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NEWSLETTER Week of June 1th 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

NEWSLETTER
Week of June 1th 2017

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 Michel Veuthey – Focus on
2017 Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction

The Fifth Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction was held in Cancún from May 22-26, one year after the World Humanitarian Summit (Istanbul, 23-24 May 2016), two years after Sendai in March 2015, more than five thousand people came from 180 countries in Mexico to take stock of the implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction, a non-binding document that recognizes the essential role of Governments in Their own countries) and discuss the best ways to prevent and cope with natural disasters by committing to concrete actions …

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The continuing tragedy of Egypt’s Coptic Christians

05/30/2017 by Samuel Tadros.

These extraordinary words were chanted by angry Copts in the Egyptian province of Minya who gathered to welcome the bodies of their newest martyrs after a gruesome attack by Islamic State jihadists on Friday that left 29 people dead. The first part is, of course, from the Islamic declaration of faith, which would normally be followed by declaring Muhammad to be God’s prophet. In the face of persecution and attacks for their faith, the Copts, who have persisted with their Christian faith in Egypt for the past 2,000 years, are making a statement by changing the chant. If they are being threatened with murder for their faith, then they embrace that faith proudly.

As the world becomes more aware of the continued persecution of Copts in Egypt, their lack of violent response to these attacks has been a source of bewilderment to some and disdain from others. Copts have endured centuries of discriminatory policies at the hands of successive Egyptian regimes, attacks and incitement by Islamist groups, and pogroms by their very neighbors. Yet there has not been a single Coptic terrorist attack as reprisal or violent response. For terrorism experts insisting that terrorism is the result of poverty or the lack of political freedom, the Copts — who are just as poor and unfree as the majority of Egyptians — stand as an anomaly and an unwelcome testament to the ridiculousness of their theories.

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South Sudan: UN report exposes human rights violations against civilians in Yei

05/19/2017

A United Nations report has documented human rights violations and abuses against civilians that may amount to war crimes or crimes against humanity, in what used to be a peaceful multi-ethnic town in South Sudan.

“The conflict in Yei, in particular, highlights the startling level of impunity in South Sudan, which has fed successive cycles of violence across the country,” said the report, which contains the findings of an in-depth investigation into violations committed in and around the Central Equatoria town, 150 kilometres southwest of the capital, Juba, between July 2016 and January 2017.

The report by the Human Rights Division of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) exposes violations and abuses by both sides of the conflict, based on ethnicity or their presumed association with the other side, including 114 killings by pro-Government forces.

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More than 31 million people displaced within their own country in 2016 

2017 Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) published on 05/22/2017.

Conflict, violence and disasters caused 31.1 million new internal displacements in 2016, according to a new report
released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC).

“In 2016, one person every second was forced to flee their home inside their own country. Internally displaced
people now outnumber refugees by two to one. It is urgent to put internal displacement back on the global
agenda,” said Jan Egeland, Secretary General of the NRC.

Of the 6.9 million new internal displacements caused by conflict in 2016, 2.6 million took place in Sub-Saharan
Africa, according to the Global Report on Internal Displacement. The Democratic Republic of the Congo was the
country worst affected, with a spike of 922,000 new displacements during the year alone. Next were Syria
(824,000), Iraq (659,000), Afghanistan (653,000), Nigeria (501,000) and Yemen (478,000). As of the end of 2016, a
total of 40.3 million people were displaced within their own country as a result of conflict and violence, some of
whom having been displaced for decades.

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It’s not just NGOs tackling humanitarian crises. Banks have a role too

05/19/2017 by Peter Maurer.

Ahmad was five years old, playing in his garden in Idlib, Syria, when the unimaginable happened: a mortar landed on his house. Thankfully Ahmad survived the blast, but lost both his legs. After several operations, Red Cross doctors in Tripoli met Ahmad and his family. Over time they gained his trust, fitted him with prosthetic limbs and worked on physical therapy.

Of the 90 million people with physical disabilities around the world who need a mobility device, just one in 10 can access physical rehabilitation services. Not only does disability impact individual health and well-being, it also leads to social and economic exclusion.

Later this year, the International Committee of the Red Cross will launch the world’s first humanitarian impact bond, securing new finance to build three physical rehabilitation centres and help thousands more people with disabilities. The new model has seen the ICRC partner with social investors, institutional funders and governments on a “payment for results” funding mechanism over five years. The bond is an example of how previously untapped finance streams are being activated and how new players are helping to tackle humanitarian issues.

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INTERVIEW: ‘Our peacekeepers are saving lives every day’ – new UN peacekeeping chief

05/22/2015.

With United Nations peace operations being carried out in highly complex environments and facing multiple challenges, Secretary-General António Guterres recently stressed the need to adapt peacekeeping to “our changing world.”

“Peace operations are at a crossroads. Our task is to keep them relevant with clear and achievable mandates, and the right strategies and support,” the Secretary-General told a Security Council meeting last month on the subject of peacekeeping. He also called on the 193-member General Assembly for political support and on the troop- and police-contributing countries for professional and committed personnel.

It is in this context that Jean-Pierre Lacroix took up his post as the new Under-Secretary General for Peacekeeping Operations at the beginning of April. The French national, who has more than 25 years of political and diplomatic experience, currently oversees 16 UN peacekeeping operations deployed on four continents.

UN peacekeeping missions are called on not only to maintain peace and security, but also to facilitate the political process, protect civilians, assist in disarmament, support the holding of elections, protect and promote human rights, and assist in restoring the rule of law.

UN peacekeepers go to the most physically and politically difficult environments, some making the ultimate sacrifice – as evidenced by the more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have lost their lives in the service of peace since UN deployments began in 1948.

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Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus: Ethiopian wins top WHO job

05/23/2017.

Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus from Ethiopia will be the next director general of the World Health Organization (WHO).

He will be the first African to head up the UN agency, after winning the most votes from 186 member states.
He replaces Margaret Chan, who will step down from her 10-year post at the end of June.

During her tenure, the WHO’s response to the Ebola epidemic in West Africa was criticised for being too slow.
The agency was accused of missing key warning signs about the severity of the outbreak that began in December 2013 and ultimately killed more than 11,000 people.

Addressing the World Health Assembly shortly before the vote, Dr Tedros promised to respond to future emergencies “rapidly and effectively”.

He also promised to stand up for the rights of the poor.

“All roads should lead to universal health coverage. I will not rest until we have met this.”

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Princes and bankers and aid! Oh my!

05/26/2017 by Annie Slemrod.

It’s 340 kilometres as the crow flies between the desert berm where 80,000 Syrians are trapped between Syria and Jordan, and the Jordanian Dead Sea resorts where last weekend the region’s elite mingled around finger food in conference rooms at the World Economic Forum Summit on the Middle East and North Africa. Zaatari Camp, where another 80,000 refugees live, is only 100 kilometres away.

From inside the WEF bubble, it all felt much further away, although humanitarian issues – including the plight of refugees – are now as much a part of the forum’s official agenda as the more traditional focus on economic growth. Among the royalty, bankers, and politicians gathered at the Dead Sea were the CEOs of major NGOs and the heads of UN agencies.

Despite external criticism and some of their own internal discomfort, more humanitarians are engaging with the World Economic Forum than ever before and see such spaces as critical for solving today’s complex crises.

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One year after humanitarian summit, UN stresses reforms to put people ‘at heart’ of decision-making

05/23/2017

The 2016 World Humanitarian Summit in Istanbul rallied global actors to save lives and protect the most vulnerable, but with the number of people in need growing, the international community must use resources better and galvanize new partnerships, top United Nations officials said today.

“Humanitarian assistance alone cannot sustainably reduce the needs of over 130 million of the world’s most vulnerable people,” UN Secretary-General António Guterres said in a statement marking the first anniversary of the Summit.

“We must engage our collective strengths and mobilize new partnerships to prevent and end conflicts, reduce vulnerability to natural hazards and address the root causes of fragility,” he continued. “We must bring humanitarian and development actors to work together closely from the beginning of a crisis to support affected communities.”

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Five key principles for US foreign assistance success

05/22/2017 by Carolyn Miles and David Beckmann. As Congress awaits the administration’s fiscal year 2018 budget proposal and government reorganization plan, many of us outside the government are holding our breath. President Trump’s first budget has the potential to either undercut or advance U.S. foreign assistance structures and programs, as well as American foreign policy, national security and economic interests. Either way, the president’s budget will have an enormous impact on our nation’s standing in the global community and its ability to uphold American humanitarian values.

As leaders of our respective organizations, we have dedicated our lives and careers to the humanitarian and moral values that U.S. foreign assistance represents and to ensuring that U.S. assistance has the greatest-possible impact, especially on the lives of those most in need.

For the past 10 years, our organizations have worked together as members of the Modernizing Foreign Assistance Network (MFAN) — a nonpartisan aid reform coalition, comprised of international development and foreign policy experts, practitioners, and advocates. Today, we join our MFAN colleagues in urging Congress to use its leadership and budget authority to ensure that the following core principles are reflected in the national budget and any proposed reforms of U.S. foreign assistance

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