Monday, 11/12/2017 | 6:07 UTC+0
Libyan Newswire
  • New Analysis: 1 in 12 Children Face “Bleaker Prospects” Than Their Parents. Here’s Why

    By: Joanne Lu on December 06, 2017

    The future doesn’t look so bright for 180 million children.

    Despite major improvements in child well-being around the world over the last 20 years, a recent UNICEF analysis found that children in 37 countries face “bleaker prospects” than their parents in escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death.

    “While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, said in a press release.

    In 2015, the UN celebrated the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the predecessor to the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – as the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history.” A 15-year collaborative push by nations and international organizations lifted more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, almost halved the proportion of people suffering from hunger and enrolled more children in primary school than ever before.

    “Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven,” then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the UN’s final report of the MDGs.

    In 14 countries, the share of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day) has increased, mostly as a result of unrest, conflict or poor governance. Major conflicts in CAR, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also caused an increase in violent deaths among children under 19. Meanwhile, financial crises, rapid population growth and conflicts have led to decreased primary school enrollment in 21 countries.

    At least one of the three key indicators – escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death – were found to be declining in: Benin, Bolivia, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Iraq, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania, Ukraine, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Three of the 37 countries – CAR, Syria and Yemen – saw a decline in two of the indicators, but South Sudan was the only country in which prospects for children were found to be declining in all three aspects.

    The thing is, children are keenly aware of what issues are making the greatest impact on their well-being and futures.

    In a separate UNICEF study, 9- to 18-year olds in all of the 14 countries surveyed identified poverty, poor education and terrorism as the foremost issues they wanted global leaders to work on. Also across all 14 countries, violence against children were the respondents’ greatest worry, with 67 percent saying they worried “a lot.”

    Sadly, nearly half of the children surveyed are not optimistic that adults and world leaders will make good decisions for children.

    “In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” Chandy said. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”

    There was leeway for uneven progress in many of the MDG targets, but the SDGs put forth ambitious goals for 2030, like “end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” “ensure inclusive and quality education for all” and “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.”

    As the global community tries to accelerate progress toward the SDGs, this latest report shows there is no room to leave anyone behind – especially children, who either will be the beneficiaries of a sustainable future, or will have to pick up the pieces.

    Discussion

    comments…

    Read more
  • New Analysis: 1 in 12 Children Face “Bleaker Prospects” Than Their Parents. Here’s Why

    By: Joanne Lu on December 06, 2017

    The future doesn’t look so bright for 180 million children.

    Despite major improvements in child well-being around the world over the last 20 years, a recent UNICEF analysis found that children in 37 countries face “bleaker prospects” than their parents in escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death.

    “While the last generation has seen vast, unprecedented gains in living standards for most of the world’s children, the fact that a forgotten minority of children have been excluded from this – through no fault of their own or those of their families – is a travesty,” Laurence Chandy, UNICEF director of data, research and policy, said in a press release.

    In 2015, the UN celebrated the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – the predecessor to the current Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – as the “most successful anti-poverty movement in history.” A 15-year collaborative push by nations and international organizations lifted more than one billion people out of extreme poverty, almost halved the proportion of people suffering from hunger and enrolled more children in primary school than ever before.

    “Yet for all the remarkable gains, I am keenly aware that inequalities persist and that progress has been uneven,” then-UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wrote in the UN’s final report of the MDGs.

    In 14 countries, the share of people living in extreme poverty (on less than $1.90 a day) has increased, mostly as a result of unrest, conflict or poor governance. Major conflicts in CAR, Iraq, Libya, South Sudan, Syria, Ukraine and Yemen have also caused an increase in violent deaths among children under 19. Meanwhile, financial crises, rapid population growth and conflicts have led to decreased primary school enrollment in 21 countries.

    At least one of the three key indicators – escaping poverty, getting a basic education and avoiding violent death – were found to be declining in: Benin, Bolivia, Cameroon, Central African Republic (CAR), Comoros, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Guatemala, Guyana, Guinea-Bissau, Jordan, Iraq, Kiribati, Lebanon, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Mali, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Palau, Paraguay, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Solomon Islands, South Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, Tonga, United Republic of Tanzania, Ukraine, Vanuatu, Yemen, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

    Three of the 37 countries – CAR, Syria and Yemen – saw a decline in two of the indicators, but South Sudan was the only country in which prospects for children were found to be declining in all three aspects.

    The thing is, children are keenly aware of what issues are making the greatest impact on their well-being and futures.

    In a separate UNICEF study, 9- to 18-year olds in all of the 14 countries surveyed identified poverty, poor education and terrorism as the foremost issues they wanted global leaders to work on. Also across all 14 countries, violence against children were the respondents’ greatest worry, with 67 percent saying they worried “a lot.”

    Sadly, nearly half of the children surveyed are not optimistic that adults and world leaders will make good decisions for children.

    “In a time of rapid technological change leading to huge gains in living standards, it is perverse that hundreds of millions are seeing living standards actually decline, creating a sense of injustice among them and failure among those entrusted with their care,” Chandy said. “No wonder they feel their voices are unheard and their futures uncertain.”

    There was leeway for uneven progress in many of the MDG targets, but the SDGs put forth ambitious goals for 2030, like “end poverty in all its forms everywhere,” “ensure inclusive and quality education for all” and “end abuse, exploitation, trafficking and all forms of violence against children.”

    As the global community tries to accelerate progress toward the SDGs, this latest report shows there is no room to leave anyone behind – especially children, who either will be the beneficiaries of a sustainable future, or will have to pick up the pieces.

    Discussion

    comments…

    Read more
  • What Libya’s “slave auctions” tell us about the humanitarian system

    In the wake of the CNN report on human auctions in Libya, there has rightly been a surge in concern for the thousands of Africans languishing in inhumane conditions in detention camps.

    Political leaders in Europe and Africa, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, have condemned the situation.

    Notable also has been the spontaneous attention of African and African-American celebrities in the face of the silence by official Hollywood goodwill ambassadors for various international organisations.

    After years of flailing diplomacy and lonely advocacy, it seems the world is finally ready to talk about the humanitarian disaster in Libya.

    But while this new wave of attention is welcome and necessary, it does raise key questions.

    Why did it take so long to have this near-unified voice of condemnation on a well-researched and well-covered issue that has been in the public domain for the better part of the last decade? Why now and not before? And more importantly, what does this delayed reaction say about race and racism in international humanitarian work?

    The CNN film has had such a major impact in part because of the starkness of the imagery – the visuals reminiscent of the trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic slave trades.

    Although the men in the videos are not shackled, they are certainly imprisoned and, in a later part of the film, they detail the dire conditions in which they are held. Rape, beatings, starvation and murder all recur with alarming frequency in this contemporary slave trade.

    The impact of injustice

    Yet this information is not new. International organisations, politicians, and journalists have all reported the dire conditions facing African migrants in Libya from at least 2010.

    Rather, this new urgency can be attributed in part to the rise of new forms of organising for racial justice.

    Specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement has broadened the concerns of global racial solidarity, not just in the United States where it was born, but also across other racially divided societies like South Africa and Brazil.

    Read more

    Since you’ve been gone – the families migrants leave behind

    Disposable Africians – migration and its consequences

    The forgotten frontline of the migration crisis

    EU strategy stems migrant flow from Niger, but at what cost? 

    African diasporas in France and in the United Kingdom have also organised chapters to fight local racial battles. The call for a new global compact for racial justice demanded in the streets of Baltimore, New York, Paris, Johannesburg, and Tel Aviv is finally being heard in offices in Geneva and New York.

    Is global humanitarianism ready to talk about race? 

    It should be, considering that anti-black racism is the elephant in the room when it comes to the protection of refugees and migrants.

    The vast majority of the world’s refugees and migrants today are Asian and African, unlike in the 1940s when the original instruments of protection were negotiated.

    Most of these people remain in their region of origin. South-South migration is common in Africa where, for example, 20,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans try to reach southern Africa every year.

    It’s important to situate contemporary human mobility in its proper place. With the notable exception of the cruel and inhumane global slave trade, the search for better opportunities, particularly in young men negotiating patriarchal masculinities, is – and has long been – common.

    But the rules have changed.

    In the 19th century as more and more young men took to the sea from southern Portugal as part of exploration and colonisation missions, the women they left behind would sing mournful songs, lamenting their departure and willing them to return safely, songs collectively known as Fado.

    Now, hundreds of thousands of young African men and women die on their journeys abroad – from the North African deserts to the Mediterranean Sea, primarily as a consequence of increasingly inhumane policies towards human mobility. They are unmourned except when families finally get word that they have gone missing.

    Criminalising migrants

    Unlike European men in the last century who were celebrated for leaving home in search of opportunity or even adventure, young African men today are criminalised and punished, especially when they try to enter predominantly white societies.

    Take another example. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh and have been largely welcomed, if under-resourced, while Australia expends much force and energy to keep hundreds of refugees violently contained on Manus Island. The same can be said of South Americans attempting to cross into the United States, and of course the frame of existential crisis that populist parties in Europe reserve for Muslim refugees from the Middle East.

    If there is a global crisis of migration it is that societies are resorting to increasingly draconian measures to keep “The Other” out.

    Contrast this panic with the treatment of predominantly white migrants or “expats”. Most countries in the world have migration policies that favour immigration by “expats” while penalising similar migration from predominantly black and brown populations.

    This includes African countries like Kenya, which has kept half a million Somali refugees encamped with no legal status or pathway to citizenship for over 25 years.

    On the campaign trail earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron emphatically offered France as a “second home” to American climate scientists concerned about the anti-science proclivities of Donald Trump’s administration.

    But when African and European leaders met in Abidjan last week, Macron was equivocal in offering the same emphatic welcome to African migrants held in the detention centres in Libya – regardless of their qualifications.

    Everyone wants “good migrants” – where “good” means primarily white and/or wealthy.

    Ignoring the suffering

    At the same time, consider that the barter of African bodies in Libya is not a question of a handful of criminals in the desert. It is a global system that rises to the highest level.

    Deposed Libyan president Muammar Gaddafi routinely used the threat of allowing mass migration of black Africans to Europe in negotiations for improved political relations.

    European governments have repeatedly paid African countries to take and keep African migrants and refugees in Africa. Black and brown bodies are constantly on sale in the modern era, but it is couched in the polite language of diplomatic negotiation and “helping them where they are”.

    And the very act of feigning shock at information that has been in the public domain – reported by survivors and journalists alike – for so long speaks to an unwillingness to see the suffering of Africans.

    Race and racism are at the heart of the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, but, to date, humanitarianism has been reluctant to talk about it in stark terms.

    The preferred language of protection is dry and technical, linked to statutes and conventions that were drafted at the time of Jim Crow and independence movements around the world.

    Consider that the refugee convention entered into force in 1951 when most of Africa and the Caribbean was still colonised and three years before Brown v. Board of Education desegregated US schools.

    New voices

    The convention was not designed with ethnic minorities in mind and has struggled to adapt as the dynamics of refugee protection have shifted. It responded to the white-on-white crimes of World War II and is predicated on the goodwill of states towards citizens that arguably has never been extended to black or brown people.

    Which is probably why, less than a week later, the momentum triggered by the CNN film is already fading. The United States has pulled out of the new global compact on migration, and the document agreed upon by EU and AU leaders in Abidjan is widely viewed as weak.

    The stark visuals of the CNN report have forced a conversation on humanitarian protection to be openly and explicitly framed as a question of racial justice.

    This has allowed new voices and new advocacy into the conversation. It remains unclear if this new momentum and direction of thought will translate into more meaningful action for those on the move.

    nn/oa/ag

    Read more
  • What Libya’s “slave auctions” tell us about the humanitarian system

    In the wake of the CNN report on human auctions in Libya, there has rightly been a surge in concern for the thousands of Africans languishing in inhumane conditions in detention camps.

    Political leaders in Europe and Africa, including UN Secretary-General António Guterres and African Union Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki, have condemned the situation.

    Notable also has been the spontaneous attention of African and African-American celebrities in the face of the silence by official Hollywood goodwill ambassadors for various international organisations.

    After years of flailing diplomacy and lonely advocacy, it seems the world is finally ready to talk about the humanitarian disaster in Libya.

    But while this new wave of attention is welcome and necessary, it does raise key questions.

    Why did it take so long to have this near-unified voice of condemnation on a well-researched and well-covered issue that has been in the public domain for the better part of the last decade? Why now and not before? And more importantly, what does this delayed reaction say about race and racism in international humanitarian work?

    The CNN film has had such a major impact in part because of the starkness of the imagery – the visuals reminiscent of the trans-Saharan and trans-Atlantic slave trades.

    Although the men in the videos are not shackled, they are certainly imprisoned and, in a later part of the film, they detail the dire conditions in which they are held. Rape, beatings, starvation and murder all recur with alarming frequency in this contemporary slave trade.

    The impact of injustice

    Yet this information is not new. International organisations, politicians, and journalists have all reported the dire conditions facing African migrants in Libya from at least 2010.

    Rather, this new urgency can be attributed in part to the rise of new forms of organising for racial justice.

    Specifically, the Black Lives Matter movement has broadened the concerns of global racial solidarity, not just in the United States where it was born, but also across other racially divided societies like South Africa and Brazil.

    Read more

    Since you’ve been gone – the families migrants leave behind

    Disposable Africians – migration and its consequences

    The forgotten frontline of the migration crisis

    EU strategy stems migrant flow from Niger, but at what cost? 

    African diasporas in France and in the United Kingdom have also organised chapters to fight local racial battles. The call for a new global compact for racial justice demanded in the streets of Baltimore, New York, Paris, Johannesburg, and Tel Aviv is finally being heard in offices in Geneva and New York.

    Is global humanitarianism ready to talk about race? 

    It should be, considering that anti-black racism is the elephant in the room when it comes to the protection of refugees and migrants.

    The vast majority of the world’s refugees and migrants today are Asian and African, unlike in the 1940s when the original instruments of protection were negotiated.

    Most of these people remain in their region of origin. South-South migration is common in Africa where, for example, 20,000 Ethiopians and Eritreans try to reach southern Africa every year.

    It’s important to situate contemporary human mobility in its proper place. With the notable exception of the cruel and inhumane global slave trade, the search for better opportunities, particularly in young men negotiating patriarchal masculinities, is – and has long been – common.

    But the rules have changed.

    In the 19th century as more and more young men took to the sea from southern Portugal as part of exploration and colonisation missions, the women they left behind would sing mournful songs, lamenting their departure and willing them to return safely, songs collectively known as Fado.

    Now, hundreds of thousands of young African men and women die on their journeys abroad – from the North African deserts to the Mediterranean Sea, primarily as a consequence of increasingly inhumane policies towards human mobility. They are unmourned except when families finally get word that they have gone missing.

    Criminalising migrants

    Unlike European men in the last century who were celebrated for leaving home in search of opportunity or even adventure, young African men today are criminalised and punished, especially when they try to enter predominantly white societies.

    Take another example. Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya have crossed into Bangladesh and have been largely welcomed, if under-resourced, while Australia expends much force and energy to keep hundreds of refugees violently contained on Manus Island. The same can be said of South Americans attempting to cross into the United States, and of course the frame of existential crisis that populist parties in Europe reserve for Muslim refugees from the Middle East.

    If there is a global crisis of migration it is that societies are resorting to increasingly draconian measures to keep “The Other” out.

    Contrast this panic with the treatment of predominantly white migrants or “expats”. Most countries in the world have migration policies that favour immigration by “expats” while penalising similar migration from predominantly black and brown populations.

    This includes African countries like Kenya, which has kept half a million Somali refugees encamped with no legal status or pathway to citizenship for over 25 years.

    On the campaign trail earlier this year, French President Emmanuel Macron emphatically offered France as a “second home” to American climate scientists concerned about the anti-science proclivities of Donald Trump’s administration.

    But when African and European leaders met in Abidjan last week, Macron was equivocal in offering the same emphatic welcome to African migrants held in the detention centres in Libya – regardless of their qualifications.

    Everyone wants “good migrants” – where “good” means primarily white and/or wealthy.

    Ignoring the suffering

    At the same time, consider that the barter of African bodies in Libya is not a question of a handful of criminals in the desert. It is a global system that rises to the highest level.

    Deposed Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi routinely used the threat of allowing mass migration of black Africans to Europe in negotiations for improved political relations.

    European governments have repeatedly paid African countries to take and keep African migrants and refugees in Africa. Black and brown bodies are constantly on sale in the modern era, but it is couched in the polite language of diplomatic negotiation and “helping them where they are”.

    And the very act of feigning shock at information that has been in the public domain – reported by survivors and journalists alike – for so long speaks to an unwillingness to see the suffering of Africans.

    Race and racism are at the heart of the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, but, to date, humanitarianism has been reluctant to talk about it in stark terms.

    The preferred language of protection is dry and technical, linked to statutes and conventions that were drafted at the time of Jim Crow and independence movements around the world.

    Consider that the refugee convention entered into force in 1951 when most of Africa and the Caribbean was still colonised and three years before Brown v. Board of Education desegregated US schools.

    New voices

    The convention was not designed with ethnic minorities in mind and has struggled to adapt as the dynamics of refugee protection have shifted. It responded to the white-on-white crimes of World War II and is predicated on the goodwill of states towards citizens that arguably has never been extended to black or brown people.

    Which is probably why, less than a week later, the momentum triggered by the CNN film is already fading. The United States has pulled out of the new global compact on migration, and the document agreed upon by EU and AU leaders in Abidjan is widely viewed as weak.

    The stark visuals of the CNN report have forced a conversation on humanitarian protection to be openly and explicitly framed as a question of racial justice.

    This has allowed new voices and new advocacy into the conversation. It remains unclear if this new momentum and direction of thought will translate into more meaningful action for those on the move.

    nn/oa/ag

    Read more
  • Near East: Secretary Tillerson's Meeting with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj

    The below is attributable to Spokesperson Heather Nauert:‎

    Secretary Tillerson met today with Libyan Prime Minister Fayez al-Sarraj. Secretary Tillerson reaffirmed the United States’ full support for Prime Minister al-Sarraj, the Government of National Accord, and the Libyan Political Agreement. Secretary Tillerson thanked Prime Minister al-Sarraj for his stalwart partnership in counterterrorism efforts and defeating ISIS, and conveyed the United States’ commitment to supporting the Libyan people’s efforts to build a more stable, unified, and prosperous future.

    Secretary Tillerson and Prime Minister al-Sarraj discussed the need for all Libyan and international parties to back Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Libya Ghassan Salamé’s Action Plan to advance the national political reconciliation process and lay the groundwork for Libya to hold successful national elections. Secretary Tillerson underscored that the United States continues to urge all Libyan parties to engage constructively with Special Representative Salamé’s mediation, including his ongoing efforts to help them negotiate amendments to the Libyan Political Agreement. The Libyan Political Agreement remains the only viable framework for a political solution throughout Libya’s transitional period. Attempts to bypass the UN-facilitated political process or impose a military solution to the conflict would only destabilize Libya and create opportunities for ISIS and other terrorist groups to threaten the United States and our allies.

    Read more
  • Report – Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy – A8-0350/2017 – Committee on Foreign Affairs

    on the Annual Report on the implementation of the Common Foreign and Security Policy

    (2017/2121(INI))

    The European Parliament,

    –  having regard to the Annual Report from the Council to the European Parliament on the common foreign and security policy,

    –  having regard to Articles 21 and 36 of the Treaty on European Union,

    –  having regard to the Charter of the United Nations,

    –  having regard to the Interinstitutional Agreement of 2 December 2013 between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission on budgetary discipline, on cooperation in budgetary matters and on sound financial management,

    –  having regard to the declaration by the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (VP/HR) on political accountability,

    –  having regard to the 2016 European External Action Service (EEAS) communication on a Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy and the 2017 Commission and EEAS joint communication on a Strategic Approach to Resilience in the EU’s External Action,

    –  having regard to the key principles enshrined in the Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign and Security Policy, particularly those pertaining to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of states, and the inviolability of borders, being equally respected by all participating states,

    –  having regard to the joint communication from the Commission and VP/HR of 12 December 2011 entitled ‘Human rights and democracy at the heart of EU external action – towards a more effective approach’ (COM(2011)0886),

    –  having regard to Rule 52 of its Rules of Procedure,

    –  having regard to the report of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the opinion of the Committee on Budgets (A8-0350/2017),

    Introduction

    1.  Is convinced that no single Member State alone is able to tackle the challenges we face today; emphasises that common EU action is the most effective way to preserve Europe’s interests, uphold its values, engage in a wider world as a united and influential global actor and protect its citizens and Member States from increased threats to their security, including in a global digital sphere; is concerned about the EU’s security architecture, which remains fragile and fragmented in the face of continued and fresh challenges every day and in which a ‘hybrid peace’ has become an unsatisfactory reality; urges the Member States to take action and fulfil the wishes of those European citizens who have repeatedly stressed that EU foreign and security policy based on fundamental values and human rights is one of the most important and most necessary of all EU policies; considers that it is high time that Member States implement Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) tools, instruments and policies to enable the EU to respond to external conflicts and crises, build partners’ capacities and protect the European Union;

    2.  Recalls the EU’s commitment to develop a Common Foreign and Security Policy guided by the values of democracy, the rule of law, the universality and indivisibility of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and compliance with the UN Charter and international law; considers that, in order to live up to this commitment and to contribute to advancing human rights and democracy in the world, the EU and its Member States need to speak with a united voice and ensure that their message is heard;

    3.  Takes the view that, in order for the EU to succeed in addressing and overcoming the challenges it faces, and in particular security threats, it needs to be an effective, credible and values-based global player, with a capacity for action and effective dialogue with other global players, which implies the EU speaking with one voice, acting together and focusing its resources on strategic priorities;

    4.  Stresses the need for the EU’s external policies to be consistent with each other and with other policies with an external dimension, and to pursue the objectives set out in Article 21 of the Treaty on European Union;

    5.  Believes that the core milestones for the European Union to deliver on the expectations of its citizens are:

    –  coordination of an assessment of profound threats and challenges within the EU and a common approach in how to address them; taking into account in particular the prevention of radicalisation, which can lead to recruitment by terrorist groups,

    –  consolidation and deepening of the European project and its external action by, inter alia, enhancing the EU’s cooperation and capabilities in the field of its common foreign and security policy, including information warfare,

    –  cooperation between Member States, partners, and international organisations and institutions protecting peace within clearly defined and carefully chosen conditions to strengthen the rules-based, global political and economic order, including the protection of human rights, and working together with partners to play a leading role in reconciliation, peacemaking, peacekeeping and, where needed, peace enforcement;

    Coordination of an assessment of profound threats and challenges: facing the current political and security environment

    6.  Emphasises that guaranteeing the security of EU citizens and the integrity of the EU’s territory, stabilising the neighbourhood, especially in the Western Balkans with a focus on more visibility of the EU in this region, promoting reforms to preserve a rules-based, cooperative political and economic international order, tackling the root causes of armed conflicts and enhancing policies of conflict prevention, peaceful conflict resolution and dialogue with pluralist democracies committed to the defence of human rights, are the key conditions for the stability of the EU; calls on more active EU public diplomacy and greater visibility for projects implemented by the EU;

    7.  Is of the view that, in an increasingly conflict-ridden and unstable international environment, only a combination of effective multilateralism, joint soft power and credible hard power can be capable of confronting major security challenges, notably the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, the violation of the security order in Europe, terrorism, conflicts in the Eastern and Southern neighbourhood, proxy wars, hybrid and information warfare, including digital aggression, and energy insecurity; highlights that these challenges also include the refugee crises in its humanitarian dimension, challenging aggressive behaviour by North Korea, the violation of international law by Russia and China’s growing military power, for which only a strong diplomatic response will suffice;

    8.  Is of the opinion that a more effective common foreign and security policy depends primarily on the establishment of common strategic priorities and visions; takes the view that it is necessary to tackle the root causes of instability, spread largely because of failed or fragile states, and of forced and irregular migration: poverty, the lack of economic opportunities and access to education, social exclusion, armed conflicts, undemocratic and inefficient governance, corruption, climate change, increasing sectarianism, the threat of radicalisation and the spread of extremist ideologies; recalls the action plan adopted at the Valletta Summit calling for a shared responsibility of countries of origin, transit and destination; emphasises the importance of breaking the economic model of smuggler networks;

    9.  Underlines the need to counter autocratic and nepotistic trends, to intensify support for democratic forces and to fight against Islamist terrorism in the Southern neighbourhood and among the neighbours of our neighbours and partners, and to target those groups which seek to encourage EU citizens to fight for their extremist cause; recalls that the Sahel region and other connected geographical areas are priority regions for ensuring the security of the European Union; reiterates the need for concerted diplomatic efforts on the part of the EU, the US and other international partners, to work with players in the region, such as Turkey, the Gulf states and Iran, on the need for a clear position against religious extremism and terrorism, and to establish a common strategy to address this global challenge in line with the commitment undertaken at UN level to uphold international law and universal values; believes that diplomatic efforts should be accompanied by the wide range of other tools and instruments at the EU’s disposal, including those for the improvement of political, social and economic conditions conducive to the establishment and preservation of peace;

    10.  Believes that tackling violent extremism should go hand in hand with upholding universal human rights; stresses that the EU must counter and condemn state sponsors of radicalisation and terrorism, particularly where such support is given to entities listed by the EU as terror organisations; underlines the importance of strengthening cooperation with our partners experienced in combating terrorism;

    11.  Stresses that a sustainable solution to the Syrian crisis can only be achieved under the existing UN-agreed framework and needs to be based on an inclusive, Syrian-led political settlement involving all relevant stakeholders; continues to urge all members of the UN Security Council to honour their responsibilities with regard to the crisis; supports the call of the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria on the ceasefire guarantor states to undertake urgent efforts to uphold the ceasefire regime;

    12.  Welcomes the EU strategy on Syria adopted in April 2017, which includes extending sanctions to persons involved in the development and use of chemical weapons; encourages the further extension of sanctions to those responsible for human rights violations; stresses that all those responsible for breaches of international law must be held accountable; reiterates its call for the EU and its Member States to explore with partners the creation of a Syria war crimes tribunal, pending a successful referral to the ICC; stresses the need for the EU to demonstrate full commitment in assisting the reconstruction of Syria after the conflict;

    13.  Calls on all parties involved, within and outside Libya, to support both the Libyan political agreement signed on 17 December 2015 and its resulting Presidential Council, which is the only authority recognised by the international community and the UN; underlines that solving the Libyan crisis is a prerequisite for stability in the Mediterranean; emphasises the importance of the Southern neighbourhood and the need to achieve a euro-Mediterranean space of peace, prosperity, stability and integration; underlines its strong support for the two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict with an independent, democratic, viable and contiguous Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace and security with the secure State of Israel; stresses the importance of ensuring coherence of EU policy on situations of occupation or annexation of territory;

    14.  Welcomes the continued successful implementation by all parties of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed by the EU3 +3 with Iran; stresses that the continued full implementation of this agreement by all parties is key to global efforts on non-proliferation and conflict resolution in the Middle East; highlights that the JCPOA is a multilateral agreement that was endorsed by a UN Security Council resolution and cannot be changed unilaterally; stresses the security risk posed by Iran’s ballistic missile programme and underlines the need for full implementation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231, which calls on Iran not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology;

    15.  Notes that the US Treasury Department has officially updated its Specially Designated Nationals (SDN) counter-terrorism list to include the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC);

    16.  Expresses its deep concern about the ongoing humanitarian disaster in Yemen; emphasises once again that there can be no military solution to the prolonged conflict in Yemen and supports efforts undertaken by the EU and UN towards achieving the ceasefire and laying the ground for peace negotiations; takes the view that the EU must act to ensure the continued existence of ethnic-religious minorities in the Middle East, particularly in Iraq and Syria;

    17.  Condemns the repeated use by Russia of its veto powers on the UN Security Council and considers it to undermine international efforts for peace and conflict resolution in Syria and the European Union’s southern neighbourhood more widely;

    18.  Acknowledges that further efforts should be made to make legal migration and mobility possible, including at bilateral level, by fostering well-managed mobility between and within continents, and by encouraging policies that promote regular channels for migration while fighting illegal networks that profit from vulnerable people; underlines the efforts taken by individual Member States in this regard and considers it essential to strengthen the legal and secure access path to Europe; regrets, in this regard, the lack of a genuine, balanced and credible European migration and asylum policy, as demonstrated by the ongoing crisis in the Mediterranean, and calls on the Council and the Member States to act accordingly;

    19.  Strongly believes that a new approach to the EU’s relations with its Eastern neighbours is needed; believes that supporting those countries that wish to have closer ties with the EU must be a top priority for EU foreign policy; believes that the prolongation of sanctions against individuals and entities in Russia is an inevitable outcome of the failure to implement the Minsk agreements and continues to see such implementation by all sides as the basis for a sustainable political solution to the conflict in Eastern Ukraine;

    20.  Emphasises that the possibility of more cooperative relations with Russia is contingent on Russia fully abiding by the European security order and international law; insists that the EU should keep open the option of further gradual sanctions if Russia continues to violate international law; reiterates its commitment to the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine and all the other Eastern Partnership countries within their internationally recognised borders; stresses that Russia’s decision of 21 March 2014 to incorporate Crimea into the Russian Federation remains illegal under international law and deplores the subsequent decision by the Russian authorities to forcefully impose Russian passports on all inhabitants of Crimea; calls on the VP/HR and the Council to play a more active and effective role in solving protracted and frozen conflicts;

    21.  Deplores Russia’s multiple violations of international law and its hybrid warfare; recognises, however, the possibility of reasoned and coherent selective engagement and dialogue with Russia in areas of common interest, in order to ensure accountability and respect for international law; stresses the need to maintain and encourage the possibility of future cooperation on resolving global crises where there is a direct or indirect EU interest or an opportunity to promote EU values;

    22.  Believes that normalised relations are a necessity for both the EU and Russia, and that any future EU-Russia strategy should emphasise reinforced commitment and support for the EU’s Eastern Partners; stresses that the EU should keep the door open for deepening the bilateral political and economic relationship with Russia, subject to Russia complying with international law and subscribed agreements, and halting its increasingly assertive attitude towards its neighbours and Europe;

    23.  Reiterates that sovereignty, independence and the peaceful settlement of disputes are key principles of the European security order which apply to all states; condemns unreservedly, therefore, Russian aggression in Ukraine, including the illegal annexation of Crimea and the Russian-sponsored conflict in Eastern Ukraine; calls on the EU, its Member States and the international community to demand that Russia must halt its aggression and release all political prisoners; calls for the international community to play a more active and effective role in the resolution of the conflict and to support all efforts for a lasting peaceful solution which respects the unity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine, in particular by the deployment – with the consent of the Ukrainian authorities – of a peace-building and peace-keeping mission to the whole territory;

    24.  Reiterates the need for a strategic refocus on the Western Balkans, recognising that the EU should follow through with its ambitions in the region, as doing so would give a fresh impetus to a credible EU enlargement policy based on the Copenhagen criteria, and strengthen the rule of law and the resilience of state institutions; believes that the stability of the Western Balkans must continue to be a major priority; calls for more efforts in improving the socio-economic and political conditions of the region; is convinced that European integration and regional reconciliation are the best means to address the dangers stemming from destabilising foreign interference and influences, the funding of large Salafist and Wahhabi networks and the recruitment of foreign fighters, organised crime, major state disputes, disinformation and hybrid threats; stresses the need to remain dedicated to fostering highly effective political societies in the region;

    25.  Reiterates that once all those criteria have been met, the doors of the EU are open for membership; welcomes recent efforts undertaken as part of the Berlin Process and Trieste Summit to give additional impetus to the convergence of Western Balkan countries towards EU membership; reiterates that special attention and support should be given to the implementation of crucial institutional and political reforms in the Western Balkans and calls on the Commission to rethink the possibility for additional allocation of financial resources for the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance (IPA), as one of the most important tools for aiding the implementation of those reforms;

    26.  Recalls that the review of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) calls for the involvement of neighbouring third countries; calls for stronger support for the neighbours of our neighbours, on the basis of shared values and interests, in order to tackle global issues and address common challenges; highlights the need to promote the empowerment and protection of women, vulnerable social groups and minorities, in particular in Africa, where close cooperation between European and local SMEs, in partnership with civil society, and where support for building democratic, transparent and effective institutions and the promotion of a rule-based global order, are needed;

    27.  Considers international cooperation and development policies to be fundamental instruments for achieving such objectives and urges a more transparent, improved, efficient and effective allocation and use of EU funding, and greater synergies with other international organisations; emphasises the need to address the major security threats in Africa with a view to eradicating the terrorist threat posed by any terrorist group, to guarantee the prevention of the recruitment of individuals, to combat radical ideologies and to address energy security by means of environmentally friendly and sustainable energy sources while at the same time promoting off-grid solutions;

    28.  Strongly condemns any attempt by incumbent presidents to overstay in power by violating, evading or unlawfully amending electoral laws, and constitutions in particular; condemns, by the same token, any strategy to abolish or circumvent term limits; urges all governments to take measures to ensure the transparency and integrity of the entire electoral process, and to take all necessary measures and precautions to prevent the perpetration of fraud or any illegal practices; expresses its concern, in this regard, about the political crises, and related violence and violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms, in particular in countries in the Great Lakes Region; reiterates its belief in strong electoral observation missions, and, where necessary, financial, technical and logistical support as a means of achieving fair, credible and democratic electoral processes;

    29.  Encourages the development of a coherent, robust strategy for the Sahel region aimed at improving governance and the accountability and legitimacy of state and regional institutions, at boosting security, at tackling radicalisation and the trafficking of people, arms and drugs, and at strengthening economic and development policies;

    30.  Reiterates the need for an updated strategy for EU-Asia relations; voices support in this context for stronger cooperation within the framework of the Asia-Europe Meetings, including in terms of its parliamentary dimension; encourages support for closer regional cooperation and trust-building measures in South Asia with a view to reducing tensions between India and Pakistan; recommends continued support for EU peace mediation in the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process; stresses that preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region is of substantial interest to the EU and its Member States; considers it vital and of great urgency to develop an updated EU strategy for the North-East Asia region in the light of the continued military build-up and the aggressive and irresponsible attitude shown by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK); condemns the tests and provocations by the DPRK, and its multiple violations of UN Security Council resolutions and international obligations; urges the EU’s diplomatic power to be used to apply pressure on the DPRK to persuade its leaders to abandon weapons of mass destruction; calls for the mobilisation of all diplomatic tools, including sanctions, in order to prevent an escalation of this crisis; calls for the irreversible denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula by peaceful means and for the full implementation of all relevant UN Security Council resolutions;

    31.  Stresses that preserving peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region is of substantial interest to the EU and its Member States; calls on all the parties concerned to resolve differences through peaceful means and to refrain from taking unilateral action to change the status quo, including in the East and South China Seas and the Taiwan Strait, in order to safeguard regional security; reiterates its commitment to supporting Taiwan’s meaningful participation in international organisations and activities;

    32.  Recalls that Latin America shares with the EU common values, principles and trust in effective multilateralism and believes that the EU-Latin American partnership is important and should be strengthened in order to jointly address major global challenges; expresses its grave concern about the attacks carried out against members of the judiciary and the democratically elected opposition and civil society leaders in Venezuela; emphasises that respect for the rule of law, the fight against corruption, progress towards democracy, and fundamental freedoms and human rights are cornerstones for deeper integration and cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC);

    33.  Reiterates its support for the peace process in Colombia, which is critical for the future of Colombians and for stabilisation in the region; demands that all FARC assets, including the treasure obtained from drug smuggling, be used to indemnify victims of the conflict;

    Consolidation and deepening of the European project through enhanced EU capabilities

    34.  Urges the Commission, the EEAS and the Member States to adopt an EU comprehensive approach at every relevant opportunity, and believes that coherent, coordinated action across EU polices, while taking into consideration and implementing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, in particular in the areas of humanitarian aid, agriculture, development, trade, energy, climate, science and cyber defence and security, should be applied in the EU’s external action in a consistent and structured manner in order to harness the EU’s collective force; believes that energy security, the respect for human rights and climate diplomacy remain important complementary aspects of the EU’s common foreign and security policy to be addressed as part of the comprehensive approach, and that the Energy Union should be further advanced;

    35.  Recognises that climate change could have a serious effect on regional and global stability, as global warming disputes over territory, food, water and other resources weaken economies, threaten regional security, and act as a source of migratory flows; further encourages the EU and its Member States to consider how national and EU military planning can include climate change adaption strategies and what would be considered an appropriate capability, priority and response;

    36.  Stresses that the future of European defence cooperation is significantly affected by the decision of the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU, and calls for the continued engagement of the EU and UK as major international partners in order to maintain European security; stresses that the presidential elections in the United States introduced uncertainty into the transatlantic partnership and highlights the need for a counterweight for EU defence and the establishment of strategic autonomy;

    37.  Takes the view, that in order to make the Common Foreign and Security policy more assertive, effective and values-based, the EU should enhance its energy security, by immediately reducing its dependence, at present, on oil and gas supplied by authoritarian regimes, and by stopping it altogether in the medium term;

    38.  Stresses that the current decision-making process for the CFSP, based on unanimity in the Council of the EU, is the main obstacle to effective and timely external EU action; is of the opinion that qualified majority voting should also be applied for the CFSP; takes the view that the EU institutions must improve their ability to anticipate conflicts and crises, including by means of short- and long-term impact assessments of its policies, in order to address the root causes of the problems; believes that the EU needs to be able to react more swiftly and effectively to developing crises and should place greater emphasis on preventing conflicts by primarily using civilian tools at an early stage; calls on the Member States to put into practice Parliament’s recommendations to embrace the principle of Responsibility to Protect; stresses the need to deepen cooperation between the Member States, partner countries and international organisations, and underlines the importance of an effective exchange of information and coordination of preventive actions;

    39.  Calls on the VP/HR, the Commission and the Member States to step up their efforts to increase the EU’s ability to confront hybrid and cyber threats, to further strengthen the capacity of the EU and its partner countries to fight fake news and disinformation, to draw up clear criteria to facilitate the detection of fake news, to allocate more resources and turn the Stratcom task force into a fully-fledged unit within the EEAS; calls, in this regard, for the development of joint, comprehensive risk and vulnerability analysis capacities and methods, and for the EU’s resilience and strategic communication capabilities to be bolstered; stresses the role of independent media – both on- and offline – in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural competences, and the need to strengthen such media as a source of credible information, especially in the EU and its neighbourhood, and underlines that common EU TV and radio stations should be further enhanced; calls on the Commission to coordinate better with the EEAS and Member States on those issues;

    40.  Is of the view that Europe’s power resides in its ability to strengthen a community of values and respect for the diversity of culture that binds together all Europeans; believes, in this context, that the EU plays a major role as a promoter of democracy, freedom, the rule of law, human rights and equal opportunities, and should continue to promote its values outside the EU; recalls that human rights are an integral part of the CFSP and should form a central conditionality of external policies, and furthermore that these policies must be consistent and principled; highlights that cultural diplomacy should become a substantial part of the EU’s external action and urges the Commission to expand the Erasmus+ programme and foster the development of ambitious science diplomacy; calls for closer coordination with ​the ​UNESCO and World Heritage Committee and with non-state actors and civil society organisations as key partners of the EU;

    41.  Points out that it was noted in UN Security Council Resolution 1820(2008) of 19 June 2008 that rape and other forms of sexual violence can constitute a war crime, a crime against humanity, or a constitutive act with respect to genocide, and that women must be afforded humanitarian protection in situations of armed conflict;

    42.  Considers that the development of a strong defence industry is strengthening the technological independence of the EU; calls for the industrial and technological resources needed to improve cybersecurity to be developed, including through the promotion of a single market for cybersecurity products; calls for significantly increased financial and human resources to be made available within the EU institutions in order to increase the EU’s cyber security and cyber defence capacity; emphasises the need to mainstream cyber defence into external action and common foreign and security policy, as well as the need for an improved ability to identify cybercrime;

    43.  Notes that information and cyber warfare, targeting EU Member States and other Western countries, is a deliberate attempt to destabilise and discredit political, economic and social structures; recalls that the security of EU Member States which are NATO members is guaranteed under Article 5 of the Alliance; calls for closer coordination on cyber defence between EU Member States, EU institutions, NATO, the United States and other credible partners;

    44.  Stresses the role of independent media in promoting cultural diversity and intercultural competences, and the need to strengthen such media as a source of credible information, especially in the EU and its neighbourhood, and to further strengthen the EU’s capacity to fight fake news and disinformation; highlights in this context the need to develop stronger resilience at EU level against such information spread over the Internet; calls on the Commission to coordinate better with the EEAS on those issues;

    45.  Believes that Europe should further strengthen cooperation on common defence, in order to defend its common values and principles and strategic autonomy; stresses the importance of the link between external and internal security, better use of resources and risk control in the periphery of Europe; recalls that the link between development and security is a key principle underpinning the Union’s approach to external crises and conflicts; calls on the Member States to unleash the Lisbon Treaty’s full potential with regard to the Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) and welcomes in this context the Implementation Plan on Security and Defence; encourages a review of the EU’s approach to civilian CSDP missions in order to ensure they are properly devised, implemented and supported; considers that European Defence Agency (EDA) capabilities and permanent structured cooperation (PESCO) and the EU Battlegroups should be used to their full potential; urges the Member States to provide additional funding to that end;

    46.  Believes that the European Union and its Member States must develop effective foreign and security policy, and must work together with NATO and other international partners, the UN, NGOs, human rights defenders, and others on issues of shared concern and in order to promote peace, prosperity and stability around the world; highlights the importance of raising awareness and political commitment for an urgent implementation of an ambitious, effective and structured CSDP; urges the Council, the Commission and the Member States to address the EU’s communication problems by making EU external action more accountable and visible; calls on the Member States and the EU institutions to deliver on defence following the EU Global Strategy and the Commission’s plans to improve EU defence research and capability development;

    47.  Calls on the Commission to fully reflect the growing security challenges in its proposal for the next multiannual financial framework (MFF); considers that both the size and the flexibility of the CFSP budget must match EU citizens’ expectations about the EU’s role as a security provider; insists on the need for a global vision for EU policy and instruments in the field of security, including fruitful coordination with the proposed European Defence Fund; calls on the Member States to aim for the target of spending 2 % of GDP on defence, and to spend 20 % of their defence budgets on equipment identified as necessary by the EDA; points out, in addition, that any new policy must be backed by funding from new sources; notes that various Member States have difficulty in maintaining a very broad range of fully operational defensive capabilities, mostly because of financial constraints; calls for more cooperation and coordination, therefore, about which capabilities should be maintained, so that Member States can specialise in certain capabilities and spend their resources more efficiently; believes that interoperability is key if Member States’ forces are to be more compatible and integrated; recalls that CFSP appropriations represented 3.6 % of the Heading 4 commitments in 2016 and 0.2 % of the whole EU budget; regrets that the size and under-implementation of and systematic transfers from the CFSP chapter reveal a persistent lack of ambition for the EU to act as a global player;

    48.  Notes that deadlocks within the UN Security Council are impeding action by the international community and preventing crisis resolution; calls once again on the Member States to support reforms in the composition and functioning of the Security Council;

    Cooperation within coalitions and with institutions delivering security

    49.  Underlines that it is in the EU’s strategic interest to preserve and deepen its transatlantic relations based on respect for common values, international law and multilateralism; calls for the EU to continue to develop its strategic autonomy and create its own capabilities to better address regional and international conflicts that have an impact on the EU; believes that the EU and US should focus on adapting transatlantic structures to today’s challenges, such as defending human rights, tackling climate change, combating international terrorism and corruption, the prevention of radicalisation, the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, and countering third-party countries’ efforts to destabilise the EU and NATO; further stresses the importance of continued and reinforced cooperation between the EU and US bilaterally and through NATO on common issues; recalls that the EU and the US are each other’s most important partners and that unilateral moves serve only to weaken the transatlantic partnership; believes that Europe must further enhance a virtuous alliance between the private and public sectors and should reinforce the strategic relationship with the US; calls on the Council and the EEAS to consistently raise the issue of US extraterritorial sanctions in their dialogue with the US Government;

    50.  Strongly supports the 2016 Warsaw Summit Declaration, particularly on EU-NATO cooperation, and welcomes decisions on closer cooperation between NATO and the EU in numerous areas as well as the placement of US, Canadian and other multinational forces at the Eastern flank of the EU;

    51.  Calls for increased intelligence sharing between Member States, increased interinstitutional intelligence sharing, and coordination between the EU, Member States and NATO, and insists that they must continue to cooperate as closely as possible in a complementary manner while fully respecting European core values and norms; acknowledges that information sharing and coordinated action between the EU, its Member States and NATO will produce results in areas such as terrorism response to hybrid threats, situational awareness, resilience building, strategic communications, cyber security and capacity-building vis-à-vis the EU’s partners; believes that further coordination and closer cooperation with other existing multilateral entities such as Eurocorps is needed in order to increase the EU’s security; reiterates that a revitalisation of the strategic partnerships should be a priority for the EU;

    52.  Underlines the role of Parliament in shaping a genuinely common foreign policy in line with the expectations of European citizens; calls on the Council to act in concert with Parliament during the main phases of foreign policy decision-making;

    53.  Acknowledges the work of the VP/HR and calls for her to continue to ensure that future annual reports will be more concise and forward-looking, focusing on the most important priorities for the year ahead and an evaluation of the measures launched in the previous year, including their financial implications, in order to provide a comprehensive overview on the EU’s performance;

    °

    °  °

    54.  Instructs its President to forward this resolution to the Council, the Commission, the Vice-President of the Commission / High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, and the Member States.

    Read more
  • Secretary-General Strongly Hopes Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Stays in Place

    SG/SM/18747-DC/3744

    13 October 2017

    The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for UN Secretary-General António Guterres:

    The Secretary-General has repeatedly said that the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a very important breakthrough to consolidate nuclear non-proliferation and advance global peace and security.  He strongly hopes that it will remain in place.

    For information media. Not an official record.

    Read more
  • Daily Press Briefing by the Office of the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

    The following is a near-verbatim transcript of today’s noon briefing by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General.

    **Deputy Secretary-General’s Travels

    The Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed, will be travelling tomorrow to, to participate in the preliminary meeting of the 23rd Conference of the Parties to UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), otherwise known as a Pre-COP, which is a precursor to the meeting that will be held in Bonn.

    While there, she will deliver keynote addresses to the non-state actors partnership day on 16 October and to the opening of the Pre-Conference of Parties on 17 October.  She also will hold bilateral meetings with senior level officials from the participating countries, the business community as well as civil society and the UN country team.

    She is back in New York next Wednesday.

    **Libya

    I wanted to bring you an update on Sabratha in Libya:  after three weeks of fierce fighting, our colleagues from UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency) have been responding to urgent humanitarian needs in and around the city since last Friday.  Three thousand Libyan families have been displaced and more than 10,000 refugees and migrants are stranded and in need of urgent assistance.  The most pressing needs for those displaced or returning include temporary shelter, basic aid items and medical support.  Today, UNHCR is delivering aid kits to local authorities coordinating the response for the internally displaced people.  The agency also has sent in trucks with emergency assistance including sleeping bags, hygiene kits, food and blankets to respond to immediate needs.

    Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) has started providing vital food assistance to displaced families.  With the help of Libyan partners, the agency is delivering enough food this week to feed 1,500 people who have been severely impacted by fighting.

    And I want to flag that the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, was in Libya earlier this week for a visit focused on arbitrary detention, torture and other grave violations.  A press release was issued by his office yesterday.

    **Yemen

    A humanitarian update, this time from Yemen: as of yesterday, there were over 820,000 suspected cholera cases and over 2,150 associated deaths in Yemen since 27 April of this year.  This is the largest single-year cholera outbreak ever on record.  The outbreak has spread to 92 per cent of Yemen’s districts.

    This week, the World Health Organization (WHO) chartered two flights to Sana’a, carrying more than 43 tons of essential medicines and medical supplies.

    Humanitarians have reached more than 2.2 million people with essential medicines and kits, including providing some 600,000 people with medicines for non-communicable diseases.

    WHO and UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) are also supporting local health authorities in all governorates in a polio vaccination campaign aimed at reaching 5.3 million children under 5 years of age.

    **Ukraine

    The Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, Ursula Mueller, today wrapped up a three-day visit to Ukraine, where she saw first-hand the conflict on both sides of the so-called contact line.

    She stressed the urgent need for humanitarian funding to help millions of civilians in the coming winter months.

    In a UN-supported centre for the internally displaced in the country’s east, Ms.  Mueller met with elderly men and women, who she said wish for peace and to be able to return to their homes.  She also met with the leaders of Donetsk and Luhansk, and called for increased cooperation in the areas of humanitarian and development aid, as well as for sustained access for aid workers to all parts of eastern Ukraine.

    In the capital, Kyiv, she discussed the challenging situation that 1.6 million uprooted Ukrainians face with the Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons.

    The UN-coordinated $204 million Humanitarian Response Plan remains severely underfunded, with just one-quarter of the funds needed having been received.

    **Migration

    And on a somewhat related note, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has named Ukrainian singer and winner of last year’s Eurovision Song Contest, Jamala, as its Goodwill Ambassador focusing on counter-trafficking.

    “We greatly appreciate Jamala’s involvement in our campaign aimed at prevention of modern slavery.  We believe that her engagement in trafficking prevention will help save many lives,” the IOM said in a statement.  More available online.

    **Democratic Republic of the Congo

    I want to give you an update from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) on an event that happened on 15 September, which I think you, Matthew, asked about.

    Our colleagues [give us an update about] an incident in the DRC on 15 September, during which 37 asylum seekers from Burundi and one soldier of the Congolese Army were killed after days of tension.

    One hundred and seventeen asylum seekers, six soldiers, and four officers of the National Congolese Police (PNC) were also injured in the protest that took place in Kamanyola, South Kivu province.

    After the incident, the nearby MONUSCO (United Nations Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo) base provided physical protection to asylum seekers under threat from the local population.  It also provided medical assistance, as well as food and shelter to the Burundians.  MONUSCO has since called on the authorities of the DRC to conduct a thorough investigation into this incident and hold those who may have violated the law to account.

    The Mission has also conducted two internal inquiries into MONUSCO’s actions before, during and after the incident, including on the reactions of its Force.  The Secretariat is following up with the Troop Contributing Country whose soldiers are based in Kamanyola.

    The Mission is also reviewing its procedures related to such incidents, including its support to the Congolese Army and Police, its approach in protecting civilians, and its guidance and training to its Force regarding response to violent incidents.

    **Tuberculosis

    Yesterday, the first-ever roadmap to combat animal tuberculosis (bovine TB) and its transmission to humans, referred to as zoonotic TB, was launched in Guadalajara.  If you are interested, read up from WHO.

    **Disaster Reduction

    Today is the International Day for Disaster Reduction.  This year’s theme is “Home Safe Home:  Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement” and seeks to raise awareness about effective actions and policies to reduce exposure to disaster risk at the community level, thereby contributing to saving homes and livelihoods. 

    **Appointment

    Senior personnel appointment for today:  The Secretary-General is appointing Major General Francis Vib-Sanziri of Ghana as the Head of Mission and Force Commander of the UN Disengagement Observer Force, or UNDOF.

    The Major General succeeds Major General Jai Shanker Menon of India, who completed his assignment on 30 September 2017.  We are grateful to Major General Menon for his dedicated leadership of UNDOF.

    Major General Vib-Sanziri has had a distinguished military career at both national and international levels, and he also possesses extensive peacekeeping experience, including in a number of UN missions.  More in his biography which is in my office.

    **Press Briefings

    A couple of things to flag: after we are done here, Mr. Brenden Varma will brief on behalf of the President of the General Assembly.

    At 1:00 p.m. there will be a press conference by Jens Modvig, Chair of the Committee against Torture; Malcolm Evans, Chair of the Subcommittee on Prevention of Torture; and Nils Melzer, Special Rapporteur on Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.

    Also, at 5:00 p.m.  Ambassador François Delattre, Permanent Representative of France and Ambassador Matthew Rycroft, Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom, will speak to the press at the Security Council Stakeout.

    Immediately following that, Kofi Annan, Chair of the Advisory Commission on Rakhine State and the seventh Secretary-General of these United Nations, will speak at the stakeout.

    Both of those events are related to the Arria formula meeting the Security Council is holding.

    **Honour Roll

    And today, we say a big thank you to Jamaica.  Our friends in Kingston have paid their balance in full, bringing us to 136.

    **Questions and Answers

    If you have a question, you may take it.  Otherwise, you may yield.  Oh, yield to Matthew.  Wow.

    Question:  Thank you.  Thanks a lot.  I have a number of other ones, but I wanted to ask you about Cameroon.  Some of the things that, I guess, I have asked you about, there’s now… now, I would assume that you’ve seen the Amnesty International study, which says that… that hundreds of people are detained without charge, packed like sardines, paying bails, people shot in the legs so they can’t protest, people fleeing the hospital to avoid the authorities.  So they obviously got in, were able to gather this evidence and they’ve called for other international organisations to send people.  Has the UN sent anyone, and if not, why not?

    Spokesman:  We have… as you know, we have a presence in Cameroon.  We’ve seen the Amnesty report, which raises a lot of issues of great concern to us, and I should have… hopefully have a bit more for you later.

    Question:  Including on the [François Louncény] Fall visit?

    Spokesman:  Yes.  Well, when I have something on the Fall visit, I will share it with you.  Ms.  Hurst.

    Question:  President [Donald] Trump is decertifying the Iran nuclear deal today.  Given that the Secretary-General has called that deal one of the… the biggest diplomatic achievements, is he disappointed in this move by President Trump?

    Spokesman:  Well, I think, first of all, we have to wait and see what the President of the United States actually announces.  I think from what I saw, it will be in about 45 minutes, so I don’t want to preempt or react to something that he has not yet said, so let’s wait and see what he’s actually said.  As you mentioned, I think for the Secretary-General, the adoption of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was a very important breakthrough to consolidate nuclear nonproliferation and advance global peace and security.  The Secretary-General very much hopes that it will remain in place.  Masood and then…

    Question:  Thank you, Stéphane.  Stéphane, on this… on Yemen as you had also… coming to Yemen.  [Ismail Ould] Cheikh Ahmed, Secretary-General’s representative, had said in a meeting to the Security Council that nobody seems to be listening to what the United Nations is suggesting or telling them, so… and he seemed to suggest that it is becoming a pattern.  Now, do you think the Secretary-General should now change tactics and deal with it separately, in another way, because to somebody at least to listen to the Secretary-General? I mean if they keep…

    Spokesman:  I’m not sure… whether the tactics change, the message is the same, and the message is for a stop to the fighting and for the parties to sit down around the table and find a political solution.  There is no military solution to what is going on in Yemen.  Every day, we see an increased suffering of the people, all across Yemen.  I mean, I think the numbers… the astounding numbers I’ve read out on cholera speak for themselves.  When you have the health infrastructure destroyed, civil servants and doctors not being paid.  The message is clear, and the message will stay the same.  Yes, sir?

    Question:  My… just a follow-up, Stéphane.  I mean, it seems… there is what is said that the Secretary-General has been calling on both parties to come to the table; they’re not coming to the table.  Telling them to at least stop this army action, to Saudi Arabia; they’re not doing that.  So…

    Spokesman:  Maybe… Masood, your questions are valid, but maybe they should be asked of the parties who have their fingers on the triggers.  Yes, sir?

    Question:  Stéphane, on Catalonia, I have asked you before.  Now that some time has passed since the referendum, but things are still not very clear, does the SG have a message to the… to the parties?

    Spokesman:  The Secretary-General’s message is that he trusts the democratic institutions of Spain.  Mr.  Lee?

    Question:  Actually, I wanted to ask a… a follow-up on the Yemen question, which is that there have been quotes from the… from the… I guess it’s called the Yemeni Government.  The Yemeni Government in… in exile has… has said that they don’t have any information about the initiative that Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed said that he has.  Meanwhile, the rebels said that he’s biased.  So I guess I’m just wondering, since this is a… it’s a recent article, what… what has he done since he came? He came and said, I’m presenting to both sides, and now, both sides… one side that he’s presumably in contact with says they have nothing from him, and the other side won’t talk to him.  So…

    Spokesman:  I think… he is in touch with the parties, and I don’t think it will be… those contacts will not be done through the media.  Yes, sir?

    Question:  Thank you, Mr.  Stéphane.  Bangladesh is facing huge challenges on Rohingya issues and you are addressing these issues rightly, but within the country, Bangladesh is facing… Bangladesh is under threat in terms of rule of law.  The Chief Justice of Bangladesh forced to go on leave and leave the country.  And the… the former Prime Minister of Bangladesh and the main opposition leader, Begum Khaleda Zia — Government issued against… arrest warrants… warrant against her.  So what is your observation on these?

    Spokesman:  I don’t have the particulars of this case, but I will look into it.  Yes, sir?

    Question:  I wanted to ask you.  You often say, you know, that the UN stands firmly behind the right to free association and… and protests.  Most recently, you said that about Gabon, but I wanted to ask you.  In Kenya very loudly the Government has outlawed protests in urban centres, so in a way, it’s a pretty broad ban on protests, and I haven’t heard anything that… that the UN in Kenya said about this.  Can you say from here why they haven’t said it from there? [cross talk]

    Spokesman:  Well, our principle stands, and I think you have the phone numbers and email addresses of all my colleagues in Nairobi and you’re free to ask them.

    Question:  I have a question.  As you may know… as you probably do know, Mr.  Ban Ki-moon is in New York.  He was across the street only yesterday.  But many people said that he’s going to meet the Secretary-General, but I’ve tried to look at the Secretary-General’s schedule…

    Spokesman:  There was a courtesy call, private meeting… courtesy call this morning.

    Question:  Okay.  By telephone, in person?

    Spokesman:  In person.

    Question:  All right.  But why isn’t that in the schedule? I guess I’m wondering.  When Trump meets [Henry] Kissinger, it’s on the schedule.  [laughter]

    Spokesman:  Well, I… neither [António] Guterres nor Ban Ki-moon are Trump, nor are they Kissinger.

    Correspondent:  I have one more question.  It’s a money question.

    Spokesman:  Please.  It’s Friday the 13th.

    Correspondent:  Okay, and the question is this…

    Spokesman:  It’s not a Periscope question?

    Question:  No.  It should be, but I… I’ll let you off the hook this time.  The question is about the Department of Public Information (DPI), and you’re going to say to ask them, but I’m going to ask you, because it’s the public’s money and you represent the Secretary-General.  I’ve heard that the DPI is talking… unhappy about his performance, is talking about hiring outside consultants, and I just wanted to know, given that they’re already spending a lot, what is the procedure in the UN to… if a department is unhappy with its performance or someone above it is unhappy with their performance, to simply spend more money, rather than better spending what they have? Can you just… can they just hire an outside consultant without no… without going through the Fifth Committee?  Is there a procurement process?  It’s obviously… this has been talked about in a public way, so…

    Spokesman:  I’m not aware of any public consultants, but as you know, if there are bids for any sort of services, it goes through procurement.

    Question:  Can you find out about… this is a particular example which has been recently said, as recently as 3 October, that there will be consultants hired in just… with what money would be my question.

    Spokesman:  Enjoy the rest… Yes, one last question.

    Question:  This is a follow-up on the previous question.  The Catalan leaders have been pushing for an international mediation.  Has the UN had any contact or do they see… do you see any role…

    Spokesman:  No, I’m not aware of any contacts that we’ve had with the regional leaders.

    Question:  Do you see any potential role?

    Spokesman:  On that question, I will refer you to my first answer.  Thank you.

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