UN Articles.

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Aug 16, 2015

Former Burundi Army Chief Colonel Jean Bikomagu Killed

The United Nations has warned Burundi is creeping towards chaos. Former Burundian army head Colonel Jean Bikomagu was assassinated Saturday, as the African nation remained on edge after months of political turmoil.

Unidentified attackers killed Bikomagu during a drive by shooting, family members told AFP.

The killing came a day after the United Nations warned Burundi was at risk of descending into chaos.

“Burundi has been slipping closer to the edge with every high-profile attack and killing, and we call on leaders on all sides to take concrete steps to renounce the use of violence and to resolve differences peacefully,” warned Ravina Shamdasani, spokesperson of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights according to U.N. News.

“Where violations and abuses have occurred, there need to be prompt investigations with a view to bringing the perpetrators to account and justice for victims,” she said.

Back in May, the country saw a failed coup attempt against President Pierre Nkurunziza which ended with the arrest of most of those involved.

The unrest have seen hundreds killed, including a senior opposition figure, many critical media outlet shut down and a major crackdown on protests by the police and military troops.

More than 150,000 people have fled the country since the beginning of the unrest back in April out of fear of a civil war comeback. The last ethnically-fueled civil war claimed the lives of more than 300,000 people.

Source : Telesur

Jul 16, 2015

United Nations Condemns Killing of Journalists in Honduras

The UN has called on Honduran authorities to end impunity for crimes against journalists and ensure that their perpetrators are brought to justice.

The Director-General of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Irina Bokova, condemned on Thursday the
killing of three journalist in Honduras and said such crimes cannot can
not go unpunished.

“Using violence to silence journalists cannot be tolerated because it is
 also an attack on society as a whole,” she said, calling on authorities
 to end impunity for crimes against journalists and ensure that their
perpetrators are brought to justice.

The journalist killed are Jacobo Montoya, Juan Cruz and Joel Aquile,s
the UN agency reported.

The UN News Center explained what happened, “Cruz Andara, a reporter
with the TV broadcaster Teleport, was found stabbed to death in his home
 in the northern city of Puerto Cortes on 23 June, approximately five
months after reporting to the police that he had received a death
threat. Broadcast journalist Jacobo Montoya Ramírez was gunned down in
his home in the western town of Copan Ruinas on 25 June. Joel Aquiles
Torres, owner of local TV station Canal 67, was shot dead while driving
his car in Taulabe in the state of Comayagua, on 3 of July.”

According to authorities at least six reporters have been killed so far
in 2015. Honduras is seen as one of the most dangerous countries for
journalists and activists.

Most of the aggressions against journalists come from local gangs that
have proliferated as violence and inequality have increased in the
Central American country in recent years. Political impunity and
corruption have also affected crime levels. Honduras now has the world's
 highest homicide rate at 90.4 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to
official figures.

However the killing of journalists is not a problem that only affects
Honduras, according to the most recent report by Press Emblem Campaign
(PEC). The number of journalists killed from January to June this year
increased by 7 percent in 24 countries, with 71 people murdered.

Source : Terlesur

Jul 11, 2015

Venezuela : Nicolas Maduro Asks UN to Mediate in the Guyana Border Dispute

Maduro asked the U.N. chief to appoint a new Good Officer allowing to diplomatically address the Venezuela-Guyana territorial dispute.

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro sent a letter Friday to U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon asking the U.N. chief to appoint a new
Good Officer to diplomatically address the Venezuela-Guyana territorial

“As it is public knowledge, the new Government of Guyana has ignored,
the entry into force of the 1966 Geneva agreement, showing a stubborn
and ambivalent attitude and has inflicted serious and grave offenses to
my country and my people. That's why I asked you to begin a process to
appoint a new Good Officer,” the document delivered by Foreign Minister
Delcy Rodriguez, reads.  

The position of Good Officer in the territorial dispute between
Venezuela and Guyana was born out of the 1966 Geneva agreement. Two
others have served as Good Officers but the post has been vacant since
April, 2014.

In his letter, the South American leader added that he expects the
person selected for the post to hold the same attributes as the the
previous ones, including: great ethical attributes, deep academic
specialization, and the ability to understand both the culture and the
historical moment in the region is undergoing in order to positively
contribute to the negotiation process between the two countries.

In an interview with teleSUR, President Maduro called on Guyana’s
president to resume talks over a piece of land west of the Essequibo
river, which was looted from Venezuela by the British empire for its
rich natural resources. 

Earlier this week, Maduro announced he was calling back his country's
ambassador in neighboring Guyana for consultations amid the escalating
row between both countries.

He ended his letter saying that the building a world of peace and
justice is based on the consolidation of the global system of respect
for sovereignty and equality between states.

Source : Telesur

Jul 8, 2015

International Court Judge: Dick Cheney Will Face Trial for War Crimes

A former judge at the International Court of Justice (ICJ) said former US Vice President Dick Cheney should – and eventually will – stand trial for war crimes for his role in the Iraq War.

"Some of us have long thought that Cheney and a number of CIA agents who did what they did in those so-called black holes should appear before the" International Criminal Court (ICC), Thomas Buergenthal said in an interview with Newsweek.

Former International Court of Justice judge Thomas Buergenthal
Buergenthal, 81, served as a judge at the ICJ – the main judicial arm of the United Nations – for 10 years before retiring in 2010.

The ICJ, unlike the ICC, has no jurisdiction to try individuals accused of war crimes or crimes against humanity. As the ICJ is not a criminal court, it does not have a prosecutor able to initiate such proceedings.

Buergenthal was born in the former Czechoslovakia and survived the Auschwitz concentration camp as a boy. He is now a US citizen and a professor of law at George Washington University in Washington, DC.

"We (in the United States) could have tried them ourselves," Buergenthal said of Cheney and others. "I voted for Obama, but I think he made a great mistake when he decided not to instigate legal proceedings against some of these people. I think – yes – that it will happen."

As for Cheney's superior for eight years, Buergenthal dismissed former president George W. Bush as "an ignorant person who wanted to show his mother he could do things his father couldn't."

Buergenthal said Richard Nixon, whose administration Cheney served in during the 1970s, was "more intelligent. I don't think Nixon would have got involved in Iraq."
Source : SputnikNews

Jul 6, 2015

United Nations Debt Expert Says Greece Can't Take More Austerity

The U.N. debt expert calls on the European financial institutions to include the principles of human rights into financial lending practices.

Further austerity measures will jeopardize Greece’s chances of an
economic recovery, the United Nations International Debt Expert, Juan
Pablo Bohoslavsky, warned Monday.     

“It's very clear the message from the Greek population - no more
austerity measures. Actually if you look at the figures, austerity
measures didn't really help the country to recover," Bohoslavsky stated.

His comments came after Greek citizens voted in historic referendum
Sunday, in which they elected to reject debt austerity proposals by
their European creditors.

Bohoslavsky called on Greece’s European creditors to incorporate the
principles of human rights into debt cancellation and financial lending

Greece owes billions to the IMF, the European Central Bank and the
European Union, after the financial institutions lent the country
massive bailout funds in 2010 and 2012, over 90 percent of which bailed
out banking institutions.

Several of the debt cancellation measures demanded by Greece's
international creditors – including pension cuts and new laws that make
it easier to lay off workers – clash with the promises made by Greece’s
new left-wing government to voters in January.

"The message here is that if the parties involved in the Greek tragedy
paid more serious attention to what human rights law has to say,
everything would be easier, for the Greek population
particularly,"involved in the Greek tragedy paid more serious attention
to what human rights law has to say, everything would be easier, for the
 Greek population particularly," Bohoslavsky concluded.

Source : Telesur

Jul 4, 2015

United States Isolated as UN Resolution Condemns Israel War on Gaza

Perpetrators of Gaza war crimes must face prosecution and be stripped of immunity, according to U.N.

The United Nations called on Israel on Friday to prosecute perpetrators
of war crimes committed in the 2014 Gaza massacre and cooperate with the
 International Criminal Court’s investigation.   

The U.N. Human Rights Council voted to adopt a resolution applying a
recent U.N. report condemning Israel and the Palestinian liberation
group Hamas over war crimes committed last year in Gaza. It also called
for an end to the impunity of Israeli officials responsible for the 2014

Only Israel’s closest ally, the United States, voted against the
resolution while 41 countries voted in favor. India, Kenya, Ethiopia,
Paraguay and Macedonia abstained.   

All European Union member states of the Council, including Britain,
France and Germany, voted in favor of the resolution and labeled
Israel’s alleged self-defense assault on Gaza ‘disproportionate.’   

According to Haaretz, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu slammed the
resolution, saying the UNHRC is neither interested "in facts nor in true
 human rights."   

"Israel is the most stable democracy in the Middle East," Netanyahu
added, "ensuring equal rights to all of its citizens and operating in
accordance to international law.”   

The U.N report however, found that 2,140 Palestinians, most of them
civilians, were killed, including 299 women and 551 children while
thousands more were injured in last year’s Gaza attacks.

Alongside the shocking death toll, the document also talks about the
enormous destruction of civilian infrastructure in Gaza. Some
international agencies have calculated that the reconstruction of the
enclave may take more than 100 years, due to the Israeli blockade. In
this regard, the commission says the impact of the 2014 attacks "cannot
be assessed separately from the blockade."   

The Council has no binding powers, but its moral authority could
pressure Israel to hold perpetrators of war crimes accountable.   

The resolution, which was drafted by Palestinian and other Arab
officials, called on all UN officials to implement the report's
recommendations and guarantee the application of international law in

Source : Telesur

Jun 20, 2015

Global Cost of War Was $14 Trillion Last Year

If “global violence were to decrease by 10 percent uniformly, an additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be added to the world economy.”

A new report released Friday said that the global cost of war was
soaring as it was US$14 trillion in 2014.

The report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) also claimed
that conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan were responsible for most
of the deaths in the world.

According to the report, Syria remained the least peaceful place on
Earth, followed by Iraq and Afghanistan, with the United States
contributing violence in all three nations. “Last year alone it is
estimated that 20,000 people were killed in terrorist attacks up from an
 average of 2,000 a year only 10 years ago,” the report said.

The Global Peace Index report said that war spending amounts to 13
percent of the global GDP, which is almost the combined value of the
economies of United Kingdom, France, Germany, Canada, Spain and Brazil.

Steve Killelea, Founder and Executive Chairman, Institute for Economics
and Peace said if “global violence were to decrease by 10 percent
uniformly, an additional US$1.43 trillion would effectively be added to
the world economy.”

“[Year] 2014 was marked by contradictory trends: on the one hand many
countries in the OECD [Organization for Economic Co-operation and
Development] achieved historically high levels of peace, while on the
other, strife-torn nations, especially in the Middle East, became more
violent. This is a real concern as these conflicts become even more
intractable they spread terrorism to other states,” Killelea added.

Published annually since 2008, the Global Peace Index uses 23 indicators
 and three key themes; “level of safety and security in society,” “the
extent of domestic and international conflict,” and “the degree of

Those killed as a result of conflicts has risen from just 49,000 people
in 2010 to 180,000 in 2014, as the Middle East and North Africa became
the least peaceful regions in the world since the index began in 2008.

Source : Telesur

Jun 18, 2015

UN Report : Russia Becomes Largest Recipient of Requests for Asylum

A report released by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees on Thursday found Russia jumping to become the single largest recipient of new requests for asylum, with nearly 275,000 requests filed in 2014, the vast majority by Ukrainians.

The UNHCR's Global Trends Report 2014 explained that the "outbreak of conflict in eastern Ukraine had a major impact on [Russia's] 2014 figures," with "271,200, or close to 99 percent of claims in the Russian Federation lodged by Ukrainians." The report noted that "in previous years, the combined figure had never exceeded the 5,000 mark," reaching only around 3,400 in 2013.
 According to the report, "the last time a country had registered a comparable figure was in 2009, when South Africa reported that 222,300 persons had lodged individual asylum requests, many of them from Zimbabwe."

The report found that nearly 94 percent of Ukraine's 288,600 applications for refugee status were addressed to Russia.

It also emphasized that the "total recognition rates for Ukrainian asylum-seekers show a highly divergent approach, ranging from above 90 percent in the Russian Federation and Belarus to around or below 10 percent in Belgium, Finland, France, Poland, and the United Kingdom. In Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Italy, and the United States of America, total recognition rates were between 35 and 65 percent."

Part of a Worrying Global Trend
The UNHCR's new report found that nearly 1.7 million individuals made requests for asylum in 2014, with a total of 13.9 people newly displaced due to conflict or persecution, 11 million of them inside the borders of their own country. This brings the Refugee Agency's estimate of people displaced worldwide to an all-time record of 59.5 million people.
 Subtitled 'World at War', the UNHCR's report noted that over the past five years, 16 major conflicts have begun, been renewed or were exacerbated, including eight in Africa, three in the Middle East, three in Asia, one in Latin America and one in Europe. Together, the conflicts have prompting the flight of an average of 42,500 people a day in 2014.

The ongoing Syrian conflict is responsible for the highest number of refugees, with over 11 million people displaced since the beginning of the civil war in 2011.

Along with Russia, Germany, the United States, Turkey, Sweden and South Africa also made the list of top recipients of new applications for refugee status.

Source : SputnikNews

Israel Voices Anger at UN Children Rights Envoy

A recent U.N. inquiry into the 2014 Gaza war told Israel to immediately amend its policies to stop “the killing and maiming of children.”

Israeli officials have spoken out against the United Nations children
rights envoy, accusing it of misconduct after the international body
released a report damning Israeli policy toward children in the West
Bank and the Gaza Strip.    

Earlier this month, the U.N. placed Israel on a draft list of countries
that violate children's rights. Though it removed both Israel and Hamas
from the final list, the U.N. remained outspokenly critical of Israeli
policies, saying they caused harm to children in the Palestinian
territories during the 2014 Gaza war.

In the final report, the U.N. urged Israel “to take concrete and
immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices,
 to protect children, to prevent the killing and maiming of children,
and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and

Israel's U.N. Ambassador Ron Prosor accused the author of the report,
Leila Zerrougui, of “biased conduct against Israel,” and denied that
Israel had violated international law during the 2014 Gaza war.  

According to U.N. figures, more than 2,100 Palestinians were killed
during the 50-day war war, most of whom were civilians. Of those killed,
 540 were children. An deeper inquiry found that Israel had fired on
seven U.N. schools and killed 44 Palestinians seeking shelter. It also
found that Palestinian militants hid weapons and launched some attacks
from empty U.N. schools.

Prosor voiced deep concern to U.N. secretary Ban Ki-moon over the U.N.
allegations, accusing Zerrougui of “improper conduct – at every working
level” in the producing the report. 

Zerrougui's office “repeatedly refused attempts on our part to provide
official evidence and facts,” wrote Prosor.

However, Zerrougui's office told Reuters that the study was independent,
 and was not possible to include all comments from individual
governments in the final report.

Source : Telesur

Jun 16, 2015

Global Refugee Crisis Worst Since World War II

The global refugee crisis is more dire than at any point since the end of the Second World War, according to a report released yesterday by Amnesty International.

The report provides a partial picture of the disaster produced by global capitalism and the operations of imperialism in different parts of the world, with a focus on Syria, North Africa and the Mediterranean, Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.

Tens of millions of people have been forced to flee their homes, traveling great distances in an attempt to escape war, economic devastation and political persecution. Refugees often face deplorable conditions in the countries to which they flee, and with increasing regularity are turned away or perish during the journey.

Amnesty notes that in 2013, for the first time since the 1940s, the number of refugees was estimated at more than 50 million. In the ensuing two years, millions more have become refugees.

The situation in Syria and its neighboring countries in the Middle East is particularly dire. “More than half of Syria’s population is displaced,” including those displaced internally, according to the report. “Some four million women, men and children have fled the country and are refugees, making this one of the biggest refugee crises in history.”

Amnesty castigates the major powers for failing to provide assistance to the surging refugee population, many of whom have ended up in neighboring Lebanon (where 20 percent of the population now consists of Syrian refugees), Jordan and Turkey. It notes that the United Nation humanitarian appeal for $4.5 billion to aid Syrian refugees had reached only 23 percent of its goal by early June.

The entire UN emergency fund for Syrian refugees is less than one percent of the annual budget of the US military.

“The total number of places offered to refugees from Syria is less than 90,000, only 2.2 percent of the refugees in the main host countries (Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey),” the report states. Faced with a surging population and limited funding, the World Food Programme has been forced to reduce its level of food assistance to less than $0.46 a day to Syrian refugees in Jordan and $0.62 a day to refugees in Lebanon.

The desperate situation facing refugees from Syria exposes the “humanitarian” pretenses of imperialist operations in the region. The crisis is a direct result of the US-stoked civil war in the country, which has included the financing of Islamic fundamentalist organizations in the campaign to topple Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad.

The Obama administration is now utilizing the crisis created by American imperialism to justify the expansion of military operations in both Syria and Iraq, ostensibly targeting the Islamic State. The 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq itself produced millions of refugees.

Amnesty also points to new restrictions on border crossing imposed by Lebanon, Turkey and Jordan, all US allies. Turkey has closed almost all of its border gates to Syria. Over the weekend, Turkish military forces used water cannon against refugees fleeing fighting across the border from the southeastern Turkish town of Akcakale.

The report says nothing about the origins of the crisis. The civil war in Syria is also a main driving force behind the sharp increase in the number of refugees seeking to cross the Mediterranean. Many Syrians have fled to Libya where they, along with refugees from other parts of the Middle East and Africa, face disastrous conditions in a country torn apart by the NATO war in 2011.

Libya is riven by rival Islamist militias, many of which were financed and armed as part of the US-led campaign to overthrow the government of Muammar Gaddafi. Refugees in Libya are subjected to harassment, torture, sexual assault, extortion and forced labor while seeking access to boats to take them across the sea to Italy.

In April, two boats packed with refugees sank in the Mediterranean, killing over 1,200 people. In the first five months of this year, 1,865 people have died attempting the journey, compared to 425 during the same period last year. The report notes that the “dramatic increase in the number of lives lost” is “partly due to the decision by Italy and the European Union (EU) to end the Italian navy operation Mare Nostrum at the end of 2014 and replace it with a much more limited EU operation.”

The response of the European imperialist powers, which backed the war in Libya as part of an attempt to reassert control over their former colonies, has been to strengthen “Fortress Europe” and block the flow of refugees. Last month, the EU agreed to a quota system to house 20,000 refugees, a tiny fraction of those seeking to flee Libya.

At the same time, the European powers are citing the refugee crisis as a rationale to prepare military strikes in Libya itself, aimed in the first instance at destroying the boats used to transport people across the Mediterranean.

A similar disaster has unfolded in Southeast Asia and the Asia Pacific in the first part of 2015, as boats filled with refugees from Myanmar and Bangladesh have been turned away by Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Australia. It is estimated that 300 people have died at sea so far this year due to starvation, dehydration or abuse.

The Amnesty report notes that the initial refusal of governments in the region to accept the refugees was a “flagrant violation of their international obligations.” It states that

    “Australia’s offshore processing policy—whereby it takes asylum-seekers who attempt to reach Australia by sea to detention centres in Nauru and Manus Island (Papua New Guinea)—is particularly egregious… [T]he deliberately harsh, humiliating conditions at the Australian-run detention facility were designed to pressure asylum seekers to return to their country of origin, regardless of whether or not they were refugees.”

The Australian government of Prime Minister Tony Abbott is currently facing allegations that it has paid people smugglers to take asylum seekers back to Indonesia, allegations that the government has tacitly acknowledged. These illegal actions underscore Australia’s central role in spearheading the persecution of refugees throughout the region.

In Sub-Saharan Africa there is an estimated population of 3 million refugees, the result of waves of people fleeing wars and conflicts in different parts of the continent, including Nigeria, South Sudan, the Central African Republican and Burundi. These wars are invariably connected to struggles over natural resources, with the imperialist powers viewing the deeply impoverished region to be of interest only as a source of oil and minerals.

The Amnesty report’s conclusions are predictable, consisting of impotent calls for governments to do more. “The global refugee crisis will not be solved unless the international community recognizes that it is a global problem and deals with it as such,” the report states.

The catastrophic situation facing refugees, however, is one particularly horrific expression of a bankrupt social and economic system. The surge of refugees is a direct product of unending war and social counterrevolution. The persecution of those uprooted by imperialism is inseparable from the attack on the democratic and social rights of the working class in every country.

Source : WSWS

Jun 12, 2015

UN Report Catalogs Israeli Attacks on Palestinian Children, But Leaves Israel Off ‘List of Shame’ of Child Rights Abusers

Months ago journalists leaked that Israel would be kept off a United Nations list of the worst violators of children’s human rights in 2014 following frantic lobbying by Israel and the United States. The Guardian reported Israeli officials placed phone calls to the UN, the Jerusalem Post acknowledged Netanyahu spoke to Ban Ki-moon personally, and Foreign Policy found that the Obama administration dispatched Ambassador Samantha Power—all to pressure the UN into changing the draft.

“Top officials have buckled under political pressure,” a UN official told the Guardian back in March, “As a result, a clear message has been given that Israel will not be listed.”

Even so, Israel is preeminently featured throughout the report published yesterday and called out as one of the worst child rights abusers in the world with “devastating impacts” on minors. Last year the Israel military killed 200 more children in Gaza than the total number of children killed in Syria, the report noted. However, Israel was—as media outlets said at the beginning of the week when early releases of the final draft circulated—excluded from a list in the annex, a blacklist of the most egregious child abusing parties.

Screen shot of UN report on the killing and maiming of children.

Despite the accounting within the report, human rights groups are criticizing the move to cut Israel from the ‘list of shame’. “By removing Israel’s armed forces from the children’s ‘list of shame’, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has provided tacit approval for Israeli forces to continue carrying out grave violations against children with impunity,” Khaled Quzmar, Defense of Children International Palestine’s General Director, said.

What is included in the report is five pages in the main document that notes 35 separate incidents, under the header of “Israel and the State of Palestine.” It is the longest section of 22 geographic regions examined, longer than the profiles on Iraq and Yemen combined, two countries embattled in warfare with Islamic terror organization and airstrikes from coalition forces.

In Gaza alone, the UN documented 557 children were killed, the third highest number of minors killed in a single region, trailing behind Afghanistan and Iraq, but ahead of Syria. Of the 4,249 injured children, 70% were under the age of 12.

Moreover, the Israeli military razed or struck 543 school, including 274 kindergartens. The UN underscored more schools were damaged in Gaza during the 51-day the summer war than any country in the entire world, for the whole of 2014.

“The number of child casualties exceeds the combined number of Palestinian children killed during the two previous escalations,” the inquiry stressed, adding “reports of Palestinian civilians and civilian objects being directly hit in circumstances where there was allegedly no rocket fire or armed group activity in the vicinity”—including a number of drone strikes that killed children.

In the West Bank, “The children killed by the Israeli security forces did not appear to have posed a lethal threat,” the UN wrote of the 13 minors killed in Israeli military shootings.

In Jerusalem, 700 children were detained while 151 from the West Bank were in detention at the time of conclusion of the investigation in December 2014. The UN further obtained sworn testimony from 122 previously incarcerated minors who were “subjected to ill-treatment, such as beatings, being hit with sticks, being blindfolded, being kicked and being subjected to verbal abuse and threats of sexual violence.”

The UN also found Palestinian militants in Gaza were responsible for killing four Israeli children and 13 Palestinian children in 2014 due to rocket fire. Three Israeli schools were damaged. There were five confirmed instances where militant groups recruited Palestinian children into combat, and were subsequently killed by the Israeli military.

The report did not indicate the Palestinian Authority, the governing body over the West Bank, had caused any deaths of children in 2014.

Annually the UN assembles a report on the countries with the highest number of killings, and physical and sexual abuses. At the end of the document an annex lists out the top perpetrators, a mix of state militaries and militant groups described in the above region profiles. Usually the parties outlined in the annex match the groups detailed in the full report, with Israel as an outstanding exception.

Source : GlobalResearch

May 24, 2015

UN nuclear talks fail after United States blocks plans that would make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone

A United Nations talk aimed at stopping the proliferation of nuclear weapons has ended without agreement after proposals were blocked to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.

The conference on the review of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), an an international treaty intended to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and further the goal of nuclear disarmament, failed when the USA blocked plans to hold a Middle East conference which would try to making the region free of nuclear weapons.

The conference began on 28 April, and Egypt's proposal was rejected on 22 May.
Egypt led the way in trying to set a deadline for a conference that would aim to make the Middle East a nuclear-free zone.
John Kerry addresses the review conference on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which ended in failure after the USA blocked plans to call a Middle East conference. However, their plans were shut down by the USA, supported by the UK and Canada, who accused Egypt of attempting to "cynically manipulate" the process, by trying to organise a conference without an agenda agreed by all attendees, including the nuclear state of Israel.

Israel is believed to have a large nuclear weapons programme, and would likely object to many terms of an agenda made for such a conference.

Rose Gottemoeller, the US Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security, said the terms of Egypt's proposal were against the USA's "long standing policies" on the matter.
A nuclear-capable missile is paraded through Islamabad, Pakistan, in 2005. Pakistan, along with India, Israel, and South Sudan, are the only nations that have not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. She said the USA supported the idea of nuclear-free zones, but added that they should be formed with the "full mutual consent" of the nations in those regions. Egypt's call for a conference that Israel would object to therefore goes against this.

Egypt reacted angrily, claiming the veto will have "consequences in the in front of the Arab world and public opinion".

The failure of the conference to make any real progress has set back the goal of the treaty by at least five years, as the next treaty review conference can only next take place in 2020. 

The UK supported the USA in blocking the proposal for a Middle East nuclear non-proliferation conference Analysts believe that the proposed Middle East conference would have necessarily required Israel to reveal what many nations believe to be an extensive nuclear weapons programme.

Israel has never publicly declared whether or not it has a nuclear weapons programme, and their objections to the conference could be behind the USA's veto - this week, a senior US State Department official was sent to Israel to discuss their issues with the NPT conference.

Israel, along with India, Pakistan, South Sudan and North Korea, are the only nations that are not signed up to the NPT - North Korea withdrew from the treaty in 2003, and South Sudan has only existed as an independent country since 2011.

Source : TheIndependent

May 8, 2015

Climate Change a 'Hoax', Claims Adviser to Australia's Prime Minister

The head of the Abbott government's Business Advisory Council claims climate science is a new world order conspiracy involving the United Nations, democracy-hating environmentalists and Chinese communists.

The scientific consensus on climate change is the product of a global
conspiracy to stamp out democracy and impose a totalitarian new world
order, according to dubious claims made Friday by a senior Australian
government adviser.

The scientific consensus on climate change is “not about facts or
logic,” according to Maurice Newman, the chairperson of Prime Minister
Tony Abbott's Business Advisory Council.

“It’s about a new world order under the control of the U.N.,” he argued.

Newman's council is Abbott's top advisory group for business affairs,
and has played a key role in formulating government policy since 2013.

The senior government adviser claimed Australia should “resist”
international calls for action on climate change, accusing the United
Nations of secretly steering a global agenda aimed at “concentrating
political authority.”

“Global warming is the hook,” Newman argued.

The comments were made in an op-ed printed by The Australian. The
newspaper is the flagship publication of Rupert Murdoch's News Ltd
empire in Australia. It's also Australia's largest national newspaper.

In the op-ed, Newman also lashed out at Christiana Figueres, the
executive secretary of the UN’s Framework on Climate Change. He claimed
Figueres idolizes “Communist China,” and cited this as evidence of the
global conspiracy against democracy.

“In her (Figueres') authoritarian world there will be no room for debate
 or disagreement,” Newman claimed.

The chief executive of the independent Climate Council, Amanda McKenzie,
 responded to Newman's article by calling for his resignation.

“He is either intentionally misleading the public or he is incapable of
understanding scientific consensus, in which case he has no business
advising the government,” she said, according to AFP.

Climate scientists overwhelmingly say climate change is real, and being
exacerbated by human activity. The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change says global temperatures could increase by 4.8 degrees
Celcius by the end of the century, which would spell disaster for much
of the world's population.  

The Climate Council is largely comprised of former members of the
government-funded Climate Commission, which was abolished by Abbott's

Prior to coming to power in 2013, Abbott once described climate change
as “absolute crap.” Since coming to power, Abbott has been accused by
critics of not taking climate change seriously. Along with appointing
Newman as a top adviser, Abbott has also tapped former oil company
chairperson Dick Warburton to lead a review of Australia's renewable
energy target.

Warburton is a self declared climate skeptic, and his review called for
the government to slash renewable energy subsidies, and adopt policies
that would increase the value of coal-fired power plants. Warburton
claimed neither his history in the fossil fuel industry or his rejection
 of climate science influenced the outcome of the review.

Newman's article was published just hours before a long awaited
government meeting on the renewable energy target. According to reports
in the Australian media, the Abbott government is expected to reach a
compromise deal between the hardline demands for heavy cuts to the
renewables target suggested by Warburton, and calls from the opposition
Labor party for shallower cuts.

Source : Telesur

Apr 30, 2015

UN Suspends Whistleblower for Revealing Child Sex Abuse by Peacekeepers

Swedish aid worker Anders Kompass has been suspended from his position at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights after giving French prosecutors confidential information on sexual violence against children by French peacekeepers in the Central African Republic.

Kompass, who served at the OHCHR in Geneva, has been suspended from his post as Coordinator of Field Operations after leaking the confidential UN report about French soldiers' purchase of sexual services at a refugee center in the Central African Republic in exchange for food and small sums of money. The UN has accused him of leaking confidential information and breaching protocol, the aid worker now faces dismissal. 
According to The Guardian, Kompass, a thirty-year veteran of humanitarian work, received access to the report in the summer of 2014. He decided to send the report on to French prosecutors after finding the UN unwilling to take appropriate measures. Moreover, he is reported to have traveled to the Central African Republic to carry out his own investigation.

Beatrice Edwards, a representative of the Government Accountability Project, an organization supporting whistleblowers, told The Guardian that her organization has "represented many whistleblowers in the UN system over the years and in general the more serious the disclosure they make the more ferocious the retaliation."

Foreign Ministry Representative Anders Ronquist stepped out in the defense of Kompass, telling Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter that "Kompass has done a great deal for the UN in the area of human rights, [both] during his work for the organization in Latin America and after his move to Geneva." Ronquist added that "the UN cannot tolerate sexual violence against children and has a duty to do everything possible to see such cases investigated."

Swedish UN Ambassador Olof Skoog also defended Kompass. However, Expressen noted that Ban Ki-moon's office criticized the whistleblower, a spokesman for the General Secretary noting that "in our preliminary assessment, Kompass's behavior cannot be called whistleblowing."

Human Rights activist Paula Donovan from the organization AIDS-Free World told Svenska Dagbladet that "this is shocking and horrifying evidence. Thanks to Anders Kompass, these horrors became public and are finally being investigated." Donavan is demanding the creation of a wider independent commission of inquiry into the UN's handling of sexual abuse by peacekeepers.

Source : SputnikNews

Mar 7, 2015

Head of UN Occupation Force in Haiti, Edmond Mulet, Ran Child Trafficking Network in Guatemala

Latin America is beginning to reap the fruits that it sowed in Haiti during the last decade. Its armies have become so fat as to control, either by quiet coups or default, the superficial democracies in Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Peru, and Uruguay, and the outright dictatorships in Honduras and Paraguay. The most obvious consequence has been the return home to roost of the “peacekeepers”: soldiers of fortune who are so inured to urban warfare against black and brown people that they can, as part of their armies and militarized police, cheerfully participate in domestic “pacification”. Today, we have a big shot returning from the United Nations Mission for the Stabilization of Haiti (MINUSTAH), one who descends from the Guatemala of Efrain Rios Montt (1982-1983), the genocidal dictator whose sentence was annulled in 2013 after a hopeful court case turned into a project to demoralize an entire population: we have Edmond Mulet, the Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations at the UN and probably Guatemala’s next president.

Edmond Mulet and Haitian President Martelly

On January 30, 2015, investigative journalists Pilar Crespo and Sebastian Escalon of Plaza Publica published a thorough and comprehensive report alleging that Mulet had been part of a child-trafficking operation in the early 1980s when he was a young lawyer in Guatemala taking his tentative first steps into politics. In 2010, the same report would have caused some major changes in Haiti. For one, the spotlight on international adoptions might have exposed the machinations of adoptive services, like the French “SOS Haiti”, after the earthquake, to have their governments tie emergency aid to a relaxation of controls on international adoptions, or to the legalization ex post facto of the kidnapping of children. For another, the allegations might have prevented Mulet, together with Hillary Clinton, from installing the Michel Martelly regime. The results ofPlaza Publica’s investigations were not published, however, until Mulet began to eye the Guatemalan presidency. It is already too late. Mulet will almost certainly rise to the presidency of Guatemala, where he will be well positioned to grow the country’s repressive army by expanding its “peacekeeping” operations. He might even experiment with UN nation building at home.

The 6,800-word story about Mulet’s export of children exploded after it got picked up and summarized as a Boston Globe editorial. I will not recount either the full report or its summary here but rather limit myself to the most salient points of the original report and focus on some implications that have been ignored or poorly elaborated.

It all began around 1977, when Mulet, a 26-year-old lawyer in Guatemala, went to a party at the home of Mrs. Louise Depocas de Morel and met Jean and Lise Francoeur, a Canadian couple who had come to the country to adopt a child. Mulet and the Francoeurs immediately became such good friends that Mulet served as the witness to their “decency and integrity” for the adoption of a baby girl. Seven months after the first baby’s adoption, the Francoeurs returned for a boy from the same Guatemalan orphanage. They also became chummy with the orphanage’s director and soon thereafter founded Les Enfants du Soleil (Los Ninos del Sol, or Children of the Sun) a supposed “non-profit organization for information on international adoption.” Thus a partnership was struck in which Louise Depocas de Morel served as the president of Les Enfants du Soleil in Guatemala, Jean Francoeur as the legal adviser in Montreal, and Edmond Mulet as the lawyer and notary in Guatemala.

Other players in Les Enfants du Soleil and more details of its operation came to light when four Canadian women were arrested in Guatemala City’s luxurious Camino Real hotel on November 24, 1981, for intent to remove several children from the country. In the ensuing court inquiries, the testimonies pointed to a well-organized network, with a woman called Ofelia Rosal de Gamas being the person who tracked down, in the city’s parks and markets, the impoverished pregnant women who might consent to give up their children for adoption. Ms. de Gamas was the sister of General Oscar Humberto Mejia Victores, who became the de facto president of Guatemala from 1983 to 1985 and has been charged with genocide. From de Gamas, the biological mothers were turned over to a midwife called Hilda Alvarez Leal who delivered the children. Shortly after the births, the mothers were taken to Mulet’s office to sign notarized deeds consenting to the children’s adoption. Subsequently the children were taken to the Elisa Martinez State Orphanage, where they remained until the adoption proceedings were complete.

The Canadian women from the raid at Camino Real hotel had come to take away five Guatemalan children. Lise Francoeur, from Les Enfants du Soleil, and her mother, Simone Bedard, had with them two children for two adoptive Canadian couples who could not travel because of work. Another Canadian woman, Monique M. had picked up her three-year-old adoptive son and an infant of less than two months for a couple of friends; Diane W. had collected her own adoptive newborn. All the adoptive parents had initially contacted Les Enfants du Soleil in Montreal, Canada, which had advised them to hire Edmond Mulet as their lawyer in Guatemala.

In 1981, for an adoption to be legitimate in Guatemala, a social worker would have had to attest to the suitability of the adopters to take charge of a minor; the office of the attorney general (PGN) would have had to approve the adoption; two witnesses would have had to testify that the adopters were honorable and moral people; a deed of adoption would have had to be drafted in the presence of the birth and adoptive parents; finally, only after forwarding this deed to the civil registry so that the child could be renamed by the adoptive parents, would the Guatemalan immigration authorities issue a passport for the child to travel with its new parents. This process typically took about one year.

As the lawyer and notary for all five adoptions, Edmond Mulet was also arrested because he had followed none of these steps. Instead, the police investigator found five requests signed by Mulet for the issuance of expedited passports to the children. Every request gave the reason for travel as being “tourism” and the child’s address in Guatemala as being Mulet’s law firm. Apart from this, Mulet had prepared only the deed of consent of the biological parents and another document that gave the children to Les Enfants du Soleil. Mulet’s fast-track procedure for adoption took as little as two months for some adoptive parents, and the detective who interrogated him attributed to him the creation of a “system for the export of minors.”

It is noteworthy that in legitimate adoptions the new identities of the children are known to Guatemalan authorities, as well as the identities of the adoptive parents, who leave the country, together with their children, as a family. By contrast, in the Mulet adoptions, the children were shipped abroad as Guatemalan “tourists”, in fact as so many parcels, sometimes with strangers as their courriers, to become lost to all oversight from their birth country.

For various reasons, the most important one being that child trafficking was not yet recognized as a crime in Guatemala in 1981, the women from the hotel were released from jail after 15 days and the case against them was dismissed. The biological mothers were also released after a short detention. Mulet, who was then also starting his political career by running for Member of Parliament in the National Renewal Party (PNR), was freed after a single day’s detention when he brought some political pressure to bear on the police. Even a promised misdemeanor charge for acting against the interests of his clients did not see the light of day after Rios Montt came to power. One of Mulet’s major supporters then was Alejandro Maldonado Aguirre, one of the judges of the Constitutional Court that, in 2013, anulled Efrain Rios Montt’s sentence for genocide.

Mulet has expressed no remorse about his past conduct. Indeed, in a 2015 interview he argued that “If children are abandoned and there is someone who wants to adopt, educate them, give them a chance in life,… it is something to be thankful for. Adoption has saved the lives of many children not only in Guatemala, but also around the world…. Over the years, I could follow the development of these children, and this has given me great satisfaction, because if they had remained in Guatemala, orphaned, abandoned, they would have starved, had been street children, who knows what would have happened to them.” This all sounds rather altruistic, but it paints an unrealistic picture of his fast-track adoption system. It is highly improbable that Mulet could follow up on any significant fraction of the children that he had shipped to Canada and other places, given that it has been impossible even to count their number. The fact remains that the main purpose of expedited international adoptions, and the reason why some “adoptive parents” pay so handsomely for them, is precisely to dodge oversight. In such clandestine arrangements, children are not transferred to impatient loving parents by overzealous humanitarians, as Mulet would have us believe. At best, the prospective parents do not qualify in their home countries as adoptive parents because of criminal records or physical or mental disabilities. At worst, the children are transferred from one illegal network to another more nefarious ones, such as the organized-crime networks for child prostitution or even organ donation, where the newborns are used for parts and thrown away.

More than anything, this sordid story exposes the predatory “humanitarianism” of the UN mission in Haiti, which has so far treated its cases of child prostitution and trafficking as mere aberrations despite harboring alleged criminals at its highest levels. After the discovery on January 29, 2010 that Baptist missionaries had tried to kidnap 33 Haitian children during the confusion of the earthquake, then Haitian Prime Minister Jean Max Bellerive called a moratorium on international adoptions, and in an uncharacteristally ballsy move, said in a televised interview that children were being trafficked from Haiti for their organs. Around the same time, Edmond Mulet proposed instead that all adoptions should require the Prime Minister’s approval. The idea that someone with Mulet’s history could have any authority on decisions about international adoption would be laughable if it was not tragic.

The outstanding investigation by Plaza Publica will likely be of no consequence to Mulet. He cannot be convicted for acts that were not criminal in Guatemala in 1981. Furthermore, many of the main actors in the network from 34 years ago (such as the recruiter, midwife, and adoptive parents) have either died, disappeared, or signed documents to renounce all legal action against Mulet.

Finally and sadly, despite these revelations, in a presidential race many Guatemalans would consider Mulet, who is famous in his country because of his prominence in the UN, to be the lesser evil.

During the past decade, Haiti has become a gathering place for the corruptible: a pasture where they are grown before being returned to their home feedlots for finishing. Given the greater incentives to investigate veteran “humanitarians” as they gain prominence, we are bound to learn a lot more about them while they make their way home to become major political players. But if they are to be neutralized, it is before they reach this stage that they must be exposed. As things stand, Edmond Mulet, an expert on misery’s stabilization, is set to promote a climate in Guatemala where the likes of Efrain Rios Montt will be comfortable. If Mulet had been disgraced in 2010 or 2011, both Haiti and Guatemala would have been spared his rule. We must do better. Truth is all well and good, but the timing of truth matters.

Rios Montt

Sources: Haiti Chery | Documents three and five from Plaza Publica; photographs four by Johan Ordonez/AFP, six by Logan Abassi/UN/MINUSTAH, and seven by Helena Hermosa.

Feb 21, 2015

UN Peace Coordinator Declared “Persona No Grata” by Palestinians

The PLO (Palestine Liberation Organisation) did not object to the appointment of new UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process Nikolay Mladenov, although he was described by Tayseer Khaled, a member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, as “persona non grata” — not trusted by the Palestinians and nor qualified for the job.
The 15-member UN Security Council unanimously voted to appoint Bulgarian Mladenov, 42, to succeed Holland ’s Robert Serry. He would also be the representative of the UN secretary general to the International Quartet (the UN, US, EU and Russia ), and personal representative of the UN chief to the PLO (the State of Palestine) and the Palestinian Authority (PA).

Although protocol allows the PLO the right to reject diplomatic representatives to the organisation, observers cannot understand why it accepted Mladenov. There is no convincing answer except a futile desire by the PLO to appease the UN and Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, at a time when PLO diplomatic efforts are focused on the UN and its agencies.

Mladenov not only failed in a similar mission as UN envoy to Iraq and resigned, he is someone who describes himself — and is described by the leaders of the Israeli occupation — as “a good friend of Israel ”. As Bulgarian foreign minister, Mladenov suggested a “military alliance” between Bulgaria and Israel . He has often spoken about his bias towards “ Israel ’s right to exist” and its right “to defend itself” against Palestinians resisting Israeli occupation. He even admitted to being a Free Mason, and publicly advocated the US ’s “constructive chaos” policies in the Arab world. In fact, his Jewish origins may be the least controversial aspect of him.

Meanwhile, the occupation state does not hesitate in ignoring the UN, its resolutions and representatives, disregarding and even assassinating them when necessary. Most recently, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman threatened to “expel” Mladenov’s predecessor Serry as “persona non grata”. Shortly before that, William Schabas, the head of the UN commission investigating the occupation’s recent war on the Gaza Strip, resigned after Israel refused to cooperate with him or allow him to enter the country.

After the UN tolerated the assassination of its first envoy to Palestine , Swedish Count Folke Bernadotte in 1948, at the hands of the Zionist Stern Gang led by Yitzhak Shamir (who later became prime minister of the occupation state), Israel was emboldened to adopt a permanent policy of disregarding the UN without deterrence so far.

In fact, over the past two years the occupation state has carried out a proxy war against the UN. It has facilitated logistics, intelligence, firepower and medical assistance to allow the domination of militias fighting the Syrian regime on its side of the disengagement zone between the liberated and occupied Arab Syrian Golan. This compelled the UN Disengagement Observer Force (UNDOF) to withdraw after its positions were attacked, dozens of its troops kidnapped and their weapons and equipment seized. Until today, the UN has not dared to rectify the situation, which resulted in the collapse of the UN-sponsored ceasefire and rules of engagement between Syria and Israel .

The Middle East is teeming with international peace envoys. The UN has one, so does the US , the EU, Russia , China and the Quartet. Their names change without anything on the ground in occupied Palestine changing. Except for expanding the occupation through settlements under the “peace” umbrella these envoys provide, without any hope that the international community they represent will be able to effect any real tangible change for the present and future of the Palestinian people on the ground.

So what can Mladenov do that his predecessors, the UN, the Quartet, the Arab League and others, couldn’t?

Khaled believes the real test, to remove Palestinian doubts about Mladenov’s role and mission, will be his position on the siege on Gaza and reconstruction there. However, Mladenov’s track record does not indicate there is cause for optimism. Nor does the track record of “UN special coordinators” since the creation of the position in 1994 and the subsequent expansion of its role, as well as the extensive history of choosing UN and US envoys of Jewish origins or related in the first degree to Jews, such as Henry Kissinger, Madeleine Albright, John Kerry, Dennis Ross, Martin Indyk and Quartet representative Tony Blair.

On 6 February, the secretaries general of the UN and Arab League issued a joint statement expressing “deep concern” about conditions in Gaza . They urged Arab and international donors to honour their financial pledges made at the Cairo Conference last October “as soon as possible”, in order to rebuild the Gaza Strip and end the siege there. A few days ago, James Rowley, UN coordinator for humanitarian affairs in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, sent out an “urgent call” for these commitments to be fulfilled and an “immediate” lift of the siege on Gaza, because he is “very concerned another conflict will break out” if not.

The Palestinian Foreign Ministry described the statement by the Quartet on 8 February after it met in Munich , Germany , as “short of expectations” because it ignored “all the old-new and evolving truths” of the occupation state.

The Quartet also said it is “deeply concerned” about the “difficult conditions in Gaza where reconstruction needs to be quicker” and urged donors to “pay their financial pledges as soon as possible”. However, it linked this to encouraging both sides to “restart negotiations as soon as possible”.

Restarting talks “as soon as possible”, nonetheless, must await the outcome of general elections in Israel and the US . This means the Palestinian people must wait for another two years in the vain hope of reconstructing Gaza . It is obvious the occupation state is enjoying the luxury of time, making easy the occupation without resistance, as well as building settlements without deterrence.

Before handing over the reins to Mladenov, Serry described the failure of donors to pay their dues as “scandalous” and warned “if there is no progress in the coming months” — not two years — towards a two-state solution, “the reality will be a one state [solution]”: the single state of Israel . Former UN coordinator Terry Rod Larsen said in 2002, “the Palestinian patient is dying in the interim.”

Last December, Serry warned in his report to the Security Council that a war in Gaza “could re-ignite if conditions on the ground do not change” in the besieged Gaza Strip. It is clear that what Serry described as a “deadly diplomatic vacuum” coupled with the ongoing siege on rebuilding Gaza, are an explosive recipe in the besieged Gaza Strip, the outcome and ramifications of which are unpredictable.

The “scandal” of donors not paying their dues to rebuild Gaza , as Serry described it, under the pretext that the PLO government does not control the Gaza Strip, is a green light given by the international community to the occupation state to carry out another military assault on national resistance forces in Gaza .

The scandal of Arabs not paying their pledges at Arab summits to provide the PA with a financial “safety net” amounts to flagrant Arab pressure on the PLO to accept the Quartet’s proposal to restart talks with the occupation state “as soon as possible”.

This is Mladenov’s dual mission as the new UN special coordinator for the Middle East peace process. PLO negotiators continue to wait for a breakthrough by “peace” envoys that are imposed on them and appointed by the US and the UN, although they represent the occupation state. Mladenov is the most recent. He will not change anything on the ground.

Nicola Nasser is a veteran Arab journalist based in Birzeit, West Bank of the Israeli-occupied Palestinian territories (nassernicola). This article was translated from Arabic and first published by Al-Ahram Weekly on 20 February 2015.

Source : GlobalResearch

Feb 19, 2015

Let Them In: Donetsk on Possible Peacekeepers Deployment in Ukraine

Earlier, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council's secretary said that the council had decided to address the UN and the EU on the deployment of peacekeepers in the country.
The east Ukrainian self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic’s deputy commander of the militia said Thursday that if Kiev wants to send peacekeepers into the region, then the DPR would back the initiative.

“In regard to peacekeepers…from the very beginning, when this whole conflict began, we suggested the Russian Federation and all the other countries that are included in the UN Security Council to consider the issue of sending peacekeepers then. We were refused then. If they want to send them, then we’re not against it, let them send them,” Eduard Basurin said.

Earlier in the day, Denis Pushilin, who represented DPR at Ukraine peace talks in Belarus last week, said that the deployment of UN peacekeeping troops to Ukraine's eastern border with Russia will violate the Minsk ceasefire deal.

Late Wednesday night, the Ukrainian National Security and Defense Council's secretary Oleksandr Turchynov called for UN peacekeepers to be stationed at the line of contact and on the border with Russia.

The same day, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko further specified that a EU police mission would be the best format for an international presence in Ukraine.

This move raised eyebrows in Moscow, with Russia's UN envoy Vitaly Churkin saying it called the Minsk accords into question.

'Freeze Them to Death?' Kiev Cuts Off Gas to Donetsk, Luhansk - LPR
On February 12, following 16-hour talks in Minsk, the capital of Belarus, the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine worked out a roadmap that outlined steps needed to enforce a ceasefire in turbulent eastern Ukraine.

The mediators agreed that all foreign armed formations and military equipment be withdrawn from the Ukrainian territory under OSCE supervision. Under the accords, Ukraine should also regain control of its border with Russia after the breakaway republics in the east are granted a special status and elect their leaders.

Source : SputnikNews

United Nations Presses for “Truce” to Save Embattled Terrorists in Aleppo

Syria is winning the war and has absolutely no reason to show mercy for opponents that have no intention to show any for it and its people. Curious is the United Nation and NATO’s sudden interest in peace. Both organizations are suing for truces on two separate battlefields, one in Ukraine in Eastern Europe, and another in Syria’s northern city of Aleppo amid a regional conflagration in the Middle East. It is curious because talks of “truces” were completely absent just as recently as 2011, when both organizations, the UN and NATO, backed hordes of terrorists sweeping across Libya, committing abhorrent atrocities including the systematic, genocidal extermination of Libya’s black communities.

Image: No “ceasefire” or “truce” was proposed by the UN or NATO, because the terrorists they were backing were winning. Such calls are meant not to alleviate human suffering, but to preserve, buy time for, and rebuild forces committed to expanding such suffering.

There was also the encirclement, intentional starvation, and denial of humanitarian aid, along with the bombardment of Libyan cities like Sirte, which also saw no protests or calls for “ceasefires” by the UN or NATO. In fact, as terrorists enforced blockades on the ground to starve residents to death, NATO bombed the encircled cities relentlessly from the air for weeks. The eventual fall of Sirte, for example, would leave behind an utterly devastate city and a decimated, scattered population. Other cities, like Tawarga, had their entire populations, down to the last resident, either killed or forced to flee.

To explain the transparently hypocritical change in policy, the UN and NATO are now witnessing a change in fortunes for forces backed by the very special interests that have hijacked and upturned the mission statements of both organizations.

Forces that were afforded absolute impunity from the UN and were backed, armed, and provided air cover by NATO in Libya, are now encircled and facing destruction in Syria. Likewise, a similar proxy conflict in Ukraine has seen thousands of NATO-backed militants encircled. A desperate attempt to broker a ceasefire through the so-called “Minsk accord” fell apart before the ink dried, with NATO-backed militias openly declaring they had no intention of giving up the fight.

The Only Terms That Could Be Acceptable

For Syria in particular, Aleppo only still serves as a battlefield for the sole reason that NATO is to this day still funding, arming, and transferring terrorists to the battlefield through NATO-member Turkey. Any “ceasefire” or “truce” brokered in the northern city of Aleppo, Syria’s largest city and a national commercial hub, should be accompanied by international peace keepers stationed in Turkey to ensure the regime in Ankara is no longer harboring, arming, and supplying terrorists within its territory.

With the streaming of terrorists across Turkey’s border with Syria abated, the existential threat to Aleppo and the rest of northern Syria would likewise cease to exist, making calls for Syrian troops to stand down a much more reasonable proposition. To ask them now, while hordes of invaders flow into their country for the sole purpose of dividing and destroying it, is an unimaginable absurdity.

Should invading militants be blocked from crossing into Syria permanently, an amnesty could be arranged for Syrian militants.

The total and complete restoration of peace and stability in Syria, with its territory fully intact, can be the only terms accepted in any deal with the UN. Anything less is ploy by the UN and NATO to buy time for an increasingly defeated army of proxy militants and a last ditch effort to arrange a “settlement” that will leave swaths of Syrian territory in the hands of NATO’s proxy forces where they can rebuild and relaunch their destructive campaign in the near future.

Source: GlobalResearch

Feb 6, 2015

Political Gangsters at UN: Silencing the Syrian Narrative.”There’s no United Nations anymore, it’s over”

“Welcome to the United Nations. It’s your world,” reads the UN logo. Apparently, however, there are limitations as to just how “welcome” some of its representatives are.

Syria’s Ambassador to the UN, Dr. Bashar al-Ja’afari, was sworn in as Permanent Special Representative in 2006. Yet, in spite of his thirty plus years as a diplomat, his being highly-educated and multi-lingual, and the fact that he is the UN’s official Representative of the state of Syria, the United Nations has little interest in hearing what he has to say. Not only do they lack interest, since the Western-NATO-Israeli-Gulf war on Syria began in early 2011, they actively work to silence him or distort his words.

The UN has pulled endless stunts on Syria’s Ambassador, with the obvious intent of distorting reality and prolonging the proxy war on Syria.

Ambassador al-Ja’afari maintains that he is routinely assigned the worst translators, to convolute his message. “Every time I speak at the Security Council (SC), they choose a bad interpreter who is not able to fully interpret what I am saying,” he said. On one occasion at the SC, the Syrian Ambassador said he saw a staff member signal to the interpreters to switch the adept interpreter for the inept. “I saw it with my own eyes. They changed the interpreter to a poor one.”

Ambassador al-Ja’afari is one of the only—if not the only—ambassadors to the UN to repeatedly over the years have his microphone and/or video feed cut when he speaks.

Correspondent Nizar Abboud has been an invaluable source of footage of the Syrian Ambassador’s speeches otherwise unavailable thanks to cut UN feeds. Abboud says the cuts are not due to “technical problems,” but instead often done “by senior officials at the United Nations.” Of one such incident, Abboud said: “The journalists were furious about it, they wanted to hear what the Ambassador was saying and suddenly he went off air.”

Matthew Lee, a journalist with Inner City Press (ICP), reported on an April 5, 2012 feed cut, noting that the speeches of the then “Special Envoy for Syria,” Kofi Annan, as well as the (Qatari) President of the General Assembly (GA) and Ban Ki-moon were all broadcast on UN television. However, “just as Syria’s Permanent Representative Bashar Ja’afari took the floor to respond, UN TV went dark. When the session was over several Permanent Representatives were critical of what they called ‘the PGA’s use of the UN for Qatar’s foreign policy.’”

Later that day, in a press conference, Ambassador al-Ja’afari addressed the feed cut, additionally noting that the President of the General Assembly had orchestrated, “a session where only the Ambassador of Saudi Arabia spoke, plus Kofi Annan.” He noted that other ambassadors were not invited to speak, and that “the purpose of the meeting was how to defame the reputation of Syria, not to help stop the violence in Syria.”

On June 7, 2012, UN TV again cut as Ambassador Ja’afari spoke in the GA, following a request he had attempted to make in April, “to observe a minute of silence, in order to mourn the death of victims in my country.”

The Syrian Ambassador was again cut out of the feed on June 18, 2014. ICP’s Lee reported that on June 20 he was told by the same Dujarric regarding the June 7 cut that (in Lee’s words), “in fact the error in 2012 was been (sic) to allow Ja’afari to speak AT ALL on UN TV. He said the arrangement was that Ban and the Qatari PGA could speak, then the UN TV was supposed to go off.”

Following the June 2014 Syrian elections, international representatives who had observed the elections in Syria convened at the UN to report back. Roughly five minutes in, after Ambassador al-Ja’afari had opened the meeting and thanked the Secretariat for facilitating it, the webcast feed was cut. Ironically, the Ambassador had stressed he wanted to leave “enough time to give you the right picture of the Syrian landscape that was prevailing during elections. They are eyewitnesses.”

Witnesses not meant to be heard

Thanks to independent footage, the meeting was still recorded. Panelists spoke of the massive turnout to vote, first for two full days in Lebanon, and then in Syria. They noted the turnouts in important cities like Homs (the media-dubbed so-called “capital of the ‘revolution’”), and the enthusiasm of voters who faced threats of mortar and missile attacks by Western-backed armed groups. They spoke of the average Syrians they had met during the elections and the ardent support for both the President and the Syrian army.

The UN is consistently determined to silence the Syrian narrative. In January, 2014, at the Geneva II conference on Syria in Montreux, Switzerland, Foreign Affairs Minister Walid Muallem was himself cut off by none other than the Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon.

Pointing out the ridiculousness of the situation, Muallem noted: “You live in New York, I live in Syria. I have the right to give the Syrian version in this forum. After three years of suffering, this is my right. You spoke for 25 minutes. I need at least 30.” While Ban interrupted Muallem’s speech, asking him to “wrap up in just one or two minutes,” the Syrian Minister refused to be silenced and did eventually finish his speech.

What is the UN afraid of hearing?

Ambassador al-Ja’afari is clever with his words. In May, 2014, speaking at the UNSC, where the French Ambassador had without any substantiated reasons suggested Syria be referred to the ICC, the Ambassador remarked:

    “Mr. President, some member states introducing this draft resolution while dealing with the Syrian situation remind me of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Those states are trying to impersonate the role of Dr. Jekyll, the good man, by promoting noble principles, while in reality they represent Mr. Hyde, the evil man. This evil role is manifested through their involvement in backing terrorism in Syria and contributing to the continuation of Syrian bloodshed, while shedding crocodile tears over bloodshed in Syria. The hands of Mr. Hyde are stained with Syrian blood, although he falsely claims his friendship for the Syrian people.”

Ambassador al-Ja’afari is one of a small number of representatives at the UN who dare to call out the House of Saud and other corrupt monarchies, as well as Israel and Turkey, for their role in funding and training terrorists in Syria. He also corrects and reprimands UN representatives when they intentionally use loaded lexicon to discuss the Syrian government and reality, to distort understanding.

In an Orlando, Florida panel, in July 2013, he likewise warned the audience against falling into the trap of using the misleading terminology used against Syria by media and political representatives. “How can you call them ‘jihadists’ when what they are doing is not from Islam? When they attack Syrians, then escape into Israel and are treated in Israeli hospitals,” he noted, clarifying “terrorists” not “jihadists” is the appropriate term. He encouraged Syrian-Americans to feel and act as ambassadors of Syria, also reminding them that they are part of the fabric of American culture. Unlike the anti-Syrian bloc, he stressed the need for discussion. “Rupture and the absence of dialogue doesn’t serve anyone, it deepens the misunderstanding. Dialogue is very important.”

In a similar Los Angeles panel, in December 2013, he received a standing ovation, Ikhras news reported. Many in the Syrian-American community want to hear his voice.

And so it was that, in March 2014, the Ambassador was slapped with a travel ban. US Department of State spokesperson, Jen Psaki, reluctantly admitted to having informed him that “he is restricted to a 25 mile travel radius. I’m not in a position to comment any further on it.”

When I met with Dr. al-Ja’afari in his New York office in January 2015, I asked why he thought he had been restricted. His answer was that they didn’t like his activism, which was meeting with the very people he represents and “explaining to them what’s going on in Syria. They needed information; they needed to be briefed about what’s going on in their homeland. They are all extremely worried, they have families there,” he said.

Ignoring international law & abandoning ship

The UN is being used as a vehicle for the US and allies to justify their illegal airstrikes and intervention in Syria. The November 2014 resolution A/C.3/69/L.31 on Syria is a litany of unsubstantiated rhetoric against the sovereign state of Syria.

At no point in the seven pages of vitriol does the resolution condemn or express outrage at the states supplying and enabling terrorists and their attacks within Syria. Nor does it condemn Israel’s repeated violations of Syria’s borders and providing medical and material support to terrorists. The resolution further fails to address, much less condemn, Israel’s repeated bombing of Syrian territory.

The Syrian Ambassador to the UN has repeatedly noted the meetings of US representatives with terrorists in Syria. Michel Chossudovsky, Director of the Centre for Research on Globalization in Montreal, likewise noted these glaring violations:

    “There is a list of terrorist organizations, which is made up by the State Department and John Kerry is negotiating, interfacing, with representatives of that terrorist organization, and the same thing is true for John McCain when he crosses into Syria, and the same thing is true with regard to the former ambassador to Syria Robert Steven Ford, who is also supporting these terrorists. So in other words these Western officials should be arrested on anti-terrorist charges because they are in violation of international law.”

Along the occupied Syrian Golan Heights, UN Disengagement Observer Forces (UNDOF) stationed along the 1974 demarcation line are mandated to:

“Maintain the ceasefire between Israel and Syria; Supervise the disengagement of Israeli and Syrian forces; and Supervise the areas of separation and limitation, as provided in the May 1974 Agreement on Disengagement.”

Yet, UNDOF routinely fails to observe or report violations such as terrorists crossing to and from the Israeli side. One recent example, noted by Nizar Abboud on January 19, 2015, was the Israeli assassination of Hezbollah and Iranian resistance in Quneitra, Syria on January 18.

To Abboud’s question on the silence of the UN, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesman for the Secretary-General, replied that the details were “murky” and merely implored all sides to “exercise restraint.” Haq cited UNDOF having observed two UAVs flying from Israel into Syrian territory, smoke billowing from a post in Syrian territory, and UAVs returning to the Israeli side. But UNDOF could not identify the origin of the smoke, he said.

Ambassador al-Ja'afari with Syrian-Americans at an exhibition at the UN. Photo by Eva Bartlett

Ambassador al-Ja’afari with Syrian-Americans at an exhibition at the UN. Photo by Eva Bartlett

Earlier, in a September 16, 2014 press conference, following UNDOF soldiers’ abandonment of their posts, the Syrian Ambassador criticized the “total inaction by all those who are responsible for the lives of UNDOF forces soldiers as well as for fulfilling the mandate of UNDOF, in accordance with the disengagement forces agreement of 1974.”

He noted the presence of al-Nusra along most of the Syrian side of the line of demarcation, and the sudden evacuation of UNDOF forces from the Syrian side, “in violation of the mandate, and without prior consultations with the Syrian government.” To the Ambassador’s knowledge, the Chief Commander of UNDOF had, “ordered the Filipinos to surrender and give up their weapons to the terrorist groups,” noting that the Chief of the Filipino army had in contrast ordered them “not to surrender and not to give up their weapons.”

The surrender of the Fijian UNDOF forces’ weapons, uniforms, and vehicles, according to Ambassador al-Ja’afari, enabled al-Nusra and company to “take over UNDOF forces’ positions, and created by doing so a kind of ‘safe zone’ for the terrorists to operate against the Syrian army and civilians,” using United Nations cars, uniforms, weapons, and locations.

Ambassador al-Ja’afari maintains that the UN’s Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) routinely accuses the Syrian army of “violating the disengagement forces agreement” when fighting against terrorists in the ceasefire area, but hypocritically does not call on the Israelis, Qataris, Saudis, Jordanians, or Turks to stop enabling terrorists to infiltrate into the area. “They forgot that resolution 2170 spoke about ISIS and Jebhat al-Nusra, not only about ISIS,” the Syrian Ambassador said.

In a November 2014 report, the Secretary-General mentioned the presence of al-Nusra and other terrorists in the ceasefire area “unloading weapons from a truck,” as well as a “vehicle with a mounted anti-aircraft gun” and Israeli “interactions” with “armed gangs.” Nonetheless, he went on to condemn strongly the Syrian army’s presence, offering no alternative solution to how to fight against those who fire on Syrian army and civilians from within the UNDOF-deserted area.

In his September press conference, Ambassador al-Ja’afari had warned of the possibility of terrorists and Israelis further infiltrating into Syria and “starting a war of attrition against the Syrian army” with no UNDOF forces to witness. There would be “nobody to, even theoretically speaking, brief the Security Council and the DPKO about what’s going on in the Golan.”

When the real human rights abuses of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Israel, and Turkey are so amply-documented, and yet the house of Saud is sponsoring the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre, the nefarious nature of the UN is crystal clear.

The Qatari, Saudi, British, French and other ambassadors to the UN are joined in their ‘gangsterism’ by none other than the US Ambassador to the UN, the same Samantha Power who was “one of the chief influences behind the Obama administration’s decision to intervene militarily in the Libyan conflict in 2011.” In September 2014, Power unabashedly stated that the US’ training of terrorists was to impose a change of government in Syria. “The training also will service these troops in the same struggle that they’ve been in since the beginning of this conflict against the Assad regime,” she said on NBC.

As for the UN, as Ambassador al-Ja’afari said: “There’s no United Nations anymore, it’s over. Multilateral diplomacy is not working; it’s being manipulated by the powerful. This is why they want to privatize the United Nations, so that the influential donors can control the decision-making mechanisms, without giving a damn about the provisions of the Charter.”

The UN, American and world leaders, and the corporate media attempt to stifle the Syrian narrative, to allow only the mainstream media’s manufactured narrative on Syria, which runs contrary to the reality on the ground in Syria. Many continue to naively believe that the UN can or will do anything positive for Syria (and Palestine), yet its corruptness and servitude to global wars and imperialism is blindingly evident.

Source : GlobalResearch

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