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25 Aug, 2016

Russia backs Aleppo UN truce


Russia agrees to a UN-backed 48-hour humanitarian ceasefire in the divided Syrian city of Aleppo to allow aid deliveries, but security guarantees are awaited from other parties on the ground. UN spokesperson:

We have…agreement now from the Russian Federation for the 48-hour pause, we’re waiting (for) it from the other actors on the ground. That has taken more time frankly than I thought was needed.

US State Dept spokesperson:

If the U.N. says they need 48 hours, of course we support the U.N. But … our focus is on a nationwide sustainable cessation of hostilities.

28 Sep, 2015

Denounces gays in UN address

Gives Talk

Mugabe rejects extending rights to gay people in Zimbabwe during a speech at the UN General Assembly.

We reject attempts to prescribe new rights that are contrary to our values, norms, traditions and beliefs. We are not gays.

He also criticized US and EU sanctions:

We have peace in Zimbabwe just now. We don’t want war. We don’t want interference. We don’t want to hear of regime change at all.

Addresses United Nations

Gives Talk

President Obama addresses the General Assembly of the United Nations. He calls President Assad of Syria is a “tyrant” and urges the international community to work together to defeat ISIS, and that he is prepared to work with Russia and Iran to resolve the conflict.

By [Russia’s] logic we should support tyrants like Bashar al Assad…because the alternative is surely worse….When a dictator slaughters tens of thousands of his own people it’s not a matter of one nation’s internal affairs…There is no room for accommodating an apocalyptic cult like ISIL..We must recognize that there cannot be, after so much bloodshed, so much carnage, a return to the prewar status quo.

On the Iran nuclear deal:

For two years, the United States and our partners including Russia, including China…stuck together…That is the strength of the international system when it works the way it should.

25 Sep, 2015

Addresses United Nations

Gives Talk

Francis addresses the U.N. General Assembly in New York. He talks about the “grave offense” of economic and social exclusion:

A selfish and boundless thirst for power and material prosperity leads both to the misuse of available natural resources and to the exclusion of the weak and disadvantaged.

He calls on government leaders to ensure their people enjoy the minimum material means needed to live.

In practical terms, this absolute minimum has three names: lodging, labor, and land.

He also urges leaders to fight human trafficking and ban nuclear arms, and work on environmental issues.

7 Aug, 2015

UN to examine chemical weapons attacks

Opens investigation

The UN adopts a resolution aimed at identifying those behind chemical weapons attacks in Syria. Ban and the head of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) will be asked to prepare a plan for an inquiry. US ambassador to the UN, Power:

Today’s resolution has been adopted with the council’s unanimous support. This sends a clear and powerful message to all those involved in chemical weapons attacks in Syria. The joint investigative mechanism will identify you if you gas people. It bears repeating as well that we need to bring the same unity that we have shown today to urgently find a political solution to the Syrian crisis.”

The resolution follows months of negotiations between the US and Russia. Syria’s ambassador to the UN denies his government was behind the attacks, claiming the Islamic State (IS) group and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front are to blame. Under the terms of the agreement, a team of expert inspectors will be given full access where possible to all locations in Syria and be allowed to collect materials and interview witnesses. Churkin, the UN’s Russian representative, says he hopes that the joint investigative body will work

impartially, objectively and professionally.

The resolution calls for Ban and the OPCW to recommend a team of investigators within 20 days.

6 Aug, 2015

UN envoy meets over security situation

Makes Statement

In a meeting with Rwandan President Kagame, Bathily, Special Representative and Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa, reiterates the UN Secretary-General’s condemnation of the current violence in Burundi. Bathily will continue to hold consultations with political parties, civil society and religious organizations, government officials and the diplomatic community, with the view to reconvene the political dialogue as soon as possible. Bathily:

[The situation in Burundi is accumulating] the well-known and visible marks of a society which previously suffered divisions leading to grave violence. Currently the humanitarian crisis caused by the escalating political tensions in Burundi has worsened, and uptick in the number of refugees seeking asylum and a deterioration in health conditions at refugee camps receiving them.

5 Aug, 2015

Backs oil clean up plan

Buhari says he’s accelerating plans for one of the world’s largest oil cleanups following 50 years of spillage at operations in the Ogoniland region of the Niger Delta. He approves the composition of a governing council and board of trustees to oversee the restoration plan. A group of ‘stakeholders’ will release as much as $10 million within 30 days of formally creating a trust fund to manage financial contributions, according to an e-mailed statement from the office of the presidency. The UN says the recovery would be the world’s ‘most wide-ranging and long-term oil cleanup’ lasting three decades and it will take an initial capital injection of $1 billion. The two organizations that will oversee the oil clean up will have representatives from the petroleum and environment ministries, the United Nations and the state-run oil company, according to the statement from Buhari’s office.

Iran to present Syria peace plan to UN

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Abdollahian announces that Tehran will present an updated version of its plan to the UN to settle the crisis in Syria.

The plan will be declared and presented to the UN secretary general after precise consultations between Tehran and Damascus.

30 May, 2015

Schools reopen

Schools in Nepal re-open after approximately ninety percent of nepalese schools were destroyed. Many schools are built out of temporary materials such as bamboo and tarpaulin, and are to be replaced with new, permanent buildings within the next two years. The United Nations sends educational relief packages with the intent of assisting students psychologically after the earthquake. School days are being shortened and focusing more on cultural activities in order to further assist with the aim of helping children recover from this disastrous earthquake.

The children are very happy here to engage themselves with different kinds of playing materials, recreational materials.

19 Oct, 2014

Aid, bribes may be going to ISIS

Food, medical supplies, and other aid provided by USAID, European donors, and the UN may be being channeled to ISIS, along with money paid to bribe the group to allow convoys through. Unnamed aid coordinator:

The convoys have to be approved by ISIS and you have to pay them: the bribes are disguised and itemized as transportation costs.

The person says the kickbacks are either paid by foreign or local non-governmental organizations that distribute the aid, or by the Turkish or Syrian transportation companies contracted to deliver it. Jonathan Schanzer with the D.C.-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies:

I am alarmed that we are providing support for ISIS governance. By doing so we are indemnifying the militants by satisfying the core demands of local people, who could turn on ISIS if they got frustrated.

29 Sep, 2014

Addresses Islamic terror at UN

Benjamin Netanyahu, Israeli Prime Minister, speaks at the annual United Nations General Assembly in New York, addressing the Islamic terror threat. The half hour speech compares ISIS, Iran and Hamas as a whole in regards to Islamic militancy being a threat to democracy and the world. Netanyahu:

Last week, many countries here rightly applauded President Obama for leading the effort to confront ISIS. And yet weeks before, some of these same countries, that now support confronting ISIS, opposed Israel for confronting Hamas. They evidently don’t understand that ISIS and Hamas are branches of the same poisonous tree. ISIS and Hamas share a fanatical creed, which they both seek to impose well beyond the territory under their control. Don’t be fooled by Iran’s manipulative charm offensive. It’s designed for one purpose and for one purpose only: to lift the sanctions and remove the obstacles to Iran’s path to the bomb.

United Nations: Combat Ebola Mission

For the first time, the UN opens a health mission headquarters. UNMEER, or United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, provides coordinating international efforts to combat the Ebola virus. Team lead Anthony Banbury with crew members arrive on Monday in Accra, the capital of Ghana. Speaking to the Security Council, Ki-Moon:

This international mission, to be known as the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response, or UNMEER, will have five priorities: stopping the outbreak, treating the infected, ensuring essential services, preserving stability and preventing further outbreaks. Under the leadership of a Special Representative of the Secretary-General, the Mission will bring together the full range of UN actors and expertise in support of national efforts. Our best estimate is that we need a 20-fold increase in assistance.

15 Sep, 2014

Syrian airstrikes ‘may be illegal’

Makes Statement

Officials in the House of Commons Library warn that airstrikes against ISIS in Syria may be difficult to justify under international law, despite Cameron’s view that the Assad regime is illegitimate and does not need to give permission for military operations. A briefing paper prepared for Members of Parliament:

Action in Syria will be difficult to justify legally without a request for assistance from the Assad government, and it is unlikely that the West could be seen to be responding to such a request. The British Government has said that any action in Syria will comply with international law, and the most likely way to achieve this would be to claim that military action is for humanitarian purposes, using the Responsibility to Protect doctrine. This remains controversial, however, without a United Nations Security Council resolution to authorise it.

11 Sep, 2014

Releases Fijian peacekeepers

Al-Nusra Front militants release all 45 of the Fijian UN Disengagement Observer Forces they have been holding captive after abducting them from the Syrian Golan Heights two weeks earlier. UN statement:

8 Sep, 2014

Protect vulnerable from ISIS

The UN’s new High Commissioner for Human Rights says in his first speech in the role that ISIS is seeking to build a bloody legacy, and protecting women and children from the group must be a priority. Prince Zeid of Jordan:

Do they believe they are acting courageously? Barbarically slaughtering captives? … They reveal only what a Takfiri state would look like, should this movement actually try to govern in the future. It would be a harsh, mean-spirited, house of blood, where no shade would be offered, nor shelter given, to any non-Takfiri in their midst.

He calls on Iraq’s new government and prime minister to consider joining the International Criminal Court (ICC) to ensure accountability for crimes committed in the country:

In particular, dedicated efforts are urgently needed to protect religious and ethnic groups, children – who are at risk of forcible recruitment and sexual violence – and women, who have been the targets of severe restrictions.

5 Sep, 2014

Threatens ‘Shariah trial’ for peacekeepers

Al-Nusra Front threatens to try 45 captured UN Disengagement Observer Force peacekeepers from Fiji in a Shariah court over alleged UN crimes. It accuses the UNDOF of doing nothing to help the Syrian people since the uprising against the Assad regime began in March 2011 and says the Fijians were seized in retaliation for the UN ignoring ‘the daily shedding of the Muslims’ blood in Syria. It contends that the UNDOF has colluded to allow Assad’s army access via the Golan Heights…

…to facilitate its movement to strike the vulnerable Muslims.

Urges quick formation of government

The United Nations urges Iraqi political parties to cooperate to quickly form the new government. Special Representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), Nickolay Mladenov:

I encourage the Iraqi political leaders to finalise the government formation process within the constitutional timeline, and to ensure a fair representation of women and minority communities in the new government. Forming a new and inclusive government that has wide national support is critical to the future of the country. Today the world is watching Iraq and stands ready to extend immediate support to the new government in its efforts to address the challenges ahead

3 Sep, 2014

Issues demands for captured troops

Fighters from the Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Nusra Front issue demands for the release of the 45 Fijian UN peacekeepers that they are holding hostage. The group has asked to be taken off the UN terrorist list, for delivery of humanitarian aid to parts of the Syrian capital of Damascus, and for payment for three of its fighters it says were killed in a shootout with UN officers. Brigadier General Mosese Tikoitoga, in Suva:

Negotiations have moved up to another level with the professional negotiators now in place

Cold threatens Iraq refugees

Makes Statement

The UN High Commission on Refugees says the upcoming winter threatens to worsen conditions for around half a million displaced Iraqis receiving UN aid in August. A statement:

Time is now of the essence in providing support to Iraq’s displaced. Winter is approaching fast, with snow, rain and muddy conditions. In less than three months from now, daily temperatures will average less than ten degrees Celsius, and the rains will begin.

The agency says it has provided more than 100,000 mattresses, 10,000 family tents, and 40,000 jerry cans for water as well as tens of thousands of other essential items for some of the estimated 850,000 people who have fled into the northern Kurdistan region. It will send another 10 aid flights into Erbil over the next few days to supply 40,000 blankets, 10,000 kitchen sets, and almost 18,000 plastic tarpaulins. However the accommodation situation remains acute and the agency needs extra financial support:

UNHCR, as a part of the UN humanitarian relief effort, will be launching an appeal for an additional US$350 million to help meet these needs. The main focus will be on providing life-saving protection services and assistance to respond to the most urgent basic needs of displaced Iraqis, including winterization support.

2 Sep, 2014

1,420 deaths in August

Death CountTerror Incident

The UN reports that at least 1,420 people died in the violence in Iraq in August. The death toll – mostly civilians – compares with 1,737 deaths in July, and 2,400 in June and could rise much higher if the UN independently confirms hundreds of reported deaths in areas under ISIS control. U.N. representative Nickolay Mladenov:

Thousands continue to be targeted and killed by ISIL (Islamic State) and associated armed groups simply on account of their ethnic or religious background. The true cost of this human tragedy is staggering

Over a million Ukrainians displaced

The United Nations refugee agency states that over a million Ukrainians are in a situation of displacement do to conflicts and warn of “devastating consequences” if the fighting does not cease. The last three weeks a displacement of 260,000 refugees is only a low estimate, nearly double the effect in that time frame. Approximately 814,000 are and may continue to migrate to Russia, with tens of thousands moving to varies European countries. Ukrainian authorities say that about 2.2 million still live in battle areas.

If the crisis is not quickly stopped, it will have not only devastating humanitarian consequences, but it also has the potential to destabilize the whole region. After the lessons of the Balkans, it is hard to believe a conflict of these proportions could unfold in the European continent.

1 Sep, 2014

To send investigative team

The UN votes to send a team to Iraq to investigate what it says are summary mass executions, forced conversions, abductions, slavery, sexual abuse, torture and the besieging of entire communities by ISIS. Deputy high commissioner for human rights Flavia Pansieri:

The reports we have received reveal acts of inhumanity on an unimaginable scale

The councils says ISIS has also banned women in Mosul from walking unaccompanied by a male guardian or risk being beaten, and using children as checkpoint sentries, informants and even suicide bombers. Of the 47-member Human Rights Council’s 47 members, only South Africa withholds support, saying the resolution is unbalanced.

Netanyahu: ‘Stop bashing Israel’

US Congressmen Rohrbacher and Meeks visit Israel and speaks with Netanyahu about recent events where UN peacekeepers had confrontations with militant Islamists. The Prime Minister made use of the opportunity to express that the United Nations focuses too much time on bashing Israel rather than focusing attention on radical Islam groups. Netanyahu:

What we see is that al-Nusra, Hamas, Hezbollah — backed by Iran, al-Qaeda and these other terrorists groups are basically defying all international norms, breaking them whether in Lebanon, in Syria or in Gaza. I think the UN would do itself a great favor if, instead of the automatic Israel bashing, they actually turn their attention and their investigative committees against these terrorists who trample every norm on which the UN was founded.

About Israel, Rohrbacher:

…the one force for stability and one force for a long-term peace for this region. The rest of the region is awash in tyranny and injustice and gangsterism and terrorism that’s coming from the top, from these people that are running the various organizations, radical Islamic organizations.

31 Aug, 2014

Irish troops free Filipino peacekeepers

Irish UN Disengagement Observer Forces troops free a group of Filipino peacekeepers trapped by Syrian rebels including the Al Qaeda-affiliated Al Nusra front at two security posts in the Golan Heights. The Irish troops and Filipino troops both return fire when shot at by rebels during the rescue mission, in which most of the trapped Filipinos are extracted.

30 Aug, 2014

Whereabouts of Fijians unknown

A senior Fiji military official confirms that the whereabouts of 44 kidnapped Fijian UN Disengagement Observation Force peacekeepers remains unknown, although the UN has received assurances they are in good health. Brigadier Mosese Tikoitoga to reporters in Suva after speaking to the UN team negotiating for their release:

Their whereabouts at this stage, unfortunately, I cannot confirm. They confirmed that our men are safe and they are all well. (But) they have been moved to a location out of the bombardment range of any security forces or the Syrian security forces. It is out of the UN territory. But again it’s the word of the group. We’ve got no verification whatsoever, no communication but we’re only relaying the message that was delivered to us by the negotiators.

UN: Fijian peacekeepers ‘safe’

The UN says the 44 Fijian peacekeepers captured by Syrian rebels are safe and that it has been informed they were abducted by the rebels including fighters from Al Qaeda affiliate the al-Nusra Front for security reasons. A statement:

The United Nations has received assurances from credible sources that the 44 peacekeepers from the United Nations Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) who were taken from their position on the morning of Thursday, 28 August, are safe and in good health

It says it has not had direct contact with the troops.

UNDOF has been informed that the intention behind those holding the peacekeepers was to remove them from an active battlefield to a safe area for their own protection

Philippine troops attacked

Philippine peacekeeping troops trapped in the Golan Heights are attacked by rebels. Philippine Defence Minister Voltaire Gazmin says the attacks started early Saturday on 40 peacekeepers at a UN post in the area. He doesn’t give details of casualties. The attackers are thought to include fighters from the al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s affiliate in Syria.

Report: 20 years to rebuild

A housing assessment by Shelter Cluster, chaired by the Norwegian Refugee Council with the participation of the U.N. refugee agency and the Red Cross, says Gaza will take 20 years to rebuild. Most rebuilding is due to the housing deficit of 75,000 units. Cost estimates for the restructuring are more than $6 billion. The housing assessment derives from the present level of goods transferable from Israel to Gaza. The present blockade hinders rebuilding efforts, as construction materials have restrictions to limit tunnel production. The 20 year timeframe takes into consideration 100 truckloads of building materials on a daily basis. Currently there is no mention of plans to ease blockade restrictions.

29 Aug, 2014

More than 3 million refugees

The UNHCR reports that more than three million Syrians are now registered as refugees. It says that with almost half of all Syrians displaced from their homes, the war is…

… the biggest humanitarian emergency of our era.

One in every eight Syrians has fled across the border into Lebanon, and a further 6.5 million are displaced within Syria. More than half of those displaced are children. The number of registered Syrian refugees has increased from two million just under a year ago.

Fijian peacekeepers talks underway

Fiji Prime Minister Voreqe (Frank) Bainarama says talks are underway to free the 43 Fijian UN Disengagement Observer Force peacekeeping troops captured by rebels in the Golan Heights:

I want to assure the families of the soldiers we are doing everything possible to secure their safe return. The latest information we have is that they are safe and I can say now that the negotiations for their release have already begun.

Bainimarama says Fiji is ‘united as a nation in praying for their safe return.’

Filippino peacekeepers surrounded

Syrian rebels surround 75 peacekeepers from the Philippines at two UN posts in the Golan Heights. Their commander in Manila, Col. Robert Ancan:

We can use deadly force in defence of the UN facilities. I [would] just like to emphasise our troops are well-armed, they are well-trained … they are well-disciplined warrior peacekeepers.

The rebels include fighters from Syrian Al Qaeda affiliate al-Nusra Front. Ancan says they have used an English-speaking Fijian, one of a group of peacekeepers from Fiji captured earlier in the week, to relay demands to the Filippinos to lay down their weapons.

28 Aug, 2014

Fijian peacekeepers captured

Syrian rebels including fighters from the al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s local affiliate, capture 43 Fijian peacekeeping troops from the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) in the Golan Heights. A UN statement demands the ‘unconditional and immediate release of all the detained peacekeepers.’

Peacekeepers detained in Syria

Terror Incident

The United Nations confirms that 43 international peacekeepers are being detained in the Syrian Golan Heights, as fighting intensifies near Quneitra.

In addition, another eighty-one UNDOF peacekeepers are currently being restricted to their positions in the vicinity of Ar Ruwayhinah and Burayqah … The United Nations is making every effort to secure the release of the detained peacekeepers, and to restore the full freedom of movement of the Force throughout its area of operation.

27 Aug, 2014

War crimes

United Nations investigators say that both Damascus and ISIS have committed war crimes and crimes against humanity:

Violence has bled over the borders of the Syrian Arab republic, with extremism fuelling the conflict’s heightened brutality.

A 45-page report released in Geneva says that the government has dropped barrel bombs on civilian areas, including some believed to contain chlorine, while deaths in custody are rising and analysis of photographs taken in government detention centres reinforces ‘longstanding findings of systematic torture and deaths of detainees,’ including fighting-age men allegedly arrested during forced truces. It says ISIS has used amputations, public execution-style killings and whippings to instill terror in areas under its control, as well as ‘acts tantamount to enforced disappearance and forced displacement as part of attacks on the civilian population in Aleppo and Raqqa provinces.’

Airlines suspend flights

Airlines suspend flights through the three nation crisis zone. Air France temporarily suspends services to Sierra Leone, leaving its capital Freetown and Monrovia in neighbouring Liberia with just one regular service, from Royal Air Morocco. Air France:

In light of the analysis of the situation and as requested by the French government, Air France confirms it is maintaining its program of flights to and from Guinea and Nigeria.

Not all authorities agree with more severe isolation. Nabarro:

By isolating the country, it makes it difficult for the UN to do its work.

WHO expresses their concern in regards to aggressive isolation. Fukuda:

Pilots and others, as well as passengers, generally have very low risk of Ebola infection.

26 Aug, 2014

‘Massacred 700 Turkmen’

Makes Statement

The UN says ISIS has massacred about 700 Shiite Turkmen. The victims include ‘women, children and old people,’ UNICEF Iraq chief Marzio Babille says. The killings are reported to have been carried out in the northern Iraqi village of Beshir between July 11 and 12.

25 Aug, 2014

‘Fears of imminent massacre’

Makes Statement

There are fears a massacre is imminent of around 13,000 Shiite Turkmen in the northern town of Amerli held under siege by ISIS since June 15,  the UN says. The population includes 10,000 women and children who are living in horrendous conditions with severe food and water shortages and no medical services. UN Human Rights High Commissioner Navi Pillay:

The Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan region of Iraq, and the international community must take all necessary measures and spare no effort to protect members of ethnic and religious communities, who are particularly vulnerable, and to secure their return to their places of origin in safety and dignity.

Executes 670 Shiite prisoners

Terror Incident

The UN says ISIS has executed as many as 670 Shiite inmates of Mosul’s Badush prison. The group abducts between 1,000 and 1,500 prisoners from the jail and drove them to an uninhabited area before separating Sunnis from the group. It forces the remaining Shiite prisoners to kneel and verbally abuses them before executing them. High commissioner for human rights Navi Pillay:

Such cold-blooded, systematic and intentional killings of civilians, after singling them out for their religious affiliation, may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity

20 Aug, 2014

Supplies arrive for displaced citiczens

A Boeing 747 carrying 100 tons of aid to help those forced to flee their homes due to ISIS attacks has landed in Irbil. Other deliveries by land and sea are expected over the next 10 days carrying supplies from Turkey, Jordan and Iran. The UNHCR plans to bring 2,410 pounds of aid into the region between now and the start of September. UN High Commissioner Antonio Guterres:

This is a massive logistics operation to bring relief supplies by air, land and sea to help the hundreds of thousands of desperate people who have fled suddenly with nothing but their lives, and are now struggling to survive in harsh conditions. It’s the largest single aid push we have mounted in more than a decade.

16 Aug, 2014

UN blacklist

The United Nations Security Council places six members of ISIS and the al-Nusra Front, Al Qaeda’s Syrian wing, on a blacklist in a move intended to weaken the groups. The council unanimously votes to adopt the resolution. (Full details here.) Mark Lyall Grant, UK ambassador to the UN:

We have watched in horror their brutal actions. They are deliberately targeting civilians.

1 Aug, 2014

UN: ‘Collective effort’

The United Nations says Qatar, Turkey and Egypt have assisted in securing the 72-hour ceasefire, amid concern among Arabic nations about an apparent regional rise in hardline Islamism. UN statement:

We thank key regional stakeholders for their vital support of this process, and count on a continued collaborative international effort to assist Egypt and the parties reach a durable ceasefire as soon as possible

UN official Jeffrey Feltman:

The Egyptians played an important role, the Qataris played an essential role in helping bring the parties on board, the Turks were in touch with all sides. This was a collective effort.

Kerry: ‘Lull of opportunity’

Kerry urges both sides to use the unexpected three-day truce to secure a more durable agreement:

It is a lull of opportunity, a moment for the different factions to be able to come together with the state of Israel in an effort to try to address ways to find a sustainable ceasefire and then obviously, over a longer period of time, address the underlying issues

Three-day ceasefire

A 72-hour ceasefire takes effect at 8 a.m. in Israel, midnight Eastern Standard Time. The truce, announced unexpectedly overnight by Kerry during his visit to India and also by Ban Ki-Moon in New York, appears to be holding with fishing boats venturing offshore from Gaza beaches, while Israeli forces on the ground remain in place. The three-day timeframe is considered to be long enough to negotiate on key issues while allowing Israeli forces to complete their mission of destroying smuggling tunnels. Israeli and Palestinian negotiators will head to Cairo for talks during the ceasefire. Statement by Kerry and Ban:

We urge all parties to act with restraint until this humanitarian ceasefire begins, and to fully abide by their commitments during the ceasefire

30 Jul, 2014

UN: over 10% of Gaza population displaced

The United Nations issues a statement on conditions in Gaza. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos:

Humanitarian organisations in Gaza are trying to help people in desperate and dangerous circumstances. People need food, water, medical care, safe shelter and other vital assistance. More families are being displaced every day and there are currently over 250,000 confirmed displaced people, 200,000 people in UNRWA shelters alone, in need of aid. This is over 10 per cent of the overall population of Gaza. Our capacity is stretched to the limit. World Food Programme is providing emergency food assistance to 204,000 people in addition to the regular food programmes and shortages of basic supplies have been reported in local markets. Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation, people’s needs will continue to grow.

29 Jul, 2014

Rockets found in third UN school

Rockets are found in a school operated by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the central Gaza strip, the third such cache discovered in a UNRWA school since the start of Operation Protective Edge. UNRWA employs over 30,000 as the UN’s biggest agency.

22 Jul, 2014

‘Rockets in second school’

The UN Relief and Works Agency says it finds rockets in one of its schools in Gaza. The second such discovery in a week prompts the agency pledge a ‘comprehensive investigation into the circumstances surrounding this incident.

Today, in the course of the regular inspection of its premises, UNRWA discovered rockets hidden in a vacant school in the Gaza Strip. As soon as the rockets were discovered, UNRWA staff were withdrawn from the premises, and so we are unable to confirm the precise number of rockets. The school is situated between two other UNRWA schools that currently each accommodate 1,500 internally displaced persons.

Israeli Foreign Ministry:

How many more schools will have to be abused by Hamas missile squads before the international community will intervene […] How many times can it turn its head the other way and pretend that it just doesn’t see?

21 Jul, 2014

UN: ‘Serious concern’

The UN expresses serious concern about rising numbers of casualties in Gaza, and issues a call for an immediate ceasefire as Israel launches fresh strikes in the Palestinian territory. The the international body’s 15-member Security Council is meeting as the death toll from Israel’s Operation Protective Edge rises to 476 after 120 people are killed in a single day in Gaza, the bloodiest day in the enclave since Israel’s 2009 offensive. Rwandan Ambassador Eugene Richard Gasana, whose country chairs the council:

The members of the Security Council express serious concern about the growing numbers of casualties

20 Jul, 2014

Envoy: UN has failed

The Palestinian Envoy to the UN Security Council says the international body has failed to take action to halt violence in Gaza, as the council expresses concern after the death toll from the conflict between Israel and Hamas in the Palestinian territory reaches 476. Ryad Mansour:

The Council failed again and again to shoulder its responsibility

UN ambassador Ron Prosor says Israel agreed to earlier ceasefire offers from Egypt, and is acting in self defence.

16 Jun, 2014

Approves Prince Zeid as rights commissioner

The UN General Assembly’s 193 members unanimously approve Prince Zeid of Jordan as High Commissioner for Human Rights. He replaces the outgoing Pillay. Zeid:

I am going to be the first High Commissioner from the Asian continent and from the Muslim and Arab worlds. Needless to say this reflects the commitment of the international community towards this important dossier and its commitment to push it forward in this continent as well as in other regions of the world.

The mandate includes preventing human rights violations, securing respect for all human rights, promoting international cooperation to protect human rights, coordinating related activities throughout the UN, and strengthening and streamlining the UN system in the field of human rights.

2 Dec, 2013

UN implicates Assad in war crimes

The UN’s human rights chief says an inquiry has produced evidence that war crimes are authorised in Syria at the highest level, including by President Assad. Commissioner Pillay says her office holds a list of others implicated by the inquiry. Pillay:

[The enquiry has produced] massive evidence… [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity. The scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief. [The evidence indicates responsibility] at the highest level of government, including the head of state

Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Mekdad is dismissive of Pillay’s remarks.

She has been talking nonsense for a long time and we don’t listen to her.

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