Tag Archives: united nations

MENGUTUK PEMBUNUHAN KAKITANGAN UNITED NATIONS DI AFGHANISTAN

Saya sekeras-kerasnya mengutuk pembunuhan 7 kakitangan UN di Mazar-E-Shariff, Afghanistan. Kemarahan penduduk akibat pembakaran Al Quran di Florida, US tidak bererti mereka perlu membunuh bagi menyatakan bantahan tersebut, malah, mereka yang terbunuh ini tidak ada kena mengena langsung dengan pembakaran tersebut. Kejahilan ini pastinya mengundang padah kepada masyarakat muslim yang menjadi minoriti di negara lain. Pastinya umat Islam di Nepal, Norway dan Sweden akan dicemuh dan dihina.

Shahrul Peshawar, Shibuya

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Jordan: All-out UNRWA strike could hit vulnerable refugees

AMMAN, 27 May 2009 (IRIN) – A pay dispute between employees and the management of the UN agency for Palestine refugees (UNRWA) in Jordan could affect vulnerable refugees, especially in the many UNWRA-run schools and clinics.

Thousands of UNRWA employees went on strike 12-14 May in UNRWA facilities, members of the teachers committee who declined to be identified, said, and an all-out strike – potentially paralysing hundreds of clinics and schools across Jordan – is being threatened.

The employees are demanding a 7 percent pay rise, in line with a promised government pay rise of the same magnitude for civil servants.

During the three-day strike, about 124,000 students in different parts of the kingdom, including all 10 of the UNRWA-run refugee camps, were unable to attend classes, according to UNRWA.

The strike involved about 10,000 workers, including teachers, doctors, sanitation workers and administration officials, teachers committee members say. However, some media reports put the figure at 7,000.

Health centres and refuse collection activities also came to a halt, and the alleyways of the al-Hussein-camp in Amman filled up with rubbish during the three-day strike.

Disgruntled

One of the disgruntled teachers, Salem (not his real name), said he was also a refugee and deserved a “decent salary”.

“People used to envy us. due to the good salaries, but as the years passed by and inflation ate into our pay, people began to pity us,” he told IRIN.

Salem shares his two-room concrete home near the centre of the al-Hussein-camp with his wife and eight children. He said he had no option but to strike: “The salary is barely enough for 10 days. What to do for the rest of the month?”

UNRWA provides services to Palestinian refugees who arrived in Jordan after the 1948 and 1967 wars with Israel. Together with their offspring, they now number nearly 1.8 million.

UNWRA “needs time”

Meanwhile, UNRWA officials in Amman said the strike, which came less than a month after a one-day work stoppage for the same reason, was “futile”.

UNRWA spokesman in Amman Matter Saqer said he was “concerned about the fate of tens of thousands of students as well as beneficiaries of health care in the camps and outside.”

“We made all possible efforts up to the last minute to avert the strike. We did not want this to happen, but schools were closed and health care clinics stopped working,” said Saqer, stressing that the UN agency never ignored its workers’ demands, but “needs time”.

According to officials from the Department of Palestinian Affairs (DPA), which manages the affairs of the 1.8 million Palestinian refugees, UNRWA needs urgent financial assistance to implement its programmes and increase its budget.

UNRWA’s camps contain 338,000 registered refugees, while the total number of registered refugees in Jordan is 1,951,603.

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John Solecki Freed!

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today expressed his happiness at the safe release of a United Nations staff member who was abducted in Pakistan two months ago, voicing his appreciation for the efforts of Government officials and others in securing his release.

John Solecki, who heads the office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Quetta, in Balochistan province, was abducted in an attack on 2 February that also left another colleague, Syed Hashim, dead.

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, the Secretary-General said that he is “grateful to all those who have tried over the past two months to help secure John Solecki’s release, and would like in particular to express his appreciation for the strong message made by Balochi leaders in support of his release, as well as efforts made by the Government of Pakistan.”

Mr. Ban also reaffirmed the UN’s continued commitment to help all Pakistani people, a dedication manifested in Mr. Solecki’s own work.

Addressing reporters following a meeting with French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner in Paris, he thanked President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan and President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, along with many others, for their tireless work in securing Mr. Solecki’s release.

But the Secretary-General noted that Robert Fowler, his Special Envoy for Niger, is still missing following his kidnapping last December.

“I sincerely hope that the captors, whoever they may be, should immediately, without any conditions, release him as soon as possible,” he said.

During Mr. Solecki’s captivity, the world body had expressed its concern on many occasions regarding his health, given that he suffers from multiple health conditions requiring ongoing treatment.

A group known as the Balochistan Liberation United Front claimed to be holding him, demanding the release of people it says are in Pakistani custody.

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Get serious – States must join landmine and cluster munition ban treaties

Source: International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL)

Geneva, 3 April 2009 — Global adherence to the Mine Ban Treaty and Convention on Cluster Munitions is the only effective way to stop the use of antipersonnel landmines and cluster munitions, and to fully address the humanitarian consequences of past use of these weapons, the Nobel Peace Laureate International Campaign to Ban Landmines (ICBL) said today, on the eve of the UN’s International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action (4 April).

“Raising awareness on landmines and explosive remnants of war is essential, but it is not enough,” said the ICBL’s Executive Director Sylvie Brigot. “Those who only pay lip service to dealing with these inhumane weapons need to get serious. Unless and until all countries in the world join the treaties banning landmines and cluster munitions, these weapons will continue to claim the lives and limbs of innocent civilians.”

The ICBL calls on all states to join the 1997 Mine Ban Treaty and 2008 Convention on Cluster Munitions, which provide the best framework to alleviate the suffering caused by these indiscriminate weapons and put an end to their use and proliferation. Governments who join the treaties must stop the use, stockpiling, production and transfer of landmines and cluster munitions. They commit to destroying their stocks, clearing all their contaminated areas or helping affected states to do so, and providing assistance to survivors, their families and communities.

The Mine Ban Treaty requires that states clear all mines, as opposed to simply fencing the hazardous areas or clearing only high-priority zones. Where it is fully implemented, the treaty truly helps make a difference in mine-affected communities. Over the last decade, casualty rates have steadily decreased, large tracts of land have been cleared and returned to productive use, and over 42 million stockpiled mines have been destroyed by States Parties to the treaty. Thanks to the stigma now attached to the use of mines, only two governments (Myanmar/Burma and Russia) and a handful of non-state armed groups have employed the weapon in the past few years.

“Achieving a mine-free world is a mission possible, but much progress is still needed, especially on providing meaningful and sustainable assistance to survivors. Continued commitment from governments is the essential condition to win the fight against landmines and cluster munitions. And that commitment should start with joining and fully implementing the landmine and cluster munition ban treaties,” Brigot concluded.

More information and interviews:

Amelie Chayer, ICBL, email: mediaSPAMFLTER@SPATMFLTERicbl.org, tel.: +33 (0)6 89 55 12 81

Background

According to Landmine Monitor, landmines still affect 70 countries and 6 territories.

Cluster munitions have been used in more than 30 countries and territories, and billions of submunitions are stockpiled by more than 70 countries.

80% of the world’s states (156 countries) have adhered to the Mine Ban Treaty. Thirty-nine states remain outside the treaty, including major powers like China, Russia and the USA.

Ninety-six states have signed the Convention on Cluster Munitions since it was opened to signature on 3 December 2008, and five have already ratified. The Convention will become legally binding international law when 30 countries have ratified it.

Twenty-six countries and the European Commission donated US$430 million for mine action in 2007. This is a US$45 million decrease in global mine action funding compared to 2006.

The ICBL is a worldwide network of some 1,000 non-governmental organizations, working for a ban on landmines and cluster munitions. It received the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize for its efforts to bring about the Mine Ban Treaty.

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Expulsion of aid groups from Darfur will have wide impact, UN agencies warn

Adding their voices to the deep concern expressed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon over the ordered departure of at least 13 aid organizations from Sudan’s war-torn Darfur region, UN humanitarian agencies warned today that the effects could shake the region.

Sudan’s decision to begin ejecting the non-governmental organizations (NGOs) came Wednesday, immediately after the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for President Omar Al-Bashir for alleged war crimes and crimes against humanity committed in Darfur.

The Secretary-General is currently contacting the leaders of the African Union (AU) and the League of Arab States, along with others in the region to follow up on his appeal to the Government of Sudan to reconsider its decision, according to his spokesperson.

“With some 4.7 million Sudanese – including 2.7 million internally displaced – already receiving assistance in Darfur, we are very concerned over the prospect of new population movements in the region should the fragile aid lifeline inside Sudan be disrupted,” Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), said today in Geneva.

Noting that there are also 40,000 Chadian refugees in West Darfur, he said: “Our experience shows that when vulnerable populations are unable to get the help they need, they go elsewhere in search of protection and assistance.”

Support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Darfur keeps them as close to home as possible and relieves pressure on neighbouring Chad, where UNHCR and its partners are already caring for nearly 250,000 refugees from Darfur, he explained.

These isolated camps and the remote communities surrounding them are already struggling to provide the basics needed to sustain those refugees in addition to some 180,000 IDPs in eastern Chad.

“Any influx to Chad would be an additional challenge for UNHCR and other humanitarian agencies because of ongoing insecurity and instability in the country, as well as limited resources such as water,” Mr. Redmond said.

In addition to some 3 million displaced, an estimated 300,000 people have died in Darfur, where rebels have been fighting Government forces and allied Arab militiamen, known as the Janjaweed, since 2003.

With such major actors as Oxfam, Care International, International Rescue Committee and Save the Children, and some 6,500 staff, affected, a UN relief official said yesterday that the expulsions will cut humanitarian capabilities in Darfur by at least one half.

Among other agencies speaking out today, the UN World Health Organization (WHO) said the decision could lead to the increase of mortality and morbidity due to the interruption of health services, the decline of immunization coverage and the lack of therapeutic feeding and nutrition services for children.

The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said its main concerns were in areas of water and sanitation, and nutrition and health. It was doing what it could to ensure that its programmes continued, whether by using NGOs whose licenses had not been revoked or new partners.

The UN Security Council is expected to hear a briefing from Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Catherine Bragg later today on the latest developments and the humanitarian impact of the Sudanese decision.

Meanwhile, according to the AU-UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), several instances of banditry targeting the Mission’s personnel and aid groups were reported across the Darfur region. UNAMID is investigating the incidents.

The Mission said that during the last 24 hours, UNAMID military forces conducted some 35 patrols, covering 42 villages and IDP camps throughout the troubled region of western Sudan.

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UN says Israel blocks most Gaza aid

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon says Israel only allows a meager amount of humanitarian aid to enter the impoverished Gaza Strip.

The United Nations strives to provide relief to one million people daily inside a coastal sliver that is home to 1.5 million people, Ban said during a news conference on Tuesday.

Israel, however, is only allowing supplies enough for 30,000 people to get through and only from one crossing, he added.

“We are experiencing serious difficulty in getting all the materials, humanitarian assistance, so it is absolutely necessary that they open the crossings,” the secretary general affirmed while announcing plans to launch a probe into Israel’s bombing of UN compounds during its war on the Gazan population.

Ban told reporters that although Israel has completely ignored his calls, he “will continue to urge that” Tel Aviv allow more aid into the Palestinian strip.

Human rights watchdog Amnesty International has largely criticized Ban for being too timid on the extent of an inquiry into Israel’s attack on its facilities.

“What is needed is a comprehensive international investigation that looks at all alleged violations of international law by all armed groups involved in the conflict,” Irene Khan, the secretary general of Amnesty International, said in an announcement.

Khan added that researchers have found clear evidence of war crimes during the operation – in which more than 1300 Gazans have been killed and over 5300 others have been injured.

MT/AA

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Myanmar: One-tenth of Burmese go hungry despite food surplus

Source: AlertNet

Myanmar, once known as the rice bowl of Asia, still boasts a surplus of hundreds of thousands of tonnes of rice and maize. Yet a tenth of the population is going hungry, according to the first U.N. food security report on the country.

“The reality is that this country has got massive potential,” said Chris Kaye, country representative for the U.N. World Food Programme (WFP), which has been operating in Myanmar since 1994.

“Not only is it a major producer of rice but also many other agricultural products. There should not be a need for food assistance in Myanmar,” said Kaye.

After the devastation wrought by Cyclone Nargis last May, affected townships saw rice harvests fall by about a third. But overall food production in the country is expected to be satisfactory thanks to favourable weather and increased use of high-yielding rice seeds, says the joint report from WFP and the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO), released in late January.

Yet many states are experiencing food deficits because of regional disparities and limited agricultural and financial resources.

Almost 35 percent of Burmese children under the age of five are underweight, according to the U.N. Development Programme. The WFP/FAO report says more than 5 million people live below the food poverty line, and WFP is providing food aid to around 2.6 million people across the country.

Emergency food assistance is still needed in many areas including the cyclone-affected Irrawaddy Delta, the report says. Other priority regions are Chin and northern Rakhine states in the west, where rights groups say ethnic groups suffer abuses at the hands of the military junta.

Human Rights Watch released a report last month about the mainly Christian Chin people, saying hundreds of thousands have fled Myanmar for fear of persecution by the government only to face discrimination and abuse in neighbouring India. India denies the charge.

In remote Chin, a rat infestation triggered by bamboo flowering in early 2007 has affected food supplies, the report says. Kaye told AlertNet that the state, the poorest in Myanmar, is “very poorly served by development assistance and there’s been limited support from the government.”

Northern Rakhine is home to the Rohingyas, an oppressed Muslim minority who have recently turned up on the shores of Thailand and Indonesia with tales of abuse by both the Thai and Myanmar militaries. The Thai army has admitted to towing hundreds of Rohingya far out in the Andaman Sea on boats before cutting them adrift.

The WFP/FAO report says food security and malnutrition levels in Rakhine deserve “immediate humanitarian attention.”

An earlier WFP assessment in June found the cost of rice had increased 75 percent compared to the previous year, and more than half of the population was drinking water from an unprotected source.

“The restrictions on the movement of people, goods and commodities in northern Rakhine state are really at the forefront of the reasons why levels of food insecurity are what they are,” Kaye said.

There are a number of regions where further analysis is needed, he added. WFP is negotiating with the U.N Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to conduct a nutrition survey in northern Rakhine, and there will be a more detailed assessment in Chin in March.

In areas affected by the cyclone, usually the food basket of the country, food production will likely take some time to recover. Nine months into the response to the crisis, agriculture is the most cash-starved sector, receiving less than a third of required funds, according to the United Nations.

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