French President François Hollande awarded UNESCO peace prize

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

The President of France, François Hollande, will receive the United Nations cultural agency’s peace prize this year for his “valuable contribution to peace and stability in Africa,” it was announced today.“After analyzing the global situation, it is Africa that held the attention of the Jury with the various threats affecting the continent,” said the former President of Mozambique, Joaquim Chissano, who chaired the Jury of the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize.“Having assessed the dangers and the repercussions of the situation on Africa, and on Mali in particular, as well as on the rest of the world, the Jury appreciated the solidarity shown by France to the peoples of Africa,” Mr. Chissano said after the Jury’s meeting in Paris.The award, created in 1989 by the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), honours people, institutions and organizations that have contributed significantly to the promotion, research, preservation or maintenance of peace. It is named for the first president of Côte d’Ivoire.Northern Mali was occupied by radical Islamists after fighting broke out in January 2012 between Government forces and Tuareg rebels. The conflict uprooted hundreds of thousands of people and prompted the Malian Government to request assistance from France to stop the military advance of extremist groups.“The Jury condemns the violation of Mali’s territorial integrity, the violation of human rights, the taking of hostages and the destruction of the cultural heritage of humanity in Timbuktu,” Mr. Chissano said. “The Jury therefore decided to award the Félix Houphouët-Boigny Peace Prize to Mr. François Hollande, President of the French Republic, for his great contribution to peace and stability in Africa.”Previous winners of the prize include former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva; Nelson Mandela and Frederik W. De Klerk; Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Yasser Arafat; King Juan Carlos of Spain; and former United States President Jimmy Carter.The award ceremony for the prize – which consists of $150,000, a gold medal and a diploma – will be held on a date to be announced. read more


UN expert urges Israel to stop highway construction through Palestinian community

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

“The projected six-lane highway extending 1.5 kilometres will do irreparable damage to the community, cutting off local roads and blocking access to kindergartens, schools, health clinics, offices, and places of worship,” warned the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territories occupied since 1967, Richard Falk.“The residents of Beit Safafa, who were not consulted at any stage of the planning, will be placed in an absurd situation where places within their own community – previously accessible within ten minutes’ walk – would require travel by car on bypass roads and a bridge.” Mr. Falk noted that the purpose of the highway, known as ‘Begin Highway,’ is to annex the Gush Etzion settlement bloc and pave the way for further expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements around East Jerusalem. “It will consolidate the highway network from Gush Etzion settlement in the southern West Bank through West and East Jerusalem, leading to the Ma’ale Adumim settlement bloc and the E1 area,” he said. Mr. Falk recalled the recent findings of the International Fact Finding Mission on Israeli settlements, which recommended that private companies should no longer be able to profit from their involvement in the illegal Israeli settlement enterprise. “Companies taking part in the construction of the illegal highway in Beit Safafa, under the auspices of the Moriah Jerusalem Development Company and their implementing partner, D.Y. Barazani Ltd., must be held responsible,” he stressed. “Earth moving equipment of Volvo, CAT, Hyundai and JCB has been seen at the construction sites.” The project, which began in September, was challenged in the Jerusalem District Court last December, but the residents’ petition to stop construction was rejected. An appeal filed with the Israeli High Court against the District Court’s decision was also rejected in March. An appeal hearing as to the petition has been scheduled in the High Court for 26 June. read more


Security Council extends UN peace mission in Liberia for another year

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

“Long-term stability will require the Government of Liberia to develop and sustain a self-sufficient, capable, and competent security sector to build the confidence of all Liberians,” the 15-member body said in a unanimously adopted resolution.It endorsed the continued drawdown of the mission’s military component agreed upon last year by a further 1,129 personnel by next September, with the goal of leaving UNMIL’s military strength at some 3,750 personnel by July 2015. As of last July there were 5,757 UN peacekeeping troops in the West African country, where the world body has played a major role in restoring stability and democracy. At the height of its operations, which began in 2003, UNMIL totalled more than 15,000 troops and well over 1,000 police personnel, and helped oversee two series of democratic elections after more than a decade of civil war which, beyond the death toll, drove 850,000 refugees into neighbouring countries, displaced scores of thousands more internally and inflicted untold damage on the nation’s infrastructure.While welcoming overall progress towards restoring peace, security, and stability, today’s resolution, which maintained the current authorized strength of UNMIL’s police component at 1,795 personnel, including 10 formed police units, noted the continuing problems with violent crime and sexual and gender-based violence.“Women and girls in Liberia continue to face a high incidence of sexual and gender-based violence,” it declared, calling on the Government to continue to combat sexual violence, particularly against children, and in coordination with UNMIL, to continue to fight impunity for perpetrators of such crimes and provide redress, support, and protection to victims.The resolution also called on the Governments of Côte d’Ivoire and Liberia to further enhance their cooperation over their joint border, scene of recent violence, by increased monitoring, information sharing and coordinated actions, and implementing a shared border strategy to support the disarmament and repatriation of foreign armed elements on both sides of the border and the voluntary return of refugees in safety and dignity.Other clauses called for an ongoing battle against corruption, promotion of transparency, good governance, human rights and reconciliation, participation of women in conflict prevention and peacebuilding, and security and rule of law organs that are fully and independently operational. read more


West Africa UN Security Council welcomes positive developments but concerned about political

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

In a statement issued following a briefing by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for West Africa and Head of the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA), Mohamed Ibn Chambas, members of the 15-member body expressed their concern that political tension may continue to erode governance in Guinea-Bissau and jeopardize achievements in the country since the 2014 elections. “They called upon national leaders of Guinea-Bissau to work to sustain stability through substantive political dialogue in order to prevent escalation of tensions or relapse into conflict,” the statement indicated. “They also encouraged them to foster a climate conducive to national reconciliation, as well as democratic, social and economic reconstruction.” Reiterating their strong condemnation of the recurrent terrorist attacks carried out in the region, in particular in Mali and the Sahel, as well as in the Lake Chad Basin region—notably by Boko Haram—members of the Security Council stressed the need to combat all forms of terrorism. In this regard, they expressed particular concern about the protection of civilians, the main targets of these attacks. “They welcomed, in this regard, the regional and international efforts to mitigate the security, humanitarian and development consequences of these attacks,” the statement said. “They reaffirmed that Member States must ensure that any measures taken to counter terrorism comply with all their obligations under international law, in particular international human rights law, international refugee law, and international humanitarian law.” The Security Council also commended the efforts of the African Union and ECOWAS, as well as of Member States of the Sahel, to strengthen border security and regional cooperation, and said they remain committed to working closely with them and others to address cross-border security threats and prevent the spread of violent extremism and terrorism. In addition, they expressed their concern about the trafficking of drugs and other illicit goods, as well as the smuggling of migrants and human trafficking, stressing the need to strengthen the fight against criminal activities in the sub-region. Welcoming the success achieved in the fight against Ebola and reiterating their concerns about the humanitarian, social and economic consequences of this disease, the Security Council expressed its support and solidarity to affected countries and called for the strengthening of the early warning mechanisms and resilience of national health systems. They also called upon the international community to sustain support to the affected countries and encouraged all the bilateral and multilateral partners to fulfill the commitments made during the Ebola recovery conferences held in Brussels, Washington and New York. read more


The cycle of revenge in South Sudan will hurt everyone – UN

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

The situation in Bor-Pibor area is particularly concerning with fears of violent clashes between youths from the Dinka Bor and Murle communities, David Shearer, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for South Sudan, told journalists at a press conference today. “We are worried that might spark more widespread fighting between those two communities [and] hence the reason we are providing support to the peace efforts on the ground,” he added, noting also the work that is being done with the Government to ease the situation. “The important thing is that we de-escalate tensions and provide an opportunity to talk rather than to fight because fighting only will result in a greater cycle of revenge [that] will be of no benefit to [anyone].” In his remarks, Mr. Shearer, also the head of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), spoke of violence in various regions of the country, including attacks on peacekeepers and relief personnel, which have severely constricted the humanitarian operating space, and underscored the Mission’s resolve to do everything it can to ensure that assistance reaches those in need. “The attacks have a direct consequence on humanitarian activities and the assistance that can be provided to people who desperately need it,” he said, terming such violence as an “extraordinarily selfish thing to do”. SEE ALSO: UN appalled at killing of aid workers in South SudanThe senior UN official also praised the work of journalists in the country as well as humanitarian actors on the ground who, despite considerable challenges, are reaching thousands across the country with much needed assistance. “I think we owe them a real debt of gratitude,” he expressed. read more


Fleeing DR Congo violence thousands take perilous lake journey to Uganda –

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

With attacks on villages in the DRC province of Ituri continuing over the weekend, UNHCR calls for increased humanitarian access to the area, to cover the population’s enormous protection and assistance needs.Refugees crossing to Uganda talk of growing attacks against civilian populations, as well as killings and destruction of private property. UNHCR staff also received many reports of civilians being hacked to death and killed with arrows.UNHCR works with the Ugandan authorities for the registration and the relocation of the new arrivals to settlements further inland. However, more support is needed to face the demanding situation.Among the critical priorities is the preparation of new settlement areas, together with psycho-social interventions to help refugees overcome their trauma. Meanwhile, crossings through Lake Tanganyika towards Burundi and Tanzania declined significantly last week, currently reaching some 8,000 and 1,200 respectively. Army advances against the armed groups inside DRC, as well as a dwindling supply of readily available fishing boats and canoes, may have contributed to the drop in new arrivals.However, UNHCR is afraid that flows could soon pick up again, given the unpredictable and volatile nature of the conflict.Over the past year, some 120,000 Congolese fled to neighboring countries, joining the 510,000 refugees that were already in exile. With Congolese refugee flows to neighboring countries expected to further increase in 2018, UNHCR is urging donors to step up their support. Of the $368.7 million that UNHCR has requested for the DRC refugee situation, only one per cent has been funded so far. More than 22,000 desperate Congolese refugees crossed Lake Albert to Uganda last week, with four drowning when their boat capsized, the United Nations reported Tuesday, warning that even more lives could be lost on often-perilous lake routes from the conflict-hit eastern regions of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).“The refugees either use small canoes or overcrowded and rickety fishing boats, often carrying more than 250 people and taking up to ten hours to cross,” Babar Baloch, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) told reporters in Geneva, Switzerland.“Overloaded with luggage and fishing nets, the small canoe, which was carrying the four refugees who drowned on 11 February, had paddled for nearly two days when it was hit by high waves, causing the passengers to fall overboard,” he added.Since the beginning of the year, some 34,000 Congolese have arrived in Uganda.  UNHCR staff have reported several other incidents of boats going adrift due to engine failure or insufficient fuel, prompting rescue operations by the Ugandan authorities.On 7 February, UNHCR partners recorded two more deaths at the DRC shores of Lake Albert – which spans the border into Uganda – where thousands of people are waiting to cross, as some wrangled to get onto the boats. read more


As fighting in Libya escalates so does number of children at imminent

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

Calling the escalation in fighting “the worst in years”, Henrietta Fore, Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and Virginia Gamba, Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, issued a statement reminding all of Libya’s warring parties that they are obliged “to protect children at all times in full compliance with international law”.“Killing, injuring and recruiting children, and attacks on education, medical and water facilities are all grave violations of children’s rights and must cease immediately”, they stated – reminding that in line with Security Council resolution 2427, “prevention measures must be put in place to better protect children”.Together they also urged for “safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all children in need, and for a ceasefire to allow civilians to safely leave areas under conflict”.Children caught in the middleNearly 1,800 children are among the civilians who need urgently to be evacuated from frontline fighting, as the raging violence has already displaced 7,300 others, the two UN officials said. Moreover, around 500,000 children are estimated to be affected by violence across the country’s west.“Children trapped in conflict areas are at risk of running out of food and losing access to medical care” they explained. “Unable to leave these areas, they cannot safely seek protection or assistance”.Pointing out that the violence has also left nearly 1,000 refugee and migrant children held in detention centres “in grave danger”, Mses. Fore and Gamba stressed that “they should be immediately released and provided with safe shelter until their asylum claims can be processed or they can be provided with safe repatriation assistance for reunification with their families”.For their sake, and the sake of the country’s future, the fighting must stop – UN officials“The principle of non-refoulement must be respected”, they maintained, underscoring that unaccompanied minors, many of whom are in transit, “are at risk of grave violations including recruitment and use, sexual violence or abduction”.The fighting is also depriving children of their right to education.The two UN officials detailed that the academic year has not only been suspended in all schools throughout conflict-affected areas, but seven are acting as shelters for displaced families. Additionally, a recent attack on an education warehouse destroyed five million schoolbooks and national school exam results.“Libya has suffered through more than seven years of persistent conflict that has left at least 820,000 people, including some 250,000 children, in dire need of humanitarian assistance”, the UN officials stressed, “and the situation is deteriorating yet again”.“For their sake, and the sake of the country’s future, the fighting must stop,” concluded Mses. Fore and Gamba. General Khalifa Haftar, commander of the Libyan National Army, which controls much of eastern and southern Libya, has waged a two-week military campaign to take Tripoli from fighters loyal to the UN-recognized Government.  122,088 students can’t access their schools in #TripoliThe ongoing hostilities has disrupted education in nine municipalities in the Libyan capital. Teaching teams are unable to access schools in affected areas. Children should not bear the brunt of armed conflicts#NotAtarget pic.twitter.com/k1QJwMVXlI— UNICEF Libya (@UnicefLibya) April 18, 2019 read more


SME International Forum 23 March 2006

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

Amongst the markets likely to be represented are Brazil, China, Czech Republic, Germany, Hungary, India, Iran, Japan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Slovakia, South Africa, South Korea and the USA. This coursewill include input from UK SME companies – and includes a uniquechance to meet and influence the frontline UKTI personnel from the key global automotive markets. The SME Forum will take place at the Chesworth Grange Hotel, Kenilworth on Thursday 23 March. It is an open workshop where SME companies with existing or potential business interests in the international markets listed above can meet country experts for advice. The afternoon is free for UK companies to attend. For more information, or to attend the SME Forum, please contact Pat Shaw on 020 7344 9260 (email pshaw@smmt.co.uk) to reserve your place. Further details available in the attached leaflet.DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) From 20 – 24 March 2006, SMMT and partners in the Automotive Sector Group, the Motorsport Industry Association (MIA) and Construction Equipment Association (CEA) trade organisations will be running an industry briefing course for UKTI staff based overseas who have specific responsibility for the auto industry. The objective is to make these commercial officers more aware of the strengths of the UK industry, to be more effective in identifying business opportunities and bringing support to UK companies. read more


The UK motor industry Get your facts right

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

On the first day of the Commercial Vehicle Show, Europe’s biggest business-to-business show of its kind, SMMT is publishing Motor Industry Facts – 2006, the pocket-sized guide to facts and figures for the UK automotive sector. The fully updated booklet is packed with industry statistics, from registration and production data, to sector profiles and the rising cost of utilities. For the first time, SMMT Facts 2006 contains data on the bus and coach industry; on motorhomes; on engine manufacturing and on the use of satellite navigation and in-car entertainments.Manufacturing facts:Last year, UK sites produced 1.8m cars and commercial vehicles and 3.1m enginesDuring 2005, average electricity costs rose 33.9 per cent, gas costs by 94.4 per cent and crude oil costs by 49.9 per centNissan (Sunderland), Toyota (Burnaston) and BMW MINI (Cowley) were the top three car producers in 2005. GM in the UK topped the commercial vehicle producers listCommercial vehicle facts:In 2005, CV production breaks 206,000 unit level for only the second time since 1999Total new CV registration stood at 385,969 units last year, up 39.5 per cent in five yearsRegistrations of new buses and coaches rose 14.8 per cent since 1996Motorhome registrations jumped 71.8 per cent in last five years63 per cent of CVs produced in the UK were destined for export marketsCar facts:Total car registrations in 2005 stood at 2,439,717 unitsDiesel new car market increased 145 per cent in ten years to 897,887 unitsFleet registrations has risen 16.4 per cent since year 2000184,490 more new superminis left showrooms in 2005 compared to 10 years agoImproved CO2 performance greatest among new 4x4s and people carriers10 million combined new and used car sales in 2005In 2005, 2.1m in-car entertainment and satellite navigation systems were sold in the UK, a massive 1860 per cent increase in just five yearsSMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan said, ‘Motor Industry Facts – 2006 contains a wealth of useful information on the UK automotive industry. At a challenging time, we hope that the market trends and key safety, security and emissions information remind everyone what a positive, forward-thinking industry we have in the UK.’Motor Industry Facts – 2006 can be downloaded, for free, by clicking on ‘download report’More detailed production, first registration, used sales and vehicles on the road reports are available from SMMT Data Services. For more information call 020 7235 7000.DownloadClick to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more


EU Commissions CO2 plans cast a cloud on the horizon

Posted On Oct 2 2019 by

‘We recognise the importance that cars play in climate change but everybody has a role to play in reducing CO2 emissions. It is important to put this in context and if the Commission is intent on placing the onus onto car manufacturers, then we see serious difficulties ahead. There is a huge threat to employment and the economy. Not only will the choice of cars be reduced by these measures if we are to meet the limits, but independent estimates place a projected increase in the region of £2500 to the sale price of each new car.’ The motor industry is a world leader in many fields of expertise, based on a long tradition of innovation and fulfilling consumer demand. Preserving the environment is always a key consideration for car manufacturers and the technological solutions are available, but at a cost. New markets and jobs are only created when there is clear demand and an economic basis to back this development. ‘The industry is committed to reducing the environmental impact of our products and we have proven that we are doing our bit by hitting interim targets of our voluntary agreement. We have also already produced and brought to market cars that can meet the 120g/km limit – the problem is that motorists do not buy them!’ said SMMT chief executive Christopher Macgowan. While the motor industry accepts that it has an important part to play in the climate change debate, it has grave concerns over the impact of proposals made today by the EU Environment Commissioner, Stavros Dimas. For more than a decade, car makers have voluntarily made significant progress in reducing CO2 emissions from their vehicles, but this proposed legislation is likely to result in less choice for the motorist and higher prices on the dealer forecourt. Car makers believe that a concerted drive by all the stakeholders – Government, oil companies, suppliers and motorists – would not only be the quickest and most effective solution to reducing CO2 but also the cheapest. The motor industry has shown its willingness and capability to produce technological solutions. What is now required is an integrated approach from all stakeholders to work towards these important aims of the Commission, without causing a negative impact on consumer choice and the economy.Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window) read more