More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|SAUDI ARABIA faces international condemnation and censure for the apparent murder of its citizen at a Turkish Consulate in Istanbul in October; and its ongoing war in Yemen.
The United Kingdom and the US are working towards a joint resolution, and consequently a joint communique ending four-year conflict that has claimed millions of lives and made even more millions of peopled internally displaced.
Yemeni families are on the brink of famine. On top of forced displacement, hunger now looms across Yemen, leaving the lives of millions of children, women, and men at risk. UNHCR is working hard to provide displaced families with vital support like food, shelter and healthcare in their time of greatest need. But we cannot do it without you.
This is the world’s largest humanitarian crisis and it deserves critical attention. Your donation could help to provide displaced families with the essentials they need to survive: shelter, blankets, medical care and emergency assistance. UNHCR can make your gift reach the people most in need – fast. We are on the ground within 72 hours from an emergency helping families forced to flee. It is our job to protect and safeguard refugees’ rights and help rebuild their lives.
More than three million displaced in Yemen – joint UN agency report
A joint report by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that the conflict in Yemen has resulted in the displacement of some 3,154,572 people, of which 2,205,102 remain displaced across the country and some 949,470 have attempted to return home.
“The crisis is forcing more and more people to leave their homes in search of safety,” Ita Schuette, UNHCR’s Deputy Representative in Yemen said in a news release on Friday, announcing the report.
The news release added that due to the escalating conflict and worsening humanitarian conditions, displacement across the country has seen an increase of about seven per cent since April, with 152,009 individuals fleeing from violence during this period.
The report, prepared by the Task Force on Population Movement, a technical working group led by the two agencies as part of the humanitarian response to the crisis in Yemen, also said that a significant number of those displaced are attempting to return home, a 24 per cent increase of some 184,491 individuals. However, it cautioned that movements remained fluid and correlated to moments of lulls or perceived improvements in the conflict.
“IDP returnees are considered to remain within the displacement cycle as long as they have not achieved a sustainable reintegration and their needs remain high, as is also the case for the non-displaced host community,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to Yemen.
|AIWA! NO!|BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Yemen has become “a living hell for children” with about 30,000 children dying each year from malnutrition and easily preventable diseases, said Geert Cappelaere, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa.
Cappelaere spoke during a news conference in Amman, on Sunday, after visiting Yemen that “Yemen is today a living hell — not for 50 to 60% of the children — it is a living hell for every boy and girl in Yemen.”
According to UNICEF, 1.8 million Yemeni children under the age of five suffer from acute malnutrition and each day 400,000 from severe acute malnutrition.
Cappelaere also said that “30,000 children die of malnutrition each year in Yemen,” adding “while a child dies every 10 minutes from easily preventable diseases.”
Upon Cappelaere’s visit to al-Thawra hospital, the only remaining referral hospital in al-Hudayda, he noted that “half of Yemen’s under-age-five children are chronically malnourished and more than a million pregnant or lactating women are anemic.”
“When giving birth, these women know that their children will be of low birth weight, starting that cycle of malnutrition and leading to chronic malnutrition and all the health consequences for these boys and girls.”
He stressed the figures were “a reminder for all of us to realize how dire the situation has become.”
Cappelaere called on the warring parties to join proposed peace talks later this month and agree to a ceasefire and a road to peace for Yemen, which “is incredibly needed.”
Despite growing international pressure to end a conflict that has left Yemen on the brink of famine, fighting has intensified in the rebel-held Red Sea port city of Hodeida, which is the entry point of more than 70% of imports into Yemen, leading to the appeal for peace talks.
Meanwhile, Angelina Jolie, the Special Envoy for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) called for an urgent and lasting ceasefire to the Yemen conflict, and advocated for vitally-needed support for Yemeni refugees globally. Jolie stressed “As an international community we have been shamefully slow to act to end the crisis in Yemen.”
She added “We have watched the situation deteriorate to the point that Yemen is now on the brink of man-made famine and facing the worst cholera epidemic in the world in decades.”
The so-called Universal Periodic Review, a compulsory four-yearly process, will also focus on Riyadh’s role in Yemen’s civil war.
Meanwhile, British foreign minister Jeremy Hunt said he will lobby the UN Security Council to try and find a political solution to four years of hostilities in Yemen.
At least 10,000 have been killed in the conflict between a Saudi-backed coalition and the Iran-backed Houthi rebels, and half the nation faces imminent starvation.
Hunt’s announcement came after Washington, which has long backed the Saudis, called for Riyadh to end its airstrikes in the country. UN diplomats, speaking anonymously, told Reuters news agency Britain and the US were working on a joint resolution to stop the fighting in Yemen.
The half-day public debate will see a Saudi delegation, headed by the country’s Human Rights Commission chief Bandar Al Aiban, grilled by other nations over its human rights record.
Activists have urged countries to hold Saudi Arabia to account.
“UN member states must end their deafening silence on Saudi Arabia and do their duty of scrutinizing the cruelty in the kingdom in order to prevent further outrageous human rights violations in the country and in Yemen,” Samah Hadid, Amnesty International’s Middle East director of campaigns, said in a statement.
“The Saudi government’s long-standing repression of critics, exemplified by the extrajudicial execution of journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, has until recently been willfully ignored by UN member states,” she added.
According to publicly submitted questions, Britain, Austria and Switzerland will directly ask about the Khashoggi case. Sweden will ask how it plans to improve respect for the freedom of expression and the safety of journalists.
The US will ask whether Riyadh plans to modify its counterterrorism law to ensure the definition of “terrorism” does “not include acts of expression, association, or peaceful assembly.”
Ahead of the review, the UN rights office published a list of concerns about human rights in Saudi Arabia, including discrimination against women, continued use of the death penalty, and “extremely broad” definitions of terrorism which enables “the criminalization of some acts of peaceful expression.”
UN: Over 7 million Yemeni children face ‘serious’ famine threat
‘More than half’ of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in the impoverished country are children
Over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015
|CRIMSON TAZVINZWA, AIWA! NO!|HODEIDAH: Over seven million children face a serious threat of famine in Yemen and ending the country’s war will not save all of them, the UN children’s agency said.
“Today, 1.8 million children under the age of five are facing acute malnutrition, and 400,000 are affected by severe acute malnutrition,” said Geert Cappelaere, regional director of UNICEF.
OVER 100 CHILDREN ARE DYING OF HUNGER EVERY DAY
The war in Yemen has been raging for three years now which has left the country in the grip of the world’s biggest humanitarian crisis.
A deadly triple threat – bombs, disease and hunger – is threatening an entire generation of children.
The conflict has left many families unable to afford food and water. And millions of children don’t know when or if their next meal will come.
As the battle intensifies in the port city of Hodeidah – the country’s main gateway for food, fuel and humanitarian supplies – millions more could face starvation.
Yemen is on the brink of the worst famine in 100 years.
“More than half” of the 14 million people at serious risk of famine in the impoverished country are children, Cappelaere said late on Wednesday.
“Ending the war is not enough,” he said, referring to a more than three-year conflict that pits the government supported by a Saudi-led military coalition against Houthi militia.
“What we need is to stop the war and (to create) a government mechanism that puts at the center the people and children.
“The war is exacerbating the situation that was already bad before because of years of underdevelopment” in the Arab world’s poorest nation, Cappelaere said.
He welcomed a call by the UN on Wednesday to relaunch peace talks within a month.
He said efforts to come up with a solution in the next 30 days were “critical” to improving aid distribution and saving lives. Cappelaere said that over 6,000 children have either been killed or sustained serious injuries since 2015.
“These are the numbers we have been able to verify, but we can safely assume that the number is higher, much higher,” he said.
Saudi Arabia and its allies entered the war to bolster Yemeni President Abedrabbo Mansour Hadi after the Iran-backed Houthis took over the capital Sanaa.
Since 2015, more than 10,000 people have been killed and some 22 million — three quarters of the population — are in need of food aid, according to the UN.
Revealed – sick, tortured immigrants locked up for months in Britain – investigation suggests hundreds of vulnerable people are detained indefinitely; Diane Taylor and Niamh McIntyre
|AIWA! NO!|An unprecedented snapshot of migrants held in British detention centres found more than half of the sample were either suicidal, seriously ill or victims of torture, a Guardian investigation has established.
The survey of almost 200 detainees held in seven deportation centres in England as of 31 August showed almost 56% were defined as an “adult at risk”. Such individuals are only supposed to be detained in extreme cases, suggesting that Home Office guidelines on detention have been breached.
The survey – conducted in association with 11 law firms and charities that work with those facing deportation – also found that a third had dependent children in the UK, and 84% had not been told when they would be deported – implying open-ended incarceration.
Almost half the detainees had not committed a crime, but the average detainee in the sample had been imprisoned for four months. The majority had lived in the UK for five years or more and some had been in the country for more than 20 years.
The sample amounts to 8% of all those held in detention at the time of survey, according to the most recent Home Office figures. A Home Office spokesperson insisted detention was “an important part of the immigration system”, but said that it must be “fair, dignified and protect the most vulnerable”, adding that further improvements could still be made to the system.
While it is not sufficiently scientific to be extrapolated across the entire removal population, the survey suggests many hundreds of extremely vulnerable people are being held indefinitely, in one of the most severe manifestations of the Conservatives’ “hostile environment” policy.
Roland Adjovi a member of the UN Office of the Human Rights Commissioner’s arbitrary detention working group, said that states must ensure that detention ‘is truly a measure of last resort’
“Detention in the context of migration must be a measure of last resort,” he said. “Such detention can never be of unlimited duration and the national legislation must clearly prescribe the maximum permitted duration of detention.”
The former prisons and probation ombudsman Stephen Shaw,who has conducted two comprehensive reviews for the government into immigration detention, added: “Although the overall use of detention has fallen by one third in the last three years, far too many people are still being detained for long periods when there is no realistic prospect of their removal from the UK.”
The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, said: “This snapshot is truly shocking, but not entirely surprising.
“There have been repeated assurances that vulnerable people, victims of trafficking and children would not been detained. But this investigation shows that those assurances are worthless. People are even being detained even though there is no instruction for their removal. This is a scandalously inhumane and unjustifiable system.”
The government detains just over 25,000 people every year pending deportation, at an annual cost of £108m. The practice of indefinite incarceration has been criticised by high court judges, local authorities, parliamentary committees and the UN.
More than half of all detainees are in any case ultimately released back into British society, not deported. Some have taken legal action over their imprisonment. The Home Office’s latest annual report acknowledges that government has paid out £3m to 118 people unlawfully detained in the 2017/18 financial year.
The UK is the only country in Europe to detain people without a time limit. It was Guardian revelations about government’s removal targets which forced Amber Rudd to resign as home secretary in April. Detention centres are instrumental to that policy.
Eleven law firms and charities entered anonymised data on 188 people to build a snapshot of people in deportation centres on 31 August. The data included how long they were held, whether they were considered an adult at risk and whether they had been told when they would be deported.
The survey found:
Children were held in adult detention centres, while 30% of detainees had dependent children in the UK.
More than half were defined as an adult at risk due to being victims of torture, having suicidal thoughts or being unwell.
While the government claims detainees are held briefly before being deported, 84% had not been given removal directions.
Detainees came from 56 countries, most commonly Nigeria and Algeria.
An adult at risk should be given special protection because they are particularly vulnerable. They should not usually be imprisoned, though they can be if the Home Office believes they pose a risk to the public or have a history of non-compliance with immigration law.
Of those represented in the Guardian survey, 27% had been tortured, 24% had serious health conditions and 4% were at risk of suicide.
The survey found just over half of detainees had served a prison sentence.
Alieu, a refugee from Gambia who was tortured in his home country, says that seven years after being detained in Harmondsworth immigration removal centre, near Heathrow, he is still suffering trauma.
“I kept asking the Home Office: ‘Am I a criminal, am I a prisoner?’ I was locked up in a very small space and was too scared to sleep. I’m still scared of people in uniform. The trauma from being locked up in detention after I’d already experienced torture will stay with me for the rest of my life.”
The investigation also uncovered multiple cases of children being held in the adult estate,despite this being banned in all but exceptional circumstances. Almost a third of adult detainees had dependent children in the UK, prompting concerns their removal would lead to families being separated.
Bail for Immigration Detainees, a charity that assists with detainees’ bail applications, condemned such separations, saying it causes children extreme distress.
“Many of our clients’ children have lost weight, suffered from recurring nightmares and experienced insomnia during their parents’ enforced absence,” said Celia Clarke, director of BID.
Kate Allen, director of Amnesty International UK, deplored the fact that the vast majority of detainees face open-ended imprisonment, adding: “That lack of an end date is causing serious harm, not only to those detained but also to their loved ones.”
Migration Watch, which monitors migration into the UK and has called for the detention estate to be expanded, said: “If people are here legally and they are being detained that’s a serious flaw in the system. It goes without saying that people who are here legally should not be detained.”
James Price, campaign manager at the TaxPayers’ Alliance expressed concern about the cost of detention: “Detention should only be used when there is a high chance of returning the individual in a short space of time, because a bureaucratic and lengthy wait is bad for the welfare of those detained, as well as costing taxpayers and meaning less money for essential services.”
The Home Office spokesman said: “We have made significant improvements to our approach in recent years, but it is clear we can go further.
“The home secretary has made clear that he is committed to going further and faster to explore alternatives to detention, increase transparency around immigration detention, further improve the support available for vulnerable detainees and initiate a new drive on detainee dignity.”
The Guardian sent a series of questions to 15 organisations who work with detainees – law firms with Home Office contracts to represent detainees and specialist NGOs. We received responses from 11.
Our partner organisations provided anonymised data about a series of key metrics, including age, length of residence and family ties in the UK, length of detention and specific vulnerabilities.
We asked them to enter data about their entire client list on a single day, 31 August, but some did not have the resources to capture every detainee on their books.
After excluding a handful of potential double counts where an NGO and a law firm may have been working with the same detainee, we were left with 188 unique responses.
We then calculated the proportion of the group with certain characteristics, such as suicidal tendencies, dependent children and long-term residency.
The data should be treated as a snapshot and not as a sample representative of the whole population in immigration detention. Many detainees never have contact with any legal representative or NGO, and will not have been captured in our sample.
• In the UK, Samaritans can be contacted on 116 123 or firstname.lastname@example.org. In the US, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. In Australia, the crisis support service Lifeline is 13 11 14. Other international suicide helplines can be found at www.befrienders.org.
A big chunk of Haley’s two years as US Ambassador to the United Nations was about Israel and Palestine and keeping Israelis happy.
WASHINGTON — |JTA/RON KAMPEAS|AIWA!NO!|When Nikki Haley said on Tuesday that she would be stepping down as UN ambassador by the end of this year, the Israeli and pro-Israel laments poured out swiftly.
Haley didn’t simply defend Israel and its government, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, as her predecessors had under Democratic and Republican administrations. She led a game change: On her watch, and with the blessing of President Donald Trump, support for Israel became a “with or against us” proposition. Slam the United States for defending Israel, and count on being slammed back, was the Trump-Haley credo.
A big chunk of Haley’s two years at the world body was about Israel.
“Thank you for your support, which led to a change in Israel’s status in the UN,” Danny Danon, Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, said on Twitter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered his gratitude as well in a statement.
“I would like to thank Ambassador @nikkihaley, who led the uncompromising struggle against hypocrisy at the UN, and on behalf of the truth and justice of our country,” he said.
Haley’s predecessors had also robustly backed Israel in the body, but there were hiccups. The latest came in December 2016 when Ambassador Samantha Power allowed through a Security Council resolution criticizing Israel’s settlement policy in the waning days of the Obama administration, about a month before Trump was inaugurated.
It was a rare instance of a US official semi-endorsing UN criticism of Israel.
Netanyahu and the centrist to right-wing pro-Israel community sees the United Nations as a snake pit, and any concession is seen as a betrayal. That was the message in the American Israel Public Affair Committee’s farewell to Haley packed into a single word: “consistently.”
“We appreciate the strong leadership of @nikkihaley @USUN,” AIPAC said on Twitter. “Thank you for consistently standing up for America’s interests and our democratic ally Israel.”
Here are five times Haley changed the game for Israel while she was ambassador to the United Nations.
1. Cutting funds to UNRWA
Israel and pro-Israel officials have long criticized UNRWA, the UN agency that administers assistance to Palestinians and their descendants, for what they say is a too-broad definition of what denotes a Palestinian refugee, effectively allowing the status to continue indefinitely.
Haley helped spearhead the Trump administration decision last month to sever funding to the agency. Last year, the United States contributed $360 million, the lion’s share of the budget. This year, after forking over $60 million, there was a freeze, and it became permanent last month.
Speaking in August at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, Haley said the money could flow again — if UNRWA radically reconfigured how it counts refugees, slashing the number from 5 million to 500,000.
“We will be a donor if it reforms what it does,” she said of UNRWA, “if they actually change the number of refugees to an accurate account, we will look back at partnering them.”
(Liberal pro-Israel groups decried the fund cuts, saying they were cruel, and noted that Israeli security officials have long argued that UNRWA assistance helps stabilize the region.)
2. That wild UN party
Haley used the US veto to nix a UN Security Council resolution last year criticizing Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but its backers took the measure to the General Assembly to at least score a moral victory. (Security Council resolutions have the force of international law; General Assembly resolutions amount to little more than statements.)
Haley went to work and managed to get an impressive 64 members to not vote or vote against the resolution in the General Assembly. Then she invited them to a party.
“It’s easy for friends to be with you in the good times, but it’s the friends who are with you during the challenging times that will never be forgotten,” the US mission said on Facebook in January. “Thank you to the 64.”
3. Quitting the Human Rights Council
The United States Human Rights Council makes Israel a perennial agenda item, even as it includes among its members some of the world’s worst human rights abusers like Iran, China and Venezuela. The Obama administration repeatedly noted the anomaly, but it stuck with the council in order to nudge its members to condemn abuses in other countries.
Haley and the Trump administration stayed for 18 months before eventually concluding it wasn’t worth the insults. The body “was not worthy of its name,” Haley said at a joint appearance with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in June.
4. Scrub the apartheid report
The UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia published a report in March 2017 accusing Israel of apartheid. Haley, fresh to her role, made it a point to lobby the UN secretary-general, Antonio Guterres, to pull the report from the web. Guterres, no doubt wary of getting off to a wrong start with the Trump administration, pulled rank on the agency and the report was soon gone.
“That such anti-Israel propaganda would come from a body whose membership nearly universally does not recognize Israel is unsurprising,” Haley said before the scrubbing.
5. Praying at the Western Wall
Two months after the apartheid incident, Haley told the Christian Broadcasting Network that the Western Wall belonged to Israel, a sharp departure from longstanding executive branch policy of not pronouncing on who claims what in Jerusalem. By the end of the year, Trump recognized Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
It was an early instance of Haley’s role as a smoke signal for a significant Trump administration shift in US policy. She was tapped a year ago to signal that the Trump administration would pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and, as noted above, she set the stage for cutting off UNRWA funding.
Recognizing the Western Wall as Israeli seemed personal, however. Visiting Jerusalem a month after her CBN interview, she broke away from security to touch the holy site and ask worshipers how to pray.
Ivanka out, Dina ‘maybe’: Trump undecided on Haley replacement as speculation runs wild
|AP|AIWA! NO!|US President Donald Trump has said his daughter Ivanka would be an “incredible” replacement for departing UN ambassador Nikki Haley.
Mr Trump said he had heard his daughter’s name discussed for the post but said he knows he would be accused of nepotism if he selected her.
The president said former aide Dina Powell is under consideration to replace Ms Haley, who announced earlier in the day that she would be stepping down from the role at the end of the year.
Ambassador Haley has served America with dignity + distinction.
She is a bold reformer and has been an unwavering champion of truth, principled realism and integrity within the United Nations.
Jared and I are grateful for her friendship — a true blessing in our lives!