Tag Archives: United Nations

China bemoans its people’s behavior in Africa—including undergarment ivory smuggling (Tanzania)

By Lily Kuo, Quartz
July 14, 2014
China is a major economic presence in Africa, injecting billions of dollars in trade and economic assistance to build out the continent’s infrastructure, but that doesn’t mean that Chinese companies are always on their best behavior. According to Lu Youqing, China’s ambassador to Tanzania, Chinese businesses are constantly causing problems as they fight over contracts and try to bribe local official.
“Our people just cannot shake their bad habits,” Lu said, in an interview (link in Chinese) with the Chinese paper Southern Metropolis News yesterday. “Tanzania hosts ambassadors from about 70 countries, but none of them needs to constantly worry like us about consular protection issues,” Lu added.
China’s growing investment and business ties with African countries has long been a subject of criticism among observers within and outside of Africa. Recently, Chinese leaders have also taken to admitting to problems while describing them as just “growing pains” in Sino-African relations. But rarely have officials been as frank as Lu, especially regarding one of China’s oldest African allies and top foreign investment destinations.
Lu complained about Chinese nationals attempting to smuggle ivory out of Tanzania, one of the world’s main ports for smuggling the banned animal product—hiding the illegal commodity under the hoods of their cars or even inside their undergarments. China is the world’s top destination (pdf, p. 30) for illicit ivory, according to the United Nations, and the thousands of Chinese nationals working in Tanzania have only exacerbated the illegal trade.
These problems don’t appear to have impacted ties too much. After Chinese firms plowed $2.5 billion into Tanzania last year, China has become Tanzania’s largest foreign investor, and Tanzania is currently pushing for ways to attract more Chinese tourists.

Diamonds, Ivory Fund War in Central African Republic: U.S. Group

By Sarah McGregor, Bloomberg News

May 1, 2014
Combatants in the Central African Republic are trading illicit ivory and diamonds for arms, fuel and poaching equipment that help stoke the country’s conflict, according to Enough Project, a Washington-based rights group.

Diamonds mined in the country are sold to traders in neighboring Sudan, Chad, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of Congo, researcher Kasper Agger said, according to an e-mailed statement today. His findings are contained in a report, “Behind the Headlines: Drivers of Violence in the Central African Republic,” based on interviews with fighters and their leaders and on satellite images, according to the statement.

The Central African Republic has been gripped by violence since mainly Muslim members of the disbanded Seleka militia seized power in March 2013, installing President Michel Djotodia. He stepped down this January as part of an effort to restore stability. Abuses prompted the creation of Christian anti-balaka gangs, which have added to the bloodshed. Thousands of people have been killed and more than 600,000 driven from their homes, according to the United Nations.

Possible international action to stem the violence includes a deployment of experienced mediators to spur peace talks and investigations by the International Criminal Court and other bodies, the rights group said.

The African Union and UN should also lead negotiations between the governments of Central African Republic and Chad for an agreement on exploration of oil fields that straddle their borders, according to the statement. Oil interests are “at the heart of the conflict,” the group said.

Illegal wildlife trade undermines security across nations

By PrairieDogPress

Mar 04, 2014

In the lead-up to Monday’s first-ever World Wildlife Day sanctioned by the United Nations, President Barack Obama laid out a three-pronged plan in mid-February to fight poaching, illegal trade of ivory and other animal parts; not only to stop needless slaughter of imperiled wildlife, but to stem corruption.

Excerpt from Obama’s statement from the National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking letter said:

“Like other forms of illicit trade, wildlife trafficking undermines security across nations. Well-armed, well-equipped, and well-organized networks of criminals and corrupt officials exploit porous borders and weak institutions to profit from trading in poached wildlife. Record high demand for wildlife products, coupled with inadequate preventative measures and weak institutions has resulted in an explosion of illicit trade in wildlife in recent years.”

In addition, Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Attorney General Eric Holder, worked together and penned an op-ed published in National Geographic March 3, to coincide with the first World Wildlife Day.

They warned of threats by organized criminal rings that show no mercy toward animal or human life, since park rangers have been murdered by the dozens trying to protect majestic wildlife, like rhinos and  elephants, from being killed and butchered.

A vast underground network of sophisticated “nefarious criminal elements” continues to grow their million-dollar business, which threatens national economies, the integrity of park, port and court officials, while whole communities fear for their lives.

Furthermore, iconic wildlife—particularly elephants, being killed at an estimated rate of sometimes 95 per day—face extinction in the evolutionary blink of an eye.

Time is urgent, wrote Kerry, Jewell and Holder:

“We must act now. Last month, the President announced his National Strategy for Combating Wildlife Trafficking. Our three co-chairing agencies—the Departments of State, Justice, and Interior—are leading the President’s whole-of-government fight against wildlife trafficking by pursuing a three-pronged strategy: strengthening domestic and global enforcement; reducing demand for illegally traded wildlife at home and abroad; and strengthening partnerships internationally and domestically with local communities, NGOs, private industry, and others to combat wildlife poaching and illegal trade.”

Meanwhile, the US, Hong Kong, Kenya, Gabon, Chad, France and China are among nations that have embarked on an ivory-destruction campaign that has resulted in tons of illegal ivory being ground to dust, burned or otherwise eliminated from the possibility of theft.

In related news, the US has the only animal forensic lab in the world located in Ashland, Ore., which is capable of using high-tech crime scene investigation methods to track down wildlife killers.

The US Fish and Wildlife Forensic Laboratory utilizes a crack team of scientists who use investigative measures similar to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, including DNA-gathering and fingerprint recovery.

“In a wildlife crime laboratory your evidence is often a carcass,” said Ken Goddard, the lab‘s director in a previous National Geographic interview. “We get pieces and parts—hides, furs, shoes, purses, ivory carvings and a lot of caviar. When you start getting into the small pieces; strips of leather for watch band, chunks of meat, carvings of ivory, you’ve lost all those species-defining characteristics that made that evidence obviously from an elephant or a bear, for example.”

The lab recently destroyed its cache of ivory tusks held in evidence.

The US and China are huge markets for ivory products, but there are seemingly limitless world marketplaces imbued with things made of animal fur, skin, feathers and entrails that could be from endangered wildlife.

So, everyone is encouraged to do their part and refrain from buying ivory jewelry or trinkets, tiger rugs, shark fin soup, medicinal products made from bear bile or anything else suspicious.

Only mankind can help stop this disgrace of humanity.

Kenya: International March for Elephants Invades New York

BY JAMES MURUA, 17 OCTOBER 2013

The Hands Off Our Elephants campaign, led by Dr Paula Kahumbu, went to New York on October 4 for the International March for Elephants to raise global awareness on the illegal ivory trade and its dire impact on elephant populations. They also spoke on the impact of poaching on human rights issues, national security and global economy, and asked governments around the world to end it. The campaign has also been active in Kenya.

The walk to the United Nations office in New York saw some star power coming through to support the initiative and included supermodel Christie Brinkley and actress Kristin Davis (Sex and the City, Melrose Place). They were accompanied by director general of Vision 2030 Mugo Kibati and deputyd irector of the Kenyan Wildlife Service Patrick Omondi. Also in the walk was Iain Douglas-Hamilton, a zoologist known for his study of elephants.

This article is from the following link: http://allafrica.com/stories/201310170965.html