Category: UN security counsil (Page 1 of 2)

UNGA 76th session started, President calls on member states to embrace hope.

The United Nations General Assembly on opened its 76th session on Tuesday, with the UNGA president Abdulla Shahid and the UN chief Antionio Guterres imploring member states to embrace hope.

The COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be the most challenging period the world has seen since the Second World War, said the UN Secretary-General on Tuesday, as the 75th session of the General Assembly gave way to the new, deepening inequalities, decimating economies and plunging millions into extreme poverty

Passing on the gavel to the new UN General Assembly president, António Guterres saluted his predecessor: “Throughout this difficult and historic moment, we have all been fortunate to rely on the leadership of His Excellency, President Volkan Bozkir”. 

The UN chief credited the outgoing Turkish diplomat and politician for prioritizing a sustainable recovery, rooted in the 2030 Agenda, and supporting countries and communities as they rebuild systems shattered by the pandemic. 

83 heads of state expected to attend 76th session of UN General Assembly.

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Head of the UN special political mission to Security Council: Sudan continues its transition towards democracy.

Despite setbacks and challenges, Sudan continues its transition towards democracy, the head of the UN special political mission in the country told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Volker Perthes, head of the UN Integrated Transition Assistance Mission in Sudan (UNITAMS), briefed on the authorities’ efforts to address violence in the volatile Darfur region and the east, the ongoing economic crisis, and other issues.

Measures have included the launch of an initiative to shape consensus around key objectives such as military and security sector reform, the economy, justice and peace.

There is also growing momentum to move forward on the preparations for constitution-making and elections,” said Mr. Perthes.

“The Government has produced a draft law on the constitution-making process, which will now be subject to public consultations.”  

Debt relief decision

Following continued economic reforms, Sudan is now eligible for debt relief under the Highly Indebted Poor Countries, initiative of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), another positive development.

Mr. Perthes said the move will unlock critical financial resources to strengthen the economy, address poverty and improve social conditions.   

Humanitarians have been advocating for timely and flexible funding, he added, as needs have risen mostly due to the economic crisis and intercommunal conflict

Some 418,000 people have been newly displaced this year following fighting and armed attacks, mainly in Darfur, Kordofan and Blue Nile.

This is about six times as many newly displaced persons as in the same period last year,” he said, while the conflict in neighbouring Ethiopia is also sparking refugee flows into the country, according UN News.

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Pope Francis to G20: “peace is a universal right”.

Pope Francis sends a message to participants in the G20 Interfaith Forum, and urges religious leaders to pursue peace for all peoples and to serve truth.

The G20 Interfaith Forum runs from 12-14 September in the Italian city of Bologna, and is meant to promote healing from the Covid-19 pandemic and the many conflicts lacerating the world.

Religious leaders taking part in the annual event seek to engage with the agenda of the G20, a forum for international economic cooperation amongst the world’s 20 largest economies.

Pope Francis sent his greetings to participants in the Interfaith Forum on Saturday evening.

Pope Francis praised the forum’s goal of sharing ideas and hopes through interfaith dialogue and the promotion of religious freedom.

He said the role of religions is essential in overcoming war and hatred, since “true religion consists in adoring God and loving our neighbor.”

“More than putting something on display, we are called to show the fatherly presence of the Heavenly God through our harmony on earth,” he said, according Vatican News.

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UN chief Antonio Guterres urges: “time to think big about future international cooperation”.

Celebrating the United Nations 75th anniversary last year, prompted major internal discussion about its future, and a new direction away from the post-World War Two consensus of its early days.

These reflections have resulted in Our Common Agenda, a landmark new report released on Friday by the UN Secretary-General, setting out his vision for the future of global cooperation.

Antonio Guterres launched the report at a meeting of the UN General Assembly on Friday, prefacing his remarks with a scathing overview of the parlous state of a world he described as being under enormous stress, and warning that the world risks a future of “serious instability and climate chaos”.

From the climate crisis to our suicidal war on nature and the collapse of biodiversity, our global response is too little, too late”, declared the UN Secretary-General.

Unchecked inequality is undermining social cohesion, creating fragilities that affect us all.

Technology is moving ahead without guard rails to protect us from its unforeseen consequences.”

The UN chief went on to describe the extensive consultations that fed into its development, a listening exercise that led the UN to the conclusion that enhanced multilateralism is seen as the way to deal with the world’s crises.

This approach would herald a new era for multilateralism, in which countries work together to solve global problems; the international system works fast to protect everyone in emergencies; and the UN is universally recognized as a trusted platform for collaboration, according UN News.

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United Nations Security Council urges Taliban to provide safe passage out of Afghanistan.

The UN Security Council passed a resolution on Monday that calls for the Taliban to facilitate safe passage for people wanting to leave Afghanistan, allow humanitarians to access the country, and uphold human rights, including for women and children.

Thirteen of the 15 ambassadors voted in favour of the resolution, which further demands that Afghanistan not be used as a shelter for terrorism.

Permanent members China and Russia abstained.

Airport attack condemned

Member states condemned in the strongest terms the deadly blasts at Kabul airport on Thursday, which killed more than 150 people and injured upwards of 200 more. 

The terrorist group Islamic State in Khorosan Province claimed responsibility.

The attack targeted people fleeing Afghanistan in the wake of the Taliban’s takeover two weeks ago, and international forces assisting the evacuations.

Thousands of Afghans have been trying to escape from the country ahead of the full withdrawal of the United States by its self-imposed Tuesday deadline, according UN News.

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UN chief calls for action to end enforced disappearances on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged countries to fulfill their obligations to prevent and prosecute cases of enforced disappearance on International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances.

The UN chief made the appeal in his message to mark the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, honouring victims of this serious human rights violation, observed on Monday.

Together, we can and we must end all enforced disappearances,” he said. 

A global problem

Enforced disappearance refers to the arrest, detention or abduction of persons by agents of the state, or those acting with state authorization or support, whose whereabouts are unknown.

Once largely the product of military dictatorships, it has become a global problem, according to the United Nations, with hundreds of thousands of people “disappeared” in more than 80 countries.

Impunity remains widespread.

While strictly prohibited under international human rights law, Mr. Guterres said enforced disappearance continues to be used across the world as a method of repression, terror, and stifling dissent.

“Paradoxically, it is sometimes used under the pretext of countering crime or terrorism.

Lawyers, witnesses, political opposition, and human rights defenders are particularly at risk,” he added, accoring UN News.

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UN chief gravely concerned over ‘unspeakable violence’ in Tigray (Ethiopia).

Speaking outside the UN Security Council chamber on Thursday, UN chief António Guterres told journalists that he is gravely concerned about the situation in Ethiopia, particularly the “unspeakable violence” against women and others in Tigray.

The Secretary-General’s remarks came on World Humanitarian Day, and he recognized humanitarians “and the many millions of people they strive to help everyday”. 

He described the misery of the Ethiopian people, and the “hellish” humanitarian conditions they are facing, with millions in need and infrastructure destroyed.

The spread of the conflict, he added, has “ensnared even more people in its horror”.

Now is the time to put an end to the suffering”, stressed Mr. Guterres.

“It is time for all parties to recognize that there is no military solution, and it is vital to preserve the unity and stability of Ethiopia which is critical to the region and beyond”.

To “give peace a chance” in Ethiopia, the Secretary-General appealed for action on three fronts:

  • an immediate end to hostilities;
  • guaranteed, unrestricted humanitarian access, together with the re-establishment of public services in all affected areas;
  • and the creation of conditions that “allow for the start of an Ethiopian-led political dialogue to find a solution for the crisis”.

“Such a dialogue can contribute to addressing the underlying causes of the conflict and ensure Ethiopian voices direct the pathway to peace”, the UN chief explained, calling each of these steps “critical” to a peaceful settlement.

Mr. Guterres assured journalists that the UN continues to have a humanitarian presence in and near Tigray, although there is a lack of full humanitarian access.

The UN chief added that the UN would continue to work together with the African Union and other partners “to support the Ethiopian people on the way to peace and reconciliation”, according UN News.

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UN chief tells Security Council: ‘now is the time to stand as one’ on Afghanistan.

As desperate Afghans were trying to escape the Taliban and board planes, during chaotic scenes at Kabul airport on Monday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres called for international unity on Afghanistan, in a briefing to an emergency session of the UN Security Council

Antonio Guterres appealed for the UN Security Council to stand as one, and ensure that human rights are upheld, humanitarian aid continues, and that the country does not again become a platform for terrorism.

“The following days will be pivotal”, said the UN chief. 

“The world is watching.

We cannot and must not abandon the people of Afghanistan”. 

The UN Secretary-General noted that the international community is following the developments in Afghanistan “with a heavy heart and deep disquiet about what lies ahead.” 

After seizing large swaths of territory in recent months, the Taliban on Sunday took control of the capital, Kabul, home to some six million people.   

President Ashraf Ghani has fled the country, according to media reports, and desperate residents have been scrambling to the airport to get flights out. 

“At this grave hour, I urge all parties, especially the Taliban, to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and to ensure that humanitarian needs can be met,” said Mr. Guterres. 

Afghanistan’s UN ambassador, Ghulam M. Isaczai, spoke of the fear that has gripped Kabul; people displaced from other provinces had flocked to the capital, viewed as the last refuge in the country.   

“Kabul residents are reporting that Taliban have already started house to house searches in some neighborhoods in Kabul, registering names and looking for people in their target list”, said Mr. Isaczai.

There are already reports of target killings and looting in the city”. 

Invoke Chapter VII 

The experts further urged the Security Council “to take appropriate action under Chapter VII of the UN Charter to safeguard the human rights and humanitarian needs of the people of Afghanistan, including its most vulnerable, and to address the role of Member States to prevent acts of terrorism under international law.” 

Chapter VII concerns Council response to threats to peace, breaches of peace, or acts of aggression, and allows for non-military and military action

They also recommended that countries should apply international sanctions against terrorist organizations, and ensure civilians have access to humanitarian aid as needs increase, according UN News.

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United Nations chief urges restraint as Taliban reach Kabul, UN Security Council set to meet Monday.

As the crisis in Afghanistan deepens by the hour, with reports that insurgent forces reached the country’s capital, Kabul, earlier on Sunday.

The UN Secretary-General António Guterres has urged the Taliban and all other parties “to exercise utmost restraint to protect lives and ensure that humanitarian can be addressed.”

Mr. Guterres is following with deep concern the rapidly evolving situation in Afghanistan, as the conflict is forcing hundreds of thousands to flee their homes.

There continue to be reports of serious human rights abuses and violations in the communities most affected by the fighting.

“The United Nations remains determined to contribute to a peaceful settlement, promote the human rights of all Afghans, notably women and girls, and provide life-saving humanitarian assistance and critical support to civilians in need”.

Speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters this past Friday, the UN Secretary-General stressed that there was still potential for stalled intra-Afghan talks taking place in Doha, Qatar, supported by the region and the wider international community, which could lead to a negotiated settlement.

On Monday, the Secretary-General will address the UN Security Council‘s open meeting on Afghanistan, according UN News.

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UN chief urges Taliban in Afghanistan to halt offensive immediately, negotiate ‘in good faith’.

The UN Secretary-General on Friday called on Taliban militants to “immediately halt” their offensive against government forces and return to the negotiating table in good faith, “in the interest of Afghanistan, and its people.”

António Guterres told reporters at UN Headquarters in New York that humanitarian needs were “growing by the hour” and the country largely spinning out of control.

“Even for a country that has tragically known generations of conflict, Afghanistan is in the throes of yet another chaotic and desperate chapter – an incredible tragedy for its long-suffering people”, he said, noting that more than 1,000 people have been killed or injured from indiscriminate attacks against civilians, notably in Helmand, Kandahar and Herat provinces, in just the past month.

The UN chief said the fighting between Taliban and Afghan security forces for control of cities and towns, was “causing tremendous harm. 

At least 241,000 people have been forced to flee from their homes…

Hospitals are overflowing. 

Food and medical supplies are dwindling. 

Roads, bridges, schools, clinics and other critical infrastructure are being destroyed”, he added.

“Continued urban conflict will mean continued carnage” he said, with civilians inevitably paying the highest price.

“I call on all parties to take heed of the conflict’s heavy toll and its devastating impact on civilians. 

They all must do more to protect civilians.”

Holding on for peace

He said there was still potential for stalled intra-Afghan talks taking place in Doha, Qatar, supported by the region and the wider international community, which could lead to a negotiated settlement.

“Only an Afghan-led negotiated political settlement can ensure peace”, he added, declaring that the UN was determined to contribute to a peace deal, “promote the rights of all Afghans and provide life-saving humanitarian help to the ever increasing numbers of civilians in need”, according UN News.

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