Tag Archives: UN

Ethiopia: UN Human Rights commission

Brussels 18.12.2021 Following a resolution presented by the European Union the United Nations Human Rights Council will establish an international commission of human rights experts on Ethiopia. An important step forward to ensure accountability of the perpetrators and justice for the victims” the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.

A joint investigation by the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission (EHRC) and the UN Human Rights Office has found that there are reasonable grounds to believe that all parties to the conflict in Tigray have, to varying degrees, committed violations of international human rights, humanitarian and refugee law, some of which may amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In a report published on December 3, which examines the devastating impact the conflict has had on civilians, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) details a series of violations and abuses, including unlawful killings and extra-judicial executions, torture, sexual and gender-based violence, violations against refugees, and forced displacement of civilians.

The report covers the period from 3 November 2020, when the armed conflict began between the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF), the Eritrean Defence Force (EDF), the Amhara Special Forces (ASF), the Amhara Fano and other militias on one side, and the Tigrayan Special Forces (TSF), Tigrayan militia and other allied groups on the other, until 28 June 2021 when the Ethiopian Government declared a unilateral ceasefire.

The JIT visited several locations, including Mekelle, Eastern Tigray (Wukro), Southeastern Tigray (Samre and nearby areas), Southern Tigray ( Alamata, Bora and Maichew), Western Tigray (Dansha, Humera and Mai Kadra), and Bahir Dar and Gondar in the Amhara region, as well as Addis Ababa. The JIT conducted 269 confidential interviews with victims and witnesses of alleged violations and abuses, and other sources; and held over 60 meetings with federal and regional officials, representatives of international organisations, NGOs, community-based committees, medical personnel, and other sources.

The JIT faced several security, operational, and administrative challenges in carrying out its work, in particular being unable to carry out all planned visits to parts of Tigray. The report acknowledges with gratitude the many victims and witnesses who shared their experiences with the JIT, and thanks the Ethiopian and non-governmental entities for their cooperation.

“As the conflict expands with more reports of violations and abuses, this report presents an opportunity for all parties to acknowledge responsibility and commit to concrete measures on accountability, redress for victims and the search for a sustainable solution to end the suffering of millions,” said Daniel Bekele, Chief Commissioner of the EHRC. “EHRC remains engaged in monitoring the human rights situation since end of June and will be sharing its findings in due course,” Bekele said.

“The Tigray conflict has been marked by extreme brutality. The gravity and seriousness of the violations and abuses we have documented underscore the need to hold perpetrators accountable on all sides,” said Michelle Bachelet, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

“As the conflict has escalated, with civilians as ever caught in the middle, it is vital that all parties heed the repeated calls to end hostilities and seek a lasting ceasefire,” said Bachelet, who is today also issuing a separate update on developments since the June cut-off date of the joint report.

EU congratulates UN Western Sahara Envoy

Brussels 07.10.2021 “The European Union congratulates Staffan de Mistura (pictured) for his appointment as the new UN Secretary-General Personal Envoy for Western Sahara” reads the statement by the spokesperson on the appointment of the new UN Secretary-General Personal Envoy for Western Sahara.

“We are confident that as an outstanding diplomat with a long experience in the region and in international negotiations, de Mistura will contribute to give a new impetus to the UN-led process on Western Sahara”.

“The European Union looks forward to engaging with the new Personal Envoy in his efforts to relaunch negotiations to achieve a just, lasting and mutually acceptable political solution.

“We also encourage all the parties to engage in a cooperative search for a solution in accordance with the Security Council resolutions and the principles and purposes of the Charter of the United Nations”.

Algeria reacted on Thursday to the appointment of Staffan De Mistura as the UN SG’s special envoy for the Western Sahara, while calling for the “demilitarisation” of Guerguerat.

Borrell visits Libya

Brussels 08.09.2021 EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Josep Borrell arrived to Libya today, 8 September. This mission comes at an important juncture for the country, with presidential and parliamentary elections in December.

Today, High Representative Borrell will hold a bilateral meeting in Tripoli with Libyan Minister for Foreign Affairs Najla El Mangoush, after which they will both hold a joint press point at 13:00 CET. Audiovisual coverage will be provided by Europe by Satellite (EbS). The High Representative’s remarks will be available in writing on the EEAS website. In the afternoon, Josep Borrell will also meet with United Nations Special Envoy Ján Kubiš, as well as with President of the Presidential Council Mohammed Mnefi and Vice-President Moussa Al Koun

Guinea: Colonel Doumbouya ascends power

Brussels 06.09.2021 Colonel Mamady Doumbouya is regarded as the new leader in charge of Guinea after he headed a unit of elite soldiers seizing power on Sunday, September 5.

Announcing the military takeover, the 41-year-old former French legionary said the army had little choice because of the rampant corruption, disregard for human rights and economic mismanagement under President Alpha Condé.

“The president is with us, he’s in a safe place,” Colonel told French media on Sunday after the coup.

Dressed in a red beret, sunglasses and army fatigues, Colonel Mamady Doumbouya had announced earlier on Guinea’s state TV that “the Guinean personalisation of political life is over. We will no longer entrust politics to one man, we will entrust it to the people”.

Alpha Condé remains in detention while the UN, African Union and regional body ECOWAS all condemn the military junta ascending power in a coup d’état.

After meeting ministers from Alpha Condé’s government on Monday, the Colonel announced a new “union” government would be formed within coming weeks and promised there would be no “witch-hunt” against former officials.

“I condemn the seizure of power by force in # Guinea and call for the immediate release of President Alpha Condé” the European Union top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote on his Twitter micro blog.
“I invite all actors to act with respect for the rule of law, the interests of peace and for the well-being of the Guinean population”.

Tigray on brink of famine

Brussels 03.07.2021 The United Nations said the conflict could rapidly flare again in Ethiopia’s Tigray and that famine was worsening in the region, where local fighters declared victory this week after an eight-month war with central government and allied forces.

The Tigray People’s Liberation Front, provincial authorities which Ethiopian forces and troops from neighbouring Eritrea drove out last year, returned to regional capital Mekelle on Monday, June 28, to cheering crowds.

“There is potential for more confrontations and a swift deterioration in the security situation, which is extremely concerning,” U.N. political and peacebuilding affairs chief Rosemary DiCarlo told the U.N. Security Council.

The Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire on Monday which the TPLF dismissed as a joke. There are reports of continued clashes in some places as pressure builds internationally for all sides to pull back.

Acting U.N. aid chief Ramesh Rajasingham said shortages of food had worsened dramatically over the past two weeks and some 400,000 people in Tigray were now estimated to be in famine, with another 1.8 million on the brink of famine.

Both Russia and China did not object to Friday July 2 public meeting of the UN Security Council on Tigray, but
they made clear that they believed the conflict is an internal affair for Ethiopia. Russia’s UN ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said: “We believe that interference by the Security Council in solving it is counterproductive.”
Russia and China are both council veto-powers, along with the U.S., France and UK.

Mali: colonel Goita leads again

Brussels 25.05.2021 HOME Mali vice president confirms takeover after president arrested. Mali’s interim vice president, Colonel Assimi Goita, said on Tuesday, May 25, that he had seized power after the transitional president and prime minister failed to consult him about the formation of a new government. He ensured that the elections would be held next year as planned.

President Bah Ndaw and Prime Minister Moctar Ouane were arrested and taken to a military base outside the capital on Monday evening, May 24, prompting swift condemnation from international powers, some of which called it an “attempted coup”.

https://twitter.com/samirasawlani/status/1397175977122357251?s=20

The two men were in charge of a transitional government created after a military coup in August 18 that ousted President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. They were tasked with overseeing a return to democratic elections next year.

Assimi Goita, who led the August coup, orchestrated the detentions after two fellow coup leaders were dropped from their government posts in a cabinet reshuffle on Monday.

In a statement read by an aide on national television, Goita said elections next year to restore an elected government would go ahead as planned.

“The vice president of the transition saw himself obligated to act to preserve the transitional charter and defend the Republic,” the statement said.

The United Nations, European Union and regional countries have all condemned the military’s actions and demanded the immediate release of the detained leaders.

They have concerns that the situation could exacerbate instability in the West African country, where Islamist groups linked to al Qaeda and Islamic State control large areas of the north and centre and stage frequent attacks on the army and civilians.

A delegation from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) was expected to visit Mali toady.

CAR: UN accuses Russians

Brussels 05.05.2021 In the Central African Republic, the brutal methods of the Russian “instructors” who fight alongside the Central African army are giving rise to growing fear and concern. On March 31, the United Nations Working Group on Mercenaries warned of a long series of serious human rights violations attributed to them. RFI had access to many confidential documents and collected words from victims. Investigation.

In Bangui, the presence of Russian mercenaries and the abuses of which they are accused are subjects of which one speaks in low voices, in private, and in anonymity.
“It’s the elephant in the middle of the room,” said a diplomatic source. “We only see him, but we pretend he’s not there.” Officially, they are not here. The Russian narrative on the subject is extremely well established. The Russian ambassador in Bangui acknowledges the dispatch of 535 men whom he describes as “instructors” who “do not take part in the fighting” except “if they are targeted.”

However, many national and international security sources contradict this version. They mention 800 to 2,000 mercenaries deployed in the CAR, alongside the Central African armed forces, often “on the front line” during clashes and also present at checkpoints and strategic locations.
For part of the public, weary of the occupation and violence of armed groups, the Russians are Saviours. They played a decisive role in the counter-offensive which made it possible to retake most of the country’s major cities. Their action is also supported by an active communication campaign from the authorities. Few dissenting voices publicly dare to question their methods, in the climate of fear that has taken hold in certain regions of the country.

On March 31, for the first time, a group of independent experts came to break this silence. In a press release, the UN Working Group on the Use of Mercenaries attached to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights in Geneva, denounces the increased use of private security companies by the authorities in Bangui. And alert on a long list of abuses which are “attributable” to them: “mass summary executions, arbitrary detentions, torture during interrogations, enforced disappearances, forced displacement of civilians, indiscriminate targeting of civilian installations, violations of the right to health and growing attacks on humanitarian actors.”

Three Russian entities are cited in this press release: the “Wagner Group”, considered to be the private armed wing of Moscow, some of whose fighters have recently come under charges for a possible war crime in Syria; “Sewa Security Services”, a company incorporated under Central African law founded in Bangui in 2017 and considered as the subsidiary of Wagner in the country; and finally “Lobaye Invest SARLU”, a mining company founded in the Central African Republic in 2017, one of whose officials has been placed under sanctions by the United States. The Task Force says it has gathered evidence of their “involvement in a series of violent attacks” in the Central African Republic since last December.

Several internal United Nations reports that RFI has consulted support these accusations. One of them lists at least a hundred victims of violations of human rights and international humanitarian law committed either by the Faca and their Russian allies or by Russian elements alone, between January 1, 2021 and mid-January. April. Among these violations: 26 extrajudicial executions, 5 rapes as well as 27 cases of arbitrary arrests and deprivation of liberty.

“Many civilians have been killed or injured (…) although they are very far from legitimate military targets,” the report concludes.

Among the most affected prefectures: that of Ouaka, north-east of Bangui. Fo two months, Bambari, capital of this prefecture, located 370 kilometers from the capital.

Borrell: CAR consolidation for peace

Brussels 27.12.2020 The Central African Republic elections are a crucial step for the “consolidation of democracy and peace”, the EU top diplomat Josep Borrell wrote in his Twitter micro blog. He called for the “mobilization of voters and the responsibility of all actors for credible, transparent, inclusive and peaceful elections”, especially mentioning the European Union – African Union ties in support of the democratic transition.

Meanwhile the former Central African Republic president Francois Bozize (pictured) backs the rebels, and urges people against voting in presidential and legislative elections today, AFP Africa reports.

Francois Bozize, president of the Central African Republic from 2003 to 2013 and a participant in two previous attempted coups d’etat, returned from exile in 2019 to run for his old job. In December, just three weeks ahead of the election, Bozize was barred by the Constitutional Court from running again. The court ruled that he had failed to meet the “good morality” requirement for candidates because of an international warrant for his arrest and UN sanctions on charges of assassination and torture. He has since been accused of plotting a new coup.

Despite a series of attacks in the run-up to the Central African Republic’s presidential and legislative elections — the first since a fragile peace deal was reached between the government and rebels in February 2019 — as well as threats against the centers where voter cards are distributed, the possibility of assaults on polling places and the killings of three UN peacekeepers on Saturday, the national elections authority, ANE, has reported that the vote will go on.

Despite threats against voting offices and polling places, the Central African Republic’s election authority has said Sunday’s, December 27, vote will go ahead. According to press reports Mankeur Ndiaye, the UN’s special envoy for CAR said the situation was under the control of the UN Blue Helmets, together with the Central African armed forces and the Central African domestic security forces, such as gendarmes and police. They were on the scene to react to any attacks or strategies of harassment by certain armed groups in alliance with Francois Bozize, the goal of which was to obstruct the election process by preventing Central African citizens from receiving their voting cards and going to polling places on December 27.

“We face attacks every day, but our response has been overwhelming” Mankeur Ndiaye concluded.

Saharawi: EU for UN-led talks

Brussels 14.12.2020 “Western Sahara future should be solved in political negotiations. We call for quick resumption of negotiations under the auspices of the United Nations (UN) to find lasting and mutually acceptable political solution to the issue”, the spokesperson of the European External Actions Service said, while reacting upon recent events around the status of Western Sakhara.
(Image: illustration).
The EU diplomat placed the issue into broader international context, not limiting it to the 27 bloc to Mediterranean neighborhood, while commenting on the future of Saharawi people, and possible autonomy status within the Kingdom of Morocco.
(Image: illustration, archive)

The EU diplomacy spokesperson also added that the negotiations should be conducted in compliance with the U.N. resolutions on Western Sahara, in particular the last one from October 2020. (Adopting resolution 2548 (2020) by 13 votes in favour to none against, with 2 abstentions (Russian Federation, South Africa), the Council extended the mandate of the United Nations Mission for the Referendum in Western Sahara (MINURSO) until 31 October 2021).
“In this context we are looking forward to appointment of the new personal envoy of the United Nations in order to pursue this political process, but the future determination of the status of the Western Sahara, the future of its people – from European point of view – should be decided in political process under the auspices of the U.N.

The Sahrawis largely depend on outside help to survive. In the remote region where the refugee camps are located, access to basic resources such as food, water, healthcare, housing, and education is limited. The climate in the desert is extremely harsh. 

A 2019 nutrition survey (World Food Programme, June 2019) found increasing malnutrition among the Sahrawi refugee children, with global acute malnutrition among under the age of 5 at 7.6% compared to 4.7% in 2016. Half of the number children and women also suffer from anaemia.

The largely isolated camps offer almost no employment opportunities, making refugees dependent on remittances and international aid. In such a remote location, logistics also play a key role to ensure regular distributions of relief to the refugee population. 

Social cohesion and peace are extremely fragile in the camps, with young people growing frustrated by the lack of opportunities or change due to the political stalemate. Livelihood activities are therefore crucial to reduce the risk of radicalisation or social unrest. The Sahrawi desert refugee camps are prone to natural hazards such as flash floods and sandstorms. In February 2020, it was confirmed the coronavirus had spread to Algeria, leading to curfew measures across the country and in the camps.

South Sudan peace accord impeded

Brussels 03.12.2020 Implementation of South Sudan’s 2018 peace accord has stalled, while the authorities have blocked humanitarian access to areas where conflict has restarted, the U.N. panel of experts said.
Deng Dau Deng, the deputy minister of Foreign affairs, has underlined that the experts themselves had been allowed entry into South Sudan, which shows “that the government of South Sudan is committed to meet the U.N. resolutions on South Sudan”.

Experts have also underlined that there was a lack of transparency in how the government collected and spent oil and other revenues. The government disputed the findings, saying agencies had access to all areas and it was making efforts to make the economy function.

South Sudan erupted into civil war soon after securing independence from Sudan in 2011, leading to an estimated 400,000 deaths and one of the worst refugee crises on the continent since the 1994 Rwandan genocide. A fragile peace accord between President Salva Kiir and former rebel leader Riek Machar was agreed in 2018 and they formed a government of national unity in February, creating a frame for potential peace.

However since then implementation has “mostly stalled, as the signatories have failed to adhere to the deadlines set in the peace agreement and have backtracked on aspects of its political, security and economic provisions,” the U.N. experts said. While the sporadic fighting has erupted in areas across the country, the panel experts found that South Sudan People’s Defence Forces and National Security Service “routinely blocked the United Nations Mission in South Sudan and peace monitors from accessing conflict areas”.

The experts also noted that the government, which relies mainly on oil for its revenue, has turned to resource backed loans and contracts as it struggles to deal with budget deficit projected to hit $700 million.

“South Sudan is cooperative,” he told Reuters on Thursday. “The U.N. mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and other agencies have full access to all the areas.” He also said, without providing details, that his government was working to improve the deficit situation in the country.

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