News Brief

The UN Has Lifted Its Sanction on Eritrea After Nine Years

Members voted unanimously on Wednesday to remove a nine year sanction—removing a trade embargo and travel ban.

After nine years, the United Nations has voted unanimously to lift Eritrea's economic sanctions, as a result of the government's attempts to foster friendlier relations with neighboring countries Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti.

The sanction which was put in place in by the UN Security Council in 2009, after the Eritrean government was accused of backing the Somali extremist group al-Shabab—which it denied. The block included an embargo on trade, an asset freeze and travel ban—making the country a "global pariah," reports BBC Africa.


READ: PEOPLE REJOICE AS PHONE LINES OPEN BETWEEN ERITREA AND ETHIOPIA

The lift comes at the of sweeping political changes in the horn of Africa. Eritrea ended its 20 year war with Ethiopia in June, and signed a joint cooperation deal with Somalia. After years of border disputes, tensions are now easing between Eritrea and Djibouti. The UN commended the "efforts toward peace, stability and reconciliation in the region" when voting.

Eritrea, which strongly opposed the sanction and lobbied against it for years, is seeking compensation for the near decade long sanction, claiming that they were politically motivates, adds BBC Africa.

Amanuel Giorgio, Eritrea's Charge d'Affaires, called it a historic moment, adding that "Eritreans are extremely joyous and full of pride to have witnessed the recent positive regional developments ... (that) mark the beginning of a new dawn."

Though this is being hailed as a significant step towards easing relations in the region, many international observers remain hesitant to laud Eritrea just yet. It is still considered unsafe for journalists and many of the reforms occurring in neighboring Ethiopia under the leadership of Abiy Ahmed, are yet to be felt in Eritrea.

"While proud of the region's capability to resolve intransigent conflicts at unprecedented speed, we are not complacent," Giorgio said. "Eritrea recognizes that a more difficult and complex task is waiting ahead. It is determined to redouble its own efforts and work closely with its neighbors to build a region at peace with itself."

Many Eritreans, have been celebrating the lift on social media, here's some of what people are saying.









Music
Photo by Don Paulsen/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Hugh Masekela's New York City Legacy

A look back at the South African legend's time in New York City and his enduring presence in the Big Apple.

In Questlove's magnificent documentary, Summer of Soul, he captures a forgotten part of Black American music history. But in telling the tale of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, the longtime musician and first-time filmmaker also captures a part of lost South African music history too.

Among the line-up of blossoming all-stars who played the Harlem festival, from a 19-year-old Stevie Wonder to a transcendent Mavis Staples, was a young Hugh Masekela. 30 years old at the time, he was riding the wave of success that came from releasing Grazing in the Grass the year before. To watch Masekela in that moment on that stage is to see him at the height of his time in New York City — a firecracker musician who entertained his audiences as much as he educated them about the political situation in his home country of South Africa.

The legacy Masekela sowed in New York City during the 1960s remains in the walls of the venues where he played, and in the dust of those that are no longer standing. It's in the records he made in studios and jazz clubs, and on the Manhattan streets where he once posed with a giant stuffed zebra for an album cover. It's a legacy that still lives on in tangible form, too, in the Hugh Masekela Heritage Scholarship at the Manhattan School of Music.

The school is the place where Masekela received his education and met some of the people that would go on to be life-long bandmates and friends, from Larry Willis (who, as the story goes, Masekela convinced to give up opera for piano) to Morris Goldberg, Herbie Hancock and Stewart Levine, "his brother and musical compadre," as Mabusha Masekela, Bra Hugh's nephew says.

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