August 01, 2014 22:25 UTC

As It Is

UN Security Council Moves to Help African Forces in CAR

Soldiers from the Republic of Congo operating as part of an multinational force in Central African Republic arrive last December, now more troops have been promised.
Soldiers from the Republic of Congo operating as part of an multinational force in Central African Republic arrive last December, now more troops have been promised.

Multimedia

Play or download an MP3 of this story
  • UN Security Council Moves to Help African Forces in CAR


From VOA Learning English, welcome to As It Is! I’m Mario Ritter.
 
Today we hear about a measure of how African countries are being governed. But first, we learn about efforts to increase security in the Central African Republic following last year’s rebellion.
 
France Promises More Active Role
 
Last week, the United Nations Security Council passed a resolution to support an African Union force in the Central African Republic. France proposed the resolution to help African efforts to bring order to the country. Rebels captured Bangui, the capital, in March.
 
More resolutions are expected. They include a proposal to make the African force into a United Nations peacekeeping mission.
 
As we hear from Pat Bodnar, France's foreign minister visited Bangui earlier this week. He talked about expanding security operations.
 
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks in New York City earlier this year (File).French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks in New York City earlier this year (File).
x
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks in New York City earlier this year (File).
French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius speaks in New York City earlier this year (File).
Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said the African force will grow from 2,100 to 3,500 soldiers. He also said France will send additional troops by the end of the year. He says France will take a more active role in security operations in keeping with Security Council decisions.
 
Mr. Fabius said the African force "must have the capacity to act and France is going to help." France currently has 410 soldiers in the Central African Republic. The foreign minister said those troops are mainly required to protect the airport and guard Bangui. He said, with upcoming U.N. resolutions, "these different forces will be able to intervene more quickly and effectively."
 
Violence, including widespread stealing, has forced 400,000 civilians to flee their homes this year. Rebel fighters and self-defense militias have been involved in deadly clashes and revenge attacks in the provinces since early September. 
 
Mr. Fabius said a decision in September to end the Seleka rebel coalition should take effect. That means there should not be armed groups around Bangui or in the countryside. He also said elections must take place as planned in early 2015. He said Nicolas Tiangaye and Michel Djotodia will not be candidates. Mr. Tiangaye is currently acting as prime minister. Mr. Djotodia is the Seleka rebel leader who is now interim president of the Central African Republic.
 
African troops have been in Bangui since the rebellion began in the north of the country last December. The troops have been largely unable to prevent stealing or to protect civilians. French troops have placed their attention on protecting France's interests in its former colony.
 
Ups and Downs in the African Governance Index
 
Mo Ibrahim has announced his seventh annual African Governance Index. Mr. Ibrahim is a businessman from Sudan who became a billionaire in telecommunications. This year’s ranking looks similar to last year’s list. Avi Arditti tells us more about the list.
 
Mo Ibrahim speaks about his leadership prize in London in this file photo from 2008.Mo Ibrahim speaks about his leadership prize in London in this file photo from 2008.
x
Mo Ibrahim speaks about his leadership prize in London in this file photo from 2008.
Mo Ibrahim speaks about his leadership prize in London in this file photo from 2008.
Once again, Mauritius is again rated as the best governed of the 52 African nations in the survey. Mauritius received the highest score for personal safety, economic opportunity and development.
 
Eighteen of the 52 nations received their best scores ever in the latest report. It says, for 94 percent of Africans, governance has improved since 2000. That was the year when data started being collected and studied. Mr. Ibrahim says progress is being made slowly. But he also warns of what he says are worrying developments.
 
The latest report shows a decrease in safety and the rule of law especially in the six lowest ranked countries. The six are Zimbabwe, Chad, the Central African Republic, Eritrea, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Somalia. The report says the findings signal a shift toward social unrest. 
 
Somalia again scored worst in all four measures of good governance. Two of those measures are safety and rule of law, and participation and human rights. The other two are sustainable economic opportunity and human development.
 
Also, the Mo Ibrahim Foundation did not award a $5 million African governance prize to a former head of state this year. The foundation did not give the award last year either. Mr. Ibrahim created the governance award in 2007. It can go to former African leaders who have left office in the last three years. Candidates for the award must have shown exceptional leadership. They must have been democratically elected. And they must have left office voluntarily after serving only a constitutionally limited term.
 
Past winners include South Africa’s Nelson Mandela, Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique, Festus Mogae of Botswana and Pedro Pires of Cape Verde.
 
Mr. Ibrahim spoke from his London headquarters. He said a new development in international justice could present difficulties in the future.
 
On Saturday, the chairman of the African Union said that the group would not permit a sitting head of state to be tried by the International Criminal Court. The court wants to try two current African leaders: Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. Mr. Kenyatta's trial is set to begin next month over charges that he helped to incite ethnic violence after Kenya's disputed 2007 election. Mr. Bashir is accused of crimes against humanity, war crimes and genocide in Darfur.
 
Mr. Ibrahim says he shares some of the criticism of the International Criminal Court, including accusations that it unfairly targets Africa. But, he says the Africa needs a court to try such crimes.  
 
“Africa does not corner the market in atrocities. There are atrocities everywhere. Why the ICC is not showing the same energy in prosecuting atrocities elsewhere other than Africa, that is a valid question. At the same time, we need really to ensure that in Africa there is no impunity.”
 
The African Governance Index does not include Sudan or South Sudan, which gained independence in 2011. The foundation says it does not have enough information on either nation to rank them. 
 
And that’s our show for today. Join us tomorrow for another As It Is program from VOA Learning English.
This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: ivan
11/07/2013 7:54 PM
we need to find a way to avoid civil war and protect civil

Learn with The News

  • Palestinians react following what witnesses said was heavy Israeli shelling, at a hospital in Rafah in the southern Gaza Strip August 1, 2014.  A Gaza ceasefire crumbled only hours after it began on Friday, with at least 40 Palestinians killed by Israeli

    Audio Gaza Cease-fire Collapses, Israeli Soldier Believed Captured

    The Israeli military says one of its soldiers has been captured by Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip. That is where a temporary cease-fire collapsed not long after it began on Friday. More

  • Audio American Ebola Victim to be Brought to US

    An American infected with the Ebola virus in West Africa is returning to the United States. The unnamed aid worker will receive treatment at a hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Doctors have been able to keep some people alive if they get immediate treatment in a hospital. More

  • An African student (C) practices moves as other Shaolin martial arts students look on during the inauguration ceremony of a martial arts training program for African students, at the Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng, Henan province, China, Sept. 25, 2013.

    Audio More Africans Seek Education in China

    Tens of thousands of Africans are studying in China. The country provides students with financial assistance for education to develop skills that Africa needs most. And the system makes friends in Africa for the Chinese. More

  • Rappers Vo Viet Phuong, 25, and Nguyen Trong Duc, 27, record the latest edition of Rap News Plus at Vietnam News Agency's television studio in central Hanoi, Vietnam, July 2014. (Marianne Brown)

    Audio Vietnam Uses Rap Music to Report the News

    The Vietnamese media industry is changing as it faces growing competition from the Internet. One website has come up with a way to reach out to young people. It uses rap music to report the news. More

  • This photo provided by the US Centers for Disease Control shows an Ebola virus. U.S. health officials are watching the Ebola outbreak in Africa. They say there is little risk that the deadly germ will spread to the United States. (AP Photo/CDC)

    Audio Liberia Closes Most Borders to Contain Ebola

    President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf said her country is closing most of its borders. The government has also banned public gatherings and demonstrations in an effort to stop the spread of the Ebola virus. More

Featured Stories

  • Audio Artist Turns Plastic Bags Into Art

    Making art with found materials is not a new idea. An artist near Washington, D.C. just had her recycled art on exhibit at the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center in Maryland. She uses a material found in every American home. Plastic bags. More

  • Many Southerners approved the decision. But northern abolitionists spoke strongly against it.

    Audio Dred Scott Ruling Opens the Whole Country to Slavery

    The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Congress had no power to ban slavery in the new territories. The 1857 decision involved a man named Dred Scott. More

  • Medical Marijuana Kids

    Audio Marijuana Helps Children with Epilepsy

    People who support legalization of marijuana say some kinds of the plant offer extraordinary help for human health. For example, one kind of medical marijuana is reported to ease effects of epilepsy, a disease of the nervous system. More

  • Polar Bears Arctic 2006

    Audio From Birds to Bears, Animals Face Danger Around the World

    Hundreds of newly-identified plants and animals in Southeast Asia are in danger. Poachers killed a famous elephants in Kenya. And scientists are working to save polar bears population in Alaska and the Bering Sea. More

  • Audio Ice Cream Sweetens Visits to Maryland Farms

    Maryland’s so-called 'Ice Cream Trail' is 460 kilometers long. The state's agriculture secretary says itl brings valuable attention to the state’s dairy farms | American Mosaic More

Practice Your Writing

Confessions of an English Learner BlogConfessions of an English Learner Blog

Tell us About Our Programs