Showing posts with label United Nations. Show all posts
Showing posts with label United Nations. Show all posts

Friday, 25 July 2014

Gaza death toll hits 800 on 18th day of Israeli attacks

Fifteen Palestinians were killed Thursday when an Israeli shell slammed into a UN shelter where hundreds of civilians had taken refuge.


And fresh Israeli fire early Friday pushed the overall Palestinian death toll in Gaza to at least 800 despite world efforts to broker a ceasefire.


The Thursday strike hit a UN school sheltering some of the 100,000 Palestinians driven from their homes in search of a safe haven after weeks of deadly fighting between Israeli troops and Hamas.


The shell crashed down in the middle of the courtyard where people had set up camp, leaving the ground covered in bloodstains.


Gaza´s emergency services said at least 15 people had been killed and more than 200 wounded.


UN chief Ban Ki-Moon said: "Many have been killed -- including women and children, as well as UN staff."


He said he was "appalled" by the news and "strongly condemned" the attack which he said "underscores the imperative for the killing to stop -- and to stop now".


Washington said it was "deeply saddened and concerned about the tragic incident", without explicitly blaming its ally Israel for the shelling.


"We again urge all parties to redouble their efforts to protect civilians," State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said in Cairo, where Secretary of State John Kerry is trying to negotiate a ceasefire.


Early Friday morning a shell hit a home in the southern Gaza town of Khan Yunis, killing at least one person and sending the Palestinian death toll from 18 days of fighting to 800. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

UNSC calls for ‘full, thorough’ probe into Malaysia plane disaster

The UN Security Council on Friday demanded a full, independent and international probe into the apparent shooting down of a Malaysian jet over Ukraine that killed 298 people on board.


"The members of the Security Council called for a full, thorough and independent international investigation into the incident in accordance with international civil aviation guidelines and for appropriate accountability," the council said in a unanimous declaration. 

Thursday, 17 July 2014

Israel agrees Gaza aid truce after children killed on beach

Israel agreed to a UN request to halt its bombardment of Gaza for five hours on humanitarian grounds, after its naval strikes killed four children on a beach Wednesday.


The punishing strikes aimed at halting cross-border rocket fire by Hamas militants had resumed after Egyptian-brokered truce efforts collapsed Tuesday.


Israel´s campaign, now in its ninth day, has killed 220 Palestinians so far, with a Gaza-based human rights group saying over 80 percent of them were civilians.


In the same period, militants have fired more than 1,200 rockets at Israel. They claimed their first Israeli life on Tuesday.


Hamas rejected the Egyptian truce efforts, saying it had not been included in the discussions. The Israeli army announced it would halt its bombardment of Gaza between 10:00 am and 3:00 pm (0700 to 1200 GMT) Thursday, following a UN request for a humanitarian truce.


UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East peace process Robert Serry earlier told Israel´s Channel Two television, that he had asked the military for a "humanitarian pause" in its Gaza offensive and that, if it agreed, he would ask Gaza militants to follow suit.


Hamas said it was considering the request."Hamas has been informed about the UN proposal for a truce of several hours tomorrow," Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri told AFP.


"The proposal is being studied and when a decision has been taken, it will be announced officially in a statement.

"As part of the peace initiative, a Hamas official met Egyptian leaders while Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas arrived in Cairo to join the diplomatic efforts.


In addition to the four killed children, several people were also wounded in an apparent Israeli naval bombardment of a beach in Gaza City, medics said.


The first strike hit at around 1300 GMT, prompting terrified children and adults on the beach to scatter. A second and third struck as they ran, setting fire to huts on the beach.


The strikes appeared to be the result of shelling by the Israeli navy against an area with small shacks used by fishermen.


Several children ran inside a hotel where at least three had shrapnel injuries.The four bodies were later taken to Abu Hasira mosque, near where the boys had died.


The boys, all from the Bakr family, were laid out, wrapped in the yellow flags of the Fatah party, in front of mourners.


Several hours after the strikes, the Israeli military described the deaths as "tragic" and said it was investigating the incident."Based on preliminary results, the target of this strike was Hamas terrorist operatives," the military said in a statement. "The reported civilian casualties from this strike are a tragic outcome."

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Jolie to visit Nauru to check refugee facilities

Hollywood star and UN refugee envoy Angelina Jolie has accepted an invitation to visit the small island of Nauru where Australia sends asylum-seekers for processing and resettlement, the government said Monday.


Jolie, a UN goodwill ambassador, was invited by the Pacific island nation´s President Baron Waqa when they met at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence Against Women in Conflict in London.


"The government of Nauru can confirm that Angelina Jolie has accepted an invitation by President Baron Waqa to visit our nation," a government spokeswoman told AFP. "We believe this will be a wonderful opportunity to showcase the facilities for refugees on Nauru, which we believe are world-best practice."


Under Canberra´s punitive offshore detention policy, asylum-seekers attempting to arrive by boat are transferred to camps in Nauru or Papua New Guinea for processing and permanent resettlement outside Australia.


Most of those sent to Nauru are families with more than 1,000 people currently held and another 99 having been resettled in the community.


Refugee advocates have been deeply critical of the Australian policy and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees last year slammed the facilities on Papua New Guinea´s Manus Island and Nauru.


It said they failed to meet international standards of treatment and amounted to arbitrary detention in breach of international law, while failing to provide an efficient system for assessing refugee claims or safe and humane conditions.


It also noted efforts made to improve conditions on steamy and mosquito-infested Nauru, where people were forced to live in cramped tents with little privacy after riots razed buildings last year.


Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison, who rejected the criticism, said Monday the Jolie visit was "a matter for the Nauruan government".


Asked whether he was concerned the visit would shine a light on Australia´s treatment of asylum-seekers in Nauru, he told reporters: "I don´t plan to respond to any of the assertions you have made."


Nauru said a date for Jolie´s trip had yet to be finalised. (AFP)