Updates from January, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • #AceNewsGroup 17:10 on January 12, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Resignation, ,   

    Central African Republic’s {CAR}: “UN Calls for Calm, Urging Authorities to Mobilize Around the Speedy Election of a New Transitional Leadership” 


    #AceWorldNews says following the resignation of the Central African Republic’s two interim leaders, the top United Nations official in the crisis-riven country called for calm today, urging the authorities to mobilze around the speedy election of new transitional leadership.
    In a statement issued by his office in Bagui, Babacar Gaye, Special Representative and Head of the UN Integrated Peace-building Office for the Central African Republic (BINUCA), took note of the resignation yesterday of President Michel Djotodia and Prime Minister Nicolas Tiangaye.
    “He calls on members of the National Transitional Council (CNT) to mobilize around the urgent election of a new transitional executive, as agreed at the extraordinary summit of Heads of States of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS) yesterday, 10 January 2014, in N’djamena, Chad.” Armed attacks between ex-Séléka and Christian anti-balaka militias have escalated significantly in the past two weeks, despite the creation of a transitional government following the attack a year ago by mostly Muslim Séléka rebels which forced President François Bozizé to flee.
    Since then, thousands of people are estimated to have been killed, nearly 1 million driven from their homes, and 2.2 million, about half the population, need humanitarian aid.
    Delivering a message on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to the ECCAS Summit on Thursday, Mr. Gaye stressed that the past year’s events have profoundly damaged the relationship between Muslim and Christian communities in the CAR, and warned that there is a real danger of further upheaval along religious lines.
    “The horrific cycle of violence and retaliation between communities must stop immediately,” he said. “Distrust is high and violence has fuelled anger and a thirst for revenge,” he added, highlighting the need to prioritize reconciliation efforts. Disarmament of combatants in accordance with international standards is essential, Mr. Ban stressed, noting also the importance of demobilization and reintegration of the former fighters.
    Today, Mr. Gaye called on the people and the leaders of the CAR to maintain calm and show maturity following the leaders’ resignations. “Along with the International Support Mission to the Central African Republic (MISCA), French forces, SANGARIS, have made important progress in securing Bangui,” he said, adding that their efforts must be supported, especially as numerous threats persist.

    “The entire UN System and our humanitarian partners are fully mobilized to assist approximately two million people who are in urgent need of assistance across the country,” he said.
    To that end, yesterday, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) issued an appeal for $40.2 million for CAR. That request, which is for the period to the end of March, follows appeals launched by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in late December for $152.2 million in immediate support needs for a 100-day plan for CAR.
    UNHCR’s supplementary appeal for CAR aims to support more than 1 million people, including 86,400 refugees in neighbouring countries and 958,000 internally displaced persons.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:01 on January 12, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , UNMISS   

    UN: “Mission in South Sudan Gains Access to Besieged Areas” 


    #AceWorldNews says The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) announced today that as it continues to gain access to besieged areas, the number of people killed in the current round of fighting in the world’s youngest country “must be much higher” than the 1,000 figure given earlier in the conflict, which erupted nearly a month ago and continues to grind on.
    In a news release from Juba, UNMISS notes fresh media reports, including in the New York Times, estimating that up to 10,000 people may have been killed since the conflict started on 15 December 2013, after President Salva Kiir said soldiers loyal to former vice-president Reik Machar, dismissed from office in July, launched an attempted coup.

    On 26 December, 10 days into the crisis, the Mission estimated that 1,000 people may have been killed in the fighting. “This was based on UNMISS’ initial monitoring and investigations in Juba and other relatively more stable locations where its Human Rights Officers and other staff were able to access, investigate and document the unfolding developments,” the Mission said today.
    Yet, after two weeks of subsequent violence, characterized by sometimes intense fighting with heavy weapons, there are now clear indications that the casualty count must be much higher, says UNMISS, adding that while it has continues to closely monitor the human rights situation, interviewing witnesses, and following leads, it “is not at this stage in a position to establish and verify the exact numbers of casualties.”
    The Mission recalls that on 9 January, Hervé Ladsous, the head of UN Peacekeeping Operations, speaking to reporters in New York following a three hour briefing to the Security Council on the situation in South Sudan, said: “We are not able to provide final figures. We know it will be very substantially in excess of the 1,000 figure”.
    Meanwhile the Mission says that despite serious security constraints due to the fighting in Bor and Bentiu, which has restricted access by its Human Rights Officers, during the course of last week, UNMISS began interviewing victims and eyewitnesses among displaced people from Bor who have arrived in Juba and Awerial County in neighbouring Lakes State. UNMISS Human Rights Officers have also been able to return to Bor on 9 January.
    “Preliminary indications from these interviews and investigations in Bentiu and Malakal contain horrific allegations of atrocities by anti-Government forces against civilians and surrendering soldiers, including summary executions, torture, sexual violence and ethnically targeted killing,” the Mission says in the news releases, deploring these horrendous acts of violence and utter disregard for human life and dignity.
    UNMISS chief Hilde Johnson called on all parties to cease hostilities immediately, and respect and protect civilians. “She reiterates Secretary-General [Ban Ki-moon's] reminder that those who commit such heinous acts will be held accountable,” the news release adds.
    UNMISS vowed to continue investigating and documenting atrocities committed by both sides, in all affected areas and called on the Government and the anti-Government forces to cooperate with “these important investigations and to facilitate unhindered access by the Mission’s Human Rights Officers to all affected areas.”
    In addition, this past Friday, Mr. Ban that announced that he would dispatch UN Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, to South Sudan this weekend to look into cases of violations believed to have been committed during the conflict, which has displaced some 230,000 people, more than a quarter of whom are seeking refuge on UN bases.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:08 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , COMANGO, Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs, ,   

    UN #HumanRights Office: “Concerned about Decision by Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs to Declare Illegal a Coalition of 54 Non-Islamic Civil Society Groups” 


    #AceWorldNews says the United Nations human rights office today expressed concern about a decision by the Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs to declare illegal a coalition of 54 mainly non-Islamic civil society groups focused on human rights known by the acronym COMANGO.

    “We call upon Government of Malaysia to amend the Societies Act 1966, maximize the space for human rights activists and organisations to operate freely, and ensure that they can conduct their legitimate activities without intimidation or harassment,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.

    The COMANGO coalition submitted joint reports to both the UN Human Rights Council’s 2009 and 2013 Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) of the situation in Malaysia.

    Since its submission to the second cycle of the UPR, which took place on 24 October 2013, the coalition has reportedly been subjected to a series of harassment and threats, allegedly by both State and non-State actors. The coalition has been accused of attacking Islam and of spreading beliefs that do not conform to Islamic teachings.

    The Malaysian Ministry of Home Affairs declared in a press statement on 8 January that COMANGO promotes rights which are not in line with Islam, and is therefore illegal.

    The statement also noted that only 15 of the 54 organizations are registered under the Societies Act 1966.

    “We are concerned by what appears to be an act of reprisal against COMANGO for its engagement with international human rights mechanism,” the spokesperson added.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, High Commissioner Navi Pillay and the Geneva-based Human Rights Council have persistently called for the protection of individuals and members of groups that cooperate with the UN, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights from acts of intimidation or reprisal.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:05 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , ASEAN, , ,   

    UN Human Rights: “Says they Hope that the Abolition of the Death Penalty will Follow their Decision to Commute All Death Sentences to Life-Imprisionment” 


    #AceWorldNews says “United Nations Human Rights Office” today said it hopes that Myanmar’s decision to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment will lead to the full abolition of the death penalty in the country.

    President Thein Sein announced on 2 January that he would commute death sentences to life imprisonment and reduce some sentences on humanitarian grounds and to mark the 66th anniversary of independence of the country, marked on 4 January.

    “We warmly welcome the Myanmar Government’s Presidential Order,” the spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, told journalists in Geneva.

    The move is “very significant” for Myanmar, which has not carried out the death penalty since 1989, the spokesperson noted, as the country assumed the chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

    The step “sets a positive example for other ASEAN member states and other States in the region and beyond,” Mr. Colville said on behalf of the Office for the High Commissioners of Human Rights (OHCHR).

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 20:31 on December 10, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Presidential Statement, , , , , , , , ,   

    United Nations Official Say’s That Perhaps 250,000 #Syrian’s Maybe Cut Off From Aid in Besieged Communities Across the War-Torn Country #Peace 


    #AceWorldNews says Reporting “modest progress” with the Syrian Government on speeding up visa issuance and increasing the number of relief distribution hubs, a top United Nations official said the other that with perhaps 250,000 Syrians cut off from aid in besieged communities across the war-torn country, greater efforts are needed to ensure real gains on the humanitarian front.

    Security Council“I advised the Security Council that we have seen some modest progress in terms of administrative procedures that had been put in place over time,” said Valerie Amos, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, as she spoke to reporters after briefing the 15-member body on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

    This is her second closed-door meeting with the Council since it adopted, on 2 October, a Presidential Statement urging the Syrian Government to immediately allow humanitarian access to relieve the plight of civilians trapped by heavy fighting, including cross-line aid deliveries.

    The statement, which called on all parties to the conflict to agree on humanitarian pauses in the fighting, with special attention to key delivery routes, also deplored the escalating violence in a conflict that has killed more than 100, 000 people and driven some 6.5 million others from their homes since opposition protesters first sought to oust the Government of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

    On the implementation of the statement, Ms. Amos cited progress, for example, in the Government’s decision to grant some 50 visas on an individual basis.

    OCHA SyriaDamascus has also given the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) permission to open three additional relief hubs, “but only two of these will actually be helpful to us, because the third being proposed – Al Sweida – will not allow us access into Western Dera’a, which is where the hard-to-reach communities are.”

    She also noted that both the Government and the opposition had indicated who the interlocutors are for the UN to try to facilitate humanitarian access.

    “However, I did remind the Council that on some of the more difficult areas – protection of civilians, de-militarization of schools and hospitals, access to besieged communities and also cross-line access to hard-to-reach areas – we have not seen any progress.

    “I need the Council to continue to make it absolutely clear that targeting civilians is against international humanitarian law and that we need to do greater work to ensure that the recommendations in the Presidential Statement are achieved,” she declared.

    Responding to questions, Ms. Amos said that an estimated 250,000 civilians are trapped in besieged communities, while perhaps some 2.5 million were in hard-to-reach areas – places that aid workers have been able to reach but not frequently enough to make any real headway against the overall needs.

    Asked if a Council resolution – which carry legal obligations for UN Member States ¬– would improve the situation, Ms. Amos said: “My focus is on how what has already been agreed can be put into effect. Should the Council agree on a resolution, then we will operationalize that.”

    Indeed, while the UN and its partners have made gains in reaching civilians across the strife-riven country, in the context of the scale of the crisis, “this is far too few to meet the needs of the people. Of course the issue is what is the best means to reach people in need? For me, the unity of the Security Council is the key here.”

    Meanwhile, UN agencies continue pressing ahead with relief efforts, now rushing to fortify desperate civilians against the oncoming winter season.

    UNICEFBriefing the press in Geneva today, Marixie Mercado, spokesperson for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) warned: “The scale of the humanitarian response needed for the looming winter is unprecedented, as the number quadrupled as compared to the previous year.”

    She explained that in December 2012, there were approximately 1.15 million children affected by the crisis inside Syria, with an additional 232,000 Syrian children living as refugees in neighbouring countries.

    As the conflict approaches its fourth year, those numbers have skyrocketed to 4.3 million and 1.2 million, respectively. UNICEF has worked since early October to equip children as quickly as possible for the cold. Blankets, plastic sheeting, winter clothing and hygiene kits are being distributed, along with wintered tents and fuel to heat classrooms.

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Cyprus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    For its part, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has commenced an emergency airlift of urgently needed winter supplies to reinforce its stockpile in northern Iraq with relief items for up to 50,000 vulnerable Syrians.  A UNHCR-chartered Boeing 777 landed at Erbil airport on Monday carrying 90 metric tons of relief items to help 4,400 families over the winter months, including plastic tarpaulins, thermal blankets, sleeping mats, jerry cans and kitchen sets.

    “While UNHCR has adequate stocks inside Iraq to meet the immediate needs, we want to ensure that sufficient items are on-hand to address any developments,” said UNHCR’s Amman-based Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Amin Awad. “The relief items we are airlifting will reinforce the UNHCR-led winterization regional response as temperatures are starting to drop across higher altitude areas in the Syria region.”

    English: An armored vehicle from the United Na...

    English: An armored vehicle from the United Nations (UN) World Food Program (WFP) leads a convoy of UN vehicles in procession carrying the remains of bombing victims from the UN Office of Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq (UNOHCI), as the arrive at , , during Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. The bombing victims remains will be airlifted to their respective home countries for repatriation. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Elisabeth Byrs, spokesperson for the World Food Programme (WFP), told reporters that the agency dispatched enough food for over 3.4 million people inside Syria in November, mainly to internally displaced families in 13 governorates, and had reached eight more locations, which had been inaccessible in recent months.

    However, she said WFP remains gravely concerned about the fate of many Syrians still trapped in conflict zones throughout the country, including around Damascus and in Al Hassakeh, where some areas have been without food assistance for six consecutive months.

    WFP aims to reach 4 million people inside Syria every month, as well as to provide assistance for nearly 1.5 million refugees in neighbouring countries.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 19:24 on December 8, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Afghan Women's Network, , , , , , UNAMA, , United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan,   

    “International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Ends 10 December on “Human Rights Day” #Peace 


    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

    #AceWorldNews says Afghan authorities registered an increased number of reported acts of violence against women and girls in the past year, but prosecutions and convictions under a landmark law  remained low with most cases settled by mediation, according to an annual United Nations report released today.

    While registration of reported incidents such as forced marriage, domestic violence and rape increased by 28 per cent in 16 provinces since the previous year, the use of the law on the Elimination of Violence against Women (EVAW) as a basis for indictment increased by only two per cent, according to <”http://unama.unmissions.org/Portals/UNAMA/Documents/UNAMA%20REPORT%20on%20EVAW%20LAW_8%20December%202013.pdf“>’A Way to Go’ co-authored by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

    “Police, prosecutors and courts, in our view, need increased resources and technical and political support and direction from the highest levels of Government to deal adequately with the increase in reporting and registration of cases of violence against women documented in this report,” Georgette Gagnon, director of the human rights unit at UNAMA and OHCHR representative, told journalists in the Afghan capital of Kabul at the report launch.

    Women are “coming forward in demanding justice”, Ms. Gagnon said flanked by the heads of two key civil society group – Hasina Safi from the Afghan Women’s Network, and  the Afghan Women’s Skills Development Centre’s Mary Akrami. “The Government needs to step up and provide that justice.”

    Presenting the report findings, Ms. Gagnon said that of an estimated total of 1,669 reported incidents registered throughout the country only 109 cases or seven per cent went through a judicial process using the EVAW law.

    Parties to the Convention on the Elimination o...

    Parties to the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, from the OHCHR. Parties in dark green, countries which have signed but not ratified in light green, non-members in grey. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “What we found is that, instead, the police and prosecutors were mediating more cases of violence against women,” said the UN official, speaking on behalf of Ján Kubiš, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Afghanistan.

    Mediation whether through formal or informal dispute resolution bodies often fails to protect women from further violence by not applying criminal sanctions and legal protections for women, according to the report.

    It compares and updates findings from UNAMA’s December 2012 report on EVAW law implementation and is based on consultations with 203 judicial, police and Government officials, and monitoring of almost 500 cases of violence against women throughout Afghanistan. The report analyses statistical data on the law’s application obtained from police, prosecutors and other judicial officials in 18 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces over the one-year period October 2012 to September 2013.

    Enacted in 2009, the EVAW law criminalizes acts of violence against women and harmful practices including child marriage, forced marriage, forced self-immolation, ‘baad’ (giving away a woman or girl to settle a dispute) and 18 other acts of violence against women including rape and beating. It also specifies punishment for perpetrators.

    English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA

    English: Staffan de Mistura, UNAMA (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “The landmark law on the Elimination of Violence against Women was a huge achievement for all Afghans,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said in a <”http://unama.unmissions.org/Default.aspx?tabid=12316&ctl=Details&mid=15873&ItemID=37528&language=en-US“> news release from UNAMA. “But implementation has been slow and uneven, with police still reluctant to enforce the legal prohibition against violence and harmful practices, and prosecutors and courts slow to enforce the legal protections in the law.”

    “Afghan authorities need to do much more to build on the gains made so far in protecting women and girls from violence,” Ms. Pillay urged.

    Among its recommendations, the report calls on the Government to put in place a concrete plan, within six months, for the next two-year period for improving implementation of the EVAW law, including measures recommended to Afghanistan by the UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in August 2013.

    Another recommendation is that major donors establish a joint monitoring framework with specific indicators to measure progress in EVAW law implementation.

    The release of the report coincides with the global campaign of 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.

    The campaign begins annually on the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, marked on 25 November, and ends on 10 December Human Rights Day.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:40 on December 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Baroness Valerie Amos, Health care provider, , , Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, , , , ,   

    “Healthcare Workers in #Syria Must be Protected According to the UN” 


    The original advisory opinion was requested by...

    The original advisory opinion was requested by the World Health Organization in 1993. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceHealthNews says that Healthcare workers in Syria must be protected, senior United Nations humanitarian officials have said issuing a fresh call for the protection of medical facilities and for safe access to medicines, vaccines and other vital humanitarian aid in the country.

    “It is of the interest of both parties in the conflict and of all Syrian people to preserve the neutrality and the functionality of health infrastructure,” UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, Director-General of the UN World Health Organization (WHO) Margaret Chan, and Executive Director of the UN Children’s Agency (UNICEF) Anthony Lake said late last night.

    In the <” https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/Joint%20Statement%20on%20Syria,%20OCHA,%20UNICEF,%20WHO%206Dec2013.pdf“> joint statement, the officials “strongly condemn” attacks on health and any other civilian facilities in Syria and added that they are “deeply concerned by the serious implications for patients, health personnel and provision of critical medical supplies”.

    Over 60 per cent of public hospitals are not functioning in Syria and a similar percentage of ambulances stolen or damaged, according to UN figures.

    “At a time when hospitals are overwhelmed with patients, it is vital that these facilities be protected and medical staff be allowed to provide urgent medical, surgical and obstetric care to patients without any risk,” the officials said.

    They noted that attacks against health facilities can be considered a war crime under international law.

    “All parties must respect their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians, health facilities and health professionals,” they urged.

    Governor Patrick signs an Act Relative to Assa...

    Governor Patrick signs an Act Relative to Assault and Battery on Health Care Providers. (Photo credit: Office of Governor Patrick)

    Despite the insecurity and serious access challenges the UN and partners have helped vaccinate more than 3.3 million children against measles and polio in recent weeks, according to figures provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

    Meanwhile, over 8,000 women have received reproductive and maternal health services, the UN agency said, and hundreds of thousands of people with chronic health problems are being treated with medical supplies and training provided by the UN and partners.

    The statement also deplored the escalating violence in a conflict that has killed more than 100, 000 people and driven some 6.5 million others from their homes since opposition protesters first sought to oust the Government of President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

    On Tuesday, Ms. Amos briefed the UN Security Council behind closed doors on challenges to humanitarian access in the war-torn country. She said that despite “modest progress” with the Government on speeding up visa issuance and increasing the number of relief distribution hubs, perhaps 250,000 Syrians remain cut off from aid.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:00 on December 5, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , ,   

    #Syria’s Chemical Weapons – Latest Update On Removal – By OPCW #Peace 


    150 px

    150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews preparations are proceeding for removing Syria’s chemical agents out of the country for their destruction, the head of the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations reported today, calling for continued support from the international community to complete this important task.

    “The functional destruction of critical facilities and weaponry has taken place… We’re in full swing to prepare for the removal of the most critical chemical agents out of the country,” Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag told the UN News Service just prior to briefing the Security Council on the latest developments.

    “There are deadlines that are set that are quite ambitious. They’re very stringent, but we are getting as ready as we possibly can so the Syrian Arab Republic – the Government – can fulfil its commitments under the Chemical Weapons Convention.”

    The Joint Mission was set up two months ago to achieve the timely elimination of the Syrian chemical weapons programme in the safest and most secure manner possible – by 30 June 2014 – in accordance with the decisions of the Security Council and OPCW Executive Council.

    Ms. Kaag said preparations are under way for “Phase III”, namely the removal of chemical agents out of the country. The plan is to transport the chemical agents to the Syrian port city of Latakia, where they will be shipped on commercial vessels provided by some Member States. They will then be loaded onto a United States ship and destroyed at sea using hydrolysis.

    She noted that the exercise requires a number of components such as packaging material, logistics, special trucks and containers, as well as training Syrian staff in packing the chemicals to meet international maritime regulations concerning hazardous goods.

    “Above all, the security conditions in country are such that it’s an ongoing concern and it could also at any time derail our ability to meet deadlines,” she stated.

    In a letter sent to the Security Council on the issue, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon pointed out that the recent fighting in Syria shows that the security situation is “volatile, unpredictable and highly dangerous.” He added that implementation of the Joint Mission’s mandate cannot occur without conditions inside Syria that are conducive to carrying out its tasks.

    English: Brasilia - The president of the Syria...

    English: Brasilia – The president of the Syrian Arab Republic, Bashar Al-Assad during a visit to Congress Português do Brasil: Brasília – O presidente da República Árabe Síria, Bashar Al-Assad, em visita ao Congresso Nacional (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The violence in Syria is continuing unabated since fighting first broke out in March 2011 between the Government and opposition forces seeking the ouster of President Bashar Al-Assad. The conflict has already claimed over 100,000 lives and driven over 6 million people from their homes.

    “We have the collective will of the international community firmly behind us, but there’s a lot at stake in the country,” said Ms. Kaag. “It’s a highly complex exercise, it is unprecedented and it takes place in an active war zone.”

    There are security constraints when it comes to the transportation of the chemicals overland in Syria, the Special Coordinator reiterated to the press after her closed-door briefing to the Council.

    One example, she said, is the road connecting Damascus and Homs – a main artery in the country. “If we cannot travel there, it is a real issue.” She herself had to travel by helicopter through Lebanon to reach Latakia recently to be able to inspect the port and consult with officials.

    Her briefing to the 15-member Council also touched on “the what and how” in terms of the work of the Joint Mission, the continuous volatile conditions in the country, the security measures that need to be undertaken, and the “constructive cooperation” with the Syrian authorities, she said.

    Ms. Kaag stressed that financial assistance has been critical, voicing gratitude for the generosity of donors to the two trust funds set up by the OPCW and the UN to fund the mission’s activities. “But much more is needed,” she stressed in the interview, calling on the international community to support the special third trust fund set up for the complete destruction of the chemical agents and the resulting effluence.

    “That’s extremely important and that’s the only way we can firmly attest to the fact that the chemical weapons programme of the Syrian Arab Republic has been fully eliminated.”

    New York, Dec  4 2013  7:00PM

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 19:56 on December 2, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , Premier League   

    Cameron’s Visit to China the People Or the Profit 


    Camerons Visit to China#AceWorldNews says the British Prime Minister David Cameron flew into China saying he wanted to lay the groundwork for a multi-billion-dollar free trade deal between Beijing and the European Union, despite growing unease about his own country’s membership in the bloc.On a three-day visit with a delegation of around 100 business people, the largest-ever British mission of its kind, Cameron said he wanted his country to play an important role in China’s expansion as the world’s second biggest economy is talking about opening up its markets.“China’s transformation is one of the defining facts of our lifetime,” Cameron wrote in Caixin, a Chinese weekly news magazine, on the eve of the visit.

    “There is a genuine choice for every country over how to respond. They can choose to see China’s rise as a threat or an opportunity. Britain’s answer is clear. We want to see China succeed,” continued Cameron.

    Cameron’s push for an E.U.-China trade deal will irritate the European Commission, which is understood to be strongly opposed to such a move on the grounds that it risks flooding the bloc with cheap Chinese imports and comes as the bloc is embroiled in a dispute with Beijing over solar panel exports.

    It is also likely to be seized upon by political opponents, as he has put a question mark over Britain’s continued membership of the 28-nation E.U. by promising Britons an in/out referendum on leaving the bloc if re-elected in 2015.

    “I now want to set a new long-term goal of an ambitious and comprehensive E.U.-China Free Trade Agreement,” Cameron wrote.

    “And as I have on the E.U.-U.S. deal, so I will put my full political weight behind such a deal which could be worth tens of billions of dollars every year,” promised Cameron.

    Cameron is expected to raise the subject in a meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang on Monday. His office said he was the first European leader to champion such a deal in this way.

    He had already discussed the idea of an E.U.-China trade deal with other E.U. member states, it added. Such a deal would address services liberalization and better intellectual property rights protection.

    Cameron told reporters on the plane to Beijing he was aware the idea was not universally popular among E.U. member states, but said it could be a chance to tackle Beijing on intellectual property rights and trading standards.

    “It’ll be the normal thing in the EU which will be a discussion where there will be some skeptics. There will be some enthusiasts and I think the enthusiasts have the wind in our sails,” said Cameron.

    Human Rights

    British finance minister George Osborne opened the door to further Chinese investment in Britain during a visit to Beijing last month, during which he announced less stringent rules for Chinese banks operating in London in a push to make the British capital the main offshore hub for trading in China’s currency and bonds.

    He also paved the way for Chinese investors to take majority stakes in future British nuclear plants.

    Camerons Visit to Dalai LamaCampaigners have often accused Cameron of putting trade before human rights. On this trip, activists want him to raise what they say are rights abuses in Tibet.

    A senior source in his office said before the trip that Britain had turned the page on a rift with China over Tibet, adding that Cameron had no plans to once again meet the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader-in-exile, after their meeting last year angered Beijing.

    Asked on the plane whether he would be raising Tibet, Cameron was non-committal, but said nothing was “off limits” in Britain’s relationship with China.

    As permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, Cameron said the two countries would also discuss Iran and North Korea.

    Cameron visited a training academy for Jaguar Land Rover sales staff in Beijing on Monday to mark its official opening as the carmaker unveiled a deal worth 4.5 billion pounds to provide 100,000 cars to the National Sales Company in China.

    England’s Premier League is also expected to announce an agreement with the Chinese Super League to develop football in China and boost the Premier League’s profile.

    Xavier Rolet, the chief executive of the London Stock Exchange, is travelling with Cameron.

    The business delegation also includes Andrew Witty, the chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. The company was drawn into a bribery case in China earlier this year which resulted in police detaining four Chinese GSK executives.

    Peter Humphrey, a British man running a risk advisory group, was also detained and is still being held.

    VOA NEWS  

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 14:50 on November 30, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , National security, Non-binding resolution, , , , ,   

    Surveillance of Communications Must Never be Conducted without Independent Judicial Oversight – Unless it is to Respond to National Security Threats 


    privacy

    privacy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

    #AceSecurityNews says a draft resolution to protect the right to privacy in the digital age that was approved this week by a General Assembly committee is a first step, according to an independent UN expert who called for more to be done to ensure trust in the safety of communications.

    “If States are truly committed to ensuring that all the rights which apply offline continue to be valid online, they urgently need to take concrete steps to secure respect for the privacy of communications as a universal right everywhere – not only within their own borders,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14033&LangID=E“>said in a news release yesterday.

    The General Assembly committee dealing with human rights questions, also known as the Third Committee, on Tuesday unanimously approved the text recognizing the need for States to establish oversight mechanisms to ensure transparency and accountability for surveillance initiatives. The 193-member Assembly is expected to vote on the non-binding resolution next month.

    “To demonstrate their commitment to protect privacy and to ensure people can communicate freely, States can start by immediately revising their own laws and the role of the judiciary, in order to correct serious gaps that exist in most national legal frameworks,” said Mr. La Rue.

    He emphasized that the surveillance of communications must never be conducted without independent judicial oversight, even though it might be exceptionally required to monitor communications in order to respond to criminal activity or national security threats.

    Parliaments should also play a role through the systematic review of the work of security and intelligence entities.

    Human Rights

    Human Rights (Photo credit: h de c)

    Blanket and indiscriminate surveillance should never be legal,” Mr. La Rue stressed. “International human rights standards demand that any interference with human rights be considered on a case-by-case basis in which a court weighs the proportionality of the benefit to be gained against the harm which may be done.”

    Despite technological changes, the expert felt that no new international legal instruments are needed. “Privacy is a recognized human right. For decades there has been a solid understanding that privacy in postal services should be respected by all States. Therefore, there are no reasons for questioning existing guarantees to privacy in telephone or internet communications,” he said.

    Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Genevabased UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

     

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 19:40 on November 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Democratic Republic of the Congo, Denis Mukwege, Dominican Republic, Helen Clark, Human Development Report, , , , Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, , ,   

    #AceWorldNews says the other day was an an opportunity…to End Violence Against Women 


    Ending Violence Against Women#AceWorldNews says the other day was an opportunity for each person to recommit to ending the harm being committed against one out of three women, senior United Nations officials said marking the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

    “Violence against women and girls directly affects individuals while harming our common humanity,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <”http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7307“>said in his message for the Day, which this year focuses on the theme of raising awareness by wearing the colour orange.

    Mr. Ban applauded leaders who are helping to enact and enforce laws and change mindsets, and paid tribute to the heroes who help victims heal and become agents of change. Among those, Dr. Denis Mukwege, founder of the Panzi hospital in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), who the UN chief met last month, and who in turn, is inspired by the courage of the women he treats.

    English: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Vice Presiden...

    English: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Vice President of South Africa, during the official visit of Vladimir Putin, President of Russia, in Capetown, South Africa. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    In her first message for the Day as UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, urged world leaders to “mount a response that is proportionate to the violence threatening the lives of women and girls.”

    “We need education in schools that teaches human rights and mutual respect, and that inspires young people to be leaders for equality,” she <”http://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2013/11/press-release-ed-message-25-november“>said in a video message, adding that to be effective, prevention to must address gender inequality as the root cause of violence.

    Speaking to journalists in New York, UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri called gender-based violence a “gross human rights violation” and a “pandemic”.

    Wearing orange scarfs uniformly with the other panelists to call attention to the orange theme, she noted that violence takes many forms – physical, psychological, economic and sexual – and that it is more dangerous to be a woman in conflict and post-conflict situations than to be a soldier, given the use of rape as a war tool.

    She also called attention to the most common place for violence against women and girls – the home – which is the place they are supposed to be the safest.

    Journalists also heard from Sebastiano Cardi, Permanent Representative of Italy to the UN, who noted that while he was the only man on the panel, the issue mainly concerns men since they are traditionally the perpetrators of the violence.

    More than 603 million women live in countries where domestic violence is not considered a crime, according to the UN Development Programme (UNDP).

    “This is not acceptable: better laws and their enforcement are needed,” <”http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/11/25/violence-against-women-is-not-acceptable-and-can-be-prevented/“>said Helen Clark, UNDP Administrator.  She called for law enforcement and judicial systems to work together with governments, civil society and international partners to tackle the root causes of violence against women, support victims, and bring perpetrators to justice.

    Meanwhile, the UNDP reported today that gender-based discrimination remains the single most widespread driver of inequalities.

    According to the ‘Regional Human Development Report (HDR) 2013-2014 Citizen Security with a Human Face: evidence and proposals for Latin America’, gender-based violence contributes to insecurity in Latin America and is a persistent threat and obstacle to human development, public health and human rights.

    DR CONGO While the evidence linking gender-based violence and poverty grows, so does a global call to include men’s voices in the solution to violence against women. A recent UN study carried out in the Asia-Pacific region found that of the 10,000 men surveyed, nearly half reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner.

    The study recommends that development interventions should address social norms related to the acceptability of violence and dominant gender stereotypes, as well as focusing on ending impunity for perpetrators.

    This same message is set out in the report ‘A Million Voices: The World We Want’, which synthesizes the results of an unprecedented global consultation involving over a million people across all countries and backgrounds on what the world’s future development agenda should look like.

    It states that the current anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) are silent on violence against women and girls, even though one of the eight goals is on gender, according to the UN agency.

    “As we prepare to craft a post-2015 development agenda, violence against women and girls remains an enormous global problem that must be overcome,” <”http://www.un.org/en/ga/president/68/news/international_day_elimination_violence_against_women2013.shtml“>said John Ashe, the current President of the General Assembly.

    Noting that the international community is crafting a post-2015 development agenda, he added that “no sustainable development agenda can be achieved without ending this global violation of human rights, without ending all violence against all women and girls in every country in the world.”

    The UN General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women in a 1999 resolution inviting governments, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to “organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day.”

    The date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the assassination of three Mirabal sisters, who were political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo on 25 November 1960.

    The Day marks the start of 16 days of activism, culminating with Human Rights Day on 10 December.

    Given the timing of the 16 days and the focus on raising awareness with the colour orange, this year’s official theme is “Orange the World in 16 Days.”

    Today’s events are part of the landmark UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign. Launched by Mr. Ban in 2008, it has gathered UN agencies and offices to galvanize action across the UN system to prevent and punish violence against women.

    He also noted the importance of the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the world’s leading global grant-making mechanism exclusively dedicated to addressing violence against women and girls, administered by UN Women.

    Mr. Ban called for financial support to the Fund, the demand for whose grants have more than doubled in the recent years while the amount it has distributed diminished by 60 per cent.

    “I appeal to all partners to help meet this vast unmet demand for resources to further our aims.

    New York, Nov 25 2013  3:00PM

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:17 on November 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Lord Resistance Army, LRA, , , ,   

    Security Council: Reports on LRA “Massacres in Villages and Mutilating of Boys to Prevent Them Becoming Child Soldiers and Forcing Girls into Sexual Slavery” 


    Rebels in the north of the Central African Rep...

    Rebels in the north of the Central African Republic (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceHumanRightsNews says reiterating its strong condemnation of war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its use of children in armed conflict, the Security Council today demanded that the group immediately cease all hostilities, release all abductees’, and disarm and demobilize.

    Issuing presidential statement the Council urged the United Nations Office for Central Africa (UNOCA), the UN political and peacekeeping missions in the region, and the Organization’s other relevant presences, to enhance their support for the implementation of the UN Regional Strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA. It called on the international community to support the implementation of the Strategy where possible.

    The LRA, notorious for carrying out massacres in villages, mutilating its victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers and forcing girls into sexual slavery, was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged it. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbours, such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan.

    English: Shaded relief map of the Central Afri...

    English: Shaded relief map of the Central African Republic. Cropped caption: Base 802739 (B01340) 2-01 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The 15-member body reiterated its strong support for the African Union Regional Cooperation Initiative against the LRA, commending the “significant” progress by the African Union Regional Task Force. It urged all regional Governments to fulfil their commitments under the Initiative and provide basic provisions for their security forces.

    Welcoming steps taken to deliver an enhanced, comprehensive and “more regional” approach to the humanitarian situation, the Council underlined the primary responsibility of States in the LRA-affected region to protect civilians.  In that context, it welcomed efforts by the DRC, South Sudan, Uganda and the CAR, in coordination with the African Union, to end the LRA threat, urging additional efforts from those countries, as well as others in the region.

    Further, the Council expressed serious concern that the increased security vacuum in the CAR continued to negatively affect counter-LRA operations. As LRA attacks have reportedly taken place outside the Task Force’s principal area of operations, it emphasized the need for strong coordination among the United Nations Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the Central African Republic (BINUCA), the Task Force, and the African-led International Support Mission in the Central African Republic (MISCA) in the context of protecting civilian activities and counter-LRA operations.

    Regionally, the Council encouraged the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) to reinforce efforts to address the LRA through improved responsiveness to imminent civilian threats, training and capacity-building of the Forces Armées de la République Démocratique du Congo (FARDC) and implementation of the disarmament, demobilization, repatriation, reintegration, and resettlement programme to encourage further LRA defections.

    In addition, the Council urged MONUSCO and the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) to enhance their cooperation with the Regional Task Force to coordinate operations, patrols and protection of civilians strategies, and to provide logistical support within their existing mandates and resources.  It took note of reports of a LRA base in the disputed enclave of Kafia Kinga, on the border of the Central African Republic, and between South Sudan and Sudan.

    New York, Nov 25 2013  7:00PM

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 15:21 on November 27, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Asbestos, Bruce Vento, Cancer, Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act, Identity theft, Member of Congress, PR Newswire, ,   

    Congress the Other Day Forced Asbestos Victims and Their Families to Release Private Information that will Put Them at Risk of Identity Theft 


    United States House of Representatives Seal

    United States House of Representatives Seal (Photo credit: DonkeyHotey)

     

    #AceWorldNews  says ” Asbestos Victims React To House Vote On H.R. 982 a few days ago that requests them to release private information ,that will put them at risk of identity theft”

     

    Leaders of the Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign today reacted strongly to the 221-199 vote to pass the FACT Act, H.R. 982, by the House of Representatives.

     

    Susan Vento, widow of Rep Bruce Vento (D-MN):

     

    “I’m deeply disappointed in the vote, but grateful to the Members of Congress who stood up for asbestos victims and their families in opposing legislation that hurts cancer victims. We will continue to oppose this legislation and ensure that it never becomes law.”

     

    Judy Van Ness, widow of Naval Veteran Richard L. Van Ness, commented after the vote:

     

    Congress today forced asbestos victims and their families to release private information that will put them at risk of identity theft. This delays and could deny badly needed compensation to victims and their families.”

     

    Contact: Joy Howell, ACVRC
    202-828-7838, c-202-302-5932

     

     

     

     

     

     

    English: photograph of Bruce Vento from http:/...

    English: photograph of Bruce Vento from http://bioguide.congress.gov (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

     

    SOURCE  Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign

     

    Asbestos Cancer Victims Rights Campaign

     

    WASHINGTON, Nov. 13, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ –

     

     

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:45 on November 27, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Freedom of religion, Heiner Bielefeldt, , , Politics of Malaysia, , ,   

    “Freedom of Religion or Belief is a Right of All Human Beings, Not a Right of the State” 


    #AceWorldNews says the UN Rights Experts Urge Malaysia to Reverse Decision to Restrict Use of ” ALLAH’ TO MUSLIMS”

    English: Martin Scheinin, United Nations Speci...

    English: Martin Scheinin, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the protection of human rights while countering terrorism, in front of Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Several independent United Nations human rights experts today urged the Malaysian Government to reverse its decision to ban a Catholic publication from using the word ‘Allah’ to refer to God, warning that the case may have far-reaching implications for religious minorities in the country.

    Freedom of religion or belief is a right of human beings, not a right of the State,” the Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, Heiner Bielefeldt, <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14023&LangID=E“>stressed in a news release. “It cannot be the business of the State to shape or reshape religious traditions, nor can the State claim any binding authority in the interpretation of religious sources or in the definition of the tenets of faith.”

    The Bahasa Malaysia, or standard Malay, translation for one God is ‘Allah’, which entered the language from Arabic and has been used by Christians in the region for many centuries, according to the press release.

    In January 2009, the Ministry of Home Affairs ordered the newspaper Herald-The Catholic Weekly to stop using the word ‘Allah’ or face losing its publication permit. The newspaper argued the ban was unconstitutional and won an appeal in the Malaysian High Court.

    However, last month, the Court of Appeal unanimously ruled that non-Muslims cannot use ‘Allah’ to refer to God. It stated that the usage of the name ‘Allah’ is not an integral part of the faith and practice of Christianity.

    “Such usage, if allowed, would inevitably cause confusion within the community,” the appeal court judges ruled. The case is currently pending consideration at the Federal Court level.

    An example of Allāh written in simple Arabic c...

    An example of Allāh written in simple Arabic calligraphy. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Mr. Bielefeldt cautioned that “the current case may affect the right of all non-Muslims in Malaysia to use the word ‘Allah’ while referring to God.”

    Also speaking out is Rita Izsák, the Independent Expert on minority issues, who said discrimination on the grounds of religion or belief constitutes a violation of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and in this instance is a breach of the rights of a religious minority to freely practice and express their faith.

    “Such actions may present an obstacle to friendly and peaceful relations between faith communities,” she warned.

    The Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression, Frank La Rue, called on the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Malaysian Government to take steps to immediately secure the right to freedom of opinion and expression of the newspaper and withdraw unconditionally from further litigation on this issue.

    Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

    New York, Nov 25 2013  1:00PM

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:32 on November 27, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Nauru, , Portable Network Graphics, ,   

    Asylum Seekers Transferred From Australia to Pacific Islands – Are Living in Harsh Physical Conditions 


    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

    United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Representation in Cyprus (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews says Asylum-seekers transferred from Australia to Pacific island processing centres, including survivors of torture and trauma and unaccompanied children, are living in arbitrary detention and harsh physical conditions that do not meet international standards, the United Nations refugee agency reported today.

    Two reports by the UNHCR detailed continuing concerns voiced several times over the past 15 months with the centres on Nauru and Manus Island in Papua New Guinea (PNG) where Australia has sent thousands of refugees who have braved the dangerous sea crossing from Indonesia after fleeing conflict, persecution or poverty in the Middle East and Central and South Asia.

    “While UNHCR understands Australia’s determination to respond robustly to the challenges of people smuggling and to dissuade people from undertaking dangerous irregular travel by sea, those responses must not neglect the compelling protection needs, safety and dignity of the individuals affected,” the agency’s Director of International Protection, Volker Türk, <”http://www.unhcr.org/52947ac86.html“>said in Geneva.

    “These reports must be seen in the context of what UNHCR has observed to be a sharp deterioration, during the course of the year, in the overall quality of protection and support available to asylum-seekers and refugees who come to Australia by boat.”

    The reports (available at: http://unhcr.org.au/unhcr/) called for pre-transfer assessments in Australia to consider the specific needs of vulnerable individuals, including the elderly, survivors of torture or trauma and the disabled. A realistic assessment must also be made of the actual quality of support and capacities of service providers at the centres. No children or families should be sent to PNG and unaccompanied children already there should be returned to Australia.

    “In both Nauru and PNG, UNHCR was deeply troubled to observe that the current policies, operational approaches and harsh physical conditions at the centres not only do not meet  international standards, but impact very profoundly on the men, women and children housed there,” UNHCR Regional Representative, Richard Towle, said on releasing the reports in Canberra, Australia’s capital.

    Topographical map of Admiralty Island in Papua...

    Topographical map of Admiralty Island in Papua New Guinea. Largest islands have been named. Created with GMT from publicly released SRTM data. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    He stressed that they do not provide a fair and efficient system for assessing refugee claims, do not provide safe and humane conditions of treatment in detention, and do not provide for adequate and timely solutions for recognised refugees.

    The centres, Australia’s so-called ‘Pacific solution’ to the influx of refugees, were first opened in 2001, but closed at the end of 2007. The policy was resumed again last year.

    The report on Nauru acknowledges some positive developments since UNHCR’s last visit in March but also cites significant setbacks in processing and worsening reception conditions. Despite a processing system being in place under Nauru law, only one decision has been handed down in the 14 months since the centre reopened.

    In PNG no decisions at all have been finalised, the report on Manus said. While some improvements were observed since the last inspection in June, physical conditions, slow processing and lack of clarity regarding safe and sustainable solutions are likely to have a serious negative effect on the refugees’ health and welfare.

    UNHCR called on all three states not to transfer children, particularly those who are unaccompanied, unless and until there has been a marked improvement in conditions in both centres.

    New York, Nov 26 2013  4:00PM

     

     
    • Cecelia 16:55 on January 20, 2014 Permalink | Reply

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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:59 on November 20, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,   

    Independent Experts Recently Voiced Serious Concern Over Reports That Chinese Activists Have Been Intimidated and Prevented From Taking Part in a Major Assessment of the Human Rights Situation in the Country 


    United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

    United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews says United Nations independent experts recently voiced serious concern over reports that Chinese activists have been intimidated and prevented from taking part in a major assessment of the human rights situation in the country.

    “Intimidating civil society members who seek to contribute to such an important international dialogue is completely unacceptable,” said the Geneva-based experts in a <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13860&LangID=E“>news release. “Ensuring the free participation of civil society actors, including human rights defenders, and other national stakeholders, in this process is crucial.”

    Activists have reportedly been threatened, arrested or banned from leaving China in the run-up to the second assessment of the country’s record by the UN Human Rights Council through its Universal Periodic Review (UPR) mechanism. The review will take place on 22 October 2013 in Geneva.

    “These cases seem part of a pattern of increased harassment by China of those calling for greater accountability of public officials, transparency and political and legal reforms,” the experts said.

    The experts received information that rights defenders Cao Shunli and Chen Jianfang were allegedly prevented from boarding flights to Geneva where they were due to participate in activities organized on the margins of a Human Rights Council session in September.

    Chen Jianfang was reportedly told that she was barred from travelling abroad for life, while Cao Shunli was detained by Chinese security authorities on 14 September. Cao Shunli’s family has allegedly not received any formal notification of her detention.

    It was also reported that Chinese civil society activists, who have demonstrated since June to defend their right to participate and receive information on China’s report to the UPR, have been threatened by local authorities on various occasions.

    Znak graficzny UPR Eurowybory 2009

    Znak graficzny UPR Eurowybory 2009 (Photo credit: Unia Polityki Realnej)

    “These reports suggest there have been acts of reprisals against people who seek to cooperate with the UN,” said Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders Margaret Sekaggya.

    “Defenders play a key role in holding States to account for the implementation of their human rights obligations, including at the international level. Their legitimate work should be fully respected.”

    China accepted recommendations made during its first review in 2009 to strengthen its engagement with civil society to promote and protect human rights. The Government informed the UN experts that non-governmental organizations were consulted ahead of the UPR session and that the draft of the national report was available on its official website for comments.

    Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, Frank La Rue, said that even if some organizations had participated in the UPR preparations, “nothing can justify excluding legitimate voices through intimidation.”

    “Access to information and an open space for the free exchange of opinions and ideas are essential to ensure a proper review of the human rights record of any country,” Mr. La Rue stressed.

    Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kai said preventing people to participate in the UPR and from demonstrating peacefully constitutes a breach of China’s international obligations to respect the right to freedom of peaceful assembly.

    “This obligation includes facilitating peaceful protests by providing protestors with access to public space, and protecting them, where necessary, against any threats,” he said.

    Regarding the situation of Ms. Cao, the Working Group on enforced or involuntary disappearances underlined that information on her detention, including the reasons and place of detention, should be made ready to avail to her family members and counsel.

    The experts have also asked the Chinese authorities for further information regarding these allegations and called for the immediate release of all those detained after peacefully protesting for more civil society participation in the UPR process and advocating for human rights and good governance.

    “These serious allegations must be investigated thoroughly and impartially by the Chinese authorities,” the experts concluded.

    Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

     

     
    • Harold 02:30 on January 19, 2014 Permalink | Reply

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    • #AceNewsGroup 16:39 on January 15, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Dear Camille,

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      I wait your advices,

      Regards, Editor {Ace News Group}

  • #AceNewsGroup 19:17 on November 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Az-Za'ayyem, Bedouin, Demolition, East Jerusalem, , , Israeli authorities, , Negev, , , , , , Rupert Colville   

    Mass Demolition of 35 Bedouin Villages Displaces 40,000 Residents in Their Ancestral Homes 


    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner...

    Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWelfareNews says the United Nations human rights office recently urged Israeli authorities to halt the recent wave of demolitions of Bedouin structures, noting the destruction of this property violates international humanitarian law.

    “These mass demolitions raise serious concerns about the prohibition on forced evictions under international human rights law, and Israel’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of Palestinians to adequate housing and freedom from arbitrary or unlawful interference with privacy, family and home,” said Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

    In July, OHCHR urged Israel to reconsider a proposed law that would result in the demolition of up to 35 Bedouin villages, displacing as many as 40,000 members of these communities from their ancestral homes.

    However, demolitions began on 19 August and have been carried out by Israeli authorities in at least six different locations, including East Jerusalem. Subsequently, on 11 September all but two residential structures in the Bedouin community of Az Za’ayyem on the edge of Jerusalem were demolished.

    The latest wave of demolitions occurred on 16 September, when 58 structures were knocked down, including all residential structures and livestock shelters in the herding community of Mak-hul in the northern Jordan Valley.

    According to OHCHR, all 10 families inhabiting the structures were rendered homeless and no alternative housing options were offered.

    English: Bedouin woman in Jerusalem. Gaeilge: ...

    English: Bedouin woman in Jerusalem. Gaeilge: Bean Bedouin i Iarúsailéim, idir 1898 agus 1914 This is a restored version of the original LoC .tif file with damaged areas cropped and missing foliage replaced at far upper right. Dirt and scratches removed, fading at bottom addressed. Sharpened and levels adjusted. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “Israeli authorities denied the provision of emergency shelter assistance to the community by humanitarian organizations,” Mr. Colville said. “The community remains vulnerable to further demolitions and repeated displacement due to lack of legal security of tenure and the consequent inability to obtain building permits.”

    Mr. Colville added that the obligations of Israel with respect to the right of adequate housing of Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory include ensuring access to basic shelter and housing, and refraining from interfering with the enjoyment of these rights.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:19 on November 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Guy Ryder, , Lilianne Ploumen, , Occupational safety and health, RMG,   

    Nearly 3.5 Million Garment Workers in Bangladesh, Beset by Industrial Accidents and a Staggering Loss of Life, will get Essential Support to Improve Working Conditions 


    Flag of the International Labour Organization....

    Flag of the International Labour Organization. Based on an image at Flags of the World. Français : Drapeau du Organisation internationale du travail Italiano: Bandiera dell’Organizzazione Internazionale del Lavoro (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews says nearly 3.5 million garment workers in Bangladesh, recently beset by industrial accidents and a staggering loss of life, will get essential support to improve working conditions, strengthen labour inspection and upgrade building and fire safety at their workplaces, thanks to a new programme in partnership with the United Nations.

    “The rapid growth in Bangladesh’s garment industry has provided vital jobs to women and men and is helping to pull them and their families out of poverty. However, there is an urgent need for decisive and collaborative action to make decent work a reality,” stated Guy Ryder, the Director-General of the UN International Labour Organization (ILO).

    “This programme will improve conditions of work, especially safety, and help generate sustainable economic growth and investment,” he added in a news release.

    The new multi-year programme, carried out in partnership with the Governments of the Netherlands, the United Kingdom and Canada, will boost the efforts already underway by Bangladesh and its partners in the ready-made garment (RMG) sector.

    The RMG sector is vital to the economy of Bangladesh, which exported goods worth $19.3 billion for the 11 months that ended in May 2013 – nearly 12 per cent more than a year earlier.

    Among other things, the programme will focus on supporting the Bangladeshi National Action Plan for Fire and Building Safety, developed in the wake of the Rana Plaza collapse this April. The Plan calls for an assessment of all active export-oriented, RMG factories in Bangladesh to be completed by 31 December 2013.

    Graduates at TVET Reform Project RMG Course Gr...

    Graduates at TVET Reform Project RMG Course Graduation (Photo credit: ILO in Asia and the Pacific)

    The Plan is supported by other parallel initiatives focused on the RMG sector in Bangladesh, namely the Accord on Fire and Building Safety in Bangladesh – signed by over 80 leading clothing brands and retailers – and the Alliance for Bangladesh Worker Safety, a binding five-year initiative undertaken by North American apparel companies and retailers to improve safety in more than 500 factories.

    The Netherlands, as the current co-chair of the donor coordination group in Bangladesh, strongly supports the adherence to international labour standards on workplace safety and protection of worker’s rights.

    “Never in the history of the garment sector have we seen such an opportunity for improvement of labour conditions. With the signing of this agreement, the Netherlands with the ILO and our fellow donors will allow millions of workers in Bangladesh to live healthy and decent lives,” said the country’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, Lilianne Ploumen.

    ILO noted that during the past year, the RMG industry in Bangladesh has been rocked by several major industrial accidents leading to large-scale worker protests calling for improved building and fire safety, better working conditions and higher minimum wages. These actions have resulted in work disruptions in hundreds of factories.

    ILO members

    ILO members (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “The Bangladeshi authorities are responding to these concerns and supporting the programme, which will start with a complete fire safety and structural assessment of all active RMG factories and, where necessary, initiate remedial action,” said the agency.

    The programme also has the support of Bangladeshi employers’ organizations and unions. The Government for its part is moving to significantly improve the capacity of its inspection system by equipping and training current and new factory inspectors and introducing oversight to address integrity and increase transparency.

    Additionally, the programme will train workers, supervisors and managers in the RMG sector to improve their capacity to ensure workplace safety including the prevention of violence.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:03 on November 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Arab world, , , , , , ,   

    Recent Turmoil in the Arab World Imperils Progress Towards Achieving the Anti-Poverty Targets Known as the Millennium Development Goals 


    The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) ...

    The Eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) of UN. Target date: 2015 http://www.un.org/millenniumgoals/ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceFoodNews says recent turmoil in the Arab world imperils progress towards achieving the anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) in the region, stated a United Nations report released today.

    The report, launched by the UN Development Group (UNDG) along with the League of Arab States and the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), comes as Secretary-General convened a special event at UN Headquarters on achieving the MDGs, which world leaders have pledged to achieve by 2015.

    It noted that while the Arab region has made progress towards many of the Goals since 2010, progress has slowed since then and the major cause is the widespread impact of the ongoing conflict in Syria.

    “The crisis in Syria is a crisis for development across the Arab region,” <”http://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/home/presscenter/pressreleases/2013/09/23/syria-crisis-a-crisis-for-arab-development.html“>said Sima Bahous, Chair of the UNDG in the Arab States Region and Director of the UN Development Programme (UNDP) Regional Bureau for Arab States.

    “The impact goes far beyond even the tragic and terrible widespread death and destruction in that country: it is also slowing the region’s progress on development,” she stated in a news release.

    In addition to claiming the lives of over 100,000 people, displacing millions and causing widespread damage and destruction, the crisis in Syria is also having a major impact on human development across the country, according to the report.

    It pointed out that the crisis has pushed at least three million of Syria’s 22 million people into poverty, while the country’s extreme poverty rate has climbed at least back to 8 per cent after having been virtually zeroed by 2007.

    School enrolment rates have plunged and access to health care has also significantly reduced, added the report, which comes in advance of a more detailed UNDP study to be released in October showing the impact of the Syrian crisis on development in Syria, Jordan and Lebanon.

    Also, the report stated that the overall climate of instability and insecurity in the Arab region is dragging on progress more broadly across the region.

    Economic activity has been slowed in Egypt, Tunisia and Yemen – countries which since 2011 have been pursuing complex political transitions. Over five million people across the Arab region have been pushed into unemployment since 2010.

    “In the case of Yemen, this slowdown comes atop already high poverty rates and deep challenges across the entire spectrum of development,” the news release stated. Over 10 million people in the country, nearly half of the total population, may be food insecure, according to the report.
    Instability also complicates an already dire degree of water scarcity, the report added. Yemen suffers from chronic shortages and may be the first Arab country to run out of water, possibly as early as 2015. As of June 2012, 12.7 million Yemenis lacked access to safe water or sanitation.

    The report also showed that many Arab countries are “off the path” to reach many important MDGs. Overall, the region lags behind on key targets, particularly those related to nutrition, food security, access to water and sanitation, and child and maternal mortality.

    Today’s report comes as world leaders gather in New York to discuss not only progress towards the MDGs but also a new global development agenda which will come after the Goals expire in 2015. The discussions will include options for reflecting the importance of peace and security in a new development framework.

    “The experience of the Arab region makes the linkage clear,” said Ms. Bahous. “Where there is no peace, there is no development; where there is no development, there can be no peace.”

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:52 on November 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Child Health Day, , Executive director, Humanitarian access, Lake, , , ,   

    #(UNICEF) is Calling for Greater Efforts to Ensure Humanitarian Access that will Safeguard the Lives of Thousands of Children#Peace 


    Flag of UNICEF

    Flag of UNICEF (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    As the plight of civilians trapped by the Syria conflict grows more desperate, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is calling for greater efforts to ensure humanitarian access that will safeguard the lives of thousands of children.

    The agency warned that children continue to be cut off from urgently needed assistance, including vaccinations, safe drinking water, shelter, education and psychological support.

    “As fighting continues, some areas have been under siege for months on end, leaving families struggling to survive,” <”http://www.unicef.org/media/media_70440.html“>said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake. “Syria’s children have suffered too much, for too long, and will continue to bear the consequences of this crisis for many years to come.

    “We must be able to reach these children, urgently and without restrictions – and the various parties to the conflict can make that happen by immediately allowing humanitarian workers to reach them with life-saving assistance,” he said.

    Over two years into the conflict, which has claimed more than 100,000 lives and forcibly displaced almost one-third of the country’s population, “the needs remain immense,” said Mr. Lake.

    “To get to those we have still not reached, humanitarian workers have to be able to move freely and safely in all parts of the country and essential services must be protected.”

    UNICEF

    UNICEF (Photo credit: UNICEF Ethiopia)

    One practical example of how unimpeded access could save lives, he noted, is the forthcoming Child Health Day vaccination campaign that aims to protect children inside Syria from vaccine-preventable diseases, with a special focus on the 700,000 children that have not been reached through the most recent immunization campaigns.

    UNICEF added that vital services such as health and education also require special protection, stressing that schools and health facilities should not be targeted in fighting, but rather recognized as ‘zones of peace’ where women and children can seek assistance and support.

    The agency and its partners have faced severe difficulties for most of this year in reaching hundreds of thousands of children in Aleppo, Rural Damascus, major parts of Homs, Deir ez Zour and Rural Dara’a. Medical supplies, including vaccines, have been held up at checkpoints, and vital work on repairing water pipelines has been delayed.

    Unimpeded humanitarian access, stressed UNICEF, requires clear commitments on behalf of the Syrian Government and opposition groups for, among other things, humanitarian pauses in the conflict to permit aid workers safe access and freedom of movement to deliver services and supplies to those in need.

    Despite the challenges, UNICEF and its partners have been able to provide 10 million people inside the strife-torn nation with access to safe drinking water this year. They have also immunized 2 million children against measles over the last two years, and are currently delivering school supplies to enable 1 million Syrian children to resume learning in the country.

     

     
    • press inside 17:57 on November 19, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on News-Press and commented:
      #(UNICEF) is Calling for Greater Efforts to Ensure Humanitarian Access that will Safeguard the Lives of Thousands of Children#Peace

  • #AceNewsGroup 21:30 on November 15, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Hundred Flowers Campaign, , Mao, , , Peking University, People's Daily,   

    Sixty Years of Chinese Censorship – Still People Do Not Have Freedom 


    English: Reporters Without Borders 2009 Press ...

    English: Reporters Without Borders 2009 Press Freedom Index world map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    2 May 1956 – “Let a hundred flowers bloom; let a hundred schools of thought contend”

    A speech by Mao in May 1956 launched the Hundred Flowers, a movement of openness that was followed by a crackdown on intellectuals. It was a notable example of Mao’s use of the press. Both movements, the Hundred Flowers and its ensuing corollary, the Anti-Right Movement, were launched through the media.

    His first speech seemed to partially lift the threat that had been hanging over journalists until then. Mao himself encouraged intellectuals to criticise the party with the aim of improving it. People’s Daily announced shortly afterwards that it would cover both socialist and capitalist countries, and all subjects, “agreeable or not.” In another sign of openness, the head of Xinhua went to London and Paris to seek inspiration from the way European news agencies worked. A People’s Daily editorial went to so far as to criticise the haste of political leaders “to do everything overnight.”

    The first “dazibao” – calling for the creation of a “democratic garden” – was posted on a wall at the prestigious University of Beijing on 17 May 1957. The poster, in which the author expressed his views in large characters, would soon be adopted by the Party as a recurrent tool for encouraging the masses and later civil society to express their grievances.

    This period of openness did not last. The counter-movement, an Anti-Right campaign, was launched in June 1957. An editorial in People’s Daily on 8 June denounced those who were trying to use the rectification campaign (the Hundred Flowers) to wage class struggle. In the end, around 400,000 “rightists,” including many journalists and intellectuals, would be sent to re-education camps.

    Extract Courtesy of Reporters without Borders – de veronique   

    This Article should not be alter or changed in anyway without express permission of the writer. Thank you Editor   

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 11:54 on November 14, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Public Citizen, , , , ,   

    Wikileaks’ Release Of TPP Chapter On IP Blows Open Secret Trade Negotiation 


    English: The logo used by Wikileaks

    English: The logo used by Wikileaks (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    For years, the United States and partner governments have worked vigorously to keep the public they represent from knowing what they are negotiating behind closed doors in the top-secret Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement. But yesterday’s Wikileaks release of the draft intellectual property chapter blew that up, confirming the fears of public interest groups that this is an agreement heavily weighted toward big industry interests.

    “If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons,” WikiLeaks’ Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange said in a release. “If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.”

    In a live broadcast today [at minute 25], Assange said, “I think this release is going to pretty much kill it,” referring to the TPP. Assange, who said his team had worked with little sleep for four days to get this out, said that what is being pitched as intellectual property rights is really no more than a consolidation of monopoly control by large companies. This is a “major” release by Wikileaks, he said, showing the agreement would create new judicial institutions that would allow companies to sue governments with no rights. “It’s a big deal geopolitically,” Assange said, by creating a massive bloc that does not include China.

    The 95-page text of the TPP IP chapter is from the 26-30 August 2013 round of negotiations in Brunei, and is available here (along with a press release).

    The group Just Foreign Policy has issued a reminder to people to fulfill their pledges on Wikileaks donation page, which totalled some US$70,000 if it posted the TPP. “WikiLeaks has rendered a tremendous service to the public,” it said.

    There have been further negotiations on IP rights since August, and another round is planned for next week, from 19-24 November in Salt Lake City, Utah, according to sources.

    The TPP is the largest-ever economic treaty, encompassing nations representing more than 40 per cent of the world’s GDP, Wikileaks notes in its press release. Participating countries include: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Peru, Singapore, United States and Vietnam.

    US officials have indicated that they are pushing to complete negotiations as quickly as possible by or near year’s end, and have begun seeking support in Congress for trade promotion authority, which would limit Congress to a yes or no vote on the final treaty.

    The chapter published by WikiLeaks “is perhaps the most controversial chapter of the TPP due to its wide-ranging effects on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents,” it said.

    The Text

    Parts of the IP chapter have leaked in past years, but for the first time the whole chapter is public and shows the negotiating positions of the countries as well as areas of disagreement.

    The text covers a wide range of topics, including definitions, relationship to other international agreements, and issues of patents, trademarks, copyright and industrial design. Examples are the promotion of patent cooperation, patentability, marketing approval for pharmaceuticals, requirements that geographical indications systems recognise trademark systems, and treatment of traditional knowledge, traditional cultural expressions and genetic resources, and setting out terms for limitations and exceptions to copyright.

    Assange said that a “cringingly obsequious” Australia most often supported the hardline position of US negotiators against other countries. Nations such as Vietnam, Chile and Malaysia were more likely to be in opposition, Wikileaks said. Countries that already have bilateral accords with the United States have previously signalled reluctance to further expand their IP commitments.

    TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free...

    TPP FTA (TPPA): Trans-Pacific Partnership Free Trade Agreement Subordinates Nations (And People) To Corporations (Photo credit: watchingfrogsboil)

    Enforcement makes up the largest section of the chapter. Wikileaks said the chapter: “is devoted to detailing new policing measures, with far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons. Particular measures proposed include supranational litigation tribunals to which sovereign national courts are expected to defer, but which have no human rights safeguards. The TPP IP Chapter states that these courts can conduct hearings with secret evidence. The IP Chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.”

    US advocacy group Public Citizen has circulated an analysis of what is new in the latest leak. The analysis is available here [pdf]. Knowledge Ecology International also circulated a detailed analysis of the text, available here.

    Extreme Secrecy

    Wikileaks pointed out the extraordinary level of secrecy of the talks to the public, while hundreds of industry advisers have had access to the text.

    “Since the beginning of the TPP negotiations, the process of drafting and negotiating the treaty’s chapters has been shrouded in an unprecedented level of secrecy,” it said. “Access to drafts of the TPP chapters is shielded from the general public. Members of the US Congress are only able to view selected portions of treaty-related documents in highly restrictive conditions and under strict supervision. It has been previously revealed that only three individuals in each TPP nation have access to the full text of the agreement, while 600 ’trade advisers’ – lobbyists guarding the interests of large US corporations such as Chevron, Halliburton, Monsanto and Walmart – are granted privileged access to crucial sections of the treaty text.”

    The aim of the TPP IP chapter is to address global concerns over piracy and counterfeiting, and raise standards in the partner countries, sometimes beyond what they agree in past bilateral agreements with the US.

    The view of negotiating governments, led by the US, seems to be that if they can finish the deal with the fewest disruptive forces possible, it might get through. But as with the ill-fated Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) and anti-piracy legislation in the US Congress that met massive public resistance, this agreement also seems to be stoking anxieties that again the government is not acting in the best interest of the public.

    Assange asserted in the live discussion today that the treaty appears aimed at isolating China economically. But Wikileaks noted that numerous key Pacific Rim and nearby nations – including Argentina, Ecuador, Colombia, South Korea, Indonesia, the Philippines as well as Russia and China – have not been involved in the drafting of the treaty.

    Reactions Strong

    Reaction to the text from civil society and advocacy groups was quick and strong. Where trade negotiators seem to be looking for ways to improve IP standards and enforcement, advocates fear it means eating away at civil liberties and access. The following are a few immediate reactions.

    KEI (US)

    “The document confirms fears that the negotiating parties are prepared to expand the reach of intellectual property rights, and shrink consumer rights and safeguards,” Knowledge Ecology International said in a blog post. “Compared to existing multilateral agreements, the TPP IPR chapter proposes the granting of more patents, the creation of intellectual property rights on data, the extension of the terms of protection for patents and copyrights, expansions of right holder privileges, and increases in the penalties for infringement.

    “The TPP text shrinks the space for exceptions in all types of intellectual property rights,” KEI said. “Negotiated in secret, the proposed text is bad for access to knowledge, bad for access to medicine, and profoundly bad for innovation.”

    KEI went on to say, “The text reveals that the most anti-consumer and anti-freedom country in the negotiations is the United States, taking the most extreme and hard-line positions on most issues. But the text also reveals that several other countries in the negotiation are willing to compromise the public’s rights, in a quest for a new trade deal with the United States.” KEI also took a shot at the news media for what it called its “appalling acceptance of the secrecy.”

    KEI offered a detailed analysis of the draft provisions on various types of IP rights, finding that in most areas the draft goes well beyond existing rules such as those in the World Trade Organization Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS). This was particularly noted in the dispute settlement procedures, patents related to health, copyright exceptions, technical protection measures (even extending to the public domain), and damages (which it said are even “much worse” than those in ACTA).

    Public Citizen (US)

    Public Citizen issued a press release stating: “Secret documents published today by WikiLeaks and analyzed by Public Citizen reveal that the Obama administration is demanding terms that would limit Internet freedom and access to lifesaving medicines throughout the Asia-Pacific region and bind Americans to the same bad rules, belying the administration’s stated commitments to reduce health care costs and advance free expression online.”

    English: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) with nimbu...

    English: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) with nimbus, stencil in Leipzig Connewitz Deutsch: Julian Assange (Wikileaks) mit Heiligenschein, Stencil in Leipzig Connewitz (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The leak “shows the United States seeking to impose the most extreme demands of Big Pharma and Hollywood,” Public Citizen said, “despite the express and frequently universal opposition of U.S. trade partners.” It shows that “concerns raised by TPP negotiating partners and many civic groups worldwide regarding TPP undermining access to affordable medicines, the Internet and even textbooks have resulted in a deadlock over the TPP Intellectual Property Chapter, leading to an impasse in the TPP talks, the US group said.

    “The Obama administration’s proposals are the worst – the most damaging for health – we have seen in a U.S. trade agreement to date,” Peter Maybarduk, director of Public Citizen’s global access to medicines program, said in the statement. “The Obama administration has backtracked from even the modest health considerations adopted under the Bush administration.”

    “The Obama administration’s shameful bullying on behalf of the giant drug companies would lead to preventable suffering and death in Asia-Pacific countries,” he asserted. “And soon the administration is expected to propose additional TPP terms that would lock Americans into high prices for cancer drugs for years to come.”

    Derechos Digitales (Chile)

    The Chilean civil liberties group issued a press release (in Spanish) saying confirms rumours that the Chilean government is at risk of signing an agreement that would impact its development and have more costs than benefits, resulting in less access and higher prices. The agreement would weaken terms Chile negotiated in its bilateral trade agreement with the United States, it said.

    MSF

    “The leak of the secret text confirms that the U.S. government continues to steamroll its trading partners in the face of steadfast opposition over terms that will severely restrict access to affordable medicines for millions of people,” Judit Rius Sanjuan, US manager at the Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF, Doctors without Borders) Access Campaign, said in a statement. “The U.S. is refusing to back down from dangerous provisions that will impede timely access to affordable medicines.”

    But, Sanjuan said, “It’s encouraging to see that some governments, including Canada, Chile, New Zealand, Malaysia and Singapore, are pushing back against some aspects of the U.S. position with their own proposal that better protects access to medicines; what is troubling is that the text also shows that some countries are willing to give in to the U.S. government’s damaging demands. We urge countries to stand strong to ensure that the harmful terms are removed before this deal is finalised.”

    Michael Geist (Canada)

    Canadian law professor Michael Geist gave his initial reaction, saying that Canada appears to be pushing back against US demands, but that “the U.S. – often joined by Australia – is demanding that Canada rollback its recent copyright reform legislation with a long list of draconian proposals.”

    Australian Press

    report in the Australian New Age newspaper said the draft text shows proposals that would affect Australia’s laws on patents and pharmaceuticals, encouraging evergreening of patents, and with no protections for the nation’s tobacco plain-packaging provisions aimed at reducing tobacco use. Those provisions are the subject of legal disputes at the WTO and elsewhere.

    In the news report, IP attorney Matthew Rimmer said, “One could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations, and the copyright parts of the text support such a view. … Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this.”

    Published on 13 November 2013 @ 8:08 pm

    Print This Post Print This Post

    By , Intellectual Property Watch

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:43 on November 6, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Enemy of the state, , Human rights defender, Hydroelectricity, Sekaggya, , ,   

    Activists Opposing Development Projects Increasingly Branded as Anti-Government 


    United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

    United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    According to a  UN expert activists who oppose any new development scheme by large corporations are being branded anti-government. The fact these schemes involve massive amounts of money and will in so many cases create a scar on the landscape and in a number of cases, poison or damage people’s livelihoods. The fact that theses corporations can run rough shod over laws. environmental groups and even bribe government officials to get what they want, seems not to matter.

    Now  Human rights defenders who oppose large-scale development projects are increasingly being branded as ‘anti-government’ or ‘enemies of the State,’ a United Nations independent expert <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13912&LangID=E“>warned today.

    Activists who are trying to help communities affected by large-scale projects such as the construction of hydroelectric power stations, dams and roads are often “harassed, stigmatized and criminalized for doing their work,” the Special Rapporteur on human rights defenders, Margaret Sekaggya, said in her latest report to the General Assembly.

    They also face threats, including deaths threats, and physical attacks. “But rather than being against development, defenders play an important role in advancing it,” Ms. Sekaggya said.

    “It is essential that communities and those defending their rights are able to participate actively, freely and meaningfully in assessment and analysis, project design and planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of development projects.”

    Abdulhadi Al khawaja with Margaret Sekaggya

    Abdulhadi Al khawaja with Margaret Sekaggya (Photo credit: frontlinedefenders)

    Ms. Sekaggya called for a rights-based approach that includes the principles of equality and non-discrimination, participation, protection, transparency and accountability, including access to appropriate remedy.

    Inclusion and participation, as well as accessible information about large-scale development projects, can contribute significantly to defusing tensions, she added. In contrast, a lack of transparency could not only increase the vulnerability of defenders and the affected communities, but also seriously undermine the credibility and legitimacy of both State and private involvement in such projects.

    States have an obligation to provide protection to those claiming their legitimate right to participate in decision-making processes and voicing their opposition to large-scale development projects,” she said. “It is essential that those who wish to report human rights concerns and violations can safely do so.”

    Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:16 on November 5, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Anton Katz, Honduras, human rights violations, , Katz, , Mercenary, Montreux Document, , , , The United Nations Working Group, ,   

    UN Expert Cites Need for Regulating Private Security Firms 


    The United Nations Working Group on the use of mercenaries today urged Governments to recognize the need for a legally binding international agreement to regulate the use and activities of private military and security companies (PMSCs) to complement existing regulations.

    PMCS“Providing security is a fundamental human right and a fundamental responsibility of the State,” Anton Katz, who currently chairs the five-member group of independent experts, said in a <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13940&LangID=E“>news release.

    “But the ever-expanding activities of PMSCs continue to raise a number of challenges, and the outsourcing of security to these companies by States create risks for human rights, hence the need to regulate their activities.”

    Presenting the group’s report to the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which examines human rights issues, Mr. Katz stressed that existing national legislation is not sufficient to address the challenges posed by PMSCs.

    He cited inadequacies related registering and licensing, and the lack of effective and transparent mechanisms and remedies for human rights violations within existing legislation, adding that these limitations are worsened by the transnational nature of PMSCs and the difficulties in ensuring accountability for any violations that may occur.

    Montreux Document He noted that there are self-regulatory initiatives such as the Montreux Document and the International Code of Conduct which have been established by a number of States and corporate actors in the past years to try to address the challenges posed by PMSCs.

    “However, these initiatives are not legally binding and cannot be considered as complete solutions for the problems concerning PMSCs,” he stressed.

    On mercenaries, Mr. Katz said that recent events in several parts of the world demonstrate that mercenaries remain a threat not only to security but also to human rights and the right of people’s to self-determination. “We continue to call on States to cooperate in eliminating this phenomenon,” he stated.

    Over the past year, the group made two country visits, to Somalia and Honduras. It also launched a national legislation project to look into analysing good practices and possible shortcomings in States’ protection of human rights in transnational security-related activities.

    It has also embarked on a study on the UN’s use of PMSCs which will be the focus of its report to the General Assembly in 2014.

    Members of the Working Group are appointed by the Human Rights Council. Their positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:20 on October 31, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , Peacekeeping, peacekeeping operations, , , Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations, , , , Yukio Takasu   

    The Cost of Peace Keeping in this World when Brother Fights Brother 


    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color i...

    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color is #d69d36 from the image at http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/flag.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The United Nations owes $80 million to India, the most it has to pay any country for costs relating to peacekeeping operations, a top official said. Apart from India, among the largest troop contributing countries to UN peacekeeping missions, the other top countries which are owed outstanding payments for such operations are Ethiopia, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Rwanda and Nigeria.

    “Among those countries waiting for our payment, on top of the list is India. We owe India 80 million dollars” for contributing troops, formed police units and related costs, Under-Secretary-General for Management Yukio Takasu told reporters on Wednesday. India is followed by Ethiopia, to which the UN owes $54 million, Bangladesh ($50 million), Pakistan ($49 million), Rwanda ($37 million) and Nigeria ($35 million). On the other hand, the United States owes $795 million to the UN for the regular budget, and $651 million for peacekeeping operations assessment.

    It seems that keeping the peace in this world is becoming as expensive as the war chests, so many countries have filled up just lately, as conflicts in other parts of the world are building up!

    This reminds me so much of a statement made by Jesus to his followers, where he is said to say – look for wars in other countries and the rumour of such wars ,this will not be the time of my coming!

    He went onto to say that brother will fight brother, is this not so as Israel fights Palestine and Muslims born of the House of Islam fight among themselves, just to say l am right and you are wrong!

    If the West is so right then how come as one War is settled such as Egypt another started in Libya followed closely by Syrian conflict, the truth is these wars have gone on for many years, these are a war of words, that eventually lead to arms. Though the real truth is never easily seen as the political machinations and intrigue of political figures hiding in the dark ,making and receiving phone-calls from counterparts go on daily, working out how to balance the budget! Of course the odd War will help to fill the coffers!

    Meanwhile children die of poor sanitation, mothers are unable to feed their malnourished and orphaned offspring ,as their so-called leaders vie to become top-dog!

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1121

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1121 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The outcome of course is the UN Peace Keeping Forces of the world are sent into these War torn countries to sort  out the mess, created by man being right!

    So maybe l should have called this post, the “UN Owes India $80-Million or the Us owes the UN $795-Million to Provide Peace for being Wrong ” not Right! The truth about being so-called “Right” is that innocents suffer and families wake up every morning, hearing the sound of guns, be it peace keepers or other military factions!

    So being “Right or Wrong” really is not the question, when “Brother fights Brother”, it really is the beginning of the end as the only real mainstay in any of these countries for generations, has been family! Now this will no longer exist as each one battles out their in differences about who is “Right and who is Wrong”!

    When Jesus spoke these words about “Brother fighting Brother” little did he personally know what the real truth would be in practice, as he was just born to speak the “Word of God” that one day in the future, and now coming to pass, would have such a dramatic affect on people’s every day lives!

    My personal view is that nobody of any colour, creed, religion or country is either right or wrong ,as being right causes wars, and being wrong causes wars! We are all equal in the eyes of God, and it is time for us all to become equal in our own way of looking at these events! The question simply is to say to ourselves if these so-called leaders are so right ,why are their wars, why do people starve, why do people have pestilence and why so much death!

    If we cannot answer because by saying l am wrong and l believe in sharing all that l have and in helping people everyday of my life, then we are doing something wrong!  As only by this method of being humble in the sight of God can we ever be able to do anything “Right” and bring health ,happiness and harmony to people’s lives #peace 

    #Amen        

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  • #AceNewsGroup 20:47 on October 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , March, Matabeleland North, Matabeleland North Province, , , , Zimbabwe   

    Over 2 Million Zimbabweans will Need Food Assistance in the Near Future According to WFP 


    English: Logo of the UN World Food Programme i...

    English: Logo of the UN World Food Programme in SVG format (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Some 2.2 million Zimbabweans will need food assistance in the pre-harvest period from January to March next year, a United Nations agency said today, warning that food security in the southern African country continue to deteriorate.

    Harsh weather conditions, the high cost or lack of available fertilizers and seeds, and the prospect of high food prices due to poor harvest, have all contributed to high food insecurity levels, the World Food Programme (WFP) said in its latest assessment of the country.

    In a briefing to reporters in Geneva, WFP spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs said the food security situation is at it worst since 2009, with the national maize harvest being less than last year’s 1 million metric tons, and less than the country’s requirement of 2.1 million metric tons.

    Grain prices are currently 23 per cent higher than this time last year, and many people have exhausted their personal stocks and are relying on buying cereals from the market. Job opportunities are also scarce and cash flow is a major challenge.

    The Government of Zimbabwe has requested international support for food assistance to meet the growing needs. In response, WFP is launching a relief programme in the worst-affected areas this month and will gradually scale up assistance over coming months, Ms. Byrs said.

    This month, WFP and partners will begin food distributions and will expand its operations until the end of March when the next harvest comes. Three distributions will start in three districts of Midlands and Matabeleland North provinces, and will be scaled up to 19 districts in November, 38 in December, and 41 districts from January to March.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:30 on October 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Goma, , , , , United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,   

    UN: Security Council Echoes Condemnation and Pledges On-Going Support to Protect all Civilians of Dr Congo 


    The Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of...

    The Coat of arms of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Security Council today condemned “in the strongest terms” the attacks by M23 rebels against the United Nations Mission in North Kivu in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), resulting in the death of a Tanzanian peace keeper.

    In a statement to the press, the members of the Security Council expressed their condolences to the family of the peace keeper killed in the attack, as well as to the Government of Tanzania and to the UN mission, known by the French acronym, MONUSCO.

    Council members also called on the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo swiftly to investigate the incident and bring the perpetrators to justice.

    “They also expressed their condolences for the loss of civilian lives in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and in Rwanda following shells landing on its territory,” the statement says, stressing that the members of the Council reiterated their full support for MONUSCO and called on all parties to cooperate fully with the mission.

    The Council in its statement echoes a similar expression of condemnation by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon who yesterday pledged the Organization’s ongoing commitment to take “all necessary actions” to protect civilians in the country.

    According to UN chief’s statement, the attacks occurred as MONUSCO supported action being carried out by Congolese Government Forces (FARDC) to protect civilians on the Kiwanja-Rutshuru axis, 25 kilometres north of Goma, which the main city in the vast country’s eastern region.

    Further to the statement, Mr. Ban said the UN remains committed to taking all necessary actions in line with Security Council resolution 2098 (2013) to protect civilians in eastern DRC.

    By that resolution, adopted in late March, the Council approved the creation of its first-ever “offensive” combat force, intended to carry out targeted operations to “neutralize and disarm” the notorious M23, as well as other Congolese rebels and foreign armed groups in the east.

    In the past year, clashes have continued sporadically throughout the DRC’s eastern region, with rebels briefly occupying Goma, in November 2012. The fighting has displaced more than 100,000 people, exacerbating an ongoing humanitarian crisis in the region which includes 2.6 million internally displaced persons and 6.4 million in need of food and emergency aid.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:53 on October 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, , , , , , United Nations Parliamentary Assembly, , ,   

    UN:Expert on Democracy States there can be No Democracy without Freedom of Opinion 


    English: The United Nations Security Council C...

    English: The United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York, also known as the Norwegian Room Français: La Salle de réunion du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies à New York Nederlands: De Zaal van de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    There can be no democracy without freedom of opinion, a United Nations independent expert said today, highlighting the importance of access to information as he also presented his ideas on making the main bodies of the UN – the General Assembly and the Security Council – more democratic.

    “You should not be subjected to the pressures, the intimidation, whether by Government or by the private sector, which would force you into self-censorship,” Alfred M. de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, told the UN News Centre following a briefing to journalists in New York.

    “If you censor yourself, if you cannot articulate your needs, if you cannot articulate your priorities, then whatever you do, putting a little cross in a ballot box, etc, does not represent your view. It is an act of desperation,” he stressed.

    Earlier in the day, Mr. de Zayas spoke to the General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee), to which he presented 35 recommendations on international and national diplomacy, as well as studies to be carried out ranging from self-determination to issues related to indigenous people’s, war and peace and civil society.

    “One of the problems that we have in the human rights community is that special interests often forget the interests of other victims, and there’s competition among victims expressions that are unnecessary,” he said, adding also that some victims are viewed as being “privileged” while others are more “excluded.”

    Among those recommendations is the idea of establishing a world parliamentary assembly, or a UN parliamentary assembly, as a consultative body to the General Assembly, which would enhance the possibility of citizens participating in global decision-making and give greater voice to civil society.

    Mr. de Zayas also highlighted international democracy deficits prevalent in the UN Security Council, and advanced the idea of phasing out the veto power available to the 15-member body’s five permanent States – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

    “The UN system is not very democratic, everyone knows that the Security Council is not democratic,” said the independent expert.

    Speaking following a press conference heavily attended by representatives of indigenous groups, Mr. de Zayas said he wanted to show a “degree of solidarity” them.

    He urged a workshop to be held which would focus on implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples whom he called “the forgotten victims” and “the unsung heroes.”

    “You cannot turn the clock back, you cannot give the island of Manhattan back to the indigenous, but on the other hand, you can ensure that the indigenous can maintain their way of life,” Mr. de Zayas said.

    He also called for the media to take up the issue and inform the public about the Declaration.

    Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:36 on October 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Greiff, , , , Pablo de Greiff, , , , ,   

    UN:Justice Must be Integral to Future Sustainable Development Agenda 


    United Nations UN has stated that Justice must be integral to any future  SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT Agenda, as Justice, security and development cannot be promoted one at the expense of the other, either through reductionism or strict sequencing, a United Nations independent expert today urged following his briefing to the General Assembly.

    Pablo de Greiff, Special Rapporteur on the promotion of truth, justice, reparation and guarantees of non-recurrence spoke to journalists in New York after briefing the General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee) on his work.

    “An interest in justice and rights is part of popular aspirations that ought to be captured by ongoing development discussions,” Mr. de Greiff said, telling the international community and particularly those involved in creating a sustainable development agenda following the 2015 deadline for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), about the relevance of justice and rights.

    Referring to his report, the Special Rapporteur said that the MDGs and other development frameworks have failed to track either existing legal obligations or popular aspirations related to justice.

    He highlighted the importance of transitional justice measures as mitigating some of these developmental blockages, in particular if a comprehensive approach is pursued.

    Human rights violations, when left unaddressed can have an effect in creating a downward shift in people’s expectations,” he said, adding that people will shift their preferences downward rather than live in a permanent state of defeated expectations.

    The UN independent expert also said that massive human rights violations undermine social trust and civic participation by having a marginalizing effect not just on the victims but on  other members of society, undermining their trust in trust in each other and in the institutions of the State.

    Mr. de Greiff also raised the concerns associated with continuing to silo security, justice and development, keeping resources available for them different tracks.

    Any new development agenda must satisfy a sort of “Tunisia test”, the Special Rapporteur said, which also stress good governance and equitable access to justice systems.

    “Even from the point of view of security and development, failing to take justice seriously makes it more difficult for security forces to achieve their proper goal,” he said.

    United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

    United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 13:12 on October 28, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , Ade Adepitan, , , disability rights, Handicapped, International development, , , , , WaterAid   

    Putting Disability on the Global Agenda 


    Department for International Development Speech by Lynne Featherstone, Parliamentary under Secretary of State for International Development, on disability and development in Entebbe, Uganda.

    Introduction

    Distinguished Guests, Honourable Minister, panel members, Government of Uganda officials, NGO and civil society and development partners, ladies and gentlemen – thank you all so much for being here today.

    I’m absolutely delighted the UK and Uganda are co-hosting this important event – and it’s a real pleasure to be sharing this platform with the Honourable State Minister for Elderly and Disabled people.

    For far too long the world has been guilty of turning a blind eye to the challenges, discrimination and prejudice that people with disabilities can face every single day of their lives. They have been the people who have been too often left behind when it comes to development. And as a consequence are disproportionately some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world.

    At last, the international community is starting to wake up to the way we have actually neglected disability rights, and is, belatedly, recognising that we can’t tackle poverty without addressing the needs of people with disabilities.

    In the UK, I am the Minister responsible for disability within the Government’s Department for International Development, and quite frankly I have made it my mission to ensure that challenges faced by people with disabilities are addressed and are a key development priority.

    And I’ve come to Uganda because it is at the forefront of the disability movement in Africa and I particularly wanted to come here to get a picture of what works, and what the real challenges and the real opportunities are for making a difference in people’s lives.

    I wanted to get a better idea of what more the UK could be doing on disability – both in terms of our development policies and programmes and also in terms of influencing others on the global stage to do more.

    And today I want to set out some of my conclusions; the key challenges that I think we are facing and how we can start to overcome them, both through local action and global campaigning.

    Why disability?

    But first I want to answer the people who, I know, will question this focus on disability and make an argument that the world has a big enough challenge as it is, to provide basic services and opportunities for people. For them disability appears to be a luxurious add-on, something that we could perhaps turn our minds to when we have achieved everything else.

    I have to say to those people: We know that such thinking is completely short-sighted. Disability is a cause and a consequence of poverty.

    And nor are we talking about a small minority of people – WHO estimates that one billion people globally live with some sort of disability – that’s one in seven people.

    Everywhere they live people with disabilities are statistically more likely to be unemployed, illiterate, to have less formal education and less access to support networks. They are further isolated by discrimination, by ignorance and by prejudices.

    Does it have to be like this? No. Given the right opportunities to support and access, most people with disabilities are able to look after themselves and get on their lives just like anybody else.

    And I believe it is possible to tackle the stigma around disability by putting people with disabilities centre stage and giving them a voice. And we saw that in the UK last year when London hosted a hugely successful Paralympics Games. It was, I can tell you, one of the most amazing experiences of my life and most people in London’s.

    Suddenly people with disabilities were in the spotlight like never before and it really opened eyes to the challenges they face, and also the huge heights they are capable of reaching. Most importantly they were no longer a group on the outside on the margins or hidden away.

    Changing perceptions like this is vital. And I am particularly delighted that I have been joined on this visit by Ade Adepitan who many of you may know as a British Paralympian champion and broadcaster. He is incredibly famous, much more than myself. Ade is here to help to get more people talking and thinking about disability – both in Uganda and other parts of Africa as well as back at home in the UK.

    Uganda and disability

    Ade and I chose to come to Uganda because, as I said, you have played a key role and I pay tribute to the honourable Minister for the promotion of disability rights here and throughout Africa.

    Uganda was one of the first countries anywhere to ratify the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities. You have enshrined the rights of people with disabilities in your constitution, which also recognises sign language as a national language.

    People with disabilities are well-represented from parliamentary to village levels. And I know there is a strong disability movement in Uganda which has been fundamental in driving some of this change, particularly the National Union of Disabled Persons in Uganda.

    Despite this progress, Uganda still faces a number of challenges when it comes to giving people with disabilities a chance to earn a living and build their own lives.

    Over five million people in Uganda have a disability, which is 16% of the population. And poverty and disability in Uganda are impossible to disentangle. According to recent surveys, 72% of people with disabilities in the Northern region of Uganda are living in a state of chronic poverty.

    You can often trace the issues back to school where the majority of people with disabilities, especially girls and women, simply find there are too many obstacles in their way to completing their education – indeed even starting their education.

    Without the necessary skills they then struggle to get a job that would give them an income. And throughout their lives many of them will encounter prejudice, ignorance, hostility even sometimes from their communities, and families.

    Local support for disability

    And these problems aren’t exclusive to Uganda, or Africa – this is a global issue. For example there are still too many schools and hospitals in the UK which are not 100% accessible for people with disabilities and discrimination still exists in far too many workplaces.

    So what action do we need to take to turn this around?

    The first step is to acknowledge the day-to-day challenges faced by people with disabilities and recognise that a one-size-fits-all approach won’t work.

    I’ve seen some brilliant examples here in Uganda of how services can be tailored to fit the particular needs of people with disabilities.

    Take the work of Uganda Water Aid. This organisation, which is funded by UK Aid and works with local partners in Uganda, is exploring the barriers that people with disabilities face when it comes to water and sanitation, which quite frankly are the basic tenants of decent living.

    For example they spoke to people who have physical disabilities and have been denied access to wells because they are considered to be unclean and so struggle to access clean water.

    Water Aid is using these findings to help overcome local prejudices, adapt their water, sanitation and hygiene programmes and build more inclusive toilets and better designed water sources.

    I visited Wera Primary School where Water Aid have built a separate latrine for pupils with disabilities. It makes a big difference to pupils like ten-year-old I met who cannot walk by herself and was carried everyday by her father for two and a half kilometers, and was subject to inconveniences and even bullying when she had to use the general latrine. She is now happier at school and socialising better.

    And it is things like this can make a real difference to a child staying in school and not just giving up because it’s all too difficult. Of the 57 million children currently out of school in the world today, it’s telling that over a third have a disability. It’s not sufficient to just place these children in a school without considering their specific needs.

    That’s why last month I announced at the UN General Assembly that the Department for International Development will ensure that all of the school construction we directly support is designed to allow disability access.

    During my time here I have also visited the St Francis School for the Blind in Soroti, where their motto ‘disability is not inability’. That it palpably true. This is an incredible school and I’m pleased that St Francis was a direct beneficiary of International Inspiration, a legacy programme for the London 2012 Games that aims to widen access to PE and sports for all children.

    One of St Francis’ students won the most determined young leader at the recent UK School Games run by Sainsbury’s.

    They have been given computers by the Government of Uganda but they can’t use them because they don’t have talking technology. I have talked to the honourable Minister about what we can do.

    Lastly I have seen for myself the benefits of the new grant for vulnerable families in the Kaberamaido district, which is being piloted under the Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development and supported by UK Aid.

    This programme has allowed people like Margaret Alota, who was disabled by polio at the age of two, to help run a fuel vending business, harvest her crops and support four children through school. A tiny bit of money makes a the difference. I met a young man who used that support to buy a leg.

    Putting disability on the global agenda

    The people I met are all being given a chance to build a better life despite their disability – but how many others don’t get this opportunity and have their potential wasted as a result?

    DFID is determined to keep supporting disability rights through our programmes, and by supporting civil society organisations working on disability, many of whom are represented here today such as Sightsavers and ADD. We recently committed more funding to the Disability Rights fund – the only grant-making organisation to solely and directly support disabled people’s organisations in developing countries.

    But these are only the first steps and I know we need to do more. This is a global challenge and it needs a global effort to tackle it. This really has been the great neglect.

    Many of you will have heard of the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goals for tackling global poverty. Some of these goals have been realised over the last 13 years, but others haven’t and I believe success has been hindered because of the gap where improving the lives of people with disabilities should have been. disability was completely omitted when the MDGs were set up. You cannot address poverty if people with disability are excluded.

    The 2015 deadline for the MDGs is fast approaching and the international community is starting to shape a post-2015 development framework.

    This is a once-in-a-generation chance to finally put disability on the global agenda and on an equal footing with other challenges.

    Our UK Prime Minister was co-chair of the UN’s High Level Panel, which earlier this year presented the UN Secretary-General with a vision of what the development framework should look like after the MDGs expire.

    The Panel’s overarching message was that we could eradicate poverty for good but only by ‘leaving no one behind’, regardless of ethnicity, gender, geography, race, or disability. If agreed this is a really powerful commitment, which could have a transformational effect on disability rights across the world which have struggled so hard among other issues.

    To achieve this goal, the report calls for a data revolution, in other words a global effort to collect more quality data about where poverty exists and why. And this will be vital for helping us truly understand the links between disability and poverty and how we can overcome the biggest barriers.

    Over the next 18 months the world’s leaders will consider and negotiate the final post-2015 framework and the UK will be doing everything possible to push the UN to take up the core commitment to leave no one behind – I hope you will do the same.

    I know a lot of you here have already been involved in this process and it is important you remain engaged and really push to ensure that disability is properly included in the next set of global development goals.

    Conclusion

    I believe we have reached a watershed moment on disability – we have an opportunity to do something ground-breaking, but we cannot afford to let this chance go.

    This is my second visit to Uganda as a UK Minister. The last time I was here was as the Home Office Minister, I saw some of the work that Uganda is doing to address sexual and gender based violence.

    And, as I stand here, I really feel a great sense of deja-vu because we are having some of the same discussions now about including disability that we began having twenty or thirty years ago about gender.

    Quite frankly we’re not there on gender yet.

    Clearly we’ve still got a long way to go on that front, but I am proud of how far we’ve come, and I want to see disability moving along the same lines.

    So let’s keep the momentum building and keep working to fight discrimination. We all have a role to play – families, communities and leaders – in ensuring that no one is left behind and everyone has a chance to reach their potential.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 11:53 on October 28, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Albert Einstein, Angelina Jolie, , Pet Shop Boys, , , , War Child   

    William Hague spoke at the War Child 20th Anniversary Policy Forum in London 


    Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

    Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version made by user Kashmiri. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    It is a great pleasure to be here to congratulate War Child on its 20th Anniversary and take part in your discussion.

    For two decades you have helped to protect and educate over 800,000 vulnerable children in some of the world’s most brutal conflicts; and you have ensured that their suffering is not forgotten by the world.

    The plight of children in war is particularly heart-rending: because they are entirely innocent, extremely vulnerable and disproportionately affected by conflict, and because no-one can restore to them the childhoods stolen by war.

    In Syria today a million child refugees have lost their homes, have been traumatised, have had their education violently disrupted and are facing yet another cold and hungry winter. Their situation is one reason why the United Kingdom is the second largest humanitarian donor to the Syrian conflict and why we are pressing so hard to get unfettered access for aid to the besieged areas of the country where some people are literally starving.

    It is shocking that almost half of the world’s forcibly displaced people are children, who will probably spend their entire childhood in that condition. They must always be at the forefront of our efforts to end conflict, and the UK has a strong record. But we can always do more and do better, and organisations like War Child often point the way to doing so.

    Conflict prevention is one of the top priorities of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office I lead, from the Horn of Africa to the Philippines. We have hosted two global peace-building conferences on Somalia in the last two years for example, and today Somalia has the best chance in twenty years of turning a corner and giving its children a better future.

    The sad lesson of history is that there will be other conflicts over the next twenty years, despite our best efforts.

    But although we may not be able to prevent them all, we can influence the environment in which conflicts take place, so that their worst consequences are mitigated and the gravest crimes are prevented.

    And one of my personal priorities is to try to ensure that rape and sexual violence can no longer be a feature of conflict in the 21st century.

    Millions of women, children and men have been raped in conflicts of our lifetimes, in a climate of almost complete impunity, with only a handful of successful prosecutions ever taking place.

    This is sexual violence used to advance military and political objectives – to terrorise innocent people, to cause displacement, to change the ethnic composition of communities, or as a means of torture – and it is one of the greatest and most neglected injustices in history.

    It is usually directed at the most vulnerable people in society, and sadly that often means children.

    In the DRC in April I met a mother whose five-year-old daughter had been raped outside a police station – just one of countless cases where children have been targeted in the most sickening and depraved manner possible, precisely in order to inflict the maximum psychological torture on families and whole communities.

    It is only one aspect of the suffering caused by conflict, but its long-term impact on children is impossible to understate. It can cause severe physical injury to growing bodies; infection from life-threatening diseases; psychological trauma that lasts a lifetime; it result in girls often being unable to bear children; causes others to fall pregnant and drop out of school; and leads to many being ostracised or forced to marry their attacker.

    Because of taboo and social stigma, we have not talked about it enough as governments and nor have we shouldered our responsibilities as we should.

    I am trying to change this, by putting sexual violence in conflict at the top table of international diplomacy in a way that it never has been before.

    For just as we have come together as an international community to abolish the use of landmines, to curb the trade in conflict diamonds, to prohibit the use of cluster munitions and to adopt an International Arms Trade Treaty, so I believe we can and must end the use of rape as a weapon of war in our generation.

    In May last year I launched my Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative, with the Special Representative for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Angelina Jolie.

    At the G8 in London in April this year we secured a historic declaration from the G8 group of leading economies, promising practical action.

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1356

    United Nations Security Council Resolution 1356 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    In June, we secured a landmark UN Security Council Resolution, which received unprecedented support from UN member states.

    And last month, to my immense pride, 134 countries from Afghanistan to Vietnam endorsed a historic Declaration at the UN General Assembly promising to end rape as a weapon of war.

    In this Declaration, we recognised rape and serious sexual violence in conflict as grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions and of their first Protocol, so that suspects can be apprehended wherever they are in the world.

    We pledged not to allow amnesties for sexual violence in peace agreements, so that these crimes can no longer be swept under the carpet.

    We promised to adopt a new International Protocol in 2014, to help ensure that evidence is collected that can stand up in court.

    And we pledged to help victims to gain access justice and long-term support, and to protect civil society organisations, including women’s groups and human rights defenders.

    Children are at the centre of our efforts, with both the G8 and UNGA Declarations recognising that appropriate health, psycho-social, legal and economic support must be provided to children.

    Our campaign is also backed with practical action. We have created a UK team of Experts which has been deployed five times this year alone to the Syrian border, the DRC and Mali, where they have trained health professionals, strengthened the capacity of the armed forces, and helped raise local investigation standards; in each case focussing on the specific needs of that country and complementing the work of the UN and other agencies on the ground. Further deployments to the Syrian borders, to Kosovo and to Bosnia-Herzegovina will take place in the coming months.

    In little over a year we have laid the basis at least for eroding impunity worldwide, for eradicating safe havens, providing greater protection for civilians, improving the help given to victims and working to increase the number of prosecutions including through setting an example ourselves of what can be done.

    The task now is to turn this political commitments and diplomatic progress into lasting practical action – and we need your help to do it.

    Next June I will host a conference in London that will bring together the 134 states that have endorsed the Declaration, along with representatives from civil society, judiciaries and militaries from around the world. It will be the biggest summit ever held on this issue and it will be used to launch our new International Protocol and to seek agreement to practical steps that we hope will end the impunity for war zone rape once and for all. Our goal must be to change the entire global attitude to these crimes – and I believe we can.

    I hope you and your members can help us expand further the group of countries that have pledged their support for this campaign – we have 2/3 of the United Nations so far, but we want them all to come on board.

    And I hope you will work with us to look at how we can improve further the support and care that is given to survivors, particularly children.

    English: Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel ...

    English: Albert Einstein, official 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics photograph. Français : Albert Einstein, photographie officielle du Prix Nobel de Physique 1921. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Albert Einstein once said that “the world is a dangerous place, not because of those who do evil, but because of those who look on and do nothing.”

    Whatever the conflicts to come – and our goal must always be to prevent them all – we have in it on power to prevent millions of lives being destroyed by sexual violence. That is a goal worth fighting for, and I hope we can join forces to achieve it.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 15:39 on October 27, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Cape of Good Hope, , James Lancaster, , , Robben Island, , Thomas Smythe   

    The Robben Island Declaration Timeline of History 


    In support of Occupied Palestine l thought l would provide a post with a link below ,out-lining their plight and request for freedom of 
    Palestinian people have struggled for decades for justice and the realisation of their inalienable rights. These rights have been repeatedly reaffirmed by countless United Nations resolutions. Universal values, international legality and human rights cannot stop at borders, nor admit double standards, and must be applied in Palestine. This is the way forward to a just and lasting peace in the region, for the benefit of all its people’s. 
    Occupied PalestinePlease read more and add your support by re-blogging their great article at: http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2013/10/27/the-robben-island-declaration-for-the-freedom-of-marwan-barghouthi-and-all-palestinian-prisoners-by-mrn1sa/
    Timeline of Events:  
    1421
    Chinese fleet rounds the Cape of Good Hope and most likely sets food on the Island. In 1421, Chinese Emperor Zhu Di dispatched a huge armada of ships to sail around the world. The armada split into four fleets under the overall command of Admiral Zheng He. In August of 1421, the fleet rounded the Cape of Good Hope and relatively accurately mapped the continent for the first time. While we have no evidence of the crews setting foot on either Robben Island or the mainland, it is presumed that they would have done so.
    1488
    Portuguese discover the Island. Some 67 years later the Portuguese were the first Europeans to round the Cape. The skipper of the 2nd Ship of the Portuguese explorer Bartholomew Dias was probably the first European to set foot on Robben Island to remove meat and eggs.
    1496
    Portuguese set up a base in cave which they name ‘Portugal Cave’. In 1496, the Portuguese landed again on Robben Island and set up base in a cave which they called Portugal Cave. The present day harbour was built next to the cave which was to become the whaler Murray’s abode at Murray’s Bay. The cave no longer exists.
    1501
    Antonio de Saldanha and his men kill animals on the Island. Antonio de Saldanha retreated to Robben Island after a skirmish with the Khoe on the mainland, where he was wounded. On Robben Island, de Saldanha and his men set about killing as many penguins, seals and tortoises as they could. It is because of the many seals that were on the Island that the Dutch were later to name the island Robben, the Dutch word for seal.
    1591
    Sheep are introduced to the Island. Sir James Lancaster & Admiral Raymond were the first to introduce sheep to Robben Island, so that they would multiply and provide for future visitors. This was an important recognition of the strategic importance of the island to maritime traffic and a form of international cooperation. This practice of leaving livestock was continued in 1608 by the Dutch Admiral Cornelius Maaklof.
    1611
    Island is used as a mail station. Through records it is clear that by the time John Saris was retrieving mail from a rock on Robben Island, the practice of using the island as a mail-station was a common maritime practice. Robben Island was a post office of sorts, and played an important role in international communications.
    1614
    Chief Xhore chases British convicts to Robben Island. After being lured aboard the British ship the Hector in 1613, Chief Xhore and a companion were kidnapped and taken to England. Xhore’s companion later died en route. Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company had designs for colonising the Cape of Good Hope, by sending out 100 convicts annually. Xhore was to be trained as an interpreter and facilitator of this plan, but Xhore hated his time in England and constantly demanded to be returned home. A year later, he was returned to Table Bay.
    Xhore had learnt much about the British, and this knowledge ultimately lead to his effective resistance against Sir Thomas Smythe, who had tried to settle the Cape with convicts. Xhore chased the settlers off to Robben Island, but later in 1625, Xhore was killed by the Dutch. Xhore’s sons participated in the first Khoe-Dutch war in 1658, and among other marks made on history, Xhore will be remembered as the first black South African to go to England.
    Convicted prisoners, sent to the Cape by Sir Thomas Smythe, escape to Robben Island.
    Under the patronage of King James I of England, Walter Peyton was sent to the Cape with nineteen convicted prisoners from Newgate Prison by Sir Thomas Smythe of the British East India Company. The aim of this was to establish a Penal Colony and supply station.
    An ex-officer and convicted highwayman by the name of Crosse was left behind as a leader of 10 convicts set ashore with guns, ammunition and supplies. The convicts soon got into conflict with the Khoe, lead by Chief Xhore. Having received more supplies and a longboat from the passing ship of Edward Dodsworth, Crosse fled from the mainland to Robben Island with 8 men and one boy.
    1616
    Nine months after having been left at the Cape, the British ship ‘New Years Gift’ collected 3 survivors off Robben Island. Ironically it was Chief Xhore who told the British visitors about the men then stranded on Robben Island. Crosse saw the ships at anchor and was washed out to sea and drowned during trying to reach the ships with a raft made from the wrecked long-boat.
    1617
    Three more convicts are placed on Robben Island. Under orders, English Captain Benjamin Joseph once more deposited 3 convicts on Robben Island in 1617, but a few days later a fifth ship in the fleet, picked them up again for unknown reasons.
    1620
    Robben Island, along with Table Bay, is claimed by the British. Table Bay and Robben Island were formally claimed by the British as crown possessions of King James I of England. Thereafter, the English practiced a very casual approach to the possession, and the Cape remained a hospitable sojourn for all international maritime traffic.
    1632
    Chief Autshumato is trained and taken to Robben Island with other Peninsula Khoe.
    In a similar move to the 1613 events surrounding Chief Xhore, the English took Chief Autshumato to Bantam in Java for a year (probably 1631) where he was taught the essentials of the English language. In 1632, in an act of assisted migration, Autshumato and 20 other Peninsula Khoe were then taken to Robben Island by the English to act their as postal and maritime monitoring agents.
    In the same year, Autshumato convinced the Dutch to bring over 30 more Peninsula Khoe to Robben Island. Thus it came to be that Autshumato acted as an agent for both the Dutch and the English. Autshumato was able to communicate in English, Dutch, French and Portuguese, and became an astute diplomat, yet official history portrays him as an ignorant beachcomber.
    Autshumato is also recorded as saying to visiting French ship in 1632 that he was “Au service de messejieurs Holandois et de messejieurs les Anglois.” [In the service of the Dutch men and English men]
    1636
    Ringleader of a mutiny attempt banished to Robben Island
    The former Governor of Batavia, Hendrik Bouwer, arrived in Table Bay in 1636 and ruled on a mutiny attempt which happened on one of the ships in the Dutch fleet. The ringleader was keelhauled, banished and abandoned on Robben Island.
    1638
    Khoe leave Robben Island. By 1638, due to the depletion of food (penguins, seals, cormorants and eggs) on the island, the Khoe moved back to the mainland.
    1639
    Khoe re-introduced to Island
    The Europeans had grown use to the safe haven and services offered on Robben Island, so in 1639 Johan Albrecht von Mandelslo deposited fifteen Goringhaicona Khoe on Robben Island, 4 men, 8 women and 3 children, to continue to offer a service.
    1652
    Jan van Riebeeck and Captain Sijmon Turver land on Robben Island
    With a permanent Dutch settlement established on the mainland, van Riebeeck attempted to land on Robben Island in July 1652 and almost got killed in the rough seas and south-easterly squall. On 14 September, he successfully landed on the island with Captain Sijmon Turver, exactly where today’s harbour stands. Soon after this, regular parties were sent out to collect penguins, eggs and seals.
    1654
    Robben Island used as a food station. At this time, The Cape mainland settlement was still insecure and inhospitable, and Robben Island was used as an emergency ‘pantry’ for the Cape Town VOC garrison. The garrison at this stage was largely comprised of Javanese Mardijkers. A vegetable garden was established and flocks of sheep introduced.
    An overseer of the island was appointed by van Riebeeck, Corporal Robbeljaert who was put in charge of a few shepherds who were also sent to the Island. Rabbits and dassies were also introduced, and in June 1655 van Riebeeck also organised pig breeding on Robben Island. Several more men were then sent to the island to engage in caring for the animals and gardens.
    1657
    Lighthouse erected and the first prisoners introduced
    A small Platform was erected on the highest point on Robben Island, upon which a fire was kept burning at night, when ships of the DEIC could be seen off the port. This was also the first year that an official group of prisoners was sent to the island, even although Robben Island had not yet been established as a convict workstation.
    1660
    The first recorded ship wreck is that of the Schapejacht in August 1660.
    1662
    Robben Island becomes a formal prison
    Jan van Riebeeck concluded his time as Commander at the Cape in 1662. He was succeeded by Zacharias Wagenaar, who was attributed as the man who promoted Robben Island as a formal organised prison where prisoners could be put to hard labour quarrying for blue stone and lime.
    1673
    Convicts escape the prison on Robben Island
    Five Khoe convicts achieved what was thought to be impossible. They managed to steal a rudderless boat and successfully made it back to the mainland.
    1675
    Two slaves sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island
    Two slaves were sentenced for stealing food (vegetables) and had their ears cut off. They were also sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island where they were kept in chains.
    1682
    Exiles and other captives kept in slavery
    An Englishman scholar, David Tappen, captured by the Dutch and forced to serve on the Dutch ships, spent time on Robben Island and wrote the following:
    “On Robben Island are set the rebellious rulers brought from the East Indies, where they must end their lives in very bad conditions, since many of them who are now at the Cape must now work like slaves for their living, and often get more kicks than ha’pence for their hard tasks such as carrying wood and stones, burning lime etc. To this Robben Island come not only the rebellious East India rulers and other black folk, but also rebellious Dutch who are kept in slavery there for some years.”
    1686
    Slaves prisoners on Robben Island. Prisoner lists of 1686 show numerous slave names as prisoners on Robben Island, names such as Jacob van Macassar and Arrie van Bengal. Many Chinese slave/convicts were also sent to Robben Island.
    1690
    Successful escape from Robben Island by swimming to the mainland. In 1690, a convict by the name of Jan Rykman successfully escaped Robben Island by swimming to the mainland.
    1693
    Falsely accused sent to Robben Island. Dorha, a successful Chainouqua trader, (loyal to the Dutch) and his brother-in-law (of the Hessequa) are banished to Robben Island by Simon van der Stel and the Council of Policy, on trumped-up charges (latter repealed by the DEIC) to rob Dorha of his amassed cattle and curtail his successful trading system.
    Dorha, as a successful trader in the inland areas, was a threat to the corrupt company officials who were dominating the trading processes. Dorha was a victim of a volte-face plot, which saw the company officials ally themselves to his enemy Koopman, leader of the Soeswa. In 1695, Dorha was exonerated and released from banishment on Robben Island but never regained his former prestige and was murdered by Koopman in 1701.
    1694
    Shipwreck on Robben Island
    The yacht Dageraad from Goude Bay ran ashore on the Western side of the island. Sixteen of the crew were drowned.
    1716
    Sheikh Noorul Mubeen was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago and banished to Robben Island, but escaped by unknown means. Legend has it that he swam to the mainland where he was found by slave fishermen and hidden on the mountainside. A Karamat shrine in Oudekraal marks his burial-place.
    1743
    The Prince of Madura was banished to Robben Island with 7 of his followers, after being captured by the Dutch in the Straits of Madura. He died on Robben Island in 1754 and his body was returned to Batavia after a petition by his son.
    1744
    Tuan Matarah Sayed Abduraghman Motura (Matirim) was exiled from the Indonesian Archipelago (probably Sumatra) and banished to Robben Island where he died. A Karamat shrine on Robben Island marks his burial place and is visited by pilgrims.
    1780
    A Prince of Tadore in the Tiranate Islands, Tuan Guru, who traced his ancestry to the Sultanate of Morocco, together with Callie Abdul Rauf, Noro Imam and Barodien were said to have conspired with the English against the Dutch.
    They were captured by the Dutch and brought to the Cape as state prisoners and incarcerated on Robben Island. Tuan Guru was later released to the mainland in 1792, and Barodien and Rauf died on Robben Island. Taun Guru died in 1807 and a Karamat Shrine marks the place of his burial on Signal Hill.
    1786
    Tuan Nuruman arrived in Cape Town as a slave and was housed in the Slave Lodge. In 1786, he was found guilty of assisting a group of fellow slaves in an escape bid and sent to Robben Island. Years later, when released from the Island he settled as a freed slave and officiated as an Imam. He died in 1810 and a Karamat Shrine marks his grave on Signal Hill.
    1806
    Murray installed himself as a Whaler on the island, next to the present-day harbour, and settled in Portugal Cave with his wife and children. Since then the Bay was called Murray’s Bay.
    1846
    The first lepers were moved (from Hemel en Aarde, near Hermanus) to Robben Island and housed in existing buildings.
    1858
    Cemetery below Minto’s Hill is established, and acts as a burial ground for staff of the island during the Leprosy Settlement and Convict Station until 1923.
    1864
    Robben Island Lighthouse was built on Minto Hill. In 1938, a self-contained generating plant was installed to produce electric lighting of 464 000 candle-power. A fog-horn was installed in 1925.
    1873
    Langalibalele, Chief of the AmaHlubi, and his people worked in Kimberley and in the process acquired arms. Fearing an uprising, the Hlubi were ordered to surrender their arms by the British. They refused and fled towards Basutholand for refuge but were waylaid by troops at the top of the Drakensberg Pass. Langalibalele was brought back in chains and tried for treason and rebellion. He was sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. The Cape Town township Langa is named after him.
    1880
    A small restaurant and refreshment station is opened. The Island population was then 1070 of whom 800 were male.
    1882
    A gardening campaign was started by Dr. Impey and Lady Loch, and was promoted by the famous brewer Mr. Ohlsson who paid for a plantation to be laid out on the western shore at his expense. Much of this was destroyed in the Second World War for security reasons.
    Over 70 000 trees were planted at this time including thorn trees, tamarisks, firs, pines, wattles, manatoka, cypresses, acasia, salinga and belhambra. The gardening campaign was at its strongest from 1882-1912.
    During this time, Franz Jacobs lead a protest and wrote to petition the Queen to improve the terrible Leper conditions on Robben Island.
    1886
    Chaplain and Dr. Ross oppose female lepers being brought to the Island because of intercourse between male and female lepers.
    The postmaster brings out the first Robben Island Newspaper, the Robben Island Times. It cost two pounds a year to produce.
    1887
    Female leper is block built to the north of Murray Harbour.
    1890
    New buildings are built for male lepers, in the area that stretches from village to the leper cemetery south of Murray Bay.
    1892
    Tramway line is built. A 18inch gauge tramway line was laid from the boathouse to the general stores and ran to all of the key off-loading points of the island. Trolleys were drawn by mules.
    1893
    A Library is opened with 1548 volumes. A magistrate’s court was also started and the librarian doubled as resident magistrate, Mr L Powys-Jones. The Island school ceased to be a mission school and became a government school.
    1894
    Guest house is built for the resident chaplain of the Dutch Reformed Church
    The post of chaplain became necessary with the increase in leprosy patients. 
    1895
    Residence built for the Commissioner of the Island. The Commissioner was brought in as an administrator when the surgeon-superintendent of the hospital had difficulties subduing violence and dissatisfaction among leprosy patients about their forced residence on the Island. The building would later become a mess hall for officers in WW2.
    The Church of the Good Shepherd is consecrated in 1895. This was a Leper Church for men designed by Sir Herbert Baker. A carved figure of the Good Shepherd was brought from Oberammergau (famous for religious plays). A Leper church for women was called the Church of Saint Mary the Virgin. A Catholic Chapel and a Dutch Reformed church was also established.
    1896
    Faure Jetty completed. This jetty acted as a replacement jetty as the one below an old Convict station was destroyed by storms.153 trips were made in 1896 by the steam ferries Tiger, Magnet and Pieter Faure.
    1910
    Leper Children and Anglican Nuns move to the Island. The Anglican sisterhood took over the children’s leper home, catering for 26 children, into their care. They were recalled to England in 1926 and the children returned to the compounds.
    1913
    After years of argument, the government agreed to remove the mental patients from the island so that they may be integrated into more humane institutions of care on the mainland.
    1930
    Lepers removed from Robben Island
    1931
    All leper buildings, with the exception of the Church of the Good Shepherd, are burned and demolished.
    1939
    Island acts as Military base. The Department of Defence established fortress Robben Island to guard Table Bay. Murray Harbour, an airstrip and gun batteries were built. A maze of tunnels and bunkers were carved into the island. It was a military fortress in every aspect and home to thousands of servicemen and women.
    The vast majority had no idea of Robben Island’s painful past and little consciousness of the pain that would be coming, yet these men and women had been mobilised to fight fascism and Nazism in Europe.
    1950′s
    Robben Island is used as a naval base. Robben Island was taken over by the SA Navy as SAS Robben Island with a population of 1200 – 1500.
    1959
    Declaration of Robben Island as an Apartheid era Prison. The National Party Minister of Justice declared that the island would once more serve as a prison. As far as possible, all military installations were to be dismantled and relocated to the mainland. Access to the island was to be restricted and suitable prison structures constructed.
    1961 – 1991
    Maximum security prison for political prisoners.
    1961 – 1996
    Medium security prison for criminal prisoners. The first political prisoners began to arrive in 1961. These early prisoners had to participate in the completion of Robben Island’s maximum security prison structures. Along with ANC and PAC prisoners, there were members of many other organisations including the SA Congress of Trades Unions, the SA Communist Party, South West African Peoples Organisation, National Liberation Front, the Non-European Unity movement, the Liberal Party, AZAPO, the APDU, BCM, UDF and others.
    After the Rivonia trial in 1964, Nelson Mandela, Walter Sisulu, Govan Mbeki and other senior ANC leaders were sentenced to life imprisonment on Robben Island. Over the next three decades, thousands of political cadres of all persuasions and all ranks were brought by ferry to be imprisoned on the island. PAC leader, Robert Sobukwe, was initially sentenced to three years imprisonment; because the government were not prepared to release him, they passed a special law in parliament which allowed them to keep Sobukwe in prison without charges, indefinitely. It was called the Sobukwe clause.
    After the unbanning of political organisations and the release of Nelson Mandela by FW de Klerk in 1990, a slow process of releasing all political prisoners unfolded.
    1962
    January, Nelson Mandela leaves South Africa for military training.
    March, Mandela receives training from the Algerian National Liberation Front at bases of the latter across the border in Morocco.
    1991
    All political prisoners had been released from Robben Island.
    1996
    The last of the Common Law Prisoners leave the island
    1997
    1 January, The Robben Island Museum was officially opened.
    1999
    Robben Island became a World Heritage site. The museum and heritage site is visited by thousands of tourists each year.

    References

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 14:27 on October 26, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Christof Heyns, Emmerson, , , , , , ,   

    UN:Human Rights Experts Call for Transparency in the Use of Armed Drones, Citing Risks of Illegal Use 


    United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

    United Nations Human Rights Council logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Expressing concern about the potential for illegal use of armed unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, two United Nations human rights experts today called on States to be transparent in their use, to investigate allegations of unlawful killings and to respect the full range of applicable international law.

    “Drones are not inherently illegal weapons,” Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur Special Rapporteur on extra judicial, summary or arbitrary executions, acknowledged at a panel that discussed his new report as well as that of Ben Emmerson, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms while countering terrorism.

    “But we need to focus on their use,”  he stressed, pointing out that more and more States were likely to use the remote-controlled airborne weapons, which can act with lethal force almost simultaneously with detection of targets. “A world where multiple States use such weapons in secrecy is a less secure world.”

    He urged a concerted effort to maintain protections of the full range of international law in the face of drone use, including human rights and humanitarian standards, the applications of which have become problematic as countries functionally widened the definition of battle zones and appropriate targets in the fight against terrorism and insurgencies.

    Mr. Heyns said in addition, that the right to life must be protected as the supreme right, along with the right not to be deprived of life without strong legal rationales.

    “Both States using drones and States on whose territory drones are used have their own obligations to respect international standards and prevent violations,” he said in his report,

    The report emphasised that the legal framework for maintaining international peace as well as preserving the right to life makes up “a coherent and well-established system.”

    Both he and Mr. Emmerson, agreed that crucial in maintaining such human rights protections was transparency on the part of countries that use drones. “I urge States to declassify, to the maximum extent possible, information relevant to their lethal extra-territorial counter-terrorism operations and to release its own data on the level of civilian casualties inflicted through the use of drones,” Mr. Emmerson said.

    Mr. Emmerson said his investigation into legal aspects of drone strikes came in the wake of a joint statement by 16 States to consider the issue, following allegations of disproportionate civilian casualties and other deep concerns.

    He showed a reconstruction of a drone strike that was alleged to have killed and wounded dozens of civilians when it hit a Jirga, or council of tribal elders in North Waziristan, Pakistan.

    He said it was among a number of reconstructions that had examined particular strikes and which showed that it was possible to provide a degree of accuracy in resolving competing claims. “Greater transparency is quite possible,” he said, citing security experts who denied that such transparency cancelled the drone’s tactical advantages.

    He maintained that in any case where civilians are alleged to have been killed by a drone, the country responsible for the strike must provide a detailed description of the incident as part of its duty to investigate.

    United Nations Special Rapporteurs are independent, unpaid experts in their fields who report to the UN Human Rights Council.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 21:23 on October 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    SECURITY COUNCIL’S LEADERSHIP ROLE VITAL TO END ‘APPALLING SUFFERING’ IN #SYRIA 


    United Nations

    UN OFFICIAL POST   
    After its call on all parties in Syria for humanitarian access to relieve the plight of civilians trapped by heavy fighting, the Security Council must show leadership to ensure cooperation for delivery of food and medicines, and protection measures, the United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator urged today.

    “I am extremely disappointed that we have not been able to make further progress on the ground,” said Valeria Amos as she briefed the Council this morning on the humanitarian situation in Syria.

    “Three weeks have passed since the adoption of the Council’s Presidential Statement [on the issue]; with little change to report. Each day that passes without the parties upholding their most basic obligations results in more lost lives, more displaced people and more people denies access to the most basic services,” added Ms. Amos, who is also the Under-Secretary-general for Humanitarian Affairs.

    On 2 October, the Council, in a Presidential Statement, urged the Syrian Government to immediately allow cross border aid deliveries, and also called on all parties to the conflict to agree on humanitarian pauses in the fighting, with special attention to key delivery routes.

    The statement also deplored the escalating violence in a conflict that has already killed more than 100, 000 people and driven some 6.5 million other form their homes since opposition protesters first sought the ouster of the Government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in March 2011.

    “Words, despite their ability to shock, cannot really paint a picture of the grime and gruesome reality of Syria today,” Ms. Amos said in today’s briefing. “I call upon all members of the Council to exert influence and take necessary action to stop this brutality and violence. This Council’s leadership role is vital.”

    She said humanitarian pauses are needed in all locations “where communities are being held hostage by one party of the other to the conflict” to deliver food, medicine and shelter. “We need those who control the check-points, on both sides of the conflict to ensure the safe and unhindered passage of humanitarian convoys,” she added.

    English: Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos at the 20...

    English: Valerie Amos, Baroness Amos at the 2007 World Economic Forum on Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Ms. Amos also said that people must be allowed to move to safer areas without fear of attack and that he Syrian Government must immediately lift all bureaucratic impediments to humanitarian operation, including visa delays.

    The suffering will only get worse as the fighting intensifies and winter sets in, she said, warning: “this is a race against time.”

    Speaking to reporters after her briefing, Ms. Amos reiterated her disappointment at the lack of progress in efforts to alleviate the suffering in Syria and said: “What we are seeing is a deepening of the crisis, more and more people affected and in particular I expressed my concern about the extremely brutal and violent nature of this conflict.”

    Ms. Amos said she asked the Council to consider a number of measures which would help implement the Presidential Statement and had expressed the desire to discuss the issues in further detail.

    She said Council members had listened to her proposals “very carefully” and had asked questions of their own, including on the attitude of both the Government and the opposition to the aims of the Statement; on the security situation and what might be hampering aid delivery; and on specific issues such as the situations of women and children.

    “The situation on the ground has not fundamentally changed [since the adoption of the Presidential Statement]. What I need is the political support of the Security Council members and other Members of the United Nations to really make a difference,” she said.

    On the political front, UN Spokesperson Martin Nesirky said the Joint Special Representative for Syria of the UN and the League of Arab States, Lakhdar Brahimi, is in Qatar today, where he met the Emir to discuss the crisis and preparations for an international conference on Syria, to be held in Geneva.

    He said that yesterday, Mr. Brahimi was in Turkey where he met with General Salim Idriss of the Free Syrian Army and 10 of his military commanders, and they also discussed the holding of a conference on Syria. “The Joint Special Representative reiterated his view that there is no military solution to the Syrian crisis and that all efforts should be exerted to stop the conflict and end the suffering of the Syrian people,” Mr. Nesirky said.

    He said that before travelling to Doha, Mr. Brahimi met today in Ankara with Ahmet Davotuglu, Turkey’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss preparations for the Geneva conference. Mr. Brahimi heads to Tehran tomorrow.

    Related articles

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 12:37 on October 23, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Chen Yongzhou, , , Guangzhou, , Yongzhou, Zoomlion   

    ‘Please Release Him’ Plea for Detained Journalist 


    Editors Comment:  This story below is the extract that has been translated from Chinese {Simplified Han} that has been copied and pasted as Chen wrote! No  changes have been made and the link and my thanks for his provision of such is detailed at the bottom of this extract! I make no apologies for the grammar – as it was just translated as he wrote!  

    It is a plea by a Chinese reporter to release this journalist from detention: world.time.com  commented as follows:

    English: New building of the city administrati...

    English: New building of the city administration of Changsha, Hunan (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    New Express has a message for China’s censors: We may be small, but we have backbone.  On Wednesday the Guangzhou-based newspaper published a front-page call for the release of its reporter Chen Yongzhou. Chen was detained by police in Hunan province while investigating a state-linked firm. The three-character headline, ‘Please Release Him’ was printed in a large, bold font above the fold.

    Extract: Completely without any changes as follows:    

    Our readers, our reporter Chen Yongzhou Zoomlion reported financial problems, and then he was captured provinces Changsha police on charges of alleged damage to business reputation.In this regard, we want to cry -   Please release   my newspaper, though small, poor bones, there are so two of the   newspaper commentator ■   If you are a reporter, wrote some criticism of a company report. One day, the police caught your uncle.   Please do not excited.People are justified – “alleged damage to business reputation crimes” – none of your days, dozens of days, look always be right?   Now, the New Express reporter Chen Yongzhou we, unfortunately, has become the hapless guy.   We would like to draw your own two ears.   Because we always thought that as long as done responsibly reported that there would be no problem; event of a problem, we advertised corrections, apologize; really serious, court, lost the case, how lose lose on how the close to close, that is deserved.   But the fact is, we are too naive.   Chen Yongzhou get through the three days and three nights, finally saw the lawyer, said that he could boil a thirty days, and more, can not say it.   Tears.   It should be said, our understanding of this sudden blow to keep a great deal of restraint – on Friday morning, the man was taken away, we did not say anything; On Saturday, we did not say anything; Sunday, we did not say anything; Monday we did not say anything; yesterday, we did not say anything.   Because we always want to, human security is the first one, if forbear under the table and effort can change back to a lively splash colleagues, is worth – the reader dwellers, especially peers forgive, we do without regard to justice, there is no sacrifice and devotion to the revolutionary courage, really weak, really selfish, really shameful. However, we do not regret it. Because the police although not a gun, very powerful, Zoomlion has given Changsha pay a lot of taxes, is very powerful, but after all, are still class brethren, there are contradictions also contradictions among the people thing.  If God can give us a chance, we would say: The policeman, in conjunction Brother, I beg you, put Chen Yongzhou it!   If God only gives us a chance to speak, we would say: We carefully checked Guo Chen Yongzhou right Zoomlion of all 15 critical reports, only the fallacy of “advertising and entertainment expenses 513 000 000″ written in the wrong the “advertising costs 513 million.” If policeman discovered my newspaper, although power to do and not to explore the evidence, please publicity, we must take my hat off.Because we still believe – at least there are so few days – you, like us, with full respect for the law.  We want to thank the four Changsha police uncle, is that you shut one eye, last night, Chen Yongzhou shivering little wife to safety from their own home away from home.   We also thank you, there is no atmosphere on the use of high-grade secret weapon, you identified the suspect, the economic center director in one fell swoop. Incidentally, he was really not at home, afraid to go home a few days earlier on. Really.   Oh, and Gao Hui, beloved Zoomlion Assistant Chairman, we have a few months ago has sued you infringement, I hope you face to the point, what should a complaint, we will not suddenly take you down to – - Each year, we pay very little tax, the turnover is far from tens of billions.   Your fellow Hunan Zeng wrote a couplet, “meaning the spring to feed a regiment, propped two poor bones.” My newspaper, though small, poor bones, there are two of you.

    Courtesy and with thanks to http://epaper.xkb.com.cn/view.php?id=891639

    #freedom

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:35 on October 22, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Edwards, , , , , , , ,   

    #Syria has fully co-operated with Joint OPCW-UN Mission to Destroy Chemical Arsenal #Peace 


    150 px

    150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Syrian Government has been fully cooperating with the destruction of its chemical weapons programme, the head of the joint mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations today said.

    “To date, the Government of Syria has fully cooperated in supporting the work of the advance team and the OPCW-UN Joint Mission,” said Special Coordinator Sigrid Kaag in a <”http://www.un.org/sg/offthecuff/index.asp?nid=3144“>statement from Damascus.

    She noted that the timeframes are “challenging” given the goal of eliminating the country’s chemical weapons programme in the first half of 2014.

    Inspections so far have been conducted at 17 sites, the OPCW confirmed today. At 14 of these sites, the inspectors carried out activities related to the destruction of critical equipment to make the facilities inoperable.

    “The Technical Secretariat continues to assist Syria in Damascus in finalising its initial formal declaration covering its chemical weapons and related facilities,” the OPCW noted on its website.

    Meanwhile, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) is racing against time to help Syrians prepare for oncoming winter as temperatures across the region are already dropping.

    Spokesperson Adrian Edwards <”http://www.unhcr.org/526659cb6.html“>told journalists in Geneva that UNHCR relief aid has been delivered to some 2,500 people who have now been evacuated from Mouadamiya in Rural Damascus, where thousands are still believed to be trapped.

    In addition to monitoring the general condition and protection concerns of these internally displaced people, UNHCR delivered relief items including mattresses, blankets, cooking sets, hygienic supplies and other aid.

    WAGGGS-UNHCR badge

    WAGGGS-UNHCR badge (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Humanitarian agencies have been denied access to Mouadamiya for months, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Its chief, Valerie Amos, reiterated in recent days calls on all parties to agree an immediate pause in hostilities there and to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to evacuate the remaining civilians and deliver life-saving treatment and supplies in areas where fighting and shelling is ongoing.

    Last week, through local partners, UNHCR delivered aid within the hard-to-reach city of Raqqa to more than 10,000 people. Raqqa, located in northern Iraq, hosts internally displaced people from Deir es Zour and from Aleppo, 160 kilometres to the west.

    “UNHCR observed that many of the displaced are living in buildings that lack windows, doors and electricity. People in this area will soon urgently require thermal blankets and plastic sheets to deal with winter temperatures,” Mr. Edwards said.

    The conflict, which began in March 2011, has claimed over 100,000 lives, sent more than 2 million people fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries and displaced 4.5 million within Syria.

    “Virtually every town and city across Syria is affected by the conflict or hosts traumatized, displaced people,” the spokesperson said.

    Women told us they lacked privacy in the collective shelters, Mr. Edwards noted. He added concerns about the vulnerability of women, many heading broken households.

    In addition, the UN agency is worried about the impact of the crisis on young people, almost two million of whom have dropped out of school and a growing number of which are being exploited for labour or recruited into armed groups.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:09 on October 22, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Friends of Syria Group, , , , , , , ,   

    Friends of #Syria Meeting to be Hosted in London#Peace 


    William Hague speaks on behalf of ‘London 11’ after core group of the Friends of Syria and President of National Coalition meet in London.

    After the conclusion of a core group of the Friends of Syria meeting which he had hosted in London, the Foreign Secretary spoke on behalf of the group.

    The Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

    We have just concluded an important and productive meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Friends of Syria core group, including the President of the Syrian National Coalition.

    We have met against the backdrop of the regime’s escalating use of indiscriminate and disproportionate force against the people of Syria. They are using tanks, torture, artillery, SCUD missiles, air attacks; laying siege to desperate people; and presiding over the creation of a humanitarian catastrophe.

    Members of the opposition have spoken powerfully about people starving and women and children suffering at the hands of the regime. The only sustainable way to end this conflict and the suffering of innocent Syrian civilians is through a political transition in Syria. The purpose of our meeting today has been to send a signal of our resolve, our unity and determination in brining that about, building on the diplomatic progress made during the UN General Assembly last month.

    We have agreed a number of important steps today:

    First, we agreed that we would put our united and collective weight behind the UN-led Geneva II process, which must lead to establishing by mutual consent a Transitional Governing Body with full executive powers as set out in the Communiqué in 2012. By definition that means that it can only be agreed with the consent of the Syrian National Coalition. So Assad will play no role in that future Government of Syria.

    Second, despite the enormous challenges faced by the Syrian opposition, we urged the National Coalition to commit itself fully to the Geneva II process and to lead and form the heart of any opposition delegation. Geneva offers the Syrian people the best hope to improve their lives.

    Third, we agreed with them that we will provide the intensive political and practical support that will be required to give the Geneva II process the best chance of success.

    Fourth, we agreed a set of principles, attached to today’s communiqué, that underline the unity of our approach to the Geneva II process as the Friends of Syria core group.

    We agreed the Syrian opposition, including the moderate armed groups, and moderate opposition represented by the coalition continue to need our strong collective backing. There can be no peaceful and political settlement in Syria without the participation of the moderate opposition. So we pledged further support to them.

    Syria

    Syria (Photo credit: Yishac – Isaac Alvarez i Brugada)

    President Al Jarba attended lunch and made clear, as in New York, his support. We are as clear as he is that Assad has no part in the future of Syria.

    The UK will continue to support the opposition in its efforts to help and protect the Syrian people from the murderous abuses of the regime through the more than £20 million in support to the opposition that we have provided this year. This is support that to helps to save lives and provide services to the Syrian population – including search and rescue equipment and training, power generators, communications, support and training to civil administrations.

    Between now and Geneva II Conference, we plan to announce a further package of UK support, including substantial non-lethal support to the National Coalition working with General Idris of the Free Syrian Army’s Supreme Military Council. This assistance is likely to take the form of communications, medical, and logistics equipment. It will help them to save lives on the ground.

    None of us has lost sight of the deepening humanitarian disaster.

    As winter approaches, the risks are growing to the nearly 7 million Syrians in need. This is compounded still further by the actions of the regime. The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos said yesterday that the UN continues to be denied access on the ground to those in need of humanitarian assistance by obstacles placed by the Syrian regime. In the suburbs of Damascus, many innocent Syrians remain trapped as a result of the regime’s siege tactics. This is unacceptable and full and uninhibited access for humanitarian aid to people in need must be allowed.

    We have intensified the humanitarian support our eleven countries are providing, and encourage others to do the same through further funding pledges and we will be pressing the case for humanitarian access as called for by the UN Security Council on 2 October.

    The UK is the second largest humanitarian donor to the Syria conflict with over £500 million of aid allocated to date. Yesterday, we announced a further £15.5 million of lifesaving support to Palestinian refugees both inside Syrian and in neighbouring countries. This will include food for over 150,000 people and clothing for people in need of urgent help.

    Our eleven countries will continue to work closely together in the weeks leading up to a Geneva Conference to ensure it has the best possible chance of success, and the people of Syria finally get the political transition they so desperately need and deserve.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 19:37 on October 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Moadamiyeh, , , , ,   

    #SYRIA: UN Humanitarian Chief Urges Safe Passage for Civilians Trapped in Rural Damascus 


    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color i...

    English: Emblem of the United Nations. Color is #d69d36 from the image at http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/maplib/flag.htm (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The United Nations humanitarian chief on Saturday called for a ceasefire in Moadamiyeh in Rural Damascus to allow aid agencies access to evacuate thousands of civilians trapped by the ongoing conflict in Syria.

    “The humanitarian community has stressed time and time again that people must not be denied life-saving help and that the fighting has to stop,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said in a <”https://docs.unocha.org/sites/dms/Documents/Statement%20by%20USG%20Valerie%20Amos%20on%20Moadamiyeh,%20Syria%2019Oct2013.pdf“>statement.

    Humanitarian agencies have been denied access to Moadamiyeh for months, the statement noted. Although the evacuation of more than 3,000 people took place on Sunday, the same number or more remain trapped. There are reports of continued shelling and fighting in the area, preventing the completion of the rescue operation.

    “I call on all parties to agree an immediate pause in hostilities in Moadamiyeh to allow humanitarian agencies unhindered access to evacuate the remaining civilians and deliver life-saving treatment and supplies in areas where fighting and shelling is ongoing,” said Ms. Amos, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.

    Those already evacuated from Moadamiyeh received immediate assistance from the Syrian Arab Red Crescent, UN humanitarian agencies and partners, local businesses and private individuals, including food, medical treatment and psycho-social support.

    Ms. Amos said she continues to be “extremely worried” by the situation unfolding across Syria where ordinary women, children and men are facing horrific violence and brutality from all sides of the conflict.

    Thousands of families also remain trapped in other locations across Syria, for example in Nubil, Zahra, old Aleppo town, old Homs town and Hassakeh.

    “Civilians must be allowed to move to safer areas without the fear of attack,” stressed Ms. Amos.

    “It is vital that all parties to the conflict respect their obligations under international human rights and humanitarian laws to protect civilians and to allow neutral, impartial humanitarian organizations safe access to all people in need, wherever they are in Syria.”

    The conflict, which began in March 2011, has claimed over 100,000 lives, sent more than 2 million people fleeing for safety to neighbouring countries and displaced 4.5 million within Syria.

    #AceWorldNews #syria #peace

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 17:26 on October 19, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , Executive Order 10995, Executive Order 11921, Fema, , ,   

    FEMA Most Powerful Organisation in the World – Executive Orders – Video Now 


    THE MOST POWERFUL ORGANIZATION IN THE UNITED STATES
    Is not for protecting the people as much as it is for protecting the government.
    See text of H.R.645

    These are just a few of the Obama nations executive orders.

    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10990 allows the government to take over all modes of transportation and control of highways and seaports.
    • FemaEXECUTIVE ORDER 10997 allows the government to take over all electrical power, gas, petroleum, fuels and minerals.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 10998 allows the government to take over all food resources and farms.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11000 allows the government to mobilize civilians into work brigades under government supervision.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11001 allows the government to take over all health, education and welfare functions.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11002 designates the Postmaster General to operate a national registration of all persons.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11003 allows the government to take over all airports and aircraft, including commercial aircraft.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11004 allows the Housing and Finance Authority to relocate communities, build new housing with public funds, designate areas to be abandoned, and establish new locations for populations.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11005 allows the government to take over rail-roads, inland waterways and public storage facilities.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11051 specifies the responsibility of the Office of Emergency Planning and gives authorization to put all Executive Orders into effect in times of increased international tensions and economic or financial crisis.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11310 grants authority to the Department of Justice to enforce the plans set out in Executive Orders, to institute industrial support, to establish judicial and legislative liaison, to control all aliens, to operate penal and correctional institutions, and to advise and assist the President.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11049 assigns emergency preparedness function to federal departments and agencies, consolidating 21 operative Executive Orders issued over a fifteen year period.
    • EXECUTIVE ORDER 11921 allows the Federal Emergency Preparedness Agency to develop plans to establish control over the mechanisms of production and distribution, of energy sources, wages, salaries, credit and the flow of money in U.S. financial institution in any undefined national emergency. It also provides that when a state of emergency is declared by the President, Congress cannot review the action for six months.

    Courtesy of True Activist – Read more: http://www.trueactivist.com/fema-camp-has-begun-homeless-first/

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 20:51 on October 18, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , $32 billion, , December 2012, GRETA, , , ,   

    UN Rights Expert Joins Call for Concerted Global Action to Fight Human Trafficking 


    Human Trafficking petition hand in

    Human Trafficking petition hand in (Photo credit: 38 Degrees)

    A United Nations independent expert, along with two other key human rights mechanisms today stressed the importance of partnerships as the “backbone” of global efforts to tackle the scourge of human trafficking.

    “Partnership is the backbone for effective coordinated efforts to implement a human-rights based approach while addressing this multi-faceted phenomenon,” <”http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=13869&LangID=E“>said  the human rights experts from the United Nations, the Council of Europe and the Organization for Co-operation and Security in Europe (OSCE), on the occasion of the European Anti-Trafficking Day.

    “Cooperation between origin, transit and destination countries, but also with regional and international mechanisms, as well as private stakeholders such as multi-national corporations and civil society organizations, is essential for comprehensive responses to trafficking in persons.”

    The UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children, Joy Ezeilo, underlined that trafficking is a grave violation of human rights which leads to further abuses.

    “The rights of victims should be the beating heart driving all efforts towards eradicating this phenomenon which leads thousands of women, girls, men and boys in situation of profound exploitation and violence,” Ms. Ezeilo said. “The victims, whose rights are stolen, have to be protected, assisted, provided remedies, and re-integrated.”

    Trafficking of women, children and men

    Trafficking of women, children and men (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Human trafficking is a multi-billion dollar industry which has trapped some 21 million men, women and children in forced labour. According to 2005 estimates released by the International Labour Organization (ILO), profits generated in the sex industry alone are as high as $32 billion a year. Furthermore, nearly one-third of all victims of human trafficking officially detected around the world between 2007 and 2010 were children, according to a report released in December 2012 by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) citing data from 132 countries.

    The President of the Council of Europe Group of Experts on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings (GRETA), Nicolas Le Coz, emphasized that countries have a responsibility under international and European law to provide protection to victims to ensure their moral and physical integrity and prevent re-victimization, including by prosecuting and punishing the traffickers.

    “Given the worrying proportions human trafficking has taken, there is a need to move from a national security model to a human rights-based approach in order to better identify and assist victims of trafficking who are often undocumented migrants,” Mr. Le Coz said.

    For the OSCE Special Representative and Co-ordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, “the realization of a victim’s right to effective remedies is at the core of the human rights-based approach as redress and compensation are the key stepping stones on the path to full recovery and social inclusion without fear or stigma.”

    The three international expert mechanisms stressed that “a universal human rights-based approach is paramount to end human trafficking in the world today.”

    #AceWorldNews  #HumanRights  #Trafficking

     

     
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