#UN; #UNpeace; #UNSeciroty' #Women; #SouthSudan; #CentralAfrica
UN, Oct 27 (Canadian-Media): 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (2000) on Women, Peace and Security, a ground-breaking resolution that was spearheaded by women leaders and organizations.
It is the first resolution that recognized women’s leadership to achieve international peace and security and their contributions to conflict prevention, peacekeeping, conflict resolution and peacebuilding.
Though women are active agents of peace, their leadership remains largely unrecognized. UN Peacekeeping continues to push for their full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes.
The implementation of women, peace and security priorities is a key political commitment in the Secretary-General’s Action for Peacekeeping (A4P) initiative, which reaffirms that women’s full, equal and meaningful participation in peace processes and political solutions is essential for effective peacekeeping and sustainable peace outcomes.
While multiple gains have been made to strengthen women’s participation over the years, whether as peacekeepers or as leaders in their own country’s peace and political processes, 20 years and ten resolutions later, it is clear that much more remains to be done. Women leaders across diverse networks and organizations continue to lead conflict resolution and informally broker peace at regional, national and community level and conduct political advocacy to realize their full participation in peace and political processes.
However, women remain predominantly in the periphery of formal peace processes, even in instances where they have been signatories to peace agreements, such as in South Sudan and the Central African Republic.
#Pakistan; #DeadlyBombing; #ReligiousSchool; #UNPeace; #UNSecurity; #UNICEF
Pakistan/UN. Oct 27 (Canadian-Media): A deadly bombing that killed at least seven people at a religious school in Pakistan on Tuesday, has been strongly condemned by the Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The dome of a Mosque in Pakistan as the sun rises. Image credit: Unsplash/Abuzar Xheikh
“Education is the fundamental right of every girl and boy, everywhere”, stressed Aida Girma, UNICEF’s Representative in the country. “Schools must never be targeted”.
According to news reports, the lethal blast targeted the Jamia Zubairia religious school, or madrassa, in the Dir Colony Area of Peshawar, while students were studying.
Latest reports indicate that more than 130 were injured, and that most of the 500 or so students who had gathered for a lecture at the school, were between 20 and 30 years old.
Ms. Girma underscored that schools “must remain safe learning environments at all times to protect the growth and healthy development of children, adolescents and young people”.
UN Office joins nation ‘in shock and grief’“We stand together in shock and grief after the heinous attack today on Jamia Zubairia madrassah, Peshawar, where children take classes”, tweeted the UN Office in Pakistan.
“We are appalled by this attack on children while they were in a place of prayer and learning”, it added, offering condolences to the victims and their families.
Peshawar is the provincial capital of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, bordering Afghanistan. No group has so far claimed that it carried out the attack.
According to news reports, the Pakistan Taliban group has released a statement denying any involvement, condemning the targeting of a religious school as a “reprehensible act”.
This latest incursion comes two days after a bombing in the south-western city of Quetta killed three people.
UNICEF noted that in 2018, there were a string of attacks on a dozen mostly girls’ schools in Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan's Diamer district and a school was also targeted in Chitra.
In December 2014, foreign terrorist fighters attacked the Army Public School in Peshwar, killing nearly 150 staff and children.
Both sides obliged to ‘spare and protect civilians’ over Nagorno-Karabakh fighting declares UN’s Guterres
#UN; #Peace; #Security; #HumanitarianCeasefire; #OSCE
UN, Oct 19 (Canadian-Media): The UN Secretary-General on Sunday condemned “all attacks on populated areas” in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict, as Armenia and Azerbaijan reportedly accused each other of violating the latest humanitarian ceasefire agreement.
Secretary-General António Guterres briefs reporters at UN Headquarters last February. Alongside him is UN Spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric (file photo).
Image credit: UN Photo/Evan Schneider
In a statement released by his Spokesperson, António Guterres described the “tragic loss of civilian lives, including children, from the latest reported strike on 16 October” on Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Ganja, as “totally unacceptable”.
The UN chief reiterated that “indiscriminate attacks on populated areas anywhere, including in Stepanakert/Khankendi and other localities in and around the immediate Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict”, were likewise totally unacceptable.
Both sides agreed a truce to begin at midnight on Saturday, local time, reportedly following interventions by Russia, and other leaders of the so-called Minsk Group of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which was created in 1992, to encourage a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, between the two nations at the centre of the conflict.
The group is co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia, and its permanent members are Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Deep regret that fighting continues
“The Secretary-General deeply regrets that the sides have continuously ignored the repeated calls of the international community to immediately stop the fighting”, said the statement released mid-morning on Sunday, New York time.
Guterres also “underscored again in his latest calls with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, both sides have the obligation under international humanitarian law to take constant care to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in the conduct of military operations. and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.”
“The Secretary-General notes the latest announcement on the start of the humanitarian truce on 18 October and expects both parties to fully abide by this commitment and resume substantive negotiations without delay under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs”, the statement concluded.
#UN; #WFP; #2020NobelPeacePrize
UN, Oct 9 (Canadian-Media): The UN World Food Programme (WFP), which provides lifesaving food assistance to millions across the world – often in extremely dangerous and hard-to-access conditions – has been awarded the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize.
The agency was recognized “for its efforts to combat hunger, for its contribution to bettering conditions for peace in conflict-affected areas and for acting as a driving force to prevent the use of hunger as a weapon of war and conflict”, said Berit Reiss-Andersen, chair of the Norwegian Nobel Committee.
WFP is the largest humanitarian organization in the world. Last year, it assisted 97 million people in 88 countries.
Its efforts focus on emergency assistance, relief and rehabilitation, development aid and special operations. Two-thirds of the work is in conflict-affected countries where people are three times more likely to be undernourished than those living in countries without conflict.
Global food insecurity aggravated by COVID-19 Praising the work of the UN agency, the Nobel Committee chair highlighted its role in boosting resilience and sustainability among communities by helping them to feed themselves.
The COVID-19 crisis has also added to global food insecurity, she added, highlighting that there will likely be 265 million “starving people within a year”.
Secretary-General António Guterres (second from right) with David Beasley (right), WFP Executive Director, serving meals at the reception area for newly arrived refugees at the Imvepi settlement in Uganda.Only the international community can tackle such a challenge, she insisted, before highlighting the fact that WFP had helped millions of people in extremely dangerous and hard-to-reach countries affected by conflict and natural disaster, including Yemen, Syria and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
‘Braving danger to deliver life-saving sustenance’
Hailing the WFP as the the “world’s first responder” on the frontlines of food insecurity, Secretary-General António Guterres lauded the UN agency on winning the coveted award.
“The women and men of the WFP brave danger and distance to deliver life-saving sustenance to those devastated by conflict, to people suffering because of disaster, to children and families uncertain about their next meal,” Mr. Guterres said in a statement.
He drew attention to the plight of millions of people going hungry around the world, amid fears that the COVID-19 pandemic could worsen food security for millions more.
“There is also a hunger in our world for international cooperation,” said the Secretary-General, adding that WFP “feeds that need, too”, operating above the realm of politics, with humanitarian need driving its operations.
The UN chief also called on everyone for greater solidarity, to address not only the pandemic, but other global challenges.
“We know that existential threats such as the climate change will make the hunger crisis even worse”, he said.
‘A humbling, moving recognition’ The announcement by the Norwegian Nobel Committee “turned the global spotlight” on the 690 million people suffering hunger globally, David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, said after the announcement.
“Every one of [them] has the right to live peacefully and without hunger”, he said, adding that climate shocks and economic pressures have further compounded their plight.
“And now, a global pandemic with its brutal impact on economies and communities, is pushing millions more to the brink of starvation.”
Mr. Beasley highlighted that the Nobel Peace Prize was not WFP’s alone, noting that the UN agency works closely with government, organizations and private sector partners whose passion for helping the hungry and vulnerable equals ours.
“We could not possibly help anyone without them. We are an operational agency and the daily work of our staff each day is driven by our core values of integrity, humanity and inclusion.”
The head of WFP added that the award was a “humbling, moving recognition.”
“The Nobel Peace Prize … is a humbling, moving recognition of the work of WFP staff who lay their lives on the line every day to bring food and assistance for close to 100 million hungry children, women and men across the world”, he said, “people whose lives are often brutally torn apart by instability, insecurity and conflict.”
More UN reaction
The President of the General Assembly, Volkan Bozkir, has extended his "heartfelt congratulations" to WFP, descriing it as valuable recognition of its work, as a "critical pillar of the multilateral system, which serves as a vital lifeline for millions of the world’s most vulnerable people, is well deserved."
"In addition to providing food aid to people in nearly 90 countries, WFP is a key partner in the fight against COVID-19, transporting humanitarian staff and supplies, and helping with the procurement and delivery of such crucial items as personal protective equipment (PPE), ventilators and oxygen concentrators", said Mr. Bozkir.
The President of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), Munir Akram, also passed on his congratulations to the agency, writing on Twitter, that "in the middle of COVID-19, you have continued to scale up efforts to bring food assistance to the most vulnerable. A well-deserved accomplishment."
'New engine' to drive key food security messageThe head of WFP's sister agency focusing on food and agricultural development, the FAO, said the award was "a much deserved recognition of the untiring efforts of generations of humanitarian workers worldwide to defeat hunger."
Food and Agriculture Organization Director-General, QU Dongyu, said the Nobel Prize also "turns the eyes of the international community towards the millions of people who suffer from or face the threat of food insecurity.
"This prize is a new engine driving the food security issue to the forefront, underlining the importance of international solidarity and multilateral cooperation."
#UN; #UNSMIL; #Libya; #Peace; #Security; #DPPA
UN, Oct 07 (Canadian-Media): A “rare opportunity” for peace in Libya should be seized by all those involved directly or indirectly in the conflict, António Guterres said on Monday, at a High-Level virtual meeting convened to end the fighting.
Boys walk through Benghazi Old Town in Libya. Image credit: OCHA/Giles Clarke
“Libya’s future is at stake and I call on all Libyans to continue to work towards a lasting ceasefire,” the UN Secretary-General said, at the summit being held on the sidelines of the 75th UN General Assembly, co-hosted with Germany.
“I implore all of you to encourage and support the Libyan peace efforts facilitated by the United Nations – not only in words but in actions,” he continued, urging the “full and unconditional implementation” of a Security Council arms embargo on Libya.
Violations by countries that continue to deliver arms and other military support to the combatants “are a scandal and call into question the basic commitment to peace of all involved”, Mr. Guterres insisted.
The development comes amid ongoing concern by many members of the international community over the disastrous, unresolved situation in Libya, amid suspected, longstanding interference and support for the warring parties by several outside States.
Country divided The oil-rich country remains split between the UN-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA) and the self-proclaimed Libyan National Army (LNA), which launched an attack on the capital, Tripoli in April 2019.
Most recently, the LNA’s 15-month bombardment of Tripoli ended in June, while the city of Tarhouna was reclaimed by GNA forces.
Noting the uneasy truce currently holding in the city of Sirte, where opposing forces face one another with civilians sandwiched between them, Mr. Guterres insisted that he had been “encouraged” by the lull in fighting in recent months.
He also welcomed potential overtures for a peaceful resolution to the conflict, following ceasefire appeals by (GNA) Prime Minister Serraj and the (LNA-supporting) Speaker of the House of Representatives Aguila Saleh.
Potential talks In separate declarations, the two sides had also called for the lifting of the oil blockade and a return to the political process, the UN Secretary-General continued, before calling on “all parties” to engage constructively together, potentially at the UN in Geneva “in the coming weeks” on military issues.
“The conflict has been going on for far too long and today we have an opportunity to recommit to its ending”, he insisted, before explaining that additional impetus for dialogue had been provided by the resignation of the Government in the east of the country on 13 September, and by Prime Minister Serraj’s announcement that he intended to hand over power by the end of October.
Such moves could help “carve out a process that will lead the country back to sustainable peace, stability and development”, Mr. Guterres stressed.
During the last round of discussions in August, the parties addressed security and military issues, security arrangements for a demilitarized zone, and the responsibilities of a future Petroleum Facilities Guard.
‘Abhorrent’ imprisonment In a related development at the Human Rights Council in Geneva, the acting head of the UN Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) called for the immediate closure of migrant detention centres in the north African State.
Conditions in facilities that are “nominally” under the control of the Libyan authorities, as well as others operated by armed groups, remain “abhorrent” for thousands of men, women and children picked up at sea in their bid to reach Europe, Stephanie Williams told the forum at its 45th session.
“We continue to receive reports of arbitrary or unlawful detention, torture, enforced disappearances, extrajudicial killings and sexual violence in all places of detention”, Ms. Williams insisted in a scheduled update.
Women and children sit on mattresses on the floor at a detention centre in Tripoli, Libya.Latest data from UNSMIL indicates that in western Libya, some 3,291 detainees remain in detention - including women, children and unaccompanied minors – with 371 held in eastern Libya.
Death at sea Highlighting that “many” migrants still die while attempting to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe, the UNSMIL senior official reiterated longstanding warnings from the UN and other organizations that Libya “is not a safe port” for the return of migrants and asylum seekers.
“Those who survive continue to be returned to Libya where they are arrested upon arrival or simply disappear,” Ms. Williams said, before calling for the immediate closure of detention facilities linked to the GNA and those under the control of armed groups “that are linked to trafficking of migrants and criminal networks, who extort money from the most vulnerable”.
Libyans must decide their future At the Summit, while it was clear that Libyan parties should be expected to “fully shoulder their responsibilities”, Mr. Guterres urged delegates to hear his call for “all outside parties with influence” to “put peace first”.
Bringing an end to the conflict remains a “top priority” for the Organization, he insisted, adding that the conflict “has been going on for far too long and today we have an opportunity to recommit to its ending”.
In addition to the foreign ministers of countries that participated in the Berlin Conference on Libya in January 2020, the high-level event also featured senior representatives of key regional and sub-regional organizations.
Also present were Libya’s neighbours Algeria, Chad, Niger, Sudan and Tunisia, as well as Morocco and South Africa.
Key objectives of the Summit are “to reaffirm participants’ commitment” to the conclusions of the Berlin Conference and underline the UN’s role in facilitating Libyan-owned political, security and economic dialogue “and reiterate the commitment of the international community to a peaceful resolution of the conflict in Libya”, according to the UN Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs (DPPA).
According to UNSMIL there has been a sharp decrease in civilian casualties in Libya, to at least 19 between June and September 2020, compared with at least 358 between April and June.
“The only way to protect civilians is for the fighting to stop and all for all parties to lay down their arms and commit to peace,” said UNSMIL’s Ms. Williams.
Amid widespread problems in the devastated country and the “bleak” outlook, the UNSMIL acting head repeated Libyans’ calls for accountability to be at the “core” of any political discussions about its peaceful future.
“Libyans want their leaders to act responsibly and constructively, in the interest of their nation, to build consensus on an inclusive political settlement that would restore democratic legitimacy”, she said.
#Africa; #CAR; #Elections; #Peace&Security
Africa/UN, Oct 1 (Canadian-Media): The UN Secretary-General has called for parties in the Central African Republic (CAR) to prioritize national dialogue and consensus-building ahead of elections scheduled to begin in December.
Voter registration in Bangui, Central African Republic.
Image credit: MINUSCA/Hervé Serefio
“The coming period will be decisive for the country”, António Guterres told a high-level meeting on the country, held on Thursday. His remarks were shared after the meeting, which was held behind closed doors.
“The presidential, legislative and local elections represent a unique opportunity for national reconciliation and the consolidation of peace, as well as the country's constitutional order and democratic achievements.”
A UN peacekeeping operation has been in the CAR since 2014 following intercommunal violence, largely between a mainly Muslim coalition known as Séléka, and a mostly Christian alliance, commonly referred to as the Anti-Balaka.
Despite an agreement signed last year between the Government and 14 armed groups, the CAR continues to suffer violence and human rights abuses. Ongoing humanitarian and development needs, which have increased due to the COVID-19 pandemic, also remain an urgent priority.
A crucial step The Secretary-General said the elections also constitute a crucial step for the continuity of the political process, and he upheld the February 2019 accord as “the only viable framework” for lasting peace in the country.
“The authorities of the Central African Republic and all national stakeholders have a historic responsibility to ensure the proper conduct of these elections, which must be free, transparent, safe, inclusive and within the constitutional time limits”, he stated.
“I therefore call upon all stakeholders to prioritize national dialogue and consensus-building, in a spirit of respect and tolerance between different ethnic groups and religions.”
Putting people at the centre The UN chief stressed that citizens, including those who fled to neighbouring countries, must reap the benefits of efforts towards peace and democracy.
“All segments of the population of the Central African Republic, in particular women, young people, internally displaced persons and refugees, must be at the centre of efforts to consolidate democracy and, consequently, of this electoral process”, he said.
The Secretary-General reported that there has been progress in implementing the agreement, including in legislative reforms, extension of state authority across the country, and a process for disarming, demobilizing and reintegrating combatants.
Security has also improved in some areas, thanks to the presence of the UN mission, known by the French acronym MINUSCA, which supports the authorities.
However, Mr. Guterres was concerned about the “significant number” of human rights violations and breaches of the agreement.
“The commitments made by all signatories must be respected”, he said, while strongly condemning attacks targeting civilians, humanitarian workers and UN peacekeepers.