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The European Union has started the process to lift sanctions on Burundi, local media reported Tuesday.

The EU imposed sanctions on Burundi in 2015 at the height of a political crisis in the East African country following late President Pierre Nkurunziza's extension of tenure, which triggered protests.

At the end of May this year, the EU working groups unanimously directed the EU judicial institutions to revoke the suspension of financial aid to the Burundian government, EU Ambassador to Burundi Claude Bochu told local press.

This came after his meeting with Burundian President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Bochu said the decision was reached after seeing positive progress under the new administration headed by Ndayishimiye in terms of promoting governance, rule of law and human rights.

Noting that the EU expects more positive results, Bochu said that the EU together with other partners such as the African Development Bank would finance the rehabilitation of the Port of Bujumbura and its surrounding areas before the end of this year, and contribute funds to the farming sector.

The East African Community (EAC) bloc had recently appealed to the EU to lift sanctions on Burundi, saying the country is ready to move forward.

EAC Secretary General Peter Mathuki said the sanctions were hurting Burundians as well as the people of the entire East African region.

The EAC bloc brings together Burundi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. - James Tasamba, Anadolu Agency

Dinka Malual paramount chief Dut Majak (L), Rizeigat Omda Mohammed Banani (R) unveil the signed resolutions before the peace delegates at South Sudan Hotel in Nyamlel, Aweil West County on 18 June, 2021. Photo: Radio Tamazuj

 

The Dinka Malual, Luo, and Rizeigat communities along the border areas between South Sudan and Sudan last Friday concluded a three-day post-migration peace conference by signing an agreement stating their commitment to promote peace in the region.

The conference which took place in Nyamlel of Aweil East County of Northern Bahr el Ghazal State takes place every year during the dry season as the Arab Rizeigat pastoralists who have been grazing in parts of South Sudan return to their areas in neighboring Sudan.

The participants signed an agreement with about 16 resolutions to promote peaceful coexistence and contain crime before during and after migration.

Some of the resolutions signed include the exact time for migration before which a three weeks notice will be given, 31 cows to be paid as blood compensation for murder cases, prohibition of the burning of bushes, and killing of wild animals. 

Anguei Noon Atak, a Dinka Malual paramount chief in Aweil North County told Radio Tamazuj that the conference was successful.

“The conference sessions went well and we agreed to solve the blood compensations for a specified time. All sides will have to pay compensation in their jurisdiction," he said.

The Rizeigat paramount chief, Idam Abubaker Ismail said this particular conference was different from previous ones as it included sports and social functions bringing all the communities together.

He said, “truly, this peace conference is different from the previous conference because there are a lot of sports and social engagements. These will improve the long-standing relations between Dinka Malual and Rizeigat.”    

For his part, Chan Bak Yaja, the paramount chief of the Luo community in Aweil Center County appreciated the national and state governments involved in the peace initiative for their efforts to promote peaceful coexistence in the border region.

“I think the peace conference between Dinka Malual, Rizeigat, and the Luo has ended peacefully after three days and nobody got sick, and there were no quarrels among the people," he added.

Meanwhile, the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State peace coordinator, William Kolong Pioth hailed the community leaders at the conference for openly discussing the issues and finding solutions to them.

Representing the peace partners, Maria Inecita Montero, the head of civil affairs division and acting head of UNMISS field office in Northern Bahr el Ghazal State said the conference was a success. 

”On behalf of the peace partners, I would say that this conference has achieved its primary objective of bringing the Rizeigat, the Dinka Malual, and the Luo communities together to discuss some issues affecting them during the migration season. Yes, they have, and that why we have the resolutions signed by both parties and that they were able to identify those key issues and come up with the way forward in terms of the agreement on how to resolve those issues," she pointed out.

Over 70 delegates from the Dinka Malual, the Luo, and the Rizeigat communities, government officials, and other guests attended the conference organized by the Northern Bahr el Ghazal State ministry of peacebuilding and funded by UNMISS, UNDP, FAO, VSF, and SAFER WORLD. - Radio Tamazuj

Leaders, particularly white leaders, across the public sector are being urged to tackle racial inequalities. Very few top teams represent the communities that they serve. The slow rate of change carries a significant risk of alienating leaders from global majority backgrounds who experience almost 1,000 racially motivated hate crimes a week in England alone and a loss of substantial talent from the sector.

The call to action follows a spotlight being shone on racial inequalities over the past year, including the murder of George Floyd, statistics highlighting that Black and Asian people were disproportionately affected by COVID-19, alongside a recent report by the government-led Commission on Race and Ethnic Disparities (CRED), finding that employees from Black and Asian backgrounds are not progressing to top leadership positions to the same proportion as white colleagues.

Research has shown Black people hold just 1.5% of senior roles, increasing just 0.1% since 2014. This shows the continuing risk that white leaders will simply go on recruiting in their own image unless there are changes throughout recruitment, development and promotion.

In response to this, The Staff College has released a new publication “Leading in Colour: The Fierce Urgency of Now”, aiming to challenge, and, crucially, support all leaders, but particularly white leaders in changing these inequalities.  Report authors Rose Durban, Meera Spillett and Rosemary Campbell-Stephens MBE, have substantial senior level experience and recognition for work in children’s services and education over many years.

The publication offers leaders the chance to reflect on the very real difficulties faced by their Black and Asian staff and communities, the impact of multi-dimensional racism on them and what they can do to improve the situation for minoritised groups. It sets out what the issues are, what can be done and signposts resources to support understanding and change across the public sector.

The findings also highlight the need for leaders to recognise that the racism experienced by their staff and communities is not a 9-5 experience. Meera Spillett, one of the authors speculating on the reasons for a lack of progress over many years said

“Perhaps one of the reasons initiatives have not taken hold is that it may be seen by white leaders as a task to be done and not a way of life in and out of work. Authentic change requires professional and personal learning with empathy, acknowledging that Black colleagues and communities can never leave the impact of racism behind.” White leaders are also to be reminded that racism occurs in rural and urban areas alike.

The Staff College is calling on white leaders to show solidarity with this most pivotal issue by reading the publication and resources, acknowledging their role in tackling racism, outlining steps they will take to combat the issues raised in the report and sustain their actions within their own public sector organization. 

Senior leaders within the public sector and beyond have shared their concern for the issues raised within the publication, and praised its approach:

Kathryn Smith, Chief Executive of the Social Care Institute for Excellence (SCIE):

“This is a brilliant resource. It gives clear guidance on what I can do, should or shouldn't do. Answering the questions that white leaders may not feel able to ask (and telling them they should ask them) was very helpful.”

Kathryn Perera, Director Horizons Team – part of NHS England and NHS Improvement:

‘Leading in Colour is accessible, well-structured and (most importantly) practical. I found that it helped me not simply to "admire the problem" but to identify starting points both for thinking and acting differently as a white leader. Two things I'm taking away immediately to use with my team in the NHS: the Cultural Competence Continuum and the idea of "courageous conversations" which create inclusive, mutually supportive spaces for listening and sharing. Leading in Colour is an essential guide for NHS leaders who want support to challenge what they think they know and how they act."

Professor Keith Moultrie, Institute of Public Care, Oxford Brookes University:

“This publication captures some key areas of action that leaders need to focus on, it is positive and action-oriented and has the potential to be a valuable, easily accessible resource for leaders”. 

Dez Holmes, Director of Research in Practice said

“A timely and powerful report, inviting all of us – but especially white leaders in public services – to do and be better. Unflinching in its challenge, it draws on research and lived experience to highlight just how much more needs to be done, and – crucially – how much we can do. If you find yourself not wanting to read it, take that as a sign you probably need to.”

Terence Herbert, Chief Executive, Wiltshire Council commented:

‘A powerful publication which helps us have the local conversations to maximise all of the skills and talents of our communities to benefit our whole county.’

Ian Thomas CBE, Chief Executive, The Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames said this publication is

"A well thought through, evidenced-based piece of work".

 

 

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