Updates from January, 2014 Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • #AceNewsGroup 12:48 on January 14, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , UN World Food Programme,   

    “UN’s World Food Program feeds record 3.8 Million Syrians in December” 


    #AceWorldNews says the UN’s World Food Program (WFP) delivered rations to a record 3.8 million people in #Syria in December. However, the agency said civilians in eastern provinces and besieged towns near the capital remain out of reach. “Their nutrition situation is expected to have deteriorated significantly,” Reuters quoted spokeswoman Elisabeth Byrs as saying. The organization has tried several times over the last few months to reach besieged areas in and around Damascus, but without success. Fighting in Raqqa and Deir al-Zor also prevented aid convoys from reaching people in those eastern provinces for the second consecutive month. The agency aims to reach 4.25 million people in January.

     
  • #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: , , , , , , ,   

    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 18:50 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , Al-Qaeda-Affiliated-Fighters, , Iraqi-Troops, , , Kurd, , UNAMI   

    Anbar Province: “Media Reports Have Cited Deadly Clashes Between Iraqi Troops and Al-Qaeda Affiliated Fighters” 


    #AceWorldNews says In a statement read out during a formal meeting this evening Prince Zeid Ra’ad Zeid Al-Hussein, Permanent Representative of Jordan, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for the month, the 15-nation body deplored the recent surge in violence in Anbar province, where, for the past week, media reports have citied deadly clashes between Iraqi-Troops and Al-Qaeda-Affiliated-Fighters.

    Condemning the attacks by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) “against the people of Iraq in an attempt to destabilize the country and region,” the Council recognized that Iraqi security forces, local police and tribes in Anbar province are showing great courage as they fight to defeat ISIL in their cities.

    “The Security Council urges the people of Iraq, including Iraqi tribes, local leaders, and Iraqi security forces in Anbar province, to continue, expand and strengthen their cooperation against violence and terror,” said the 15-member body, stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity.

    The Council in its statement welcomed comments from Grand Ayatollah Sistani welcoming internally displaced residents of Anbar to Najaf and Karbala, as well as the commitment of a number of communities – Sunni, Shia and Kurd – to meet the needs of the displaced.

    Expressing its strong support for the continued efforts of the Iraqi Government to help meet the security needs of the entire population of Iraq, the Council acknowledged the efforts of the Iraqi security forces and local police, “whose members are also being targeted and killed in ongoing attacks by terrorists”

    The Council went on to welcome the Government’s commitment in the protection of the civilian population in Fallujah and elsewhere, and to the provision of humanitarian relief. It encouraged the Government to continue working with the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) and humanitarian agencies to ensure the delivery of relief aid.

    Concerned about the impact of the violence on civilians, the 15-nation body encouraged the safe passage of civilians trapped in conflict areas, as well as the safe return of internally displaced persons as conditions allow.

    “The Security Council stresses the critical importance of continued national dialogue and unity, an inclusive political process, the holding of free and fair elections in April 2014, and the right to peaceful protest as guaranteed under the Iraqi Constitution,” the Council said, stressing its belief that this is vital to underpin a unified national stance against terrorism, and to ensure Iraq’s long-term security.

    Reaffirming the need to bring perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of these reprehensible acts of terrorism to justice, the Council members also reaffirmed that ISIL is subject to the arms embargo and assets freeze imposed by Council resolutions 1267 (1999) and 2083 (2012).

    The Council reaffirmed the need to combat all forms of terrorism and reiterated that “no terrorist act can reverse the path towards peace, democracy and reconstruction in Iraq, which is supported by the people and the Government of Iraq and the international community.”

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:26 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , International Law, ,   

    Israel: “Could be Breaking International Law by Limiting Rights of Asylum Seekers” 


    #AceWorldNews says the United Nations refugee agency today warned that Israel could be breaking international law by limiting the rights of asylum-seekers with a new amendment to the country’s anti-infiltration law.

    Of particular concern to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is a provision in the new Amendment requiring asylum-seekers to reside in a so-called open residence facility.

    “Since the facility was housing people who cannot be returned to their countries of origin for reasons of non-refoulement, the organization is concerned that this facility could, in effect, result in indefinite detention, with no release grounds,” UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said in Geneva.

    The facility, located in the Negev desert, also restricts movement by mandating people reside there, and report in three times per day, among other discipline measures.

    Mr. Edwards said that UNHCR understands the challenges faced by Israel in managing the reception of migrants and asylum-seekers. However, it was important that the treatment of asylum-seekers “be in line with international refugee and human rights law,” he concluded.

    Under the Amendment, new asylum-seekers arriving in an irregular manner will automatically be detained for at least a year, as will people whose conditional release visas have expired.

    Difficulties in renewing visas are meanwhile growing, the spokesperson noted, with reports of long queues and limited access to visa services.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 18:18 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , #Haiti2010, , ,   

    UN:”Remembers #Haiti2010 Four Years After The Earthquake” 


    #AceWorldNews says “Remember Haiti After Four Years” United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on the international community to increase its aid to Haiti on the fourth anniversary of the devastating earthquake that struck the impoverished country, noting progress already made in health and education, but warning that more needs to be done.

    “Haiti remains extremely vulnerable on many fronts,” he said in a message delivered to UN staff in Port au Prince, the capital, by his Special Representative Sandra Honoré. “145,000 people continue to live in make-shift camps. The country is structurally exposed to recurrent food crises. Haiti has the lowest level of water and sanitation coverage in the Americas.”

    “I continue to call on the international community to stand with Haiti at its time of dire need. We must intensify our efforts to help Haiti build a more stable and prosperous future for the all its people. Let us renew today our pledge to follow our fallen colleagues’ dream of a life of dignity for all the people of Haiti.”

    The massive quake which struck Haiti on 12 January, 2010, killed some 220,000 people, including 102 UN staff, made 1.5 million others homeless, and caused widespread destruction and a major humanitarian crisis.

    “Your commitment, combined with the resilience of the Haitian people, has made much progress possible,” Mr. Ban told UN staff. “Health systems are being strengthened, more children are in school, close to 90 per cent of the displaced population have left the camps and economic activities have resumed allowing Haiti to start moving from crisis to long-term development.”

    Referring to his own visit to the country shortly after disaster struck, he said the personal stories of heroism, courage and dedication that he saw and heard “moved me deeply and showed the United Nations at its best.

    “I pay tribute to all UN colleagues who have strived through the years to keep alive the memory of our fallen colleagues and friends and serve the people of Haiti,” he added. “This includes those who remained after the earthquake to deliver life-saving support and consolation to the other victims. It also includes those who arrived later to carry on the worthy cause of helping Haiti rebuild its future.

     
  • #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: , , , ,   

    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 16:54 on January 11, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , President Sharon, ,   

    UN: “Saddened by Lose of Ariel Sharon” 


    #AceWorldNews says according to the UN they are “Saddened by the death of Ariel Sharon” the former Prime Minister of Israel.
    In a statement, the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today praised the late statesman’s political courage and determination, and urged the country to build on Mr. Sharon’s legacy of pragmatism to press ahead with the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
    In a statement issued by his spokesperson in New York, Mr. Ban offered his condolences to the late leader’s bereaved family and to the Government and people of Israel. Mr. Sharon, 85, became incapacitated by a severe stroke in 2006. He passed away earlier today at a hospital near Tel Aviv.
    “Throughout a life dedicated to the State of Israel, Ariel Sharon was a hero to his people, first as a soldier and then a statesman,” said the Secretary-General.

    “Prime Minister Sharon will be remembered for his political courage and determination to carry through with the painful and historic decision to withdraw Israeli settlers and troops from the Gaza Strip,” the UN chief said, adding that Mr. Sharon’s successor faces the difficult challenge of realizing the aspirations of peace between the Israeli and Palestinian people.

    The Secretary-General called on Israel to build on the late Prime Minister’s legacy of pragmatism to work towards the long overdue achievement of an independent and viable Palestinian state, next to a secure Israel.
    “At this time of national mourning, the Secretary-General renews the commitment of the United Nations to work alongside the Government and the people of Israel for peace and security,” said the statement.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 21:06 on January 9, 2014 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Inter-Religious, ,   

    “INTER-RELIGIOUS VIOLENCE POSES LONG-TERM DANGER TO CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC, BAN WARNS” 


    #AceWorldNews say there is a real danger of further upheaval along the lines in "Central African Republic" {CAR} Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today warned a regional gathering in Chad, stressing that the past year’s events have profoundly damaged the relationship between Muslim and Christian communities and pose a long-term danger to the country.

    The horrific cycle of violence and retaliation between communities must stop immediately,” Mr. Ban said in his <"http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7392">message to the extraordinary summit of the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), hosted by Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno in the capital, N’Djamena.


    “Distrust is high and violence has fuelled anger and a thirst for revenge,” he added, highlighting the need to prioritize reconciliation efforts.

    In the message, delivered by Babacar Gaye, Special Representative in the country and the head of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office (BINUCA), Mr. Ban commended the ECCAS Heads of State for proposing an inclusive national conference.

    Such a forum should provide all national actors with the opportunity “to share their concerns, agree on common challenges, and collectively find a way out of this crisis”, including through the preparation of elections, he said.

    Disarmament of combatants in accordance with international standards is essential, the UN chief stressed, noting also the importance of demobilization and reintegration of the former fighters.

    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.

    The UN and its partners have stepped up the humanitarian response but the situation remains “extremely troubling”, Mr. Ban said in today’s message.

    He also expressed concern about “widespread human rights abuses”. The UN is working to establish an International Commission of Inquiry to document the violations, in line with a resolution adopted by the Security Council in early December.

    “Together, we must send a strong message that those committing atrocities will be held accountable,” he said.

    In his message, Mr. Ban noted the quick deployment of the African-led International Support Mission to CAR (MISCA) and the French intervention force, SANGARIS, whose work “prevented the situation from degenerating even further”.

    He also noted that the UN will work closely with the African Union and other stakeholders in support of the upcoming donors conference in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on 1 February.

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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:19 on December 10, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Apartheid in South Africa, , FNB Stadium, , , , , , ,   

    UN: Pays Tribute to #NelsonMandela Telling Thousands that Gathered at Memorial Service in Johannesburg #Peace 


    English: Nelson Mandela, former President of S...

    English: Nelson Mandela, former President of South Africa (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews says Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute to the late Nelson Mandela, telling the tens of thousands gathered at the memorial service held in Johannesburg that the life and legacy of the former South African president was an inspiration not only for his country but for the world.

    “This grandest of all baobab trees left deep roots that reach across the planet,” Mr. Ban <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7347“>said, addressing a rain-soaked crowd at the soccer stadium that hosted the opening and closing ceremonies for the 2010 World Cup.

    Mr. Mandela passed away last Thursday at the age of 95. Affectionately known as ‘Madiba,’ the late human rights lawyer, prisoner of conscience and Nobel Peace Prize winner was the first democratically elected President of postapartheid South Africa.

    “Nelson Mandela was more than one of the greatest leaders of our time. He was one of the greatest teachers. And he taught by example. He sacrificed so much and was willing to give up everything – for freedom and equality, for democracy and justice,” said Mr. Ban.

    “His compassion stands out most. He was angry at injustice, not at individuals. He hated hatred, not the people caught in its grip. He showed the awesome power of forgiveness – and of connecting people with each other and with the true meaning of peace. That was his unique gift – and that was the lesson he shared with all humankind.”

    The Secretary-General, who was among nearly 100 world leaders attending the service, said that South Africa’s democratic transformation was a victory by and for South Africans.

    “But it was also a triumph for the ideals of the United Nations – and for anyone, anywhere, who has ever faced the poison of prejudice,” he added.

    Nelson Mandela's former house in Soweto, Johan...

    Nelson Mandela’s former house in Soweto, Johannesburg, now Mandela Family Museum. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “The United Nations stood side by side with Nelson Mandela and the people of South Africa in the fight against apartheid. We used every tool we had: sanctions, an arms embargo, a sports boycott, diplomatic isolation. We spoke up loud and clear across the world.

    “Apartheid was vanquished,” Mr. Ban said. “But as he would be the first to say, our struggle continues – against inequality and intolerance, and for prosperity and peace.

    “Nelson Mandela showed us the way with a heart larger than this stadium and an infectious smile that could easily power its lights. In fact, it lit up the world…

    “It is the duty of all of us who loved him to keep his memory alive in our hearts, and to embody his example in our lives.”

    New York, Dec 10 2013 11:00AM

     

     
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  • #AceNewsGroup 18:26 on November 25, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Bemba, , , Cuno Tarfusser, , , Jean-Pierre Bemba, Movement for the Liberation of the Congo   

    ICC Announces Arrest of Four Men Linked to Trial of Former Dr Congo 


    English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo

    English: International Criminal Court (ICC) logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    #AceWorldNews says four people have been arrested for alleged witness tampering in the war crimes trial of former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, the International Criminal Court (ICC) today announced.

    The four men are accused of “corruptly influencing witnesses before the ICC and presenting evidence that they knew to be false or forged,” according to a <“http://www.icc-cpi.int/en_menus/icc/press%20and%20media/press%20releases/Pages/pr962.aspx“>news release  from The Hague-based Court.

    It is alleged that the suspects were part of a network for the purposes of presenting false or forged documents and bribing certain persons to give false testimony in the case against Mr. Bemba, whose trial started in November 2010.

    The four men, arrested today and yesterday following a warrant issued on 20 November by Judge Cuno Tarfusser, include Mr. Bemba’s Lead Counsel Aimé Kilolo Musamba taken into custody by Belgian authorities, and Jean-Jacques Mangenda Kabongo, a member of Mr Bemba’s defence team and case manager, who was arrested in the Netherlands.

    English: DR Congo 2006 presidential election c...

    English: DR Congo 2006 presidential election candidate Jean-Pierre Bemba (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The two other men are Fidèle Babala Wandu, a member of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) Parliament and Deputy Secretary General of the Mouvement pour la Libération du Congo – who was taken into custody in the DRC – and Narcisse Arido, a Defence witness, who was arrested by French authorities.

    “On behalf of the Court, the Registrar of the ICC, Herman von Hebel, expressed his gratitude to the States’ authorities for their cooperation,” the ICC said, adding that these are the first arrests made in relation to such charges before the Court.

    Mr. Bemba is the alleged President and Commander-in-Chief of the Mouvement de libération du Congo being tried for two counts of crimes against humanity (rape and murder) and three counts of war crimes (rape, murder and pillaging) allegedly committed in the Central African Republic (CAR).

    Established by the Rome Statute of 1998, the ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.

    New York, Nov 24 2013  6:00PM

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 19:44 on November 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference, , , Kyoto Protocol, , , United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change,   

    UN: All The Talk and No Action are the “Watchwords” as the Latest Climate Talks End 


    #AceWorldNews says the United Nations-led climate talks in Warsaw, Poland, concluded today with an agreement that Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called an important stepping stone towards a universal legal agreement in 2015.

    Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 ...

    Mean surface temperature change for 1999–2008 relative to the average temperatures from 1940 to 1980 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    “The Secretary-General welcomes the outcome of the UN Climate Change Conference that concluded today in Warsaw and he congratulates Poland for successfully hosting the Conference,” his spokesperson said in a <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7302“>statement.

    Kyoto Protocol

    Kyoto Protocol (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The deal hammered out today ends two-weeks of talks between diplomats and environment experts representing more than 195 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the parent treaty of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol.

    For the first time, the talks, which are also known as the Conference of the Parties or COP-19, included participation from the private sector, with a UN-business forum held on its sidelines.

    The agreement lays the groundwork for a legally binding treaty to be adopted in 2015, and enter force by 2020, which would cut climate-altering greenhouse gas emissions.

    In today’s statement, Mr. Ban welcomed the Parties’ decision “to intensify immediate actions to fight climate change” and to come forward with their national contributions to the agreement well before its finalization in 2015.

    The talks were made all the more urgent by the devastation in Philippines from Typhoon Haiyan that killed thousands of people and affected 13.25 million overall just as participants were arriving in Poland.

    Today’s deal comes one year before the 2014 Climate Summit that Mr. Ban said he would convene in New York in September during the General Assembly.

    Mr. Ban has asked world leaders, as well as leaders from business, finance, local government and civil society, to bring bold announcements and actions that will lead to significantly reduced greenhouse gas emissions and strengthened adaptation and resilience efforts, his spokesperson said in reference to the 2014 summit.

    “Much more needs to be done over the coming two years to achieve the ambitious agreement necessary to keep the global temperature rise below two degrees Celsius,” the spokesperson said in the statement.

    New York, Nov 23 2013 10:00PM

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 19:30 on November 24, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, , , ,   

    UN CHIEF WELCOMES INTERIM AGREEMENT ON IRAN’S NUCLEAR PROGRAMME 


    #AceWorldNews  says Secretary-GeneralBan Ki-moon today welcomed an interim agreement reached regarding Iran’s nuclear programme and urged the Governments concerned to do everything possible to continue negotiations.

    In a <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7303“>statement released late tonight by his spokesperson, Mr. Ban congratulated the negotiators in Geneva for progress made on “what could turn out to be the beginnings of a historic agreement for the people’s and nations of the Middle East region and beyond”.

    He urged the Governments of Iran and the six other Member States involved to “build on this encouraging start” and to create mutual confidence.

    Ban Ki-moon

    Ban Ki-moon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Mr. Ban “calls on all members of the international community to support this process which, if allowed to succeed, is likely to be to the long-term benefit of all parties,” his spokesperson said.

    The top UN official also reaffirmed his unswerving commitment to strengthening nuclear disarmament and the non-proliferation regime, the spokesperson added.

    Iran’s nuclear programme — which its officials have stated is for peaceful purposes, but some other countries contend is driven by military ambitions — has been a matter of international concern since the discovery in 2003 that the country had concealed its nuclear activities for 18 years in breach of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

    New York, Nov 24 2013 12:00AM

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 15:40 on November 14, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: African Burial Ground National Monument, Atlantic slave trade, Caribbean Community, , Nadia Bakhurji, National Gallery of Jamaica, Portia Simpson Miller, , , United Nations Headquarters   

    “Ark of Return” Unveiled as Permanent Memorial to Re-Tell the Stories of 15 Million Slaves 


    English: African Burial Ground National Monume...

    English: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City Deutsch: African Burial Ground National Monument, New York City (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    A Manhattan-based architect of Haitian descent was recently announced as the winner of an international competition to design a memorial that will be permanently on display at United Nations Headquarters in New York to honour victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade.

    Unveiling Rodney Leon’s “‘Ark of Return”, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said the memorial “will serve as a reminder of the bravery of those slaves, abolitionists and unsung heroes who managed to rise up against an oppressive system, fight for their freedom and end the practice.”
    The ceremony, held on the eve of the General Assembly’s annual debate, was also attended by the President of the body’s 68th session, John Ashe, who commended all participants in the competition for “being a voice of change and hope” whose ability to create meaningful artwork “deepens our faith in human goodness and decency, and for this, we are all grateful.”

    The piece by Mr. Leon, a designer and architect of the African Burial Ground National Monument in lower Manhattan, features a “symbolic spiritual space and object where one can interact and pass through for acknowledgement, contemplation, meditation, reflection, healing, education and transformation,” according to its creator.

    Mr. Leon’s work was selected from among 310 design proposals from 83 countries in a competition launched two years ago by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), with support from the UN Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme, and Member States from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African Union. Jamaica, as the Chairman of the Permanent Memorial Committee, was represented at today’s event by Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller.

    UNECO Director-General Irina Bokova, who also participated, said she was “moved” to be participating in the event given she just returned from Haiti where the memory of slavery and the slave trade carries precious significance not just of suffering but also of “victorious fight from oppression for freedom”.

    Slavery

    Slavery (Photo credit: quadelirus)

    The design had to be created around the theme of “Acknowledging the Tragedy; Considering the legacy; Lest we forget “. It was to be not only a symbol, but part of an educational process in memory of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade, and to architecturally embody each affected region of the transatlantic slave trade – Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the Americas.
    It also had to artistically complement to the landscape of the UN Headquarters, described by UNESCO as “an iconic site that will deepen, both visually and spiritually, the visitor’s experience of this important environment.”

    The winning design was unanimously chosen by a committee of five international judges who met at UN Headquarters in August. Ahead of the judging, they spoke with UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.UN Television about how their decisions were shaped.

    Ashfar Isahq is the Chairman of the International Children’s Art Foundation. He said he founded the organization to harness children’s imagination for positive change.

    “At the end of the day, I and my work with children means that I have to look at an inner voice that tells me that this is what children and future generations will like,” Mr. Isahq said. “I listen to that inner voice to make my choice.”

    Curator and artist Dominique Fontaine said she was looking for a certain aesthetic value, one “that will appeal to the viewer.”

    From New York University, Michael Gomez, a professor of History and Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies who specializes in the African Diaspora, said he was primarily interested in identifying a piece that spoke directly to the experience of the transatlantic slave trade and the significance of that trade.

    “I was interested in finding a project that would in some way give expression to that experience, and would allow those who would visit the memorial to have a good sense of what that experience was about and its ongoing implication for various societies,” Mr. Gomez told UN Producer, Mary Ferreira.

    Meanwhile, David Boxer, a former curator at the National Gallery of Jamaica said the real challenge for him was to find a piece that both spoke to the tragedy itself – which he said required a memorial in a “more traditional sense” – and something that is inspirational.

    Mr. Boxer said he was looking for a piece “that looks to the future, that deals with the whole question of hope. That things are going to improve, that things are going to become better. So it’s how do you combine those two sentiments into a single monument.”

    Completing the jury, Nadia Bakhurji, and architect, women’s empowerment advocate and   former Board Member of Saudi Council of Engineers, said she knew the winning design right away.

    “I had emotional reactions to some of the sculptures and I knew which one would be the right one because it has to be the one that will really inspire thought-provoking ideas, make you step back and say – oh my God, is that really what happened and how can we prevent that from happening again,” Ms. Bakhurji said.

    She added that she was also looking for a design that bridged educational and spiritual experiences.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 10:33 on November 14, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Koboko, , , , , ,   

    UNCHR and WFP Providing New Grant of £6.3 Million of Lifeline Assistance to Help Congolese Refugee’s 


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

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

    A new £6.3 million grant to the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) follows a sharp increase in the number of refugees who have fled fighting and unrest in the North Kivu and Orientale provinces of the Democratic Republic of Congo since the start of the year.

    Existing aid supplies in the region have been severely depleted following a sharp rise in refugees in the region.

    In total, since the beginning of 2012, over 115,000 new Congolese refugees have been assisted in Uganda, with more arriving on a daily basis.

    International Development Minister Lynne Featherstone said:

    Thousands of families who have fled into Uganda could face hunger and destitution unless aid agencies get the supplies they need. Our support will help families to survive and begin to rebuild their lives.

    Logo of United Nations Refugee Agency.Version ...

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

    The UK’s funding will allow UNHCR and WFP to continue their support to refugees in in Bundibugyo, Kisoro and Koboko districts in western Uganda along the border with DRC, including transit centres and settlements.

    UNHCR and its partners have provided shelter, household items, healthcare and nutrition, water and sanitation services, and various protection activities for children and adults while the WFP has provided food rations.

    Britain’s support will enable the UNHCR and WFP to continue their support into the first quarter of next year. This will include:

    • Purchase of full food rations for 105,000 refugees for a period of 3 months.
    • Registration, transport, shelter, health services and clean water for 40,000 new arrivals.
    • One health centre and one school constructed and opened in Kyangwali refugee settlement.

    WFP provides food that is cooked for refugees while they are at the transit centres, and then provides monthly family rations when they are relocated to settlements.

    UNHCR supports refugees countrywide through five transit centres and eight settlements in north and southwest Uganda and in Kampala. Over 65 per cent of the more than 234,000 refugees in Uganda are from the DRC with most of the remainder originating from South Sudan, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi. About 70 per cent of refugees have arrived in the last five years.

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 20:35 on November 7, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , Piracy, Piracy in Somalia, Seychelles, , , ,   

    True Cost of Piracy and Organised Crime off the Horn of Africa 


    piracy is a crime

    Pirates off the coast of Somalia and the Horn of Africa have made between $339 million and $413 million in ransom profits, fuelling a wide range of criminal activities on a global scale, according to a United Nations backed report released today.

    http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTFINANCIALSECTOR/0,,contentMDK:23491862~pagePK:210058~piPK:210062~theSitePK:282885,00.html” Pirate Trails, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), the World Bank and INTERPOL, uses data and evidence from interviews with former pirates, Government officials, bankers and others involved in countering piracy, to investigate the glow of ransom money paid out to Somali pirates operating in the Indian Ocean.

    “The vast amounts of money collected by pirates, and the fact that they have faced almost no constraint in moving and using their assets has allowed them not only to thrive, but also to develop their capacities on land,” said the Chief of the Implementation Support Section in the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch at UNODC, Tofik Murshudlu.

    “These criminal groups and their assets will continue to pose a threat to the stability and security of the Horn of Africa unless long-term structural solutions are implemented to impede their current freedom of movement.”

    Piracy costs the global economy about $18 billion a year in increased trade costs. Because the outbreak of piracy has reduced maritime activity around the Horn of Africa, East African countries have suffered a significant decline in tourist arrivals and fishing yields since 2006.

    “Unchallenged piracy is not only a menace to stability and security, but it also has the power to corrupt the regional and international economy,” said Stuart Yikona, a World Bank Senior Financial Sector Specialist and the report’s co-author.

    English: Map showing the extent of Somali pira...

    English: Map showing the extent of Somali pirate attacks on shipping vessels between 2005 and 2010. Français : Carte montrant l’étendue des attaques de pirates somaliens sur des navires de transport entre 2005 et 2010. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The report found that ransom money was invested in criminal activities, such as arms trafficking, funding militias, migrant smuggling and human trafficking, and was used to further finance piracy activities. Piracy profits are also laundered through the trade of ‘khat,’ a herbal stimulant, where it is not monitored and so the most vulnerable to illicit international flows of money.

    The report, which focused on Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Seychelles, and Somalia, also analysed the investments made by a sample of 59 pirate ‘financiers’ to show the  range of sectors – including both legitimate businesses and criminal ventures – that were funded by the ransom money. It found that between 30 per cent and 75 per cent of the ransom money ends up with these financiers, while the pirate ‘foot soldiers’ aboard the ships receive just a  fraction  of  the proceeds, amounting to less than 0.1 per cent of the total.

    Pirate Trails calls for coordinated international action to address the issue, and sets out how the flow of illicit money from the Indian Ocean can be disrupted.

    “The international community has mobilized a naval force to deal with the pirates. A similarly managed multinational effort is needed to disrupt and halt the flow of illicit money that circulates in the wake of their activities,” said Mr. Yikona.

    Among the range of measures recommended by the report are strengthening  the  capacity  of  countries in the Horn of Africa to deal with illegal cross-border cash smuggling, risk-based oversight of Money Value Transfer Service Providers, and the development of mechanisms to monitor international financial flows into the khat trade.

     
  • #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 18:34 on November 2, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , OPCW Executive Council, , , , ,   

    OPCW UN-Team Awaits Next Step’s on Destruction of #Syria’s Chemical Weapon’s-#Peace 


    150 px

    150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    INTERVIEW: The Joint Mission of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) and the United Nations overseeing the destruction of Syria’s weapons programme confirmed yesterday that the Government has destroyed critical production equipment, rendering them inoperable. By doing so, Syria has met the deadline set by the OPCW Executive Council to complete the destruction of such equipment by 1 November.

    The next milestone for the mission will be 15 November, by which time the Executive Council must approve a detailed plan of destruction submitted by Syria to eliminate its chemical weapons stockpile. The UN News Centre spoke with the head of the mission, Sigrid Kaag, on Thursday about the latest developments, ahead of her visit to New York for talks next week at UN Headquarters.

    UN News Centre: Can you describe what you saw during your visit to Syria?

    Sigrid Kaag: I had the opportunity to visit Syria I believe around 10 days ago now. It was the first call on the Government to discuss the ongoing collaboration in pursuit of the mandate of the joint mission. I also had extensive discussions with the joint mission team – the team that I lead – on where we are with internal preparations, with logistics, with security, given the conditions in the country, and obviously, how we can best support the roll-out of the chemical weapons destruction plan, once approved by the Executive Council of the OPCW.

    I visited one site, where I was able to see first hand how the facilities, once rendered inoperable… how the complete destruction will take place and then how the inspectors continue with their monitoring and verification.

    UN News Centre: It has been announced that the mission has completed inspection of the sites declared by Syria. Are there any plans to go into the rebel-held areas?

    Sigrid Kaag: Of all the declared sites, obviously the joint mission has carried out its first inspection, and has verified the rendering as inoperable of the production facilities… For now, all security aspects are very much closely coordinated with the Government of Syria, which is responsible for the safety and security of the joint mission, as will be the case for other missions as well. And we look at issues of access, safety and security on a case-by-case basis in close coordination with the designated official of the UN family, but also with development partners and counterparts.

    UN News Centre: During your visit, did you have any contact with people who were affected by the use of chemical weapons?

    Sigrid Kaag: No, we did not.

    UN News Centre: What’s next for the joint mission?

    Sigrid Kaag and Abdel-Rahman Ghandour

    Sigrid Kaag and Abdel-Rahman Ghandour (Photo credit: United Nations Development Programme)

    Sigrid Kaag: We’re waiting of course for the big discussion and decision by the Executive Council on the 15th of November. In the meantime, we are preparing internally as a joint mission, making sure that we are fit for purpose, that we have a good understanding of the requirements in order to ensure effective implementation of the plan. And of course we are very committed to help the Government as a State Party meet its obligations under the [Chemical Weapons] Convention, and therefore, ensure the completion of the chemical weapons programme by the ultimate stated deadline of the middle of 2014.

    UN News Centre: Who is guarding the actual chemical weapons?

    Sigrid Kaag: This all falls on the State Party, it’s under its responsibility to ensure the safety as well as access to the sites as well as the weapons. But the production facilities – and that’s why it’s an important day today – the production facilities have been rendered inoperable. Particular discussions are ongoing as to the complete elimination of the chemical weapons themselves.

    UN News Centre: What will happen to the weapons now?

    Sigrid Kaag: That is all part of the ongoing discussions within the framework that was agreed between Russia and the US, and supporting the Syrian authorities to look at what is an optimal chemical weapons destruction plan. So it’s too early to comment, that’s for the Executive Council of the OPCW to discuss and to decide upon. Then [it’ll be] very clear what the role of the joint mission will be.

    UN News Centre:  Would such weapons normally be destroyed in the country or somewhere else?

    Sigrid Kaag: I think ‘normal’ doesn’t apply under the current conditions. There are different scenarios being discussed. My understanding is, from the perspective of OPCW, that under normal circumstances – which is always peacetime – chemical weapons are destroyed in country. However, as we know, the conditions in Syria are such that different options would be explored.

    UN News Centre: Having worked in the region for a number of years, this was not your first visit to Syria. What were your impressions this time around?

    Sigrid Kaag: Well, it’s hard to speak of an impression… On this visit, I have been in Damascus primarily, meeting counterparts, and I have been on site visits. So it’s very hard to speak of my impressions as being holistic. I can’t compare them to the types of visits I would undertake in past personal or professional visits. I think on the overall conditions, the Secretary-General has spoken consistently… the Emergency Relief Coordinator… my visit itself was primarily confined to Damascus, to ongoing dialogue with senior Syrian officials.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 16:03 on November 2, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , Zamalka   

    UN: #Syrian Refugee Numbers have Reached Over Three Million Many Still Without #Food 


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

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

    The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) said that it is reaching close to 3.3 million people in Syria – a record for its operations – but many are still without food in areas cut off by fighting, particularly in Damascus and the capital’s besieged suburbs.

    “WFP is concerned about the fate of many Syrians trapped in conflict areas and still in need of urgent food assistance,” spokesperson Elisabeth Byrs told journalists in Geneva.

    “Some 3.3 million has reached in October, but the overall target for WFP for the entire Syria was to reach four million people by the end of December 2013,” the spokesperson added.

    Damascus and Rural Damascus remain one of WFP’s biggest challenges due to insecurity and the siege in many conflict areas, said Mr. Byrnes.

    People are still trapped in Moadamiyeh, she noted, but the UN agency has not been able to enter the area.

    “WFP and UN partners had made nine unsuccessful attempts to reach Moadamiyeh and could not confirm what exactly was happening in that area,” the spokesperson said.

    Since mid-2012, WFP had been unable to access 37 other locations, such as Daraya, Yarmouk, Hajar Aswad, Yalda, Babila, Sbineh, Douma, Jobar, Qaboon, Zamalka and Erbeen.

    These are some of the most deprived areas where “even the most basic items were in scarce supply”, the spokesperson noted.

    More than a dozen trucks with supplies are en route to the capital Aleppo, carrying enough food for 75,000 people as part of the Governorate’s October allocation.

    Despite the allocations, the city is one of the Governorates where food distribution has become difficult in recent months.

    World Food Programme FEED bag

    World Food Programme FEED bag (Photo credit: Rooey202)

    More children are being admitted to hospitals with acute and moderate malnutrition, the UN Children’s Fund said, also addressing the press.

    “The most difficult challenge in helping those children was access,” said UNICEF spokeswoman Marixie Mercado.

    The community is also grabbling with a lack of skilled professionals to deal with malnutrition.

     

     
    • lotharson 17:58 on November 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I truly hope that the West will not foster the formation of a new Islamist state:
      http://lotharlorraine.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/on-syria-and-western-superiority/

      Like

      • Ace News Group 18:26 on November 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I agree but l see that as with the latest news in Pakistan and the drone strike, just as the Taliban leader is ready, for peace! So it appears the US decides to launch a drone and stops the peace process, by killing a Taliban Leader!
        The West does not want Peace they want War, as War will hide the multitude of sins and hide their debt problems, as people will accept anything to raise funds for the War Chest!
        So l see the rise of Isam and a Islamic State as being inevitable,dread to think of the consequences!

        Like

        • lotharson 21:07 on November 2, 2013 Permalink | Reply

          Yes it is truly disgusting…and scaring for all Christians and Jews living there.
          It makes me sick to realize that the quality of life of the large majority of Syrian citizens will considerably degrade as a consequence of the Western willingness to impose (sorry, I meant “introduce”) democracy into all these countries.

          Like

  • #AceNewsGroup 12:20 on October 31, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , , , , 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 18:13 on October 29, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , , , , Multilateral, , , , , United Nations General Secretary   

    General Ban Ki-moon Proposes Budget of $5.4 Billion for Funding United Nations 


    English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文

    English: Ban Ki-moon 日本語: 潘基文 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today presented a proposed budget of $5.4 billion for the United Nations over the next two years, after instructing managers to review business practices, reduce overlap, embrace innovation, encourage creativity and build synergies.

    “My budget proposal reflects a conscientious effort to gauge the needs of the Organization for the next two years. But our work does not stop here. We will continue to search for ways to adapt and equip the United Nations to better implement its mandates,” Mr. Ban said as he presented his proposal to the General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which deals with administrative and budgetary matters.

    He noted that the proposed budget for the biennium 2014-2015 is 2.9 per cent below the budget level for the current biennium that was projected in December last year. It is also 0.2 per cent below the expenditures for the biennium 2010-2011.

    Consistent with established method, a preliminary re-costing amount is included.  This results in an additional $158 million, bringing the regular budget requirements to over $5.5 billion.

    Mr. Ban pointed out that the UN is being called on to play an increasingly prominent role in promoting peace, advancing development and protecting human rights.

    “The budget before you reflects a central challenge: how to resource this Organization at a time when the demand for the work of the United Nations continues to grow amidst a period of economic austerity constraint,” he said.

    “Many countries continue to suffer crippling effects of the financial crisis. Governments – and especially people – are struggling. At the same time, the world is turning more and more to the United Nations for answers and help across a broad spectrum of issues and needs.

    “We must live up to the expectations of the world’s people,” Mr. Ban stressed. “And we must uphold our responsibility to you, the Member States, to make the most prudent use of the precious resources that you provide.”

    He reminded delegates that rethinking the way the UN works inevitably has an impact on the number of posts. The proposed budget results in a net decrease of 261 posts, reflecting the abolition of 396 posts, the addition of 52 new posts, and 83 conversions.

    Among other things, the proposal includes nearly $1.1 billion for special political missions that are expected to be extended or approved in the course of the next two years.

    Now that the Secretary-General has presented his proposal, Member States will discuss and decide on the budget to be adopted by the General Assembly in December for the next two years.

    “The decisions you take will fundamentally shape the ability of the United Nations to advance the well-being of the human family at a time of simultaneous peril and opportunity,” Mr. Ban stated.

    “My great hope for this process is that we never lose sight of why we are here, and who we are here to serve. We may be discussing numbers, but what really hangs in the balance is the prospects for people, families and communities across the world to enjoy a future of dignity for all.”

     

     
  • #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 19:43 on October 28, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: Agshin Mehdiyev, , , , , , OIC, Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, ,   

    UN:Security Council Recognised and Encouraged Active Contribution of Organisation of Islamic Co-operation 


    Map of nations in Organization of the Islamic ...

    Map of nations in Organization of the Islamic Conference (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    The Security Council today recognized and encouraged the active contribution of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in the work of the United Nations in the fields of peacemaking, preventive diplomacy, peacekeeping and peace building.

    Reading out a statement, Ambassador Agshin Mehdiyev of Azerbaijan, which holds this month’s rotating presidency of the Council, said the 15-member body “recognizes and further encourages” the active contribution of the OIC in the work that aims to realize the purposes and principles embodied in the UN Charter.

    “The Council notes the commitment of both the United Nations and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation to foster a global dialogue for the promotion of tolerance and peace, and calls for enhanced cooperation to promote better understanding across countries, cultures and civilizations,” according to the statement.

    During the meeting which preceded the statement, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon <“http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7233“>urged the OIC and all leaders to “do everything possible to repair rifts and rebuild confidence between Muslim communities as well as stem the influence of radical armed groups and violent extremists.”

    The UN chief urged partnerships to be strengthened between the UN and OIC which “could be uniquely placed” to launch a major initiative with partners to help end the “profoundly worrying” heightened tensions between Sunni and Shia communities in Syria and other parts of the world.

    “This upheaval that has caused the loss of so many civilian lives and represents such a threat to wider security,” Mr. Ban stressed in his remarks to the 15-member Council.

    The UN and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) has been “making progress” in dismantling and destroying the Syrian chemical weapons programme, said Mr. Ban, while urging continued efforts to reach a comprehensive political agreement “which reflects the will of the Syrian people.”

    150 px

    150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Highlighting other regions where the OIC would play a positive role, the top UN official highlighted that organization’s potential role to help break the status quo in the occupied Palestinian territory and forge a way forward in the Middle East peace process within the agreed frame.

    He also cited the OIC’s plans to visit Myanmar and welcomed the delegation’s “constructive engagement” to reduce tensions.

    Mr. Ban also highlighted the OIC’s efforts in Afghanistan and Sudan, and urged further partnerships in Mali, following the milestone presidential election there.

    Noting that the OIC and its member States have made significant efforts to mitigate the terrorist threat, the UN chief stressed the importance of addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of extremism and terrorism, including by strengthening efforts to peacefully resolve conflict, promote the rule of law, protect human rights and ensure good governance.

    “Terrorism is not associated with any particular religion, culture or people’s,” he said. “However, in recent years, terrorist violence has disproportionately affected countries that are members of OIC, from the Sahel and North Africa to the Middle East and South Asia.”

    He noted that the importance of intercultural dialogue between and within faiths “is more important than ever” and urged continued efforts to foster a culture of peace and co-existence through efforts such as the UN Alliance of Civilizations.

    In 2005, an initiative of Spain and Turkey created the UN Alliance of Civilizations, a forum where civil society, governments and the private sector could learn from each other and stand up for tolerance and inclusively and against extremism and polarization.

     

     
  • #AceNewsGroup 11:53 on October 28, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Albert Einstein, , , 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 13:03 on October 26, 2013 Permalink
    Tags: , , Chemical warfare, , , , , , , UN News, ,   

    #SYRIA, Chemical Weapons Watchdog Adapts to War Publicity #Peace 


    150 px

    150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    FEATURE: WORKING ALONGSIDE UN IN SYRIA, CHEMICAL WEAPONS WATCHDOG ADAPTS TO WAR, PUBLICITY

    After years of remarkable but largely unheralded success at ridding the world of mustard gas and deadly nerve agents like sarin and VX, inspectors from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have now been thrown into entirely new territory – working amid Syria’s bloody civil war and in the glare of the media following a surprise Nobel Peace Prize win two weeks ago.

    The acronym “OPCW” would likely have been met by blank stares a few weeks ago.  Now, even though the organisation has been thrust into the limelight, relatively few people understand its mandate or the dangerous work undertaken by its inspection teams.

    “This is an organisation that for 16 years has carried out its work very quietly. I would say we have even shunned publicity…but now, we’re trying to make it work for us,” said Franz Ontal, head of inspector training for the <“http://www.opcw.org/“>OPCW.

    In an interview with UN News Centre, Mr. Ontal, himself a former inspector, spoke of efforts to ensure that the 27-member team, working jointly with the United Nations in the embattled suburbs of Damascus, will carry out its tasks in a high-pressure setting while maintaining staff safety.

    He added, not without some pride, the watchdog agency is honoured by the Nobel win and that its inspectors are well-prepared for both the hostile environment in Syria and the media spotlight.

    Earlier this month, the UN Security Council endorsed Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s proposal to deploy up to 100 UN and OPCW experts in a multi-phase operation to carry out its resolution on eliminating Syria’s chemical weapons material and equipment, scheduled for completion by 30 June, 2014.

    The Council passed its measure after Syria agreed to join the Chemical Weapons Convention following a chemical weapons attack in late August that killed hundreds of people in the Ghouta suburb. An initial UN-led team that was headed to inspect that incident came under sniper fire. While no one was injured, one vehicle in the convoy was severely damaged, forcing the team to postpone its activities for a day.

    WMD world map

    WMD world map (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Both incidents threw into stark relief the deepening crisis in the country, where more than 100,000 people have already lost their lives and some 6.5 million others have been driven from their homes since protesters first sought the ouster of President Bashar al-Assad’s Government in March, 2011.

    The UN has called the OPCW into service as the implementing body of the 1997 Convention. It is responsible for monitoring and verifying chemical weapons destruction and has carried out inspections in Iraq and continues to work with, among others, the United States and Russia in destroying large stockpiles. In a recent success, the OPCW oversaw the destruction of 85 per cent of post-conflict Libya’s mustard sulphur agent.

    Yet, while the agency has tackled many challenges in the past, its current mission in Syria is different, said Mr. Ontal, underscoring that the war-time setting has added “another layer of concern” to the inspectors’ work.

    Normally confronted with stress related to dealing with hazardous materials, they are also carrying out their dangerous task while wearing flack vests and helmets to protect them from stray bullets and flying shrapnel.

    “These are two levels of stress that should never meet, but this is the environment in which we are working in Syria,” he said.

    Under such conditions, the joint OPCW-UN team will use the spotlight “to show that we are carrying out our duties responsibly.” Indeed, Mr. Ontal said: “We are in Syria to do a job. We want to show that we are not there to take sides. We are impartial and we plan to carry out our work in a professional and transparent way.”

    The inspectors have been on the ground since early October but are just now wrapping up their first week of activities with the UN under the Council’s official mandate.

    Spokesman Michael Luhan said this week the OPCW is confident Syria will meet the 1 November deadline for destroying all equipment used in the production chemical agents. He also flagged another milestone reached, adding that a complete, official, inventory of all Syria’s chemical weapons, munitions, and production facilities, was expected to be delivered to the Organisation’s headquarters ahead of schedule.

    Still, despite steady progress and cooperation on the ground, Mr. Ontal worries.

    “I’m an inspector myself. So I feel I speak from both sides and say that we just want to get everybody back home safely,” he said, noting that the organisation has a very good safety record – there have been injuries but no casualties – “and we want to keep that record and end our mission in Syria with no casualties.”

    “Also, I want us to do a good job. This is a tremendous responsibility given to us by the international community and we want to complete it in the safest most effective, efficient and transparent way.”

     
    • kaligrafinusantaraonline 14:04 on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Hopefully joint UN team – OPCW can finish the job properly as said by Mr. Ontal.
      thank you for sharing this post

      Like

      • Ace News Group 14:33 on October 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        I total agree and all l would like to see is Peace for the people that are suffering these atrocities! This war has been going on for 2 years plus, but until the world’s media got involved on the Chemical Weapons, very few people were aware of over 100,000 plus people dying.

        Like

  • #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.

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