Author Archives: Mohammed Al-Zuhairi

Kuwait Provides USD 10 Million to UN Migration Agency for Operations in Yemen 

Geneva – Monday, 9 July

The State of Kuwait donated USD 10 million in support of the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s humanitarian work in Yemen.

“Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, the State of Kuwait is determined to support the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people through its collaboration with the international humanitarian organizations,” Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, told IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing, during their meeting.

“The State of Kuwait would like to reiterate its firm intention of further strengthening the longstanding and fruitful relations with the International Organization for Migration, in the ultimate service of international humanitarian work,” the ambassador added.

Director General Swing called Kuwait “a reliable source of support” for many years and observed that the emirate is IOM’s oldest collaborator among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

In February this year, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, launched a USD 96.2 million appeal to support Yemenis and migrants impacted by the three-year old conflict.

The appeal comes under the USD 2.96 billion Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) which covers the entire humanitarian community.

Due to a protracted economic crisis, intermittent conflict, and weak rule of law, Yemen was already facing chronic vulnerabilities even prior to the escalation of conflict on 25 March 2015. This has led to a system-wide failure in the health and education sector, as well as a shutdown of governmental services and mass unemployment. Some 22.2 million Yemenis – more than 2 out of 3 people – will need humanitarian aid in 2018, with half of the population living in areas directly affected by conflict.

“Three years of conflict have inflicted suffering on millions, affecting every Yemeni – man, woman or child,” said DG Swing.  “With armed conflict ongoing, a stalled peace process and an economic blockade, Yemen is in the grips of a devastating protracted humanitarian and developmental crisis,” he added.

The conflict has also displaced some two million Yemenis within their own country, according to the Task Force on Population Movement. Nearly 90 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been displaced for one year or more, including 69 per cent who have been displaced for over two years. The protracted nature of the displacement is straining IDPs’ and host communities’ ability to cope.

A further one million IDPs have returned to their area of origin but are in dire need of aid. Their homes have been severely damaged by the fighting and urgently require rehabilitation assistance.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329; Email: smalme@iom.int, or Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

Note to Correspondents – Remarks to the press by Martin Griffiths, the Special Envoy of the Secretary- General for Yemen, at the end of his 3-day visit to Sana’a

Sana’a International Airport, 4 July 2018

I would like to thank my hosts in Sana’a for their warm reception over the last two days and during this critical time for Yemen. During this visit, I have held meetings with the leaders and representatives of Ansar Allah and the General People’s Congress. 

I am reassured by the messages I have received, which have been positive and constructive. All parties have not only underscored their strong desire for peace, but have also engaged with me on concrete ideas for achieving peace. In this regard, I am especially thankful to Abdel Malek al-Houthi whom I met yesterday for his support and the fruitful discussion we held. 

On Thursday 5th of July, I will brief the Security Council on the outcomes of my discussions in Sana’a and Aden. My talks with the parties will continue in the coming days. I hope to see very soon President Abed Rabboh Mansour Hadi. As you know, I had a meeting with him last week, a very positive meeting as usual, We’re glad that he has also underscored his desire for rapid progress towards a peaceful settlement 

Finally I look forward to work with all the parties urgently to find a solution first that will restore security and stability in Hudayda but also create positive conditions for a rapidand urgent restart of political negotiations in the coming days. 

Thank you very much.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — OPENING REMARKS AT UNITED NATIONS HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

New York, 28 June 2018

I am pleased to welcome you all to the first ever global High-level Conference of heads of counter-terrorism agencies of the Member States of the United Nations.

Terrorism and violent extremism undermine international peace and security.

They divide communities, exacerbate conflicts, and destabilize entire regions.

They hamper our efforts to promote and protect human rights and are an obstacle to sustainable development.

This complex global challenge has reached unprecedented levels.

It affects every country here today.

When I conceived this conference, my goal was clear – to improve international cooperation and information sharing, and to build new partnerships that can find practical solutions.

Today, the frontline against terrorism is increasingly in cyberspace.

Terrorists are exploiting social media, encrypted communications and the dark web to spread propaganda, recruit new followers and coordinate attacks.

The military defeat of ISIL in Iraq and Syria last year means foreign terrorist fighters are on the move, returning home or relocating to other theatres of conflict.

While some may be disenchanted and ready to renounce violence, others remain determined, passing on expertise from the battlefield, recruiting new followers and carrying out attacks.

Homegrown terrorists are also testing the capacities of domestic security and intelligence agencies.

There has been a shift towards less sophisticated attacks against softer targets that are more difficult to detect and prevent.

So, as the threat from terrorism continues to evolve, we must adapt and learn lessons from what works and what does not.

Our response needs to be as agile and multifaceted as the threat.

The United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy and related resolutions provide a comprehensive framework.

The review of the Strategy this month, under the auspices of the President of the General Assembly and the Permanent Representatives of Finland and Jordan, has given us an opportunity to consider where we need to refocus our efforts.

The top priority is that we must work together.

The transnational nature of terrorism means we need multilateral cooperation.

We must strengthen the capacities of our counter-terrorism structures and institutions.

And we must complement our counter-terrorism efforts in the security realm with concerted efforts to identify and address the root causes.

We must build the resilience and cohesion of our societies.

Communities and the State need to be joined with the common purpose of rejecting terrorist ideologies and challenging those who espouse them.

This means governments adopting a comprehensive and inclusive approach, involving all parts of society.

It means starting at the grassroots, where families and local communities are at the front line of efforts to protect vulnerable people from succumbing to pernicious ideologies.

It means increasing our support to civil society organizations, who make a unique and invaluable contribution to tackling terrorism and preventing violent extremism.

I am pleased that many of them will join us tomorrow.

And it means engaging women and young people so that they can play meaningful roles in developing, monitoring and implementing counter-terrorism policies and programmes.

These, ladies and gentlemen, are the reasons we are here.

I see six goals for this Conference.

First: to strengthen the international counter-terrorism cooperation.

The international community has come a long way since the adoption of the United Nations Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy 12 years ago.

We have an international framework to address terrorism defined by the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, Security Council and General Assembly resolutions, 19 globalconventions and protocols and many regional instruments.

But this framework is not enough.

Implementation needs to be prioritized and backed up by strong political will and resources.

It is time for a new era of information sharing to build on the good work being done in different regions of the world by a range of partners.

There are many recent examples of terrorist plots that have been foiled through the sharing of information between different security services.

I know there are already many coalitions and networks to share critical information to detect, identify, disrupt and prosecute terrorists.

But there is much more that can be done to expand these networks and ensure information is shared in a lawful, consistent, timely and secure way, especially in the regions most challenged by terrorism.

Second goal: I hope the conference leads to a renewed and sustained focus on preventing terrorism.

Over the past several years, the international community has mostly been focused on countering terrorism and responding to attacks.

Principled military and law enforcement measures are indispensable if we are to be effective in protecting the lives of citizens.

But terrorism will not be defeated by military means alone.

We need to combine both “counter” and “prevent”.

This means focusing our efforts on the underlying conditions that cause some people to be lured by terrorism.

No one is born a terrorist, but we know that factors such as prolonged unresolved conflicts, lack of the rule of law, human rights abuses, poverty, lack of opportunitiesand socioeconomic marginalization can all play a part in transforming ideas and grievances into acts of terrorism.

So, preventing and resolving conflicts and promoting the rule of law and social and economic progress are our first lines of defence.

Third goal: I hope this conference underlines the fundamental importance of fully respecting human rights while tackling terrorism.

Terrorism is fundamentally the denial and destruction of human rights.

Terrorist groups share an agenda of authoritarianism, misogyny and intolerance.

Their actions and beliefs are an affront to the values of the United Nations.

The fight against terrorism must uphold those values, or it will never succeed.

Fourth goal: the conference should underline the need to make a strategic investment in young people to counter terrorism and prevent violent extremism.

Youth are our hope and our future.

We need to harness the positive energy of young people by increased investment in education and employment opportunities.

We also need to empower them by giving them the tools they need to combat oppressive extremist narratives, xenophobia and hate speech.

And our counter-terrorism measures must also reflect their views and concerns.

But it is a sad fact that most new recruits to terrorist organizations are between 17 and 27 years old.

Terrorist groups exploit the tendency in young men and women to look for a sense of purpose that feels unique and distinct from the social norm.

While the vast majority of young people present no risk, some are drawn to terrorism because of a lack of hope or feelings of economic or cultural marginalization.

Terrorist recruiters exploit these grievances. That is why we must intensify our efforts to address them.

Fifth goal: let this conference shine a light on the tragic human cost of terrorism.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed, wounded or traumatized by terrorism.

I welcome the decision to hold the first annual International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the victims of terrorism on August 21.

We have an obligation to uphold the rights of victims, to seek justice and ensure they have a voice.

And we must offer practical, emotional and psychological support to the survivors of terrorism so that they can rebuild their lives.

These include the children of foreign terrorist fighters, who will have to live with this stigma as they grow up.

Sixth goal: I hope this conference will strengthen the role of the United Nations in assisting you to tackle terrorism.

The United Nations has a unique international convening role.

We can help find multilateral solutions to complex global problems.

And we can help to deliver principled, effective and coordinated counter-terrorism strategies through our capacity building support to Member States and through mobilizing much-needed resources.

Terrorism is a grave and complex threat.

Ending it demands that we work together flexibly, intelligently and openly.

I look forward to hearing the results of your deliberations. I thank you very much.

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict Report

New York, 27 June 2018

The United Nations has verified more 21,000 violations committed against children in 2017. The United Nations has reliable reports of more than 10,000 children killed or maimed in armed conflict last year. The Secretary-General is outraged at this number, a significant increase compared to previous years and documented in his Annual Report on Children and Armed Conflict published today. Children are also affected by other verified violations, including the recruitment and use of children by armed forces and armed groups, sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals.

Boys and girls have once again been overly impacted by protracted and new violent crisis. Despite some progress, the level of violations remains unacceptable.

The Secretary-General reiterates that the best way to address this horrific situation is to promote peaceful solutions to conflicts. He calls on all parties to exert maximum efforts in this regard.

The Secretary-General reminds parties to conflict of their responsibility to protect children, in line with international humanitarian and human rights laws. He calls on all parties to conflict to engage with the United Nations to develop concrete measures to end and prevent grave violations against children and to provide support and relief to affected children.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

Children Faced with Unspeakable Violence in Conflict as Number of Grave Violations Increased in 2017

Annual Report of the Secretary-General on Children and Armed Conflict (CAAC)

New York, 27 June 2018 – The number of children affected by armed conflict and the severity of grave violations affecting them increased in the past year, concludes the annual report of the Secretary-General on children and armed conflict released today.

“The report details the unspeakable violence children have been faced with, and shows how in too many conflict situations, parties to conflict have an utter disregard for any measures that could contribute to shielding the most vulnerable from the impact of war,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Ms. Virginia Gamba, declared.

Over 21,000 grave violations of children’s rights have been verified by the United Nations from January to December 2017, an unacceptable increase from previous years (15,500 in 2016).

The crises unfolding in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen brought about serious increases in verified grave violations. In Syria, children have suffered the highest number of verified violations ever recorded in the country. In the Democratic Republic of the Congo, crises in the Kasais led to an eightfold increase of attacks on schools and hospitals (515). In a despicable trend, almost half of the 881 verified child casualties in Nigeria resulted from suicide attacks, including the use of children as human bombs.

Over 10,000 children were killed or maimed in 2017 with numbers growing substantially in Iraq and Myanmar, while remaining unacceptably high in Afghanistan and Syria.

“When your own house or your school can be attacked without qualms, when traditional safe-havens become targets, how can boys and girls escape the brutality of war?” SRSG Gamba asked. “This shows a blatant disregard for international law by parties to conflict, making civilians, especially children, increasingly vulnerable to violence, use and abuse,” she added.

Protracted and New Crises Heavily Impacted Children

In South Sudan, violence against children continued unabated with 1,221 children verified recruited and used. Rape and other forms of sexual violence against children remained disturbingly high with over 900 verified cases against boys and girls

The number of children detained for their alleged association with armed groups remained extremely worrisome. For instance, in Iraq, at least 1,036 children were held in juvenile detention facilities on national security-related charges, mostly for their alleged association with ISIL. In Nigeria, over 1,900 children were deprived of liberty because of their or their parents’ alleged association with Boko Haram.

In his report, the Secretary-General reminded the authorities that children formerly associated with armed groups should be treated primarily as victims and detention only used as a last resort.

Large scale abductions of children remained another worrying trend. In Somalia, Al-Shabab abducted over 1,600 children, many of which were also victims of recruitment and use or sexual violence. Massive cross-border recruitment by actors such as ISIL and Boko Haram was also documented as a continuous trend requiring concerted regional efforts.

Another disturbing trend was the denial of humanitarian access used as a tactic of war. Children in Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen were prevented from receiving life-saving support. In Syria, 400,000 persons, including children, trapped in besieged areas such as Ghutah and Rural Damascus, faced deteriorating living conditions.

The number of unaccompanied children fleeing wars and violence also underlines the importance of a coordinated international response, including with regional and sub-regional actors, to multiply child-protection efforts and address the cross-border dimension of grave violations. Continuing cross-border recruitment and use by actors such as ISIL and Boko Haram was also documented as a continuous trend requiring concerted regional efforts.

“I’m committed to working with parties to conflict and UN partners to develop strong prevention mechanisms. Efforts and resources should be directed toward this end to ensure that in the future, children will be better protected from grave violations,” SRSG Gamba said.

Increased Engagement with Parties to Conflict & Progress

Over 10,000 children were formally released from armed groups and forces to commence their reintegration process.

In Sudan, the Government Forces have been delisted for the recruitment and use of children following the completion of their Action Plan with the UN. In Colombia, as part of the peace process, the FARC-EP put in place measures to release children and prevent their recruitment and has been delisted. The signature of a new Action plan with the Civilian Joint Task Force (CJTF) in Nigeria (September 2017) and with theMouvement Patriotique pour la Centrafrique (MPC) in CAR (June 2018) is bringing the groups closer to stopping and preventing grave violations against children. Several armed groups, including in Myanmar and CAR, have also expressed their readiness to sign Action Plans with the UN.

“Enhanced engagement between my office and parties to conflict is more likely to bear fruit when coordinated supporting action is also available. In this regard, we have seen the country visits of the Security Council Working Group to conflict situations and the active support of CAAC Groups of Friends as key enablers for our work,” SRSG Gamba concluded.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL–“UNITING THE WORLD AGAINST TERRORISM”: OP-ED ON THE UNITED NATIONS HIGH-LEVEL CONFERENCE ON COUNTER-TERRORISM

June 2018

Terrorism is a persistent and evolving global menace.  No country is immune.  Social media, encrypted communications and the dark web are being used to spread propaganda, radicalize new recruits and plan atrocities.  The threat ranges from the crude tactics of lone actors to sophisticated coordinated attacks and the horrific prospect of terrorists using chemical, biological or radioactive weapons.  

Our response needs to be equally agile and multifaceted.  That is why I am convening the first-ever United Nations High-level Conference on Counter-Terrorism this week in New York.  Heads of national counter-terrorism agencies and representatives from international institutions and civil society will discuss how to improve international cooperation and build new partnerships.  

The conference will focus on four key areas.  First, it will consider how governments, security agencies and law enforcement bodies can improve the exchange of critical information and strategies to detect, disrupt and prosecute terrorist networks.  Second, the conference will discuss how the United Nations can do more to assist countries around the world affected by terrorism.  

Third, it will address the threat posed by foreign terrorist fighters.  With the military defeat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, large numbers of these ideologically-driven mercenaries are relocating to other theatres of conflict or returning home, passing on their battlefield expertise, recruiting new followers and planning further attacks.  

Fourth, I intend the conference to focus on how we can prevent terrorism and violent extremism.  Improved security will never be enough.  We need to address the underlying conditions that make people susceptible to toxic ideologies.  

Terrorism is a transnational threat that cannot be defeated by any single government or organization.  It needs a concerted multilateral response at global, regional and national levels.  It is essential to strengthen counter-terrorism structures and institutions.  But we must also address root causes by promoting education, tackling youth unemployment and addressing marginalization.  That means engaging with local communities, religious organizations and the media.  Civil society is central to the conference and our broader counter-terrorism strategies.  

Clearly, the response to terrorism and violent extremism must respect human rights and comply with international law.  That is not just a question of justice, but of effectiveness.  When counter-terrorist policies are used to suppress peaceful protests and legitimate opposition movements, shut down debate, target human rights defenders or stigmatize minorities, they fail and we all lose.  Indeed, such responses may cause further resentment and instability, and contribute to radicalization.  

No cause or grievance can justify terrorism.  But we will only diminish the threat by ending the conflicts, human rights abuses, poverty and exclusion that drive so many to violent extremism.  Most new recruits to terrorism are between 17 and 27 years old.  We must offer them better prospects, economically and socially.  And we must reverse the polarization, xenophobia and hate speech that are proliferating around the world.  

Let us also remember the tens of thousands of people killed, wounded and traumatized by terrorism.  Survivors need our support in seeking justice and rebuilding their lives, both financially and psychologically.  We must also listen to them and learn from their experiences.  

Finally, terrorism and violent extremism have a profound gender dimension.  Terrorists continue to violate the rights of women and girls through sexual violence, abduction, forced marriages and preventing free movement and access to education.  Involvement in domestic abuse is a common thread among many perpetrators.  That is why we must urgently prioritize the rights, participation and leadership of women.

The international community has come a long way in its efforts to counter terrorism.  There is a clear international framework that makes it easier to prosecute terrorists, disrupt their financial networks and prevent online radicalization.  But there is much still to be done.  

Terrorist groups share an agenda of authoritarianism, misogyny and intolerance.  They are an affront to the common values encapsulated in the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.  Our responsibility is to unite to build a world of peace and security, dignity and opportunity for all people, everywhere, so we can deprive the violent extremists of the fuel they need to spread their hateful ideologies.

Note to Correspondents: Statement by the Special Envoy of the Secretary-General for Yemen

Amman, 21 June 2018 

I will continue my consultations with all parties to avoid further military escalation in Hudaydah, which I fear would have severe political and humanitarian consequences.

My priority now is to avoid a military confrontation in Hudaydah and to swiftly return to political negotiations.

I am encouraged by the constructive engagement of the Ansar Allah leadership in Sana’a and I look forward to my upcoming meetings with President Hadi and the Government of Yemen. I am confident that we can reach an agreement to avert any escalation of violence in Hudaydah.

While in Sana’a, I also briefed the Security Council on 18 June and announced my intention to relaunch political negotiations in the coming weeks.

I reiterate the commitment of the United Nations to reach a negotiated political settlement to end the conflict in Yemen. I welcome the commitment and willingness of the parties to engage in a UN facilitated intra-Yemeni political process.

MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY FOR THE ELIMINATION OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE IN CONFLICT “The Plight and Rights of Children Born of War”

19 June 2018

Sexual violence in conflict is a threat to our collective security and a stain on our common humanity.

Its effects can echo across generations, through trauma, stigma, poverty, poor health and unwanted pregnancy. Children conceived through wartime rape often struggle with issues of identity and belonging for decades after the guns have fallen silent.

They may be left in a legal limbo, or at risk of becoming stateless. They are vulnerable to recruitment, trafficking and exploitation, with broad implications for peace and security, as well as human rights.

Their mothers may be marginalized and shunned by their own families and communities. These women and children are sometimes seen as affiliates of armed and violent extremist groups, rather than as victims and survivors.

On the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict, we amplify the voices of these forgotten victims of war, who suffer stigma, shame and exclusion in societies polarized by armed conflict.

The United Nations stands ready to work with governments, civil society, traditional and religious leaders, and all partners to support children born of rape in wartimeand their mothers, and those working on the frontlines to support them.

Let us reaffirm our global commitment to eliminate the scourge of conflict-related sexual violence and to provide justice, services and support to all those affected.

Note to Correspondents: Statement by Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, on the situation in Hudaydah, Yemen

New York, 14 June 2018

The United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, Adama Dieng, expressed grave concern at the potentially disastrous impact on civilians of the militaryoffensive against the port of Hudaydah, launched on 13 June by pro-government forces backed by Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates (UAE), against Houthi fighters who have been holding the port.

Yemen is currently considered to be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis, with 10.4 million people at risk of famine and Hudaydah is the entry point for seventy per cent of humanitarian aid. In addition to the destruction that the offensive is likely to cause – and the risk to the estimated 600,000 civilians who live in and around the port – closing the port for any length of time could have a disastrous impact on the ability of humanitarian agencies to deliver assistance to a population that desperately needs it.

“Starvation of civilians as a method of war is a war crime and was condemned by the Security Council in resolution 2417 of 24 May 2018. It seems that the first test of this resolution is Yemen: the Yemeni port of Hudaydah is a lifeline for the delivery of aid and the Coalition’s air strikes can kill many more people over time through famine and hunger when damaging such civilian infrastructure.”

Special Adviser Dieng fully supports the call by the Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Yemen, Martin Griffiths, for all parties to the conflict to exercise restraint and to find a political solution to the conflict, stressing that there can be no military solution.

He called on the parties to uphold their obligations under international law in the conduct of hostilities, in particular the principles of distinction, proportionality, and precaution. “Attacks that are indiscriminate or directly target civilians or civilian objects may constitute war crimes. All the parties to the conflict, as well as the international community, have a responsibility to protect populations from atrocity crimes in Yemen.”

The Special Adviser called for accountability for alleged violations of international humanitarian and human rights law committed during the conflict in Yemen.

New York, 14 June 201

Note to Correspondents: Statement by Martin Griffiths, Special Envoy for Yemen on the situation in Hudaydah

13 June 2018

I am extremely concerned about the military developments in Hudaydah. Further military escalation will have serious consequences on the dire humanitarian situation in the country and will have an impact on my efforts to resume political negotiations to reach an inclusive political settlement to the conflict in Yemen. I cannot overemphasize that there is no military solution to the conflict.

We continue to use every opportunity to avoid military confrontation in Hudaydah. We are in constant contact with all the parties involved to negotiate arrangements for Hudaydah that would address political, humanitarian, security concerns of all concerned parties.

I call on the parties to engage constructively with our efforts to spare Hudaydah any military confrontation. I also call on the parties to exercise restraint and to give peace a chance.

The United Nations is determined to move ahead with the political process despite the recent developments. I reiterate the strong commitment of the United Nations to reaching a political solution to end the conflict in Yemen.