UN chief applauds French Government for antideath penalty initiative

In a video message for the French Foreign Ministry’s meeting on the death penalty, Mr. Ban applauded the French plan and expressed hope that it would help reinforce the emerging consensus on abolition. “The message for abolition is heard across legal systems, traditions, customs and religious backgrounds. It is heard in all regions,” the Secretary-General stated. According to the French Government, the aim of the campaign is to step up the action taken in recent years to raise awareness of the abolition of the death penalty ahead of the upcoming fifth World Congress against the Death Penalty, to be held in June 2013 in Madrid, Spain. France is a strong opponent of capital punishment and abolished the death penalty in 1981. In addition, some 150 States have either abolished the death penalty or have instituted a moratorium, either in law or in practice. Moreover, in 2007, the UN General Assembly adopted its first ever resolution calling for a worldwide moratorium on its use. Mr. Ban emphasized that the application of capital punishment invariably entails cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment and is rarely meted out across society in an equitable manner. “Application of the death penalty tends to be discriminatory,” he said. “The poor, the powerless and persons belonging to minority communities are executed in disproportionate numbers,” he added. The overall global trend on the use of the death penalty has seen the number of executions worldwide decline. Nevertheless, there has been a recent spate of executions in Gambia as well as in Iraq, where 96 people have had their death sentences carried out since the beginning of 2012. During the month of August alone, 26 people have reportedly been executed by the Iraqi authorities, including 21 in a single day. “People around the world have long demanded an end to the death penalty,” the Secretary-General stated. “The United Nations stands with you in doing all that we can to end the death penalty.” read more

Nuclear ambitions of DPR Korea and Iran top agenda at UNbacked nonproliferation

Speaking at the start of the conference, the head of the UN Office for Disarmament Affairs (ODA), Angela Kane, urged member states to create an enabling environment that will help to address nuclear threats posed by the DPRK and Iran. “The whole raison d’être of this review process is to focus on implementation of commitments relating to the treaty’s three pillars, nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy,” Ms. Kane said.“What is most needed now in NPT arenas is to revive a sense of forward progress, however slow, however difficult it may be,” she added. The two-week Geneva preparatory committee meeting focuses on a range of issues to prepare the agenda for the 2015 Review Conference. The NPT, a landmark international treaty which entered into force in 1970, aims to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons and weapons technology, to promote cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and to further the goal of achieving nuclear disarmament and general and complete disarmament.The DPRK withdrew from the NPT in 2003, but Iran remains a signatory, one of 189 parties to the treaty. Ahead of today’s meeting, representatives of China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States, which make up the permanent membership of the UN Security Council, met in a two-day advance meeting under the rotation leadership of the Russian Federation.In their final statement, the representatives stressed “the fundamental importance of an effective IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) safeguards system in preventing nuclear proliferation.” They also discussed support for the IAEA in detection of possible nuclear weapon programmes in non-nuclear weapons states.In today’s speech, Ms. Kane said that the readiness of the nuclear-weapons States to increase the detail of their reporting on nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation activities will get increased scrutiny in the years ahead. As a result, she said, her office has created a “place-keeper page” on its web site to serve as a future repository of data voluntarily submitted by the nuclear-weapons States.She also welcomed the increased attention from civil society to the importance of accountability in implementation of past commitments on disarmament and non-proliferation. read more

UN partners seek record 13 billion to bring lifesaving aid to millions

The $6.5 billion sought to assist millions of Syrians inside the country and across the region is the biggest amount so far requested for a single humanitarian emergency. The conflict, which began in March 2011, has left some 8 million people in need of humanitarian assistance.“As we look towards the fourth year of this appalling crisis, its brutal impact on millions of Syrians is testing the capacity of the international community to respond,” Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs Valerie Amos said at the launch of the appeals in Geneva.In total, aid agencies are aiming to 52 million people worldwide with assistance, launching humanitarian response plans for 17 countries, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a news release. Complex crises in Syria and its neighbours, as well as in Philippines and Yemen have displaced or affected 35 million men, women and children who need emergency relief, protection and basic services to sustain them on a daily basis. The protracted crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR) has deteriorated into a major humanitarian emergency with more than half a million people displaced and half the entire population in urgent need of aid. “I have seen people in desperate circumstances in the Central African Republic and Yemen, the typhoon-devastated parts of the Philippines and in many other countries I have visited this year,” said Ms. Amos, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator.“It is hard to put into words their despair, but also the dignity with which they endure the most painful and difficult circumstances. We count on the continued support from our partners as we work to save lives and support the millions of people caught in crisis.”A total of 568 aid organizations are participating with projects in Afghanistan, CAR, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Haiti, Myanmar, occupied Palestinian territory, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, the combined plan for Syria and neighbouring countries, and Yemen. The plans for the Sahel will be launched early next year.“What is clear already is that 2014 will be a very challenging year for all of us. Globally, forced displacement levels are approaching record highs. It is critically important that humanitarian organizations are properly in a position to respond,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres. Funding for consolidated and flash appeals reached an unprecedented $8 billion in 2013, exceeding the previous high of $7.2 billion in 2010. Despite the generosity of donors and individuals, funding of the coordinated plans and appeals is only at 60 per cent of requirements. read more

José Graziano da Silva reelected as head of UN Food and Agriculture

The election took place on the first day of FAO’s biennial governing Conference, which is running in Rome, where the agency is headquartered, through 13 June. According to a press release, in ballot by FAO member countries today, Mr. Graziano da Silva received a total of 177 out of 182 votes cast.Nominated by Brazil, Graziano da Silva was the only candidate during this year’s election cycle. His new term will run from 31 July 2015 to through July 2019.Addressing the plenary after his re-election, Mr. Graziano da Silva reaffirmed FAO´s commitment to ending hunger and malnutrition.Since taking up the post of FAO Director-General, Mr. Graziano da Silva has spearheaded major transformational changes within the Organization, making FAO more responsive to its Members’ needs.He sharpened the focus of FAO’s work on five strategic objectives, with the new goal of totally eradicating hunger and malnutrition. He also reinforced institutional capacities both in the agency’s headquarters and in the field; found significant cost-savings by streamlining administrative procedures; increased collaboration with external partners; and enhanced support for South-South Cooperation. Mr. Graziano da Silva joined FAO in 2006 as the head of its Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean and was first elected Director-General on 26 June 2011. Prior to that, he led the team that designed Brazil’s highly-successful ‘Zero Hunger’ (‘Fome Zero’) programme and led its initial implementation.José Graziano da Silva is the eighth FAO Director-General since the Organization’s founding in 1945. read more

Security Council calls for regional solutions to challenges facing Africas Great Lakes

Adopting a Presidential Statement, the 15-nation Council spotlighted, among other things, cross-border issues, including the large flows of natural resources, migrants and refugees, as well as the activities of armed groups and criminal networks in and around the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).“Solutions to the prevailing situation in the Great Lakes region should come within a regional perspective, by addressing the root causes of conflicts, many of which are regional in nature,” the Council underscored.The Council expressed grave concern over the continued illicit exploitation of natural resources and their trade in the eastern DRC, urging coordinated efforts by the signatory States of the Peace, Security and Cooperation (PSC) Framework, regional organizations and the international community to undercut the economic lifelines of armed groups benefitting from those activities.Today’s adoption of the text followed the 21 March Council open debate on the prevention and resolution of conflicts in the Great Lakes region, held under Angola’s presidency for the month.On the security front, the Council reiterated the importance of neutralizing all armed groups in country’s eastern part, particularly the Forces Démocratiques de Libération du Rwanda (FDLR), Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and the various Mai Mai groups, in accordance with resolution 2277 (2016).Noting the announcement of the resumption of joint military operations between the DRC’s Government and the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in DRC (MONUSCO), the Council called for immediate restart of such activities in earnest to completely neutralize those armed groups.Turning to the political front, the Council urged regional support for initiatives aimed at promoting inclusive dialogue amongst national stakeholders and stressed the importance of enabling the full and free participation of peaceful political parties, civil society and the media in the political process.The Great Lakes region includes Burundi and Rwanda as well as Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania.While welcoming the credible and peaceful conduct of elections in some States in the region, the Council noted that the recent and ongoing electoral processes in other States raise deep concerns about the risk of instability, human rights and humanitarian law violations and abuses, and further displacement of people.The Council called on States in the region to take steps to ensure that electoral processes promote peace and security through timely, peaceful, inclusive and credible elections. read more

Warning signs are flashing in crisistorn Central African Republic warns senior UN

Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights Andrew Gilmour said he was struck by the improvements in the capital, Bangui, such as “bustling markets and signs of growing economic life” and a “police, justice and corrections institutions beginning to take form.” In Bambari, within the Ouaka prefecture, where clashes between armed groups killed numbers of civilians and displaced a significant population, Mr. Gilmour saw a fledging gendarmerie, police, judiciary and civil authorities.Calling it a “town without armed groups,” Mr. Gilmour said Bambari “represents a model of hope of the possible way forward,” due to the collaboration between Government forces, UN peacekeepers from the UN Integrated Stabilization Mission, known as MINUSCA, international partners and non-governmental organizations. The senior UN official warned, however, that armed groups are coalescing and continuing with “atrocious attacks” against women and children, even as disarmament has stalled, attacks on peacekeepers continue, and deployed forces battle without sufficient resources.“This is a time for leadership, strengthened partnerships, and a coordinated approach that puts Central Africans’ ‘Human Rights Up Front’,” Mr. Gilmour said referring to the UN initiative to prevent and respond early to large-scale human rights or humanitarian violations.“Warning signs are flashing and must not be ignored,” stressed Mr. Gilmour.Clashes between the mainly Muslim Séléka rebel coalition and anti-Balaka militia, which are mostly Christian, plunged the country of 4.5 million people into civil conflict in 2013. According to the UN, more than half the population is in dire need of assistance. Despite significant progress and successful elections, CAR has remained in the grip of instability and sporadic unrest.Fresh violence surfaced earlier this year. As of May 2017, there were more than 500,000 internally displaced persons nationwide, a figure that had not been reached since August 2014. read more

Security Council stresses need of sustainable solutions for millions displaced in Darfur

“The Security Council reiterates its demand that all parties to the conflict in Darfur create the conditions conducive to allowing the voluntary, informed, safe, dignified and sustainable return of refugees and internally displaced persons,” said the 15-member body in a Presidential Statement it adopted Wednesday.The Council also voiced concern that improvements in the security situation has not translated into a commensurate reduction in the level of human rights violations and abuses, such as sexual and gender-based violence, and serious violations against children, perpetrated with impunity.Further, the Council also said that six years after the adoption of the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur, the people of Darfur had yet to fully benefit from it.In that context, the UN body reiterated its support for the Doha Document as a viable framework for the peace process, and welcomed the signing of an African Union (AU) High-Level Implementation Panel road map by the Government and armed movements and urged them to make immediate progress on its implementation.Turning to the AU-UN Mission In Darfur (UNAMID), the Council said it was “still too early to reach conclusions on the full impact of [the Mission’s] reconfiguration” and requested that UNAMID and the UN country team closely monitor the reconfiguration’s impact on the ground and to promptly report back on any adverse effects.With phase two of UNAMID’s reconfiguration due to begin on 31 January, the Council said it supported a recommendation by the Chairperson of the AU Commission and the Secretary-General for a review – prior to the renewal of UNAMID’s mandate in June – that would consider a new mission concept with adjusted priorities reflective of trends and the situation on the ground. read more

Cameroon violence needs urgent investigation says UN rights chief Zeid

Amid a backdrop of protests in the English-speaking north-west and south-west regions of the West African country, that escalated in late 2017 into clashes between State military forces and armed groups, Zeid condemned an ambush on a Government convoy that took place earlier this month.But he cautioned that the Government’s “heavy-handed response…will only make matters worse for the women, children and men caught in the middle”.To date, the violence has forced more than 21,000 people to flee to neighbouring countries, according to UN humanitarian staff, while 160,000 have been internally displaced, many reportedly hiding in forests to protect themselves.I am deeply worried that these killings … may not be isolated cases — UN human rights chief, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein“There are reports that armed elements have carried out kidnappings, targeted killings of police and local authorities, extortion and have torched schools,” the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said. “There are also reports that Government forces are responsible for killings, the excessive use of force, burning down of houses, arbitrary detentions and torture.”To prevent the situation from deteriorating further, Zeid urged the Government to launch independent investigations into alleged violations by State security forces and abuses by armed elements.In a statement, the High Commissioner also noted serious violations in the far north of the country, where the authorities continue to confront the terrorist group Boko Haram.Zeid said that he was “utterly appalled” by a video reportedly showing members of State armed forces executing a woman, a child and a baby who were accused of belonging to the separatist militants, and insisted the Government had an obligation to investigate the crime.“I am deeply worried that these killings captured on camera may not be isolated cases,” he said.Given the seriousness of the reported violence by State and armed actors, the UN official added that it was “regrettable” that the Government had failed to grant the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) access, despite repeated requests.“We will now need to explore other options, including remote monitoring,” Zeid noted. read more

Thursdays Daily Brief Press Freedom Day Tuna Day cultural dialogue GlobalGoals awards

The UN has said it is “gravely concerned” over reports of a worsening humanitarian situation facing civilians across northwest Syria, with rising casualties, and “waves of displacement” due to intensifying conflict.Briefing reporters at UN Headquarters in New York on Thursday, Spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric, said that over the past 48 hours, “at least seven people have reportedly been killed in south rural Idlib, while two were reportedly killed in Hama governorate yesterday.”Read our full story here.Mali: crimes against humanity may have taken place in last month’s Ogossagou attack Listen to or download our audio 3-minute News in Brief for 2 May 2019 on SoundCloud: Following a string of hate-fuelled attacks on places of worship around the world, the High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations (UNOAC), said on Thursday that it was with a “heavy heart” that he was opening the annual UN-backed forum in Baku, Azerbaijan, on the role of cultural dialogue in building human solidarity and countering violence.Miguel Angel Moratinos said the theme of the 5th World Forum for Intercultural Dialogue, Building Dialogue into action against discrimination, inequality & violent extremism, was very timely as those gathered at the Forum, which wraps up tomorrow, would no doubt reflect on the “horrific terrorist attacks” that had taken place over recent days and months.Find our full coverage of the high-level opening event here.Harsh drought conditions in Somalia could trigger major humanitarian crisis, UN warns The UN peacekeeping mission in Mali, MINUSMA, released on Thursday the preliminary findings of a special fact-finding mission on serious human rights violations in the Ogossagou region, Mopti, in Mali, this past 23 March.During the attack that day, at least 157 members of the Fulani (or “Peule”) community were killed, 65 were wounded, and 220 homes were reduced to ashes, including some in which people had taken refuge.“Around 5am, a group of at least a hundred men, identified as ‘traditional hunters’ (dozos) along with a dozen men in military clothing and others in civilian clothing, led an attack… killing indiscriminately men, women and children, and burning down houses with torches,” explained a MINUSMA press release.The fact-finding mission found three mass graves, containing at least 150 bodies altogether.“I am profoundly shocked by the cruelty of these abominable acts against the civilian population, especially women and children,” said UN Special Representative for Mali Mahamat Saleh Annadif, calling for the perpetrators to be brought to justice.These events took place against a backdrop of ongoing inter-communal violence. They could amount to crimes against humanity if it is proven that they took place in a context of systematic attacks against civilians, according to the Rome Statute.World Tuna Day highlights importance of sustainably managed fish stocks for the health of the ocean Thursday is World Tuna Day, which serves to highlight the importance of this valuable food source to the marine ecosystem and the global economy, says the UN.Established just two years ago, the day raises awareness about the importance of tuna – a staple of the seas – and serves to promote more sustainable fishing practices.Highlighting that tuna and tuna-like species are very important economically to all countries – and a significant source of food – the UN warns that tuna is threatened by an overwhelming demand, especially for traditional canned tuna, and as sashimi and sushi.Confirming that approximately 7 million tonnes of tuna are landed yearly, the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) emphasizes the whole aquaculture sector’s role in achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in particular, Sustainable Development Goal 14, to conserve the ocean and its resources.Festival in Bonn to drive action towards meeting SDGs And sticking with the SDGs, a global festival of action, kicked off in Bonn, Germany, on Thursday aiming to inspire SDGs campaigners to scale up and broaden the global movement, and make the 17 goals a reality.Organized by the UN SDG Action Campaign, the ground-breaking event runs until Saturday, providing an interactive space to showcase the latest innovations, tools and approaches to SDG advocacy.Bringing together more than 1,500 political decision-makers, activists, experts, business leaders and creatives from over 130 countries, the festival is expected to motivate not only organizations but also individuals, in the push towards 2030.Watch the opening ceremony here: A free press is ‘cornerstone’ for accountability and ‘speaking truth to power’: Guterres A senior UN official has warned that harsh drought conditions currently afflicting South West state in Somalia, are likely to trigger a major humanitarian crisis, if urgent action is not taken. George Conway, acting UN Deputy Special Representative for Somalia, issued the warning while he was assessing the effects of the prolonged drought on vulnerable populations, in Baidoa. Highlighting the underfunding of this year’s Humanitarian Response Plan – currently only 19 per cent met – Mr. Conway said on Thursday it would require “strong advocacy with donor and financing partners” to avoid a crisis, and stop it increasing “potentially over the edge into more disastrous conditions”.According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), drought conditions during the 2018-2019 rainy season have led to an increase in the number of people designated as “food insecure”, since October of last year.Grave concern over escalating humanitarian crisis, casualties, displacement across northwest Syria At a time when disinformation and mistrust of the news media is growing, a free press is “essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights”, said the UN Secretary-General, in his message for World Press Freedom Day, marked on Friday.No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information, said António Guterres, describing unfettered journalism as “the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and speaking truth to power.”Read our full story here.Not faith, ‘but those who manipulate the faithful’ driving wedge between religions, UN-backed forum in Baku told read more

Automotive Academy unveils newlook website

http://www.automotiveacademy.co.uk has a refreshed new look and feel, providing more information to employers, employees and training organisations, as well as the world’s media. The Automotive Academy has unveiled its new website, the internet home of training for the motor manufacturing industry. The Automotive Academy is a unique partnership between the automotive industry and government, making globally competitive training materials available to everyone in the industry; from shop floor to boardroom and from the largest vehicle manufacturer to the smallest SME. Academy chief executive, Dr Alan Begg, said, ‘Our web site is fast becoming the best single source of up-to-date material on training in the motor industry. The new easy-to-use site provides access to all the Academy course brochures, contact details for the key people in all our regional spokes, as well as the latest Academy news. Its new look makes it much easier for people to find exactly what they’re looking for, making more time for our globally competitive training. ‘ More from: http://www.automotiveacademy.co.uk/Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more