New Delhi: Net employment generation in the formal sector almost trebled to 8.61 lakh in February compared to 2.87 lakh in the same month of last year, according to the latest EPFO payroll data. The retirement fund body Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has been releasing payroll data from April 2018, covering the period starting September 2017. According to the latest data, the highest job creation was recorded in January 2019 at 8.94 lakh against the provisional estimate of 8.96 lakh released last month. Also Read – Thermal coal import may surpass 200 MT this fiscalDuring February 2019, the highest number of 2.36 lakh jobs were created in the 22-25 years age group, followed by 2.09 lakh in the 18-21 years age bracket. The data showed that 80.86 lakh new jobs were created in the 18 months period from September 2017 to February 2019. However, the EPFO has revised downward the number of net subscribers added or new jobs created from September 2017 to January 2019 to 72.24 lakh from 76.48 lakh released last month. Also Read – Food grain output seen at 140.57 mt in current fiscal on monsoon boostThe sharpest revision was for March 2018 in the latest report which showed contraction or exit of 55,934 members from the EPFO subscriptions. Last month, the EPFO payroll data had showed that as many as 29,023 members exited from its schemes in March 2018. In February 2019, the EPFO data had showed that as many as 5,498 members joined EPFO schemes in March 2018. On contraction in March 2018 numbers, the EPFO said, “March 2018 figure is negative due to large number of exits reported in the month of March, in view of it being the closing month of the financial year.” The EPFO said the data is provisional as updation of employee records is a continuous process and gets updated in subsequent months. This is age-band wise data of new members registered under the EPFO where the first non-zero contribution received during a particular month. For each age-wise band, the estimates are net of the members newly enrolled, exited and rejoined during the month as per records of the EPFO, it added. The estimates may include temporary employees whose contributions may not be continuous for the entire year. Members’ data are linked to unique Aadhaar Identity, it added. The EPFO manages social security funds of workers in the organised or semi organised sector in India and has more than 6 crore active members (with at least one-month contribution during the year).
Kolkata: The anti-rowdy section (ARS) of Kolkata Police’s detective department busted a cricket betting racket on Friday night and arrested seven persons in this connection during the Indian Premier League (IPL) match at Eden Gardens.Three of the arrested persons are residents of Nagpur, while four of them are from Madhya Pradesh. “We have arrested seven persons on the basis of a source information regarding cricket betting at Eden Gardens during the cricket match played between Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore. The group was nabbed by our ARS team after prolonged observation at F1 Block. 14 mobile phones including one betting accessory and other equipment have been seized,” said Pravin Tripathi, Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime). Also Read – Bengal family worships Muslim girl as Goddess Durga in Kumari PujaAccording to police sources, the arrested persons have been identified as Mukul Jain, Piyush Jain, Pratik Jain and Mayank Seth, all hailing from Sagar district under Motinagar police station, Madhya Pradesh. The three other residents of Nagpur who have been nabbed are Dipak Kumar Kaslikar of Etowari, Wasim Ahmed of Tehasil and Gobind Maniyar of Nandan I. All of them are in the age group of 20 to 35. It may be mentioned that only on Wednesday, two people were held along with Rs 1.70 lakh and two cell phones by South Zone Task Force in Telangana, after a cricket betting racket was busted during the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Chennai Super Kings.
Lucknow: Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh Sunday said Articles 370 and 35A should be seriously reviewed and scrapped. While Article 370 gives autonomous status to Jammu and Kashmir, Article 35A allows the Himalayan state’s legislature to define permanent residents of the state. Speaking at a voters’ awareness programme here, Singh attacked National Conference leader Omar Abdullah for his recent remarks that there should be a separate prime minister for Kashmir. “When a person, who has occupied a Constitutional post says such things, then Articles 370 and 35A should be seriously reviewed. Since these (provisions) have mostly caused losses, Articles 370 and 35A should be scrapped.” Singh said, “There is a conspiracy in Jammu and Kasmir. Some organisations want to kindle the feelings of separatism among the people, but majority want to stay with India. Barring three-four organisations, the rest are with India” The Lok Sabha MP praised PM Narendra Modi. International Monetary Fund has endorsed that India is growing at rapid speed, he said.
Pratapgarh (UP): An IAF helicopter on a mission to review the security at Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rally venue on Wednesday developed a technical fault and made an emergency landing on the outskirts of the district here, police said. All persons onboard the chopper were safe. “The helicopter used for reviewing the secret security of the rally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi developed a technical fault and made an emergency landing at around 1.00 pm in Barapur village under Jethwara police station, 30 km from here after certain technical glitches were noticed,” Superintendent of Police S Anand said. Police rushed to the spot where the chopper had landed as soon as they got the news, he added. The prime minister, who addressed two election rallies in Ayodhya and Kaushambi on Wednesday, is likely to woo voters of Pratapgarh on Friday.
Aadya Kala Tirtham and Prayas observed its 14th annual concert to celebrate Indian classical dance with young talents along with special children named Nritya Gatha at Uttam Manch.The programme was choreographed and directed by Avirup Sengupta. Started with Mangalacharan, the event was followed by Gyansagar Guru, Adharam Madhuram, Jay Shankha Gadadhara, Jay Bhagabati, Vandemataram, and so on. Sharmila Banerjee, Minu Budhia Were honoured with the Prayas Samman 2019. Also Read – The Puja carnivalIt was graced by the august presence of Rituparna Sengupta, Agnimitra Paul, Reshmi Mitra, Richa Sharma, Indrani Ganguly, Sulagna Ray Bhattacharya, to name a few. Also Read – Wave City brings special offers this NavratraAvirup Sengupta is an odhisi dancer and choreographer working from last fifteen years individually, he has performed at many prestigious festivals and programmes , also the founder of Prayas a cultural performing art center for special children. Avirup recently performed and choreographed Durga Carnival and very prestigious Vodafone Agomoni this year along with actor Rituparna Sengupta. This year, Avirup has received Pragati Award, Doshar Excellence Award and prestigious award from Bengal association, New Delhi. Currently, Avirup is working as a choreographer in Bengali films too. Recently he worked in two films named ‘Jam’ (Bangladeshi film ) starring Rituparna Sengupta and Babul Supriyo, ‘Limelight’ a Bengali film acted by Rituparna Sengupta. Speaking on the ocassion, Avirup said, “It is very challenging to groom special children. I have been trying my level best to teach Indian classical dance form to them over the last fourteen years. It’s been a really enjoyable session working with them. They are like my extended family. I have emotional bondage with them and always try to do something for them through the form of art. It helps them lead a better life.”
DC presents Robbie “Maddo” Maddison’s “Pipe Dream,” giving the world a chance to witness history being made as Maddo rides his dirt bike on the powerful and iconic waves of Tahiti. From his helmet to motocross boots, Maddo was dressed for FMX when he took his dirt bike into the unchartered saltwater terrain of the Pacific Ocean in French Polynesia.For nearly two years Robbie has been focused on making surfing on his motorbike a reality. His efforts paid off in Tahiti, where he rode the world famous waves at Teahupoo and Papara.
Rabat – Actress Loubna Abidar recently won the Golden Bayard Best Actress Award for her work in the controversial film Much Loved. It was presented to her in Belgium at the International Francophone Film Festival’s 30th edition, which occurred October 2nd to 9th.This is her second award for her work in Much Loved; she first won Best Actress at the Francophone Film Festival of Angouleme.The Cannes-Selected film is breaking records for Moroccan media in France, with almost 200,000 admissions so far after its release.
Rabat – UK’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco, Karen Betts, today attended an informal ceremony at the Hay Nahda training centre at which she presented a collection of books to teachers on the Moroccan Baccalaureate – English Option programme.The UK Embassy gifted collections of fiction for students and reference books for the five schools participating in the programme.The ceremony was also attended by Mr Belqasmi the Secretary General of the Ministry for National Education, Fouad Chafiqi, Director of Curriculum and Gwyneth Gallen, Deputy Director of the British Council Morocco. The Ambassador told teachers that they were pioneering an innovative new approach to education in Morocco and that she applauded them for being so motivated and enthusiastic.“My mother was a teacher and that’s where I got my love for reading and passion for education. What you’re doing is so important for your students and the future of Morocco,” she added.The Ambassador told the teachers of maths, physics, science, IT and English that she always loved reading when she was younger and that she wished she had more time to read now.The Ambassador also paid tribute to the Ministry for launching the English Option Bac last year. “It was a brave and brilliant decision, introducing these changes, gradually and in such a focussed approach. By introducing English as a language of instruction into the public system slowly and properly, I am sure you will succeed and that is exceptionally important for Morocco’s future.”Teachers from the five pilot schools were attending three days of workshops at Hay Nahda training centre organised and delivered by British Council trainers. The Ministry for National Education recently renewed its partnership with the British Council on the English Option Bac.This is year two of the programme which is being piloted in five schools in Casablanca, Rabat, Tangier and Tetouan. Teachers of maths, physics, science and IT are teaching up to 50% of their lessons in English. They follow the Moroccan syllabus, and students receive the remainder of their lessons in Arabic. British Council Morocco is supporting the teachers by providing language and pedagogical training; all the teachers on the programme are Moroccan and will be receiving face-to-face and online training from the British Council over coming months.Gwyneth Gallen, deputy Director of the British Council, Morocco: “The British Council is extremely happy to be working with the Ministry on the English Option Bac programme. Our collaboration is key to its success and we look forward to continuing to provide the support which is needed to train Moroccan teachers with new and innovative ways of teaching through English. Congratulations to the Ministry for taking the courageous and astute steps to introducing this new approach gradually.”
Rabat – A socio-educational survey conducted in partnership with the Ministry of Education revealed that 61.1% of Moroccan students are in favor of sex education in high schools.The second socio-educational survey was conducted by the Forum of Moroccan Students, in partnership with the Ministry of National Education and Vocational Training, as well as HEM Business School in Casablanca, and it has revealed surprising results.The survey focused on “youth identity,” and the relation to sexuality. The survey revealed that one of two students in Morocco think sexuality issues remain a taboo in Morocco. It showed that 66.8% have never discussed topics related to sexuality with one of their family members.Although 61.1% of the polled students expressed their support for sex education in high schools, 70% of Moroccan students agree that sexual intercourse before marriage is “immoral.” Another issue addressed by the survey, in terms of identity, is sexuality and practice of religion.The survey found that 75% believe that religion is a personal relationship with God, while only 4.5% believe it should guide politics, and 15.6% believe that religion can help us behave better. The rest of the polled students had no opinion on the subject.According to Hakim Hdidou, consultant and director of The Survey Project, the survey polls have lasted 10 months, and have targeted 5,236 students in private and public high schools, in urban and rural areas of all the regions of Morocco.In 2014, the Moroccan Ministry of National Education and Moroccan Modern Industries (IMM) signed an agreement in Rabat for the implementation of a new program to teach sex education in Moroccan schools, but it hasn’t found its way to the classroom.The parties who signed the agreement said that it aimed to raise students’ awareness on healthy hygienic practices and the importance of sex education. This set of lessons has helped equip young students learn the essentials of puberty, sexuality and sexually transmitted diseases.
By Sekar KrisnauliRabat – Former Speaker of the House of the United States News Gingrich has called to deport everyone in America with a Muslim background who believes in sharia law following the attack in Nice that killed 84 people, The Washington Post reported.“We should frankly test every person here [in the U.S.A.] who is of a Muslim background and if they believe in sharia they should be deported,” Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity, the Post reported. Gingrich told Hannity that sharia law is incompatible with western civilization. He also suggested that mosques in the United States need to be monitored.“Modern Muslims who have given up sharia – glad to have them as citizens. Perfectly happy to thave them next door,” Gingrich was reported as saying.Gingrich’s proposal made no distinction between U.S. citizens and noncitizens and would violate law that condemn discrimination on the basis of religion, entanglement by the government in religion, and restrictions on freedom of expression of belief, such as scores of First Amendment-based Supreme Court rulings and civil rights law.“These people [Muslims who believe in sharia] are opposed to our way of life, they are opposed to our value system, they are opposed to our various religions,” Gingrich was reported as saying. “The yare opposed to the whole concept of freedom…”
Rabat – “Aspects of Violence against Women in North Africa” is the title of a new edited book led by the Morocco university researchers Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi.Published by the Isis Center for Women and Development in Fez with the support of the German Institute for Cultural Relations (IFA), this book, of 160 pages, deals with the causes and consequences of violence against women in the Maghreb.It includes ten chapters motivated by the growing interest in gender studies, and explores the various aspects of violence against women in Maghreb societies from a sociological and comparative perspective. The book focuses on the problem of violence with the aim to deconstruct its historical, cultural, religious, social, and political foundations. It shows that violence against women is a multi-faceted phenomenon in North Africa, where tradition, social norm, religion and politics blend in a highly patriarchal society.Participants in this publication reveal that gender-based violence varies from verbal threats, coercion, economic abuse, arbitrary deprivation of freedom, to physical violence. It can be caused by a husband, partner, family member or other persons. It may also include sexual harassment and abuse by persons such as employers, public authorities, teachers, etc.The book shows that violence against women and girls in the Maghreb, as in the rest of the world, has dramatic ramifications for families and communities, as it not only hinders women but it hampers productivity, reduces human capital, and undermines economic growth as well.The book also shows that the region has recently become a hotbed of violence against women, especially after the so-called “Arab Spring,” and that the victims of civil wars today are 70-80% civilians, mostly women.To combat violence against women, the authors recommend girls’ education, women’s economic independence and emancipation, and the continuing struggle against this scourge in collaboration with civil society and the media. They also recommend that states implement laws and policies capable of combating violence against women.Moroccan and international experts partook in the writing of this book, namely: Colette Apelian, Rachid Elouardi, Mohamed Yachoulti, Souad Belhorma, Aziza Ouguir, Driss Rhomari, Sanja Kelly, Oiafae Tribak, Moha Ennaji and Fatima Sadiqi
Rabat – In the southern Egyptian city of Assiut, police shot and killed seven ISIS militants after a dramatic shootout on Monday.The Egyptian Ministry of the Interior issued a statement saying that the seven militants opened fire on Egyptian police when they were interrupted during preparations for another attack on Christians, according to Reuters.“A group of Daesh sympathizers were hiding in one of Assiut province’s mountainous areas,” the statement read. It added that the group was meeting “to prepare explosive devices in preparation for carrying out a series terrorist attacks.” According to ENCA.com, three of the men have been identified as Egyptian-born. The group is thought to have been gearing up for attacks not only in Assiut, but also in the province of Sohag. Future attacks on police and the courts were also being plotted.Egyptian law enforcement also confiscated ammunition and weapons, a motorcycle and plenty of ISIS-written books and propaganda.The incident comes just one day after Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, declared a three-month long state of emergency countrywide. This followed two suicide bombings of Coptic Christian churches on Sunday. The first blast occurred near the altar inside of St. George’s Church in Tanta, killing 27 people at worship. The second suicide bomber detonated his vest at a gate outside of St. Mark’s church in Alexandria, killing 17. Combined, more than 30 worshippers were reported injured in the blasts.According to the Reuters report, Coptic Christians have been in Egypt since the days of ancient Rome. They have recorded a long history of persecution and have accused the government of not doing enough to guarantee their safety and freedom to worship.Since Al-Sisi’s government ousted former President, Muslim Brotherhood’s Mohamed Mursi, in 2013, they have instituted severe crackdowns on Islamists in Egypt.
Rabat – Aicha Ech-Chenna, Moroccan human rights activist and founder of the Feminine Solidarity Association, was crowned International Woman of the Year at the Monte-Carlo Women of the Year ceremony. For the sixth edition of the award ceremony, the theme chosen was “Women for Women”, celebrating female activists who defend women’s rights, as gender equality has become an ever-present debate in today’s societies. During the ceremony held on June 7 in Monaco, Ech-Chenna was awarded the international prize for her lifelong efforts to help single mothers through her association Solidarité féminine. “When we disrespect women we disrespect something sacred,” Ech-Chenna declared when receiving her award. The Moroccan activists said that she created her association in order to help women become emancipated and independent. Since its founding in 1985, the Feminine Solidarity Association has sought to help women integrate the job market by offering them professional training in different fields. The association believes that, by enabling these women to achieve their financial and social autonomy, they could therefore be set free. This is not the first time Ech-Chenna would be awarded an international prize. She was a recipient of the World Bank Social Accountability Award in 2015, and the Opus Prize in 2009.For her part, Cinzia Sgambati-Colman, the organizer of the event said that they received many applications this year, so much that they had a hard time choosing only a few. Candidates did file their applications themselves. Instead ambassadors from around the world as well as those in their close circle of friends nominated the female activists.Two other women beside Ech-Chenna were also awarded for their outstanding achievements. Sister Anne-Marie Salomon was given the Monaco Women of the Year award. “She is religious, has a degree in mathematics and physics and is also a doctor. She works in Mali where she’s opened a Nomad Hospital that tends to 30 000 patients each year, affected by aids, malaria, leprosy or tuberculosis. She helps build schools and trains caregivers and midwives,” reports the Hello Monaco website.The last prize, the Special Award, was handed to Michele Mitchell. The American journalist, author and filmmaker was the youngest woman in charge of communications for the US Congress. She was also noticed for her investigative work in the documentary “Haiti, Where has the money gone?”
Rabat – June 25 will be a day of mourning for Moroccan football fans as it will mark the last day for Morocco’s Atlas Lions in the 2018 World Cup. The fans who followed the Moroccan team to Russia are expected to protest against the arbitration of the Morocco-Portugal game.In a Facebook post, the Equipe National du Maroc fan page of the national football team called on Moroccan citizens in Russia to protest the arbitration “injustice” in the Portugal match by lifting banners with clear messages addressed to FIFA.“We have received many messages saying that the Moroccan fans present in Morocco-Spain match should put a badge on their arms to show our sadness and anger against FIFA and to protest against the scandalous arbitration imposed to Moroccan national team in its meeting with Portugal,” wrote the page in a post published yesterday. The post received more than 6,000 likes and was shared more than 1,300 times.The first post by the fan page reads: “We can express anger against the arbitration injustice in the Portugal game in an easy move: raising white wipes or banners with clear messages to FIFA to make it a snapshot of history witnessed by the whole world.”Moroccan fans expressed dissatisfaction and anger over the “injustice” of the US referee who denied Morocco two penalty kicks in the Morocco-Portugal game.Morocco lost to Portugal 1-0 on Wednesday, but the penalties could have changed the result and provide Morocco with a shot to move to the next phase of the 2018 World Cup.Morocco’s team will return home after their game with Spain on June 25 as the Atlas Lions are pointless after their first defeat against Iran on June 15.Saddened by Morocco’s disqualification, Moroccan football fans launched a petition on Change.org addressed to FIFA to denounce the “unfair” arbitration in the game.The petition reads: “Anyone who watched the match will realize how much unfair it was: Morocco should’ve had 2 PK [penalty kicks] but no one bothered to check the Var.”
FORT WORTH, Texas — American Airlines is expanding at its most profitable airport, opening 15 new gates at Dallas-Fort Worth International.American said the gates that opened Friday in Terminal E will let it add more than 100 daily flights on its American Eagle affiliate.By early June, Fort Worth-based American plans to operate more than 900 daily flights from DFW, up from 800 last summer. It is adding 23 new destinations and increasing flights to existing ones.The move is freeing up room for six gates for larger American Airlines planes at Terminal B.Company President Robert Isom said last week that DFW will account for most of American’s growth this year.Isom says early bookings and revenue for the new flights are higher than American’s systemwide average.The Associated Press
Alan Doss, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Liberia, said in a closed meeting that “although the political situation has remained quite stable, there are still serious security challenges that require continuing attention and action,” according to Mr. Ban’s spokesperson.Mr. Doss also presented the 15-member Council with the Secretary-General’s latest report on the situation in Liberia, which recommends extending for one year the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, known as UNMIL, set to expire at the end of this month.UNMIL was established in 2003 to support Liberia’s ceasefire and peace process, and currently has over 15,200 uniformed personnel, along with around 500 international civilian personnel, almost 1,000 local staff and 220 UN Volunteers.In the report, Mr. Ban cited several challenges to stability, including hhigh unemployment and “unpredictable situations” in Liberia’s neighbours such as Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea.He also said that the country’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission is being hindered in its progress by management, personnel and budgetary difficulties, and “these problems need to be resolved on an urgent basis so that the Commission can continue its valuable work of ensuring lasting peace in Liberia.” 22 March 2007The United Nations top envoy to Liberia today told the Security Council that although the impoverished West African country, which is rebuilding after a brutal 14-year civil war, has made progress in consolidating stability, numerous threats to peace remain.
The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) today welcomed the unveiling of a date – 22 November – for the Himalayan country’s Constituent Assembly elections, calling it a critical step forward in the peace process. The announcement of an election date “indicates the strong commitment of the political parties to work together to fulfil the historic promise to the people of Nepal to form a democratically elected Constituent Assembly,” the Mission said in a press release issued in the capital, Kathmandu. The Assembly will adopt a new constitution for Nepal, where a decade-long armed conflict that killed some 13,000 people came to a formal end when the Government and the Maoists signed a peace accord last November. The polls were to have been held in mid-June but had to be postponed because regulations governing the process were not ready. November was the next earliest available date because of the monsoon season and several major national holidays. UNMIN said it was now essential that all parties committed themselves to ensuring that there is a free and fair atmosphere for the ballot. “A date is necessary, but not in itself sufficient,” the Mission said. “The parties must now put forward a realistic plan and timetable to achieve rapid progress on simultaneous fronts, both technical and logistical, as well as on political and security issues. UNMIN stressed the importance of the Interim Government reaching out to historically marginalized groups in Nepal, including Madhesis, Janajatis, Dalits and women, to ensure there is as broad a consensus as possible on the elections. It added that public security continues to be a key challenge, and called for “the creation of conditions in all districts and villages which allow all parties to conduct their activities from now on without facing intimidation and violence.” The Mission also noted that it has consistently urged the setting up of a fully independent national monitoring body to support the implementation of the peace process, adding that it remains willing to help such a body. Meanwhile, the UN Electoral Expert Monitoring Team (EEMT) has wrapped up a two-week visit to Nepal, where the five-member group met with senior Government ministers, parliamentarians, election officials, civil society groups and others. Appointed by the Secretary-General, the EEMT – which is not part of UNMIN – is tasked with regularly assessing the electoral process to determine whether it is proceeding in a manner which will lead to a result accurately reflecting the will of the Nepalese people. 25 June 2007The United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) today welcomed the unveiling of a date – 22 November – for the Himalayan country’s Constituent Assembly elections, calling it a critical step forward in the peace process.
24 September 2007Serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law by all sides in the Darfur conflict continue to be reported, a group of seven independent United Nations rights experts said today in an interim report on the situation in the war-wracked Sudanese region. The report of the Group of Experts on Darfur, presented to the Human Rights Council in Geneva, said they had received “excellent cooperation” from the Sudanese Government in their consultations and meetings since they issued their last report and recommendations in June.But the ultimate measure of the Government’s implementation of those recommendations would be a concrete improvement in the human rights situation in Darfur, they said. While they noted that Khartoum had partially implemented some recommendations, there was no indication so far “that a clear impact on the ground has been identified.”More than 200,000 people have been killed and at least 2.2 million others have been displaced from their homes since rebels began fighting Government forces and allied Janjaweed militia groups in 2003.In March this year, the Human Rights Council set up the Group of Experts to monitor the situation on the ground amid mounting international concern at armed attacks against civilians and humanitarian workers, the widespread destruction of villages and the lack of accountability for the perpetrators of gender-based violence against women and girls.The Group of Experts said it was not able yet to deliver a detailed assessment, which would have to wait until a complete report can be delivered to the Council in December.The experts called on the Government to continue its efforts to implement the recommendations, such as by tackling impunity and by ensuring that all allegations of human rights violations are duly investigated and any perpetrators brought to justice.They also urged all parties to the Darfur conflict to end violence against civilians, particularly women, children, internally displaced persons (IDPs), people with disabilities and humanitarian workers.The Group is chaired by Sima Samar, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Sudan, and its Rapporteur is Walter Kälin, the Secretary-General’s Representative on human rights of IDPs. Mr. Kälin presented today’s interim report to the Council.The other members of the Group are: the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy; the Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Philip Alston; the Secretary-General’s Special Representative on the situation of human rights defenders, Hina Jilani; the Special Rapporteur on the question of torture, Manfred Nowak; and the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, Yakin Ertürk.
25 February 2009Meeting with members of indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities impacted by floods, displacement and violence in Colombia, the top United Nations relief official today called for stepped up assistance for these minority groups. On the second day of this three-day visit to Colombia, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes travelled to the north-west Chocó region.In the Afro-Colombian community of Bebedó, he heard first-hand from community leaders and families, whose homes were destroyed by severe flooding last year, of their needs given that their town, situated on the San Juan River, is prone to flooding and suffers from high levels of poverty.“I was impressed by the resilience of the community,” Mr. Holmes said yesterday. Although the people of the town are receiving assistance from the Government as well as UN and partner agencies, “it is clear they are doing everything they can to try to help themselves and restore their livelihoods,” he added.Also in the town, the official met with representatives of the Wounaan indigenous tribe who told him how they had been uprooted in 2005 by violence related to narco-trafficking and conflict. The tribe also told Mr. Holmes, who also serves as Emergency Relief Coordinator, that they continue to face critical challenges in pursuing their traditional way of life and cannot leave their village due to the presence of armed groups and landmines. Further, they lack education, health care facilities and livelihood opportunities.Mr. Holmes also visited with 22 indigenous people from the Katio tribe from Vira Vira, who have been displaced after the murder of one of their members by an illegal armed group three weeks ago. They told the Coordinator that they wish to return to their community as soon as possible, but are held back by fear of further violence.“This visit illustrated in vivid fashion the problems of those minority communities and the need for a determined response by the Government and the international community, working together, to find durable solutions,” he stressed.Today, he will wrap up his visit to Colombia, returning to Bogotá to meet with President Alvaro Uribe.
The multitude of organizations, including United Nations agencies, working to promote the rule of law has resulted in a “crowded field,” resulting in the lack of strategic planning, duplication and wasted resources, Ms. Migiro said.Speaking at the start of a conference on “Enhancing Global Rule of Law Assistance,” she pointed to the example of one country she left unnamed, which is home to 10 million people and has fewer than 500 judges, and has been the subject of over 50 assessment reports on its justice system carried out by nearly two dozen donors.“Efforts to strengthen the legal framework, police, prisons and judicial systems were modelled on those donors’ own approaches rather than the country’s specific needs,” Ms. Migiro said, adding that not surprisingly, many years of assistance have not produced much improvement in that nation.The UN has embarked on a path to bring a more strategic approach to improving the respect for the rule of law, which has improved the impact of the world body’s assistance, she noted.“We are, however, well aware that our efforts to strengthen UN coherence will make a difference only if they are part of a larger effort by the international community,” she said, reiterating a call by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for nations to reach consensus on assistance policies.“The international community needs to commit to a comprehensive effort to empower national stakeholders and help them develop their own vision, agenda and approaches to rule of law reform and programmes,” Ms. Migiro said.Also today, she highlighted the necessity of linking gender issues to disaster risk reduction, given that women – representing 70 per cent of the world’s poor – bearing a disproportionate share of suffering inflicted by natural disasters.In remarks to the International Conference on Gender and Disaster Risk Reduction in Beijing, the Deputy-Secretary-General appealed for a wide-ranging partnership that brings together governments, civil society groups, international organizations and the private sector.“You are ready to join hands with others to achieve things you could not possibly accomplish alone,” she said in an address delivered by Margareta Wahlström, Assistant Secretary-General for Disaster Risk Reduction. 20 April 2009Strategic planning, partnership and national ownership are the cornerstones to bolstering respect for the rule of law in countries that require assistance in their justice sector, Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro said today.