Connect with us

World

De-Escalation, An Absolute Must In Israel-Palestine Conflict – UN Chief

Published

on

United Nation’s Secretary-General, António Guterres, declared on Wednesday that de-escalation of the Palestine-Israel conflict was “an absolute must”, saying that the mounting death toll, including children, is totally unacceptable.
Guterres, after meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, in Moscow, said that an end to the violence was needed “to protect the lives of civilians that are now dying in totally unacceptable circumstances”.
According to news reports, the violence has seen more than 50 Palestinians killed along with six Israelis since Monday.
Meanwhile, in New York, the renewed conflict represents the most serious escalation between Israelis and Palestinians “in years”, the UN Special Coordinator for the region told the Security Council.
UN Spokesperson, Stéph-ane Dujarric, briefed reporters in New York at the regular noon press conference, on the update given by Tor Wennesland to the Council, which met behind closed doors.
“We are very concerned by the growing civilian casualties in both Gaza and Israel, and deeply saddened by reported deaths of children in Gaza,” Dujarric said.
He said that the Secretary-General and Wennesland had both reiterated that: “Hamas and other militants’ indiscriminate launching of rockets and mortars violated the humanitarian law.
“They have emphasised that indiscriminate launching of rockets from highly populated civilian neighbourhoods towards civilian population centres violated international humanitarian law, and it is unacceptable and has to stop immediately.”
The spokesperson said the Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process had also told ambassadors that Israeli authorities must “abide by their responsibilities under international law”.
In addition, he said that Israeli security forces should exercise maximum restraint, calibrate their use of force to spare civilians and civilian objects in the conduct of military operations.
The Secretary-General is “particularly appalled that children continue to be victims of violence”, said Dujarric, adding that youngsters needed to be given special protection.
“He and his Envoy have called on the international community to take action to enable the parties to step back from the brink and return to the previous understandings.
“To return to previous understanding that have maintained a relative calm in Gaza and avoid a descent into chaos, with the massive casualties and immense damage to civilian infrastructure that would result,” the spokesperson said.
Wennesland, however, reminded Council members that it was the civilian population on both sides, that bore the burden of war and that the most vulnerable are the ones at greatest risk of suffering.
He also told the Council that the cycle of violence would only end with a political resolution of the conflict, an end to the occupation and a realisation of a two-State solution on the basis of UN resolutions, with Jerusalem as the capital of both States.
Meanwhile, the Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Henrietta Fore, said on Wednesday that at least 14 children in Palestine and one child in Israel have been reported killed since Monday.
She noted that another 95 children in Gaza and the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – and three children in Israel have reportedly been injured in the past five days.
“The situation is at a dangerous tipping point. The level of violence and its impact on children is devastating. We are on the brink of a full-scale war. In any war, children – all children – suffer first and suffer most”.
She urged all sides to “protect all civilians, especially children, to spare essential civilian infrastructure from attacks, and to end violations against children”. (
Continue Reading

World

Indonesia On Brink Of Covid-19 Catastrophe – Red Cross

Published

on

Indonesia is on the brink of a Coronavirus (Covid-19) ‘catastrophe,’ partly due to the spread of the Delta variant of the virus, the Red Cross said yesterday, urging ramp-up of testing and vaccinations.
The country’s medical association warned this week that the health system on the main island of Java was near collapse, with many hospitals turning away patients.
“Every day we are seeing this Delta variant driving Indonesia closer to the edge of a Covid-19 catastrophe,’’ said Jan Gelfand, Head of the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) in Indonesia.
“We need lightning-fast action globally so that countries like Indonesia have access to the vaccines needed to avert tens of thousands of deaths,’’ he said in a statement.
More than 20 per cent of Covid-19 tests in Indonesia are returning positive, indicating that the number of infected people is likely to be much more widespread, the IFRC said.
Indonesia recorded 20,467 new cases on Tuesday, taking the total to more than 2.2 million, according to the health ministry.
Another 463 fatalities over- night brought the virus-related death toll to 58,024.
Indonesian President, Joko Widodo, said on Monday that the country would soon vaccinate children after its drug regulator authorised emergency use of the vaccine made by China’s Sinovac Biotech for people aged 12 to 17.
Nearly 28.3 million people aged 18 and above in the world’s fourth most populous nation of 270 million people have received at least the first dose of a vaccine.
Indonesia has set a target of inoculating 181.5 million people by early 2022.

Continue Reading

World

UN Highlights Policing Reforms To Address Systemic Racism

Published

on

United Nations rights chief Michelle Bachelet says radical policing reforms are needed to address systemic racism affecting people of African descent around the world.
Bachelet said on Monday as her Office published a series of recommendations prompted by the killing of George Floyd.
On May 25, 2020, George Floyd, a 46-year-old black man, was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, United States while being arrested on suspicion of using a counterfeit 20 dollars bill.
During the arrest, Derek Chauvin, a white police officer with the Minneapolis Police Department, knelt on Floyd’s neck for over nine minutes after he was handcuffed and lying face down.
Prior to being placed on the ground, Floyd had exhibited signs of anxiety, complaining about having claustrophobia and being unable to breathe.
After being restrained he became more distressed, complaining of breathing difficulties and the knee on his neck, and expressing fear of imminent death.
Among the new measures proposed in the High Commissioner’s report on racial justice and equality, authorities are urged to reassess whether officers should continue to be the first responders to individuals with mental health problems.
In these and other police actions, the report found that law enforcement officers were rarely held accountable for human rights violations and crimes against people of African descent.
This was owing in part to “deficient investigations, a lack of independent and robust oversight and a widespread “presumption of guilt” against people of African descent.
“The status quo is untenable,” Bachelet said “Systemic racism needs a systemic response.
“We need a transformative approach that tackles the interconnected areas that drive racism, and lead to repeated, wholly avoidable, tragedies like the death of George Floyd”.
In a call to all states “to stop denying, and start dismantling racism”, the UN rights chief appealed to them “to end impunity and build trust; to listen to the voices of people of African descent and to confront past legacies and deliver redress”.
The High Commissioner’s report collected information on more than 190 cases where people had died in police custody around the world.
It uncovered many similarities and patterns, such as the hurdles families encountered in trying to access justice, according to Peggy Hicks, Director of Thematic Engagement at the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).
“Accountability is crucial and families do have some form of satisfaction in seeing someone in prison for a crime that is as violent as the murder of George Floyd which we saw on video tape.
“But of course, there are so many cases where there isn’t a video tape and there are even cases where there are video tapes but justice is not being dealt in those cases,” she said.

Across numerous countries, notably in North and South America and in Europe, people of African descent disproportionately live in poverty and face serious barriers.
They face serious barriers in accessing education, healthcare, employment, housing and clean water, as well as to political participation and other fundamental human rights, the report maintained.
These obstacles to fulfilling basic human rights contributed to a tradition of discrimination linked directly to colonialism and slave trading which resulted in the “dehumanisation” of people of African descent, according to the report.
“We realised that a main part of the problem is that many people believe the misconceptions that the abolition of slavery, the end of the transatlantic trade and colonialism have removed the racially discriminatory structures built by those practices but we found that this is not true,” said UN Human Rights Office’s Mona Rishmawi, Chief, Rule of Law, Equality and Non-Discrimination Branch.
As a result, countries have not paid adequate attention to the negative impact of policies on minority populations and the “conscious and unconscious bias” associated with it, the OHCHR officer insisted.
For people of African descent, these legacy impacts are “a part of their daily life and the daily reality of dehumanisation, marginalisation and denial of their rights”.
The High Commissioner’s report was set in motion by the Human Rights Council after international outrage at the killing of United States citizen George Floyd in 2020.
His death was caused by police officer Derek Chauvin who was captured on video kneeling on Mr Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes.
After a six-week trial this year, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder and sentenced last week to prison for more than two decades.

Continue Reading

World

Zuma Bags 15Months Imprisonment For Contempt Of Court

Published

on

South Africa’s constitutional court on Tuesday, sentenced former President Jacob Zuma, to 15 months imprisonment for contempt of court after he failed to appear at a corruption inquiry earlier this year.
Zuma failed to appear at the inquiry led by Deputy Chief Justice Raymond Zondo in February, after which the inquiry’s lawyers approached the constitutional court to seek an order for his imprisonment.
The inquiry is examining allegations of high-level graft during Zuma’s period in power from 2009 to 2018.
Zuma denies wrongdoing and has so far not cooperated.
“Mr Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma is sentenced to undergo 15 months’ imprisonment,’’ a constitutional court judge said, reading out the court’s order.
Zuma has to appear before police within five days, the judge added.
A spokesman for Zuma told eNCA television that the former president would issue a statement later, without elaborating.
The allegations against Zuma include that he allowed businessmen close to him – brothers Atul, Ajay and Rajesh Gupta – to plunder state resources and influence policy.
The Guptas, who also deny wrongdoing left South Africa after Zuma was ousted in a move orchestrated by allies of his successor, President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Ramaphosa has been trying to restore investor confidence in Africa’s most industrialised nation.
However, he has faced opposition from a faction within the governing African National Congress party that is still loyal to Zuma.

Continue Reading

Trending