also a joint African Union and United Nations peacekeeping mission formally approved by United Nations Security Council Resolution 1769 on July 31, 2007, to bring stability to the war-torn Darfur region of Sudan while peace talks on a final settlement continue.

Sponsored by the GIZ, the course was organised by the Eastern African Standby Force (EASF) – a constituent organisation of the African Standby Force (ASF) and which falls under the African Union (AU).

The establishment of the organisation in 2004 followed the ratification of the AU Peace and Security Protocol by the first ordinary session of the assembly of the African Union in Durban, South Africa on July 9, 2002. This was done in order to enable the AU Peace and Security Council perform its responsibilities with respect to the deployment of peace support operations (PSO) or missions and intervention pursuant to article 4 (h) and (j) of the Constitutive Act. Currently the EASF is composed of 10 active member states that include Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda.

The objective of the Eastern Africa Standby Force is to carry out in a timely manner the functions of maintenance of peace and security, as mandated by the Peace and Security Council of the African Union in accordance with the Constitutive Act of the African Union.

The EASF is composed of standby multidisciplinary contingents, with civilian, police and military components in their countries of origin and ready for rapid deployment at appropriate notice. In the conduct of its business, the EASF is guided by the principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Constitutive Act of the African Union, the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights, the Protocol Relating to the Establishment of the Peace and Security Council of the African Union, and other regional and international legal instruments. Ownership and manning of EASF belongs to the member states without prejudice to their responsibilities and sovereignty.

Seychellois Benediste Hoareau is the head of the civilian component of EASF.

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