Rabat – Despite the growing tension between the neighboring countries, Algerians consider Morocco a top destination to spend their year-end holidays.According to Tout Sure l’Algerie, Morocco is considered the third favorite destination for Algerians who decided to spend their holiday abroad.Like in previous years, Tunisia remains the favorite destination for Algerians, followed by Turkey, despite the recent attacks that have shaken the country. Algerian tourist agencies said that Algerians have started booking for their vacations in advance.Ali Allouache of the Algerian tourist agency “Amina Tours,” stressed that Algerians have changed their habits and started to book in advance for this coming season.“This year, the Algerians booked well in advance. Since the beginning of April, bookings have not stopped. We have recorded a number of requests for Tunisia, Morocco and Turkey,” Allouache said.Nacera Moumen, director of the travel agency “Voyage du Cœur,” also said “I even have bookings for the month of September!”According to Moumen, the resort Sharm El Sheikh in Egypt will also be among Algerians’ planned destinations.Her agency is preparing to send several groups to the Egyptian resort.“They have reduced their prices by 75% for hotels, given the cancellations with the English. Egyptian tour operators have made some very good proposals,” she said.According to the National Agency of Tourism Agencies, an estimated 100,000 Algerians spent their summer vacation in Morocco last year.For Algerians, “Morocco has significant tourism potential, such as the city of Marrakesh with its famous square Djemaa el Fna, the region of Ifrane, Casablanca and Agadir,” Moumen added.Although Morocco-Algeria borders have remained closed for over 20 years, and despite the high cost of airfare between the neighboring countries, Morocco remains an attractive destination for Algerians.
Casablanca – In an interview with Morgan Piers on Good Morning Britain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, Donald Trump, said Sadiq Khan, the new London mayor is “rude” and “ignorant.”The interview aired on Monday, May 16th, and features Trump answering Piers’ various questions. It starts with the reporter reminding the audience that Trump has warned that US relations with the UK would be “frosty” if he is elected president after prime minster David Cameron, “called his views on Islam stupid, divisive, and wrong.”Reaffirming his position on bilateral relations between the two nations, Trump says, “It seems we’re not going to have a good relationship… who knows.” He then dismissed Cameron as, “not willing to address the problem either.” With regards to Khan’s statements in reaction to Trump’s views on minorities, specifically the Muslim community, in the US, which have been deemed as bigoted by many political leaders around the world, Trump says that he was offended by the newly elected mayor’s “rude” and “ignorant” statements: “Tell him I will remember those statements,” he said to Piers.This exchange occurred after Trump’s interview with the New York Times following the election of Khan as mayor of London, where he was asked if this election would have any effect on his promise to ban Muslims from entering the US, should he become president. Trump responded that, “there will always be exceptions,” and praised Khan’s election as “a good thing” and that he will “lead by example.”The newly elected Mayor from the Labor Party stated in his interview with the BBC that he rejects Trump’s exception, saying that it is not about him but about his co-religionists from all over the world. In this very interview Khan announced his support for Hillary Clinton as president of the United States, saying, “I hope she trounces him,” referring to Trump.
by Lauren MorganRabat – 1,509 child victims are reported to have been killed – a third of the fatal total.Within the first half of 2016 alone, the UN stated that Afghanistan reached their highest record of civilian casualties – children accounting towards a third of the total as rebel group fighting drastically increased. Between the months of January and June, 1,601 civilians were killed and 3,565 were left injured, showing a 4% increase in comparison to a year ago, said the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan. 1,509 of these casualties were children – a figure that the UN stated as “alarming and shameful”.These figures are a terrifying reminder of the increasing danger in Afghanistan as the Taliban intensify their widespread insurgency and Islamic State aim to enlarge its existence in the east of the country.The head of Unama stated “every single casualty documented in this report – people killed while praying, working, studying, fetching water, recovering in hospitals – every civilian casualty represents a failure of commitment and should be a call to action for parties to the conflict to take meaningful steps to reduce civilians’ suffering.”Saturday saw the deadliest attack in 15 years in Kabul due to an attack by Isis, killing 80 people and leaving hundreds wounded. Two bombings seethed through crowds of protestors requesting for a multi-million power line to run through their area of Bamiyan – one of the most poverty-stricken regions of Afghanistan.
Rabat – Moulay Hafid Elalamy, Chairman of the 2026 Morocco Bid Committee for the World Cup, stated that Morocco should take advantage of its strategic position to make a strong bid to host the 2026 World Cup in the press conference held last Tuesday by the 2026 Morocco Bid Committee.Elalamy touted Morocco’s strategic position between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean to build floating hotels to accommodate the influx of visitors expected for the World Cup.The chairman highlighted Morocco’s progress in preparing its bid, including renovation of the stadiums and increased hotel capacity. Minister of Youth and Sports Rachid Talbi Alami said that, “Morocco’s bid fulfills all the conditions required to successfully host such a global event.” He noted that since Morocco’s last bid to host the 2010 World Cup, it has made “great efforts and significant investments to develop its infrastructure, especially in the sports sector.”
Rabat – There is a reason that success stories are among the most compelling human stories: they humanize life and remind us of the essential truth that it is possible to beat the odds, to rise above one’s socio-economic condition. In a way, success stories that are truly compelling are also truly humane because they’re a constant reminder that we can, by way of perseverance, be “the heroes of our stories.” Such is Rachid Khadiri Abdelmoula’s incredible success story.Earlier this week, the Moroccan’ determination and unflinching professional devotion brought him the highest accolade of the academic world: a PhD. Rachid was enrolled at the Polytechnic University of Turin, where he started off as a street vendor financing his studies with his meager income.And because receiving a PhD in Civil engineering is the result of years of dedication and hard work, Rachid’s story has made the rounds in the Italian press. Even Italian political parties and associations known for their vehement opposition to immigrants and their fascist rhetoric have publicly praised the Moroccan’s efforts, hailing him as “a symbol of integration.”Born in 1987, Rachid left his native Morocco in 1998 to join two of his older brothers in Turin, Italy. There, he told his brothers that his objective is to start working as soon as possible to send remittances to his parents back home. But his brothers convinced him to pursue his studies, persuading him that good and deservedly earned certificates would increase his chances of climbing the “restrictive” social ladder in Italy.Rachid took heed of his brothers’ counsel, but he nonetheless decided to combine school and work. As a vendor of lighters, napkins, newspapers, and other little gadgets in the streets of Turin, the Moroccan toured a city he now declares to know like the back of his hand. He used his street vendor’s income to “survive and finance my studies at the Polytechnic University of Turin,” one of Italy’s leading institutions.Every day after school, Rachid told Republica, he would take on his ‘street vendor identity’, touring the streets of Turing and selling his collection of handy little gadgets.“It has been a strenuous journey,” he told the outlet, especially recalling memories of the days when he would “spend an entire day walking through the streets of Turin without even making €10.” Once at home at nights, despite the fatigue of meandering through Turin’s streets, “I had to study… I was really afraid I would fail that year,” he explained, remembering the ghosts of his first year at university. He also mentioned the “racist attacks” and “daily struggles” he survived before meeting some “good friends” on whom he could sometimes count to fill the gap.For his PhD thesis, Rachid spent eight months in Switzerland at a CEMEX, a global leader in the ‘building materials’ market. “It was an experimental immersion in the company’s work,” Rachid later said of the Swiss episode of his academic training, adding: “It was a marvelous experience. I worked and collaborated with 24 different nationalities.”Many on social media have shared videos of the best moments of Rachid’s PhD ceremony. A user commented on Facebook: “In these times of fear and suspicion, when populist and anti-immigration rhetoric is gaining considerable ground, and when the media only underscore criminal deeds by some specific communities, stories like his need to be shared and acknowledged.”Once a street vendor bereft of the most basic necessities, Rachid has become, as they say in Italian academia, a “Maestro.” Applauding and celebrating Rachid’s implausible and dared success, some social media users also commented that they “hope that stories like this will set an example for many youth in Morocco.”
By Zoubida SenoussiRabat – “Tariq Ramadan-Gate” isn’t over yet. An investigation between Mediapart and the Belgium website le Vife have discovered a Belgian-Moroccan woman who cashed in a large sum of money–EUR 27,000, to be exact–in exchange for her silence on the controversial Islamologist Tariq Ramadan. The woman claims to have been Ramadan’s mistress for five years, ending in 2013. But in a 2014 video, analyzed by Mediapart, she described her relationship with the Islamologist as “destructive,” and referred to Ramadan as “a manipulator.” At the time of the video’s release, she promised to lead a “real fight” against the Islamologist and claimed that he had “trapped” several women.In 2015, the woman created multiple online publications, questioning Ramadan’s towards women. She also posted many videos explaining her misadventures with the “intellectual” man.After Ramadan paid her EUR 27,000, the woman pledged not to defame him on the internet anymore, or to denounce his publications. She also agreed to cease sending “insulting and/or threatening messages” to the Islamologist and his relatives.This case adds to Ramadan’s two recent rape allegations. On January 31, Ramadan was arrested following two accounts of rape filed against him in 2017. Last month, a French woman of Moroccan origin also filed a rape claim against Ramadan. The 40-year old complainant accused the Islamologist of nine accounts of rape over a span of one year and a half, from February 2013 to June 2014, in Paris, Roissy, Lille, London, and Brussels.Ramadan fully denies the accusations and deems them to be part of a “campaign of lies launched by adversaries—a sentiment shared by his supporters.
Companies in this story: (TSX:BBD.B)The Canadian Press BERLIN — Swiss Federal Railways and Bombardier Inc. say that new train deliveries may not resume for some time, apologizing to passengers as the vehicles fail to live up to expectations.Following a joint presentation to Swiss parliament, executives said in a statement that “it will still be a while before the train can satisfy all aspects” of Switzerland’s customer standards.Swiss Railways halted deliveries of the intercity, double-deck trains on Jan. 22, citing doors that don’t close properly as well as motor and software problems.So far, the railway has received 12 of the 62 vehicles slated for delivery under a US$1.9-billion contract.A spokesman for Bombardier’s transportation division, based in Berlin, says it could incur financial penalties from the delays.Swiss Railways was one of three public transit customers that opted to stop taking trains from Bombardier last month until it fixes the ones already in service.
Rabat – More than 100 state leaders and representatives will gather at the UN Intergovernmental Conference to adopt the “Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration” in Marrakech on December 10 and 11.UN Special Representative for International Migration Louise Arbour said she is “very confident” on the future of an international pact on migration, although a number of countries have chosen not to adopt it, reported AFP.UN member states dividedIn July, the UN member states approved the global migration pact, which aims “to better manage international migration, address its challenges, and strengthen migrants’ rights while contributing to sustainable development.” However, some countries, including the US, Italy, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Israel, Latvia, Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, and Switzerland, have declined to join the UN pact or are still in the consideration phase.“I am very confident: a large number of states continue to keep their word, they reached agreement on July 13 in New York after very serious and very intense negotiations,” Arbour told AFP.“The countries dropping out of the process today had, after all, obtained concessions during the negotiations, and I must admit that I find it a little surprising.”The UN migration accord contains 23 objectives including the facilitation of legal migration process, strengthening coordinated international efforts to save migrants’ lives, and reducing environmental and other factors that force people to leave their countries of origin.The document also includes proposed measures and actions regarding improving border management, providing basic services for migrants, eliminating all forms of discrimination against migrants, and sustainable reintegration.Read also: Europe Divided as Governments Oppose Global Compact on MigrationControversy regarding the migration pact Since some countries have refrained from being part of the migration pact, Arbour believes that their move will affect their foreign policy.“I think that their foreign policy and the spirit of multilateralism is pretty seriously affected if they, in a sense, disengage from a document that they’ve agreed to just a few months ago. So, I think it reflects very poorly on those who participated in what were actual negotiations,” Arbour told UN News.For Gotz Schmidt-Bremme, German co-chair of the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), the UN compact is a “controversial text,” but “migration requires an international approach.”“Perhaps the benefits of legal migration have been over-exposed by forgetting the challenges. We have underestimated the needs of communities who especially want to see migrants integrate” and “are worried about illegal migration,” Schmidt-Bremme told AFP this week in Marrakech ahead of the GMFD conference.Human rights defenders find the pact insufficient, especially on migrants’ access to humanitarian aid and basic services or the rights of migrant workers, AFP reported.Does criticism stem from a lack of understanding?While some critics see the UN migration pact as an encouragement to uncontrolled migration or an attack on national sovereignty, Arbour attributed criticism of the agreement to a “very bad understanding of the text.”“It must be read after all, it’s a very long and detailed text—or based on ignorance or bad faith because when we hear constantly that this pact is damaging to the sovereignty of states, we must really ask ourselves what document have they been reading!” Arbour stressed.Read also: ‘Nothing About Us Without Us:’ Making Migrants Part of Global DebatesThe pact, according to Arbour, explicitly expresses that “the sovereignty of states is the cornerstone of migration policy. How can we imagine that almost 190 states gathered in New York inadvertently abandoned their sovereignty and their national interests?”It clearly “acknowledges that no State can address migration alone, and upholds its sovereignty and its obligations under international law,” according to the UN. The approval of the global migration compact is not legally binding for countries.The most recent former president of the General Assembly, Miroslav Lajcak, made similar statements about the UN accord. The compact “does not encourage migration, nor does it aim to stop it,” Lajcak said in July. “It does not dictate. It will not impose. And it fully respects the sovereignty of States.”Optimism surrounding Marrakech conferenceWhile people around the world have been migrating throughout history, the world has seen a major upsurge in migration in the recent years.According to the UN, there are over 258 million migrants around the world living outside their home countries, representing 3.4 percent of the world’s population, up 2.7 percent since 2000.Read also: Germany’s Angela Merkel to Attend UN Migration Compact in MoroccoAs migration is expected to increase in the future, the world hopes for a better life and dignity for all migrants. The intergovernmental conference in Marrakech for the adoption of the UN migration compact represents a platform for cooperation and a positive change in the way that migration policies and challenges are approached.
Rabat – Between January and November this year, 20.6 million passengers flew through Moroccan airports, according to the National Office of Airports (ONDA). The number is a 10 percent increase over the same period in 2017.Morocco’s busiest airport continues to be Casablanca’s Mohamed V International Airport, with 8.9 million passengers. However, with only 4 percent more passengers than last year, Casablanca’s passenger numbers rose moderately compared to other increasingly popular airports in Morocco.Between January and November, Marrakech’s Menara International Airport steadily increased its traffic, recording a 21 percent increase over last year with 4.8 million passengers. The number accounts for 23 percent of all Moroccan airport traffic. Essaouira’s Mogador Airport recorded the largest increase in passenger traffic at 51 percent. The Dakhla airport in the southern provinces also increased its traffic substantially, by 40 percent.Other airports with notable increases in traffic are Tangier’s Ibn Batouta Airport and Rabat-Sale Airport at 21 percent, Fez’s Saiss Airport at 20 percent, and Agadir’s Massira Airport at 14 percent.According to ONDA’s latest monthly statistics, 1.8 million passengers flew through Moroccan airports in November 2018, up from 1.6 million in November 2017, a 12 percent increase.
Wheat for May was off .25 cent at 4.6925 a bushel; May corn was down 2.50 cents at 3.7725 a bushel; May oats lost 2.25 cents at $2.73 a bushel; while May soybeans fell 5.75 cents at $9.0075 a bushel.Beef was mixed and was pork higher on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Apr. live cattle was off .67 cent at $1.2690 a pound; Mar. feeder cattle rose .58 cent at $1.4275 a pound; while Apr. lean hogs rose 1.07 cents at $.7972 a pound.The Associated Press
OTTAWA — Statistics Canada says manufacturing sales fell 0.2 per cent in February to $56.6 billion, hurt by a retreat in the motor vehicle assembly and wood products industries.Economists had expected no change for February, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.The move lower followed an increase 0.8 per cent in January.Statistics Canada says sales were down in 15 of 21 industries, representing 65.9 per cent of the Canadian manufacturing sector in February.The motor vehicle assembly industry fell 4.4 per cent to $4.9 billion in February, due to fewer vehicles sold, while wood product sales dropped 5.9 per cent to $2.5 billion.Excluding motor vehicle sales, manufacturing sales were up 0.2 per cent.The Canadian Press
BANGKOK — Shares and oil prices have tumbled after President Donald Trump jolted markets with a threat to raise more tariffs on imports from China, spooking investors who had been expecting good news this week on trade.The Shanghai Composite index plunged 6.5% to 2,877.71, and the Hang Seng in Hong Kong sank 3.3% to 29,089.77. The future contract for the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell 1.7% to 26,042.00, while that for the S&P 500 gave up 1.6% to 2,900.10.Trump’s comments in tweets Sunday came as a Chinese delegation was due to resume talks in Washington on Wednesday aimed at resolving a tariffs battle that has rattled world markets.The Wall Street Journal, citing unidentified sources, said China’s government was considering cancelling this week’s talks. Chinese officials did not respond immediately to requests for comment. Chinese leaders have emphasized they would not negotiate under pressure.Without fresh reassurances, markets were swooning.On China’s smaller market in Shenzhen, the A-share index dropped 7.2 per cent. Japan’s markets were closed for a holiday, but the future contract for the benchmark Nikkei 225 index lost 1.9%.Shares also fell sharply in Taiwan, Singapore, Australia and Indonesia.Apparently catching Beijing by surprise, Trump said he would raise import taxes on $200 billion in Chinese products to 25% from 10% as of Friday.Trump said “The Trade Deal with China continues, but too slowly, as they attempt to renegotiate. No!”The comments unsettled many who had been anticipating a possible deal as early as this week in the dispute over Chinese industrial policies and technology.“He (Trump) is trying to show the Chinese a little colour, maybe a little punishment. Of course, the effect is catastrophic,” said Francis Lun, a stock analyst based in Hong Kong.A breakthrough in the trade talks could restore normality, he said. Failing that, “it will not be a good scenario for everybody.”The revived tensions over trade pushed oil prices lower. Benchmark U.S. crude shed $1.39, or 2.3%, to $60.55 per barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It gained 13 cents to $61.94 per barrel on Friday.Brent crude, the international standard, gave up $1.51, or 2.1%, to $69.34 per barrel. It rose 10 cents on Friday to $70.85 per barrel.In currency trading, the Japanese yen, viewed as a safe haven for investors, advanced against the U.S. dollar. The greenback was trading at 110.75 Japanese yen by midday Monday, down from 111.11 yen on Friday.The euro weakened to $1.1193 from $1.1200 on Friday.___Associated Press writer Alice Fung contributed from Hong Kong.Elaine Kurtenbach, The Associated Press
NEW YORK — U.S. communications regulators are rejecting a Chinese telecom company’s application to provide service in the U.S. due to national-security risks amid an escalation in tensions between the two countries.The Federal Communications Commission on Thursday voted unanimously, 5-0 across party lines, to reject China Mobile International USA Inc.’s long-ago filed application. The Commerce Department had recommended that denial last year.The company, which the FCC says is ultimately owned by the Chinese government, applied in 2011 to provide international phone service in the U.S.The Trump administration has been pushing against China in several ways. It has been pressuring allies to reject Chinese telecom equipment for their networks, citing security risks from Chinese telecom giant Huawei.The U.S. and China are also in the middle of high-stakes trade talks .Tali Arbel, The Associated Press
26 September 2007Achieving the goal of providing universal access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 will require a dramatic and urgent scale-up of efforts, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a new report released today. Achieving the goal of providing universal access to comprehensive HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment, care and support by 2010 will require a dramatic and urgent scale-up of efforts, the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) said in a new report released today.Universal access for 14 million people in less than three years’ time will also require significant increases in funding, between $32 and $51 billion, up from $10 billon this year. By 2015, between $45 and $58 billion would be necessary to prolong this approach, according to the report, entitled “Financial Resources Required to Achieve Universal Access to HIV Prevention, Treatment, Care and Support.”Last year, a high-level General Assembly meeting was convened to bolster commitment to achieving the target of universal access by 2010, and by this June 93 countries had set ambitious goals while an additional 60 nations had developed strategic plans.Brazil and Botswana are among countries that have made strides towards the goal, especially through the achievement of universal access to antiretroviral treatment. Other nations such as Kenya, Ethiopia and South Africa are pushing ahead to meet their national targets by 2010.However, the $10 billion made available this year to fund the fight against the virus falls far short of what is needed to achieve universal access.The new report also puts forward two other approaches to financing the effort to halt the spread of, and treat those living with, HIV/AIDS.One suggestion is to boost resources to between $14 and $18 billion and achieve the treatment of 8 million people by 2015. The other is to increase funding for countries based on their capacities and ultimately reaching universal access in all nations by 2015. According to the report, the lack of investment in the early years of the AIDS response, particularly in strengthening health systems and addressing the “drivers of the epidemic,” has resulted in a more serious epidemic and the higher levels of funding needed today.
11 December 2007The United Nations relief wing said today that more than $25 million is needed to help local communities in eastern and northern Uganda recover from the impact of severe flooding earlier this year. Nearly 400,000 people will need food aid through July next year, while providing safe water and sanitation, upgrading medical care and rehabilitating damaged schools are also priorities, according to the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).“The first wave of our emergency response has been a success,” said Timothy Pitt, the head of OCHA’s operations in Uganda, where the flooding struck between August and October after some of the heaviest rainfall in decades.“We have gotten food to those in need and we have prevented any outbreak of epidemic disease,” he said, adding that seeds and plants are being distributed and an estimated 67,000 children have been vaccinated against measles following an outbreak.But he said the local communities are now moving into the recovery phase, and it was critical that international donors respond in a way that stabilizes the affected population, especially the most vulnerable.As of today the UN has received $14 million in commitments to its flash appeal for the Ugandan floods, well short of the $39.7 million target.OCHA warned that while the most dangerous phase has passed, receding water levels are increasing the concentration of bacteria in some areas, adding to the risk of an outbreak of a waterborne disease. Tests show that more than half the region’s water sources are contaminated as a result of the floods.Recovery efforts are also being hampered by the poor state of the roads network, with both roads and bridges substantially damaged by the inundations.
22 September 2008Cape Verde has made steady economic progress since lifting itself out of least developed country (LDC) status last year by benefiting from the coordinated support of United Nations agencies, a UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting heard today. Cape Verde has made steady economic progress since lifting itself out of least developed country (LDC) status last year by benefiting from the coordinated support of United Nations agencies, a UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) meeting heard today. The West African archipelago is one of eight countries participating in the One UN pilot scheme, which aims to harmonize activities in a bid to more efficiently achieve the globally agreed anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015. Under the scheme, the UN consolidates its presence in each country by replacing its current structures with one leader, one programme and one budget, allowing various UN agencies to play to their strengths.The One UN programme for Cape Verde, the first UN country plan led by UNCTAD, focuses on trade and improving the country’s connections with global markets. “Our operations are based on our research work, ad hoc missions, and specific training activities,” UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi told the Geneva meeting, which was attended by Cape Verde’s Minister for the Economy Fatima Fialho.“The programme for Cape Verde is the only one where trade and international issues have been specifically stressed by Government and fit directly into the national development strategy,” Mr. Supachai added.The other participating countries in the pilot scheme are Albania, Mozambique, Pakistan, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uruguay and Viet Nam.The One UN country plan for Cape Verde, which was adopted in July, includes analysis and policy advice regarding the country’s graduation process from LDC status (including the management of external debt), post-accession to the World Trade Organization (WTO), improving trade and boosting capacity to attract foreign investment.Funding for the plan, which coordinates the UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the UN Development Programme (UNDP), is anticipated to be $70 million through 2010. Financial support to back the programme was requested from donor countries at the meeting.Ms. Fialho told the meeting that the country’s “agenda for transformation” centred on strengthening the nation’s key sectors – tourism, fish processing and marketing, business-processing outsourcing, transport and the expanding creative and cultural industries – and that the country was making rapid progress towards meeting the MDG of halving extreme poverty by 2015.
12 December 2008A strong press and robust broadcasting institutions are critical for achieving a sustainable peace and credible governance in post-conflict countries, senior United Nations officials told delegates attending a conference on peacebuilding today. The need to recognize the role of media and communications as an essential part of peacebuilding efforts was the focus of a one-day conference organized by the UN Department of Public Information (DPI), in collaboration with the Peacebuilding Support Office (PBSO), at UN Headquarters in New York.Delegates heard that media and communications operations are critical in supporting the UN Peacebuilding Commission in its efforts to provide post-conflict countries with the international support they need to get back on their feet. The Commission, which was set up at the end of 2005, is tasked with helping struggling States avoid the slide back into war or chaos and currently has four countries on its agenda – Burundi, Sierra Leone, Guinea-Bissau and Central African Republic (CAR).The conference brought together ministers from two of the States assisted by the Commission, Burundi and Sierra Leone, with media from the countries undergoing peacebuilding efforts, representatives of the UN system, and other international and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Ambassador Yukio Takasu, Chairperson of the Peacebuilding Commission, told the meeting that the Commission needed the media as a partner at the local, national and international level to generate attention and mobilize support towards countries emerging from conflict. Mr. Takasu added that the media was vital for promoting credible and transparent governance, saying that “a media environment conducive to independent and accessible media can build public will and hold governments accountable to their citizens.”Delegates focused discussions on how the media has promoted and strengthened governance and democracy in countries coming out of conflict, reviewing past efforts as well as examining current initiatives and exploring possibilities for future action.Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, Kiyo Akasaka, underscored the success UN radio broadcasters have had in reaching audiences in post-conflict nations. “UNTAC radio, for example, in Cambodia in 1992, helped to change that country’s political mood and mobilized an enormous voter turnout with its constant refrain ‘your vote is secret,’” said Mr. Akasaka.Assistant-Secretary-General for Peacebuilding Support Jane Holl Lute echoed the sentiment by stressing the media’s outreach role in informing, motivating and mobilizing populations emerging from conflict.
30 December 2008Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today held a teleconference with his principal international partners in the search for Middle East peace, calling for an immediate ceasefire in Gaza and southern Israel as United Nations agencies warned that hundreds of wounded in Gaza hospitals faced a surge in preventable deaths due to lack of medical supplies. The so-called Quartet – the UN, European Union (EU), Russia and United States – called on “all parties to address the serious humanitarian and economic needs in Gaza and to take necessary measures to ensure the continuous provision of humanitarian supplies,” according to UN readout on the teleconference.The consultations took place as the air strikes which Israel says it has launched in reply to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza entered their fourth day, with over 300 Gazans killed and many hundreds more wounded, and the UN World Health Organization (WHO) urging Israel to ensure immediate provision of fuel and critical life-saving and trauma care supplies. UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) Commissioner-General Karen AbuZayd told the UN News Centre as part of its Newsmaker profile series that the current situation is “much, much worse” than past eruptions of violence in Gaza.“I’ve been here throughout the Intifada [Palestinian uprising] for the last eight-and-a-half-years and although we’ve had some very bad times when there was heavy bombing, never so many people killed in one day and then in the four days that have been going on here,” she said.Besides Mr. Ban, those participating included EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana, European Commissioner for External Relations Benita Ferrero-Waldner, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner of France, current EU president, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and Quartet Representative Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister. “They called for an immediate ceasefire that would be fully respected,” the readout said. “They agreed on the urgent need for Israelis and Palestinians to continue on the road to peace. They intend to remain in close touch.”Mr. Ban issued a similar call yesterday, demanding Israel and Hamas halt acts of violence, avoid civilian casualties, and that Israel keep open all border crossings needed the continued provision of humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Noting that he had repeatedly condemned rocket attacks by Hamas against Israel, he added, “While recognizing Israel’s right to defend itself, I have also condemned the excessive use of force by Israel in Gaza.”WHO underscored the precarious state of Gaza’s medical facilities as the wounded poured in. Hundreds of wounded people, including women, children and elderly, lie in hospitals that already lack basic supplies,” it said.“The inability of the hospitals to cope with a problem of this magnitude, if the situation continues unchanged, will result in a surge in preventable deaths from complications due to trauma. Civilians are paying the price for the prolonged blockade,” it added, referring to the closure of crossing points which Israel has imposed, citing rocket attacks by Gaza militants.“As a top priority, the shortages of essential and life-saving medicines need to be abated without delay. The current escalation of the violence only compounds the health situation and unnecessarily exacerbates the fragile status of the civilians caught up in this conflict.”WHO has secured, in collaboration with several Member States, the dispatch of medical kits to cover surgical and trauma interventions and is following up with Palestinian and Israeli authorities to ensure these supplies reach those who need them. Negotiations with the Israelis are ongoing to guarantee the passage of urgent medical supplies, the agency said, adding that it was also coordinating with other UN agencies, donors and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to ensure aid arrives to those most in need.“The functioning of hospitals and access to health services is critical in order to respond to the mass casualties,” WHO stressed, calling for the removal of blockades to allow in much-needed food, water, fuel, medicines and other humanitarian aid.The UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) voiced deep concern over the impact of the current violence on youngsters and urged all parties to abide by their international legal obligation to ensure that children are protected and receive essential humanitarian supplies and support. Over half of the population in Gaza are children. “It is critical that humanitarian assistance, including food, medical supplies and equipment be allowed into Gaza to address the urgent needs of children and women,” UNICEF said in statement.
The demarcation of Abyei has been one of the outstanding issues related to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), signed by the National Congress Party (NCP) and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) in 2005.Today the Permanent Court of Arbitration, located in The Hague, reportedly set new borders for Abyei and left control of the Heglig oil field with the national government in Khartoum. It rejected the western and eastern borders for Abyei set by an international panel of experts in 2005, while leaving the northern and southern boundaries intact.Mr. Ban, in a statement issued by his spokesperson, called the resolution of the Abyei dispute “a major step forward” in the implementation of the CPA.“The Secretary-General calls on the parties to sustain this positive development by supporting the Abyei Administration to deliver the long-awaited peace dividend to the people of Abyei,” the statement added.He also called on the parties to “keep alive the spirit of cooperation generated by the resolution of the Abyei dispute” by resolving the outstanding issues under the CPA, which include census results, border demarcation and preparations for a referendum on the final status of areas of southern Sudan.The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Sudan, Ashraf Qazi, congratulated the parties for completing the arbitration process, and noted that their commitment to uphold the decision reflects their respect for the rule of law and their desire for peace. “This decision clearly demonstrates that, even on the most difficult and sensitive of disputes, the parties can find a peaceful solution if they work together in good faith,” Mr. Qazi said, speaking in Abyei shortly after the decision was announced. The Special Representative also underlined the importance of a clear and final resolution of Abyei’s boundaries, and called on all involved to cooperate to implement the decision and to guarantee the long-term interests of the people of the region.“As always, UNMIS stands ready to assist the parties and the local communities in these efforts,” he added, referring to the UN Mission in Sudan which he heads.He also noted that the ruling should in no way disrupt daily life in Abyei and surrounding areas. “The Ngok-Dinka and Misseriya will have all the rights guaranteed to them by the CPA and the Interim Constitution, as will all of Abyei’s people. The tribes and communities that have lived together and found ways to resolve their differences for so long will continue to do so,” he said. 22 July 2009Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the top United Nations envoy to Sudan have welcomed today’s court ruling on the disputed oil-rich area of Abyei, and called on the parties to proceed with the remaining tasks under the peace deal that ended the country’s north-south civil war.
In his message for the International Day of Families, observed annually on 15 May, the Secretary-General noted that, despite its many benefits, migration places heavy burdens on family members.“Migrants can face harsh living conditions, discrimination and low wages. They often lack safety nets, and suffer disproportionately in times of economic hardship. Unemployment can push many to the bottom rung of societies,” he stated.“Children of migrants can face a number of emotional and economic challenges unique to their circumstances, in particular a greater vulnerability to human trafficking, child labour and violence.”Mr. Ban noted that the worsening economic crisis is partially to blame for the pressure on families to leave their homes. Many also migrate out of necessity due to poverty, unemployment, political or armed conflicts or violations of human rights.At the same time, he also highlighted the positive impact of migration, including the opportunity for men and women to send income to family members back home, the valuable social and cultural contributions migrants make to their host countries, and the chance for women migrants to gain independence and autonomy, becoming positive role models for others.The Secretary-General called on those States that have not yet done so to ratify and implement the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Migrant Workers and Members of their Families.The Convention, which came into force in 2003, aims to protect migrant workers and their families from exploitation and the violation of their human rights. It is based on the idea that migrant workers have basic rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in international human rights treaties adopted by most countries.The number of international migrants around the world has more than doubled since the 1960s to an estimated 214 million, according to the UN International Labour Organization (ILO).To mark the day this year, the UN has a series of events organized in New York, including a briefing organized by the Department for Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) . 15 May 2010Focusing on the social and cultural contributions of migrants, as well as on the challenges they face, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged governments to implement policies that help migrants adapt and prosper in their host countries.