Tag Archives: Security

South Sudan: UN envoy condemns ‘horrific’ killings of civilians in Jonglei

29 November 2017 &#150 The most senior United Nations official in South Sudan has condemned the “horrific” killing of some 45 civilians in the Jonglei region on Tuesday when a Murle ethnic group attacked a Dinka village.

“I utterly condemn these killings and the abduction of some 60 women and children which accompanied these attacks,” said David Shearer, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for South Sudan and head of the UN Mission in the country, known as UNMISS.

The attack left 19 people wounded.

“I urge the leaders of both communities to reign in the youth, show restraint and to put an end to the cycle of revenge killings. It is crucial that the national and local authorities support the community leaders and work to bring the perpetrators of all attacks to account,” he added.

Since 2013, the Murle and Dinka communities in Jonglei, which is in the central part of the country, have been engaged in long-standing inter-ethnic violence that has operated outside the wider political conflict in South Sudan.

“The perpetrators of this violence have undermined the ongoing peace and reconciliation efforts that [UNMISS] has supported in Jonglei,” Mr. Shearer said.

“The engagement that UNMISS has had with both communities has shown that the vast majority of people want to end the destructive pattern of revenge attacks,” he underscored.

The dead included humanitarian workers who, according to Mr. Shearer, were “working selflessly for the people of Jonglei.”

Their deaths, he added, are “pointless and utterly contemptible.”

Seoul: N. Korea's provocation will only deepen its isolation

NNA – South Korea’s foreign ministry condemned North Korea’s long-range missile launch Wednesday, warning the country’s military provocation will only further deepen its diplomatic isolation and economic difficulties.

“North Korea’s repeated provocative acts pose a grave threat to the Korean Peninsula, as well as the international peace and security,” the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in its statement. “The government condemns North Korea for its continued escalation of tension with its reckless provocation that came in disregard of our sincere efforts to relieve tension and build peace on the Korean Peninsula.”

The ministry also warned that with its provocations, North Korea will only earn “diplomatic isolation and economic hardship.”

“North Korea needs to realize that giving up its nuclear and missile development is the only path toward securing its own security and economic development,” the statement said.

=========

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

South Sudan: Senior UN official urges Security Council to support peace process revitalization

28 November 2017 &#150 The arrival of the dry season in South Sudan could lead to more fighting that would undermine the political process and cause additional civilian casualties and displacement, a senior United Nations official cautioned the Security Council on Tuesday.

Briefing the Council on the security situation in the world’s newest country, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Bintou Keita also raised concerns about the growing number of incidents targeting humanitarian actors and restrictions on movement of UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) personnel.

“The humanitarian situation in South Sudan continues to be dire, compounded by widespread armed conflict, inter-communal violence, large displacements of the civilian population and access restrictions which prevents the delivery of humanitarian assistance,” Ms. Keita said.

Some four million South Sudanese have been forced to flee their homes in the conflict that erupted nearly four years ago following a political dispute between President Salva Kiir and his Vice-President, Riek Machar. Despite an August 2015 peace agreement, violence has continued.

According to UN figures, nearly half of the country’s 12 million people are hungry, including about 1.7 million on the brink of famine.

The situation is likely to get worse with onset of the dry season, Ms. Keita said, and “the Government’s push to assert military dominance across the country, notably when faced with continued resistance by armed opposition groups.”

She stressed that the conflict in South Sudan can only have a political solution and urged the international community to provide “unified and unconditional” support for the peace process.

Ms. Keita encouraged the 15-member council to “unanimously express its support to the urgent revitalization of the peace process so that the suffering of all South Sudanese civilians can come to an end.”

Those efforts are being led by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), with support from neighbouring countries, such as Uganda, to revitalize the implementation of the peace agreement and to bring stakeholders together.

An IGAD task force is now meeting informally in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire – where the fifth African Union and European Union summit will begin tomorrow – and will formally discuss the situation in South Sudan in mid-December.

Latest from the OSCE Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine (SMM), based on information received as of 19:30, 24 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. It continued to observe armed men and armoured personnel carriers in Luhansk city centre. The SMM observed shelling damage in a residential area of Dovhe. The Mission continued monitoring the disengagement areas near Stanytsia Luhanska, Zolote and Petrivske; it recorded ceasefire violations inside the Petrivske disengagement area. Its access remained restricted in the disengagement areas.* It facilitated and monitored repairs and maintenance of essential infrastructure in Zalizne and Betmanove, as well as, reportedly, the transport of the bodies of deceased soldiers near Novotoshkivske and Sentianivka. The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians from Travneve close to the contact line.

In Donetsk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations[1], including, however, fewer explosions (60), compared with the previous reporting period (about 80 explosions).

On the evening and night of 23-24 November, the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station (15km north of Donetsk) recorded, in sequence, five projectiles in flight from east to west, five explosions assessed as outgoing, five projectiles in flight from east to west, followed by totals of about 20 explosions (of which 11 were assessed as outgoing) and about ten projectiles in flight from east to west, all 0.5-1.5km south. During the day on 24 November, positioned at the location of the SMM camera at the Donetsk Filtration Station for about two hours, the SMM heard four bursts of small-arms fire 2km west-south-west.

On the evening of 23 November, the SMM camera in government-controlled Avdiivka (17km north of Donetsk) recorded two tracer rounds and a projectile in flight from south to north, all 4-6km east-south-east.

During the day on 24 November, the SMM camera in Shyrokyne (20km east of Mariupol), recorded, in sequence, four projectiles in flight from west to east, four projectiles in flight from east to west, a projectile in flight from west to east, followed by totals of two undetermined explosions, 83 projectiles (50 in flight from east to west and 33 in flight from west to east) and two illumination flares in vertical flight, all 5-8km south.

During the day on 24 November, positioned at the Donetsk central railway station (6km north-west of “DPR”-controlled Donetsk city centre), the SMM heard a burst of small-arms and five bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 1-3km north.

Positioned at the railway station in “DPR”-controlled Yasynuvata (16km north-east of Donetsk) for about eight hours, the SMM heard four undetermined explosions 2-4km north-north-east.

While in government-controlled Svitlodarsk (57km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard 26 explosions (of which two were assessed as impacts) and about 30 bursts and shots of heavy-machine-gun and small-arms fire, all 1-4km south and south-east.

Positioned in government-controlled Verkhnotoretske (16km north-east of Mariupol) for about two hours, the SMM heard five explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of recoilless-gun (SPG-9, 73mm) fire 1.5km north-east.

Positioned in “DPR”-controlled Betmanove (formerly Krasnyi Partyzan, 23km north-east of Donetsk), the SMM heard six explosions assessed as outgoing rounds of rocket-propelled-grenade launcher fire 2km north-west.

In Luhansk region the SMM recorded more ceasefire violations, including, however, fewer explosions (two), compared with the previous reporting period (about ten explosions).

During the evening of 23 November, while in “LPR”-controlled Kadiivka (formerly Stakhanov, 50km west of Luhansk), the SMM heard two undetermined explosions and about 150 bursts of heavy-machine-gun fire, all 10-15km west.

The SMM continued monitoring the situation in Luhansk city (see SMM Daily Report, 24 November 2017). On 24 November, it observed a calm situation in the city. At 59 and 48 Radianska Street, as well as at 63 Karla Marksa Street, the SMM saw at least 30 unidentified armed persons wearing military-style clothes and white armbands. About half of them were also wearing balaclavas. The SMM saw two stationary armoured personnel carriers (APCs) and 12 armed men at the former Ministry of Internal Affairs building at 3 and 4 Kotsiubynskoho Street. At the armed formations (“komendatura”) building (at 63 Karla Marksa Street), the SMM observed two armed men wearing “komendatura” unit markings patrolling around the building. The SMM also observed that a military-type truck (Kamaz) was blocking the intersection of Lermontova and Dzerzhinskoho Streets. It saw nine stationary military-type trucks (six Kamaz and three Ural) in a parking lot at 2G Lermontova Street. On the western outskirts of Luhansk city, the SMM saw 20 military-type trucks (ZIL-131) heading south.

The SMM followed up on reports of damage to civilian properties in residential areas. On 23 November, the SMM observed two fresh impact sites in “LPR”-controlled Dovhe (22km north-west of Luhansk).

At 9/1 Tsentralna Street, the SMM observed a fresh crater on a paved road about 10-15m north of a fence and a house. The SMM also saw a hole in the glass of the north-facing window of the house at 9/1 Tsentralna Street and broken branches of a nearby tree, 3-4m north of the fence. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a recoilless gun (SPG-9) round fired from a northerly direction. Two women (aged 55-60) told the SMM that they were standing several metres from the impact site when they had heard and seen an explosion, around 17:00 on 22 November.

At 13 Tsentralna Street, the SMM observed fresh shrapnel damage to the wooden planks and the north-facing wall of a shed (7-8m south of a house) and its surrounding fence located 2-3m east of the shed. The SMM assessed that the damage had been caused by a recoilless gun (SPG-9) round fired from a northerly direction. A man (aged 45), who introduced himself as the owner of the house, told the SMM that he had been in the yard of his house when he had heard an explosion about 17:20 on 22 November.

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.*

During the early morning hours of 22 November, the SMM camera in “DPR”-controlled Petrivske recorded eight tracer rounds in flight from west to east 0.5-1km south, all of which were assessed as inside the disengagement area. During the evening of 22 November, the same camera recorded five tracer rounds in flight from west to east and two undetermined explosions 1-2km south, all of which were assessed as inside the disengagement area.

During the day on 24 November, positioned in the Stanytsia Luhanska disengagement area and near the Petrivske and Zolote disengagement areas, the SMM observed calm situations.

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 withdrawal lines but outside designated storage sites, in non-government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a tank (T-72) loaded on a tank transporter heading south on H-21 near Uspenka (23km south-west of Luhansk). Aerial imagery revealed the presence, on 24 November, of 19 tanks about 4km south-east of Ternove (57km east of Donetsk) and 15 tanks about 3km west of Manuilivka (65km east of Donetsk) (in the latter area, an SMM unmanned aerial vehicle had spotted, on 18 November, 41 tanks (see SMM Daily Report 21 November 2017).)

The SMM observed armoured combat vehicles[2] in the security zone. In government-controlled areas, the SMM saw a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Novoselivka Druha (36km north-east of Mariupol) and a stationary reconnaissance vehicle (BRDM-2) near Chermalyk (31km north-east of Mariupol). In a non-government-controlled area the SMM observed two stationary APCs (BTR-80) on Kotsiubynskoho Street in Luhansk city (see above).

The SMM continued to facilitate and monitor repairs and maintenance work, co-ordinated by the Joint Centre for Control and Co-operation (JCCC), to the power line in Betmanove and to the phenol sludge reservoir in government-controlled Zalizne (formerly Artemove, 42km north-east of Donetsk). The SMM continued to observe that Ukrainian Armed Forces and “DPR” positions were close to the Donetsk Filtration Station.

The SMM facilitated and monitored the adherence to the ceasefire, co-ordinated by the JCCC, in government-controlled Novotoshkivske (53km west of Luhansk) and “LPR”-controlled Sentianivka (formerly Frunze, 44km west of Luhansk) to enable, reportedly, the transport of the bodies of deceased members of the Ukrainian Armed Forces. Positioned 1.5km north of Sentianivka, the SMM heard two shots of small-arms fire 500m north.   

The SMM followed up on the situation of civilians living near the contact line. On 23 and 24 November, two residents from Travneve (51km north-east of Donetsk) told separately the SMM by phone that since 16 November Travneve had no power supply and there were about 120 residents still living in the village (including two children less than five years old).

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 21 November 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:

Related to disengagement areas and mines/UXO:

  • 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 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.

 

[1] For a complete breakdown of the ceasefire violations, please see the annexed table. During this reporting period the SMM camera at the Oktiabr mine (Donetsk) remained non-operational. Nine SMM cameras are in a testing phase, which will last until 30 November 2017.

* Please see the section at the end of this report entitled “Restrictions of SMM’s freedom of movement or other impediments to fulfilment of its mandate”.

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

News in Brief 24 November 2017 – Geneva (AM)

Hamida, 22, and her son Mohammed wait to receive food aid along with other Rohingya refugees at Kutupalong Refugee Camp, in Bangladesh. Photo: UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

Rohingya return plan must guarantee their safety: UNHCR

The proposed return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar from Bangladesh must be safe and voluntary amid serious concerns for their security if they go home, the UN said on Friday.

UN Refugee Agency UNHCR issued the appeal a day after the two countries said they had agreed to the return of people who have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine State since August.

Well over 600,000 people have sought shelter in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar so far – and more continue to do so every day – following a military operation tantamount to ethnic cleansing by Myanmar that was launched in response to separatist violence in August.

Here’s UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards:

“Refugees are still fleeing and many have suffered violence and rape and deep psychological harm. Some have witnessed the deaths of friends or family members. Most have little or nothing to go back to, their homes and villages destroyed. Deep divisions between the communities remain unaddressed and humanitarian access in northern Rakhine State remains negligible. It is critical that returns do not take place precipitously or prematurely.”

Mr Edwards said that it was essential to address why the Rohingya fled in the first place – as recommended by former UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan in a report on the exodus.

Major concerns include the Rohingyas’ lack of citizenship and fears that they may be confined to ghettos.

Cautious UN welcome for announcement on Yemen blockade lifting

The announcement on Friday that a blockade on all goods entering Yemen is to be eased slightly for the first time in more than two weeks by a Saudi-led coalition has received a cautious welcome from UN aid teams.

According to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a flight from Jordan to the Yemeni capital Sana’a has been given clearance to proceed on Saturday.

But spokesperson Jens Laerke explained that the major sea ports of Hodeida and Saleef remain closed, as the main source of aid to the war-torn country:

“You know humanitarians are serving the needs of seven million people who are completely dependent on us. We are supplying for example clean water for four million people and this comes at a time of threat of famine in the country. With the cholera outbreak just starting to diminish in the country we have been worried that the gains we have made on cholera and the gains that we have made on famine have been reversed by this blockade. Thankfully we have started to see some movement.”

Yemen, already one of the poorest countries in the world, has been brought to its knees by the ongoing conflict between a Saudi coalition in support of President Mansour Al Hadi and Houthi-backed rebels.

The blockade was imposed after a missile attack on the Saudi capital, Riyadh, effectively closing air, sea and land access to Yemen.

Mediterranean Sea is the “world’s deadliest” migration route

And finally to Europe, where the Mediterranean Sea has been declared “by far the world’s deadliest” route for illegal migration.

In a new study for the UN migration agency IOM, researchers found that nearly 34,000 people lost their lives in the last 17 years trying to reach Europe’s shores.

The data also shows a spike in migration through non-legal channels from North Africa and Turkey to Europe in the 1970s, linked to new visa requirements for temporary workers at the time.

This policy “encouraged those who were already in Europe to stay” and increased illegal migration of family members by smugglers, the report notes.

Daniel Johnson, United Nations, Geneva

Duration: 3’29″