أكثر وظيفة مستحيلة في العالم: ما هو دور الأمين العام للأمم المتحدة؟

2017/9/12
أكثر وظيفة مستحيلة في العالم، هكذا وصف تريغف لي أول أمين عام للأمم المتحدة المنصب لخلفه داغ هامرشولد.

منذ إنشاء الأمم المتحدة عام 1945، تولى المنصب 9 أمناء عامين من مختلف الدول والثقافات.

يرأس الأمين العام أمانة الأمم المتحدة، التي تتشكل من الموظفين العاملين في المنظمة الدولية.

للأمين العام الحق في طرح أية قضية تهدد السلم والأمن على مجلس الأمن الدولي.

دبلوماسي، مدافع، موظف في الخدمة المدنية الدولية، يقوم الأمين العام بدور متنوع. وهو رمز لأفكار الأمم المتحدة، ومسؤول أمام جميع الدول الأعضاء ومتحدث باسم مصالح جميع شعوب العالم، وخاصة الفقراء والضعفاء.

مع بدء فترة ولايته التي تمتد لخمس سنوات، في يناير/كانون الثاني 2017، تعهد الأمين العام غوتيريش بالعمل من أجل السلام والتنمية وإصلاح الأمم المتحدة.

“واجبنا تجاه شعوب العالم التي نخدمها يحتم العمل معا للانتقال من الخوف إلى الثقة في بعضنا البعض. الثقة في القيم التي تجمعنا معا، والثقة في المؤسسات التي تخدمنا وتحمينا. مساهمتي للأمم المتحدة ستهدف إلى الإلهام بهذه الثقة فيما أبذل أقصى جهدي من أجل إنسانيتنا المشتركة.”

UNICEF: Decades of progress for children at risk across Middle East and North Africa

On 30 May 2017 at the Al Sab’een Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, a doctor checks on a girl suffering from cholera.
At the Al Sab’een Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen, a doctor checks on a girl suffering from cholera. Photo: UNICEF/UN066510/Fuad

11 September 2017

Nearly one-in-five children across the Middle East and North Africa – over 90 per cent of whom live in conflict-affected countries – need immediate humanitarian assistance, according to new analysis by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

“Conflict continues to rob millions of girls and boys of their childhood,” said Geert Cappelaere, UNICEF Regional Director, in a press statement.

“Decades of progress are at risk of being reversed across the Middle East and North Africa,” he added.

UNICEF pointed out that children have been hit hardest by ongoing years of violence, displacement and lack of basic services. Civilian infrastructure, including hospitals, energy, water, sanitation and hygiene installations have often come under attack, exposing children to the risk of death and diseases.

Moreover, millions of families have been forced to flee their homes – some multiple times and under fire. Continued violence and displacement have increasingly made it difficult for children and families to cope.

“With no end in sight to these conflicts and with families’ dwindling financial resources, many have no choice but to send their children to work or marry their daughters early. The number of children affiliated with the fighting has more than doubled,” continued the UNICEF Director.

According to the latest analysis, inside Syria and in refugee-hosting countries, almost 12 million Syrian children require humanitarian assistance – up from half a million in 2012.

Additionally, an estimated two million children who live in hard-to-reach or besieged areas in Syria have received limited humanitarian assistance over the years.

Turning to Yemen, the fighting has destroyed water and sanitation systems – sparking the world’s worst cholera and acute diarrhoea outbreak, with over 610,000 suspected cases to date.

More than half of Yemen’s health facilities are out of service and water systems have been destroyed, cutting off almost 15 million people from safe water and access to basic healthcare.

Across Iraq, more than 5 million children are in need of assistance as heavy fighting intensified, including in Mosul and recently in Tal Afar. They need water, food, shelter and education.

As for the Gaza Strip, an ongoing electricity crisis has reduced access to water by 30 per cent while diarrhoea cases among young children have doubled in just three months.

“Children in the Middle East and North Africa region have undergone unprecedented levels of violence and witnessed horrors that no one should witness. If violence and wars continue, the consequences – not only for the region but for the world as a whole – will be dire,” underscored Mr. Cappelaere.

“World leaders must do much more to put an end to violence for the sake of boys and girls and their future,” he concluded.

زيد: الوضع في اليمن سيخلف تداعيات هائلة وطويلة الأمد على المنطقة

زيد رعد الحسين المفوض السامي لحقوق الإنسان. صور الأمم المتحدة/Pierre Albouy

2017/9/11

حث زيد رعد الحسين مفوض الأمم المتحدة السامي لحقوق الإنسان على تشكيل جهة تحقيق دولية مستقلة لإجراء تحقيق شامل في انتهاكات القانون الإنساني الدولي وحقوق الإنسان المرتكبة في اليمن.

وفي استعراضه للأوضاع في مختلف أنحاء العالم، قال زيد أمام مجلس حقوق الإنسان:

“معاناة الشعب اليمني يفاقمها الآن التفشي الجسيم لمرض الكوليرا، الذي يعد نتيجة مباشرة للهجمات العشوائية من أطراف الصراع على المراكز الطبية وغيرها من الأماكن التي يجب أن تتمتع بالحماية، بالإضافة إلى الحصار والإغلاق والقيود على الحركة. مازلنا نتلقى عددا هائلا من التقارير عن حدوث احتجاز تعسفي وغير قانوني وحالات اختفاء قسري وتعذيب وإساءة معاملة من جانبي الصراع.”

 

وقال زيد إن المنطقة ستواجه تداعيات هائلة وطويلة الأمد للدمار في اليمن ومعاناة شعبها الرهيبة.

وناشد أطراف الصراع التوصل إلى حل تفاوضي دائم، والامتثال لالتزاماتها وفق القانون الدولي بما في ذلك تيسير وصول المساعدات الإنسانية.

سوريا

الصورة: مكتب تسيق الشؤون الإنسانية – سوريا

وفي الاستعراض الذي يأتي في السنة الأخيرة من ولايته، قال زيد رعد الحسين إن الصراع في سوريا أعاد تعريف كلمة “رعب”.

وذكر أن استمرار هذا الكابوس سيلقي بظلاله على هذا الجيل من قادة العالم. وأضاف أن جميع أطراف الصراع مازالت تقوم بأعمال لها آثار خطيرة على المدنيين.

العراق

الصورة: مكتب تنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية في العراق

وتحول زيد إلى الوضع في العراق، وقال إن هزيمة داعش في الموصل وتلعفر أدت إلى إطلاق سراح مئات آلاف المدنيين من الحكم الوحشي لهذه الجماعة المسلحة.

وحث السلطات على معالجة المظالم طويلة الأمد لجميع الجماعات العرقية والدينية من أجل تعزيز المصالحة والاستقرار. وأكد ضرورة أن تكون النساء جزءا متكاملا من هذه العملية لضمان العدالة والمساءلة عن الانتهاكات السابقة.

الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة

الصورة: مكتب تنسيق الشؤون الإنسانية في فلسطين

وأعرب زيد عن القلق بشأن استمرار العنف في الأرض الفلسطينية المحتلة، مشيرا إلى مقتل تسعة إسرائيليين و46 فلسطينيا في الفترة بين الأول من يناير حتى الثامن والعشرين من أغسطس.

وأبدى القلق كذلك إزاء حوادث استخدام القوة المفرطة وأشكال العنف الجماعي والاحتجاز التعسفي. وقال إن المساءلة عن الانتهاكات أمر نادر.

وذكـّر زيد السلطات بأن غياب المساءلة يقوض الثقة في نظام العدالة ويفاقم دائرة العنف.

مصر

وعن مصر، قال زيد رعد الحسين إن حالة الطوارئ التي أعلنت في أبريل 2017 استخدمت لتبرير الإسكات المنهجي للمجتمع المدني بذريعة محاربة الإرهاب. وذكر أن مكتبه تلقى تقارير عن تطبيق تدابير قمعية بما في ذلك زيادة موجات الاعتقال والاحتجاز التعسفي والوضع على القوائم السوداء والمنع من السفر وتجميد الأرصدة والتخويف وغير ذلك من الأعمال الانتقامية ضد المدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان والصحفيين والمعارضين السياسيين وأي فرد يرتبط بجماعة الإخوان المسلمين.

وقال إن الحكومة حجبت مئات المواقع الإلكترونية ووسائل الإعلام، بما فيها التابعة للإعلام المصري والمنظمات غير الحكومية الدولية.

 

وأشاد زيد بالمدافعين عن حقوق الإنسان والنشطاء الذين يواصلون، بإيثار، دعم حقوق الشعب المصري. وحث الحكومة على تغيير مسارها وعلى فتح المجال الديمقراطي للسماح للنشطاء بالمساهمة بحرية في تطوير مجتمع مزدهر ومنفتح.

اليونيسف: واحد من كل خمسة أطفال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا يحتاج إلى مساعدات إنسانية

2017/9/11

أفادت منظمة الأمم المتحدة للطفولة – اليونيسف، بأن واحدا من كل خمسة أطفال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا يحتاج إلى مساعدات إنسانية فورية. ويعيش أكثر من 90 في المائة من هؤلاء الأطفال في بلدان متأثرة بالنزاع. 

وفي حوار مع موقع أخبار الأمم المتحدة، أكدت، لينا الكرد، المتحدثة باسم اليونيسف في عمان، أن سنوات الصراع المتتالية أنهكت كاهل الأسر والأطفال بشكل خاص.

وأوضحت قائلة:

“هنالك واحد من كل خمسة أطفال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا بحاجة إلى المساعدات الإنسانية الفورية، وذلك بحسب التحليل الذي أجرته اليونيسف. وقد اعتمدت اليونيسف في هذا التحليل على البيانات المتعلقة بالوضع الإنساني للأطفال الذين هم بحاجة للمساعدات في عدة بلدان من دول المنطقة المتأثرة بالنزاعات، مثل سوريا واليمن والعراق، بالإضافة لقطاع غزة.”

الصورة: اليونيسف - غزة

وبحسب بيان اليونيسف، تضرر الأطفال أكثر من غيرهم بسبب سنوات متتالية من العنف والتشريد وانعدام الخدمات الأساسية. وكثيرا ما تتعرض الهياكل الأساسية المدنية، بما فيها المستشفيات ومرافق الطاقة والمياه والصرف الصحي والنظافة الصحية، للهجوم. مما يعرض الأطفال لخطر الموت والأمراض.

وأشار المدير الإقليمي لليونيسف، خيرت كابيلاري، إلى أنه “في ظل عدم وجود حل قريب لهذه الصراعات وتناقص موارد الأسر المالية، لم يبق أمام الكثيرين خيار سوى إرسال أطفالهم للعمل أو تزويج بناتهم في وقت مبكر”.

وقال إن الأطفال في منطقة الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا شهدوا مستويات من العنف لم يسبق لها مثيل وشهدوا فظائع لا ينبغي لأحد أن يشهدها، قائلا إنه إذا استمر العنف والحروب، فإن العواقب – ليس فقط بالنسبة للمنطقة ولكن بالنسبة للعالم ككل- ستكون سيئة، داعيا قادة العالم إلى “بذل مزيد من الجهود لوضع حد للعنف لأجل هؤلاء الفتيان والفتيات ولأجل مستقبلهم”.

Yemen: An “entirely man-made catastrophe” – UN human rights report urges international investigation

GENEVA (5 September 2017)

Human rights violations and abuses continue unabated in Yemen, along with unrelenting violations of international humanitarian law, with civilians suffering deeply the consequences of an “entirely man-made catastrophe”, according to a UN human rights report published on Tuesday.

The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, records violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law over three years, since September 2014. Between March 2015, when the UN Human Rights Office began reporting on civilian casualties, and 30 August, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured.* Children accounted for 1,184 of those who were killed and 1,592 of those injured. Coalition airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of child casualties as well as overall civilian casualties. Some 3, 233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces.

In addition to markets, hospitals, schools, residential areas, and other public and private infrastructure, the past year witnessed airstrikes against funeral gatherings and small civilian boats. Such incidents were widespread, the report states.

The Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis and the army units loyal to former President Abdullah Saleh (the Houthi/Saleh forces) were responsible for some 67 per cent of the 1,702 cases of recruitment of children for use in hostilities. UN Human Rights monitors frequently observed children as young as 10 who were armed and uniformed, manning checkpoints. Houthi/Saleh forces were also found to be responsible for widespread arbitrary or unlawful detentions.

The report found that the governorates most affected by the conflict were Aden, Al-Hudaydah, Sana’a and Taizz. The humanitarian crisis – with nearly 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 7.3 million on the brink of famine – is a direct result of the behaviour of parties to the conflict, including indiscriminate attacks, attacks against civilians and protected objects, sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement, the report states.

“In many cases, information obtained…suggested that civilians may have been directly targeted, or that operations were conducted heedless of their impact on civilians without regard to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. In some cases, information suggested that no actions were taken to mitigate the impact of operations on civilians,” the report states.

“The shelling of Taizz has been unrelenting, even after the impact of these attacks on civilians and civilian objects became apparent to the parties involved. The use of such tactics appears to be in violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and of the obligation to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects.”

The report adds that the use of restricted weapons continues. It stresses that “the minimal efforts towards accountability in the past year are wholly insufficient to respond to the gravity of violations and abuses continuing every day in Yemen.”

The National Commission established to investigate human rights violations in Yemen is not perceived to be impartial, the report notes. In the absence of its recognition by all parties to the conflict, the Commission cannot deliver comprehensive, impartial reporting on the human rights situation in Yemen.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said it was crucial for an independent, international investigation to be established on the conflict in Yemen.

“I have repeatedly called on the international community to take action – to set up an independent, international investigation into the allegations of very serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen. An international investigation would go a long way in putting on notice the parties to the conflict that the international community is watching and determined to hold to account perpetrators of violations and abuses,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

“The reticence of the international community in demanding justice for the victims of the conflict in Yemen is shameful, and in many ways contributing to the continuing horror.”

“I appeal to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen, and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian relief for civilians and justice for the victims of violations,” Zeid added.”

Other armed actors have continued to take advantage of the prevailing insecurity in Yemen. Over the past year, extremist groups have sustained and adapted their presences. For example, after being driven out of Al Mukalla in Hadramaut governorate in April 2016, Al Qaida is now operational in Taizz city.

The report raises fears of a full-scale operation on Al Hudaydah, which could lead to significant civilian casualties and increased displacement, as well as further limiting access to goods essential to the survival of the population that are supplied to most of the country through the port of Al Hudaydah. “Sieges and blockades imposed by the warring parties have had a devastating impact on civilians, preventing them from leaving areas affected by conflict to safety and, when they remain, preventing them from accessing goods necessary for survival,” the report states.

“I call on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and to work robustly towards a negotiated and durable solution, so that the people of Yemen may finally know peace,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

ENDS

* These figures have been updated beyond the time period covered by the report. The figures are a conservative estimate, given the strict verification methodology applied by the UN Human Rights Office, as well as access constraints to many areas of the country.

The full report, with graphics and photographs, can be downloaded on:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/YemenReport2017.aspx (will be active at 10h00 on 5 September).

Video interviews on the report are available here:
English: https://owncloud.unog.ch/index.php/s/ODUzueUyS8sO0vC
Arabic: https://owncloud.unog.ch/index.php/s/fOXVPhP6RKpxQYF

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Rupert Colville – + 41 22 917 9767 7 rcolville@ohchr.org or Ravina Shamdasani + 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Liz Throssell – + 41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org 

Tag and share – Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

Yemen: An “entirely man-made catastrophe” – UN human rights report urges international investigation

GENEVA (5 September 2017)

Human rights violations and abuses continue unabated in Yemen, along with unrelenting violations of international humanitarian law, with civilians suffering deeply the consequences of an “entirely man-made catastrophe”, according to a UN human rights report published on Tuesday.

The report, mandated by the UN Human Rights Council, records violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law over three years, since September 2014. Between March 2015, when the UN Human Rights Office began reporting on civilian casualties, and 30 August, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured.* Children accounted for 1,184 of those who were killed and 1,592 of those injured. Coalition airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of child casualties as well as overall civilian casualties. Some 3, 233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces.

In addition to markets, hospitals, schools, residential areas, and other public and private infrastructure, the past year witnessed airstrikes against funeral gatherings and small civilian boats. Such incidents were widespread, the report states.

The Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis and the army units loyal to former President Abdullah Saleh (the Houthi/Saleh forces) were responsible for some 67 per cent of the 1,702 cases of recruitment of children for use in hostilities. UN Human Rights monitors frequently observed children as young as 10 who were armed and uniformed, manning checkpoints. Houthi/Saleh forces were also found to be responsible for widespread arbitrary or unlawful detentions.

The report found that the governorates most affected by the conflict were Aden, Al-Hudaydah, Sana’a and Taizz. The humanitarian crisis – with nearly 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 7.3 million on the brink of famine – is a direct result of the behaviour of parties to the conflict, including indiscriminate attacks, attacks against civilians and protected objects, sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement, the report states.

“In many cases, information obtained…suggested that civilians may have been directly targeted, or that operations were conducted heedless of their impact on civilians without regard to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. In some cases, information suggested that no actions were taken to mitigate the impact of operations on civilians,” the report states.

“The shelling of Taizz has been unrelenting, even after the impact of these attacks on civilians and civilian objects became apparent to the parties involved. The use of such tactics appears to be in violation of the prohibition of indiscriminate attacks and of the obligation to take all feasible precautions to protect civilians and civilian objects.”

The report adds that the use of restricted weapons continues. It stresses that “the minimal efforts towards accountability in the past year are wholly insufficient to respond to the gravity of violations and abuses continuing every day in Yemen.”

The National Commission established to investigate human rights violations in Yemen is not perceived to be impartial, the report notes. In the absence of its recognition by all parties to the conflict, the Commission cannot deliver comprehensive, impartial reporting on the human rights situation in Yemen.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said it was crucial for an independent, international investigation to be established on the conflict in Yemen.

“I have repeatedly called on the international community to take action – to set up an independent, international investigation into the allegations of very serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen. An international investigation would go a long way in putting on notice the parties to the conflict that the international community is watching and determined to hold to account perpetrators of violations and abuses,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

“The reticence of the international community in demanding justice for the victims of the conflict in Yemen is shameful, and in many ways contributing to the continuing horror.”

“I appeal to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen, and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian relief for civilians and justice for the victims of violations,” Zeid added.”

Other armed actors have continued to take advantage of the prevailing insecurity in Yemen. Over the past year, extremist groups have sustained and adapted their presences. For example, after being driven out of Al Mukalla in Hadramaut governorate in April 2016, Al Qaida is now operational in Taizz city.

The report raises fears of a full-scale operation on Al Hudaydah, which could lead to significant civilian casualties and increased displacement, as well as further limiting access to goods essential to the survival of the population that are supplied to most of the country through the port of Al Hudaydah. “Sieges and blockades imposed by the warring parties have had a devastating impact on civilians, preventing them from leaving areas affected by conflict to safety and, when they remain, preventing them from accessing goods necessary for survival,” the report states.

“I call on all parties to the conflict to cease hostilities and to work robustly towards a negotiated and durable solution, so that the people of Yemen may finally know peace,” High Commissioner Zeid said.

ENDS

* These figures have been updated beyond the time period covered by the report. The figures are a conservative estimate, given the strict verification methodology applied by the UN Human Rights Office, as well as access constraints to many areas of the country.

The full report, with graphics and photographs, can be downloaded on:http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Countries/MENARegion/Pages/YemenReport2017.aspx (will be active at 10h00 on 5 September).

Video interviews on the report are available here:
English: https://owncloud.unog.ch/index.php/s/ODUzueUyS8sO0vC
Arabic: https://owncloud.unog.ch/index.php/s/fOXVPhP6RKpxQYF

For more information and media requests, please contact:
Rupert Colville – + 41 22 917 9767 7 rcolville@ohchr.org or Ravina Shamdasani + 41 22 917 9169 / rshamdasani@ohchr.org or Liz Throssell – + 41 22 917 9466 / ethrossell@ohchr.org 

Tag and share – Twitter: @UNHumanRights and Facebook: unitednationshumanrights

تقرير يحث على إجراء تحقيق دولي في الكارثة التي صنعها البشر في اليمن

طفل يمني نازح يجلس على حطام منزل أسرته في مدينة صعدة. Photo: UNICEF/Dia Al-Adimi

2017/9/5

ذكر تقرير دولي حديث أن انتهاكات حقوق الإنسان مستمرة في اليمن بلا هوادة إلى جانب الانتهاكات الجسيمة للقانون الدولي الإنساني فيما يعاني المدنيون من عواقب “كارثة صنعها الإنسان بالكامل”.

ويسجل التقرير، الصادر عن مكتب الأمم المتحدة لحقوق الإنسان، الانتهاكات المرتكبة خلال ثلاثة أعوام منذ سبتمبر 2014.

أعداد الضحايا

وبين مارس/آذار عام 2015 والثلاثين من أغسطس/آب عام 2017 تم توثيق مقتل أكثر من 5100 مدني من بينهم نحو 1200 طفل، وإصابة 8700 شخص.

وقال التقرير، الصادر بتكليف من مجلس حقوق الإنسان، إن عمليات القصف الجوي التي تنفذها قوات التحالف مازالت هي السبب الرئيسي في وقوع ضحايا من الأطفال، ومن المدنيين بشكل عام.

ووفق التقرير فقد تسببت قوات التحالف في مقتل نحو 3233 مدنيا.

وبالإضافة إلى الأسواق والمستشفيات والمدارس والمناطق السكنية وغير ذلك من البنية الأساسية العامة والخاصة، شهد العام المنصرم وقوع قصف جوي على التجمعات في مجالس العزاء والقوارب المدنية الصغيرة.

وأفاد التقرير بانتشار وقوع هذه الحوادث.

تجنيد الأطفال

وكانت اللجان الشعبية التابعة للحوثيين ووحدات الجيش الموالية للرئيس السابق علي عبد الله صالح، مسؤولة عن نحو 67% من 1700 حالة تجنيد أطفال لاستخدامهم في الأعمال القتالية.

وشهد مراقبو حقوق الإنسان أطفالا تبلغ أعمار بعضهم 10 سنوات وهم مسلحون ويرتدون أزياء عسكرية، يحرسون نقاط التفتيش.

وقال التقرير الدولي إن قوات الحوثيين/صالح مسؤولة أيضا عن انتشار الاعتقالات التعسفية أو غير القانونية.

والمحافظات الأكثر تضررا من الصراع هي عدن والحديدة وصنعاء وتعز.

الأزمة الإنسانية

وأشار تقرير مكتب حقوق الإنسان إلى أن 18.8 مليون شخص في اليمن بحاجة إلى المساعدات فيما تهدد المجاعة 7.3 مليون شخص، وقال إن الأزمة الإنسانية نتيجة مباشرة لأعمال أطراف الصراع.

وفي كثير من الأحيان تشير المعلومات إلى استهداف المدنيين بشكل مباشر أو أن العمليات العسكرية تنفذ بدون اعتبار لآثارها على المدنيين أو الالتزام بمبادئ التمييز بين الأهداف، والتناسب، واتخاذ التدابير الاحترازية اللازمة.

تحقيق دولي مستقل

وشدد زيد رعد الحسين مفوض الأمم المتحدة السامي لحقوق الإنسان على أهمية إجراء تحقيق دولي مستقل حول الادعاءات بارتكاب انتهاكات جسيمة لحقوق الإنسان والقانون الإنساني الدولي في اليمن.

ودعا جميع أطراف الصراع ومن يدعمها ويتمتع بالنفوذ لديها، إلى أن يرحموا سكان اليمن ويتخذوا تدابير فورية لضمان وصول الإغاثة الإنسانية للمدنيين وكفالة العدالة لضحايا الانتهاكات.

 

ودعا كل الأطراف إلى وقف الأعمال القتالية، والعمل للتوصل إلى حل تفاوضي دائم.

Yemen: UN report urges probe into rights violations amid ‘entirely man-made catastrophe’

The city of Sa’ada in the Sa’ada Governorate has been heavily hit by airstrikes during the conflict in Yemen (file). Photo: OCHA/Philippe Kropf

5 September 2017

The United Nations human rights chief has called for an independent, international investigation into the allegations of serious violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in Yemen, in a new report published today.

“An international investigation would go a long way in putting on notice the parties to the conflict that the international community is watching and determined to hold to account perpetrators of violations and abuses,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein in a news release on the report.

“I appeal to all the parties to the conflict, those supporting them and those with influence over them to have mercy on the people of Yemen, and to take immediate measures to ensure humanitarian relief for civilians and justice for the victims of violations,” he added.

According to the report, which records violations and abuses of human rights and international humanitarian law since September 2014, such acts continue unabated in Yemen, with civilians suffering deeply the consequences of an “entirely man-made catastrophe.”

Between March 2015, when the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) began reporting on civilian casualties, and 30 August, at least 5,144 civilians have been documented as killed and more than 8,749 injured.

Children accounted for 1,184 of those who were killed and 1,592 of those injured. Coalition airstrikes continued to be the leading cause of child casualties as well as overall civilian casualties. Some 3,233 of the civilians killed were reportedly killed by Coalition forces.

The report states that the past year witnessed airstrikes against funeral gatherings and small civilian boats, in addition to markets, hospitals, schools, residential areas, and other public and private infrastructure.

The Popular Committees affiliated with the Houthis and the army units loyal to former President Abdullah Saleh (the Houthi/Saleh forces) were responsible for some 67 per cent of the 1,702 cases of recruitment of children for use in hostilities.

The report stresses that “the minimal efforts towards accountability in the past year are wholly insufficient to respond to the gravity of violations and abuses continuing every day in Yemen,” adding that the National Commission established to investigate human rights violations in Yemen is not perceived to be impartial.

The report also found that the governorates most affected by the conflict were Aden, Al-Hudaydah, Sana’a and Taizz.

The humanitarian crisis – with nearly 18.8 million people in need of humanitarian aid and 7.3 million on the brink of famine – is a direct result of the behaviour of parties to the conflict, including indiscriminate attacks, attacks against civilians and protected objects, sieges, blockades and restrictions on movement, the report states.

“In many cases, information obtained…suggested that civilians may have been directly targeted, or that operations were conducted heedless of their impact on civilians without regard to the principles of distinction, proportionality and precautions in attack. In some cases, information suggested that no actions were taken to mitigate the impact of operations on civilians,” the report states.

SPOKESMAN’S MORNING HEADLINES FOR THURSDAY, 24 AUGUST 2017

 TOPICS FOR URGENT ATTENTION

MYANMAR: Myanmar should respond to a crisis over its Muslim Rohingya community in a “calibrated” way without excessive force, a panel led by former U.N. chief Kofi Annan said on Thursday, adding that radicalization was a danger if problems were not addressed. (Reuters) Myanmar must scrap restrictions on movement and citizenship for its persecuted Muslim Rohingya minority if it wants to avoid fuelling extremism and bring peace to Rakhine state, a commission led by former UN chief Kofi Annan said on Thursday. Rights groups hailed the report as a milestone for the Rohingya because the government of Aung San Suu Kyi has previously vowed to abide by its findings. (Al Jazeera)

Approximately 87,000 Undocumented Myanmar Nationals have so far entered Bangladesh following an outbreak of violence on October 9 last year in the Rakhine State of Myanmar. (Daily Star, Bangladesh)

ISRAEL/PALESTINE: The US-Israel relationship is “stronger than ever,” US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and top advisor said Thursday in Tel Aviv at the top of a meeting with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Trump “is very committed to achieving a solution here that will be able to bring prosperity and peace to all people in the area, and we really appreciate the commitment of the prime minister in engaging very thoughtfully and respectfully in the way the president has asked,” Kushner said. (Jerusalem Post)

The Palestinian Authority says the meeting with visiting US officials in Ramallah later today is “important and crucial,” according to Presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh.

PA President Mahmoud Abbas discussed the stagnated Israeli-Palestinian peace talks with Jordan’s King Abdullah II and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman ahead of today’s meetings. (Wafa, Palestine)

White House adviser Jared Kushner leads a delegation to try to advance talks between Israelis and Palestinians, but the two sides are stuck over the basic question of statehood. (WSJ)

YEMEN: The UN is investigating reports of a Saudi-led air strike on a hotel near the Yemeni capital as the death toll rose to at least 41 people, including women and children. (Al Jazeera)

The two factions in Yemen whose war with a Saudi Arabia-led coalition has caused the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the world today have fallen out with each other further complicating attempts to end the crisis (Times, London). Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh rallied thousands of supporters in the capital Sanaa on Thursday in a show of force amid an unusual public rift within the alliance fighting a Saudi-led coalition for control of the country. (Reuters)

IRAQ: Iraqi forces made fresh gains on Wednesday in an offensive to dislodge Islamic State from the city of Tal Afar, a militant stronghold in the northwest of the country, the military said. (Reuters)

If Iraqi Kurds vote for independence next month, Iran and Turkey could launch an invasion, while Israel and the U.S. may be forced to sit on the sidelines to protect ties with Ankara. (Haaretz, Israel, analysis)

SYRIA: Thousands of civilians are currently stuck in Raqqa due to the offensive deployed by the US-led coalition in June, according to a report by Amnesty International. The human rights organization is calling for the creation of safe escape routes. (VRT NWS, Brussels)

Russia and Turkey have agreed to step up efforts to establish the fourth de-escalation zone in Syria, the Russian Foreign Ministry reported on Wednesday following consultations between Russian Presidential Envoy for the Middle East and Africa and Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov and Turkish Deputy Foreign Minister Sedat Onal. (RIA Novosti, Russia)

IRAN: Iran could be in a position to create highly enriched uranium within five days if the US ends a major agreement on nuclear proliferation, the country’s atomic programme head has warned. Mr Salehi said “If we make the determination, we are able to resume 20% enrichment in at most five days,” (Independent, London).

GULF: Qatar has announced that its ambassador to Tehran will be returning to Iran around 20 months after he was recalled following demonstrations held in front of Saudi embassy in Tehran. (Press TV, Iran) The move risks inflaming Qatar diplomatic standoff with a Saudi-led bloc of Arab nations. (WSJ) Chad has cut its diplomatic ties with Qatar, a Foreign Ministry statement announced Wednesday. The Central African country cited national and regional security concerns as reasons behind the move. (Anadolu, Turkey)

Saudi Arabia has firmly shut the door to the Qatari authorities’ overwhelming desire to ban its nationals from visiting holy sites. Riyadh is aware that since the beginning of the crisis in June, Doha has been looking for excuses to prevent its citizens from performing the fifth pillar of Islam. (Ashraq Al-Awsat, UK) 

Qatari Minister of State for Defense Khalid bin Mohammad al-Attiyah on Wednesday said his country was interested in Russian air-defense systems. (Anadolu, Turkey)

LEBANON: The Lebanese Army needs to liberate Martbia, Siraj Hiqab Al-Shir and Al-Shahut in the barrens of Ras Baalbek and Al-Qaa to declare victory over Daesh, a Lebanese military source said. (Arab News, KSA)

LIBYA: At least 11 people were beheaded Wednesday after an attack on a checkpoint controlled by Libyan military strongman Khalifa Haftar south of Tripoli, a spokesman for his forces said. (AFP)

MOROCCO: Hundreds of people staged an angry protest Wednesday in the Moroccan city of Casablanca against sexual harassment after footage of a woman being assaulted on a bus caused outrage across the North African country. (The Citizen, South Africa)

MALI: Rival armed groups in northern Mali agreed to the return of a state governor to the desert city of Kidal for the first time in years as part of a ceasefire deal signed on Wednesday after weeks of fighting. (Reuters)

ANGOLA: Angola’s ruling party said Thursday it won a majority in the country’s election with five million votes counted so far, opening the way for the defense minister to succeed President Jose Eduardo dos Santos after his 38-year rule. (LUSA, Portugal) International observers highlighted the civism and orderly manner shown by voters Wednesday at the polling stations in Angola’s Luanda province, under the general election held on August 23 countrywide.

Some voters in the provinces of Moxico, Lunda Norte and Benguela will only be able to vote on Saturday, 26 August due to climactic situations, the spokeswoman of the National Electoral Commission (CNE), Julia Ferreira said on Thursday. (Angolan News Agency)

 KENYA: A secessionist narrative to split Kenya into Jubilee- and National Super Alliance (NASA)-controlled regions is sweeping the country as the Opposition talks tough that mass action is on the cards. A petition, its promoters undisclosed, is already being signed online. The intention is to table it for consideration in the African Union’s judicial arm, the African Commission on Human and Peoples Rights. (The Star and Daily Nation, Nairobi)

The Government Wednesday declared it would enforce the ban on plastic bags from Tuesday and asked Kenyans to embrace alternatives that include bags made from sisal, paper, cloth, papyrus, and gunny bags. (The Standard, Nairobi)

SOUTH SUDAN: A 5-year-old girl has been killed in South Sudan when a World Food Program-contracted aircraft struck a house while attempting to land in bad weather in the capital, Juba. The UN agency has expressed its condolences to the family and says it will provide “all possible support to them in this terrible tragedy.” Four other people, including two children, were injured in Tuesday’s accident. (News24, South Africa)

SOUTH AFRICA/ZIMBABWE: It seems South Africans will have to wait a little longer to find out why Grace Mugabe was granted diplomatic immunity. The Department of International Relations said it had escalated the matter to Parliament. (eNCA, South Africa)

NIGERIA: Nigeria’s weekly cabinet meeting was abruptly called off on Wednesday without official explanation, again raising concerns about whether the country’s 74-year-old president, Muhammadu Buhari, could withstand the rigors of holding office. (Anadolu, Turkey)

CAMBODIA: Cambodia has hit back at criticism over its decision to expel a US-funded pro-democracy group, accusing Washington of political interference and describing American democracy as “bloody and brutal”. (Guardian, London)

INDONESIA: Indonesia is staging its second annual Islamic Finance Conference in Yogyakarta, with the main agenda of using sharia financing to fight poverty and inequality. (Jakarta Post)

Russian Ambassador to Indonesia Mikhail Galuzin quipped the US in response to Jakarta Sukhoi aircraft purchase, emphasizing that Kremlin will work with any country regardless of its foreign policies, contrary to Washington’s approach until now. (Tempo, Jakarta)

PHILIPPINES: Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte on Thursday backed police on the front lines of a war on drugs that he said would not cease, but warned officers their duty was to arrest suspects and kill only if their lives were in danger. (Reuters)

The Philippines’ largest Muslim rebel group said Wednesday it had lost 10 fighters in battles to stop a “growing force” of radical militants who support the Islamic State group. (AFP)

THAILAND: Dozens of big signs with the message “no disunity, no fracture” appeared in the Thai capital on Thursday (Aug 24), a day before a much-anticipated court ruling in a case against ousted, former prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra. (AFP)

KOREAN PENINSULA: Chinese President Xi Jinping said on Thursday that he is ready to make concerted efforts with his South Korean counterpart, Moon Jae-in, to properly address the differences between the two countries. (Global Times, China)

Washington’s decision to slap sanctions on some Russian individuals and entities over their alleged support for the North Korean regime is an illegal step that will not help improve relations between Russia and the US, Russian Permanent Representative to the UN Vasily Nebenzya told reporters on Wednesday. The diplomat referred to the existing UN mechanism on the North Korean sanctions, adding that the US should have applied to the relevant committee of the UN Security Council, if it feels that the sanctions should be expanded. (Izvestia, Moscow)

The United Nations Security Council has been unable to broker a political compromise between the US and North Korea, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said in an interview with the Chinese and Japanese media. “What needs to be done to lay the groundwork for finding a political compromise is a separate issue,” he said, stressing that sanctions applied without a dialogue will not go a long way in achieving the desired goal. (RIA Novosti, Russia; TASS, Russia)

Large-scale US-South Korea military drills dubbed Ulchi – Freedom Guardian do not contribute to de-escalating tension on the Korean peninsula, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. “We urge all the sides to exercise extreme caution,” the spokeswoman added. (RIA Novosti, Russia)

Russia’s strategic bombers briefly violated South Korea’s air defense identification zone (KADIZ) on Wednesday, prompting the country’s fighter jets to scramble to a nearby area, an official said. (Yonhap)

DPR KOREA: With photographs obliquely showing a new rocket design, North Korea has sent a message that it is working on an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) more powerful than any it has previously tested, weapons experts said on Thursday. (Reuters)

CHINA/US: China sharpened its rhetoric over the Trump administration efforts to investigate its trade practices on Thursday, vowing to use “all means necessary” to defend the country and its companies. (Washington Post)

China’s anti-dumping probes against U.S. products were legal procedures, a spokesperson with the Ministry of Commerce (MOC) said Thursday. In response to a question whether China’s probes were counter-measures to a U.S. investigation into China’s intellectual property practices, MOC spokesperson Gao Feng told a press briefing that both probes were legal. (Xinhua)

But the reality is that China can choose whether and how to retaliate against the US given how Chinese companies are hurt. The Chinese government has the obligation to speak for the country’s legitimate companies. Washington had better restrain itself. (Global Times, China, ed)

A powerful typhoon barreled into Hong Kong on Wednesday, forcing offices and schools to close and leaving flooded streets, shattered windows and hundreds of canceled flights in its wake. Weather authorities raised the No.10 hurricane signal, the highest level, for the first time in five years. (AP) Chaos and confusion gripped Macau on Thursday after one of the strongest typhoons on record hit the territory, killing at least nine people, and leaving more than half the city still without water and power, and casinos relying on back-up generators. (Straits Times, Singapore)

INDIA/CHINA: India is intensifying a crackdown on Chinese technology companies with a government official saying security testing of China’s UC Browser is being done to see if it is leaking data. (Bloomberg)

INDIA: Indian citizens have a fundamental right to privacy, the Supreme Court ruled on Thursday. The ruling has implications for the government’s vast biometric Aadhaar ID scheme, covering access to benefits, bank accounts and payment of taxes. (The Indian Express)

JAPAN: Japan’s defense ministry is set to ask for record defense spending of 5.26 trillion yen ($48.12 billion) for the year starting April 1, as it upgrades ballistic missile defenses against possible North Korean military action, according to a draft document seen by Reuters. (Reuters)

MONGOLIA: A bloc of lawmakers from Mongolia’s ruling political party called on the prime minister to resign Wednesday, accusing him of abusing his position by allegedly handing government contracts for roads and other projects to politically connected businesses. (AP)

AFGHANISTAN: The top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said on Thursday President Donald Trump’s new strategy is a sign of a long-term commitment to what is already America’s longest war and called on Taliban insurgents to agree to peace talks. (Reuters) Days after President Trump’s announcement of a new strategy for Afghanistan, the top American officials in Kabul said Thursday that a promised increase in United States military personnel and air power was already underway in the country. (NYT)

Russia regrets that the new US Afghanistan Strategy aims for a military solution and does not reflect the threat that the Afghan branch of the Islamic State terror group poses, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday. (TASS, Russia)

RUSSIA: Russia is preparing to mount what could be one of its biggest military exercises since the cold war, a display of power that will be watched warily by NATO against a backdrop of east-west tensions. Western officials and analysts estimate up to 100,000 military personnel and logistical support could participate in the Zapad (West) 17 exercise, which will take place next month in Belarus, Kaliningrad and Russia itself. Moscow puts the number significantly lower. (Guardian, London)

Russia’s ambassador to Sudan, Mirgayas Shirinskiy, was found dead at his residence in Khartoum on Wednesday, according to Russian Foreign Ministry. It remains unclear what caused the 62-year-old diplomat to die. However, the ministry said in a statement that the circumstances of Shirinskiy’s death will be released immediately as soon as they have detailed information. (Anadolu, Turkey)

RUSSIA/JAPAN:  Russia is seriously concerned that Japan may deploy the U.S. Aegis Ashore missile-defense system on its soil to counter North Korea’s missile threats, RIA news agency cited Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov as saying on Wednesday. (Reuters)

UKRAINE: U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on a visit to Ukraine on Thursday said Washington would continue to put pressure on Russia over what he called its aggressive behavior, but stopped short of promising to provide lethal weapons to Kiev. (Reuters) Washington is considering a possibility of supplying lethal weapons to Ukraine, United States Secretary of Defense James Mattis said after talks with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Kyiv on Thursday. (Interfax, Ukraine)

Kiev’s call to send an armed UN peacekeeping contingent to Ukraine’s southeast is another attempt to avoid the Minsk deal implementation, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters on Thursday. (Rossiyskaya Gazeta, Moscow)

POLAND: Poland has asked the European Commission to withdraw its legal proceedings against Warsaw over its migrant relocation quotas and said it was ready to fight its case in court, the foreign ministry said on Wednesday. (Reuters)

FRANCE: The start of the new political season will be risky for the new government. While Emmanuel Macron and Edouard Philippe have seen their popularity falling sharply since the beginning of the summer, they are about to present two highly sensitive issues : the labour code reform and the preparation of the budget for 2018. (Le Monde)

FINLAND: Finnish civil organizations are criticizing Finland’s responses to the United Nations’ Human Rights Council’s recommendations to be weak and undetailed. The Human Rights Council has given 153 recommendations to Finland and from those Finland is going to abandon 36, which is a record amount. (Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki)

EUROPE/IMMIGRANTS: The integration of Muslim immigrants is making some “real progress” in Germany, France, the UK, Switzerland and Austria, despite obstacles in education and the access to employment, according to a study from the German Institute Bertelsmann. (La Libre Belgique, Brussels)

Police using water canon and batons clashed on Thursday with refugees who had occupied a small Rome square in defiance of an order to leave a building where they had been squatting. (Reuters)

UNITED STATES: The chances of a government shutdown in the fall are growing. (The Hill, US) President Trump’s willingness to brave a government shutdown in order to get funding for his border wall roiled Capitol Hill, where Democrats on Wednesday called him reckless and redoubled their promise to resist anymore money for the president’s immigration crackdown plans. (Washington Times) President Trump has widened an extraordinary rift with his own party, as he threatened a government shutdown over his long-promised border wall and attacked key lawmakers whose votes he needs heading into a crucial legislative period. (NYT) Fitch Ratings warned that a failure to raise the U.S. debt limit in a “timely manner” would prompt a review of the U.S. sovereign credit rating, which is currently at AAA — the highest possible. (WSJ)

Within a 24-hour span, President Donald Trump delivered one speech in which he tore into the media and members of his own party, and a second in which he called for national unity and love. The about-face seemed to reflect the president’s real-time internal debate between calls for moderation and his inclination to let loose. (AP) But such contrasts have become a recurring motif of his presidency: Mr. Trump has toggled between Teleprompter Trump and Unplugged Trump every day since the deadly clashes in Virginia, leaving Washington and the rest of the nation with a chronic case of rhetorical whiplash. (NYT)

Confronted with a West Wing that treated policymaking as a free-for-all, President Donald Trump’s chief of staff John Kelly is instituting a system used by previous administrations to limit internal competition —and to make himself the last word on the material that crosses the president’s desk. (Politico, US)

UN human rights experts have called on the United States and its leadership to “unequivocally and unconditionally” condemn racist speech and crimes, warning that a failure to do so could fuel further violent incidents. (Al Jazeera)

Central Banks from around the world gather in Jackson Hole. The symposium near the Rocky Mountains has been called a ‘summer camp for bankers’ or ‘woodstock for bankers’. The main goal is to reduce debts worldwide. (Volkskrant, Amsterdam) (De Standaard, Brussels)

VENEZUELA: Dismissed Venezuelan prosecutor Luisa Ortega said on Wednesday she had evidence that President Nicolas Maduro was involved in corruption with construction company Odebrecht. (Reuters)

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Jorge Arreaza today described as anti-integrationist the migration measure taken by Panama against Venezuela, according to which all Venezuelan citizens will have to apply for a visa to travel to that country. (Prensa Latina, Cuba)

GUATEMALA: Guatemala’s president is seeking the removal of of the head of a U.N.-backed anti-corruption body. The president, Jimmy Morales, is facing a graft scandal involving his brother and a son. (National Public Radio, US) Morales will ask United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres to remove the head of a U.N.-backed investigative body probing the politician’s family for suspected graft, two government officials said on Wednesday. Stephane Dujarric, Guterres’ spokesman, told a regular briefing in New York that the U.N. had never received any complaints about Velasquez from Guatemala’s government or its judicial authorities. Guterres “heartily commends the work of commissioner Velasquez” and looked forward to supporting the Colombian “at the helm of the commission,” Dujarric said. (Reuters)

TERRORISM: According to a study of the American University of Maryland, the number of terrorist attacks last year dropped in comparison with 2015. There were 13,400 terrorist attacks, which killed 34,000 people in 108 countries.  9 out of 10 attacks occurred in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia. 1 in every 3 of the deadly victims were the perpetrators of the attacks themselves. (VRT NWS, Brussels)

ENERGY: More than 70% of the countries in the world – including the UK, US, China and other major economies – could run entirely on energy created by wind, water and solar by 2050, according to a roadmap developed by scientists (Independent, London).

PEACEKEEPING: UN head Antonio Guterres has tapped Jane Connors to put victims first as she works to eliminate sexual exploitation committed by peacekeeping troops. The organization has faced allegations of systemic sexual violence. (DPA)

BRAVE NEW WORLD: Beef-and-poultry giant Cargill has taken a stake in a startup developing technology to grow meat from self-reproducing animal cells. (WSJ)

Disclaimer: These Headlines consist of selected excerpts from press articles for the information of UN and Mission personnel. The inclusion of headlines does not imply endorsement by the UN.  The Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General cannot vouch for the accuracy of these reports.
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SPOKESMAN’S MORNING HEADLINES FOR WEDNESDAY, 23 AUGUST 2017

YEMEN: Yemeni security officials say the Saudi-led coalition has carried out airstrikes, hitting a small hotel near the capital of Sanaa and killing dozens of Shiite Houthi rebels and civilians. The officials say an estimated number of 60 have been killed in the strikes on Wednesday morning. It wasn’t immediately clear why the coalition jets targeted the hotel, which is located in Arhab, some 35 kilometers, or 22 miles, north of Sanaa. (AP)

Fighters loyal to the armed Houthi movement on Wednesday decried as “evil” the group’s main ally in Yemen’s civil war, ex-president Ali Abdullah Saleh, widening an unusual public rift as they fight a Saudi-led coalition for control of the country. (Reuters)

Iran, accused of supporting Shiite Huthi rebels in Yemen, “is part of the problem, not the solution” when it comes to ending conflict in the war-torn nation, Foreign Minister Abdulmalik al-Mekhlafi said when asked if Tehran could contribute to a political solution in Yemen. (AFP)

ANGOLA: Angolans vote on Wednesday in an election marking the end of President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos’s 38-year reign, with his MPLA party set to retain power despite the economic crisis. Polls are due to open at 07:00, closing 11 hours later. (AFP)

About 9.3 million Angolans are registered to vote for the 220-member National Assembly, and the winning party – five are vying to lead the country – will then select the president. (Al Jazeera)

After 38 years, President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos is voluntarily stepping down as he will not be a candidate today at the presidential elections. However, he has still safeguarded his fortune and freedom: there is a bill on the table to assure him lifelong immunity from prosecution. Opinion polls predict a victory of João Lourenço, the candidate of the government party chosen by Dos Santos himself. (VRT NWS, Brussels)

TOGO: About seven opposition protesters were killed and several others wounded in Togo on Saturday when security forces opened fire with live bullets to quell anti-Gnassingbé demonstrations in the capital Lomé and four other cities in the tiny West African nation. The opposition party, Parti National Panafricain (PNP), which called for the protest, is demanding the country’s return to its 1992 Constitution that allowed multi-party democracy with a limited Presidential term of office. (MedAfrica)

Some Togolese nationals have been urged to migrate to Ghana following some political upheaval that have erupted in the country leading to the death of some 7 nationals and arrests of more than 2 dozen people. (Yen-Ghana)

NIGERIA: Boko Haram jihadists killed six men in a village in northeast Nigeria on Tuesday in what appeared to be a targeted reprisal attack, a militia fighting the group told AFP. (AFP)

CENTRAL AFRICAN REPUBLIC: U.N. humanitarian chief Stephen O’Brien said Tuesday he saw “the early warnings of genocide” during a recent visit to Central African Republic, which has faced sectarian fighting since 2013. (AP)

ZAMBIA: The Zambian government has described a potential move by one of the country’s biggest copper miners to cut over 4,700 workers as an act of blackmail. (Anadolu, Turkey)

MALAWI: The “global gag rule,” imposed by Donald Trump earlier this year, is detrimental to the fight against harmful sexual traditions in Malawi. To get rid of these traditions, such as the ceremonial sexual initiations of underage girls, access to healthcare for reproductive and sexual health must be expanded, says Thokozani Mbendera, executive director of the Family Planning Association of Malawi (Dagsavisen, Norway).

KENYA: The opposition has announced it will resist the ‘accept and move on’ mantra as it calls for a countrywide Thursday justice prayer vigil against vote theft. At the same time, it accused Jubilee Members of Parliament (MPs) and allied lawyers of intimidating Supreme Court judges by their comments against National Super Alliance (NASA’s) petition. ( The Star, Nairobi)

UGANDA: President Museveni has ordered for a review of the public service with a view of scrapping, downsizing and merging government agencies and Authorities in a move he says will deal with “wastage of meagre resources”. In a July 17 letter to the Vice President Edward Ssekanda, Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda and selected cabinet ministers, Mr Museveni argued that there should only be two categories of public servants-policy makers and “money-makers” running the few government parastatals. ( Daily Monitor, Uganda)

AFRICA: A new report on Barack Obama’s main legacy project for Africa shows it is falling short of his original goal of bringing electricity to 20 million households in Kenya, Tanzania and four other countries by 2018. Mr Obama’s Power Africa initiative, announced in 2013, has so far helped connect only about half the projected number of households, according to the programme’s 2017 annual report published on Monday. ( Daily Nation, Nairobi)

SAUDI ARABIA: Makkah Gov. Prince Khaled Al-Faisal stressed that there are no special Saudi conditions placed on Iran to resume its participation in Hajj, insisting there are just special conditions for the organization of Hajj for all pilgrims. He added that all pilgrims receive equal treatment as guests of God who should be served in the same way. (Arab News, KSA)

Saudi police arrested a 14-year-old boy who was filmed dancing a popular 90s hit song at an intersection in the Red Sea city of Jiddah, according to local media reports on Wednesday. The video, which went viral on social media ins the kingdom, shows the boy with head phones swaying his hips and arms to the song “Macarena,” and appears to be smiling and giggling throughout the dance. (AP)

EGYPT/US: The U.S. will not distribute $290 million in aid to Egypt over human rights concerns, a State Department official confirmed Tuesday. (Anadolu, Turkey) Egypt called off a scheduled meeting between its foreign minister and top U.S. presidential adviser Jared Kushner on Wednesday after the announcement. But President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi would meet the U.S. delegation led by Kushner later in the day, Sisi’s office said.  (Reuters)

IRAQ: Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuþoðlu stated on Aug. 23 in Baghdad that he will tell the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that its planned independence referendum is wrong and Ankara expects it to cancel the vote. (Hurriyet, Turkey) The United States and other Western nations fear the vote could ignite a new conflict with Baghdad and possibly neighboring countries, diverting attention from the ongoing war against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq and Syria. (Reuters)

IRAN: The US ambassador to the UN claims her upcoming talks in Vienna are aimed at “asking” the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) if it plans to inspect Iranian military sites during its verification of Tehran’s compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. (Prees TV, Iran) Government can show a stronger reaction to violation of nuclear deal by other sides, Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaei said. (IRNA)

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres believes the Iran nuclear deal is “one of the most important diplomatic achievements in our search for, for peace and stability,” U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Tuesday. “Everyone involved needs to do its utmost to protect and support that agreement,” Dujarric told reporters. (Reuters)

In an effort to purge extremist propaganda from its platform, YouTube has inadvertently removed thousands of videos that could be used to document atrocities in Syria, potentially jeopardizing future war crimes prosecutions, observers and rights advocates say. (NYT)

ISRAEL/PALESTINE:  The Palestinian Authority continues to be disillusioned about US efforts to revive the peace process and its president, Mahmoud Abbas, is now considering dissolving the body and renewing a Palestinian bid for full United Nations membership, Arabic media reported on Wednesday. (Times of Israel, Al Hayat) Senior Palestinian officials said that regardless of the outcome of this week’s Trump administration effort to jumpstart peace talks with Israel, the Palestinian Authority will nevertheless resume its campaign for recognition by international agencies and institutions and pursue claims against Israel at the International Criminal Court. (Media Line, US)

US President Donald Trump’s administration and Israel are urging the United Nations not to publish its blacklist of international companies operating in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights, saying the move was “counterproductive” and would not advance the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, Israeli sources said. (Ashraq Al-Awsat)

UN Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Miroslav Jenca on Tuesday highlighted the need for recommitment to two-state solution in the Middle East. The recent crisis in Jerusalem has once again highlighted the unsustainability of the current situation, as well as “the need for a political horizon and clear recommitment by the international community and both parties to ending the occupation and realizing a two-State solution,” said Jenca while briefing the Security Council on the situation in the Middle East. (Xinhua)

ISRAEL/RUSSIA: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Russia on Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and give him top-secret intelligence on Iran’s military expansion in the region. (Times of Israel) Netanyahu will present to Putin Israel’s concerns that the cease-fire agreement now being formulated in southern Syria will perpetuate Iran and Hezbollah’s presence in Syria at the conclusion of its civil war. (Haaretz)

AFGHANISTAN/PAKISTAN: At least five people were killed and 42 wounded when a suicide attacker detonated a car bomb near a police headquarters in Afghanistan’s Helmand province on Wednesday, officials said. The explosion struck a crowd of policemen and soldiers who had gathered to collect their pay in Helmand’s capital city, Lashkar Gah, provincial police chief Abdul Ghafar Safai said. (Reuters)

The Trump administration outlined new measures it is prepared to take to raise pressure on Pakistan to stop harboring extremist groups, including possible sanctions on government officials and cuts in aid. (WSJ)

No single power can deal with the Afghanistan issue. The Trump administration should promote effective cooperation between international forces. But Trump’s new strategy neither emphasizes international cooperation nor provides new thinking in facilitating national conciliation. It is worrying that the new strategy ignores the reality that the Trump administration may in the end not exit the Afghanistan war. (Global Times, China, ed)

Pakistan rejected on Wednesday U.S. criticism of its efforts to fight terrorism saying it should not be used as a scapegoat for the failure of the U.S. military to win the war in Afghanistan. Pakistani Foreign Minister Khawaja Asif added his voice to a chorus of indignation in Pakistan over the U.S. criticism, reiterating Pakistan’s denial that it harbors militants. (Reuters)

CHINA: China’s first homegrown aircraft carrier is very likely to start its first sea trials in autumn, as its manufacturer announced that it will present key achievements as a tribute to the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. (Global Times, China)

The “Made in China” label has long stood for cheap, inferior and low-end products. But today, such a perception no longer holds water. In recent years, product quality in China is quietly edging up as the country is seeking to shift its growth equation away from exports and investment toward consumption. (Xinhua)

After a record-breaking year for Chinese outbound M&A, Chinese investors are facing increasingly wary regulators in foreign governments—and a Chinese government determined to control where they put their money. (WSJ)

A powerful typhoon caused at least three deaths Wednesday in Macau, according to local authorities in the Chinese gambling enclave. (AP)

CHINA/JAPAN: At this very sensitive moment, when Chinese and Indian troops are engaged in a stand-off in the Doklam region, India is preparing to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in September, in an effort to seek support from Tokyo for its stand on regional issues.  However, India may be disappointed to see what Tokyo could offer, especially in the economic arena. At the very least, India cannot rely on Japan to save it from the economic sluggishness that will undermine its stamina in the stand-off with China. (Global Times, China, ed)

KOREAN PENINSULA: President Moon Jae-in on Wednesday reiterated his policy of Seoul taking the lead in resolving North Korean issues and stressed the roles of the foreign and unification ministries in the two-track approach to inter-Korean issues. (Korea Herald)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has ordered the production of more solid-fuel rocket engines and warhead tips for intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) during his inspection of a chemicals institute, the state media said Wednesday. (Yonhap). However, the report lacked the usual anti-U.S. rhetoric and followed U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s remarks in which he welcomed recent restraint by Pyongyang. (Anadolu, Turkey)

China’s unofficial push to punish Seoul for deploying a missile-defense system against North Korea is hitting hardest in places like Yancheng, where South Korean auto maker Kia Motors is the backbone of the local economy. (WSJ)

China demanded the United States immediately withdraw a package of sanctions on companies and individuals trading with North Korea on Wednesday, and said the decision by the Trump administration will damage Sino-U.S. ties. (Washington Post)

INDIA: A passenger express train derailed after hitting a truck in northern India on Wednesday, injuring 42 people, some critically, in the country’s fifth major rail accident in the past year. (Reuters)

MYANMAR: Former UN chief Kofi Annan on Wednesday submitted his final report on Rakhine state, where Rohingya Muslims have faced widespread abuses, to the government. (Anadolu, Turkey)

CAMBODIA: Cambodia ordered a U.S.-funded nonprofit organization to stop its activities and remove all foreign staff from the country on Wednesday, the latest sign of growing anti-American sentiment ahead of a general election next year. In a statement, the foreign ministry accused the National Democratic Institute (NDI) of operating in Cambodia without registering, and said its foreign staff had seven days to leave. (Reuters)

INDONESIA: Finance Minister Sri Mulyani has allocated a budget of Rp292.8 trillion to eradicate poverty and inequality in the draft 2018 state budget (RAPBN). The programs include social protection, food assistance, health care and education. (Tempo, Jakarta)

GERMANY/TURKEY: Ankara has refuted recent criticism by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who accused Turkey of “misusing” Interpol while commenting on the release of a Turkish-origin German citizen in Spain, saying the suspect was not sought for his journalistic work but for a fatal armed robbery in 1984. (Anadolu, Turkey)

German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel said on Aug. 21 that Berlin and the rest of Europe should support the “democratically minded” majority of Turks who do not back President Recep Tayyip Erdoðan, in a dramatic hardening of Germany’s position towards Ankara. (Hurriyet, Turkey)

EU/UK: Britain will outline its plans on Wednesday to escape the “direct jurisdiction” of the European Court of Justice after Brexit. In one of the most politically sensitive documents Britain has published this month to try to nudge negotiations with the EU forward, the government will show little compromise in what it calls a paper to “reinforce the message that after Brexit, the UK will take back control of its laws”. (Reuters)

ITALY: The arrival of hundreds of thousands of migrants from Libya is threatening Italy’s “democratic fabric”, a senior Italian minister has warned. Marco Minniti, the interior minister, said that the 600,000 who had landed in Italy since 2014 amounted to an “epochal trend” that was pushing the country to the limits of its tolerance. Mr Minniti said that Europe should regard Libya’s southern border as its own and help Tripoli to improve security there or risk years more of unchecked migration. (Times, London)

THE NETHERLANDS: Environmentalists have gone to court to demand that the Dutch government take urgent action to improve air quality, arguing that authorities haven’t done enough to meet European Union-mandated targets. (AP)

FINLAND: Finnish police are uncertain whether they have the real identity of the main suspect detained on suspicion of killing two people in a stabbing last week, the lead investigator into Finland’s first suspected Islamist militant attack said on Wednesday. Eight other people were wounded in the knife attack in the south-western coastal city of Turku on Aug. 18. Finnish police have detained four men in connection with the Turku killings and an international arrest warrant has been issued for a fifth. (Reuters)

After the Turku attack in Finland, people with immigrant background tell how they are now experiencing threatening, heckling and even violence more than usually. For example, a young man with an immigrant background was stabbed and slightly injured, a teenage girl with Somalian background was assaulted and a barber with Kurdish background has been threatened to be killed twice after the attack in Turku. (Helsingin Sanomat, Helsinki)

UNITED STATES: President Trump called Tuesday for an end to the racial divisiveness roiling the country and blasted the news media for misreporting his reaction to the deadly violence at a white nationalist demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. (Washington Times)

President Donald Trump spent much of last week hearing from friends, donors and aides that he needed to dial back some of his rhetoric in the wake of Charlottesville. He gave his response on Tuesday night in Phoenix, with an angry, meandering and frequently disingenuous 75-minute rally address designed to soothe his ego, rev up his base, and remind the naysayers in Washington and New York that he can still command love from his crowd. (Politico, US)

The high-ranking military officials have repeatedly won arguments inside the West Wing, publicly contradicted the president and even balked at implementing one of his most controversial policies. But some in both parties view them as safeguards for the nation in a time of turbulence. (Washington Post)

The relationship between President Trump and Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises. (NYT)

MEXICO: Mexico’s peso fell and emerging market stocks lost some traction on Wednesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump revived threats to build a border wall and terminate the NAFTA trade treaty. Suggesting that scrapping NAFTA might jumpstart current renegotiations, Trump said at a political rally in Arizona 150 miles (240 km) from the Mexican border: “I personally don’t think you can make a deal without a termination.” (Reuters)

VENEZUELA: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said Tuesday his government is preparing measures against an eventual U.S. economic blockade.  “Venezuela is the center of a major global defamation campaign,” he said in a speech at the presidential palace for international media. (Anadolu, Turkey) He also called for Pope Francis’s support against a “military threat” from the United States, as international pressure mounts over the deadly political crisis Caracas is facing. (AFP) Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov described the Vatican mediation as relevant in the conflict between the government and the opposition in Venezuela. (Prensa Latina, Cuba)

MIGRATION: A row has broken out over the role of charity rescue boats in the Mediterranean amid accusations that their presence is fuelling the flow of migrants setting off from Libya. The claim that the charities were “unintentionally” aiding people smugglers by rescuing migrants from the sea was first made by Frontex, the European Union’s border agency, earlier this year. It was leapt on by an Italian prosecutor in Sicily who went a step further, alleging direct collusion. (Times, London)

CYBER ATTACKS: Thirteen years of negotiations at the United Nations aimed at restricting cyberwarfare collapsed in June, it has emerged, due to an acrimonious dispute that pitted Russia, China and Cuba against western countries. The dispute among legal and military experts at the UN, along old cold war lines, has reinforced distrust at a time of mounting diplomatic tension over cyber-attacks, such as the 2016 hacking of the US Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) computers. (Guardian, London)