8 Sep 2016



UN DAILY NEWS from the

7 September, 2016



Speaking at a gathering of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and the United Nations today, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon welcomed the focus of cooperation between the two organizations on a range of sectors, including the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and gender equality and women's empowerment.

"The ASEAN-UN Plan of Action will advance the two major agreements reached last year for people, planet, prosperity, partnership and peace," Mr. Ban said in his opening remarks at the 8th ASEAN-UN Summit in Vientiane, the capital of the Lao People's Democratic Republic (Lao PDR), referring to the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as well at the Paris Agreement on climate change.
"Now we need the resources to put this plan into action," he added.

On 1 January 2016, the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September last year – officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with the aim of achieving the SDGs, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

If nine more ASEAN countries ratify, we will have just 19 more countries to go.

In his remarks, the UN chief highlighted that the ASEAN-UN Plan of Action provides an opportunity to promote the complementarity of ASEAN's Community Vision 2025 with the 2030 Agenda.

He further encouraged ASEAN leaders to establish a coordinating mechanism, under their direct leadership, to ensure the implementation of the SDGs in their respective countries.

Turning to the Paris Agreement, Mr. Ban thanked the Lao PDR, which also holds the 2016 ASEAN chair, for depositing its instrument of ratification – thus becoming the first ASEAN country to do so. He called on other ASEAN leaders to follow suit and ratify the Paris Agreement at the earliest possible moment.

"We need 28 more countries to ratify, accounting for a further 16 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions, to bring this agreement into force," said the Secretary-General. "If nine more ASEAN countries ratify, we will have just 19 more countries to go."

Underscoring that both the Paris Agreement and the 2030 Agenda were founded on respect for human rights and democracy, Mr. Ban encouraged the gathered leaders to work for equality, inclusivity and accountability in their governments and societies.

"We must now explore ways to mainstream human rights across all areas of the ASEAN-UN partnership," he said.

Concluding his remarks, Mr. Ban congratulated Lao PDR for the launch of its own national sustainable development goal, centred on the removal of unexploded ordnance, and recalled his visit to a local school training people in demining and his visit to a community-based drug treatment centre in the capital, supported by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

The Secretary-General is currently in Lao PDR as part of a wider visit to Asia, which included visiting Singapore and China, in addition to attending the ASEAN-UN Summit and related meetings.

Earlier today, the UN chief also met the Lao PDR's President Bounnhang Vorachith, as well as Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith. In those encounters, Mr. Ban congratulated the country on its leadership of ASEAN and welcomed its ratification of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.  

Also today, the Secretary-General attended the launch of the UN-Lao PDR Partnership Framework which includes 21 UN agencies supporting the country with a combined annual budget of $80 million for technical cooperation.

Speaking at the launch, Mr. Ban highlighted that the UN team will focus its programmes on supporting the country in its efforts to help the most vulnerable: poor children and young people; women in remote rural areas; people from disadvantaged ethnic groups; and people with disabilities.

* * *


Seeking $150 million for aid efforts in Afghanistan, the top United Nations relief official today called on the international community to urgently scale up its support for the war-torn country so that it can meet the rising humanitarian needs of more than one million people who are on the move, either internally displaced or returning from neighbouring countries.

"Now more than ever the international community must remain steadfast in support of the people of Afghanistan to provide for displaced families, new returnees and work to tackle the alarming malnutrition crisis to prevent more than 126,000 children from dying this year," the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, told a news conference in the Afghan capital of Kabul as he concluded his two-day visit to the country, according to a news release from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which Mr. O'Brien heads.

OCHA resumed its operations in Afghanistan in 2009, providing humanitarian assistance in a complex environment where separate – and not always complementary – military, political and security objectives pose challenges to the implementation of humanitarian principles, the ability of responders to reach people in need and the safety and security of aid workers. In addition to being prone to recurrent natural disasters, Afghanistan has been in protracted conflict for almost 35 years, which has seriously hampered poverty reduction and development, strained the fabric of society and depleted its coping mechanisms.

According to OCHA, Afghanistan is facing a humanitarian crisis as highly vulnerable families will experience the severity of the upcoming Afghan winter, many for the first time. Also, currently, more than 1.1 million people have been displaced from their homes by the country's conflict, including roughly 245,000 this year alone. At the same time, more than 5,000 displaced Afghans are returning from Pakistan every day.

 UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, has urged the donor community to contribute around $150 million to respond to the escalating humanitarian needs of more than 1.1 million people, displaced by conflict in Afghanistan over the last 15 years.

As a result of this sudden influx of returnees, OCHA and its humanitarian partners in Afghanistan will launch a so-called Flash Appeal requesting around $150 million to support the humanitarian response to meet the needs of the spike in numbers of new people on the move. A Flash Appeal occurs within the context of any major sudden onset disaster that requires a coordinated response beyond the capacity of the government plus any single UN agency to respond to, and it outlines specific response plans to address acute humanitarian needs, normally for up to six months.

"We are asking our donors for around $150 million to respond to the urgent lifesaving needs for the next four months," Mr. O'Brien told the news conference. "As we implement our response plan, the government is preparing plans for longer-terms solutions for the resettlement of returnees. As the conflict continues with nearly a quarter of a million people displaced this year alone, the humanitarian and the protection of civilian needs are increasing and access constraints have escalated.

"The United Nations and our humanitarian partners are ready to scale up the response. But we urgently need international support and funding," the OCHA chief said. "I commend the international community for their engagement and encourage all donors to continue to stand by the people of Afghanistan to provide practical hope for the future.

The UN official also warned that widespread malnutrition, which he described as "a silent humanitarian emergency," claims more lives of children than the current conflict in Afghanistan, citing OCHA's statistics which show 2.7 million people affected by alarming levels of malnutrition, including a million children under the age of five.

Only 35 per cent of children with severe acute malnutrition are being reached and, of those, only 25 per cent are actually cured.
"More must be done to alleviate children's suffering and protect them from dying," said Mr. O'Brien, who also called on governments and other stakeholders to commit to saving lives through better health care services and tackling malnutrition.

In his remarks to the news conference, the UN relief chief also voiced concern over the safety of aid workers in Afghanistan, noting that 93 of them have been abducted since the beginning of 2016.

He said that all parties to the country's conflict are obliged to uphold the principles of international humanitarian law and ensure the protection of civilians and aid workers.

While in Afghanistan, the UN relief chief met with humanitarian partners, government officials and the diplomatic community, and visited displaced families affected by the country's ongoing conflict.

* * *


A former United Nations peacekeeper from Niger has been presented with the inaugural UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award for her work in integrating gender perspectives into peacekeeping activities while serving in Mali.

"I am filled with a real sense of pleasure and satisfaction today. I am most grateful to the UN, and to the Government of Niger who deployed me as military staff, and I am also very happy in the name of all women," Major Aichatou Ousmane Issak said in a telephone interview with the UN News Centre from London, where the United Kingdom's Minister of State at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Baroness Joyce Anelay, presented her with the award on Wednesday evening.

The UN Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award recognises the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles contained within the UN Security Council's resolution 1325, aimed at drawing attention to women in armed conflict and their role in peacekeeping and security.

Adopted in 2000, the resolution stresses the importance of women's equal and full participation as active agents in the prevention and resolution of conflicts, peace-building and peacekeeping. It calls on UN Member States to ensure women's equal participation and full involvement in all efforts for the maintenance and promotion of peace and security, and urges all actors to increase the participation of women and incorporate gender perspective in all areas of peace building.

Nine peacekeeping missions nominated peacekeepers to be considered for the award and were graded on how they integrated the principles of resolution 1325 into military functional areas.

According to the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations, Major Issak – then serving at the rank of captain – stood out for her work with the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA), particularly in the eastern region of Gao, where she served in a civilian-military cooperation unit.

While there, she developed quick impact projects that aided the local population, accompanied what would have been all-male patrols thus making them more approachable and accessible to local women and children, and spent considerable time and effort training fellow staff officers and reaching out to women in the local community.

"As you know we bring something different than men, a different vision – I think as a woman I brought a different perspective in the peace process and some ideas that helped the men make some decisions," Major Issak said.

"Making women part of the patrols is important because on certain terrains of operation it is difficult to get certain information," the 42-year-old mother of three added. "In the specific case of Gao, it is important for women to partake in patrols because in the Muslim religion men do not have access to homes but with women access to households is easy, so you can identify what the needs are and then report them to the hierarchy and then help the population."

Major Issak's award comes a day ahead of the UN Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial taking place in London on Thursday. Hosted by the Government of the United Kingdom, the gathering is a follow-on event to the Leaders' Summit on Peacekeeping hosted by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and US President Barack Obama last year.

During the Ministerial, Defence Ministers will review progress on the implementation of last September's pledges and announce new commitments, develop a shared plan for how peacekeeping can help implement the women, peace and security agenda and focus on operationalising pledges through better training, force generation, pre-deployment processes, doctrine, equipment, leadership, performance, lessons learned mechanisms and rapid response capability. The Ministerial will also discuss how to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse allegations.

Those attending include the Under-Secretaries-General for Peacekeeping Operations and Fiedl Support, Hervé Ladsous and Atul Khare, as well as the Special Coordinator on improving the UN response to sexual exploitation and abuse, Jane Holl Lute and other peacekeeping officials.

* * *


While announcing a strategic action plan to deal with the issue, the United Nations health agency today called for a whole-of-society approach to address the double burden of malnutrition which affects populations across south-east Asia, particularly women and girls.

"The current nutrition profile of the south-east Asia region is characterized by under-nutrition rates that are declining slowly alongside rapidly rising rates of overweight and obesity, often within the same communities, and even in the same households," the World Health Organization's (WHO) Regional Director for the South-East Asia Region, Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh, said in a news release today.

"This double burden is depriving people of reaching their potential, and is fuelling rising rates of non-communicable diseases," she added. "We need to mobilize multi-sectoral action to address the problem at the earliest."

According to WHO, across south-east Asia, an estimated 60 million children under the age of five are stunted, a condition characterized by reduced growth rate and development, while 8.8 million are overweight. Furthermore, thinness affects 24 to 47 per cent of adolescent girls, while between two and 24 per cent are overweight and the prevalence of overweight or obesity among adult women ranges between 18-30 per cent.

Highlighting that ending all forms of malnutrition is an important component of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Dr. Khetrapal Singh said that WHO, in consultation with its regional member countries, developed a strategic action plan to reduce the double burden of malnutrition. "This will provide the basis for action moving forward," she noted.

According to the news release, the action plan, which covers from 2016 to 2025, will serve as an advocacy and reference tool for the health agency's local members to ensure that national interventions are comprehensive and evidence-based. It emphasizes the importance of promoting a supporting environment for nutrition interventions and securing multi-sectoral commitment, including commitment from the private sector, to address the issues.

The news release added that the strategic action plan was adopted by WHO's Regional Committee for South-East Asia, its highest decision making body for the region. The Regional Committee is made up of 11 member countries – Bangladesh, Bhutan, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, India, Indonesia, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Timor-Leste – and has been holding its 69th regional meeting in the Sri Lankan capital of Colombo today.

* * *


On the eve of International Literacy Day, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to join forces for universal literacy and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies – a vision set out in the new global development agenda.

"This year, the world has embarked on implementing the ambitious and transformational 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. With its 17 universal, integrated and interdependent Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the 2030 Agenda is an action plan for people, planet, partnership and peace," the UN chief said in his message for the occasion.

"Literacy stands at heart of the 2030 Agenda," he added. "It is a foundation for human rights, gender equality, and sustainable societies. It is essential to all our efforts to end extreme poverty and promote well-being for all people. That is why the Sustainable Development Goals aim for universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people's lives."

However, the Secretary-General noted, while significant progress has been made over the past five decades, "the world is still very far from universal literacy," and he called on governments and their partners, including in the private sector, to "join forces for universal literacy so we can translate the vision of the 2030 Agenda into reality and build peaceful, just, inclusive and sustainable societies."

Literacy Day marks 50th anniversary

This year marks the 50th anniversary since the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) proclaimed 8 September as International Literacy Day in 1966 in order to actively mobilize the international community and to promote literacy as an instrument to empower individuals, communities and societies. According to UNESCO, this year's theme is 'Reading the Past, Writing the Future,' and celebrates the past five decades of national and international engagement, efforts and progress made to increase literacy rates around the world. It also addresses current challenges and looks to innovative solutions to further boost literacy in the future.

Noting that this is the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, UNESCO stated on its website that, in this context, the vision of literacy is aligned with lifelong learning opportunities with special focus on youth and adults – literacy is a part of Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals that make up the 2030 Agenda. Goal 4 aims to 'ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all,' and its target is that by 2030 all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.

"The world has changed since 1966 – but our determination to provide every woman and man with the skills, capacities and opportunities to become everything they wish, in dignity and respect, remains as firm as ever. Literacy is a foundation to build a more sustainable future for all," UNESCO's Director-General Irina Bokova said in her message for the Day.

In his message, Mr. Ban flagged that today, with the world becoming increasingly digitized and information rich, new opportunities and challenges are emerging, with more than 750 million adults illiterate, two-thirds of whom are female and including 115 million young people. Some 250 million children of primary school age lack basic literacy skills and 124 million children and adolescents receive no schooling at all.

Such obstacles to sustainable development can and must be overcome by developing and implementing the right policies, backed up by commitment and resources, the UN chief said.

"We need to ensure that those out of school get access to quality learning opportunities, we need to improve the quality of schooling, and we need to promote adult education and learning," he added.

UNESCO chief: illiterate miss out on benefits

UNESCO's Ms. Bokova also highlighted how those who are illiterate receive none of the benefits of globalization and suffer all its costs.

"These women and men are more vulnerable to ill heath, exploitation and human rights abuse. They are more likely to be unemployed and paid less. Unable to read or write, they are held back from their full potential, and whole communities are locked into vicious cycles of poverty that lay the conditions for violence and strife," she said.

"Illiteracy remains synonymous with exclusion and poverty – we must turn this around," she added.
The main global celebration of the day will take place at UNESCO Headquarters in the French capital of Paris in the form of a two-day conference starting today, the highlight of which will be the awarding of literacy prizes. At the same time, UNESCO will launch the Global Alliance for Literacy, a new initiative to make all major stakeholders pull together to promote literacy as a foundation for lifelong learning.

* * *


Describing religious intolerance as one of the greatest global threats, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged the world to join together for peaceful coexistence and a life of dignity for all.

"Violence against people because of their religious identity or beliefs is an assault on the core values of the UN," underlined Mr. Ban in a video message to an event titled 'High-level Forum on Anti-Semitism,' held today at the UN Headquarters in New York.

"Time and again, history has shown that those who attack one minority today, will target another tomorrow. Discrimination does not discriminate," he said.

In his message to the event – organized by the governments of Canada, Israel, the United States and the Delegation of the European Union – the Secretary-General also noted that anti-Semitism is one of the world's oldest, most pervasive and deadliest forms of hatred and that despite the horror of the Holocaust, Jews continue to be targeted for murder and abuse solely because they are Jews.

He further emphasized that along with a global rise in anti-Semitism, other alarming forms of discrimination, particularly those targeted against refugees and migrants, are also on the rise. "Let us reject bigotry, uphold human rights, and build bridges across communities," he urged.

* * *


The United Nations agricultural agency today signed a $15 million agreement with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to boosting the capacity of developing countries to track key agricultural data – information considered essential to good policy-making and that will help track progress toward achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

"In the decades to come, humanity will need to produce more food for a growing population using natural resources such as water, land and biodiversity in a sustainable way – while coping with the challenges imposed by climate change," the Director-General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organization, José Graziano da Silva, said in a news release.

 "Our ability to boost food yields sustainably and meet the SDG hunger eradication target will hinge on the availability of better, cost-effective and timely statistical data for agriculture and rural areas" he added.

On 1 January 2016, the 17 SDGs of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development — adopted by world leaders in September last year – officially came into force. Over the next fifteen years, with the aim of achieving the SDGs, countries will mobilize efforts to end all forms of poverty, fight inequalities and tackle climate change, while ensuring that no one is left behind.

In particular, Goal 2 of the SDGs is centred on ending hunger, achieving food security, improving nutrition, and promoting sustainable agriculture. According to FAO, Goal 2 recognizes the interlinkages among supporting sustainable agriculture, empowering small farmers, promoting gender equality, ending rural poverty, ensuring healthy lifestyles, tackling climate change, and other issues.

The USAID donation will cover the first phase of an FAO-led project that will run from 2016 to 2021, starting with pilot efforts in four developing countries – two in sub-Saharan Africa, one in Latin America and one in Asia. A dialogue is under way with eligible countries.

 The goal of the project is to design and implement a new and cost-effective approach to agricultural data collection in developing world contexts, known as agricultural integrated surveys (AGRIS).

In the news release, FAO said that the AGRIS methodology will not only capture improved annual data on agricultural production, but also broader and more detailed structural information relating to farms, including employment, machinery use, production costs, farming practices, and environmental impacts.

It will incorporate recent innovations like remote sensing, global positioning systems (GPS), mobile technology and various uses of 'big data.' These tools will introduce more objective approaches to measuring agricultural performance, in some cases replacing traditional, more expensive methods. In addition to better and more detailed data, AGRIS is also expected to promote the integration of disparate data sources, improve data timeliness and usability, and cut data collection costs.

"The end result," according to FAO, "will be high-quality data on a wide range of technical, economic, environmental and social dimensions of agriculture that will help governments analyse and understand the impacts of agricultural policies, assess progress toward the SDGs and other goals, and shape better policies."

"Strong national data systems are critical for governments and private sector actors to make informed and smart decisions that foster food security and economic prosperity," the Assistant to the Administrator for USAID's Bureau for Food Security, Beth Dunford, said in the FAO news release.

* * *


An annual meeting of State Parties to the United Nations-backed pact banning cluster bombs ended today in Geneva, with an agreement on a target to complete by 2030 clearance of these explosive remnants of war that kill large numbers of civilians.

"I am very pleased that we have agreed on 2030 as a target date for completion," said Henk Cor van der Kwast of the Netherlands, the President of the Sixth Meeting of the States Parties to the  Convention on Cluster Munitions, in a news release.

Cluster munitions, or unexploded ordnance, kill and injure large numbers of civilians and cause long lasting socio-economic problems. The Convention, which prohibits all use, production, transfer and stockpiling of these devices, entered into force on 1 August 2010, just two years after it opened for signature in the Norwegian capital, Oslo. To date, 119 states have joined the Convention.

At the First Review Conference of the Convention held in Dubrovnik, Croatia, in September 2015, the State Parties adopted the Dubrovnik Action Plan, which lists concrete steps to implement the Convention in the period from 2015 to 2020.

The Plan seeks to increase adherence to the treaty, assist State Parties to develop resourced plans for destroying stocks, clearing contaminated lands, providing risk-reduction education and strengthening national capacity for victim assistance, among other core work.

Ridding the world of heinous cluster munitions is a moral and humanitarian imperative

This year's conference covered a range of topics, including universal adoption of the treaty, destruction of stockpiles, clearing contaminated areas, transparency measures, victim assistance and international cooperation.

The conference's president reiterated the need to end the use of cluster munitions in conflicts. "No State should use these indiscriminate weapons. We call upon States not party using this banned weapon, to cease further use and abide by the provisions set by this Convention," Mr. van der Kwast said.

In a message sent to the opening of the conference, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that the UN will continue to support all efforts aimed at the universalization of the Convention. His message was read by Mary Soliman, Acting Director of the Geneva Branch of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs.

"With the adoption of the Dubrovnik Action Plan, States parties have set an ambitious path of concrete actions and specific deadlines for the Convention's further implementation by the Second Review Conference in 2020," he said.

Actions are to be undertaken, he added, in the crucial areas of universalization, stockpile destruction, clearance and risk reduction education, victim assistance, international cooperation and assistance, transparency and national implementation measures.

"Our shared hope is to achieve the destruction of additional stockpiled cluster munitions, the release of previously contaminated land for productive use and, ultimately, a reduction in the number of new victims," Mr. Ban said. "Ridding the world of heinous cluster munitions is a moral and humanitarian imperative."

* * *

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The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.
The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.
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5 Sep 2016

[afrocarpus] Thought of the day: Some UK’s weaknesses that have been revealed by the Brexit


Thought of the day: Some UK's weaknesses that have been revealed by the Brexit
1) Economically, UK  heavily relies on foreign investments. This is why Japan is  telling UK how Brexit should keep Japan's business interests in UK. If UK does not listen to Japan, there will be serious economic consequences to British people.
2) It is hard to find in  UK's supermarkets  and homes, something made in UK. From stationary to a glass that  British  people use to drink water, everything is imported from  China. The next step will be energy that  will be delivered to British homes by China. This is why the PM Theresa May is worried about these trends.
3) David Cameron and George Osborne have been competing against the world in accessing  Chinese's investments. They have been obsessed with Chinese's money.
4) UK is now like Africa regarding begging Chinese investments.  It is seems to be easier for China to dump  cheaper and low quality products in Africa and UK. African leaders have turned to China which   defends and helps African  regimes that are characterised by human rights abuses and dictatorship.  Like Japan, in the future, China may also warn UK about any attempt that could  affect Chinese businesses in the UK.
British politicians claim that with Brexit, they will get control of everything:  the economy, laws,  immigration and  money.  As the result of this, UK will become an independent and sovereign country. The  warning from Japan and recent Chinese threats over the new nuclear plant have demonstrated that British economic independence is out of reach for now.


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The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.
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1 Sep 2016



UN DAILY NEWS from the

31 August, 2016



The United Nations today spoke up for an early entry into force a global treaty that bans nuclear explosions on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground, with a senior official describing the treaty as a "low-hanging fruit."

"I urge Member States to do everything possible to facilitate a breakthrough," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a General Assembly meeting to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests in a message read on his behalf by the UN High Representative for Disarmament Affairs, Kim Won-soo.

"We welcome any and all efforts to bring about a complete testing ban," said Mr. Ban in the message.

To date, 183 countries have signed the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) and 164 have ratified it. For the treaty to enter into force, ratification is required from the so-called Annex 2 States. Of these, China, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States, have yet to ratify it.

In the message, the Secretary-General urged immediate action by the eight remaining Annex II countries.

"Any one of them can and should be the first to ratify," he said. "That will encourage others to follow suit and generate a cascade of benefits for the broader disarmament and non-proliferation agenda."

Many thousands of nuclear weapons remain in our world today and the proliferation of all kinds of weapons remains one of the biggest threats to global peace and security

He also called for action by the more than twenty non-Annex II States that have yet to sign or ratify the treaty.

According to the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), over 2,000 nuclear tests were carried out between 1945 and 1996, when the CTBT opened for signature: by the United States (1000+), the Soviet Union (700+), France (200+), the United Kingdom and China (45 each). Three countries have broken the de facto moratorium and tested nuclear weapons since 1996: India and Pakistan in 1998, and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) in 2006, 2009, 2013 and 2016.

Today's event was held to mark International Day against Nuclear Tests, which has been observed annually on 29 August, following the declaration of that day in a resolution unanimously adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2009.

The resolution called for increasing awareness and education "about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions or any other nuclear explosions and the need for their cessation as one of the means of achieving the goal of a nuclear-weapon-free world." The resolution's adoption also commemorated the closure of the Semipalatinsk nuclear test site in Kazakhstan in 1991.

CTBT 'low-hanging fruit'

Also addressing the event was the CTBTO Executive Secretary, Lassina Zerbo, who said the treaty is a "low hanging fruit" and a vital step to achieve the world free of nuclear weapons. But a world free of nuclear tests needs to come first.

The 20th anniversary of the CTBT is an occasion to celebrate what has been achieved, but more importantly, it must be a time for reflection and an opportunity to cast light on the need for the treaty to enter into force, he said.

At the outset of the meeting, General Assembly President Mogens Lykketoft said that the CTBT must also be seen as an important tool in global endeavour to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. He also noted that moratoriums on nuclear testing have had a positive impact on the international security environment.

"Tests conducted by DPRK, the only violator in this century, were strongly condemned by the international community and I join in that condemnation," he said.

Recalling the testimony of a survivor of the atomic bombing of the Japanese city of Hiroshima in 1945, Mr. Lykketoft stressed the need for continued systematic and sustained efforts to reduce nuclear weapons globally and strive for their total elimination.

"Many thousands of nuclear weapons remain in our world today and the proliferation of all kinds of weapons remains one of the biggest threats to global peace and security," he said.

* * *


The United Nations envoy for Yemen told the Security Council today that the military escalation in Yemen will provide opportunities for the spread of terrorist groups, as Al Qaida and the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) continue to wreak havoc in many parts of Yemen.

"For example, a suicide attack in Aden killed and injured tens of Yemenis on 29 August. The Yemeni Army's growing ability to confront extremist groups, evidenced by the recent detention of suspected AQAP [Al Qaida in the Arab Peninsula] militants in Zinjibar and Hadramout, is encouraging," the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Yemen, , Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed, told the Council.

"However, the absence of the state in many parts of Yemen, in addition to the chaos created by war, will continue to facilitate the expansion of the terrorist groups which represents a real threat to the region," he added.

Yemen has been engulfed in violence for several years now – a confrontation between the country's Houthis (Ansar Allah) and the Government of Yemen in early 2014 led to a Houthi advance on the capital in 2014, and an ensuing conflict which has involved support from outside parties. The United Nations has been heavily involved in efforts to resolve the crisis, and repeatedly said that there is no military solution to the Yemeni crises and has called for a return to peaceful negotiations.

Until they recently went into a break, Kuwait had been hosting peace talks – facilitated by the UN envoy – with the Yemeni sides. The break went into effect in early August.

In reference to these talks, Mr. Cheikh Ahmed said the recent departure from Kuwait without an agreement had betrayed the expectations of millions of Yemenis who had hoped that the talks would bring an end to the conflict and open the way for Yemen's return to a peaceful and orderly transition.

The end of the Kuwait talks was followed by a "severe breakdown of the Cessation of Hostilities and a dangerous escalation in military activities," the UN envoy said.

"Extensive military confrontations," he continued, "have been on-going in recent weeks in Sana'a, Taiz, Al Jawf, Shabwa and Mareb governorates and along the border between Yemen and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia," and "have involved the use of artillery, airstrikes and ballistic missiles and have resulted in tens of casualties, extensive destruction and renewed displacement."

The Special Envoy also highlighted numerous violations of international humanitarian and human rights law that he said have accompanied the fighting. Some of these incidents – such as an attack on a rural hospital in Hajjah – have been strongly condemned by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

During the briefing, Mr. Cheikh Ahmed also highlighted what he called a "worrying disrespect for the human rights of minority groups," as documented by human rights organisations. Citing the detention, in Sana'a, of at least 60 members of the Baha'i community, including six children, without charge, he echoed the call from the human rights groups "for the immediate release of those still in detention, while appealing to all parties to fulfil their obligations and release all prisoners and detainees."

The Special Envoy also said that from his meetings with representatives of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States, and again with the Foreign Ministers of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) member states, there was consensus on the need for a full and comprehensive political solution, "involving clearly sequenced political and security measures, firmly grounded in the GCC initiative and its implementation mechanism, Security Council resolution 2216 (2015) and the National Dialogue Conference outcomes."

He said, however, that the resumption of talks will only be possible if all the parties maintain their commitment to a negotiated settlement and refrain from unilateral actions.

"I am extremely concerned by the announcement by Ansar Allah and former President, Ali Abdullah Saleh, of the formation of a Supreme Political Council with broad administrative, security, economic, and legislative powers," Mr. Cheikh Ahmed said. "These actions breach the commitments provided by the both Ansar Allah and the GPC to engage constructively in the peace process as requested by this Council and creates a new potential impediment to reach a peaceful settlement."

* * *


Taking note of the official announcement of provisional results of Gabon's presidential election, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed deep concern about reports of arson and clashes between protesters and security forces in the country's capital, Libreville.

According to a statement issued by Mr. Ban's spokesperson, the UN chief also called on all concerned actors to refrain from further acts of violence that could undermine peace and stability of the country.

"He also calls on the authorities to ensure that the national security forces exercise maximum restraint in their response to protests," the spokesperson said in the statement. "He reiterates his call on all political leaders to address their differences peacefully and to address any disputes they may have through existing constitutional and legal channels."

Yesterday, in telephone conversations with the Gabonese leaders vying for the country's presidency, the Secretary-General had voiced his concerns over early calls on the polls results, outside of any official process and had urged them to impress upon their supporters the need to exercise restraint.

The statement today also noted that the UN chief has asked his Special Representative for Central Africa, Abdoulaye Bathily, to accompany Gabon's political stakeholders in their efforts to calm the situation and to peacefully resolve the contentious issues emanating from the electoral process. It added that the Secretary-General will continue to monitor the situation closely."

* * *


Adopted 20 years ago by the United Nations General Assembly, the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) has not yet got into effect, and will only come into force once ratified by eight specific countries that have not done it yet.

These countries are: China, Egypt, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK), India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States.

Since taking office in 2013 as head of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organisation (CTBTO), Dr Lassina Zerbo has been striving for the entry into force of the Treaty.

He has also sought to strengthen the position of the CTBTO as a centre of excellence for monitoring compliance with the Treaty.

The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is a key element in the process of non-proliferation, let us solve that key element; let us use it as a backbone to move on to a world free of nuclear weapons.

The CTBTO's global monitoring network is now 90% complete, with around 300 stations, some in the most remote and inaccessible areas of the Earth and sea. The network captures four types of data: seismic, hydro-acoustic, infrasound and radionuclide. The system detected all four nuclear tests declared by DPRK.

Dr Lassina Zerbo was in New York this Wednesday for an informal meeting of the UN General Assembly to mark the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

In the margin of the meeting, Dr Zerbo met the UN News Centre to discuss the achievements of his Organization in terms of surveillance but also to deplore the fact that the Treaty has not been into effect, 20 years after being opened for signature.

UN News Centre: This year marks the 20th anniversary of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty. What has been achieved in the past 20 years, including during your three years as the head of CTBTO?

Lassina Zerbo : The last 20 years, let me tackle the issue both politically and technically. Politically, I think we have achieved near universalization. 183 countries have signed the treaty. 164, maybe 166 in the next couple of weeks, would have ratified the treaty. This is nearly universal. We're talking about over 90 percent of the international community that says no and never to nuclear testing. So politically it is an achievement. But politically this achievement seems to be darkened – if I can use this word – by the fact that eight remaining countries are basically taking hostage the international community by not ratifying the treaty to allow its entry into force. And this is the problem we have. And we need some action; we need political will, to try to move the situation.

Now technically I think we have done it all. We have now an international monitoring system that is effective. Although 92% completed, but we have proven that the 92% completion of the international monitoring system provides better than what it was anticipated at the design of the system. We have an onsite inspection capability that is working- we have proven it through an exercise in Jordan last year when we brought people from all countries- Middle East included: we had Israelis, Iranians, Jordanians, Egyptians, working together for an exercise to try and build the technical capability of the international monitoring system and the verification regime of the test ban treaty.

So those are successes; successes that have a little bit of political problem. Now where do we move from there? We have a technical success, and a lack of political action and political will. The past 3 years, our work has been- I wouldn't say to promote, because the promotion is done, after 20 years if you talk about promotion, it means you have done nothing. It's not about promotion but it was more about keeping the issue relevant, and raising the awareness of the CTBT at the highest level possible for the international community and our leaders to see the urgency of the entry into force of the treaty. This is where we are today.

UN News Centre: What do you think of the initiative from the United States to submit a draft resolution to the Security Council calling for the end of nuclear tests?

Lassina Zerbo :The issue of the Security Council resolution coming as an initiative of the Obama Administration are taken from what the media has been reporting on. We are hearing various vibes about the Security Council resolution- positive, negative. But for my part as head of the organization that serves the purpose of this treaty, anything that pushes the agenda of the entry into force forward and closer, we buy it. Is the resolution something that would help the eight remaining countries as a background to move onto their ratification? Maybe, who knows? Is the resolution stopping or circumventing the ratification process from those countries? I would not think so. Even if President Obama succeeds in getting the resolution by consensus at the Security Council, it would not stop the Senate to advise and consent on the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty.  So it is its responsibility, and this is US domestic politics. A resolution is for the international community and a ratification is a country's responsibility: to advise and consent in Parliament, to advise and consent the President. I don't think they contradict. This is my personal view on the resolution. The resolution can help. If it helps, thank you and we will take it.

UN News Centre: The next review cycle of the Non-Proliferation Treaty  (NPT) will start in May 2017. Are you optimistic about the willingness of the international community to get a nuclear weapon free world?

Lassina Zerbo :First, let me start how it ended last year. It ended with no consensus document but there were consensus issues in the NPT review conference last year, which is basically the CTBT. The CTBT was a consensus topic. I could say, I am optimistic- if the international community takes it that they should focus on the consensus issue to build upon them before moving onto the issues that are off serious difficulty right now. Is it possible to get immediately a world free from nuclear weapon? It is my wish too, but we have a low hanging fruit; that is the ratification and the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty is a key element in the process of non-proliferation, let us solve that key element; let us use it as a backbone to move on a world free of nuclear weapon. For me, if the international community cannot get an agreement on saying 'no and never to nuclear testing,' I'll find it difficult to achieve a world free of nuclear weapons. We all need to contribute to that, we might not achieve it in our life time, but it is all about what we want to prepare for the future generation. And I think we all have a moral responsibility in there.

* * *


The top United Nations humanitarian official in Iraq has expressed deep concern over reports that boys are being sent to areas near front lines in the country's war, possibly to join armed groups fighting against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

"Involving children in fighting is totally unacceptable," said the UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, Lise Grande, in a news release issued by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) today, expressing deep concern at the reports of recruitment of children in at least one displacement camp in the country.

"Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of civilians during the conflict," she added.

Ms. Grande, who is also the UN Secretary-General's Deputy Special Representative for Iraq, further warned that hundreds of thousands of civilians will require protection and assistance, given that the battle to retake Mosul, the second largest city in the country, is likely to start soon.

Reminding that international humanitarian law prohibits all parties to the conflict from recruitment of minors or their use in hostilities and that it requires the parties ensure the protection of civilians and allow them to leave conflict zones safely, Ms. Grande said: "Under no circumstances can civilians be used as human shields. This violates all principles of humanity."

The news release added that humanitarian actors in the country issued a so-called Flash Appeal in July, urgently requesting $284 million to prepare for a response in Mosul. A Flash Appeal occurs within the context of any major sudden onset disaster that requires a coordinated response beyond the capacity of the government plus any single UN agency to respond to, and it outlines specific response plans to address acute humanitarian needs, normally for up to six months. Humanitarian agencies have also sought funding for the regular 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan which provides assistance for 7.3 million Iraqis.

However, to date, less than 20 per cent of the Flash Appeal and only about 53 per cent of the $861 million required for on-going operations of humanitarian partners has been received.

"Everybody has to do everything possible to ensure [the civilians] live and receive the assistance they need," said Ms. Grande.

The news release also flagged that the UN is deeply concerned over reports of mass graves of thousands of civilians in areas formerly under the control of ISIL.

According to OCHA, the crisis in Iraq is one of the largest, most complex and volatile in the world. More than 10 million Iraqis currently require some form of humanitarian assistance, including 3.4 million civilians who are internally displaced, many for the second or third time.

* * *


Addressing a major peace conference in Myanmar, the United Nations chief today highlighted that the country's path to reconciliation is a promising one, but that after decades of conflict it will not be easy and will require compromise for all involved.

"The long civil war has cost numerous lives and robbed successive generations of their dignity, tranquillity and normalcy. It is now clear that there can be no military solution to your differences," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in Myanmar's capital, Nay Pyi Taw, in a speech at the opening of the 21st Century Panglong Conference, which brings together representatives from the government, the military, civil society and ethnic armed organisations.

"I urge you to accept that no party involved in this reconciliation process can expect to achieve all its aims. Conversely, every side must win something if the process is to succeed," he added. "This will require goodwill on all sides, and a recognition that success is in the vital interest of all the people of Myanmar, regardless of ethnicity, religion, political affiliation or socio-economic status."

Landmark elections in November 2015 brought the National League for Democracy Party to power. Since assuming office in April 2016, it has embarked on a process of national reconstruction as well as a revived national political dialogue process with various ethnic armed groups and others to unify the country.

According to the UN Department of Political Affairs, even though the democratization process remains a work-in-progress, much credit is due to the people of Myanmar for their achievements thus far and to the administration of former President U Thein Sein, who ushered in the reform process with the election of a civilian government after the 2010 general election.
In his speech, the UN chief said that the gathering marked a historic transition since former President Sein opened the doors to democratic reforms six years ago.

"This is the first time that such a peace process has been initiated in the seventy-year history of conflict and division between the Union Government and armed ethnic groups," Mr. Ban said. "Around the world, we have seen the tragedies that can ensue when leaders deny the need for democratic change – Myanmar shows what is possible, when leaders listen to their people's genuine aspirations, genuine concerns of the people and genuine dreams of where this country should proceed."

The Secretary-General said it was encouraging that the different ethnic armed organizations with divergent interests and aspirations came together to form a single team to negotiate the country's Nationwide Ceasefire Agreement in October last year.

"This agreement was crucially important, and the new Government has undertaken efforts to make it more inclusive. The 21st Century Panglong Conference represents the result of those efforts," he said, while also urging participants, as they "to demonstrate the wisdom needed to address complex and unresolved issues, and to pave the way for a unified negotiation track that is inclusive of all interests and constituencies."

Mr. Ban emphasized that such steps will require sensitivity and flexibility, and respect for both signatories and non-signatories, and will need to be truly consultative in order to reach sustainable solutions.

The UN chief also reaffirmed the ongoing commitment of the United Nations to help Myanmar with its reforms, in particular the national reconciliation process. "We will continue our efforts to smooth differences, lower tensions and move parties towards better understanding and dialogue in line with the goals and values of the United Nations Charter," he said.

* * *


United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has taken note of the decision by the Brazilian Senate to impeach President Dilma Rousseff and of the subsequent swearing in of acting President Michel Temer as President of Brazil.

According to a statement issued by his spokesperson today, Mr. Ban also extended his best wishes to President Temer as he begins his tenure.

"[The Secretary-General] trusts that under President Temer's leadership, Brazil and the United Nations will continue their traditional close partnership," said the statement.

The UN chief further thanked President Rousseff for her commitment and support to the work of the UN throughout her tenure.

* * *


A group of United Nations human rights experts today urged the Sudanese authorities to drop charges – which carry the death penalty – brought against six human rights activists in the country.

"The charges brought against them appear to be directly linked to their work in the defence of human rights, while exercising their rights to freedom of expression and freedom of association," said the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, in a news release issued by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).

"This sentence is likely to have a chilling effect among activists and human rights defenders in Sudan," he added.

The six individuals were either working with or affiliated to a prominent Khartoum-based human rights organisation, Training and Human Development (TRACKS). They were detained about three months ago, but are yet to face trail, the human rights offices noted. The six have been charged by the country's State Security Prosecution Office with criminal conspiracy, undermining the constitutional system, waging war against the State, espionage, and terrorism – charges which all carry the death penalty.

"The death penalty is an extreme form of punishment. lf used at all, it should only be imposed after a fair trial that respects the most stringent due process guarantees as stipulated in international human rights law," the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, said in the news release. "I am seriously concerned that any trial of these six people would not uphold such principles."

According to OHCHR, the activists faced constant targeting by agents from the Sudan's Intelligence and Security Service over the past two years. Their offices have been raided twice, and their documents, equipment and passports confiscated. They were also allegedly detained and tortured several times at the intelligence services office, where they were questioned about TRACKS' activities.

In the news release, the experts also voiced their concern at the increasing harassment and intimidation of key civil society members in the country and curbs to freedom of expression and association, which are also guaranteed under the country's constitution.

"There is an urgent need for the Government of the Sudan to allow them to carry out their activities in an open, safe and secure environment," the Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in the Sudan, Aristide Nononsi, said.

Mr. Nononsi had previously expressed concern regarding the case against the TRACKS members to the Sudanese authorities. He last visited the country in April 2016. The news release added that the experts' appeal to the Sudanese Government has been endorsed by the Special Rapporteur on freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, and the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders, Michel Forst.

The activists facing the charges are the Director of TRACKS, Khalafalla Mukhtar; TRACKS employees Arwa Elrabie, Midhat Hamadan and Alhassan Kheiri; and Mustafa Adam and Raye Imany Leyla, who are both affiliated to the organisation.

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

* * *


The top United Nations humanitarian relief official has expressed extreme concern over the recent evacuation of the entire population of the besieged Syrian town of Darayya, following an agreement between representatives of Darayya and the Syrian Government – and highlighted how the move does not comply with international law.

"The UN was not a party to this agreement, and was not informed of the evacuation until a few hours before it took place," the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien, said in an overnight statement.

Let us be clear, all sieges, a medieval tactic, must be lifted. This should not be through any type of agreement which results in the forced displacement of the civilian population.

"The United Nations works on the ground at the request of both the Government of Syria and the people of Darayya to address humanitarian and protection needs of all those affected by the evacuation," Mr. O'Brien added, "however, agreements resulting in a mass evacuation of civilians after a prolonged period of besiegement do not comply with international humanitarian law and human rights law."

The UN official said the evacuation should not be precedent setting for other besieged areas in Syria, and those displaced should be allowed to return voluntarily, in safety and in dignity, to their homes as soon as the situation allows it.

"Let us be clear, all sieges, a medieval tactic, must be lifted," Mr. O'Brien said. "This should not be through any type of agreement which results in the forced displacement of the civilian population."

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – which Mr. O'Brien heads –the evacuation of Darayya on 26-27 August followed four years of unrelenting siege, during which children starved, people resorted to eating grass and the town was subjected to an onslaught of fighting, including aerial bombardment, and severe restrictions on freedom of movement for civilians, as well as on commercial and humanitarian goods.

In his statement, the Emergency Relief Coordinator also said he was "gravely concerned" over the deteriorating situation in other besieged areas in Syria where people have little physical protection and limited access to basic life-saving assistance, including the neighbourhood of Al Waer in Homs city.

"Despite the reports of a current pause in fighting, the estimated 75,000 people in Al Waer have been subjected to an increase in indiscriminate and aerial attacks over the past week causing the death and injury of many civilians, including children, the reported destruction of homes and first responder stations, as well as increased restrictions on freedom of movement," Mr. O'Brien noted.

He once again reiterated his call on all parties for the immediate lifting of sieges of civilians in Syria, including Madaya, Deir-Ez-Zor city, Douma, Foah and Kefraya and other besieged locations, for an end to indiscriminate attacks on civilian-populated areas and civilian infrastructure, and to take all necessary measures to ensure protection for all civilians as required under international humanitarian and human rights law.

* * *


Following a recent agreement to end more than 50 years of conflict between the Government of Colombia and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia-People's Army (FARC-EP), a seven-day training session on monitoring and verifying their bilateral ceasefire has begun in the country's western city of Popayan, with United Nations support.

Instructors from the Government, FARC-EP and the UN Mission in Colombia are training 80 men and women who will form part of the tripartite verification and monitoring mechanism at national and regional levels, according to a news release from the UN Mission.

The Mission added that the three entities involved described the session as "historic."

"This first training session is an important step towards building a stable and lasting peace," the UN Mission said. "Not only does it mark the beginning of the realization of the agreements reached in Havana but it also marks the full commitment of the parties with a robust and transparent monitoring and verification mechanism to give full guarantees to all Colombians."

Sessions will cover the verification methodology, logistical aspects, security, gender issues and operational procedures for the transitional local zones and points for normalization, where the separation of forces and the laying down of arms is to take place. The sessions also include theoretical and practical aspects of the Final Agreement, especially related to the bilateral ceasefire and cessation of hostilities, and protocols covering the Monitoring and Verification Mechanism.

In June, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon travelled to Havana, where he witnessed the signing of the agreement on the ceasefire and the laying down of arms. He noted that the "peace process validates the perseverance of all those around the world who work to end violent conflict not through the destruction of the adversary, but through the patient search for compromise."

The UN Mission in Colombia's international observers include representatives from eight countries from the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC): Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico, Paraguay and Uruguay.

* * *


The United Nations relief agency charged with the well-being of Palestinian refugees has started work on what will become its largest logistics base in the Gaza Strip.

"Construction of the logistics base started this month and will include building a warehouse compound, an open area container yard, an administration building and a fuel station," said the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in a press release today.

The base will serve as UNRWA's main warehouse for the storage of basic food and non-food items. It is being constructed in Rafah, in southern Gaza, and will also support distribution activities through 12 distribution centres across the area. In addition, it will be used as maintenance workshop and fuel station for the UNRWA operations in the southern governorates of Gaza, the agency noted.

It is expected to be completed by September 2017 and will operate with approximately 200 UNRWA personnel, including people hired through its Job Creation Programme.

The agency said that the construction of the base has been supported by a $10 million contribution from the Saudi Fund for Development (SFD).

The base is part of a comprehensive project signed between the UN agency and SFD in May 2015 which also includes rebuilding and repairing housing units and supporting the education and health sectors in Gaza with a total contribution $62 million.

"Over the past several years, UNRWA was able to construct many projects - including schools, housing projects and health centres - which would not have been possible without the trust and partnership that exists between UNRWA and Saudi Arabia," Bo Schack, the Director of UNRWA Operations in Gaza said at the ceremony for laying the cornerstones on 25 August.

"Their ongoing support to Palestine refugees in Gaza through UNRWA is commendable," he added.

UNRWA is a UN agency established by the General Assembly in 1949 and mandated to provide assistance and protection to some 5 million registered Palestine refugees. Its services encompass education, health care, relief and social services, camp infrastructure and improvement, protection and microfinance.

* * *


The United Nations envoy in Somalia has spoken out against the bombing yesterday of a hotel in the capital, Mogadishu, that killed at least 13 people and injured more than 20.

The Secretary-General's Special Representative in Somalia, Michael Keating, "strongly condemned" the truck bomb attack on the SYL Hotel in the capital, according to a statement issued yesterday by the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM).

In the statement, UNSOM stated that at the time of the blast several senior government officials and members of the country's federal parliament were attending a meeting inside the hotel, which is located near the presidential palace and the federal parliament building, but none were among the fatalities.

The militant group Al-Shabaab claimed responsibility. UNSOM highlighted that greater loss of life was averted as security guards halted the explosives-laden vehicle as it was approaching one of the gates.

"Violent extremists have once again bombed a hotel in the Somali capital," said Mr. Keating in the statement, noting that the bombing marked the third such attack on the SYL Hotel since the beginning of 2015.

"On each previous occasion, its management and staff have repaired the damage and reopened its doors for business in short order," he added. "The SYL Hotel provides powerful evidence of the extraordinary resilience of the Somali people, who refuse to be cowed by al-Shabaab's campaign of terror."

Mr. Keating also expressed condolences to the families of the victims and wished the injured a full and speedy recovery.

* * *

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    The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.
    I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.
    The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.
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    -“The enemies of Freedom do not argue ; they shout and they shoot.”

    The principal key root causes that lead to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 that affected all Rwandan ethnic groups were:

    1)The majority Hutu community’s fear of the return of the discriminatory monarchy system that was practiced by the minority Tutsi community against the enslaved majority Hutu community for about 500 years

    2)The Hutu community’s fear of Kagame’s guerrilla that committed massacres in the North of the country and other parts of the countries including assassinations of Rwandan politicians.

    3) The Rwandan people felt abandoned by the international community ( who was believed to support Kagame’s guerrilla) and then decided to defend themselves with whatever means they had against the advance of Kagame’ guerrilla supported by Ugandan, Tanzanian and Ethiopian armies and other Western powers.

    -“The enemies of Freedom do not argue ; they shout and they shoot.”

    -“The hate of men will pass, and dictators die, and the power they took from the people will return to the people. And so long as men die, liberty will never perish.”

    -“The price good men pay for indifference to public affairs is to be ruled by evil men.”

    -“I have loved justice and hated iniquity: therefore I die in exile.”

    The Rwanda war of 1990-1994 had multiple dimensions.

    The Rwanda war of 1990-1994 had multiple dimensions. Among Kagame’s rebels who were fighting against the Rwandan government, there were foreigners, mainly Ugandan fighters who were hired to kill and rape innocent Rwandan people in Rwanda and refugees in DRC.



    United Kingdom's Proxy Wars in Africa: The Case of Rwanda and DR Congo:

    The Rwandan genocide and 6,000,000 Congolese and Hutu refugees killed are the culminating point of a long UK’s battle to expand their influence to the African Great Lakes Region. UK supported Kagame’s guerrilla war by providing military support and money. The UK refused to intervene in Rwanda during the genocide to allow Kagame to take power by military means that triggered the genocide. Kagame’s fighters and their families were on the Ugandan payroll paid by UK budget support.

    · 4 Heads of State assassinated in the francophone African Great Lakes Region.
    · 2,000,000 people died in Hutu and Tutsi genocides in Rwanda, Burundi and RD.Congo.
    · 600,000 Hutu refugees killed in R.D.Congo, Uganda, Central African Republic and Rep of Congo.
    · 6,000,000 Congolese dead.
    · 8,000,000 internal displaced people in Rwanda, Burundi and DR. Congo.
    · 500,000 permanent Rwandan and Burundian Hutu refugees, and Congolese refugees around the world.
    · English language expansion to Rwanda to replace the French language.
    · 20,000 Kagame’s fighters paid salaries from the British Budget Support from 1986 to present.
    · £500,000 of British taxpayer’s money paid, so far, to Kagame and his cronies through the budget support, SWAPs, Tutsi-dominated parliament, consultancy, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs.
    · Kagame has paid back the British aid received to invade Rwanda and to strengthen his political power by joining the East African Community together with Burundi, joining the Commonwealth, imposing the English Language to Rwandans to replace the French language; helping the British to establish businesses and to access to jobs in Rwanda, and to exploit minerals in D.R.Congo.

    Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres

    Thousands of Hutu murdered by Kagame inside Rwanda, e.g. Kibeho massacres
    Kagame killed 200,000 Hutus from all regions of the country, the elderly and children who were left by their relatives, the disabled were burned alive. Other thousands of people were killed in several camps of displaced persons including Kibeho camp. All these war crimes remain unpunished.The British news reporters were accompanying Kagame’s fighters on day-by-day basis and witnessed these massacres, but they never reported on this.

    Download Documents from Amnesty International

    25,000 Hutu bodies floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.

    25,000  Hutu bodies  floated down River Akagera into Lake Victoria in Uganda.
    The British irrational, extremist, partisan,biased, one-sided media and politicians have disregarded Kagame war crimes e.g. the Kibeho camp massacres, massacres of innocents Hutu refugees in DR. Congo. The British media have been supporting Kagame since he invaded Rwanda by organising the propaganda against the French over the Rwandan genocide, suppressing the truth about the genocide and promoting the impunity of Kagame and his cronies in the African Great Lakes Region. For the British, Rwanda does not need democracy, Rwanda is the African Israel; and Kagame and his guerilla fighters are heroes.The extremist British news reporters including Fergal Keane, Chris Simpson, Chris McGreal, Mark Doyle, etc. continue to hate the Hutus communities and to polarise the Rwandan society.

    Kagame political ambitions triggered the genocide.

    Kagame  political  ambitions triggered the genocide.
    Kagame’s guerrilla war was aimed at accessing to power at any cost. He rejected all attempts and advice that could stop his military adventures including the cease-fire, political negotiations and cohabitation, and UN peacekeeping interventions. He ignored all warnings that could have helped him to manage the war without tragic consequences. Either you supported Kagame’ s wars and you are now his friend, or you were against his wars and you are his enemy. Therefore, Kagame as the Rwandan strong man now, you have to apologise to him for having been against his war and condemned his war crimes, or accept to be labelled as having been involved in the genocide. All key Kagame’s fighters who committed war crimes and crimes against humanity are the ones who hold key positions in Rwandan army and government for the last 15 years. They continue to be supported and advised by the British including Tony Blair, Andrew Mitchell MP, and the British army senior officials.

    Aid that kills: The British Budget Support financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.

    Aid that kills: The British Budget Support  financed Museveni and Kagame’s wars in Rwanda and DRC.
    Genocide propaganda and fabrications are used by the so-called British scholars, news reporters and investigative journalists to promote their CVs and to get income out of the genocide through the selling of their books, providing testimonies against the French, access to consultancy contracts from the UN and Kagame, and participation in conferences and lectures in Rwanda, UK and internationally about genocide. Genocide propaganda has become a lucrative business for Kagame and the British. Anyone who condemned or did not support Kagame’s war is now in jail in Rwanda under the gacaca courts system suuported by British tax payer's money, or his/she is on arrest warrant if he/she managed to flee the Kagame’s regime. Others have fled the country and are still fleeing now. Many others Rwandans are being persecuted in their own country. Kagame is waiting indefinitely for the apologies from other players who warn him or who wanted to help to ensure that political negotiations take place between Kagame and the former government he was fighting against. Britain continues to supply foreign aid to Kagame and his cronies with media reports highlighting economic successes of Rwanda. Such reports are flawed and are aimed at misleading the British public to justify the use of British taxpayers’ money. Kagame and his cronies continue to milk British taxpayers’ money under the British budget support. This started from 1986 through the British budget support to Uganda until now.

    Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the Rwandan genocide.

    Dictator Kagame: No remorse for his unwise actions and ambitions that led to the  Rwandan genocide.
    No apologies yet to the Rwandan people. The assassination of President Juvenal Habyarimana by Kagame was the only gateway for Kagame to access power in Rwanda. The British media, politicians, and the so-called British scholars took the role of obstructing the search for the truth and justice; and of denying this assassination on behalf of General Kagame. General Paul Kagame has been obliging the whole world to apologise for his mistakes and war crimes. The UK’s way to apologise has been pumping massive aid into Rwanda's crony government and parliement; and supporting Kagame though media campaigns.

    Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame

    Fanatical, partisan, suspicious, childish and fawning relations between UK and Kagame
    Kagame receives the British massive aid through the budget support, British excessive consultancy, sector wide programmes, the Tutsi-dominated parliament, British and Tutsi-owned NGOs; for political, economic and English language expansion to Rwanda. The British aid to Rwanda is not for all Rwandans. It is for Kagame himself and his Tutsi cronies.

    Paul Kagame' actvities as former rebel


    UN News Centre - Africa

    The Africa Report - Latest

    IRIN - Great Lakes

    This blog reports the crimes that remain unpunished and the impunity that has generated a continuous cycle of massacres in many parts of Africa. In many cases, the perpetrators of the crimes seem to have acted in the knowledge that they would not be held to account for their actions.

    The need to fight this impunity has become even clearer with the massacres and genocide in many parts of Africa and beyond.

    The blog also addresses issues such as Rwanda War Crimes, Rwandan Refugee massacres in Dr Congo, genocide, African leaders’ war crimes and crimes against humanity, Africa war criminals, Africa crimes against humanity, Africa Justice.

    -The British relentless and long running battle to become the sole player and gain new grounds of influence in the francophone African Great Lakes Region has led to the expulsion of other traditional players from the region, or strained diplomatic relations between the countries of the region and their traditional friends. These new tensions are even encouraged by the British using a variety of political and economic manoeuvres.

    -General Kagame has been echoing the British advice that Rwanda does not need any loan or aid from Rwandan traditional development partners, meaning that British aid is enough to solve all Rwandan problems.

    -The British obsession for the English Language expansion has become a tyranny that has led to genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity, dictatorial regimes, human rights violations, mass killings, destruction of families, communities and cultures, permanent refugees and displaced persons in the African Great Lakes region.

    - Rwanda, a country that is run by a corrupt clique of minority-tutsi is governed with institutional discrmination, human rights violations, dictatorship, authoritarianism and autocracy, as everybody would expect.