Trafficking Of Nuclear Materials Poses Threat To Int’l Peace, Security – Buhari

File Photo of President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has said that the trafficking of nuclear materials poses threat to international peace and security.

The President disclosed this on Friday during his video message to the UN High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons.

While restating Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful usage of nuclear energy, President Buhari called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

“We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” he said.

President Buhari also expressed concern about the “slow pace” of States possessing nuclear weapons in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities.

According to him, there is a need for the United Nations to continue engaging the Nuclear Weapon States to speed up their efforts in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities.

He said: “The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters, and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”

 

SEE FULL STATEMENT HERE:

TRAFFICKING IN NUCLEAR MATERIALS POTENTIAL THREAT TO INTERNATIONAL PEACE, SECURITY, PRESIDENT BUHARI WARNS AT UN SUMMIT

President Muhammadu Buhari Friday called for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, warning that trafficking in nuclear materials remains a potential threat to international peace and security.

In his video message to the UN High-level meeting to commemorate and promote the International Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, President Buhari restated Nigeria’s commitment to the peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

He, however, expressed concern about the ‘‘slow pace’’ of States possessing nuclear weapons in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities.

”We are concerned about the slow pace of progress by nuclear-weapon States to accomplish the total elimination of their nuclear arsenals, in accordance with their legal obligations and undertakings under Article VI of the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT),” President Buhari said.

Reiterating the need for the United Nations to continue engaging the Nuclear Weapon States to speed up their efforts in disarming and decommissioning their existing nuclear facilities, the Nigerian leader said:

”The best approach to avoid damage associated with nuclear materials such as humanitarian crisis, accidents, disasters and criminality is the total elimination of nuclear weapons.”

President Buhari told world leaders at the virtual summit that the universalization of the NPT was dependent upon strict compliance with its three pillars namely, disarmament, non-proliferation and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

He, therefore, enjoined the other Member States to ratify the Treaty, noting that Nigeria had played a major role in negotiations leading to the coming into force of the African Nuclear-Weapon-Free-Zone Treaty (Pelindaba Treaty).

”We will continue to galvanize the other African States to abide by the tenets of the Pelindaba Treaty. This is to ensure that the entire continent remains nuclear-free.

”While there are no easy solutions when we confront one of the gravest existential threats to the survival of the human race, we must remain undeterred and committed to a world of safety and security, one without the volatility posed by Nuclear Weapons,” he said.

The Nigerian President said it was noteworthy that this year marks the 75th Anniversary of the use of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan that terminated the lives of thousands of people with severe long-term damages to the environment.

“The Anniversary is a forceful reminder of the catastrophic humanitarian consequences of nuclear weapons which undermine global, national and human security.

“Hence, there is need for all states to comply with applicable international laws and conventions to ensure a world free of nuclear weapons.

“We must, therefore, redouble our efforts to implement the provisions of the Nuclear NPT being the basis of the Non-Proliferation Regime.

“This is to enable us to achieve our desire for the total elimination of nuclear weapons,” the Nigerian leader said.

President Buhari used the occasion to highlight how Nigeria had demonstrated support for multilateral efforts towards the total elimination of nuclear weapons.

The President recounted that as one of the countries in the vanguard of the campaign for the total elimination of nuclear weapons, Nigeria signed the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons on 20th September 2017 and recently ratified it on 6th August 2020.

He noted that Nigeria joined like-minded states to sponsor the resolution titled “Taking Forward Multilateral Nuclear Disarmament Negotiations” which led to the legally binding Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons.

”Nigeria has been involved in the promotion of the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology at national and international levels.

”Accordingly, Nigeria ratified several international treaties and conventions in the area of nuclear safety and security.

”We have also expressed political commitment to the IAEA Code of Conduct on safety and security of radioactive sources.

”More so, we have developed and approved the first International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Integrated Nuclear Security Plan for the period 2010-2012 with further review to cover 2019-2021 period.

”In this connection, Nigeria commends the continued efforts of the IAEA, particularly its role in monitoring and inspecting nuclear facilities. We urge States to ensure compliance with IAEA safeguards and standards at all times as well as nuclear verification disarmament measures,” he said.

The President added that in order to facilitate the development and peaceful deployment of nuclear technology, Nigeria regulates and implements its energy aspiration through the relevant agencies.

”In addition, we are reforming the National Nuclear Security Sector to make it robust and reliable.

”These reforms involve the domestication of The International Convention for the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism; Review of Nuclear Safety and Radiation Protection Act; and Review of Nigeria Nuclear Regulatory Authority Act.

”To further demonstrate our commitment to nuclear security, Nigeria successfully converted the Nigeria Research Reactor (NIRR-1), a 31 kilowatts miniature neutron source reactor from highly enriched uranium to low enriched uranium fuel.

”Also in 2019, the administration set up Nigeria’s Nuclear Security Support Centre and developed a Nuclear Security Detection Architecture to serve as a sustainable safeguard for maintaining nuclear security and detection of radioactive materials out of regulatory control,’’ he said.

President Buhari also reminded the Summit that the 1996 Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice affirms that the threat or use of nuclear weapons constitutes a crime against humanity and a violation of international law, including international humanitarian law.

Femi Adesina

Special Adviser to the President

(Media & Publicity)

October 2, 2020

World’s Workers Lost $3.5 Trillion In Wages Amid Pandemic – UN

(FILES) In this file photograph taken on September 5, 2018, Palestinian school children raise the victory gesture over a UN flag during a protest at a United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) school, financed by US aid, in the Arroub refugee camp near Hebron in the occupied West Bank. (Photo by HAZEM BADER / AFP)

 

The coronavirus pandemic is taking a heavier toll on jobs than previously feared, the UN said Wednesday, with hundreds of millions of jobs lost and workers suffering a “massive” drop in earnings.

In a fresh study, the International Labour Organization (ILO) found that by the mid-year point, global working hours had declined by 17.3 percent compared to last December — equivalent to nearly 500 million full-time jobs.

That is nearly 100 million more job-equivalents than the number forecast by the ILO back in June, when it expected 14 percent of working hours to be lost by the end of the second three-month period of the year.

“The impact has been catastrophic,” ILO chief Guy Ryder told reporters in a virtual briefing, pointing out that global labour income had shrunk by 10.7 percent during the first nine months of the year compared to the same period in 2019.

That amounts to a drop of some $3.5 trillion, or 5.5 percent of the overall global gross domestic product (GDP), the ILO said.

Since surfacing in China late last year, the novel coronavirus has killed nearly one million people worldwide out of the more than 31 million infected.

In addition to the health challenges, lockdowns, travel restrictions and other measures taken to rein in the virus have had a devastating impact on jobs and income across the globe.

– ‘Worsened significantly’ –

The ILO also warned that the outlook for the final three months of 2020 had “worsened significantly” since its last report in June.

The organisation had previously forecast that global working hours would be 4.9 percent lower in the fourth quarter than a year earlier, but said it now expected an 8.6 percent drop, which corresponds to 245 million full-time jobs.

It explained that workers in developing and emerging economies, especially those in informal jobs, had been much more affected than in past crises.

The ILO also pointed out that while many of the most stringent workplace closures have been relaxed, 94 percent of the world’s workers were in countries where some sort of workplace restrictions remain in place.

And Sangheon Lee, head of ILO’s employment policy division, warned that the situation for workers could worsen further.

If second waves of infections bring tighter restrictions and new lockdowns, he said, “the impact on the labour market could be comparable to the magnitude we saw in the second quarter of this year”.

Ryder cautioned against those pushing for policy makers to focus on economy over health in their response to the pandemic.

“It is very clear … that the capacity and the speed with which the global economy can get out of its labour market slump is intimately linked to our capacity to control the pandemic,” he said.

“These two things are very, very intimately intertwined, and we have to act on that understanding.”

The ILO’s report meanwhile showed that the labour market devastation could have been worse without the numerous fiscal stimulus packages provided by governments.

Without such stimulus efforts — amounting to around $9.6 trillion globally — global working hours would have shrunk by a full 28 percent in the second quarter, it said.

But it warned that fiscal stimulus was delivered very unevenly, with low- and middle-income countries receiving around $982 billion less in overall support than their wealthy counterparts.

Ryder urged international efforts to close the gap, insisting that “no group, country or region can beat this crisis alone.”

AFP

Mozambique Insurgency Will Deepen Food Insecurity Into 2021 – UN

(FILES) In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

Escalating conflict and deteriorating food security in northern Mozambique, where more than 300,000 people have abandoned their homes and crops, could see “crisis” levels of food insecurity continue into 2021, the World Food Programme warned Tuesday.

“We are deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian situation in Cabo Delgado where conflict and violence have left people without access to food and livelihoods,” WFP spokeswoman in Mozambique Antonella D’Aprile said in a statement.

“Latest findings from Famine Early Warning System (FEWSNET) indicate that communities will continue to face crisis levels of food insecurity into early 2021,” the statement said.

Tens of thousands of people who have lost access to food, and income sources are being deprived of humanitarian aid in northern Mozambique as extremist militants intensify an Islamist insurgency.

Since a spate of attacks on villages and towns in 2017, jihadists have killed more than 1,500 people and displaced over 300,000 according to WFP.

The Al-Shabaab Islamist group has occupied a strategic port in the town of Mocimboa da Praia in the north since August 12.

As the violence has intensified in the aid-dependent country over recent months, thousands of refugees have fled to neighbouring Tanzania, as well as into other northern Mozambican provinces, mainly Niassa and Nampula.

WFP said growing insecurity and poor infrastructure hampered efforts to reach out to people in need in the north, coupled with complexities brought on by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

It said the additional shocks would particularly affect women and children, given that more than half of children under five are chronically malnourished in the Cabo Delgado area, the second highest rate in the country.

The UN said that with Cabo Delgado currently recording Mozambique’s second-highest number of the country’s 6,912 coronavirus cases, population displacements could accelerate the spread of the virus.

The agency said it requires $4.7 million a month to assist the displaced in northern Mozambique, warning that it would be forced to reduce food rations as early as December if it does not secure the funds.

AFP

UN At 75: Buhari Says World Body Has Stayed True To Its Aspirations

File Photo: President Muhammadu Buhari

 

President Muhammadu Buhari Monday hailed the United Nations for remaining true to the aspirations of its founders, saying the international organisation has continued to play the crucial role of fostering global peace and security.

The President joined world leaders at a virtual event to commemorate the 75th anniversary of the United Nations.

Due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, the UN for the first time convened world leaders in a virtual format for the High-level meetings and the annual General Debate.

In his video message to the UN at 75 event, President Buhari amplified Nigeria’s achievements at the UN since 1960 when the country officially joined the organisation.

He highlighted the country’s active contribution in human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations, among other priorities.

READ ALSO: ‘No Development Without Peace’: Buhari Calls For Unity In Kaduna

The Nigerian leader said:

”On behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I wish to express sincere felicitation to Member States for the giant strides taken towards achieving the objectives of the Organization thus far.

”Today’s celebration is a remarkable milestone in the history of the United Nations. It affords us the opportunity to review our progress and challenges as well as chart the course for our future.

”For over seven decades, the United ‘Nations has remained true to the aspirations of its founders. It continues to play a crucial role in fostering global peace and security. The Organisation has grown in membership and scope to reflect contemporary global trends.

”Collectively, we have improved and saved lives, as well as defended the rights of the vulnerable in adherence to the principles of the United Nations.

”More so, we have worked together to shelter refugees; foster development; invest in conflict resolution and peacekeeping; and promoted women’s and children’s rights. Moreover, we have jointly intensified the fight against deadly diseases such as Malaria, Ebola, Tuberculosis, and the Coronavirus pandemic.”

On decolonisation, President Buhari called on Member States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples, warning that ‘‘the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist.’’

The Nigerian leader noted that beyond the spheres of peace and security, the United Nations had also played active roles in the decolonization of many territories.

”This was achieved through the adoption of many Resolutions that supported the independence and subsequent admission of over Eighty (80) territories into the Organization.

”However, the quest to realise total decolonisation remains incomplete as long as Non-Self-Governing territories continue to exist. In this regard, I call on Member States to abide by UN Resolution 1514 on the granting of independence to colonial countries and peoples,’’ he said.

On Nigeria’s participation at the UN, President Buhari said the country has remained a reliable partner of the United Nations in its aspiration to achieve its mandate of a more peaceful, secure, and developed world.

”This year’s celebration is significant to Nigeria as it coincides with our Sixtieth (60) Anniversary of joining this esteemed Organization.

”As an active member of the Organisation, Nigeria has contributed human, financial and material resources to several United Nations Peacekeeping Operations.

”We have also provided humanitarian aid to refugees and displaced persons; helped countries in tackling diseases such as Ebola and extended both human and financial resources as technical aid to other countries.

”In addition, we have served on five occasions as Non-Permanent Member of the United Nations Security Council and contributed significantly to the promotion of international peace and security,” he said.

The Nigerian leader added that in spite of progress made in safeguarding world peace and promoting global cooperation, the world is still faced with complex challenges.

”Efforts to address impediments for the attainment of 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development were undermined by the advent of Coronavirus pandemic which brought about unprecedented challenges that cannot be tackled by any single country or region.

”The inward-looking tendencies exhibited by Member States in the wake of the pandemic have particularly revealed an urgent need for us to strengthen international cooperation, unity and solidarity to address all negative developments including climate change, violent extremism, natural disasters, and cyber-security.

”However, as we continue to battle the pandemic and search for possible solutions, including an effective vaccine, we implore nations to adopt a global approach in addressing the global health emergency in a bid to build the future we want. “

The President also used the occasion to emphasize the imperative of a fair and equitable representation in the Security Council, ”if we must achieve the United Nations we need.”

He said: ”The demand for the reform of the United Nations Security Council is just and a place for Africa in the very strategic Organ of the Organisation is long-overdue.

”In our collective effort to rebuild the United Nations of our dream, Nigeria reaffirms her commitment to upholding the principles of the United Nations including: Human Rights, Peace and Security, as well as Democratic governance.

”I, therefore, reiterate Nigeria’s rededication to multilateralism and the rules-based international system.

”It is my hope that this anniversary will encourage us to respond to the numerous challenges we face and support efforts aimed at building the United Nations System we desire.”

UN Calls For ‘Quantum Leap’ In Funding For COVID-19 Fight

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City. – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on May 6, 2020 called on governments around the world to specifically take into account the billions of people with disabilities in their response to the COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

The United Nations on Thursday called for an immediate “quantum leap” in funding for global programmes to combat the coronavirus and restore prosperity.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged countries to find $15 billion over the next three months to fund the ACT-Accelerator programme, a global collaboration to hunt for a vaccine and treatments led by the UN’s World Health Organization (WHO).

“Either we stand together or we will be doomed,” Guterres told a virtual meeting of the ACT-Accelerator, calling the virus the “number one global security threat”.

“We need a quantum leap in funding to increase the chances of a global solution to get the world moving, working and prospering again,” he said.

He said the near $3 billion contributed so far had been critical for the initial phase since the accelerator’s launch four months ago, but $35 billion more was needed to shift from start-up to scale-up — beginning with $15 billion in the next three months.

Without it “we will lose the window of opportunity”, Guterres said.

He said typical aid budgets would not cover the costs, urging donors to “go deep” into money set aside for combating coronavirus.

– ‘Start saving lives’ –

The virus has killed more than 900,000 people and infected at least 27.9 million since the outbreak emerged in China last December.

According to the WHO’s latest overview, 35 candidate vaccines for the virus are being tested on humans, of which nine have reached Phase III trials where they are tested on tens of thousands of people.

A further 145 candidate vaccines are in earlier testing phases.

Typically only about 10 percent of candidate vaccines succeed.

WHO chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus hailed the speed at which vaccines, diagnostics and treatments for Covid-19 were being developed was “astonishing” but said more needed to be done.

“We need to rapidly scale up our clinical trials, manufacturing, licensing and regulation capacity so that these products can get to people and start saving lives,” he said.

South Africa and Norway are co-chairing the ACT-Accelerator facilitation council.

South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, who chairs the African Union, told the meeting that the continent should “not be left behind” once a viable vaccine is produced.

Rwandan President Paul Kagame called the ACT-Accelerator “one of the most important international initiatives under way in the world today, and perhaps ever”.

AFP

UN Decries Attacks On Journalists, Activists In Pakistan

(FILES) In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The United Nation voiced alarm Tuesday at growing attacks on journalists and activists in Pakistan, often amid cries of blasphemy, urging Islamabad to protect those facing threats and probe any violence.

The UN rights office said it was growing increasingly concerned at numerous instances of incitement to violence, both online and off, particularly against women and minority journalists and activists, as well as physical attacks.

It pointed to the case of journalist Shaheena Shaheen, who was shot dead last Saturday by unidentified men in Balochistan’s Kech district.

And last year, four journalists and bloggers were killed in Pakistan in connection with their reporting, including Arooj Iqbal, a woman who was shot dead in Lahore as she tried to launch her own local newspaper.

“In the vast majority of such cases, those responsible have not been investigated, prosecuted and held to account,” rights office spokesman Rupert Colville told reporters in Geneva.

He pointed out that women journalists in Pakistan last month had warned of a “coordinated campaign” of social media attacks against anyone who was critical of government policies.

He stressed that accusations of blasphemy were “especially worrying”, pointing out that they “can put accused individuals at imminent risk of violence”.

Colville said the rights office had raised its concerns directly with the Pakistani government and had urged it to take “immediate, concrete steps to ensure the protection of journalists and human rights defenders who have been subjected to threats.”

“We also stress the need for prompt, effective, thorough and impartial investigations with a view to ensuring accountability in cases of violence and killings,” he said.

The UN rights office had also called on the Pakistani leadership to “unequivocally condemn incitement to violence against religious minorities”, he said, as well as “what appears to be an increase in the use of blasphemy laws for personal or political score-settling”.

AFP

Gender Violence: We Must All Stand Together And Speak Out, Says Amina Mohammed

 

Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed says all persons must refuse to accept the conditions that make violence against women and girls possible.

The UN top official made the remarks in a pre-recorded video broadcast on Tuesday during a Spotlight Initiative townhall.

The Spotlight Initiative, a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the UN, is determined to eliminate all forms of such violence against women and girls (VAWG).

“Around the world, violence against women and girls, especially rape is skyrocketing,” Mohammed said. “Many incidents have triggered widespread outrage. Yet some keep trying to play the oldest game in the book; the blame game. Blame the COVID-19 pandemic, blame social and economic stress, blame uncertainty. Even outrageously, blame the victim – usually a woman or, worse still, a girl. Blame anything, everything but the perpetrator.

A file photo of UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed. Credit: Twitter
A file photo of UN Deputy Secretary-General, Amina Mohammed. Credit: Twitter

 

“Let’s be really clear, sexual violence and any form of violence is violence. There is absolutely no excuse, there is no justification and there must be zero tolerance. All of us must stand together and speak out.”

The former Nigerian Minister of Environment called for more persons to support the Spotlight Initiative, which is designed to “bring focused attention to the issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.”

 

Below is an excerpt from Mohammed’s speech at the town hall meeting:

I am the proud mother of four daughters, but the loudest voices urging me to speak up came from my sons and they said, ‘Mom, this is already a dangerous issue – it is in our chat spaces; you need to do something about it, people will listen.

I am not sure people will listen but if I can make a difference in one woman’s life, then it is worth speaking about it.

When I asked what they were hearing, they said it varies. Some say violent is not right, but others, appallingly, say women asked for it. Really? You and I know that men and boys who commit violence against women and girls are just simply not men. They are weak, it’s shameful. They are, sadly, the textbook definition of a coward.

And for those who turn a blind eye or deaf ears saying it is a private matter, know that you too are accomplices to violence. Now, we can agree to disagree, but because of these attitudes, women and girls face a clear and present danger of the threat of violence and rape every day at home, in school and, these days, online. Men and boys, fathers and sons, husbands, we must have this conversation. Take responsibility, speak up. Stand with women and girls.

Let’s join hands with survivors of violence including rape. Listen to their stories. Let’s call out victim blaming and shaming. Let’s rally our communities to say ‘No’ to gender-based violence. Let’s remember that if not for a woman, and her nine months of labour, I am not sure that you men will be here today.

So, let’s stand with our mothers, our sisters, our daughters, our partners and, together, let’s declare in one voice, I am with her’.

UN Spotlight Initiative Town Hall On Violence Against Women, Girls

 

On Tuesday, Channels Television hosted a UN Spotlight Initiative town hall on violence against women and girls.

According to the United Nations, “violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in our world today.”

The Spotlight Initiative, a new, global, multi-year initiative from the European Union (EU) and the United Nations (UN), is determined to eliminate all forms of such violence against women and girls (VAWG).

The Initiative aims to bring focused attention to the issue, moving it into the spotlight and placing it at the centre of efforts to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

An initial investment in the order of EUR 500 million has been made, with the EU as the main contributor.

 

Boko Haram Attack On UN Building Is Regrettable, Says Buhari

In this picture taken on August 24, 2020, President Muhammadu Buhari presides over a meeting attended by UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, and others at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

 

President Muhammadu Buhari has again condemned the attack on the office of the United Nations (UN) by Boko Haram terrorists in 2011.

Speaking on Monday in Abuja when he received a delegation led by the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, the President noted that the attack by the terrorists was regrettable.

He, however, said the reconstruction of the UN building by the government was in full appreciation of the work of the international organisation.

“Thank you for what you have been doing in the country, especially for women and children. I am glad you have put together a dedicated team to work with us,” the President was quoted as saying in a statement by his Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu.

He also welcomed commendations by the UN on efforts to restore security, strengthen institutions against corruption, improve health facilities, and rebuilding of the multilateral institution’s office.

President Buhari commended the various programmes of the UN in Nigeria, saying, “I am very impressed with the number of programmes you are carrying out, and I hope that our ministers will continue to cooperate with you.”

President Muhammadu Buhari with UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, Mr Edward Kallon, and others at the Council Chamber of the Presidential Villa in Abuja on August 24, 2020.

 

On the reconstruction of the UN building and Boko Haram bombing incident, he said, “I assure that beyond the renovation of your headquarters after that incident, we will continue to make your job feasible and comfortable.

“If you need anything in the course of your assignments, talk to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama.”

In his remarks, the UN Resident Coordinator praised the administration for the rebuilding and modernisation of the UN House in Nigeria, describing it as commendable support to multilateralism.

“The reopening of the UN House in October 2019, after eight years, was a day of celebration and remembrance.

“It was also an act of defiance in the face of terror and attack on our core values of peace, freedom, prosperity, tolerance and justice,” he was quoted as saying.

Kallon also commended President Buhari for his leadership and guidance in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the wisdom in establishing the Presidential Task Force (PTF) and adding his voice to the global call for a people’s vaccine for coronavirus.

He congratulated Nigeria on the successful eradication of polio virus and promised to partner with the country in building more primary healthcare centres capable of sustaining universal health coverage.

The UN envoy extolled the President and his administration for the establishment of the new Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, as well as the continuous support in advancing gender issues, the girl-child, and rights of the child in general.

According to him, President Buhari should be praised for “legacy investments in the administration’s fight against corruption, electoral reforms, and census.”

Kallon also commended the President’s “resolve to reform and return discipline in the public service, as well as the success in fighting corruption, including convictions and recovery of assets.”

UN Says Half Of Its Yemen Aid Programmes Hit By Lack Of Funds

(FILES) In this file photo, The United Nations flag is seen during the Climate Action Summit 2019 at the United Nations General Assembly Hall on September 23, 2019, in New York City. Ludovic MARIN / AFP.

 

The United Nations said Wednesday it has been forced to close or severely cut back half of its major programmes in Yemen to tackle the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

“We have a moral obligation to warn the world that millions of Yemenis will suffer and could die because we don’t have the funding we need to keep going,” said the UN humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lisa Grande.

Grande said UN programmes in Yemen had had a “real impact”, preventing large-scale famine, rolling back the worst cholera epidemic in modern history and providing help to millions of displaced people, and she appealed to donors to provide the funds to keep them going.

Five years of war between pro-Iran rebels and a Saudi-led coalition which intervened to shore up the beleaguered government have left nearly 80 percent of Yemenis — more than 24 million people — dependent on some form of humanitarian aid.

A Yemen aid conference held in Riyadh on June 2 saw donors pledge only $1.35 billion of the $2.41 billion needed to cover essential humanitarian activities until the end of the year, leaving a gap of more than $1 billion.

Saudi Arabia, a key player in the conflict, emerged as the biggest donor, pledging an aid package worth $500 million.

The UN said the impact of underfunding had been dramatic, against what it has termed the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

In April, food rations for more than eight million people in northern Yemen were halved and humanitarian agencies were forced to stop reproductive health services in 140 facilities.

Health services were cut or reduced in a further 275 specialised centres for treating people with cholera and other infectious diseases.

Allowances to nearly 10,000 frontline health workers were stopped and the supplies needed to treat trauma patients, who will almost certainly die without immediate treatment, were halted.

If funding is not urgently received within weeks, medicines and essential supplies for 189 hospitals and 2,500 clinics, representing half of the health facilities in Yemen, will halt just as the world does battle with the coronavirus pandemic.

International medical charity Doctors Without Borders (MSF) has warned that Yemen faces a “catastrophe” from the disease.

The UN says COVID-19 has likely already spread throughout most of Yemen, even though less than 2,000 cases, including 537 deaths, have been recorded.

AFP

UN Chief Demands ‘Immediate Release’ Of Mali President, Prime Minister

(FILES) In this file photo taken on February 4, 2020 United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres speaks during a press briefing at United Nations Headquarters in New York City.  (Photo by Angela Weiss / AFP)

 

United Nations head Antonio Guterres demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of Mali’s president and members of his government Tuesday after they were seized by rebel soldiers.

“The secretary-general strongly condemns these actions and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

“To this end, he demands the immediate and unconditional release of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita and members of his cabinet,” added the spokesman, Stephane Dujarric.

The sudden mutiny marked a dramatic escalation of a months-long crisis in the fragile West African country.

Guterres is following the unfolding developments in the capital Bamako “with deep concern,” Dujarric added.

“The secretary-general reiterates his calls for a negotiated solution and peaceful resolution of their differences.

“The secretary-general urges all stakeholders, particularly the defence and security forces, to exercise maximum restraint and uphold the human rights and individual freedoms of all Malians,” the spokesman said.

The United Nations Security Council is due to hold emergency talks on the crisis on Wednesday afternoon, diplomats in New York said.

The meeting was requested by France and Niger and will take place behind closed doors, a UN diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

 

AFP

UN Security Council To Hold Meeting Over Mali Crisis On Wednesday

FILE: Members of the Security Council vote during a United Nations Security Council meeting on a ceasefire in Syria February 24, 2018 in New York. Don EMMERT / AFP

 

The United Nations Security Council will hold emergency discussions on Mali Wednesday, a day after an apparent military coup in the crisis-torn West African country. 

The meeting was requested by France and Niger and will take place behind closed doors on Wednesday afternoon, a senior UN diplomat told AFP on condition of anonymity.

Meanwhile, United Nations head Antonio Guterres demanded “the immediate and unconditional release” of Mali’s president and members of his government Tuesday after they were seized by rebel soldiers.

“The secretary-general strongly condemns these actions and calls for the immediate restoration of constitutional order and rule of law in Mali,” a spokesman for Guterres said in a statement.

 

AFP