The White House Also Targets Hundreds of Millions in Funding For U.N. Programs For Children and The Poor.
Colum Lynch has the scoop. “The White House budget office informed State Department officials this week that the administration plans to eliminate all U.S. funding to the $326 million International Organizations and Programs account, which provides more than $130 million to the U.N. Children’s Fund, a sizeable chunk of the more than $500 million the U.S. contributed to UNICEF in 2016, and around $70 million to the U.N. Development Program. They were also told to brace for a 40 percent cut to the State Department’s U.N. peacekeeping budget. The U.S. contributed over $2 billion to the U.N.’s $8 billion-plus peacekeeping budget last year.”
From The Desk of Dr. Prithvi Singh Ravish
Ambassador at Large & Vice Chair for Asia International Human Rights Commission
A Famine is Never Just a "Famine" - It's Political Violence By Starvation
Trump Administration Wants Seeking Deep Cuts to UN Relief Programs, Just as 20 Million People Face Famine.
The world must know that we are entering an age of famine. But the extreme food crises facing South Sudan, Somalia, Yemen, and Northern Nigeria are not solely a consequence of natural disaster or climate change. Rather, people are starving to death because other people with the power to prevent these deaths are failing to act. Famines occur because those with the power to prevent or stop them fail to do so. Sometimes it is a lack of political will; other times it is more intentional. The 1983 – 85 famine in Ethiopia, of “Do They Know It’s Christmas” fame, was presented in the Western media essentially as a natural disaster; a drought, and a situation that could be fixed if only enough money could be raised for humanitarian relief. In fact, the drought began after the famine started and in some areas the famine was initially caused by the government’s counter-insurgency maneuvers and forced relocation programs . Today, in South Sudan, the recently-declared famine is linked to the young country’s civil war, which erupted at the end of 2013. Yasmin Sooka, Chair of the Commission on Human Rights in South Sudan, presented her report to the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva last Tuesday. She said that the situation has deteriorated over the last nine months, and she reported “Whole villages burnt to ashes, attacks on hospitals and churches, bodies dumped in rivers, allegations of young girls held as sexual slaves, women young and old gang raped and boys and men forcibly recruited.” She explained how the government of South Sudan and its allied militias are targeting civilians and forcibly relocating people in a way that is tantamount to ethnic cleansing, and that hunger including in places where previously there had been plenty has been one of the consequences on the ground. This complicates international efforts to respond, as a UN News Centre story on Sooka’s report says: “Relief agencies, including the UN, have little choice to accept the restrictions imposed by South Sudan as they cannot walk away and let millions of people starve.” At the same time, Sooka reiterated the Human Rights Commission’s recommendation of an independent UN investigation and insisted that the UN be “bold enough to push for the immediate establishment of the [planned] Hybrid Court and prosecution. The alternative is policy of appeasement making us complicit in the bloodshed that is happening.”
The bottom line here is that humanitarian crises cannot be separated from their political contexts. As Sadako Ogata, former UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said in 2005, “There are no humanitarian solutions to humanitarian problems.” Given the pressure on the UN to act in the face of escalation of violent conflict, any UN famine relief response will have to at least consider the political implications of their interventions. But humanitarian aid, even if you have all the funding you need, is always only a stopgap the real solution to famine is political. ....From The Desk of Dr. Prithvi Singh Ravish
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"Inconvenient Vashkevich". Film - a warning!
From The Desk of Dr. Prithvi Singh Ravish. Former Ambassador-at-Large & Vice Chair for Asia Pacific
International Human Rights Commission (Secretariats).UNHCR To Push For Rohingya’s Resettlement in Developed Nations. The United Nations refugee agency is asking for permission to negotiate for the resettlement of about 1,000 Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar in developed nations in Europe and North America, according to a UN official. The UN estimates 69,000 Rohingya Muslims have fled recently and that more than 1,000 have been killed by military violence, which Myanmar officials say has ended. HOPING FOR ACCESSThe UNHCR supports around 34,000 refugees living in two government-registered camps in the Bangladesh coastal district of Cox's Bazar, but a greater number of Rohingya live in makeshift settlements nearby, unregistered and officially ineligible to receive international aid. UNHCR and other international agencies were also willing to provide aid to poor Bangladeshis living near the refugee settlements to counter local resentment at the influx. Myanmar said late on Wednesday that a security operation that began after nine police officers were killed in attacks on border security posts on Oct. 9 had now ended. A report released by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on Feb. 3 gave accounts of mass killings and gang rapes by troops during the operation, which it said probably constituted crimes against humanity. Two UN sources have separately told that more than 1,000 Rohingya’s may have been killed in the crackdown. Northern Rakhine has been locked down since October, and Myanmar has not said when aid groups or reporters might be allowed in.
From the desk of Dr. Prithvi Singh Ravish
Former Ambassador-at-Large & Vice Chair for Asia
International Human Rights Commission (Secretariats). A Growing Number of Rohingya Women Fleeing Myanmar are Becoming Victims of Human Traffickers Who Sell Women and Girls to Rohingya Men as Brides.The slight girl in a turquoise headscarf held back tears as she recalled what happened when she fled to Malaysia from Myanmar's violence-hit Rakhine state. Just 12-years-old at the time, she was forced to wed a man she did not know, and who was more than a decade older than her. The teenager, who is not being named by Reuters because she is still only 13, is like hundreds of Rohingya girls escaping persecution, violence and apartheid-like conditions in Rakhine, only to be sold into marriage to Rohingya men in neighbouring Malaysia, migrant groups and community members said. Separated from her family while escaping to Malaysia, she said she was caught by traffickers and held for weeks in a filthy and brutal jungle camp near the Thai-Malaysian border with dozens of others. Her captors told her a Rohingya man was willing to give her freedom if she agreed to marry him. ...more
Deaths From Hunger Are Mounting in Somalia
Food From Aid Agencies Needed Urgently
A reminder that famine looms in Somalia. At least 26 people died from hunger in the semi-autonomous Jubbaland region of southern Somalia in just a day and a half. Somalia, like other countries in the region is facing a devastating drought that has killed livestock, cut harvests and left 6.2 million people about half its population is in need of food aid. The acute hunger gripping Jubbaland caused an exodus of hundreds of families into the capital Mogadishu seeking help. The Jubbaland assistant minister of interior saying that severe drought had killed the people over a span of 36 hours to Monday, all in various towns in middle Jubba and Gedo areas. The rivers have dried and there are no wells there, cows and farms have perished. Residents of the city supplied the families with bread and bowls of water but they said relief food from aid agencies was needed urgently. Most of the affected towns were controlled by al Shabaab militants, who have been waging a violent campaign to topple the Western-backed federal government in Mogadishu.
From The Desk of Dr. Prithvi Singh Ravish
Ambassador At Large & Vice Chair for Asia
International Human Rights Commission
World Faces Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since WW II. The United Nations is warning that the world is facing its worst humanitarian crisis since the end of World War II, with more than 20 million people facing starvation and famine in four countries. The world body's humanitarian chief Stephen O'Brien called Friday for an urgent mobilization of funds $4.4 billion by July for northeastern Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan and Yemen to "avert a catastrophe." Otherwise, many people will predictably die from hunger, livelihoods will be lost and political gains that have been hard-won over the last few years will be reversed," O'Brien said in his stark warning to the UN Security Council. Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death. Many more will suffer and die from disease. Children stunted and out of school. Livelihoods, futures and hope will be lost. He called war-wracked Yemen "the largest humanitarian crisis in the world," with two thirds of the population, or 18.8 million people -- three million more than in January in need of assistance and more than seven million with no regular access to food. The conflict in Yemen has left more than 7,400 people dead and 40,000 wounded since an Arab-state coalition intervened on the government's side against rebels in March 2015, according to UN figures. In just the past two months alone, more than 48,000 people have fled fighting in the Arab world's poorest country, according to O'Brien, as it grapples with a proxy war fought by archrivals Iran and Saudi Arabia 'Arbitrarily Denying' Access ...more
One of the most important principles of work IHRC is impartiality and independence. International Human Rights Commission painstakingly observes its aim for defending human rights not to become an instrument for political, economic or military interests. Particularly in conflict areas it attaches great value to asserting its independence from all parties involved. The nature and scope of the assistance are adjusted to the situation in the disaster zone within the framework of available possibilities. Aid measures are designed to suit the local conditions and are integrated in the economic, social and political context of a specific country or region. They are adjusted to respond to the needs and the situation of the victims, respect the dignity of the people, and protect valid laws and traditions. Aid commodities are deployed according to need and correspond to local standards. They are purchased locally so far as it is possible and useful. In its activities International Human Rights Commission is committed to the basic principles defending human rights and humanitarian aid as laid down UN and in the Code of Conduct of the Red Cross and Red Crescent and of non-governmental aid organizations in the context of emergency assistance.