Showing posts with label UN. Show all posts
Showing posts with label UN. Show all posts

UN: Sahel violence could drive more refugees to Europe

The head of the U.N. refugee agency says "Europe should be much more worried" that more people from Africa's Sahel region could seek to move north to escape violence, climate crises and the impact of growing food shortages.

Filippo Grandi, the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, called for more efforts to build peace in the world as conflicts and crises like those in Ukraine, Venezuela, Myanmar, Syria and beyond have driven over 100 million people to leave their homes — both within their own countries and abroad.

UNHCR, the U.N.'s refugee agency, on Thursday, issued its latest "Global Trends" report, which found over 89 million people had been displaced by conflict, climate change, violence and human rights abuses by 2021.

The figure has since swelled after at least 12 million people fled their homes in Ukraine following Russia's Feb. 24 invasion.

This year, the world is also facing growing food insecurity — Ukraine is a key European bread basket and the war has greatly hurt grain exports

The African Union, whose continent relies on imports of wheat and other food from Ukraine, has appealed for help to access grain that is blocked in Ukrainian silos and unable to leave Ukrainian ports amid a Russian naval blockade in the Black Sea.

UNHCR said 2021 marked the 15th straight year of the annual increase in the number of people displaced within their own countries – to more than 53 million.

Among the reasons: Rising violence in places like Myanmar, the war in Ethiopia's Tigray region and extremist insurgencies in the Sahel, particularly in Burkina Faso and Mali.

Grandi said the Sahel has already faced years of droughts and floods; inequality in wealth, education and access to healthcare; and poor governance. Growing food insecurity and conflict have added to the pressures. (Africannews)


UN welcomes Somali agreement on prompt and peaceful elections

In a press statement released Friday night, the 15 members of the council commended the country’s leaders for putting first “Somalia’s stability, security and development, and the best interests of the Somali people”.

The agreement, that would allow elections within 60 days, was an outcome of the summit convened by Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble, after months of escalating tension between the political factions in Somalia.

The members of the Security Council welcomed the commitment to “hold peaceful, transparent, inclusive, and credible elections, which respect the agreed-upon minimum 30% women’s quota in parliament”.

The peace and security body also encouraged Somalia’s leaders to maintain this positive momentum so that elections can take place as agreed. They also urged all parties to continue to engage openly and constructively so that any problems during the implementation phase can be resolved quickly and welcomed the agreement to establish a peaceful dispute resolution mechanism to enable this.  

Back from the brink

Under the 17 September Electoral Model agreed in 2020 between the federal government and the leaders of the federal member states, verified clan elders would elect a parliament, which then would elect a president. The parliamentary elections were scheduled for December but then delayed.

The talks between Somalia’s Federal Government and the leaders of its Federal Member States, which began in March, regrettably broke down in early April.

The House of the People of the Somali Parliament then adopted a “Special Law”, abandoning the landmark agreement and extending the mandates of current office-holders for up to two more years.  

Opposition to these moves led to the mobilization of militias and exposed divisions within Somali security forces. Violent clashes ensued on 25 April, risking broader conflict.

“Since then, Somalia has come back from the brink of this worst-case scenario”, said earlier this week James Swan, the UN Special Representative for Somalia, recalling that the House of the People reversed its Special Law on 1 May under intense pressure, finally easing tensions.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also welcomed the newest agreement between Somali leaders, urging all stakeholders to swiftly implement the new agreement as a “critical step toward the holding of a consensual and transparent electoral process without further delays”.

Support of the UN Mission

The council members commended the support provided by the United Nations Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) and the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

They expressed their full backing for both missions as the country prepares for elections, implements the roadmap outlined in the appendix to the 27 May Communique, and “works to deliver the transition to Somali-led security, as called for in UN Security Council Resolution 2568.

Finally, the members of the Security Council reaffirmed their respect for the sovereignty, political independence, territorial integrity, and unity of Somalia.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of UN News.


United Nations recapture CAR city from armed groups

United Nations peacekeeping troops said they have retaken control of a city in the Central African Republic captured two weeks ago by armed groups waging an offensive against the government of President Faustin-Archange Touadera.

Rebels abandoned their positions in Bangassou, 750km east of the capital, Bangui, and fled the city following an ultimatum on Friday from the UN peacekeeping force MINUSCA, the mission’s spokesman Vladimir Monteiro said late on Saturday.

“The city of Bangassou is under the complete control of MINUSCA,” Monteiro said, though he added that the UN force “remains on alert” to prevent any rebel return or other actions against civilians, the state authority and UN troops.

Armed groups waging a nationwide offensive captured the city on January 3, forcing many residents to flee across the border to the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“It’s a great joy,” Juan Jose Aguirre, the bishop of Bangassou, told the AFP news agency following the UN operation to regain control of the city.

“After 13 days’ sleeping outdoors, people will be able to return to their homes,” he added.

Al Jazeera’s Malcolm Webb, reporting from Bangui, said: “Rwandan peacekeeping troops were deployed to Bangassou ahead of a potential operation and an ultimatum was given to the armed groups controlling the town, after which they left.

“There have been reports of gunfire in the area and also reports that armed groups still control some parts of the town,” he said.

“With or without small towns, they still control approximately two-thirds of the country’s territory, and in it, most of its diamond and gold mines.”

Lieutenant Colonel Abdoul Aziz Fall, spokesman for MINUSCA’s military component, said the UN force intervened to stop attempts at looting overnight from Friday to Saturday.

“The situation is calm and under control and positions that had been occupied by armed groups are no longer,” Fall said.

Refugee flow

Six of the most powerful armed groups united a month ago to wage an offensive.

The coalition announced their offensive ahead of the December 27 presidential and legislative vote, aimed at preventing Touadera’s re-election.

On January 4, Touadera was declared the victor, although the political opposition cried foul.

The results accounted for only about half of registered voters, as hundreds of thousands were unable to cast their vote in areas held by rebels.

On Wednesday, the rebel forces mounted their closest attack yet to Bangui before being pushed back with the loss of a peacekeeper, the UN said.

The UN refugee agency said on Friday that the number of people fleeing violence following the presidential election had doubled in a week to 60,000.

More than 50,000 of those had fled across the Ubangui River to the DR Congo – with 10,000 people arriving in the country on Wednesday alone as armed groups attacked near Bangui.

Landlocked CAR is one of the world’s poorest nations and has seen a string of coups and wars since it gained independence from France in 1960.

In 2013, it spiralled once more into bloodshed when then-president Francois Bozize, who had himself seized power in a coup a decade earlier, was removed by a mainly Muslim coalition called the Seleka.

MINUSCA has almost 12,000 military personnel. The peacekeeping mission, first deployed in 2014, has been extended until November 2021.



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