Daily Archives: November 4, 2017

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 3 November 2017

This report is for the media and the general public.

The SMM recorded more ceasefire violations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions compared with the previous reporting period. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas and recorded ceasefire violations near the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in all three areas and elsewhere, including Markyne.* It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance to essential infrastructure near Marinka. The Mission visited a border area not under government control.

In Donetsk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations,[1] including about 300 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (about 100 explosions).

During the afternoon of 3 November, while in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 21 undetermined explosions as well as bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 3-10km south-east and south-west.

On the evening and night of 2-3 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, a projectile in flight from east to west, four projectiles from west to east, nine projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east, six projectiles from east to west, three projectiles from west to east, 22 projectiles from east to west, two projectiles from west to east, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from west to east, two undetermined explosions, a projectile from east to west, an undetermined explosion, 12 projectiles from east to west, eight projectiles from west to east, two undetermined explosions, a projectile from west to east, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from east to west, three projectiles from west to east, two projectiles from east to west, two undetermined explosions, 11 projectiles from east to west, four projectiles from west to east, an undermined explosion, two projectiles from west to east, an undetermined explosion, four projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east, ten projectiles from east to west, a projectile from west to east, an undetermined explosion, and 24 projectiles from east to west, all 1-2km south. On the evening of 3 November, the same camera recorded, in sequence, two projectiles from east to west, four undetermined explosions, two projectiles from east to west, two undetermined explosions, eight projectiles from north-west to south-east, two projectiles from south-east to north-west, an undetermined explosion, two projectiles from east to west, 37 projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, an undetermined explosion, nine projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, a projectile from west-north-west to east-south-east, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, an undetermined explosion, four projectiles from east-north-east to west-south-west, nine projectiles from west-north-west to east-south-east, an undetermined explosion, three projectiles from north to south, five projectiles from north-west to south-east, 11 projectiles from east to west, two projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, six projectiles from west-north-west to east-south-east, five undetermined explosions, two projectiles from east to west, two undetermined explosions, two projectiles from north-west to south-east, an undetermined explosion, six projectiles from east-south-east to west-north-west, and a projectile from north-west to south-east, all 0.5-2km south.

On the evening of 2 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded a projectile in flight from north to south followed by two undetermined explosions, all 4-6km south-south-west. The following day, positioned on the south-western edge of Avdiivka for about five hours, the SMM recorded about 30 undetermined explosions, as well as five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 2-6km at directions ranging from east-south-east to south.

During the day on 3 November, positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about five-and-a-half hours, the SMM heard about 150 undetermined explosions as well as bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-5km west and north-west.

In Luhansk region, the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including about 40 explosions, compared with the previous reporting period (15 explosions).

During the day on 3 November, positioned on the edge of government-controlled Artema (26km north of Luhansk), the SMM heard 18 explosions 10-15km north-west, assessed as live-fire training inside the security zone, in violation of the decision of the Trilateral Contact Group as of 3 March 2016 that prohibits the conduct of live-fire training (exercises) in the security zone. The SMM also heard six undetermined explosions 10km east and north-east.

The SMM continued to monitor the disengagement process and to pursue full access to the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska (16km north-east of Luhansk), Zolote (60km west of Luhansk) and Petrivske (41km south of Donetsk), as foreseen in the Framework Decision of the Trilateral Contact Group relating to disengagement of forces and hardware of 21 September 2016. The SMM’s access remained restricted but the Mission was able to partially monitor them.*

In the early morning hours of 3 November, while on the eastern edge of government-controlled Stanytsia Luhanska, the SMM heard two undetermined explosions – one 3-5km south and the other an unknown distance south – neither of which could be assessed as inside or outside the disengagement area.

During the day on 3 November, positioned 1km south-east of the Stanytsia Luhanska bridge (15km north-east of Luhansk), the SMM heard an undetermined explosion 3km east, assessed as outside the disengagement area.

On 3 November, positioned in government-controlled Zolote, the SMM observed a calm situation.

The SMM continued to monitor the withdrawal of weapons, in implementation of the Package of Measures and its Addendum, as well as the Memorandum.

Beyond the withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in a government-controlled area, the SMM saw 17 self-propelled howitzers (nine 2S1 Gvozdika, 122mm, and eight 2S3 Akatsiya, 152mm), six towed howitzers (type unknown) and four anti-tank guns (MT-12 Rapira, 100mm), all stationary at the railway station in Rubizhne (84km north-west of Luhansk), five stationary multiple launch rocket systems (type unknown) north‑west of Chervona Dibrova (101km north-west of Luhansk), a tank (T-72) north-west of Mykolaivka (77km west of Luhansk), and a tank (T-72) loaded on a stationary flatbed trailer near Polkove (38km north of Mariupol).

The SMM revisited a permanent storage site in an area outside government control in Donetsk region, whose location was beyond the respective withdrawal lines, and noted that seven tanks (six T-72 and one T-64) were again missing.

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] in the security zone. In non‑government‑controlled areas, an SMM mid-range unmanned aerial vehicle spotted two revetted infantry fighting vehicles (IFV) (BMP‑1) near Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk). In Donetsk, the SMM saw an armoured personnel carrier (BTR-80) with 11 individuals armed with machine-guns and anti-tank grenades (RPG) atop. In government-controlled Mariupol, the SMM observed a stationary IFV (BMP‑1).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance, co‑ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-ordination (JCCC), to power lines in government-controlled Marinka (23km south-west of Donetsk).

The SMM visited a border area not under government control. During 20 minutes at a border crossing point near Novoazovsk (101km south-east of Donetsk), the SMM saw a bus with Ukrainian licence plates exit Ukraine.

The SMM continued monitoring in Kherson, Odessa, Lviv, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Chernivtsi and Kyiv.

*Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate

The SMM’s monitoring and freedom of movement are restricted by security hazards and threats, including risks posed by mines, unexploded ordnance (UXO) and other impediments – which vary from day to day. The SMM’s mandate provides for safe and secure access throughout Ukraine. All signatories of the Package of Measures have agreed on the need for this safe and secure access, that restriction of the SMM’s freedom of movement constitutes a violation, and on the need for rapid response to these violations. They have also agreed that the JCCC should contribute to such response and co-ordinate mine clearance. Nonetheless, the armed formations in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions frequently deny the SMM access to areas adjacent to Ukraine’s border outside control of the Government, citing orders to do so. (See, for example, SMM Daily Report 23 October 2017.) The SMM’s operations in Donetsk and Luhansk regions remained restricted following the fatal incident of 23 April near Pryshyb; these restrictions continued to limit the Mission’s observations.

Denial of access:

  • An armed individual refused the SMM entry to a compound in non-government-controlled Markyne (94km south of Donetsk). The Mission informed the JCCC.

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • The SMM was prevented from accessing parts of the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area, with the exception of the main road, due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC told the SMM that no de-mining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads south of the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. Armed “LPR” members positioned on the southern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM was prevented from accessing secondary roads in the Zolote disengagement area due to the possible presence of mines and UXO. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC at a checkpoint on the northern side of the Zolote disengagement area told the SMM that no demining had taken place during the previous 24 hours. The SMM did not consider it safe to proceed and informed the JCCC.
  • The SMM could not travel across the bridge in government-controlled Shchastia (20km north of Luhansk) due to the presence of mines. A Ukrainian Armed Forces officer of the JCCC said there were mines on the road south of the bridge. The SMM informed the JCCC.

[1] Please see the annexed report for a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations as well as a map of the Donetsk and Luhansk regions marked with locations featured in this report. During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational. Nine SMM cameras are in a testing phase, to last until 30 November 2017.

[2] This hardware is not proscribed by the provisions of the Minsk agreements on the withdrawal of weapons.

Hariri resigns denouncing Iran's interference in Lebanon's internal affairs: I sensed what is being woven to target my life

NNA – Prime Minister Saad Hariri, on Saturday, issued the following statement:

“Brothers and beloved Lebanese people,

I address you today with this speech at this crucial moment in the history of our country and the Arab nation, which is living under tragic circumstances caused by external interferences in its internal affairs.

You, the great Lebanese people, who carry ideals, values and a bright history, were a beacon of science, knowledge and democracy until groups that do not want anything good for you dominated you, supported from outside the borders. These groups sowed sedition among the people of one country, threatened the authority of the state, established a state within the state and ended up by controlling it and having the upper word and the final say in the affairs of Lebanon and the Lebanese people.

I refer explicitly and unequivocally to Iran, which sows sedition, devastation and destruction in any place it settles in, as proven by its interferences in the internal affairs of the Arab countries, in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain and Yemen, driven by a deep hatred of the Arab nation and an overwhelming desire to destroy and control it.

Unfortunately, it found among the sons of these countries some people who put their hands in its hand, openly declaring their loyalty to it, and their will to kidnap Lebanon, with the values and ideals it represents, from its Arab and international surrounding. I mean Hezbollah, the Iranian arm, not only in Lebanon but also in the Arab countries.

Great Lebanese people,
Over the past decades, Hezbollah has unfortunately managed to impose a fait accompli in Lebanon by the force of its weapons, which it alleges is a resistance weapon. This weapon is directed to our Syrian and Yemeni brothers, in addition to the Lebanese. I do not need to list these interventions. Their magnitude appears daily and we suffer from it, not only on the Lebanese internal level but also on the level of our relations with our Arab brethrens, and the latest example of that is Hezbollah’s cell in Kuwait.

Lebanon and the great Lebanese people became in the eye of the storm and subjected to international condemnations and economic sanctions because of Iran and its arm, Hezbollah. We all read what the head of the Iranian regime pointed to, that Iran controls the fate of the countries in the region and that Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, North Africa, and the Arab Gulf cannot take any decisive step without Iran and I responded to that at the time.

I want to tell Iran and its followers that they are losing in their interferences in the Arab nation affairs. Our nation will rise just as it did before and the hands that want to harm it will be cut, and just as Bahrain and Yemen responded, each and every part of our precious nation will do the same and evil will come back to its sender.

I promised you when I accepted to take the responsibility, to seek the unity of the Lebanese, end political division, restore sovereignty of the Lebanese people and apply the principle of self-distanciation. This caused me harm and I did not reply, for the sake of Lebanon and the Lebanese people. But unfortunately, this pushed Iran and its allies towards more interference in our internal affairs, violation of the State authority and imposition of fait accompli.

Dear Lebanese people,
The state of frustration that prevails in our country, the state of fragmentation and divisions, making special interests prevail over public interest, targeting Arab regional security via Lebanon, and forming enmities we have nothing to do with, cannot be accepted under any circumstance. I am sure that this is the will of the Lebanese from all sects.

We live in an atmosphere similar to the atmosphere that prevailed before the assassination of martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, and I sensed what is being woven in secret to target my life.

Based on the principles I inherited from martyr Prime Minister Rafic Hariri and the principles of the Great Cedar Revolution, and because I do not want to disappoint the Lebanese or accept what opposes these principles, I announce my resignation from the Lebanese premiership.

I am convinced that the will of the Lebanese is strong and they will be able to overcome the guardianship, from inside or outside.

I promise you rounds full of optimism and hope that Lebanon will be stronger, free and independent, with no authority over it except that of its great people, governed by law and protected by one army and one weapon.
I thank everyone who cooperated with me and trusted me.

Long live a free, independent and sovereign Lebanon, Long live the great Lebanese people.”

======================

Follow the latest National News Agency (NNA) news on Radio Lebanon 98.5, 98.1, and 96.2 FM

South Africa: DA Concerned About Mining Safety At Mponeng Mine

The DA is concerned by news of yet another underground incident at the Mponeng mine in Carltonville. The latest incident, in which two miners were killed, follows two more fatalities at the same mine two weeks ago.
We trust government health and safety inspectors are investigating why such a cluster of accidents occurred, with a view to establishing what has gone wrong and whether the accidents could have been prevented.
Yesterday’s incident was the third at the mine in just over a month. South African mines are some of the deepest in the world and although they have become much safer in the last few years, there is no room for complacency.
The DA extends its condolences to the families and colleagues of the deceased miners. We ask people to remember that it is the everyday heroism of South African miners that built and sustains our economy.

Source: Democratic Alliance

UN advocate vows to give 'visibility' to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse

3 November 2017 &#150 Briefing the press at United Nations Headquarters in New York for the first time, the first-ever UN advocate for the rights of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse on Friday highlighted her role to give those who have suffered &#8220visibility&#8221 and amplify their voices.

&#8220I&#39m the first prong of the full-pronged strategy of the Secretary-General to address SEA [sexual exploitation and abuse] systemwide,&#8221 said Victims&#39 Rights Advocate Jane Connors.

&#8220My priority is to give visibility to those who have suffered, including through connecting with them personally, and I wish to amplify their voices in a way that cannot be ignored, and support them as they rebuild their lives,&#8221 added the Australian law professional and long-time human rights advocate.

Since taking up her responsibility as the UN advocate on 14 September, she has had various interactions, including at the High-Level Meeting on the prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse, held in New York on 18 September. She has met with representatives of countries, UN colleagues and other stakeholders and recently visited the Central African Republic (CAR) for two weeks to meet with victims.

She said she works with field advocates in four locations &#8211 Haiti, CAR, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan &#8211 who have direct contact with these victims. In the future, other locations might be added.

Ms. Connors called on donors to contribute to the Trust Fund for SEA victims so that the UN can help victims rebuild their lives and seek justice.

Her appointment is in line with the Secretary-General’s pledge &#8211 made in his report on Special measures for protection from sexual exploitation and abuse: a new approach &#8211 that the UN will put the rights and dignity of victims at the forefront of its prevention and response efforts.

VIDEO: Speaking to UN News after returning from the Central African Republic, the United Nations Victims’ Rights Advocate explains her role in strengthening the support the UN gives to victims of sexual exploitation and abuse. Credit: UN News

31 new allegations from July to September

Prior to Ms. Conners&#39 briefing, Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General, gave an update on cases of sexual exploitation and abuse, which he said the UN will try to do quarterly.

Mr. Dujarric reported that for the period of 1 July to 30 September, the UN received 31 allegations.

&#8220Not all of them have been verified, and some are in the preliminary assessment phase,&#8221 he said.

Out of the 31 allegations, 12 are from peacekeeping operations and 19 from agencies, funds and programmes. Of them, 10 are categorized as sexual abuse, 19 as sexual exploitation, and two are of an unknown nature.

He said that 12 of these allegations occurred in 2017, two in 2016, six in 2015 or prior, and the dates are unknown for 11. And 38 male alleged perpetrators have been associated with these incidents. Of the 36 victims, 72 per cent are women and 19 per cent are girls. And 14 investigations have been launched during this timeframe.

He also said the UN is piloting a Victims Assistance Protocol which sets the roles and responsibilities of those on the ground to ensure coordination to provide victims with immediate assistance.

And with the most recent voluntary contributions from Member States, the Trust Fund in support of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse will rise to $1.5 million, he added.

Mr. Dujarric said the Secretary-General has also instructed the heads of all entities system-wide to provide action plans and risk analyses to commit the leadership to the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse, and almost all have been received.

Also, mandatory training for all UN personnel prior to deployment has been launched. In the DRC this month, a single and uniform &#39Incident Report Form&#39 will be introduced to ensure assistance is provided immediately, appropriate investigative action is undertaken, and to improve data collection.

So far, 58 Heads of State or Government have joined the Secretary-General’s Circle of Leadership. And 74 Member States have signed the Voluntary Compact and 18 more have formally indicated their intention to sign it, the Spokesman added.

Rohingya refugees drown as boat capsizes in rough waters off coast of Bangladesh – UN

31 October 2017 &#150 At least four Rohingyas fleeing unrest in Myanmar drowned when a small fishing boat capsized in rough seas off the Bangladesh coast, the United Nations reported Tuesday, also warning that with thousands of refugees still heading to Cox’s Bazar every day, sprawling makeshift camps there are now dangerously congested and overcrowded.

&#8220UNHCR [the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees] staff and our partners rushed to the scene to provide medical support, food, blankets and clothes to the survivors,” spokesperson Babar Baloch told reporters at the regular press briefing in Geneva.

According to survivors, six families &#8211 42 people in total, many of them women and children &#8211 left on a fishing boat from Gozon Dia south of Maungdaw town in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state around 2 am Tuesday morning. They ran into rough seas and approached shore in the Imamerdail area of Ukhia sub-district in Bangladesh around 8.30 am local time when they ran into rough seas.

A 15-year-old boy died on the spot and 22 were injured, several when they hit the engine Three were reported to have died en route to hospital, Mr. Baloch reported, adding that the remaining 19 injured were taken to UNHCR’s transit centre near Kutupalong camp. &#8220We will ensure that families are not separated in the course of the medical treatment.&#8221

Meanwhile, the UN International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that although the number of new arrivals is now slowing, people continue to arrive in the makeshift settlements of Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar every day, bringing the total Rohingya population of the district to over 820,000.

The settlements are dangerously congested and overcrowded and the pressure on sources of clean drinking water and basic sanitation are enormous. Having walked for days without water and food, the refugees arrive to the settlements exhausted and thirsty. Many are ill, IOM stated.


&#8220All of the spontaneous and makeshift sites where the Rohingya have sought shelter are in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support to prevent diseases and to restore basic human dignity,&#8221 explained IOM WASH expert Antonio Torres. &#8220Existing [sanitation and hygiene] facilities are not yet sufficient to cope with this number of people,&#8221 he noted.

&#8220All of the spontaneous and makeshift sites where the Rohingya have sought shelter are in urgent need of water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) support to prevent diseases and to restore basic human dignity,&#8221 says IOM WASH expert Antonio Torres. &#8220Existing WASH facilities are not yet sufficient to cope with this number of people,&#8221 he noted.

IOM is providing vital relevant services to both the Rohingya and the communities hosting them, while scaling up its work to meet the needs of new arrivals. Since early September, the agency has, among others, constructed around 785 latrines for the refugees. It has also constructed 14 wells with hand pumps providing over 14,000 people with clean drinking water.

AUDIORohingya refugees receiving mental health first aid