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Freedom of expression, in all its forms, is the very essence of democracy. Only with a thriving, free and independent media landscape, we can hold governments, businesses and society at large accountable. And precisely for this fundamental right, far too often, journalists and media workers are attacked, persecuted, harassed, or intimidated for carrying out their work. Most journalists are not wounded in the heat of war coverage, but suffer violence in our immediate surroundings. In 2018 alone, 94 journalists and media staff were killed in work-related incidents as reported by the International Federation of Journalists. Hundreds more have been subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention without ever having been tried in a court.

The illegal attempt to dismiss Prime-Minister Gomes and his Government threatens to derail the ongoing electoral process in Guinea-Bissau. The Government, whose programme was recently approved by a parliamentary majority, is the sole and legitimate executive power in Guinea-Bissau, supported by regional and international partners.

In order to preserve stability and sustainable development, the electoral cycle should be pursued with the Presidential elections planned on November 24th 2019. The EU expects all stakeholders to avoid any actions that undermine this process.

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The Indian Ocean Commission, through the MASE programme funded by the European Union, in collaboration with the Ministry of Environment and Sustainable Development represented by the Organe de lutte contre l’Evènement de pollution marine (O.L.E.P) organised the first MASE POLMAR 2019 exercise in Diego Suarez, Madagascar from 16 to 20 October 2019.

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The Council gave the green light to the Commission to renegotiate a facilitation of the procedures under the existing agreement for the issuance of short-stay visas to citizens of Cabo Verde.

The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child turns 30 this year but we are not throwing a party just yet. Even though we have come a long way since its inception, children’s rights are still being violated on a daily basis.

The three winning schools of the art competition for the EU Climate Diplomacy Weeks received their prize: A Walk and Talk to Leicester Peak with EU Ambassador Tom Vens!

We had great and inspiring discussions with students from the Prince of Wales, Peninsular and Huntingdon secondary schools on how to concretely address land degradation and deforestation.

On 22 October 2019, the EU and the Seychelles have concluded negotiations for a new Sustainable Fishing Partnership Agreement (SFPA) and a new Protocol that will strengthen their cooperation in the fisheries field for the next six years.

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