NORTH KOREA: ‘ Claims the US targeted them with Live Anthrax ‘

#AceNewsReport – NORTH KOREA:June.12: Pyongyang has accused the United States of using “biological warfare schemes” to target North Korea with live anthrax and wants the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) to investigate.

North Korea Claims US Targeted them with Live Anthrax '
‘ North Korea Claims US Targeted them with Live Anthrax ‘

The accusations were made in a letter to the UNSC and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon from North Korea’s ambassador to the UN Ja Song Nam.

The letter, which was dated June 4, was made public on Friday and comes after US defense officials revealed in late May that low concentration samples of live anthrax were mistakenly shipped to labs in 19 states and to at least 70 labs in four countries, including a US facility based in South Korea. Australia, Britain, and Canada have also reported receiving shipments of the deadly bacteria.

Anthrax bacteria

According to the US Defense Department, the anthrax was supposed to have been killed before it was shipped to laboratories for research, a practice that has been carried out successfully for ten years.

“The United States not only possesses deadly weapons of mass destruction…but also is attempting to use them in actual warfare against [North Korea],” Nam wrote in his letter.

Referring to the delivery as “the gravest challenge to peace and a hideous crime aimed at genocide,” the letter also “strongly requests the Security Council take up the issue of the shipment of anthrax germs in order to thoroughly investigate the biological warfare schemes of the United States.”

Pyongyang has been openly critical of the US’ military presence in South Korea, and has strongly objected annual US-South Korean military exercises which it views as a threat.

State Department spokesman Jeff Rathke dismissed the allegations on Friday, telling reporters in Washington that they were “ridiculous” and “didn’t merit a response.”

The US House of Representatives announced on Wednesday that a thorough investigation has been launched into the incident, and vowed that they will hold the Defense Department accountable for the error.

#ban-ki-moon, #biological-warfare, #national-defence-commission, #north-korea, #pyongyang, #secretary-general-of-the-united-nations, #the-pentagon, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council, #united-states, #unsc

MOSCOW: ‘ Russia plans new ISIL Single Strategy under UN Auspices ‘

#AceNewsServices – Featured Report:MOSCOW:June.11: Double standards in fighting extremism are not acceptable, the top Russian diplomat stressed, adding that actions of extremists are often ignored for political gain.  Fighters from the al-Qaida linked Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Russia will promote the creation of a single strategy to counter Islamic State militants in the Middle East and North Africa under the auspices of the UN Security Council, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Thursday.

Read More:>>>>

@AceNewServices

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‘ Israeli Residents Are Warned with Leaflets to Vacate Their Homes and Ministry Notice Telling Them to Ignore Leaflets ‘

#AceWorldNewsGAZA CITY – July 13  – Israel warned residents of the northern part of the Gaza Strip to evacuate their homes before briefly deploying ground troops there for the first time early Sunday as part of a widening offensive that has killed more than 160 Palestinians.

Communique Telling Civilians to ignore Warning of IDF

Announcement from the ministry of the interior to the residents of the Gaza Strip, telling them not to pay attention to IDF announcements about vacating their homes (Facebook page of the ministry of the interior in the Gaza Strip, July 10, 2014)

Translation from Arabic 

Neither Israel nor Palestinian militants show signs of agreeing to a cease-fire to end their week-long conflict, despite calls by the United Nations Security Council and others that they lay down their arms. With Israel massing tanks and soldiers at Gaza’s borders, some fear the latest Israeli threats could signal a wider ground offensive that would bring even heavier casualties than the 166 Palestinian deaths already registered.

“All our ground forces are ready,” a senior Israeli military official said Sunday. “We have been training for this. We will exploit our ability the moment a decision is made to do so.”

Early Sunday, Israeli naval commandos launched a brief raid into northern Gaza to destroy what the military described as a rocket-launching site, an operation it said left four of its soldiers slightly wounded.

The Israeli air force later dropped leaflets warning residents to evacuate their homes ahead of what Israel’s military spokesman described as a “short and temporary” campaign against northern Gaza to begin sometime after 12 p.m. (0900 GMT). The area is home to at least 100,000 people. 

( Ace New Services – July 08 2014) – According a publication received at this office HAMAS has coerced civilians on to tops of houses to prevent Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) from bombing their homes.

This was the same tactic used in ‘ Operation Cast Lead ‘ by terrorist organisations back in 2008. As with many other such operations employed by various terrorists and non-terrorist or governmental bodies.

The latest Israeli military operation in Gaza, dubbed Operation Protective Edge, is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.

Before the July 2014 offensive, the last large-scale escalation was in November 2012, when the Israeli military bombarded the Gaza Strip with air strikes for eight days.

Known as Operation Pillar of Defence, the strikes killed 171 Palestinians, including more than 100 civilians.

In 2008-2009, Israeli soldiers launched a 22-day military operation in Gaza, dubbed Operation Cast Lead. About 1,400 Palestinians and 13 Israelis were killed in the offensive.

Jewish settlers and Israeli troops withdrew from the Gaza Strip over the course of 2005, with the majority making their way out of the territory in August that year. 
Israel retained control over Gaza’s borders, airspace and territorial waters. An area of dismantled West Bank settlements, also remained under full Israeli civil and military control, in so-called Area C.
The Gaza war, also known as Operation Cast Lead, began on December 27, 2008. Israel immediately launched a widespread aerial bombing campaign, targeting more than 100 locations in the densely populated Gaza Strip, including residential homes, police stations, schools, United Nations buildings, and hospitals.
An Israeli ground assault was launched on January 3, 2009. During the operation, Israeli forces fired shells containing white phosphorus, an illegal weapon that burns indiscriminately.

The conflict ended in a unilateral Israeli-declared ceasefire on January 18.

On November 14, 2012, Israel killed Ahmed Jabari, chief of Hamas’ military wing in Gaza, in a targeted air strike on his car in Gaza City. Hamas responded by firing a barrage of rockets at nearby Israeli towns.

Israel then embarked on an eight-day military offensive on Gaza, which it called Operation Pillar of Defence.

Hamas said  the rockets were fired as a reaction to the blockade on Gaza and the occupation of the West Bank.

Israel claimed that the operation was a response to an increase in the number of rockets fired into Israeli territory in the days and weeks preceding the operation. 

Ace Related News:

Protective Edge

#ANS2014  

 

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&nbsp #AceWorldNews SYRIA May 09  The last 16…

#AceWorldNewsSYRIAMay 09 – The last 16 containers of Syrian dangerous chemicals to be destroyed remain in area where fighting is on, the head of the Joint Mission of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons and the United Nations, Sigrid Kaag told AP.

She said a ceasefire will be needed to get the remaining containers, representing 8 percent of Syria’s declared stockpile, out of an air base near Damascus controlled by armed opposition groups of “the more extreme kind,” Kaag said.

She called on countries with influence on forces fighting in Syria to help arrange access for experts to the site and safe transport for the chemicals to the port of Latakia, where Danish and Norwegian ships are waiting to take the containers to a US vessel for destruction.

#ANS2014

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#AceBreakingNews UNITED NATIONS May 02 Russia is calling…

#AceBreakingNews – UNITED NATIONS – May 02- Russia is calling an extraordinary meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the punitive operation staged by the Kiev authorities in Ukraine’s south-eastern regions, a spokesman for Russia’s permanent mission at the United Nations told ITAR-TASS on Friday.

“Russia is calling an open meeting of the United Nations Security Council over Kiev’s punitive operation,” the spokesman said, adding that the meeting would begin after a closed-doors meeting of the United Nations Security Council dedicated to the Council’s schedule for 2-3 May.

#ANS2014

#kiev, #national-security-council, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council

#AceWorldNews UKRAINE April 13 Latest 1 UNITED NATIONS…

#AceWorldNews – UKRAINE – April 13 – Latest.

  1. UNITED NATIONS, April 13 The United Nations Security Council is meeting to discuss the situation in eastern Ukraine at Russia’s request at 20:00 New York time (04:00 Moscow time on Monday), Russia’s Permanent Mission to the UN says.
  2. Yanukovich calls on Ukrainians “to preserve Ukraine’s unity and defend their country.
    He urges Ukrainian troops not to obey “criminal orders” and refrain from firing at Ukrainian people.

  3. The United States is directly linked to the events in Ukraine. It used its diplomatic channels and security services – Yanukovich.

4.CIA director visited Kiev to meet Interior Minister Avakov and acting President Turchinov – Yanukovich.

#ANS2014

#kiev, #ukraine, #ukrainian, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council, #united-states

` Iran and the Sextet meet for Three-day Negotiations with the Expert Teams ‘

#AceWorldNews – VIENNA – April 02 – Director-General of Political and Legal Affairs in the Iranian Foreign Ministry Hamid Baeidinejad will lead the Iranian delegation in the three-day negotiations with the expert teams of the six world powers (FNA) .

The experts meeting will be followed by talks between the top negotiators of Iran and the Sextet on April 7 to 9.

Iran and the Group 5+1 representatives had several sessions of talks in Vienna March 18-19.

On November 24, Iran and the five permanent United Nations Security Council members sealed a six-month Joint Plan of Action to lay the groundwork for the full resolution of the West’s decade-old dispute with Iran over the latter’s nuclear energy program (Reuters)

In exchange for Tehran’s confidence-building bid to limit certain aspects of its nuclear activities, the Sextet of the world powers agreed to lift some of the existing sanctions against Tehran and impose no nuclear-related sanctions on Iran during the six-month period.

#ANS2014

#iran, #iranian, #sextet, #united-nations-security-council, #vienna

` UN Security Council `unanimously adopted ‘ Resolution imposing `Sanction’s ‘ on Export’s from Libya ‘

#AceWorldNews The United Nations Security Council “unanimously adopted” a resolution imposing sanctions on ships engaged in illicit crude oil exports from Libya and condemning any attempts to do so.

“The resolution requested that Libya inform the Security Council committee overseeing the arms embargo, travel ban and assets freeze imposed on the country by resolution 1970 – known as the 1970 committee – of any vessels transporting crude oil illicitly exported from Libya,” said the statement released on the UN News Centre website.

The UN also authorized member states to inspect all vessels “designated” by the committee and to use all possible measures in their capacity to ensure any crude oil is returned to Libya.

#ANS2014

#libya, #un-news-centre, #united-nations-security-council

` RFM `Sergey Lavrov ‘ discussed `Ukraine ‘ with Chinese ‘

#AceWorldNews says that Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov discussed Ukraine with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi, on Monday and their views coincided on the situation there.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said the two veto-wielding United Nations Security Council members would stay in close contact on the issue, Reuters reported.

#ANS2014

#chinese, #reuters, #russian-foreign-minister-sergey-lavrov, #ukraine, #united-nations-security-council, #wang-yi

#Syria : UN Report Asserts `Children are being Recruited to Fight with Opposition’ and are `Used’ as Civilian Shields”

#AceNewsServices says a new report by United Nations investigators asserts that children in Syria are not only actively recruited to fight with the opposition but are also tortured and used as civilian shields by the rebels.

child-soldier-with-rebelsThe report, the first to assess the impact of the nearly three-year-old Syria war on children, was quietly presented to the Security Council last week, as Syrian government and opposition representatives met in Switzerland for peace talks under the auspices of the United Nations.

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative for children and armed conflict, Leila Zerrougui, is scheduled to brief the Council next week on the report, which was not released publicly until Monday.

“The suffering endured by the children in the Syrian Arab Republic since the outset of the conflict, as documented in this report, is unspeakable and unacceptable,” Ban said in the report, dated January 27, which was posted online on Tuesday.

“Ill treatment and acts tantamount to torture reportedly included beatings with metal cables, whips and wooden and metal batons; electric shocks, including to the genitals; the ripping out of fingernails and toenails; sexual violence, including rape or threats of rape; mock executions; cigarette burns; sleep deprivation; solitary confinement; and exposure to the torture of relatives,” the report said.

Notably, the government denies it detains children. In Geneva, Fayssal Mekdad, the deputy foreign minister, said in response to a question last week, the day before the report went to the Security Council: “I categorically deny any children being detained. Those are rumours.”

He accused opposition forces of abducting and killing children.

Investigators were also able to chronicle abuse by opposition forces, including summary executions of children. It received two reports from Hasakah Province, in north-east Syria: a 16-year-old boy fatally shot last April by the Nusra Front, which is aligned with al-Qaeda, and a 14-year-old boy killed by a Kurdish group.

The Syrian government told United Nations investigators that at least 130 children had been killed by opposition forces.

The report said the Free Syrian Army, the main opposition force, had recruited children in military and support roles. While there seemed to be no policy of doing so, the report said, there were no age verification procedures.

“Many boys stated that they felt it was their duty to join the opposition,” the report said.

A loose alliance of moderate rebel groups form the Free Syrian Army, which is run by the Supreme Military Command. Western and Arab powers have tried to build it into a force to topple President Bashar al-Assad, but the group has lost the support of rebel brigades to an Islamist alliance.

Saudi Arabia and Qatar have backed the Supreme Military Command with weapons, training, money and intelligence, while the United States and Britain have given non-lethal aid, such as like communications and transportation equipment.

The United States and Britain suspended non-lethal aid to northern Syria in December after reports that Islamist fighters seized Western-backed rebel weapons warehouses, highlighting fears that supplies could end up in hostile hands.

But the United States is supplying light arms to moderate Syrian rebel factions in the south of the country and U.S. funding for months of further deliveries has been approved by Congress, according to security officials.

Courtesy of:  Voice of Russia, AFP, Reuters

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#UN Security Council : ” Trans-Atlantic Relations’ a `Rift Could Emerge’ without `Involvement of Germany”

#AceSecurityNews says `NSA Scandal’ Germans hold out for ‘change they can believe in.

Courtesy: Roslyn Fuller, for RT

nsa-germany-against-spying-tradition.siIt is difficult to imagine how a significant rift in trans-Atlantic relations could emerge without the involvement of Germany, the European Union’s most populous, financially solvent and politically powerful member.

It continues to host tens of thousands of American troops on its soil, and with its impeccable capitalist credentials, track-record of dutiful political decision-making, enviable manufacturing base and ability to criticize English-speaking nations in their own language, Germany is always able to make a good case for its views on the international stage.

Since Germany is not a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council nor closely bound to significant former overseas possessions, it is more likely to disagree with American expansionist policies than Britain or France. Permanently half a step out of sync with the P-3 (the USA, UK and France) in this regard, Germany – a loyal NATO-member during the Cold War – has become the ultimate swing state of international relations over the past decade.

With fears of Soviet invasion and fond memories of Allied troops handing out candy in the aftermath of WWII fading rapidly into the past, the Second Iraq War presented a major turning point in US-German relations and a sharp disillusionment of many Germans with American foreign policy.

Eventually proven right in its skepticism of Anglo-American claims that Iraq was stockpiling weapons of mass destruction, Germany has remained decidedly unenthusiastic about Western-led interventions ever since. Most notably, in 2011 Germany – along with China and Russia – refused to endorse UN Security Council Resolution 1973 which enabled limited military engagement during the civil war in Libya.

Several US officials, including former US Ambassador to NATO Nicholas Burns, publicly criticized Germany’s decision to abstain from voting on the Resolution. This criticism provoked an intense debate within Germany and soured relations just a little bit more. The NSA mass surveillance programs revealed by Edward Snowden last year put another nail in the coffin of the once so-rosy US-German relationship.

Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

Voices against NSA spying

While it seemed at first that NSA surveillance in Germany might be dealt with in a purely diplomatic context with all parties agreeing to make a few cosmetic changes before sweeping the issue under the rug, German politicians have become increasingly vocal about just what the American administration will need to do to mend fences with them.

This stance – which has been taken up by members of both parties in Germany’s governing ‘grand coalition’ (the center-left SPD and Chancellor Merkel’s center-right CDU/CSU) – has proven far more popular than Merkel’s original mild reaction on learning that the NSA had hacked her private cell phone. World leaders may be inclined to take some measure of spying on themselves with a grain of salt, but German voters were inflamed, particularly because President Obama had previously denied that the NSA was conducting operations against German targets. With an electorate feeling shocked, angered and betrayed, politicians across the political spectrum soon realized that this was not an issue to be ignored.

The SPD’s leader in parliament, Thomas Oppermann, has taken a strong stance against the NSA programs, contemplating asylum for Edward Snowden, demanding a No-Spy-Agreement between Germany and United States and threatening legal action. The SPD currently holds the Ministry for Justice and has, according to a DPA report, stated that it will not exercise its ability to prevent criminal prosecutions related to NSA spying on government figures. In particular, German politicians have been less than receptive to the olive branch extended to them (and the rest of the world) via Obama’s reform plans for the NSA.

Justice Minister Heiko Maas has characterized the proposed NSA reforms as merely a “first step,” stating that only a No-Spy Agreement would suffice to allay his concerns. Elmar Brok, a CDU Member of the European Parliament and Chairperson for the Committee on Foreign Affairs, harshly criticized Obama’s speech on NSA reform as window-dressing, lending his views weight by explicitly stating that the pending Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership between the European Union and the US should not be signed before the issue of data protection was completely resolved.

He was echoed in this sentiment by fellow CDU/CSU politician Stephan Mayer who demanded “concrete action,” while government spokesperson Steffan Seibert, while delivering the government reaction to Obama’s speech, reminded his audience that the government expected its allies to respect German law on German territory. Most strongly of all, Merkel herself is alleged to have compared NSA surveillance activities to the actions of the East German Stasi in a recent confrontation with Obama.

Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

Reuters/Kai Pfaffenbach

No to shooting the plane down

While this strong stance on the issue of mass surveillance may cause their Anglo-Saxon counterparts some anxiety, Germany’s ire shouldn’t surprise them. While Western values of individual freedom and democracy were imposed on Germany more or less by fiat following the Second World War, in the intervening years these values have deeply penetrated the German legal system and public opinion. Both the German constitution, with its robust protections of individual rights (including privacy), and the principles of international law (especially the prohibition on the use of force) are revered points of cultural reference and perceived as non-negotiable. In other words, Germans took all of the human rights talk seriously, apparently not having received the memo on how to use it merely for political spin.

To give an example: while British and American politicians have repeatedly vowed to shoot down any hijacked passenger plane which might be used in a 9/11-style attack, such a situation proved a legal and moral conundrum in Germany. With a 70-year legal tradition that enshrines deep respect for the sanctity of life and human dignity, the topic provoked months of heated debate. This debate culminated in the Bundestag passing a law that permitted authorities to shoot down a hijacked passenger plane in certain circumstances, a law that was quashed by the Federal Constitutional Court on the grounds that it contravened citizens’ basic rights.

Similarly, Germans feel deeply about the issue of surveillance, as for many of them the experience and consequences of repressive state surveillance are well within living memory and deeply unacceptable on a cultural level. Many Germans are thus willing to lend a helping hand to anyone who opposes such practices. Thus, just as Germany became a focal point for resistance to the Second Iraq War, it is beginning to become something of a magnet for transparency activists, with Jacob Appelbaum and Sarah Harrison currently residing in Berlin where they face fewer obstacles in conducting their work.

An American citizen, Appelbaum – an early WikiLeaks volunteer and TOR project member – has relocated to Germany to avoid harassment from US authorities, while Harrison – the WikiLeaks worker who escorted Edward Snowden to Moscow – has cited fears of legal prosecution in her native Britain as the reason for her choice to remain in Berlin.

While Germany and the rest of what Donald Rumsfeld once referred to as “Old Europe” are still firmly rooted in the Western-centrist tradition and do not espouse any particularly radical policies, they would like to move from head cheerleader to equal partner within the Western bloc of developed nations and have their core values respected.

Individual privacy is, for good reason, one of their core values and with the support of their electorate, German politicians are willing to hold out for change their constituents will believe in.

Having lost a great deal of international credibility over the past decade, the US now finds itself in a delicate position. While the American administration would obviously like to get its surveillance programs off the international agenda as quickly and as quietly as possible, the Germans have made clear that it will stay on their agenda, and that they will use their clout to keep it on the European agenda, until they receive a concession that makes it worthwhile for them to change their minds.

If the US wants to fully repair its relationship with Germany it will have to take some meaningful action on this point or risk further alienating a nation that has previously proven to be one of its most loyal allies.

Roslyn Fuller, for RT

Dr. Roslyn Fuller is the author of Ireland’s leading textbook on international law. She was educated at the University of Goettingen in Germany.

 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees ...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

#aceworldnews, #bashar-al-assad, #damascus, #iraq, #middle-east, #peace, #presidential-statement, #syria, #syrian-government, #syrians, #unhcr, #unicef, #united-nations, #united-nations-high-commissioner-for-refugees, #united-nations-security-council, #world-food-programme

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

150 px

150 px (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York, Dec  4 2013  7:00PM

 

#chemical-weapon, #damascus, #latakia, #organisation-for-the-prohibition-of-chemical-weapons, #syria, #united-nation, #united-nations-security-council, #united-states

Security Council Strongly Condemns the Shelling of Russian Embassy in Damascus Today

Security Council of the Russian Federation (Со...

Security Council of the Russian Federation (Совет Безопасности РФ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

#AceWorldNews says it strongly condemns the shelling of the Russian Embassy in Damascus today, the Security Council deplored the incident – which left one person dead and 9 others injured – as a “heinous terrorist act,” and reaffirmed the need to combat all manifestations of terrorism “by all means”, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and international law.

“The members of the Security Council are outraged and strongly condemned the mortar shelling on 28 November against the Embassy of the Russian Federation in Damascus, Syria, which killed one and wounded 9 people including among the Embassy security personnel,” the 15-nation body said in statement issued this evening from UN Headquarters in New York.

The Council members extended their condolences to the family of the victim and expressed their sympathy to all those injured “in this heinous terrorist act.” They also underlined the need to bring the perpetrators to justice.

Further to the statement, the Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to international peace and security, and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable, regardless of their motivation, wherever, whenever and by whomsoever committed.

Council members also reaffirmed the need to combat by all means, in accordance with the UN Charter “and all obligations under international law, in particular international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, threats to international peace and security caused by terrorist acts.”

Finally, the Council recalled the fundamental principle of the inviolability of diplomatic and consular premises, and the obligations on host Governments, including under the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the 1963 Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, to take all appropriate steps to protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage, and to prevent any disturbance of the peace of these missions or impairment of their dignity, and to prevent any attack on diplomatic premises, agents and consular officers.

 

#council, #damascus, #list-of-diplomatic-missions-of-russia, #new-york, #syria, #terrorism, #united-nations-charter, #united-nations-security-council

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New York, Nov 25 2013  7:00PM

#aceworldnews, #humanrights, #central-african-republic, #democratic-republic-of-congo, #lord-resistance-army, #lra, #south-sudan, #uganda, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council

League of Arab States Strong Endorsement of the Geneva Two Process

Arab League states and Israel map.

Arab League states and Israel map. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Responding to the League of Arab States’ statement on Syria, an FCO spokesperson said:

We welcome the League of Arab States’ strong endorsement of the Geneva II process and their support for the Syrian National Coalition, who we recognise as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people.

We agree with the League that Geneva II is necessary to end to this bloody conflict and secure a transition to a sustainable political settlement in Syria, where there will be no place for Assad.

We share the League’s deep concern at the dire humanitarian situation and the need urgently to improve humanitarian access. We call on all parties to comply with the UN Security Council’s Presidential Statement on humanitarian access. The Assad regime continues to obstruct efforts by humanitarian actors to meet the needs of the millions of Syrians suffering displacement and deprivation. This is unacceptable. It must stop.

 

#acepoliticalnews, #arab-league, #bashar-al-assad, #geneva, #geneva-ii, #middle-east, #national-coalition-for-syrian-revolutionary-and-opposition-forces, #syria, #syrian-people, #united-nations-security-council

Middle East Peace Process, Syria and Iran.

The Foreign Secretary William Hague said:

Middle East peace ProcessMr Speaker, with permission I will make a Statement on the Middle East Peace Process, Syria and Iran. On all of these matters there have been important diplomatic developments over the last few weeks, and I wanted to inform the House of them at the earliest opportunity.

It is impossible to overstate the challenges and the gravity of the threats in the region if current openings and opportunities are not brought to fruition. But on each of these subjects there has been some progress, and it is important that we build on that as rapidly and decisively as possible.

Whatever the pressure of other issues, we must never lose sight of the importance and centrality of the Middle East Peace Process, to the lives of millions of Israelis and Palestinians and to international peace and security. I pay tribute to the leadership of US Secretary of State John Kerry, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas for the progress that has been made, including the resumption of negotiations in July.

The United States has confirmed that there have been seven rounds of direct bilateral negotiations since then. Both sides have now agreed to intensify the pace of the discussions and increase American participation in them, with the goal of reaching a permanent status agreement within nine months.

During the UN General Assembly Ministerial week in New York, my Right Honourable Friend the Deputy Prime Minister met President Abbas in New York, while I held talks with Israeli Minister of International Relations Yuval Steinitz. We reiterated the United Kingdom’s unequivocal support for a two-state solution based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital, and a just and agreed settlement for refugees. With our European Union partners we are ready to provide major practical support to both sides in taking the bold steps that are needed.

This includes our bilateral assistance to the Palestinian economy and the institutions of their future State. The UK is one of the largest donors to the Palestinians, providing £349 million for Palestinian development over four years.

My Right Honourable Friend the Secretary of State for International Development attended the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee established to oversee Palestinian state building and development. She recommitted the UK to provide predictable, long term assistance aligned with the priorities of the Palestinian National Authority: building strong institutions, promoting private sector growth and humanitarian aid.

Department for International Development We are also supporting the Palestinian Economic Initiative which the US and Quartet are developing. DFID will shortly be launching a new £15m Palestinian Market Development Programme to help Palestinian SMEs enter new markets and to help mobilise investment. Economic progress can never be a substitute for a political settlement, but it is vital that the Palestinian people see tangible improvements in their daily lives.

Mr Speaker, the situation in Syria remains catastrophic. More than 100,000 people have been killed, and the number of Syrian refugees has grown by more than 1.8 million in just twelve months, to over two million. We must always be clear that we will not have succeeded in our work until this violence has been brought to a stop, but nevertheless we were able to make some diplomatic progress in New York on our objectives, namely to prevent the further use of chemical weapons, to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and to promote a political settlement to the conflict.

On the first of those, I attended the meeting of the United Nations Security Council on 27th September, which adopted the first Resolution on Syria in 17 months. Security Council Resolution 2118 requires the full implementation of the near-simultaneous decision of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, which sets out how Syria’s chemical weapons must be verifiably eliminated within the first half of 2014.

For the first time, the Security Council Resolution imposes binding and enforceable obligations on the Syrian regime to comply, with the threat of action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter if it does not. It also stipulates that those responsible for any use of chemical weapons must be held accountable. I announced in New York £2 million in funding in order to enable the OPCW to deploy to Syria last week.

They have reported early progress in identifying and destroying chemical weapons. Under their supervision Syrian personnel have commenced the destruction or disabling of missile warheads, aerial bombs and mixing and filling equipment, and are carrying out work to assess the accuracy and completeness of the information provided by the regime.

OPCWBritish nationals who work for the OPCW are already deployed in Syria as part of the new destruction mission, and we stand ready to provide further support as necessary – such as personnel, technical expertise and information. The House should be in no doubt that the voluntary destruction of a deadly arsenal of weapons that until recently the Assad regime denied it possessed is an important step forward, and a vindication of the threat of military action by the United States of America.

Second, hundreds of thousands of Syrian civilians continue to suffer atrociously from the regime’s use of conventional weapons. The UK is leading the way in alleviating desperate humanitarian suffering. In the UK’s annual address to the
General Assembly the Deputy Prime Minister confirmed an additional £100 million in UK assistance, bringing our total humanitarian contribution to date to £500 million – the largest ever British response to a single crisis.

The Prime Minister’s campaign begun at the G20 and followed up by our Embassies worldwide has helped to secure more than $1 billion in new international pledges of humanitarian assistance since the start of September, and we look to other countries to do more to meet the level of suffering and instability caused by such an unprecedented number of people in need.

Throughout the General Assembly and particularly in the two meetings I had with the other permanent members of the UN Security Council, I pressed the case for a Security Council Presidential Statement urging the Syrian Government to allow unhindered access to people in need, including across borders, and calling on all parties to agree on humanitarian pauses in the fighting to allow the delivery of aid. This statement was subsequently agreed on 2nd October. With our encouragement, the UN Secretary General has announced his intention to convene a new pledging conference in January 2014.

The House will know that the stability of Jordan and Lebanon is high among our priorities, and in that regard I attended with the P5 Foreign Ministers the creation of a new International Support Group for Lebanon during the General Assembly. The UK is now providing £69 million to help Lebanon cope with the refugee crisis. In addition we are providing £11 million of non-lethal assistance to the Lebanese Armed Forces. And we are helping Jordan with £87 million of UK aid for Syrian refugees and host communities.

Third, on the political process, UN Security Council Resolution 2118 also formally endorsed the Geneva Communiqué of June last year for the first time, calling for the establishment of a transitional governing body exercising full executive powers, which could include members of the present Government and the opposition and other groups, formed on the basis of mutual consent. The Resolution calls for the convening of an international conference on Syria to implement the Geneva Communiqué.

As Foreign Ministers we agreed with the UN Secretary-General that we should aim to convene the Conference in Geneva by mid-November this year. An intensive period of preparation will be required, led by UN and Arab League Special Representative Lakhdar Brahimi.

I met Syrian National Coalition President Ahmed Al-Jarba in New York, who assured me the Coalition remains committed to an inclusive and democratic Syria; that they reject extremism; and that they are committed to the Geneva Communiqué. There can be no peaceful and political settlement in Syria without the participation of the moderate opposition, and we are providing more than £20 million in non-lethal support to the moderate opposition and will do more in the coming months.

I discussed the conflict in Syria with the new Foreign Minister of Iran, who I met twice in New York, including with the E3+3 Foreign Ministers. And I also had further discussions with him by telephone yesterday.

It is clear that the new President and Ministers in Iran are presenting themselves and their country in a much more positive way than in the recent past. There is no doubt that the tone of the meetings with them is different.

We have agreed to resume negotiations on their nuclear programme in Geneva next week on 15 and 16 October. We are looking forward to seeing serious proposals from Iran to follow-up on their stated desire to make rapid progress with negotiations. It will be very important for Iran’s relations with the international community for the marked change of presentation and statements to be accompanied by concrete actions and a practical approach to negotiations.

We must not forget for one moment that as things stand today, Iran remains in defiance of six UN Security Council Resolutions and of multiple Resolutions of the International Atomic Energy Agency Board of Governors, and is installing more centrifuges in its nuclear facilities. In the absence of change to these policies we will continue to maintain strong sanctions. A substantial change in British or Western policies on the Iranian nuclear programme requires a substantive change in that programme.

However we must test the Iranian Government’s sincerity to the full, and it is important that our channels of communication are open for that.

Mr Zarif the Foreign Minister and I discussed how to improve the functioning of the UK-Iran bilateral relationship. Our diplomatic relations suffered a severe setback when our Embassy compounds in Tehran were overrun in 2011 and the Vienna Conventions flouted, and when the Iranian Majles voted to downgrade relations with the UK.

It is understood on both sides that given this history, progress in our bilateral relationship needs to proceed on a step-by-step and reciprocal basis. The Foreign Minister and I agreed our officials would meet to discuss this. The first such meeting has taken place already, and will be followed by a further meeting in Geneva next week. This includes discussion of numbers of and conditions for locally-engaged staff in the Embassy premises of each country and visits to inspect these premises.

I have made very clear to Mr Zarif that we are open to more direct contact and further improvements in our bilateral relationship.

We have therefore agreed that both our countries will now appoint a non-resident Chargé d’affaires tasked with implementing the building of relations, including interim steps on the way towards eventual re-opening of both our Embassies, as well as dialogue on other issues of mutual concern.

We must not underestimate the difficulties ahead. Iran has a complex power structure, there are voices in Iran who do not agree with their Government’s stated desire to see progress on nuclear negotiations and a rapprochement with the West, and improvements in our bilateral relations will require confidence on both sides that those improvements can be sustained. But to be open to such improvements is consistent with our desire to finding a peaceful resolution to the nuclear dispute and the fact that we have no quarrel with the people of Iran.

The House will be conscious that on all of these issues the coming months may be unusually significant, and replete with dangers but also with opportunities. Her Majesty’s Government will spare no effort to promote a peaceful resolution of each of these conflicts and crises, working closely with our allies at all times, and taking full advantage of every diplomatic opening, never starry-eyed but always pursuing progress through resolute diplomacy.

 

#peace-acenewsservices, #iran, #john-kerry, #lebanon, #middle-east, #middle-east-peace-process, #palestinian-national-authority, #palestinian-people, #peace-process-in-the-israeli-palestinian-conflict, #security-council-resolution, #syria, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council, #united-states

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.

#aceworldnews, #ban-ki-moon, #democratic-republic-of-congo, #goma, #north-kivu, #rwanda, #tanzania, #united-nations, #united-nations-organization-stabilization-mission-in-the-democratic-republic-of-the-congo, #united-nations-security-council

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.

#aceworldnews, #alfred-maurice-de-zayas, #manhattan, #security-council, #united-nations, #united-nations-general-assembly, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-parliamentary-assembly, #united-nations-security-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur, #united-states

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.

 

#agshin-mehdiyev, #azerbaijan, #ban-ki-moon, #islam, #middle-east, #new-york, #oic, #organisation-of-islamic-cooperation, #united-nations, #united-nations-security-council