Tag: UN

Iranian Envoy Calls for Global Efforts to End ‘Mentality of Intervention’

Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Gholam Ali Khoshroo stressed the necessity for the international community to help end “cultural and military hegemony over the world”.

“To see peace, it is imperative to give up on the mentality of intervention, as well as cultural and military hegemony over the world,” Khoshroo said, addressing a Thursday meeting of the UN General Assembly on the agenda 14: Culture of Peace.

Gambia: UN chief ‘dismayed’ at military takeover of electoral commission

Expressing dismay at the takeover of the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) premises by the military in Gambia, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on the security forces to immediately vacate the Commission and to refrain from any further acts that could jeopardise efforts towards the peaceful transfer of power.

“This action violates the independent status of the Commission under the Gambian constitution, and could compromise the sensitive electoral material under the IEC’s custody,” said Mr. Ban, according to a statement issued by his office.

“He condemns this outrageous act of disrespect of the will of the Gambian people and defiance towards the international community at a time when a high-level Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) delegation was in the country to broker a peaceful transfer of power,” the statement added.

Syria: Desperate Pleas for Protection from Aleppo

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Protect Civilians, Grant Access to Independent Monitors

Syrian government and allied forces should immediately take steps to protect civilians and captured fighters as the government retakes control of Aleppo after a deal was reached with armed opposition groups there, Human Rights Watch said today. This includes allowing the safe evacuation of civilians and aid deliveries, and protecting civilians from summary executions and arbitrary detention.

The United Nations General Assembly should urgently mandate a UN monitoring team to travel immediately to areas of eastern Aleppo, now under government control, to deter future abuses, document crimes that have been committed, and visit detention sites.

“It has been heart-wrenching to hear the desperate pleas for protection from civilians stuck in the inferno that is Aleppo,” said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “The Syrian authorities should ensure that civilians are allowed to safely leave the city and to go where they want.”

Native American Pipeline Resistance at Standing Rock Resonates Around the Globe

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The protest at Standing Rock Reservation in North Dakota, US has mobilized hundreds of Native American tribes as well as solidarity across the world. The protests are against the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline, a multi-billion dollar project that would transport almost half a million barrels of oil per day across the northern US. The pipeline could contaminate the Missouri River, a key water source for the region. It would also cross through a prominent Sioux burial site.

Although the US government stated last week that it would not grant the easement–the right to cross or use someone’s land–under Lake Oahe for the Dakota Access Pipeline construction, the struggle is not over. The announcement cited that further examination was needed, and that an Environmental Impact Statement will be initiated. Demonstrators have said they plan to remain in the camps surrounding the northern edge of the reservation.

2.2 Million Yemen Children Acutely Malnourished: UN

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Nearly 2.2 million Yemeni children are acutely malnourished, victims of the near-collapse of the health care system during two years of escalating Saudi-sparked conflict, UN children’s fund UNICEF said on Tuesday.

At least 462,000 are suffering from severe acute malnutrition, as food supplies have been disrupted by the devastating war between the Saudi-backed fugitive former government and Houthis, the agency said.

Saada province, a Houthi bastion in the far north, has the world’s highest stunting rate among children with eight out of 10 children affected in some areas, it added.

The UN shakes up Guatemala with the Commission Against Impunity

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The UN-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG) has shaken the country’s political system to its core. However, the long-term consequences remain to be seen.

The International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG)—founded in 2007 by a mutual agreement between the UN and the Guatemalan government—has shaken up the country’s entire political system. The Commission’s original mandate was aimed at dismantling organized criminal bands that ran rampant after the end of the country’s brutal 36-year armed conflict, including training and supporting the Public Ministry, the National Police and other entities of the Guatemalan state. CICIG was also conceived as an international support mission to “build-up” judicial institutions in Guatemala. Since its inception, the Commission has developed into a powerful political force, amassing significant legitimacy in the eyes of many Guatemalans. The commission’s success and prominence was a welcome development, gaining support outside of the elite circles.

UN General Assembly recognises ongoing concerns over health risks from depleted uranium

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151 countries at the UN General Assembly have sent a clear message that the concerns of affected states and communities over the health risks from depleted uranium must be properly addressed.

The UN General Assembly has backed a new resolution on DU weapons by 151 votes to 4. The resolution, which highlights the ongoing concerns of affected states and communities, health experts and civil society over the potential health risks from DU exposure, is the sixth to be adopted since 2007. The text also recognises that countries affected by the use of DU weapons face considerable technical and financial barriers in dealing with DU contamination to internationally recognised radiation protection standards.

Agricultural transformation on agenda of African Economic Conference

The 11th African Economic Conference (AEC) kicked off in Abuja, Nigeria, on Monday with a consensus on the need to scale up the continent’s agricultural transformation to spur industrialization and inclusive growth.

Opening the conference, Nigeria’s Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo highlighted how the Nigerian Government and private sector partners are leveraging resources for agricultural transformation in the midst of the global economic recession, which has resulted in the country losing up to 1 million barrels of crude oil daily.

UN: Torture Widespread in Post-Coup Turkey

A United Nations (UN) special rapporteur has announced the preliminary results of a study on torture in Turkish jails, prisons and extrajudicial sites stating he has found multiple abuses and cases of torture following July’s coup.

UN human rights expert, Nils Melzer conducted interviews with inmates, lawyers and advocacy groups over the course of six days last week. Melzer says the reports of torture are widespread through facilities at all levels and were most likely to occur upon initial arrest and detention of suspects. A recent investigation from BBC discovered that the recent purges and arrests aren’t limited to potential coup-plotters but also include many Kurds and leftists.

US: Suspend Saudi Arms Sales

Promptly Publish Findings of Yemen Conflict Review

The United States should immediately halt arms sales to Saudi Arabia following numerous unlawful coalition attacks in Yemen, Human Rights Watch said in a letter to President Barack Obama. The review announced by the US government following the October 8, 2016 bombing of a crowded funeral hall should examine alleged unlawful airstrikes in which US forces may have taken part and its findings should be released publicly before Obama leaves office.

“While coalition forces bomb homes, schools, hospitals and funerals in Yemen, the United States continues to allow shipments of billions of dollars of arms to Saudi Arabia,” said Sarah Margon, Washington director at Human Rights Watch. “President Obama has one final chance to change US policy on Saudi Arabia and Yemen for the better by stopping weapons’ transfers immediately and reviewing possible participation of US forces in the coalition’s many unlawful airstrikes.”

Mass rapes to mass protests: violence against women in 2016

Impunity for violence against women remains a massive problem. Donald Trump hasn’t helped.

From historic convictions to impunity for gang rapes, 2016 has been a year of highs and lows when it comes to efforts to stem violence against women.

The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (November 25-December 10) are a time to take stock of progress and failings in combatting this pervasive human rights abuse.

In March, the International Criminal Court (ICC) reached its first conviction for sexual violence. It found a former Democratic Republic of Congo vice president, Jean-Pierre Bemba, guilty of rape, murder, and pillage in neighbouring Central African Republic. Bemba was found guilty under the concept of “command responsibility,” in which civilian and military superiors can be held criminally liable for crimes committed by troops under their control.

Since I gave you a phone it’s not rape

As evidence of UN peacekeepers’ sexual violence against Black African women and girls grows, media reporting and research reinterprets this as ‘transactional sex’, through the logic of colonialism.

A few months ago, the campaign #predatorypeacekeepers started on social media. It followed a report from a Canadian AIDS charity accusing UN and French troops in the Central African Republic (CAR) of sexually abusing at least 98 girls. The damning report alleged that three girls had been tied up and forced to have sex with a dog, that one of the victims subsequently died and that many of the abuses were orchestrated by a French General. Since publication, more victims have come forward. Many spoke of degrading sexual acts including soldiers urinating on the victim’s body or in her mouth.

‘Immediate action’ needed as millions in north-eastern Nigeria face food insecurity – UN

Warning that ongoing unrest and rising inflation have left more than five million people in restive north-east Nigeria facing acute food insecurity, the United Nations agriculture agency today appealed for $25 million through May 2017 to support irrigated vegetable production and micro-gardening in the dry season, as well as rebuild livestock systems.

In a situation update, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) said the urgently needed funds would tackle food insecurity among returnee, internally displaced and host communities. In addition, the agency is seeking funds now to provide critical agricultural inputs to farmers in time for the 2017 main rainy season.