Tag Archives: war

World Refugee Day 2012


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Sudan allows some overseas participation in conflict-torn state

The Sudanese government has agreed to involve some U.N. agencies and other international aid groups in assessing humanitarian needs in the state of South Kordofan.

The announcement, made on Sunday (Feb. 19) by social welfare minister Amira Al-Fadil, is the latest concession of the Sudanese government to international pressure to give foreign aid agencies greater access to the conflict-torn states of South Kordofan and Blue Nile.

The minister did stress that the United Nations and its partners must abide by conditions set by the Sudanese government and local officials of South Kordofan, the Sudan Tribune reports. International agencies will also have no direct involvement in aid delivery, the news agency adds.

Al-Fadil’s announcement came as U.N. Undersecretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos released a statement where she expressed concern over the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the two Sudanese states. She urged the Sudanese government and the rebel group Sudan People’s Liberal Movement-North to heed a joint proposal by the United Nations, African Union and the Arab League for immediate aid access to South Kordofan and Blue Nile.



Selatan Sudan dan Sudan adalah dua negara yang aku jangka akan menghasilkan banyak konflik dan persengketaan, pertamanya, penubuhan Selatan Sudan adalah sesuatu yang sukar sebenarnya untuk diterima oleh penduduk Sudan. Kedua, asas agama pemerintah juga menjadi satu aspek dimana pemberitaan, pelaporan, huluran bantuan dan sebagainya akan sentiasa menjadi berat sebelah. Ini adalah bibit awal, dan aku tak terkejut, US akan turut campur tangan dalam sedikit masa lagi…


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Afghanistan: Helmand IDPs tired of leaving their homes time and again

Thousands of families in Helmand have been forced to abandon their homes due to the ongoing conflict and war in the area.

These internally displaced people (IDPs) have since been living in abject conditions as a result of leaving behind their homes, livestock, farms and belongings.

Most of these families move to Lashkargah, the capital, to live in temporary camps. Some stay with relatives, others search for shelter in neighbouring districts, while some continue their painful journey to Kandahar or move as far as Kabul.

Gul Mohammad, who has been forced to abandon his home and village in Helmand’s Nadali district for the fifth time in less than a year, told UNAMA that life hasn’t changed for his family even after several clean-up operations. He regrets that each time the government promises to bring security, it fails to do so.

“The government and NATO forces started fresh offensives in Nadali and Marja. We are forced to leave our homes to safeguard our families. More than 200 families left Nadali and are currently living in Lashkargah. Some are staying with their relatives and some others have rented houses which they can’t afford for too long. They don’t have food, tents and heating material. Neither the government nor aid agencies have provided any assistance to us as yet,” he said.

1. “We are sick of operations in our area every day. We leave our homes. Our children have no future and those who can’t move are stranded due to IEDs (improvised explosive devices) and blocked roads. People are trying to move to safer areas in order to protect themselves. We appeal to the government and NATO forces to… provide us (with) security and better living conditions,” said Ahmad Wali, an IDP from Marja district, who currently lives in a rented house in Lashkargah.

The head of the government’s refugees and returnees department for Helmand, Ghulam Farooq Noorzai, admits a large number of families are coming to Lashkargah from the districts of Marja and Nadali.

“We are in contact with UN agencies and have shared our concerns with them,” said Mr Noorzai. “The UN has promised to release assistance to the new IDPs from Nadali and Marja,” he added.

According to him, the United Nations has provided assistance to over 8,000 IDP families in Helmand province in the last six months.

Lucio Milardo, head of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kandahar, says the UN is helping the IDPs to build food capacity.

“First, the United Nations is providing humanitarian assistance to the IDPs based on their needs. Second, the humanitarian assistance from the UN agencies should not be aligned with military. Our aim is only to assist people in need and has nothing to do with the military,” he said.

“We are glad that UN agencies are helping the IDPs who have been forced to leave their homes and villages due to military operations. We have a good coordination mechanism in place with all UN agencies, including UNHCR, WFP, UNICEF, WHO, UNAMA and others and we really appreciate their assistance”, said Mr Noorzai.

Mr Noorzai expects a fresh influx of IDPs from Nadali district, after the recent announcement by the military to launch fresh offensives. He, however, said they are prepared to meet the requirements of up to 15,000 IDPs with the assistance of UN agencies.

The United Nations is up to the task and as part of the UN’s Interagency Contingency Plan for natural and man-made disasters, the UN has pre-positioned sufficient food and non-food items at the provincial level.

United Nations agencies in the regions have always played a vital role in providing assistance to IDPs in Helmand and other provinces.

In 2009 alone, UN agencies assisted more than 30,000 families in the south with humanitarian aid – almost double when compared to 2008 – as displacement continued from areas most affected by the conflict.

By Mujeeb Rahman, UNAMA

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Thousands of lives are at risk in southern Sri Lanka

Thousands of lives are at risk in Sri Lanka because aid to Internally displaced People is being restricted by difficulties in securing access for staff and vehicles international agencies said today.

As a result of the restrictions, agencies cannot adequately provide urgently needed services including food and water to people who are almost totally reliant on aid.

Heads of agencies stated, “The camps in Sri Lanka are huge. They stretch over 1,000 acres and take nearly an hour to walk across. Without vehicles we can’t do our work properly and that’s putting lives at risk.

“Thousands of people are arriving from the war zone in a very weak condition. We’re very worried about their health, with small children and the elderly being particularly at risk. Keeping aid agencies out will only make their condition more critical.

“We’re asking the Sri Lankan government to adhere to the guiding principles agreed, by them with the humanitarian community and to let us do our job properly.”

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon prepares to visit the camps, the agencies called on the Sri Lankan government to allow better access to the camps and to drop the restrictions, which have been in place since the weekend.

The camps in the north of the country are still expanding with traumatised people pouring in from the conflict zone. They already hold 270,000 people. The military have told aid agencies to expect up to another 50,000 Internally Displaced People in the next few days. The new arrivals are the people who were held in the conflict zone by the Tamil Tiger rebels until their defeat on Sunday.

Circulated on behalf of

Oxfam, ASB/Solidar, ACTED, Danish Refugee Council, ZOA Refugee Care, Forut, UMCOR, Relief International, Handicap International, Save the Children, Welthungerhilfe, CARE, World Vision, Medical Teams International

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Iraq: Civilians still facing hardship every day

Geneva/Baghdad (ICRC) – Six years after the opening shots were fired in Iraq’s latest war, millions of civilians are still facing hardship every day, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said today. “Indiscriminate attacks continue to leave dozens of people killed or injured on a daily basis despite improvements in the security situation in many parts of Iraq,” said Jakob Kellenberger, the ICRC’s president, during a five-day visit to the country. The aim of his trip was to gain a first-hand impression of the humanitarian situation and to meet with senior political and religious leaders in Baghdad and Najaf, including Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki and Foreign Minister Hushiar Zebari.

The humanitarian situation in many areas of the country remains serious despite the Iraqi authorities’ considerable efforts to provide basic services such as water and health care. “Further work is required to ensure that the basic needs of Iraqis are met. The ICRC is supporting these efforts, but the scale of the needs exceeds the emergency aid we can provide,” said Mr Kellenberger. In 2008, the ICRC helped around four million people procure clean water and more than 500,000 people obtain better access to primary health care and basic emergency services, and provided more than 100,000 displaced people with other assistance.

Mr Kellenberger also visited Rusafa Prison in Baghdad, where the ICRC has been regularly monitoring conditions of detention and the treatment of approximately 7,000 detainees. “The Iraqi authorities have granted the ICRC access to all places of detention throughout the national territory, and we hope to be able to conduct more visits in the near future,” said Mr Kellenberger. Visiting detainees remains the ICRC’s priority in the country, where the organization’s delegates carry out regular visits to more than 27,000 detainees held by the Iraqi central government, the US/Multinational Force in Iraq (MNF-I) and the Kurdistan regional government. Mr Kellenberger placed particular emphasis on the authorities’ obligation to respect the judicial guarantees afforded detainees under international law.

In his discussions with the authorities, Mr Kellenberger also raised the issue of people who have gone missing as a result of the successive conflicts that have afflicted the country. The ICRC president encouraged the authorities to press ahead with their efforts to clarify what happened to these missing people.

Read also:

Operational update January 2009
Facts and Figures, 2008

For further information, please contact:

Dibeh Fakhr, ICRC Iraq, tel: +962 777 399 614 or +962 6 552 39 94

Dorothea Krimitsas, ICRC Geneva, tel: +41 22 730 25 90 or +41 79 251 93 18

Note for editors:

As security improved in 2008 and 2009, the ICRC expanded its presence throughout the country and stepped up its humanitarian work. The ICRC now has staff in Baghdad, Basra, Najaf, Erbil, Suleimaniyeh, Dohuk, Ramadi and Khanaqin. Among the 531 staff in its Iraq delegation are 91 expatriates, 35 of whom are permanently based in the country.

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Middle East nations condemn Israel’s Gaza invasion

by Samer al-Atrush

CAIRO (AFP) – Israel’s ground offensive in the Gaza Strip was roundly condemned across the Middle East on Sunday, with Egypt also accusing the UN Security Council of failing to act quickly to resolve the crisis.

Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Abul Gheit said Israel’s incursion into the impoverished territory on Saturday night came in “brazen defiance” of international calls to end the fighting.

“The Security Council‘s silence and its failure to take a decision to stop Israel’s aggression since it began was interpreted by Israel as a green light,” he said in a statement as Israeli forces rumbled into Gaza.

A Jordanian government spokesman said the invasion “will have dangerous repercussions and negative effects on the region’s security and stability” and called for an immediate ceasefire, state-news agency Petra reported.

Foreign Minister Salah Bashir met ambassadors from the UN Security Council five permanent members and urged speedy “international action to end these attacks.”

His statement came after Arab League chief Amr Mussa accused the UN Security Council of “ignoring” the crisis in Gaza.

Israel sent tanks and infantry into the impoverished Palestinian enclave on Saturday night after eight days of air strikes and naval bombardment killed more than 485 Palestinians. Rockets fired by Gaza militants have killed four Israelis.

The Security Council announced after the ground operations began that it would hold a special meeting on Gaza. But after four hours of consultation, its members failed to agree on a statement calling for an immediate ceasefire.

The US has said it would not support a ceasefire that would return the “status quo” in Gaza, which the Islamist movement Hamas violently took over in 2007.

An Arab diplomat familiar with the talks at the Security Council blamed the US for blocking a resolution calling for a ceasefire.

“It’s clearly the Americans, it doesn’t require genius,” he said, adding that the US had blocked a resolution because “the Israelis still need some time to finish their operations.”

Washington said it would reject a Libyan proposal for a resolution calling on both sides to abide by a ceasefire because it did not explicitly mention Hamas rocket attacks.

Turkey, one of Israel’s few Muslim allies, urged the UN to take the necessary steps to bring the situation under control and condemned the “unacceptable” offensive.

“We condemn and find it unacceptable that Israel has begun a ground operation (in Gaza) in spite of the warnings and reactions from the international community,” said a foreign ministry statement.

“It is obvious that escalating the tension will not benefit anyone.”

Hamas fired dozens of rockets into Israel after an Egyptian-mediated six-month truce expired on December 19. The militant group says it will not support a ceasefire as long as Israel continues to blockade the coastal strip.

Hamas’ regional ally Iran said in response to Israel’s ground operations that Gaza would become a “cemetery” for Israel.

Gulf newspapers slammed Washington’s “protection of Israel” at the UN which has “prevented any international dissuasive (action) and the possibility of imposing a ceasefire,” wrote the Emirati Al-Bayan daily.

Saudi’s Al-Riyadh attacked US President George W. Bush “who started his first presidential mandate with wars of occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan and ends his (White House) days welcoming the spilling of Palestinian blood.”

The Israeli press backed the ground offensive and its “limited” objectives, but looked to diplomatic ways of ending the conflict at the appropriate time.

“This is not a ‘ground operation’ but a real war, a war to defend our homes and lives,” wrote the mass-circulation Yediot Aharonot.

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Georgia: “Victims of the South Ossetia conflict need better protection” says Commissioner Hammarberg

Strasbourg, 16.12.2008 – “Despite some positive steps, the situation of the victims affected by the South Ossetia conflict remains worrisome” said today the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Thomas Hammarberg, publishing a report on his follow-up visit to the areas affected by the conflict. The report reviews the situation as regards the implementation of the six principles for urgent human rights and humanitarian protection presented by the Commissioner last September.

Right to return

“Important gaps in the humanitarian support provided to the returnees need to be swiftly addressed” said the Commissioner. “Private construction work is under way and commendable efforts are being made by international inter-governmental and non-governmental humanitarian organisations to secure adequate living conditions for the victims. Livelihood and income generating projects are needed to allow them to meet their daily needs and prevent new movements of displacement. The aid must also be extended to the persons who never left the areas during the hostilities, notably elderly and mixed families.”

Rights of displaced persons to care and support

Commissioner Hammarberg reports that some 37 500 individuals continue to be displaced and their living conditions need to be urgently improved. “I am seriously concerned over the fact that the Georgian government, despite the substantial assistance of the international community, still has not managed to secure adequate living conditions and support to a number of those who continue to be displaced. Government efforts are equally needed to guarantee the rights of the more than 223 000 IDPs from previous conflicts.”

Right to be protected against dangers from remnants of war

The Commissioner observed that major efforts were made by the Russian forces and non- governmental organisations such as the Halo Trust to clear large areas of the former ‘buffer zone’ and other affected areas from unexploded ordnance and remnants of war. “A major obstacle to the safety of returnees in the areas adjacent to the administrative border with South Ossetia is the large quantity of sub-munition ‘duds’ from cluster bombs” he said. “An international, independent and impartial investigation should be launched into the use of cluster bombs during the hostilities.”

Right to protection against lawlessness

“One of the most serious problems is the security and safety of the returnees to the former buffer zone” said the Commissioner. “The initiation of patrols by the European Union’s civilian monitors has increased security, but it is essential that its patrols be extended also during the night.”

Protection of detainees, prisoners of war and persons in hiding

The report underlines that significant efforts have been made to help bring about the release and exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees and to enable persons who are in hiding to return and reunite with their families. Progress has also been made in the identification of remains. The Commissioner trusts that remaining commitments will be honoured in order to build confidence, enable family reunification and eliminate the problem of hostage-taking.

International presence and monitoring for the protection of human rights

“All international observer missions present in the affected areas are mobilised to contribute to the genuine protection of human rights” said Commissioner Hammarberg. “It is now important to extend the monitoring, in particular to ensure the protection of minority rights.”

Furthermore, the Commissioner observes that the free and unhindered access of international organisations and humanitarian and early-recovery aid has been complicated by the recent adoption of the Georgian law on occupied territories. “The law restricts foreigners’ freedom of movement, property rights and economic activities in these areas” he stressed. “This compounds the position of the de facto South Ossetia authorities that they ‘do not accept any aid coming from the southern administrative border’. The risk is therefore that humanitarian organisations are prevented from having access to all the relevant areas, from all directions and at all times, which is an imperative need.”

Commissioner Hammarberg concludes by recommending impartial investigations into allegations of human rights violations and breaches of international humanitarian law, in order to enable victims to seek justice and restitution or compensation.

The report is based on a visit carried out from 12 to 14 November, when the Commissioner travelled to Tbilisi, Gori and Tskhinvali, as well as to several villages, visiting places and institutions of human rights relevance and meeting with local and international authorities.

Press contacts in the Commissioner’s Office: Stefano Montanari, + 33 6 61 14 70 37, stefano.montanari@coe.int

* * *

The Commissioner for Human Rights is an independent, non-judicial institution within the Council of Europe, mandated to promote awareness of, and respect for, human rights in the 47 member States of the Organisation. Elected by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the present Commissioner, Mr Thomas Hammarberg, took up his function on 1 April 2006.

Press Release
Council of Europe Press Division
Ref: 917a08
Tel: +33 (0)3 88 41 25 60
Fax:+33 (0)3 88 41 39 11

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