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Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) Afghanistan - June 2020

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 04:36:32 +0000

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Country: Afghanistan
Source: REACH Initiative

Overview

The Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) is a standardised emergency assessment tool adopted by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Country Team, and includes indicators illustrating demographics and a household’s vulnerability in the following sectors: food security, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and livelihoods.

The HEAT is used as part of the ECHO funded Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM), to assess the eligibility of conflict and shock affected communities to one-time multi-purpose cash and WASH assistance. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) led consortium includes two other implementing partners, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and International Rescue Committee (IRC). The response is also supported by the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DAACAR) for WASH related assistance. This factsheet summarises key indicators from the HEAT assessments carried out by partners in June 2020.

Methodology

The primary data for this factsheet was collected by partner organisations within the ERM through household interviews with conflict and shock affected communities. REACH combined and analysed the collected partner HEAT data in order to present key findings in this factsheet for the purpose of informing future ERM programming and advocacy. The findings are representative of the assessed households and are not to be interpreted as statistically generalisable to the whole population.

Limitations

All data was collected by ERM partners through their own channels, as such there was not one standardised methodology used. While efforts were made to consolidate the data as much as possible, this should be kept in mind whilst reviewing these findings

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Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) Afghanistan - May 2020

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 04:32:28 +0000

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Country: Afghanistan
Source: REACH Initiative

Overview

The Household Emergency Assessment Tool (HEAT) is a standardised emergency assessment tool adopted by the Afghanistan Humanitarian Country Team, and includes indicators illustrating demographics and a household’s vulnerability in the following sectors: food security, shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), education and livelihoods.

The HEAT is used as part of the ECHO funded Emergency Response Mechanism (ERM), to assess the eligibility of conflict and shock affected communities to one-time multi-purpose cash and WASH assistance. The Danish Refugee Council (DRC) led consortium includes two other implementing partners, the Agency for Technical Cooperation and Development (ACTED) and International Rescue Committee (IRC). The response is also supported by the Danish Committee for Aid to Afghan Refugees (DAACAR) for WASH related assistance. This factsheet summarises key indicators from the HEAT assessments carried out by partners in May 2020.

Methodology

The primary data for this factsheet was collected by partner organisations within the ERM through household interviews with conflict and shock affected communities. REACH combined and analysed the collected partner HEAT data in order to present key findings in this factsheet for the purpose of informing future ERM programming and advocacy. The findings are representative of the assessed households and are not to be interpreted as statistically generalisable to the whole population.

Limitations

All data was collected by ERM partners through their own channels, as such there was not one standardised methodology used. While efforts were made to consolidate the data as much as possible, this should be kept in mind whilst reviewing these findings.

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Nepal: Syangja witnessed multiple landslides in the last few days displacing people and disrupting highways

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 04:29:27 +0000

Country: Nepal
Source: The Kathmandu Post

Three persons were buried and one went missing in a landslide at Kaligandaki on Tuesday morning.

Three persons were buried to death and one went missing in a landslide that occurred at Khahare in Kaligandaki Rural Municipality Ward No. 4, Syangja, on Tuesday morning.

According to the District Police Office in Syangja, six people got buried in landslide debris while on their way to repair a drinking water pipe near a water spring in Khahare.

“Among them, three were rescued from the incident site. But one among the three rescued died while undergoing treatment at Birgha Health Post,” said Rajendra Adhikari, deputy superintendent of police in Syangja. “Two bodies were found buried in the landslide debris while one person is still missing in the incident site.”

The two persons rescued from the site are receiving treatment at Palpa Mission Hospital, said police. According to Adhikari, a team of security personnel from the Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force has been deployed in the incident site for rescue operation. “The area is prone to multiple landslides, as there’s a river nearby,” said Adhikari.

Twenty seven individuals from Ward No. 4 have been displaced by the landslide that was triggered by incessant rainfall.

“For the time being, the displaced families are taking shelter at their relatives’ houses. We will move them to a safer location soon,” said Khim Bahadur Thapa, chairman at the rural municipality.

In Morang, a 58-year-old woman died when her house collapsed in a landslide at Singhadevi Chisangkhola of Kerabari Rural Municipality Ward No. 2 on Saturday night.

Man Bahadur Rai, deputy superintendent of police in Morang, said the difficult terrains of the incident site made it difficult to retrieve the victim’s body and hand it over to her family.

Likewise, a 23-year-old man from Rautwamai Municipality Ward No. 7 was swept away by the rain-swollen Ratuwa stream on Sunday.

“It has been learnt that the man was on the way to Jhapa from Ratuwamai. We have mobilised a police team to search for the missing person,” said DSP Rai.

Meanwhile, vehicular movement along the Nawalparasi (East)-Daunne road section of the East-West highway, which had remained closed for almost 10 hours since Tuesday morning due to a landslide, resumed from Tuesday noon. Two vehicles were trapped in landslide debris and felled trees along the road section.

According to Mohan Bahadur Khand, deputy superintendent of police in Nawalpur, one way traffic movement has resumed along the road section after workers from the Department of Roads and security personnel from Nepal Police cleared the landslide debris. Multiple landslides have occurred along the 15km stretch of the road section in Daunne over the past week, said police.

*Deo Narayan Sah in Morang and Nabin Paudel in Nawalpur contributed reporting. *

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Human Rights Council this afternoon held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers starts dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 04:28:29 +0000

Country: Myanmar
Source: UN Human Rights Council

Hears the Presentation of Reports Submitted under Agenda Items 3 and 6

The Human Rights Council this afternoon held an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers. It heard the presentation of reports submitted under agenda items 3 and 6, and then started an interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.

Diego García-Sayán, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, stated that in order to affirm judicial independence, in addition to countering possible interference by the political power, special attention must be paid to the threat of growing corruption, a global phenomenon that sought impunity. Victims must be heard, have the right to participate in proceedings, and be entitled to appropriate measures of redress. He spoke about his visits to Uzbekistan and Honduras.

Uzbekistan and Honduras spoke as concerned countries.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers emphasised their commitment to independent judiciaries and the fight against corruption. Despite the differences in legal systems across Member States, they considered the fight against corruption as a fundamental principle of protecting human rights and pursuing economic and social development. The link was clear : corruption undermined the independence of the judiciary, a key mechanism that guaranteed human rights, thereby undermining the protection of these rights.

Speaking were the European Union, Burkina Faso on behalf of the African Group, State of Palestine on behalf of the Arab Group, Peru on behalf of a group of countries (video message), Russian Federation, Angola, Libya, China, Afghanistan, France, Cuba, Pakistan, Armenia, Ecuador, Venezuela, Sweden, Tunisia, India, Philippines (video message), Australia, Iran, Jordan, Botswana, Morocco, Iraq, Hungary, Lithuania (video message), Azerbaijan, Egypt, Maldives, Nepal, Albania, Peru (video message), Bolivia, Qatar, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Burkina Faso, International Development Law Organization, Mexico, Greece and Cyprus.

The following civil society organizations also took the floor : European Centre for Law and Justice, Lawyers' Rights Watch Canada, International Bar Association, International Commission of Jurists, Sociedade Maranhense de Direitos Humanos, Beijing Zhicheng Migrant Workers' Legal Aid and Research Center, Americans for Democracy and Human Rights in Bahrain Inc, International Service for Human Rights, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, and China Society for Human Rights Studies.
The Council then heard the presentation of reports submitted under agenda items 3 and 6 by the Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Peggy Hicks, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced 12 reports of the High Commissioner concerning thematic issues submitted under items 3 and 6. She said that the Office would not be able to provide the mandated oral update during the current session on child, early and forced marriage, and measures to ensure accountability at the community and national levels, including for women and girls at risk of and those subjected to this harmful practice during the current session, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the liquidity crisis.

The Council then began the interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar.
Presenting his oral progress report, Thomas Andrews, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, regretted reporting that to date the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire was being ignored in many areas of Myanmar and the cost in human lives and human suffering was enormous. The ravages of war were particularly onerous and escalating daily in Rakhine state, causing growing numbers of civilian casualties and displacement, with hundreds of thousands of Rohingya forced to live in deplorable conditions in camps for internally displaced people, or in villages without basic rights, including freedom of movement.

Speaking as a concerned country, Myanmar said it had repeatedly stated the numerous challenges it was encountering and its commitment to overcome them through a whole–of-nation approach. As a least developed country, Myanmar was striving its utmost to realize all-round sustainable peace and development in the country, even with various constraints. The current COVID-19 pandemic had spared no country. It had further exacerbated Myanmar’s challenges. Despite the various challenges, the Government and people of Myanmar persistently continued to strive towards achieving its goal of democracy, and the promotion and protection of human rights for all people.

In the ensuing discussion, speakers called on the Government of Myanmar to resume cooperation with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and grant unrestricted access. Other speakers urged the Government to put an end to the world’s longest Internet shutdown and grant unfettered access to United Nations agencies.

Speaking in the interactive dialogue were European Union, Pakistan on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Canada, Liechtenstein, Thailand, Estonia, Democratic People's Republic of Korea, China, Japan, Saudi Arabia, France, Belgium, Venezuela (video message), Sweden, Philippines (video message) and Australia.

Speaking in right of reply were Turkey, Azerbaijan and China.

The Council will next meet on Tuesday, 14 July, at 10 a.m. to continue the full-day annual discussion on women’s rights, and then start an interactive dialogue with the Commission of Inquiry on Burundi. The interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar will resume at 3 p.m. tomorrow.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

Documentation

The Council has before it the **Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on Independence of judges and lawyers** (A/HRC/44/47).

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on the Visit to Uzbekistan (A/HRC/44/47/Add.1).

The Council has before it the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on the Visit to Honduras (A/HRC/44/47/Add.2).

The Council has before it the Comments by the State on the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on his visit to Uzbekistan (A/HRC/44/47/Add.3).

The Council has before it the Comments by the State on the Report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers on his visit to Honduras (A/HRC/44/47/Add.4).

**Presentation of Reports by the ****Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers**

DIEGO GARCÍA-SAYÁN, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said that, in order to affirm judicial independence, in addition to countering possible interference by the political power, special attention must be paid to the threat of growing corruption, a global phenomenon that sought impunity. To guarantee the independence of prosecutors' offices from political power or from any expression of de facto power, there were three fundamental aspects that must be considered : independent prosecutors with integrity played a vital role in addressing corruption ; international cooperation against corruption was a core obligation of the Convention ; and, because of the impact of corruption on society, special attention must be paid to the victims of corruption and to human rights defenders. Victims must be heard, have the right to participate in proceedings, and be entitled to appropriate measures of redress. Human rights defenders, for their part, tended to be key players in promoting investigations into corruption. Protection measures should therefore be considered.

On his visit to Honduras, Mr. García-Sayán said Honduras had made enormous efforts in recent years to address structural problems that continued to affect it. Corruption and organised crime remained two serious problems. He had been able to observe institutional efforts that had resulted in some progress, but, at the same time, there were preoccupying obstacles that ended up preventing the criminal punishment of those who had committed offenses.

On his visit to Uzbekistan, the Special Rapporteur said that Uzbekistan had made progress in strengthening the independence and free exercise of the legal profession : the establishment of the Supreme Judicial Council, the reorganization of the judicial system, new procedures for the selection and appointment of candidates to judicial posts, and various measures to improve judicial training and stability in the function. However, much remained to be done to ensure that the judicial system was truly independent. Government authorities retained important roles in the organization and functioning of the judicial system. The extremely broad powers of court presidents in the selection, promotion, evaluation and discipline of judges severely limited internal independence.

Statements by Concerned Countries

Honduras, speaking as a concerned country, said that, as regards the procedure used for the selection and appointment of candidates to the national anti-corruption body in 2016, the good practice obtained may be used in the future for the selection and appointment of judges and magistrates. Continuing to strengthen Honduran institutions in the fight against corruption and impunity, the Government had created UFERCO, a mechanism of persecution of corruption offences, and it continued to strengthen technical and scientific research in this area. Honduras recognized that the legal system still faced challenges and hurdles. Currently, the Government was undertaking actions to make processes more dynamic, reduce judicial backlog, and adopt adequate legislation. Efforts were also being made to provide citizens with greater access to justice by increasing the number of courts and tribunals in the country, among other things. These efforts aimed at consolidating the rule of law with an independent, transparent judicial system that guaranteed citizens' rights and freedoms.

Uzbekistan, speaking as a concerned country, welcomed the assessment of the Special Rapporteur received following his visit to Uzbekistan in September 2019, as well as the report on his findings. The report noted positively the progress made to date by Uzbekistan in strengthening the independence of the judiciary, such as the reorganisation of the judicial system, the establishment of the Supreme Judicial Council and more. Uzbekistan also shared the view of the Special Rapporteur that work remained to be done to ensure that "the judiciary is truly independent of the other branches of government", as well as with the fact that "reform of the judicial system should be aimed at strengthening its independence and impartiality". Recommendations for further legal reform improvement, strengthening the status and independence of lawyers, and ensuring public access to justice and qualified legal aid were particularly welcomed. Work had now begun on drafting a National Action Plan for the implementation of the recommendations. One of the ways in which Uzbekistan was already improving was in adopting more than 20 laws, decrees and presidential decrees over the past three years on priority issues of the judicial system, as part of the implementation of goal 16 of the 2030 Agenda.

Discussion

Speakers emphasised their commitment to independent judiciaries and the fight against corruption. Despite the differences in legal systems across Member States, they considered the fight against corruption as a fundamental principle of protecting human rights and pursuing economic and social development. The link was clear : corruption undermined the independence of the judiciary, a key mechanism that guaranteed human rights, thereby undermining the protection of these rights. Speakers noted that the United Nations had a central role in establishing constructive cooperation between States, strengthening multilateral norms, and aiding States in the fight against corruption ; however they questioned whether the mandate of the Special Rapporteur was the optimal way of achieving these goals. The report contained numerous points and examples that did not fall under the competence of the Council. Other States asked the Special Rapporteur to provide examples of ways they could strengthen the two core aspects of the United Nations Convention against Corruption : the independence and integrity of prosecutors and international cooperation. Public prosecution officers could only tackle corruption when they were strengthened by international cooperation ; bilateral cooperation was useful - but it did not have the same effectiveness as multilateral processes. Some speakers noted that independence of the judiciary also meant the full participation of women alongside men. The shift from punitive to restorative justice was brought up by some speakers as a desirable goal that States should aspire to.

Interim Remarks

DIEGO GARCÍA-SAYÁN, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, thanked those present for their constructive statements. Both Uzbekistan and Honduras had shown commitment to working towards improving the independence of the judiciary. On corruption and the threat it posed to institutions, he emphasised that this was a human rights matter. States had a responsibility in that regard : they must protect judges and lawyers, in a manner that was fully independent. It was important to consider the gender perspective, and strengthen the role of women in prosecution.

Discussion

Speakers stated that the rule of law was the basis of good governance, highlighting that the training of prosecutors must be based on integrity, and that it was essential to provide safeguards to protect the immunity of judges, and empower them economically and socially. Was it important that the oversight of the judiciary should rest outside of the judiciary itself? The separation of the budget of the prosecutor’s office from the rest of the national budget lines was cited as a crucial tool of ensuring its independence from political machinations. It was clear that the COVID-19 pandemic had had a negative effect on the protection of human rights, and that the independence of the judiciary was not unaffected. Speakers agreed with the Special Rapporteur’s argument that the fight against cross-border corruption was an essential part of the Council’s mandate, helping curb transnational corruption at large, as they asked for best practices of international cooperation between prosecution offices in particular. Speakers condemned attacks against lawyers, noting that they were committed to investigating every act of intimidation. Other speakers highlighted the lack of attention to the pervasiveness of conflict of interest that plagued judges of international courts. Without lawyers, there was no justice, and some speakers noted that lawyers were being harassed, jailed and killed across the world simply for performing their duties.

Concluding Remarks

DIEGO GARCÍA-SAYÁN, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, said that as regards the fight against corruption as a means of human rights, the importance of judges and lawyers was fundamental. These issues were fundamentally interlinked ; they were two sides to the same coin. Corruption, for instance, affected the access of citizens, including human rights defenders, to justice.

Presentation of Reports under Agenda Items 3 and 6

The Council has before it the Note by the Secretary-General on the Report of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women on the activities of the United Nations trust fund in support of actions to eliminate violence against women (A/HRC/44/3).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Operations of the voluntary fund for participation in the universal periodic review (A/HRC/44/18).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Operations of the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance in the implementation of the universal periodic review (A/HRC/44/19).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Impact of new technologies on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies (A/HRC/44/24 – Advance Edited Version).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Civil society space : engagement with international and regional organizations (A/HRC/44/25).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Intersection of race and gender discrimination in sport (A/HRC/44/26).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Challenges faced and best practices applied by States in integrating human rights into their national strategies and policies to fight against corruption, including those addressing non-State actors, such as the private sector (A/HRC/44/27).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights (A/HRC/44/28).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Impact of the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers on the human rights of women and girls (A/HRC/44/29 – Advance Edited Version).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change (A/HRC/44/30).

The Council has before it the Note by the Secretariat on the Human rights of migrants (A/HRC/44/31).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on **Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through non-State-based grievance mechanisms **(A/HRC/44/32).

The Council has before it the **Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights **on Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through non-State based grievance mechanisms : explanatory notes (A/HRC/44/32/Add.1).

The Council has before it the **Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights **on the Expert group meeting on the elimination of female genital mutilation (A/HRC/44/33).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Panel discussion on the rights of indigenous peoples (A/HRC/44/34).

The Council has before it the Summary report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Intersessional interactive dialogue on ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of the Human Rights Council on issues affecting them (A/HRC/44/35).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on the Annual full-day discussion on the human rights of women (A/HRC/44/36).

The Council has before it the Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Technical cooperation and capacity-building to promote and protect the rights of persons deprived of their liberty : implementation of the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners and the United Nations Rules for the Treatment of Women Prisoners and Noncustodial Measures for Women Offenders (A/HRC/44/37).

The Council has before it the Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights on Realizing the rights of the child through a healthy environment (A/HRC/43/30).

Presentation of the Reports

PEGGY HICKS, Director of the Thematic Engagement, Special Procedures and Right to Development Division of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, introduced 12 reports of the High Commissioner concerning thematic issues submitted under items 3 and 6. She said that the Office would not be able to provide the mandated oral update during the current session on child, early and forced marriage, and measures to ensure accountability at the community and national levels, including for women and girls at risk of and those subjected to this harmful practice during the current session, because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the liquidity crisis.

On new technologies and their impact on the promotion and protection of human rights in the context of assemblies, including peaceful protests, she said new technologies accessible through the Internet could enable the exercise of the right of peaceful assembly and that the report called on States to avoid interfering with such technologies, including ending Internet shutdowns. Regarding the report on “civil society space : engagement with international and regional organizations”, she stated that safe and open civic space and a strong and active civil society were prerequisites for sustainable development, peace and security. Turning to the Office’s Accountability and Remedy Project, she explained that it sought to improve accountability and access to remedy in cases of business-related human rights abuse.

Against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, the fourth report dealt with the implementation and enhancement of international cooperation in the field of human rights. She then drew the attention of those present to challenges faced and best practices applied by States in integrating human rights into their national strategies and policies to fight against corruption, including those addressing non-State actors, such as the private sector. A report on the Impact of Arms Transfers on Human Rights clarified the scope of goods that should be considered when discussing the diversion of arms and unregulated or illicit arms transfers. The next report, on the Intersection of Race and Gender Discrimination in Sport found that the low levels of participation of women and girls in sport was closely linked to socio-cultural norms and discriminatory actions such as prohibition on certain attire worn by women.

Two summary reports respectively provided overview of intersessional interactive dialogue on ways to enhance the participation of indigenous peoples’ representatives and institutions in meetings of the Council, and the discussions and recommendations of a Human Rights Council mandated multi-stakeholder expert meeting on progresses, gaps and challenges to ensuring the elimination of the practice of female genital mutilation. She then presented three trust fund reports : the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women, the Voluntary Fund for Participation in the Universal Periodic Review, and the Voluntary Fund for Financial and Technical Assistance in the implementation of the Universal Periodic Review.

Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Rights in Myanmar

Presentation of the Oral Progress Report

THOMAS ANDREWS, Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, started by highlighting the universal nature of human rights, noting that he was committed to two important points as he came into the position : listening to all stakeholders and being deeply committed to the advancement of human rights. The most powerful resource that he yielded with the people he served, and for them, was the truth, as he pledged to the Council that he would seek the light of truth to serve as a guide for the choices that members of this Council would make. The twenty-first century had ushered in a period of reform for Myanmar that followed a sustained campaign of opposition and resistance to authoritarian rule, a campaign led and inspired by now State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. A military-controlled State had yielded, at least to an extent, to calls for justice, democracy and human rights. In a few short months, Myanmar would hold a national election : would it include the fundamentals of a free and fair election starting with the right to vote – regardless of one’s race, ethnicity or religion? Would it include freedom of expression and assembly, and would voters have access to information and a free press?
The Special Rapporteur regretted reporting that to date the Secretary-General’s call for a global ceasefire was being ignored in many areas of Myanmar and the cost in human lives and human suffering was enormous. The ravages of war were particularly onerous and escalating daily in Rakhine state, causing growing numbers of civilian casualties and displacement, with hundreds of thousands of Rohingya forced to live in deplorable conditions in camps for internally displaced people, or in villages without basic rights, including freedom of movement. The Special Rapporteur commended the Government of Myanmar for developing a national strategy to close camps for internally displaced persons. The plan called for the voluntary and sustainable return, relocation or local reintegration of displaced persons. Unfortunately, he had been informed that the pilot project under this new strategy not only prohibited the right of internally displaced persons to return home, but may force them into land susceptible to flooding and without access to basic services, including healthcare and education. And, it may also continue to deny other basic rights, including freedom of movement. Finally, the Special Rapporteur commended the Government of Myanmar for the positive steps that it had taken to forge a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic, including regular health care messaging by the State Counsellor to the people of Myanmar who had access to social media.

Statement by Concerned Country

Myanmar, speaking as a concerned country, said it had repeatedly stated the numerous challenges it was encountering and its commitment to overcome them through a whole–of-nation approach. As a least developed country, Myanmar was striving its utmost to realize all-round sustainable peace and development in the country, even with various constraints. The current COVID-19 pandemic had spared no country. It had further exacerbated Myanmar’s challenges. Despite the various challenges, the Government and people of Myanmar persistently continued to strive towards achieving its goal of democracy, and the promotion and protection of human rights for all people. National reconciliation, peace, democracy, human rights, and sustainable and inclusive development were all interrelated in building a democratic federal union. Every citizen had the right to exercise peaceful assembly and association as manifested in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In this regard, Myanmar's Constitution clearly stated the fundamental rights of citizens, including the right to peaceful assembly and procession.

Discussion

In the ensuing discussion, speakers called on the Government of Myanmar to resume cooperation with the mandate of the Special Rapporteur and grant unrestricted access. Some speakers urged the Government to put an end to the world’s longest Internet shutdown and grant unfettered access to United Nations agencies. Pointing to continuous reports of civilian casualties, including children, in violation of international humanitarian and human rights law, they added that clearance operations, forced displacement, and the burning of villages were unacceptable. While welcoming part of the Government’s response to the pandemic, speakers said there were no excuses for preventing vulnerable segments of the population from accessing humanitarian services and reliable information. The COVID-19 pandemic had made the situation worse, speakers noted, urging Myanmar to heed the Secretary-General’s appeal for a global ceasefire, which should also be implemented in Rakhine state. The international community was urged to address the situation in Myanmar with an approach that abided by the principles of impartiality and objectivity, as well as well as non-selectivity and non-politicisation.

Some speakers said the international community should refrain from exercising overt pressure and respect Myanmar’s sovereignty. Emphasizing that the continuing violence and human rights violations in Rakhine state were deeply concerning, speakers thanked the Special Rapporteur for his oral update. It was critically urgent that the Government and the military take steps to implement the recommendation of the Independent Commission of Inquiry that concerned the situation in Rakhine state. Some speakers asked the Special Rapporteur what measures could be put in place to ensure participation in the upcoming elections. Myanmar should collaborate with the International Criminal Court and the International Court of Justice, whose provisional measures should be implemented in full. Some speakers stressed that mandate holders must establish a cooperation relationship with the Government.

___________

For use of the information media ; not an official record

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Security Council: Colombia (SC/14252)

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 03:19:32 +0000

Country: Colombia
Source: UN Security Council

Note: Owing to the liquidity crisis and the current COVID-19 pandemic impacting our Organization, only a partial summary of statements made in today’s meeting of the Security Council is available at this time. The complete summary will be issued later as Press Release SC/14252.

CARLOS RUIZ MASSIEU, Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Verification Mission in Colombia, briefed the Council via videoconference and introduced the Secretary-General’s latest report (document S/2020/603). Among other things, he said it highlights the perseverance of the Government, the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia group (FARC) and other actors in carrying on with peacebuilding efforts despite challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since the report was issued, he said, the work of the tripartite mechanism on transition to legality accredited 131 more former combatants and the Commission for the Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Final Agreement resumed its sessions. However, insecurity facing community leaders, human rights defenders and former members of the Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) remains the greatest challenge to advancing the peace process. He recalled that, in a positive development, authorities arrested an individual believed to be the intellectual author of the killing of Alexander Parra, a former FARC-EP combatant and leader of a former territorial area for training and reintegration. Such arrests are an example of the results the peace agreement can deliver, as well as a reminder of the need to provide its mechanisms with support.

In that vein, he urged the Government to execute its pending arrest warrants and prioritize the resourcing of the National Protection Unit in order to ensure that no more former combatants are killed while awaiting evaluation of their protection requests. Meanwhile, he expressed hope that the long-awaited policy to dismantle illegal armed groups and their support networks who are behind the violence in the former conflict-affected areas will soon be approved and set in motion. “As the Secretary-General has noted repeatedly, the consolidated and integrated presence of State institutions is the long-term solution to the violence plaguing Colombia’s rural regions,” he said, calling for the further implementation of development programmes with a territorial focus and the Comprehensive Security and Protection Programme for Communities and Organizations in the Territories.

Turning to programmes for the substitution of illegal crops — which provide communities with a voluntary path towards legal livelihoods — he said their implementation should now focus on ensuring that participating families receive timely assistance to develop productive projects. Many former combatants’ crop projects have been negatively affected by COVID-19, making it even more urgent to ensure support for their sustainability. He urged the Government and FARC to foster the leadership of women former combatants, while encouraging the National Reintegration Council to reactivate its working groups on children and youth. The latter should also consider a recent proposal to create a working group on the situation of former combatants of indigenous and Afro-Colombian origin.

He underscored the centrality of Colombia’s transitional justice model to the peace process, noting that the three components of the Comprehensive System for Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition have continued their work during the pandemic. In April, the Special Jurisdiction for Peace issued guidelines on the sanctions that it will impose upon individuals under its jurisdiction and on the “tasks, works or activities with reparatory and restorative content”. Calling for support to that system by all actors, he went on to note that reported cases of gender-based violence have been on the rise in the context of the pandemic. Colombians were also appalled by incidents of sexual violence committed by members of the public security forces, which were condemned by the President and the Minister of Defence and are now under investigation.

“I encourage all parties to redouble measures to improve protection and security for women, including women former combatants, social leaders and human rights defenders,” he said. Those include the prompt implementation of the action plan of the Comprehensive Programme for Safeguards for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders, which was delayed due to the pandemic. Describing the Council’s support as crucial, he said all efforts now should seek to combat the pandemic, protect the most vulnerable and push forward the peace agreement’s implementation. He also echoed the Secretary-General’s 23 March call for a global ceasefire amid COVID-19, concluding: “There is no justification for continuing to inflict violence upon vulnerable Colombians who are already under tremendous hardship.”

CLEMENCIA CARABALÍ RODALLEGA, of the non-governmental organization Municipal Association of Women, also briefed the Council via videoconference, recalling that she — and many others working to defend community ethnic and territorial rights in Colombia — have been forced to survive attacks by armed groups. “Since the Spanish invasion 528 years ago, which led to the enslavement, dispossession and death of the peoples of our America […] ethnocide in Colombia has not stopped,” she said. Every day, Colombians wake up to the news that another black or indigenous person has been threatened, attacked or killed. Those conditions have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Spotlighting several examples, she cited the 2019 assassinations of Karina García, a candidate for mayor in the Suárez municipality, and Cristina Bautista, governor of the Nasa indigenous community. On 5 July, Paola del Carmen Mena Ortiz, a member of an Afro-Colombian Community Council in Cañón del Micay, was killed and dismembered. She described such murders as a humanitarian crisis resulting from persistent armed conflict, the absence of the State and then the National Government’s militaristic intervention. Many territories across Colombia are seeing a reconfiguration of illegal armed groups previously controlled by the FARC-EP, and tensions are rising as elites seek to extract natural resources, plant illegal crops and carry out illicit mining.

“Despite the peace agreement signed in 2016, there is still no real stable and durable peace for the people of Colombia,” she said, stressing that those who suffer most are the civilian population, ethnic communities, youth, girls and women. Underlining the importance of the international community’s support, she expressed gratitude for the United Nations Verification Mission, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women) and other partners who have helped to lay the foundation for women’s empowerment and their inclusion in the peace agreement.

Emphasizing that Colombia already enjoys a robust legal and policy framework, she called on President Iván Duque to implement existing normative frameworks, particularly the Comprehensive Programme of Safeguards for Women Leaders and Human Rights Defenders. He should also ensure compliance with the peace agreement’s Ethnic Chapter and its provisions on gender; investigate and prosecute violators of human rights, as well as ethnic and territorial rights; and implement collective protection measures with differential gender and ethnic approaches. She also urged the international community to compel those active in Colombia to sign onto a humanitarian agreement protecting people and to visit the affected territories “to put yourselves in our shoes”.

Statements

JAMES PAUL ROSCOE (United Kingdom) described significant progress made since 2016, noting that transitional justice institutions had adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic by moving to the virtual space and expressing hope that they will continue to receive the resources needed to do their work. Implementation of development programmes with a territorial focus continues to advance and he encouraged the Government to ensure the participation of local communities in such efforts. Efforts by the Agreement’s mechanisms to help prevent COVID-19 outbreaks in and around areas for training and reintegration are essential, given the economic impact of COVID-19 on former combatants. He expressed hope that Colombia will assist them so that reintegration remains on track.

He also expressed great concern about the high number of killings and threats against ex-combatants, human rights defenders, women leaders and those from indigenous and African communities — and alarm that such violence is the greatest threat to the peace process. Colombia must devote additional resources to respond to protection requests and there must be a prompt Government response to the Ombudsman’s early warnings. Noting that the National Commission on Security Guarantees has not met since January, he said more work is needed to bring perpetrators of these attacks to justice. Three territories have working groups to follow up on these attacks and he expressed hope that this initiative will be expanded across the country. He encouraged all parties to create the conditions necessary for a cessation of hostilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, lamenting that progress remains slow in giving former combatants access to land, which affects their access to housing at a time when they face hardship due to the pandemic.

INGA RHONDA KING (Saint Vincent and the Grenadines), speaking also for Niger, South Africa and Tunisia, underscored the importance of the 2016 agreement as the only viable solution for Colombia. As COVID-19 tests the tenacity of Governments and peoples, countries emerging from conflict face additional challenges. She encouraged the United Nations to continue providing support. Urging all parties to continue implementing the 2016 Final Agreement, she encouraged Colombians in particular to remain “enterprising and prudent” in overcoming new challenges. Welcoming the inclusion of FARC-EP in processes to devise regional and local development plans, she said COVID-19 is delaying implementation of the peace agreement and urged all parties to address lingering challenges.

She expressed concern about the “senseless” killings of former combatants, human rights defenders and Afro-Colombian leaders, calling on the National Commission on Security Guarantees to regularly convene and on authorities to both strengthen institutions and enhance coordination to address violent killings. Security protections for former FARC-EP combatants and their families must be applied, as they are crucial for ensuring their reintegration into society, and efforts for the long-term reintegration of all former combatants bolstered. She similarly called on all armed groups to cease hostilities, expressing regret that the unilateral ceasefire ended and encouraging full compliance with resolution 2532 (2020). She called on parties to resolve issues concerning allocation of land, in particular, to former combatants residing outside areas for training and reintegration. She welcomed efforts to ensure victims are prioritized in the peace process and more broadly encouraged the Government to emphasize the importance of the reconciliation process.

KELLY CRAFT (United States) said the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened an already complex security and health situation in Colombia, especially for women, girls and other vulnerable people — including some 1.8 million Venezuelan refugees. On 1 July, the United States announced the donation and delivery of 200 ventilators, which supplements its other financial support. Recalling her own travels to Colombia in 2019, she underlined the need to end acts of violence against human rights defenders and civil society leaders “as our highest priority”. There can be zero tolerance for such human rights abuses, she stressed, calling for all violations to be vigorously investigated and prosecuted. Work must also continue to combat the activities of illegal armed groups, including those involved in the illegal drug trade, she said, also spotlighting the need for accountability and meaningful justice for victims.

DIAN TRIANSYAH DJANI (Indonesia) joined other speakers in praising the commitment of Colombia’s stakeholders to implement the Peace Agreement. Citing a range of positive strides — including in economic and social reintegration — he said challenges also remain, such as in the illicit crop substitution programme, access to housing and the protection of former combatants. He voiced particular concern about violence committed against the latter, as well as against human rights defenders and social leaders, calling for the implementation of an action plan and road map designed to ensure their safety. Those responsible for such crimes must be held accountable. He also expressed concern about the increasing presence of illegal armed groups, calling on them to refrain from violence. In addition, all actors should avoid reopening discussions on possible changes to the Peace Agreement. “Instead, let us continue to build on the positive momentum,” he said, expressing confidence that the country will overcome its current challenges — including those now posed by COVID-19.

ANTOINE IGNACE MICHON (France) said the success of the peace agreement depends on the implementation of all its chapters in an integrated manner. He underscored the importance of reintegrating former combatants into the health system, noting more broadly that COVID-19 did not slow the pace of killings of human rights defenders and social leaders — demonstrating that criminals are using the pandemic to expand their territorial control. He called for their prosecution and progress by the National Commission on Security Guarantees, stressing that the Verification Mission must contribute to the legitimacy of the transitional justice process. He welcomed Government measures related to illicit crop substitution and rural reforms, pointing to the presence of internally displaced people and refugees from Venezuela as another issue that affects the economy. “These people should not be pushed aside,” he asserted, hailing Colombia’s response. He expressed hope that the Secretary-General’s appeal for a comprehensive ceasefire will foster peace in Colombia.

MARC PECSTEEN DE BUYTSWERVE (Belgium) acknowledged Colombia’s response to COVID-19 and assurances by all parties that they will implement the peace agreement. He expressed grave concern about the high and unabated violence against human rights defenders, social leaders and ex-combatants, including from indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities, stressing that rights defenders are calling for collective protection measures. He urged the National Commission on Security Guarantees to meet regularly, along with civil society, to disband illegal armed groups. He welcomed that productive projects for former combatants are linked to territorial development programmes, as land access remains a problem in ensuring the sustained nature of the reintegration process. Identifying the recruitment and use of children by illegal armed groups as a grave concern, he said the National Reintegration Council should restart its working group on children, and likewise expressed alarm over reports of sexual abuse by armed forces against minors. Belgium is awaiting inquiries into these matters and closely following the transitional process. Belgium also would favour the Mission playing a role in verifying compliance with sanctions imposed by the Special Jurisdiction for Peace.

DANG DINH QUY (Viet Nam) joined others in expressing concern about challenges in implementing the Peace Agreement, including the adverse impacts of COVID-19. Welcoming efforts by the Government to combat the pandemic — as well as the consideration of draft bills and institutional reforms — he said that process “will be a long one” but should focus on the needs of the most vulnerable people. He condemned all attacks against human rights defenders, civil society leaders and others, recalling the Secretary-General’s 23 March appeal for a global ceasefire amid the pandemic. Efforts should be redoubled to improve security in rural areas. Taking note of progress in pushing forward various economic and social reintegration projects, he said more efforts are needed to help former combatants to re-stabilize their lives.

JOSÉ SINGER WEISINGER (Dominican Republic) welcomed preventive measures put in place by the Government of Colombia and the FARC group to combat COVID-19, while encouraging the parties to work with a constructive spirit to implement the Peace Agreement despite challenges posed by the pandemic. Condemning recent threats and murders of women human rights defenders, community leaders and former combatants, he said all such acts must be duly investigated and the perpetrators prosecuted. The Government should make full use of its existing mechanisms to ensure their safety — including comprehensive guidelines to improve safeguards for human rights defenders — and more services for the victims of violence. All stakeholders should actively contribute to the country’s Comprehensive System of Truth, Justice, Reparation and Non-Repetition. He went on to advocate for the addition of a new mandate for the United Nations Verification Mission related to verifying compliance with transitional justice sanctions and called for an end to all acts of violence being committed by the National Liberation Army of Colombia (ELN) and other armed groups.

VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) underscored the need for urgent progress in Colombia from agrarian reform, to the political and economic reintegration of former combatants. “The peace process should not be put on hold,” he said. Dialogue among political parties must be resuscitated to ensure an understanding of the reform process, among other issues. He welcomed Colombia’s commitment to the Final Agreement and supported calls for its provisions to be fully implemented. The Agreement was acknowledged by the Council as the basis for settling the conflict. “We hope all political forces in Colombia will display national responsibility and focus on implementing the Agreement,” he said, expressing regret that the unilateral ceasefire was not taken up by the Government. He called on Bogota, with Havana and Oslo, to ensure that security guarantee protocols are abided, recalling that when Cuba hosted parties, it did so as an international mediator. The Russian Federation will continue to support the peace process, provided that the Government uphold its commitment to the Final Peace Agreement.

SVEN JÜRGENSON (Estonia), stressing that Colombians must have equal access to education and health care, welcomed efforts to combat COVID-19 and establish a working group in the National Reintegration Council. He urged all armed groups to cease hostilities during this crucial period, emphasizing that the killing of human rights defenders, ex-combatants and others has nonetheless persisted and calling for immediate action to be taken. The creation of the Special Investigation Unit within the Prosecutor General’s Office is a welcome development. He expressed concern about the increase in sexual and gender-based violence since the pandemic began, and about violence against indigenous groups. The Government must protect rights defenders and prosecute perpetrators of violations, he said, underscoring that victims and their families have the right to justice, truth and reparations. It also must guarantee the independent functioning of all transitional justice mechanisms. Condemning the recruitment of children by armed groups, a practice which must end, he encouraged the National Commission on Security Guarantees to meet regularly.

YAO SHAOJUN (China) said that while follow-up mechanisms to Colombia’s Peace Agreement are functioning effectively and progress is being made, some challenges remain. Calling for an approach that ensures proper balance and synergy between the two pillars of security and development — including efforts to tackle the root causes of conflict — he encouraged the Government to push forward with inclusive sustainable development, especially in rural areas. Citing recent fragilities in the security situation in some parts of the country, as well as attacks on community leaders and the continued recruitment of children, he said the international community should help the Government “curb the breeding ground for crime” in Colombia. China — while fully respecting Colombia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity — is making a range of contributions to the country’s overall development and has donated personal protective equipment, medication and other items to help it combat the spread of COVID-19.

CHRISTOPHE HEUSGEN (Germany), Council President for July, spoke in his national capacity, expressing deep concern about the high death toll among Colombia’s human rights defenders and community leaders. Supporting the possible addition of a new mandate for the United Nations Verification Mission related to verifying compliance with transitional justice sanctions, he went on to note that the situation of Colombia’s women and girls has worsened amid the COVID-19 pandemic with a marked increase in sexual and gender-based violence. It is crucial that State authority be extended to remote and conflict-affected areas in order to create a safe, stable environment for all Colombians, he stressed.

CLAUDIA BLUM, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Colombia, stressed that since the onset of COVID-19, detailed various measures had been taken to safeguard public health, provide support for the most vulnerable and ensure jobs. Committed to complying with the 2016 agreement, the Government has not “held back any of the areas of work”. The National Reincorporation Council has met regularly. The Commission for Follow-up, Promotion and Verification of the Implementation of the Final Agreement held six meetings during the reporting period, and measures to mitigate COVID-19 have been adopted by all agencies implementing the peace and legality policy. In the former 24 territorial areas for training and reintegration, protocols are in place to prevent contagion and ensure referrals to health centres, in close coordination with local authorities.

More broadly, she said the Government continues to approve and implement projects in 170 municipalities most affected by poverty and violence, where development plans with a territorial approach are carried out. Stabilization efforts are funded by the national budget, and complemented by other public and private funding, and international support. In regions where development plans are being implemented, 186 projects worth $423 million are being funded by oil and mining royalties. The Government is engaging with 100,000 families who have expressed a willingness to abandon coca cultivation, and it is devoting important resources to 1.8 million Venezuelan citizens forced to abandon their country.

Reintegrating former combatants will be decisive in preventing new cycles of violence, she assured. Beneficiaries of productive projects put in place to support ex-combatants since the start of the year have increased 71 per cent versus the same period in 2019. Former territorial areas for training and reintegration are operating normally and the food supply has been extended even though the legal status of these areas has long expired. Monthly allowances are rewarded to ex-combatants residing inside and outside these areas. Digital connectivity has been strengthened and the Agency for Territorial Renovation has met virtually to reinforce the relationship between central and regional authorities.

She went on to stress that the safety and protection of former combatants, human rights defenders and social leaders and communities remains the greatest challenge. The Government has articulated actions by 15 agencies to strengthen prevention, individual and collective protection, and support for investigation and prosecution — all in the context of demonstrating zero tolerance for any irregular conduct by State agents. Through close coordination with local authorities and the Verification Mission, former combatants were relocated from Ituango to Mutatá, and protection measures requested by female ex-combatants were approved.

As of 8 July, she said the Attorney General’s office has advanced the investigation of 146 of 294 crimes registered against ex-combatants since the signing of the agreement. “It is clear that the attacks are related to the complexity of the environment and threat posed by organized armed groups involved in drug trafficking and illegal mining,” she asserted. The criminals include non-incorporated FARC members, ELN terrorists and other groups. Recalling the exponential growth of illicit crops which occurred between 2013 and 2017, she said “we are now taking the toll for the silence kept during that period,” amid new threats to local communities, social leaders and rights defenders. Underscoring the Government’s strong commitment to promoting crop substitution options, she said that in 2019 Colombia reduced coca production areas by 9 per cent.

“The Agreement’s implementation is a two-way process,” she said, requiring commitment by the State and the FARC political party. She urged the Verification Mission to demand that FARC provide information on drug traffickers, locations of missing persons, the delivery of assets for victim reparations, the recruitment of children by dissident groups and the locations of land mines.

Turning to the transitional justice system, she said the Government continues to provide funding for all its mechanisms. “There will not be any reduction in that budget,” she clarified. “The success of the transitional justice depends largely on the satisfaction of the rights of the victims, in particular justice, truth and reparation.” Under the Agreement, sanctions and restorative actions have been defined, according to the collaboration and acknowledgement degree by those subject to the jurisdiction. The Government has initiated an inter-institutional coordination process to design a system that will address this need, once the Special Jurisdiction begins delivering its sanctions.

Regarding the unilateral ceasefire announced by ELN on 29 March, and request for a bilateral ceasefire, she said ELN’s alleged willingness for peace must result in the release of all kidnapped persons and an end to all criminal actions. “The ELN failed to deliver on its March announcement and there is no signal that it will deliver on this new announcement” she said. Authorities will not renounce their commitment to protect citizens from threats posed by this group. “The Government is firmly committed to building peace with legality,” she assured, adding that United Nations support is essential for advancing the stabilization and development of territories most affected by violence and poverty.

COLOMBIA

For information media. Not an official record.

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Indonesia: Flood leaves at least 15 dead, dozens missing in South Sulawesi

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 02:19:01 +0000

Country: Indonesia
Source: The Jakarta Post

Andi Hajramuni

Severe flooding that hit North Luwu regency, South Sulawesi, on Monday, has left at least 15 people dead and dozens more missing.

“The number [of victims] may increase because some villages are still not accessible,” North Luwu Regent Indah Putri Indriani told The Jakarta Post on Tuesday.

Heavy rainfall since Sunday caused three rivers – the Masamba, Rongkong and Mely - to overflow. The National Disaster Mitigation Agency (BNPB) reported on Tuesday that the flooding affected 4,930 families across six districts, namely Masamba, Sabbang, Baebunta, South Baebunta, Malangke and West Malangke.

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has predicted rain will continue to fall in the region until Thursday and urged residents to watch out for more flooding.

Hundreds of houses and public facilities are buried under 3-5 meters of mud. Access to the villages of Masamba and Radda is also blocked by mud to a depth of 2 meters.

The blocked access has not only hindered the evacuation process but also the distribution of logistics and aid.

“Now we’re focusing on opening the access to continue search and rescue efforts, as well as distributing aid, especially clothes,” Indah said, adding that a total of 2,650 residents had been displaced.

“February was expected to be the peak of the rainy season but it turns out the season has been prolonged. The recent flood is the fourth this year [in North Luwu]. Previous floods occurred in May and June,” said Indah.

She also said the latest flood was the most severe as it hit Radda, an area that had never been affected by flooding before. (aly)

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AMDA Emergency Relief #6: Flood Disaster in Kyushu, Japan (14 July 2020)

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:38:31 +0000

Descriptive text is not available for this image

Country: Japan
Source: Association of Medical Doctors of Asia

Since 11 July 2020, AMDA’s relief team has added new services, namely, acupuncture and bone setting (judo therapy) to its aid work at an evacuation shelter in disaster-hit Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture.

1. Dai-ichi Junior High School (Hitoyoshi City)

Although the advance team completed its rounds on the 10th, AMDA has been continuing to provide assistance considering the prolonged evacuation life. That day, it was decided that the team would start offering acupuncture and judo therapy as part of its relief effort.

11 July 2020:

On the 11th, one therapist started offering the bone setting treatment under stringent precautionary measures against the novel coronavirus infection. In addition to thorough disinfection practices, a length of time allocated for each massage has been restricted to 15 minutes.

At the shelter in which a total of 119 people have been taking refuge (as of the 11th), the therapist saw 10 patients on the first day that complained of symptoms such as body aches and stiff neck. Some of the patients were those who have been taking shelter in their cars.

12 July 2020:

The treatment space for the bone setting was observed by a public hygiene specialist to fulfill a required standard for COVID-19 prevention. The specialist is a doctor and scholar with whom AMDA is well acquainted that has worked as an infection prevention advisor to medical authorities. Currently, a therapist and the patient are required to disinfect their hands three times in total before entering the room and after the end of the treatment. Face masks should be worn at all times, and a bed must be disinfected after every session, with the change of bed sheet and towel being compulsory.

Of all seven patients that received the treatment that day, there were some that seemed to have had swelling that stemmed from the lack of exercise or meals at the shelter. And again, a few of the patients were those who were taking refuge in their cars.

There was also one patient who was suspected of some kind of infection as one was suffering from intermittent claudication. Accordingly, the patient was referred to proper medical care later on.

That day, a group of AMDA’s acupuncturists was supposed to be joining the work. However, it was postponed because of the bad weather. The acupuncturists have partaken in AMDA’s relief work ever since a quake disaster hit Kumamoto in 2016.

2. Provision of relief goods (Kumamura)

In the afternoon of the 10th, a truckload of relief supplies delivered by AMDA’s disaster relief partner, Akaiwa City Government (Okayama), arrived In Kumamoto Prefecture. Following their visit to Dai-ichi Junior High School in Hitoyoshi City, the Akaiwa team moved to Sakura Dome in the Kumamura village not far from there. After paying a courtesy visit to the village mayor, the team donated cardboard beds and foodstuffs to the evacuees at the dome.

Although the Akaiwa team completed its mission and headed back home on the 11th, Akaiwa City Government may respond to further inquiries should there be any needs.

(Further updates will follow.)

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Indonesia, Landslide in South East Aceh Regency (9:30 Jul 13 2020)

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:34:30 +0000

Country: Indonesia
Source: ASEAN Coordinating Centre for Humanitarian Assistance

Description

Landslide occured in South East Aceh Regency, Aceh Province due to heavy rain in the past few days and triggered the land movement in the highland.

There are 38 familes (132 people) affected and 37 damaged houses as per below details:

3 heavy damaged houses

4 middle damaged houses

30 light damaged houses

Quick responses team from BPBD South East Aceh Regency has condcuted quick assessment and coordinated with related agency to do road clearing particularly with the heavy equipment for mud and wood.

As of today (13 July 2020), access from South East Aceh to Belang Kejeren cant be accesed with four-wheels transportation, but it can be accesed with motorcycle or bycycle.

Additional Data

Country: Indonesia

Affected Area / Region: South East Aceh

Casualties

Affected Families: 38

Affected Persons: 132

Damages

Damaged houses: 37Damaged infrastructure (e.g. road, water network): road block with mud and wood

News Source Link

https://www.facebook.com/InfoBencanaBNPB/photos/a.290642594354390/3178787785539842/...

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Afghanistan: Third UIBN RSC meeting: Reflecting on shared lessons and expanding collaborative research in the UIB

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:27:54 +0000

Countries: Afghanistan, China, India, Pakistan
Source: International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development

ARUN BHAKTA SHRESTHA, AJAZ ALI & SHARMILA DHUNGANA

The third Upper Indus Basin Network (UIBN) Regional Strategic Committee (RSC) meeting, held virtually on 25 June 2020, brought together members, advisors, and special invitees to reflect on the progress of the network’s country chapters, share recent updates on scientific findings related to the upper Indus basin (UIB) in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and discuss future strategic guidelines for the network.

A network for collaboration and research

The UIBN was established formally in 2014 as a neutral and voluntary network to foster coordination between national and international researchers on issues of climate, cryosphere, and water-related hazards and adaptability in the UIB. After adoption of the governance framework in 2018, the UIBN has established country chapters in the four basin countries (Afghanistan, China, India, and Pakistan), with the RSC as a governing body.

Support from the basin countries and international partners and advisors is one of the key pillars in the network’s functioning. In his opening remarks during the RSC meeting, HE Peter Budd, Australian Ambassador to Nepal, highlighted the UIBN’s role as an important platform to discuss transboundary climate issues and exchange ongoing shared lessons not only for a sustained ownership of the network but also for strengthened regional cooperation. He commended the network’s efforts in sustaining the central focus of the collaboration and knowledge exchange despite restrictions posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Considering the ongoing health crisis, the group also reflected on how climatic factors have played a part in triggering the spread of the virus across different regions of the world. Amid all the challenges posed by COVID-19, there are also some positive impacts. Improvements in air quality during the crisis and its possible impacts on the cryosphere in the UIB were also discussed. While a significant reduction in black carbon and particulate matter was observed during the lockdown period in the study area of Kashmir, it is equally important to focus on sustaining such climate-friendly actions over a longer term.

Progress made by country chapters

Another key discussion revolved around the progress made by the country chapters in the areas of climate change research, government collaboration, and coordination among different TWGs. For the Afghanistan Chapter, the Afghanistan National Water and Environment Research Center’s (ANWERC) commitment to facilitate the Technical Working Group (TWG) meetings and the country chapter meetings stood out as an important example of government support for the network. This is also an opportunity for closer engagement with ANWERC for collaborative work on issues of climate change and water management. In addition, the China Chapter’s ongoing review of glacier hazards and mapping debris cover of glaciers in the Hunza Valley of Pakistan calls for a bilateral research opportunity between the two country chapters.

Moreover, the India Chapter’s efforts in collaborating with a journal on an Indus basin-focused special issue opens doors for the visibility of climate change issues in the UIB with a wider reach of audience. In the Pakistan Chapter, the newly formed Gender Resource Group (GRG) and its integration in the chapter has paved a path towards reducing gender gaps in science and policy, and a strong inclusion of gender perspectives in climate change research. Not only that, in the most recent Pakistan Chapter meeting, the chairman of the Federal Flood Commission (FFC) voiced the country chapter’s potential to act as an advisory forum in the national water policy implementation framework. Such support is a step closer towards the network’s vision of country chapters serving as think tanks for relevant government bodies to contribute on national strategies and policies.

On the future

Moving forward, the network will be working further on a joint research on the impact of climate change on water resources. With conceptualization at its initial phases, the project aims to collate experience and expertise from various TWGs in the country chapters and offer a shared space for cross-learning and collaboration.

In addition to the joint research, the country chapters, particularly India and Pakistan, will be continuing the research on the comparative study on climate change impacts on the livelihoods of UIB communities in Ladakh and Gigit-Baltistan. By studying the main livelihood sources, climate-change induced water hazards, and ongoing local practices and adaptation in the mountain communities, the study aims to provide learning opportunities on good practices in these regions. Moreover, the study will offer a replication of similar methodologies to understand climate change adaptation in communities with similar geo-social contexts in the basin.

Further discussing on inter-chapter collaborations, the members offered to host students and early career researchers in host institutions within the basin countries. To start with, the India and Afghanistan chapters would work further in recognizing young scientists and researchers and linking them to relevant institutions within the chapters.

Wrapping up, the members stressed their commitment on the UIBN’s strategic actions and sustainability through the endorsement of the regional theory of change framework. Further, the country chapters agreed to develop a country-level theory of change framework. With vast knowledge being generated in diverse research topics across the country chapters, the participants also stressed on the need for knowledge consolidation for stronger policy influence. They suggested periodic review of ongoing research related to the Indus basin and mapping policy and knowledge needs of stakeholders and decision makers. Moving forward, the UIBN will focus on strengthening mechanisms for knowledge consolidation, including developing a climate profile of the Indus with standard indicators, with inputs from the country chapters.

Please find the presentations from the workshop here (link).

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India: South Asian forecasters are trained in flash floods warnings

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:19:54 +0000

Countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
Source: World Meteorological Organization

A global initiative to improve early warnings of flash floods – one of the deadliest natural hazards _ has advanced in South Asia, just as the region is hit by unusually heavy monsoon rains and floods.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD), Regional Center of South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System, conducted an online training from 8 to 10 July 2020 for 130 forecasters from Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka.

The aim is to integrate flash food guidance products into operational forecasts which can be used by disaster managers both throughout India and in other participating countries by harnessing new technology, forecast tools, super computers and local expertise. It is part of a global system which currently provides early warnings to three billion people – 40% of the world’s population – across more than 60 countries.

Flash floods and riverine floods contribute to major loss of life and property in South Asia during the monsoon season. Currently many Indian states in the Eastern Himalayan region are facing severe flood situations in major river basins.

“Thousands of people die in riverine and flash floods. Many of them could be saved by improved early warnings, information about the risks of these sudden-onset events and better water resource management. The training program is very important to ensure that the Flash Flood Guidance System is established and sustained for the Regional and National Centers in South Asia, which is a region prone to natural hazards such as flash floods, riverine floods and tropical cyclones.” said Hwirin Kim, Head of WMO Hydrological and Water Resources Services Division.

The IMD three-day training, held virtually because of the COVID-19 pandemic, provided hands-on exercises and shared recent case study analysis from participating countries. A 30-day operational online Information Technology training is also being given to 15 selected experts to ensure that the system is sustainable.

IMD provides value-added quantitative precipitation forecasts for the 153 flood-prone river basins through its 14 flood meteorological offices established across the country. A two-day online training programme 1 and 2 July 2020 was successfully conducted for 50 forecasters by IMD’s Hydromet Division, for improving the flood meteorological services of the country.

“These ambitious services and new initiatives have become a reality in this monsoon season and will definitely help in its sustainability in future,” said Dr. Mrutyunjay Mohapatra, Director General of IMD.

“These trained forecasters will start operations across the region at local level for the whole flood season with the support and guidance of Regional Centre at New Delhi,” said B P Yadav, Deputy Director General (Hydromet) & Head of Regional Operations of the South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System.

The South Asia Flash Flood Guidance System was launched in 2016, covering Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka. The India Meteorological Department (IMD) was selected as the regional centre to provide forecast products and data to the participating countries and conduct verification studies in collaboration with the NMHSs and WMO.

The World Meteorological Organization is working together in partnership with U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Hydrologic Research Center and U.S. Agency for International Development/Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance on developing and implementing Flash Flood Guidance System (FFGS) with Global coverage.

Flash floods cause more than 5,000 deaths worldwide annually, exceeding any other flood-related event. They have enough power to change the course of rivers, bury houses in mud, and sweep away or destroy whatever is on their path.

They are among the world’s deadliest disasters and result in significant social, economic and environmental impacts. Accounting for approximately 85% of the flooding cases, flash floods also have the highest mortality rate.

As the global population increases, especially in urban areas, and societies continue to encroach upon floodplains, the need for flash flood early warning systems becomes more paramount.

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Philippines: DA gives P1.9-M agri support for PRLEC

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:15:45 +0000

Country: Philippines
Source: Government of the Philippines

By Angelilah T. Cabig

TALAKAG, Bukidnon, July 14 - The Department of Agriculture in Northern Mindanao (DA-10) delivered its agri interventions and commitments worth P1.9 million in support to the Poverty Reduction, Livelihood and Employment Cluster (PRLEC) of the Regional Task Force to End Local Communist Armed Conflict (RTF-ELCAC) in the fight against local insurgency.

Launched recently in barangay Lantud, Talakag municipality, PRLEC is composed of the different line agencies that responded to President Rodrigo Roa Duterte's Executive Order No. 70 (EO), instituting the whole-of-nation approach to end local communist armed conflict.

“The agri-interventions are in response to the needs of the IP community based on the validation and assessment conducted by DA,” said Carlota S. Madriaga, DA-10 Regional Technical Director for Operations.

Sultan Abdul Amoran, Indigenous Peoples (IP) leader of the Maranao-Higaonon tribe received the agri interventions comprising hybrid corn seeds; lowland and inbred rice seeds; garden tools; and organic fertilizer worth P425,700.

Moreover, RTD Madriaga handed certificate of commitment to Sultan Amoran amounting to P573,000 which include livestock animals (carabao, goat, cattle), poultry and duck, upland rice seeds, cacao, coffee and fruit trees seedlings.

“Kung unsay itabang sa gobyerno nato, kita maningkamot unsay matabang pud nato. When our government has helped us, we should also help the government in whatever way we can,” Sultan Amoran said.

Col. Ferdinand T. Barandon, commander of the 403rd Infantry “Peacemaker” Brigade, 4ID, received the certificate of commitment as an additional support to civil military operations amounting to P649,840.

Commitment contains livestock animals (cattle heifer, bull, native pigs, sheep), free range chicken, inorganic fertilizer, cracked corn and open pollinated variety corn seeds.

Likely, the 8th Infantry Battalion received the certificate of commitment amounting to P264,000 comprising livestock animals (cattle heifer, bull, native pigs, sheep) and free range chicken.

“Communities will benefit from these interventions. Kami ay magiging instrument lang para maihatid sa inyo ang serbisyo. Ito’y hindi para sa amin, para po ito sa inyo,” Col. Barandon said. (DA-10/PIA Bukidnon)

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India: Assam and Bihar continue to battle floods

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:07:55 +0000

Country: India
Source: Government of India

In Assam, there is no respite from flood fury. Nearly 33 lakh people are affected in the second wave of floods in 28 districts. In Bihar, the flood situation remains serious as rivers flow over the danger mark.

In Assam, there is no respite from flood fury. Nearly 33 lakh people are affected in the second wave of floods in 28 districts. The death toll due to floods has gone up to 59 in the state. 45 thousand people are taking shelter at relief camps.

Nagaon, Morigaon, Dhubri, Barpeta, Goalpara are among the worst affected districts. Rescue and relief measures are being carried out by the local administration, SDRF and NDRF.

Several national park and sanctuaries are also under water including the Kaziranga national park.

In Bihar also, the flood situation remains serious as rivers flow over the danger mark.

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World: New Data Portal Showcases Timely Data on Sustainable Development

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:01:00 +0000

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Country: World
Source: UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) launches hub for timely data and GIS learning in partnership with Esri and National Geographic

July 15, 2020 (New York, New York) – The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), a leading NGO working to mobilize global scientific and technological expertise for sustainable development, announced the launch of SDGs Today: The Global Hub for Real-Time SDG Data, a new open access data portal that will feature timely data (updated regularly, at least once every year) on sustainable development measures.

SDGs Today, developed in partnership with Esri, the global leader in location intelligence, and National Geographic, aims to provide a snapshot of the state of sustainable development around the world right now, whilst enabling users to access and engage with timely data on sustainable development, obtain GIS training and resources, and learn how to use the data effectively to drive action on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

“Timely data are the key to achieving the SDGs – if we don’t know where we are and how we can progress, we certainly can’t arrive at the future we want,” said Jeffrey Sachs, world-renowned economist, professor, author, and President of SDSN. “I am thrilled that SDSN is partnering with Esri and National Geographic on this crucial platform. Both Esri and National Geographic are great global innovators in enabling us to think geographically in our complex, interconnected world. Their contributions to the cause of sustainable development are profound.”

To understand and effectively track progress on the SDGs, we need reliable, quality, and timely data. Yet, with only 10 years left to achieve these ambitious targets, too much of the data is still out-of-date or unavailable, and too many people are being left behind in the numbers. There is a critical need for a data platform that makes quality and timely data for sustainable development accessible to all, improves knowledge of geospatial tools and geographic information systems (GIS), and builds capacity to use these tools to support global agendas and policymaking.

“One of the most important things we can do as a society at this particular time is to help bring the nations of the world together to collaborate on and measure the progress of our collective work toward the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Jack Dangermond, Esri founder and president. “It is a crucial time for the nations of the world to work together to solve problems that transcend national borders, and which pose uniquely geographic challenges. GIS allows us to better understand these issues and measure the progress of our collective solutions.”

SDGs Today is designed to complement the official SDGs monitoring platform developed by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN DESA), and the data featured are not the official datasets for SDG Monitoring. The portal’s datasets are based on new data sources and methods, updated regularly, and have been produced within the last year.

Each dataset has been rigorously vetted by SDSN, with the process being coordinated by its Thematic Research Network on Data and Statistics (TReNDS). Datasets were selected based on the level of frequency, quality, international comparability, public availability, and ease of understanding. Additional real-time and/or timely datasets will be added to the portal throughout the rest of the year.

For more information and to access the platform, visit sdgstoday.org or contact sdgstoday@unsdsn.org.

###

About the Sustainable Development Solutions Network

The UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) was established in 2012 under the auspices of the UN Secretary-General. SDSN mobilizes global scientific and technological expertise to promote practical solutions for sustainable development, including the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Climate Agreement. SDSN works closely with United Nations agencies, multilateral financing institutions, the private sector, and civil society.

Media Contacts:

Cheyenne Maddox/Alyson Marks

Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Cheyenne.maddox@unsdsn.org

Alyson.marks@unsdsn.org

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World: Resilience: A New Youth Skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Wed, 15 Jul 2020 00:01:00 +0000

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Country: World
Source: Theirworld

Young people need resilience to cope with pandemic shock, says new report

A new report published tomorrow highlights the devastating impact of Covid-19 on young people’s education, employment and future prospects and highlights the need for children to develop resilience to cope with the shock of the pandemic.

The study by the Global Business Coalition for Education, an initiative of global children's charity Theirworld, says that stress management, critical thinking, problem solving and tenacity are among the skills that young people will need to deal with the pandemic.

The virus has forced more than 1.5 billion children out of school and the World Bank predicts that the current generation of students are at risk of losing $10 trillion in lost earnings.

You can read the report - Resilience: A New Youth Skill for the Fourth Industrial Revolution - here.

Sarah Brown, Executive Chair of the Global Business Coalition for Education and founder and chair of Theirworld, said:

“The shock of the Covid-19 pandemic highlights the need to bring resilience to the forefront of the youth skills agenda.

“Today’s graduates and young people entering the workforce are facing a new landscape which poses both threats and opportunities. Businesses, local authorities and governments must support the young generation with the skills to become engaged citizens and active employees.”

Justin van Fleet, Executive Director of the Global Business Coalition for Education and President of Theirworld, said it was the responsibility of schools, businesses and governments to cultivate resilience in young people.

“From the experience of past crises, the impact on youth of Covid-19 will be much more serious than on adults, with persistent and sometimes permanent damage to their future earnings and quality of life.

“For those just entering the workforce, the transition to virtual work can mean missing out on opportunities to network and build relationships with colleagues, adequate training and early professional development. Less resilient youth who cannot adapt to changing working conditions will fall behind in acquiring the critical skills for the future of work. The cost of not preparing youth to address challenges and setbacks is therefore high.”

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World: Brief #2: Putting the UN framework for socio-economic response to COVID-19 into action: Insights (June 2020)

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 23:31:13 +0000

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Countries: Afghanistan, Angola, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Bangladesh, Barbados, Bhutan, Bolivia (Plurinational State of), British Virgin Islands, Cambodia, China, Dominica, Ecuador, Egypt, Ethiopia, Fiji, Grenada, Guinea, Haiti, Honduras, India, Iran (Islamic Republic of), Jordan, Libya, Maldives, Micronesia (Federated States of), Moldova, Morocco, Pakistan, Panama, Philippines, Rwanda, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, South Africa, Timor-Leste, Turkey, Uganda, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, World
Source: United Nations

The United Nations has mobilized the full capacity of the UN system through its 131 country teams serving 162 countries and territories, to support national authorities in developing public health preparedness and response plans to the COVID-19. Over the next 12 to 18 months, the UN’s support will be delivered through the UN global framework for the immediate socio-economic response to COVID-19. The socio-economic response complements the UN health response, led by WHO, and will deliver support to countries across five pillars of action. The SG has entrusted UNDP as technical lead for socio-economic response to COVID-19 at the country level, supporting the RC to elaborate the United Nations response and leverage the wider system to implement the socioeconomic work.

To date, UN programmatic countries have prepared 63 country-level socio-economic impact assessments as follows: 31 in Africa, 11 from Latin America and the Caribbean, 9 from Asia-Pacific, 6 from Arab States and 6 from Europe and the CIS region.

Most countries have launched rapid assessments of the socio-economic impacts of COVID-19, with a focus on trends and potential scenarios. Some have moved beyond forecasts, to policy needs and response assessments. Most countries have also indicated that socioeconomic assessments will continue to be carried out as the impact of the pandemic is unfolding. Additional impact assessments are underway, with many countries noting the need for sectoral or thematic deep-dive assessments to better inform their socio-economic responses.

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Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): COVID-19 Emergency Situation Report 13 (1 - 14 July 2020)

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 23:01:01 +0000

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Countries: Egypt, occupied Palestinian territory
Source: UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

Highlights

  • The number of people with COVID-19 in the West Bank continues to surge, with the epicenter Hebron accounting for over 70 per cent of all active cases.

  • 30 more people died in the West Bank which has been placed under a complete lockdown.

  • No new cases of COVID-19 reported in Gaza, which now records only eight active cases.

Situation Overview

The total number of Palestinians in the oPt who have contracted COVID-19 more than doubled over the course of the reporting period, from 2,765 on 30 June to 7,734 (as of 16:00 hrs 14 July). Thirty-six (36) more people have died, bringing to 47 the cumulative number of fatalities to date. Over eighty per cent of the confirmed cases are active, (6,429) people. These include 16 patients in intensive care units (ICUs), with six patients requiring mechanical ventilation (as of 13 July). A total of 81 health workers are among the people confirmed with COVID-19.

All the nearly 5,000 additional cases detected during the reporting period were in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), which now accounts for over 99 per cent of all confirmed cases in the oPt: no new cases have been detected in the Gaza Strip since 11 June. The alarming surge in contagion in the West Bank is attributed to social gatherings, particularly wedding celebrations. In response, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has re-imposed a comprehensive lockdown across the West Bank (details below).

According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH), since the onset of the pandemic, almost 140,000 laboratory samples have been tested for COVID-19. Some 30,000 Palestinians are in home, or facility-based quarantine, in order to monitor their symptoms and ensure early detection. The cumulative number of Palestinians in quarantine since the onset is over 140,000. (All data as of 13 July).

Global shortages of medical equipment and the disruption of coordination between the PA and Israel, in response to Israel’s plan to annex parts of the West Bank, have significantly disrupted the procurement of key medical equipment. The MoH is scaling up its testing capacity and is currently conducting up to 5,000 COVID-19 PCR tests daily. According to the MoH, up to 150,000 tests per month will be required until the end of 2020. Despite the substantive amounts of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) already delivered, shortages persist. The MoH estimates that at least two million gloves and up to 750,000 surgical masks will be needed every month until the end of 2020.

While the Interagency Response Plan covered interventions until the end of June 2020, it is considered an addendum to the current oPt Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and the plan’s interventions will continue through the end of 2020, as needed. The humanitarian community is actively monitoring the evolution of the pandemic and, if required, an updated Response Plan and appeal will be issued. COVID-19 humanitarian needs beyond the end of the year will be mainstreamed into the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021.

West Bank

The epicenter of the outbreak continues to be the Hebron Governorate, which accounts for almost 5,000 of the total cases, followed by East Jerusalem (862) and Bethlehem (433). The governorates of Salfit, Qalqiliya, Tubas, Tulkarm and Jenin continue to record low numbers of people with COVID-19.

After weeks of enforcing local shutdowns in selected localities, on 3 July, the PA instituted a five-day lockdown across the entire West Bank, subsequently extended for another five days. This entailed the shutting down of all non-essential businesses and institutions, except for supermarkets, pharmacies, and bakeries. Restaurants were permitted to do deliveries only, and banks and factories remained open, subject to safety measures.

On 12 July, the PA extended the complete lockdown until 16 July in the Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah and Nablus governorates. Movement between all governorates is prohibited until 27 July, with a nighttime curfew imposed from 20:00 to 06:00 and a weekend curfew from Thursday 20:00 to Sunday 06:00, except for the above permitted services. Public transportation is permitted within governorates, but remains suspended between governorates. All wedding celebrations, mourning houses, and public gathering are prohibited, with fines issued for breaches of safety measures regarding social distancing and the wearing of masks. However, on 13 July, the PA announced that it would ease some of these restrictions, following protests by business owners, allowing small businesses to reopen, subject to restrictions, and commercial movement between governorates.

An overall increase in public compliance with the lockdown and safety requirements is being noted, although it remains inadequate. In the Hebron governorate, for example, only an estimated 50-60 per cent of people are wearing facemasks in public. Confrontations between shop owners and PA forces regarding the enforcement of restrictions have been recorded in Hebron city.

The PA’s enforcement capacity has been severely undermined by its decision to halt its security coordination with the Israeli authorities, which came in response to Israeli government threats to annex parts of the West Bank. The halt in coordination limits the mobility of the PA security forces through Areas B and C of the West Bank, with reports of a lack of PA enforcement in rural villages and in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2), where COVID-19 restrictions have been largely ignored by the public.

In light of the increasing number of cases in East Jerusalem, the East Jerusalem Hospital Network (EJHN) issued a statement on 7 July, declaring its readiness to deal with the upsurge and its commitment to treat patients. The Health Cluster is still appealing to partners and the donor community to scale up support, so that the EJHN can continue to provide the specialized services unavailable elsewhere in the oPt.

People who were exposed to confirmed cases, and were either not tested, or tested negative, are sent to home quarantine, as are Palestinian who enter the West Bank from Jordan or Israel. At present there are no institutional quarantine centres operational. Most confirmed cases with light or mild symptoms are referred to home isolation too. This policy is driven by reports of damage and vandalism inflicted on quarantine and isolation centres during the initial outbreak (March-April), as well as the stigma associated by some people to the stay in such centres. However, due to the upsurge and the problems of overcrowding in some localities, especially in refugee camps, institutional isolation is being gradually re-introduced. Currently there are four isolation centres that are operational in the West Bank (in Ramallah, Jericho, Tubas and Nablus cities), while additional centres are ready to be operated in various governorates. Confirmed cases with severe symptoms are referred to a designated hospital/treatment centre, with at least 11 facilities currently operational.

Between 1 and 13 July, 1,976 Palestinians entered the West Bank from Jordan via the Allenby crossing. Upon their arrival, passengers are tested for COVID-19 near Jericho city and, unlike during the previous reporting period, they are released and sent to home-quarantine, and the results communicated by phone.

The PA has called on Palestinian citizens of Israel to refrain from visiting the West Bank, and on Palestinian labourers working in Israel not to commute daily and to cease working in settlements. On 28 June, the Israeli authorities published new instructions, whereby Palestinian workers holding valid permits are authorized to work in Israel for a period of three weeks, with employers required to provide them with health insurance and adequate lodging.

Israel’s occupation-related policies and practices also continued during the reporting period. Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 26 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 13 and affecting over 100 others. Of continuing concern is settler violence, with physical attacks on Palestinian farmers and vandalism against Palestinian vehicles and olive trees, continuing during the reporting period.

Gaza Strip

In the Gaza Strip, no new cases were detected during the reporting period. The number of active cases is eight, with 63 recovered and one fatality. A total of 13,202 samples have been tested. Some 338 people are in six quarantine centres currently operational, which include health facilities, hotels and other designated buildings. As of 13 July, the European Hospital is temporarily being used for quarantine purposes, and remains the designated hospital for treatment of positive COVID-19 cases in the event of a community outbreak.

In contrast to the West Bank, COVID-19 restrictions in Gaza have significantly eased during the reporting period, with the local authorities permitting the reopening of all weekly public markets. Most public places, including wedding halls, coffee shops, restaurants, markets, and playgrounds have gradually re-opened in recent weeks. With the lifting of restrictions, minimal adherence to health and safety regulations, including the wearing of masks and social distancing) is being observed in shops, restaurants and public places.

The local authorities have indicated that the mandatory quarantine policy of 21 days for people entering Gaza via Israel and Egypt will be maintained through the end of 2020. Access out of Gaza via the Erez crossing, already limited by the blockade and the pandemic, has been compounded since 21 May by the decision of the PA to suspend coordination with the Israeli authorities. The exit of a limited number of emergency medical cases has been allowed on an ad hoc basis, with the support of NGOs and international agencies. Approximately 70-80 people continue to cross into Gaza through Erez on a weekly basis.

There is still no indication regarding a date for the re-opening, for incoming passengers, of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt, which has been closed in both directions since 15 May. With the support of humanitarian agencies, local authorities have prepared seven quarantine facilities, with a capacity for approximately 1,550, to accommodate new arrivals into Gaza.

The movement of goods from Israel and Egypt continued as previously, including the entry of restricted (“dual use”) items via the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom Crossing.

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Ethiopia: East Africa: Desert Locust Infestation (Map created 07/14/20)

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 22:55:05 +0000

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Countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, Yemen
Source: US Agency for International Development

East Africa - Desert Locust Crisis, Fact Sheet #5, Fiscal Year (FY) 2020

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Ethiopia: East Africa - Desert Locust Crisis, Fact Sheet #5, Fiscal Year (FY) 2020

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 22:51:44 +0000

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Countries: Burkina Faso, Chad, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, United States of America, Yemen
Source: US Agency for International Development

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Swarm formation begins in Kenya, reportedly resulting in new invasions into Ethiopia

  • Countrywide suspension of internet, telecommunications services hinders locust surveillance in Ethiopia

  • Insecurity continues to prevent surveillance and control efforts in southern Somalia

KEY DEVELOPMENTS

  • A new generation of the desert locust is forming swarms in northwestern Kenya’s Marsabit and Turkana counties, with the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) expecting new swarm formation to decline in the coming weeks. Once formed, if uncontrolled, immature swarms—the stage at which desert locusts are most voracious and mobile—will remain in Kenya for seven to 10 days, causing significant damage to crops and pasture before invading Ethiopia or migrating to Sudan through South Sudan; migrations toward Sudan were imminent as of July 14.

  • New swarms have also formed in eastern Ethiopia and parts of Somalia in recent weeks, while swarms from Kenya reportedly began arriving in adjacent areas of Ethiopia in late June. Operations to control increasing bands of hoppers—immature, wingless locusts—and newly formed swarms in locust-affected areas of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Somalia are ongoing. However, relief actors in Ethiopia have noted a dearth of locust surveillance data—which are critical for facilitating timely and effective control operations—in recent weeks. Although USAID/BHA staff based in the capital city of Addis Ababa and FAO are coordinating with the Government of Ethiopia (GoE) to address gaps, a countrywide suspension of internet and telecommunications services—resulting from civil unrest in Addis Ababa and Ethiopia’s Oromiya Region—has adversely impacted the collection and use of surveillance data since late June.

  • FAO continues to support the Government of Sudan (GoS)’s Plant Protection Directorate (PPD) teams to survey locust-affected or at-risk areas of Sudan. While PPD teams have sufficient capacity to guard against new invasions from Kenya, FAO recommends that countries in West Africa remain on alert for possible westward migrations from Sudan during July.

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The State of Syria: Q1 2020 – Q2 2020

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 22:35:31 +0000

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Country: Syrian Arab Republic
Source: Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project

In this edition of ACLED’s State of Syria infographic series, Syria Research Manager Muaz A. maps key developments in the conflict between the first quarter and second quarter of 2020.

Past editions of the control map can be found below. For an explanation of ACLED’s methodology for mapping territorial control in Syria, click here.

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Iraq COVID-19 Food Security Monitor Weekly Update - Issue 12, 7 July 2020 [EN/AR]

Tue, 14 Jul 2020 22:28:07 +0000

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Country: Iraq
Sources: World Bank, International Fund for Agricultural Development, World Food Programme, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

I. Key Messages

  • By July 4th, the government received 4.3 million tons of wheat at collection centers nationwide.

  • The Plant Protection Directorate (PPD) is prioritizing con-trol campaigns against seasonal date palms pests, such as Rot Disease Palm Pollens and Blight Rachis (Leaf Blight).

  • On June 29th, WFP mVAM data estimated 8.3% respond-ents, roughly 3.25 million people, had insufficient food consumption in the past week.

II. Overview

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continued to spread in the country. As of July 5, 2020, the World Health Organization reported 58,354 cases in Iraq, with 2,368 deaths. The government continues to enforce lockdown and curfew measures in an attempt to curtail transmission. Oil prices also continued to be monitored closely. Basrah light and heavy oil, remained relatively stable in the last week, respectively at USD 46.33 and USD 45.33 per barrel. Prices have partially recov-ered since April and May 2020; however, they have not re-turned to 2019 levels. On July 8, 2019, the price of Basrah light was USD 65.27 per barrel and Basrah heavy was USD 61.81 per barrel, respectively a 29% and 27% decline compared to 2019 prices (Figure 1). The Ministry of Planning Central Bureau of Statistics announced that during the first quarter of 2020, Iraq exported an average of 3.8 million barrels per day with an av-erage price of USD 45.9 per barrel. Additionally, oil revenues accounted for 38.2% of the GDP (at current prices) during the first quarter of the year.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the World Food Programme (WFP), International Fund for Agricultural Devel-opment (IFAD) and the World Bank continue to track the im-pact of this crisis on food security, with a focus on food availa-bility, access, utilization and stability.

III. Food Supply: Production (primarily on farm)

Production. From April 20th to July 4th, the General Company for Grain Trade Marketing Department received roughly 4.3 million tons of wheat at government collection centers across the country, with approximately 90% of the wheat classified as high quality, first grade product. Wheat purchases at the gov-ernment silos in Erbil, Sulaimaniyah and Dohuk proceeded as planned, with no major delays during unloading. The Ministry of Trade continues to take measures in order to address the complaints and challenges shared by citizens and farmers.

The Diwaniyah Federation of Agricultural Cooperatives re-quested and received government approval to add 1,500 ha of rice to the governorate’s agriculture plan for summer crops, bringing the total area of paddy cultivation to 36,187 ha. Rice productivity depends on the variety and farm management; however, the common rice variety produced in Iraq (A’anbar) has an average yield of 3.2 tons per ha. Therefore, Diwaniyah will have an additional production of roughly 4,800 tons. 90% of all the crops under cultivation in Diwaniyah require irriga-tion, which is higher than last year.

In a July 5th meeting with general managers, the Minister of Water Resources reiterated the importance of ensuring that farmers adhere to the Ministry of Agriculture’s national plan to sustainably use limited water resources. The Ministry’s Su-preme Judicial Council will hold individuals who expand with-out approval liable. The water resource managers reports will be essential to enforce the plan, thus ensuring sufficient and equitable water delivery for drinking, irrigation and the marsh-lands. In order to ensure efficient water delivery in Baghdad, Najaf and Karbala governorates, regular maintenance and monitoring of irrigation canals was ongoing.

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