UN: Over 7 million Yemeni children face ‘serious’ famine threat
A Yemeni man carries his child who is suffering from malnutrition into a treatment center at a hospital in Sanaa. (AFP)
‘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.
A UNICEF report entitled “Born into War” offers a detailed look on how Yemeni children have been scarred by years of violence, displacement, disease, poverty, undernutrition and a lack of access to basic services including water, health care and education. “More than 5,000 children have been killed or injured in the violence — an average of five children every day since March 2015,” the report said, adding that more than 11 million children needed urgent humanitarian assistance — more than half of the country’s child population — as they did not have access to safe drinking water or adequate sanitation. “An estimated 1.8 million children are acutely malnourished, including nearly 400,000 severely acutely malnourished children who are fighting for their lives,” the report 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 email@example.com. 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.
US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley addresses AIPAC, March 2018. (photo credit: AFP PHOTO
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!
PALESTINIAN President calls for international probe of ‘settlers and soldiers’, says Trump and US are not honest mediators.
AIWA! NO!//Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas gave a fiery anti-Israel speech at the UN General Assembly in New York on Thursday evening.
Abbas called on the United States to rescind its decision to transfer of the embassy to Jerusalem and recognizing it as Israel’s capital. Abbas also strongly criticized President Trump and said that no one knows what Israel’s real borders are.
“Can someone tell me the borders of Israel? Bring me a map and show me where the border is,” Abbas said.
“Our Jerusalem, it has no price, and it is not for sale, the rights of the Palestinian people are not subject to any discussion,” declared Abbas.
Abbas alleged that Israel was harming Palestinian attempts to operate independently. “Last year I read in my speech for justice and peace to the oppressed Palestinian people suffering from the Israeli occupation, and I returned here today, when the occupation strangles us and undermines our efforts to build our own state.”
The PA chairman demanded that Israel recognize an independent Palestinian state and also called on the International Court of Justice in The Hague to “investigate the aggression of the soldiers and settlers against the Palestinian land”.
Abbas also said that “We congratulated Trump’s peace initiative and waited for him to present it, but his actions shocked us and grossly contradicted the role of the United States in promoting the peace process. Trump is not a fair mediator.”
He added, “Our capital will not be in East Jerusalem, but East Jerusalem is our capital even though it was occupied in 1967.”
“We never refused to negotiate or to take part in the peace process,” he said.
Abbas slammed the Nationality Law as well. “In July, Israel approved a racist law that violated all international laws. This law can only lead to the creation of a single state that will be a racist apartheid state.”