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Showing posts with label World News. Show all posts
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20 July, 2018

ICC Is Now Needed More Than Ever – Buhari (Full Speech)

President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.
President Buhari in a group photo with Judges of the Criminal Court ahead of his Keynote address at the 20th Anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague, Netherlands on 17th July 2018.

President Muhammadu Buhari has called for support for the International Criminal Court (ICC) in jurisdiction over serious cases of corruption noting that the International court is now needed more than ever.
The President made this call on Tuesday while delivering a keynote address at the 20th anniversary of the International Criminal Court (ICC) at the Hague.
President Buhari believes that the ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states.
He said, “with the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders.”
Read Full text of his address below…
I am honoured to be with you here today to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say “vital” because the world needs the ICC.
2. Let me start by congratulating you, Judge Chile Eboe-Osuji, on your election as President of the International Criminal Court, and also thank the judges of the Court for electing you, a cherished son of Nigeria. Nigeria is very proud of you, Mr. President.
3. Let me also express my gratitude to the International Criminal Court for inviting me to speak on this occasion.
4. As we know, the International Criminal Court was established twenty years ago as a global court, inspired by the Nuremberg trials of World War II war criminals, to hold people accountable for crimes against humanity, war crimes, crimes of genocide and aggression.
5. In addition to preventing impunity, promoting adherence and respect for the rule of law and fundamental freedoms worldwide and to punishing those in leadership positions responsible for the most appalling crimes and atrocities, the ICC has given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law.
6. With the alarming proliferation of the most serious crimes around the world, the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever, in ways that were unforeseeable to its founders. The ICC may have been created at a time of optimism that it would not need to be utilized frequently, but, unfortunately, the increase in international crimes has only increased the Court’s relevance.
7. Indeed, while limits on the ICC’s jurisdiction mean that it cannot presently act with regard to some of the dire crises of the day in states that are not parties, by acting where it can, the ICC reinforces the demand for justice far beyond its own cases.
8. A strong and effective ICC has the potential to send a powerful message about the international community’s commitment to accountability, a message that will be heard by both victims and perpetrators. Equally, a strong and effective ICC demonstrates the international community’s commitment to the rule of law.
9. A strong and effective ICC can also act as a catalyst for other justice efforts, expanding the reach of accountability. These could include serious cases of corruption by state actors that severely compromise the development efforts of countries and throw citizens into greater poverty. These could also include cases of illicit financial flows where countries are complicit and obstruct repatriation of stolen assets. As the African Union Champion on Anti-corruption, these are issues dear to my heart.
10. The Rome Statute created more than a court; it created the outline for a system of justice for horrific crimes rooted first in national courts doing their job, and where they fail to do so, the ICC stepping in only as “the court of the last resort”
11. The ICC also needs increased cooperation and financial resources from its member states. State parties should express their commitment to increasing efforts in these areas, including pledging concrete assistance.
12. The twenty years of the Court’s existence have witnessed several challenges, some of which had threatened the very existence of the Court itself. Most notable were the withdrawals and threats of withdrawals of membership of the Court by some States, as well as accusations of bias in the exercise of the jurisdiction of the Court. Thankfully, the Court has addressed these challenges in a dignified and commendable way.
13. Nonetheless, the Court needs to take on board all constructive criticisms and allay lingering fears and concern through targeted messaging, awareness raising and possible modification of some legal provisions. If properly articulated, communication and awareness raising would surely engender trust and encourage greater cooperation of Member States with the Court and even encourage non – Member States to decide to become Members. It must avoid even a hint of bias or political motivations.
14. The goals and responsibilities of the Court are no doubt very challenging and daunting but with the cooperation of all, coupled with the high calibre of Judges and staff of the Court, the challenges are not insurmountable. I, therefore, urge all States not to politicize the decisions of the Court but to always bear in mind the rationale for the establishment of the Court in the first place.
15. I urge all States that have not yet done so to, as a matter of deliberate State policy, accede to the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court so that it can become a universal treaty.
16. Nigeria has cooperated with, and supported the Court at all times. This, we have demonstrated by our full and transparent cooperation on matters on which we are being investigated and also in our several Country statements at the sessions of the Court. Our cooperation with the Court is borne out of our strong belief in the respect for the rule of law and human rights, and in our firm commitment to the sanctity of fundamental freedoms at international and domestic levels, as ingrained in the objectives for establishing the Court.
17. In conclusion, let me intimate you that Nigeria is preparing to conduct general elections in 2019. Contrary to the tragic incidents that characterized the 2011 general elections in Nigeria which necessitated preliminary investigations by the International Criminal Court, I assure you that all hands are on deck to prevent any recurrence of such tragic incidents. We shall do everything possible to ensure that Nigeria witnesses the conduct of free, fair and peaceful elections in 2019.
18. Again, I congratulate the Court on its 20th Anniversary and wish it continued growth, relevance and success in the years to come in its vital role as a bulwark against man’s inhumanity to man.
Thank you for your attention.

18 July, 2018

ICC marks 20th anniversary with plea for help fighting war crimes

© ICC judges deliver a decision in the case against Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir at The Hague on July 6, 2017.
Text by FRANCE 24
Latest update : 2018-07-17

The International Criminal Court marked its 20th anniversary on Tuesday with a plea for all nations to help it seek justice for victims of war crimes, weeks after the acquittal of a former Congolese militia chief dealt a blow to its credibility.

“Two decades after the Rome conference, the system of international justice created by the Rome Statute continues to make waves towards building a culture of accountability,” said chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda.
Even though the tribunal, based in The Hague, faced many challenges “its work is increasingly shaping norms, casting a deterrent shadow across the globe”, she said.
The tribunal’s guiding Rome Statute was agreed in July 1998, and it opened its doors in 2002 as a court of last resort, to prosecute those behind the world’s worst atrocities in places where national authorities could not or would not step in.
In 16 years, it has sentenced three people: two Congolese militia leaders and a Malian jihadist.
Other cases have collapsed. In some instances wanted suspects remain at large, including Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, and four trials are currently underway.
And last month, former Congolese vice president Jean-Pierre Bemba, initially sentenced to 18 years in prison for war crimes, was acquitted on appeal in a blow to the prosecution.
‘Not an easy task’
The court has been repeatedly criticised, accused of unfairly targeting African nations, even though complex initial probes are also underway in the Palestinian territories, Afghanistan, the Philippines and Ukraine.
In 2017, under investigation for suspected crimes against humanity in which 1,200 people were said to have died, Burundi became the first country to withdraw from the tribunal.

Bensouda acknowledged the court’s work “is not an easy task given the complex environments” in which it operates.
She highlighted “large scale criminality on the ground, changing political climates, with dwindling resource capacity, and varying degrees of cooperation” despite “ever-increasing demands for the court’s intervention”.
But she stressed: “Attacks on the court to undermine its important work, or in the service of Machiavellian schemes to shield the culpable, must continue to be met with the determined and unequivocal voices of support from principal states parties and civil society.”
All had a responsibility “to ensure we don’t disappoint the victims embroiled in devastating conflicts all over the world, past or present”, she added.
Nigerian leader hails ‘vital’ institution
Giving a key-note speech, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari said he was honoured “to celebrate the anniversary of this vital global institution. I say ‘vital’ because the world needs the ICC”.
Buhari said the ICC had “given hope for justice to so many, by demanding strict adherence to the rules of international humanitarian law”.
The Nigerian leader urged states “not to politicise” the court’s decisions, insisting that “the ICC, and all that it stands for, is now needed more than ever”.
He added: “I urge all States that have not yet done so to […] accede to the Rome Statute of the ICC so that it can become a universal treaty.”
(FRANCE 24 with AFP)

ICC 20th anniversary: ရာဇ၀တ္ခုံရုံး၏ နုိင္ငံ တကာ၂၀ ျပည့္၊ နွစ္ပတ္လည္ အထိမ္းအမွတ္ က်င္းပ

ေရာမ စာခ်ဳပ္၀င္ နုိင္ငံျဖစ္တဲ့ ဘဂၤလားေဒ့ရွ္ နုိင္ငံ၏ ပါလီမန္ အစည္းအရုံး အမွုေဆာင္ ဥကၠဌ Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury မွ  ICC နုိင္ငံတကာ ရာဇ၀တ္ခုံရုံး၌ ေရာမ စာခ်ဳပ္ နွစ္ ၂၀ ျပည့္၊ နွစ္ပတ္လည္ အထိမ္းအမွတ္ မိန္ ့ခြန္းမွာ ေၿပာၾကားရာတြင္ (Crimes of Forcible Deportation) ရုိဟင္ဂ်ာ လူမ်ဳိးအား အဓမၼ ေမာင္းနွင္ျခင္း အမွဳကုိ နုိင္ငံတကာ ရာဇ၀တ္ခုံရုံး၏ ေတာင္းဆုိခ်က္အရ တရားစဲြဆုိေရးမွာ ျဖည့္စည္း ေဆာင္ရြက္ထားသည္ဟု ယခု က်င္းပေနတဲ့  ဘဂၤလားေဒ့ရွ္ နုိင္ငံ ပါလီမန္ အစည္းအရုံး အမွုေဆာင္ ဥကၠဌ Dr Shirin Sharmin Chaudhury မွ ေျပာဆုိလုိက္ပါတယ္။
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16 July, 2018

UN to Rohingya: You Can’t Go Home Safely Any Time Soon

by  • July 15, 2018 • AsiaGender-Based ViolenceHuman RightsRefugees • 

Displaced Rohingya women, 2017, in Bangladesh. The UN is struggling to help resolve the crisis of millions of Rohingya who escaped a pogrom in Myanmar but face enormous risks in returning home. TASNIM NEWS AGENCY

Among refugee advocates there  has been a growing concern that recent agreements among regional governments and the United Nations on a framework for mitigating the Rohingya crisis could prompt at least some of the million-plus people who have fled the deadly military pogrom in Myanmar to consider risking a return to try to rebuild their lives.
But impressions gathered in early July by UN officials and leaders of humanitarian organizations during meetings with Rohingya in refugee camps in Bangladesh, where most of the people have escaped to, reveal that officials think any hopes of returning are premature and dangerous.

Several hundred-thousand more Rohingya refugees are also scattered across Southeast Asia: in Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Like those who fled to Bangladesh, most Rohingya tell visitors that they are too afraid to go back, though they are not welcome where they have landed.
Anwarul Chowdhury, a former Bangladesh ambassador to the UN and later a UN under secretary-general for least-developed nations, landlocked countries and small island states, said in an interview with PassBlue that he was ready to label as “genocide” the Burmese Buddhist military’s campaign against the mostly Muslim Rohingya.
UN officials have described the purge of Rohingya as a classic case of ethnic cleansing, which is a violation of international law. Bangladesh has been in touch with the International Criminal Court in The Hague to identify potential Burmese subjects for investigation. Asked about that recently by a reporter for The Irrawaddy, a leading national news service, the Burmese government spokesman, U Zaw Htay, said, “The ICC has nothing to do with Myanmar.”
Chowdhury said that too much trust internationally had been placed on the leadership of Aug San Suu Kyi, who as the self-styled State Counselor (a military constitution prevents her from being president) has not acted decisively. Any plan to help Rohingya refugees return to Myanmar would be condemning them to more uncontrolled “carnage,” Chowdhury said.
On July 1, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, accompanied by the president of the World Bank, Jim Yong Kim, and Filippo Grandi, the UN high commissioner for refugees, heard firsthand about the decimation of Rohingya life in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.
On July 10, Guterres wrote in The Washington Post: “Small children butchered in front of their parents. Girls and women gang-raped while family members were tortured and killed. Villages burned to the ground. Nothing could have prepared me for the bone-chilling accounts I heard last week in Bangladesh. . . . ”
Chowdhury, who has long supported women in the UN system, said that the protection of women’s rights and health should be a top priority for the UN both in the refugee camps and certainly if officials decided to encourage anyone to go back to Myanmar, also still known as Burma.
Guterres has been stepping up his urgent appeals for more international aid for the refugees and financial assistance to Bangladesh, a poor, densely populated country that has absorbed the burden of caring for a huge influx of desperate, battered and traumatized survivors since last August.
A UN call for about $1 billion in donations to a humanitarian fund for the refugees is only 26 percent met. Malnutrition in the camps is a result, Guterres wrote. The World Bank has offered $500 million in grant aid (not burdensome loans) to the Bangladesh government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed, but the needs will be far greater as monsoon winds and rains begin.
Chowdhury said that the Bangladesh government must be more vocal and visible its own appeals to international donors to augment what funds international organizations of all kinds can raise. The country has a very low profile even at the best of times.
The International Organization for Migration, which is the lead agency in responding to the crisis in Bangladesh with with the UN Development Program, has published a comprehensive update of the work being done in numerous fields such as water supply, health care and improved shelter.
Chowdhury said that it was a disgrace that Bangladesh is getting almost no help from other governments or regional multigovernment associations in South Asia or Southeast Asia. Myanmar is a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Bangladesh is part of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). In the latter group, only Pakistan has spoken out but just to offer moral support, Chowdhury said.
India, under a Hindu nationalist government, is turning away Rohingya on its border with Myanmar, at times with military force, and has plans to deport some people who settled in the country after earlier refugee arrivals. From about 2010 to 2014, under a secular Congress Party-led government, India resettled about 14,000 Rohingya refugees and asylum seekers, Indian media have reported.
At the headquarters of the UN refugee agency in Geneva, a spokesman, Charlie Yaxley, said in a telephone interview with PassBlue that his organization was fully aware of the dangers of early return to Myanmar, saying that a recent memorandum of understanding signed by Myanmar, the UN Refugee Agency and the UN Development Program was only a first step in what could be a long process.
“The purpose of this MoU is to work towards creating conditions that would eventually allow for the voluntary return of the Rohingya refugees currently in Bangladesh,” Yaxley said. “I think it is very important to stress is that this is simply the first step.”
The UN Refugee Agency does not have a presence in Rakhine state, so is not in a position yet to assess the situation on the ground or help returnees until conditions are conducive.
“We do not consider those conditions to currently be in place, and any returns that do take place will have to be done on an entirely voluntary basis with the full informed consent of the individuals involved, and only after the required engagement has been carried out with the Rohingya community themselves,” Yaxley said. “I think that’s really key to the immediate steps in the direction towards a voluntary repatriation program — but a welcome first step nonetheless.”

U.N. readies to send experts to Myanmar’s Rakhine after Rohingya return deal – official

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YANGON (Reuters) – The United Nations is preparing to send teams of experts into Myanmar’s Rakhine state to begin work aimed at eventually repatriating Rohingya Muslims who fled violence last year, the regional head of the U.N. development agency said on Thursday.
The U.N. agencies for development and refugees struck an outline deal with Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi’s government at the end of May to allow Rohingya Muslims sheltering in Bangladesh to return safely and by choice.
Haoliang Xu, the United Nations Development Programme’s director for the Asia-Pacific region, said U.N. officials were last week allowed to travel freely around northern Rakhine for the first time since August 2017.
But an initial work plan still needed to be devised with the government before proper assessment could begin, Xu told Reuters in an interview in Myanmar’s largest city, Yangon.
“You can say we are working with an extreme sense of urgency,” he said. “We’re also preparing in parallel to send in teams.”
Those teams would assess the needs of an estimated more than 200,000 Rohingya and other communities who remain in northern Rakhine, he said.
Myanmar’s main government spokesman Zaw Htay was not available for comment.
Myanmar’s military launched a crackdown in the northern part of Rakhine in response to militant attacks in August, driving 700,000 stateless Rohingya across the border to Bangladesh.
Suu Kyi’s civilian administration defended what it described as a legitimate counter-insurgency operation, and denied allegations of ethnic cleansing. It says it is ready to accept back those who fled.
Xu said that the plan was designed to “create the conditions for return… by undertaking quick impact projects that will benefit the population who are still there,” such as cash-for-work projects, small-scale infrastructure improvements or agricultural schemes.
The deal between the U.N. and the government was not made public, but a draft was seen by Reuters and also leaked online last month.
Refugee leaders and human rights groups criticised the memorandum of understanding (MoU) for failing to give explicit guarantees that those who return will get citizenship or be able to move freely throughout Myanmar.
The Rohingya, who regard themselves as native to Rakhine state, are widely considered as interlopers by Myanmar’s Buddhist majority and are denied citizenship.
Xu said tackling these issues required taking “small steps”, and said Myanmar had committed to providing a “pathway to citizenship”.

14 July, 2018

Nasa: Chittagong will be under water in 100 years

Low-lying Bangladesh will be one of the worst sufferers of climate change and global warming. Some of the country’s coastal areas and cities are at the risk of being swallowed by the sea. Bangladesh’s biggest port city Chittagong, in particular, lies in one of the most vulnerable spots. It is among the 293 major port cities that face the risk of being inundated in the next 100 years, according to a Nasa study. Over the next century, melting glaciers could push the sea level up by 14.01cm in Chittagong. Millions of people will lose their homes and livelihood. A forecast tool, developed by Nasa scientists at Jet Propulsion Laboratory, revealed the devastating result melting ice sheets will have on coastal cities. It shows how melting glaciers can push up sea levels for the port cities. The tool predicts how sea water will be “redistributed” globally by looking at the Earth’s spin and gravitational effects. The findings have been published in the journal Science Advances. Surendra Adhikari, a co-author of the study, told the BBC that the tool would help people see the impact on their own cities. Bangladesh’s port city Chittagong will be submerged in the next 100 years along with 292 other cities, Anandabazar Patrika quoted him as saying. He said it would not be possible to save Chittagong given the current rate of sea level rise. Tokyo tops the list of the vulnerable port cities. Mumbai, New York City, London, Shanghai and Hong Kong, among others, are also in the list. Brac, in its Annual Report 2016, said around 27 million people were “predicted to be at risk” of sea level rise in Bangladesh by 2050. Senior scientist Dr Erik Ivins told the BBC that the vulnerable countries have to make plans for the next 100 years to mitigate flooding and “they want to assess risk in the same way that insurance companies do.” Bangladesh, one of the most climate vulnerablenations in the world, spends almost $1 billion annually on adapting to climate change, according to 2014 UNEP estimate. The government established a $400 million ‘Climate Change Trust Fund’ in 2009 from its own resources.

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