UN: Ban urges end to corruption in Madagascar, launches report on hunger

New York, US (PANA) - UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday
called on Malagasy parliamentarians to end the corruption that has weakened
Madagascar, while launching a report on the cost of hunger in the island
nation.

"Your elections last year represented an important milestone that ended five
years of political crisis," a UN statement issued in New York, quoted Ban as
saying in an address to the joint congress of both the Senate and the
National Assembly of Madagascar, a country which lies off the southeast
coast of Africa.

The statement disclosed that, the visit to Madagascar, was the third and last
stop of the UN chief’s trip to the region which began on Saturday, and
included Seychelles and Mauritius.

"Madagascar is at a crossroads. I see huge challenges and even greater
opportunities,” Ban said, underlining the existence of widespread poverty,
weak economic growth and high unemployment, as well as the country’s
water which is reportedly among the worst in the world.

"This parliament has the democratic legitimacy to guide Madagascar in
meeting the challenges ahead.You can end the corruption that has
weakened Malagasy society. You can help fight the illegal trafficking of
natural treasures. In this way, you can be fully accountable to the voters,"
he stressed.

"Military operations can never excuse human rights violations here or
anywhere," Ban said. "There is no place for torture in the modern world,
including in Madagascar.

"I urge you to end all rights violations, including mob justice and
extrajudicial killings,” he stressed, applauding the country for abolishing
the death penalty.

The secretary-general also commended the active network of female
parliamentarians who champion the cause of nutrition, recalling that,
Madagascar is a member of the UN Scaling Up Nutrition Movement.

"I commend your commitment to improving nutrition. Nutrition is about
more than feeding people. It requires attention to health, agriculture,
education, women’s empowerment and water," he said.

At the launch of  a UN report on the cost of hunger in Madagascar,
Ban stated: "It paints an alarming picture. Nearly one out of two children
here suffer from stunting.

"This is a tragedy for individuals and a disaster for development.
Under-nutrition costs more than a billion and a half dollars each year
in Madagascar.That is almost 15 per cent of GDP. The human toll is
immeasurable."

Speaking at a press conference with Malagasy President Hery
Rajaonarimampianina, the UN chief said that the 2030 Agenda for
Sustainable Development can help Madagascar open a new future.

He said: "I am pleased that it is widely supported by the country’s
officials and development partners.The United Nations will do
everything possible to help this country reach the Sustainable
Development Goals here."

He also commended Madagascar for being among the more than
175 countries that have signed the Paris Agreement on climate
change, and urged the parliament to ratify it immediately.
-0-  PANA  AA/AR  11May2016

11 may 2016 17:33:54




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