Insurgency: UN Condemns Attack On Humanitarian Facility In Borno

PHOTO: United Nations


The United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, has condemned the attack by ‘non-state’ armed groups against a humanitarian accommodation in Ngala, Borno State.

The attack on the humanitarian hub was said to have been carried out by heavily armed men on Saturday in the north-eastern state of the country.

An entire section of the facility was reportedly razed, as well as one of the few vehicles being used by UN agencies for movement and aid delivery.

“I am outraged by the extremely violent attack on this key humanitarian facility where five United Nations staff were staying at the time of the incident.

“I am shocked by the violence and intensity of this attack, which is the latest of too many incidents directly targeting humanitarian actors and the assistance we provide,” stressed the Humanitarian Coordinator.

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Mr Kallon, however, stated that no lives were lost during the attack.

He noted that protective security measures deployed at the humanitarian hub prevented any harm to the workers that were in the facility.

The UN envoy said, “I am relieved all staff is now safe and secure. Aid workers, humanitarian facilities and assets cannot be a target and must be protected and respected at all times.

“Such incidents have a disastrous effect on the lives of the most vulnerable people who depend on our assistance to survive.”

“Many of them had already fled violence in their area of origin and were hoping to find safety and assistance in Ngala.

“This also jeopardises the ability of aid workers to stay and deliver assistance to the people most in need in remote areas in Borno State,” he added.

UN Court Tells Us To Ease Iran’s Sanction On Humanitarian Goods


The UN’s top court ordered the United States Wednesday to lift sanctions on humanitarian goods for Iran in a stunning setback for US President Donald Trump.

The International Court of Justice (ICJ) in The Hague handed Iran a major victory, saying that the stinging economic sanctions put Iranian lives at risk.

The ruling is likely to rile Trump, who reimposed the sanctions in May after pulling out of Iran’s international nuclear deal to the dismay of his allies.

But it was unclear whether the judgment will be anything more than symbolic because both Washington and Tehran have ignored them in the past.

The ICJ judges ruled that the sanctions on some goods breached a 1955 “Treaty of Amity” between Iran and the US that predates Iran’s Islamic Revolution.

“The court finds unanimously that… the United States of America… shall remove by means of its choosing any impediments arising from the measures announced on 8 May to the free exportation to Iran of medicines and medical devices, food, and agricultural commodities” as well as airplane parts, chief judge Abdulqawi Ahmed Yusuf said.

The court said sanctions on goods “required for humanitarian needs… may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran.”

US sanctions also had the “potential to endanger civil aviation safety in Iran and the lives of its users.”

‘In the right’

Iran’s foreign ministry hailed the shocking judgment as proof that Tehran was “in the right”.

Ahead of the decision, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the sanctions were a form of “psychological warfare” aimed at regime change.

Trump slapped the first round of sanctions on Iran in August after pulling out in May of the international deal aimed at curbing Tehran’s nuclear ambitions, to the dismay of his European allies. The second round of punitive measures is due in November.

Iran dragged the US to the ICJ in July, and during four days of hearings in late August, its lawyers accused Washington of “strangling” its economy.

Washington however forcefully told the court that it has no jurisdiction to rule on this case as it concerns a matter of national security.

Wednesday’s ruling is, in fact, a decision on so-called provisional measures ahead of a final decision on the matter, which may take several more years, experts said.

Rulings by the Hague-based ICJ, which rules on disputes between United Nations members are binding but it has no mechanism through which it can enforce its decisions.

In 1986 Washington disregarded the court’s finding that it had violated international law by supporting the pro-US Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Iran, in turn, ignored the ICJ’s ruling in 1980 to release hostages taken during the Iran hostage crisis.

Nazi disposition

There was no immediate reaction from the United States, but Trump has previously shown his disdain for overarching international organizations that limit US sovereignty, including the UN.

He recently heavily criticized the separate International Criminal Court in The Hague over a probe into alleged US abuses in Afghanistan.

The 2015 nuclear deal saw Iran agree to limit its nuclear programme and let in international inspectors in return for an end to years of sanctions by the West.

But Trump argues that funds from the lifting of sanctions under the pact have been used to support terrorism and build nuclear-capable missiles.

European allies have pledged to keep the deal alive, with plans for a mechanism to let firms skirt the US sanctions as they do business with Iran.

Despite that, France alleged on Tuesday that the Iranian intelligence ministry was behind a foiled plot to bomb an exiled opposition group near Paris.

US-Iran relations have plunged to a new low since Trump’s election in 2016, even as the US president reaches out to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un over his nuclear programme.

Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani faced off at the UN in September, with Rouhani denouncing leaders with “xenophobic tendencies resembling a Nazi disposition”.

Despite their 1955 Treaty of Amity and Economic Relations, Iran and the United States have not had diplomatic ties since 1980.

The case is the second brought by Tehran against Washington since 2016. That year it brought a suit at the ICJ against the freezing of around $2 billion of Iranian assets abroad which US courts say should go to American victims of terror attacks.

Hearings, in that case, are due to start next week.


U.S. Announces $533m Humanitarian Aid For Nigeria, Others

U.S. Announces $533m Humanitarian Aid For Nigeria, Others
US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks about the US relationship with Africa and his upcoming trip to the continent at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, on March 6, 2018. SAUL LOEB / AFP


The United States government has announced about $533million in humanitarian assistance for Nigeria, Ethiopia, Somalia, and South Sudan, as well as countries in the Lake Chad region.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, announced this on Tuesday during a presentation at the George Mason University, Fairfax in Virginia, ahead of his ‘very important’ trip to Africa.

The government explained on its Nigerian embassy’s website that the fund is meant to support countries where millions of citizens are facing life-threatening food insecurity and malnutrition as a result of ongoing conflict or prolonged drought.

“As we support important security efforts, we must work to find long-term diplomatic solutions to conflicts that cause so much human suffering. Until we do, the United States, as the world’s largest provider of humanitarian assistance, will continue to stand with those most vulnerable,” Tillerson said.

“As a testament to that commitment, today I’m announcing $533 million in additional humanitarian assistance to fight famine and food insecurity and address other needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, South Sudan, Ethiopia, and the Lake Chad Basin.

“The alarming levels of hunger in these areas are largely man-made, as conflicts erupt and people flee their homes. Under these conditions, people cannot produce crops and often lose access altogether to food, education, and healthcare.

“Many lose everything. And regrettably, Mother Nature can still be cruel, such as in the Horn of Africa, where a prolonged drought is contributing to grave food insecurity,” he added.

With this new funding from the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the U.S. is providing emergency food and nutrition assistance to help vulnerable populations, including tens of thousands of tons of in-kind food aid.

The funding, according to the statement, also supports safe drinking water programmes, emergency healthcare, and hygiene programmes to treat and prevent the spread of disease, as well as the reunification of families separated by conflict.

A breakdown of the newly announced funds shows that about $184million is for affected populations from South Sudan, more than $110million for affected populations from Ethiopia, at least $110million for affected populations from Somalia, while more than $128million is for affected populations from Nigeria and countries in the Lake Chad region.

The United States, however, called on all parties to allow aid workers safe and unhindered access to help communities in need.

World Faces Worst Humanitarian Crisis Since 1945 – UN

Maiduguri, United NationsThe United Nations says the world is facing its largest humanitarian crisis since 72 years, issuing a plea to avoid “a catastrophe”.

UN Humanitarian Chief, Stephen O’Brien, said at least 20 million people faced threat of famine and starvation in Yemen, South Sudan, Somalia and Nigeria.

Mr O’Brien noted that $4.4 billion was needed by July to avert the disaster.

“We stand at a critical point in history; already at the beginning of the year we are facing the largest humanitarian crisis since the creation of the United Nations.

“Now, more than 20 million people across four countries face starvation and famine.

“Without collective and coordinated global efforts, people will simply starve to death,” the Humanitarian Chief told the UN Security Council on Friday.

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) had warned that about 1.4 million children could starve to death in 2017.

ECOWAS Focuses On Human Trafficking And Child Protection

ecowasThe ECOWAS commission has commenced plans to establish a regional communication network that will help fight human trafficking and promote child protection in the sub region.

This effort is coming in view of the security crisis in different states in the region which the commission says leave women and children exposed to dangers of deprivation and forced labour.

The ECOWAS Director of Humanitarian and Social Affairs, Dr Dianel Eklu said nations must be made to assume responsibility for the protection of this vulnerable section of their societies, through agenda setting by the media, demands on accountability and promotion of alliances.