At best, in rare cases where an enforced disappearance case has made it to a court it has been handled as an abduction, a wrongful confinement or a conspiracy case since there is no crime of enforced disappearance under Sri Lankan law. The failure of Sri Lankan law to recognize the principle of command responsibility has also hindered prosecution of superior officers complicit in human rights violations. Lack of effective witness protection has been another obstacle to effective prosecution.Despite the tens of thousands of reported enforced disappearances in the late 1980s alone, there were fewer than 30 convictions for abduction or wrongful confinement (charges often associated with enforced disappearances) between 1987 and 2007. Only two of 18 well-known cases of extrajudicial executions and enforced disappearances documented by Amnesty International dating back to the 1980s resulted in convictions, and both were of low ranking officers on lesser charges than murder. These cases, involved more than 750 individual victims, from a lawyer tortured to death in police custody, to the mass “disappearance” of 159 people from a camp for displaced persons in eastern Sri Lanka.Since the election of President Maithripala Sirisena in January, Sri Lanka has shown a new willingness to acknowledge past abuses and commit to reforms. At the 30th Session of the UN Human Rights Council in September Sri Lanka promised to ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance and enact a domestic law making enforced disappearance a crime. It made a number of other important commitments to enact legal and security sector reforms that Amnesty International had long recommended. These included promises to repeal the draconian Prevention of Terrorism Act and replace it with legislation that meets international standards; to review the cases of detainees held for long periods without charge or trial and ensure the release of those without evidence against them; ensure effective witness protection; consult with victims and families in the design of truth and justice mechanisms; release reports of past inquiries into alleged human rights violations; and extend invitations to UN Special Procedures. Tens of thousands of people in Sri Lanka have been forcibly disappeared. Sinhalese youth suspected of links to the Janatha Vimukthi Peramuna (JVP) were particular targets in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and Tamils were victimized throughout the course of the long armed conflict between government forces and the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) that finally ended in May 2009. Muslims (both activists and prominent community members) have also been suspected victims of enforced disappearances.WGEID’s first visit in October 1991 investigated and ultimately confirmed reports that state forces had engaged in enforced disappearances. On the basis of that visit and successive ones in 1992 and 1999, the Working Group made important recommendations to the Sri Lankan Government aimed at addressing existing cases of enforced disappearances, preventing new ones and bringing perpetrators to justice. Unfortunately, most of these recommendations were never implemented. Violations continued to be reported, albeit at lower levels than at their peak in 1989-1990 when an estimated 30,000 or more people, many of them minors, are thought to have been forcibly disappeared in government counter-insurgency campaigns.1 The vast majority of enforced disappearances were never effectively investigated or prosecuted. All communities have experienced enforced disappearances but victims may not share a common understanding of the problem or seek the same solutions. With huge numbers of Sri Lankans in search of truth, there are corresponding variations in their opinions about accountability. Amnesty says WGEID should seek out and listen carefully to the views of family members of the disappeared. It should acknowledge the significant challenges to accountability that persist in Sri Lanka and clearly articulate its own limitations as well. The Government of Sri Lanka should facilitate these exchanges and direct all officials to cooperate fully with the delegates. Amnesty International (AI) says the UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) visit to Sri Lanka offers an important opportunity for the UN and the Government of Sri Lanka to work collaboratively to end enforced disappearances, account for the past and take effective measures to ensure that the crime can never again committed with impunity in Sri Lanka.WGEID is preparing for its first visit to Sri Lanka in 15 years. Amnesty International says this important visit will raise the hopes of thousands of families of the disappeared that with the UN’s help they may finally discover the fates and whereabouts of their missing relatives and have the opportunity to pursue justice and reparation. Amnesty International believes these to be vital steps to protect human rights and account for the past. The failure of successive governments to end the practice of enforced disappearances, clarify the whereabouts or fates of victims and prosecute persons suspected of committing this crime under international law has done incalculable harm to Sri Lankan society and eroded public faith in the rule of law. Continued failure to account for violations against Sri Lanka’s Tamil minority in particular fuels grievance and alienation in that community that could impede efforts at communal reconciliation. (Colombo Gazette)
“The plea would be facilitated if the suspects are willing to commit to the six month rehabilitation programme carried out by the Bureau of the Commissioner General of Rehabilitation,” a spokesperson said.The Ministry of Resettlement and Rehabilitation says the 23 suspects who will be offered rehabilitation had been arrested for minor offences. (Colombo Gazette) The Government has decided to offer rehabilitation to some suspects arrested under the Prevention of Terrorism Act (PTA).The Ministry of Resettlement and Rehabilitation said that the rehabilitation offer is being made to 23 of 96 suspects arrested over alleged links to the LTTE. The Minister of Rehabilitation D.M. Swaminathan has spoken to the Attorney General to amend the indictments of 23 of the suspects. The 23 pending cases and trials under the PTA that are before the High Court will be considered by the Attorney General’s Department, to facilitate a plea.
She married a Sri Lankan professor and became a citizen of Sri Lanka in 1956. Her first collection of poems, And the Sun That Sucks The Earth to Dry, was published in 1971. Although primarily a poet, she has also published short stories, essays, and translations. Her works have been broadcast on radio and published in seventeen countries and translated into nine languages. Drawing from her own life experiences, her writing has been described as “vibrantly sensuous or stark and deeply moving.” The Holocaust is a recurring theme in Anne Ranasinghe’s poetry and is contrasted with Sri Lanka’s violent past as in “July 1983.” Themes of alienation and minority persecution are found in many of her poems. She is a founding member of the English Writers’ Cooperative of Sri Lanka and regular editor of its journal, Channels. Her name has been included in the Oxford Companion to Twentieth Century Poetry (Oxford & New York: Oxford, 1994). (Colombo Gazette) Internationally acclaimed Sri Lankan poet Anne Ranasinghe has passed away. Anne Ranasinghe has won numerous local and international awards for her writing including the Sri Lanka Arts Council Prize for Poetry 1985 and 1992 and non-fiction in 1987. In 1994, she won the Sri Lanka Literary Award for best collection of short stories.Born on October 2, 1925 as Anneliese Katz in Essen in Germany, Anne Ranasinghe escaped from Nazi Germany to England.
Former President’s Chief of Staff Gamini Senarath and two others have been banned from travelling overseas by the Colombo Fort Magistrate.The Court order was issued following a request submitted by the Police Financial Crimes Investigations Division (FCID).
“The army occupies as much as 60,000 acres of civilian land just in the Mullaithivu district in Northern Sri Lanka, with massive camps that encroach on the daily lives of civilians. According to a report recently released jointly by Adayaalam Centre for Policy Research and People for Equality and Relief in Lanka (PEARL), the Vanni region, where much of the civilian carnage took place, has one army personnel per two civilians. There are ongoing reports of torture, rape, and suppression of journalists and human rights defenders,” he said. A Canadian member of parliament has raised objections to the Sri Lankan military being given the role of UN peacekeepers.Gary Anandasangaree, Member of Parliament for Scarborough-Rouge Park, was quoted in The Star as saying, the Sri Lankan military continues to violate the rights of Tamils in the North and East of the island. He says by inviting Sri Lanka to take part in discussions on peacekeeping without substantive progress on accountability, the UN is validating the island nation on the world stage, thereby sending the message to other despotic leaders and rogue countries that they too could violate the rights of their people without consequences. (Colombo Gazette) “Sri Lankan President Maithiripala Sirisena has recently said that he would not prosecute a single soldier who fought for his country. The Sri Lankan legal system appears unwilling and unable to handle any of these international crimes. On the other hand, the victims in Sri Lanka continue to live with the military intruding in their daily lives, while they search for justice. Similarly, the poor victims in Haiti are awaiting answers. It is with this backdrop that Sri Lanka’s invitation to be part of this noble role as International Peacekeeper is very troubling. Peacekeeping is a very complicated undertaking. Many militaries have had checkered pasts relating to peacekeeping, including our Canadian forces in Somalia,” he said.Anandasangaree noted that had Sri Lanka embraced a process of accountability and sought truth, a valid argument for engagement could have been made. He also said that the Sri Lankan Government refuses to hold any military personnel accountable for war crimes.
Sri Lanka has set its national vision to become an upper middle-income country by 2025 by transforming the country into the hub of the Indian Ocean with a knowledge-based, highly comparative, social market economy. To do so, the country tries to harness science, technology and innovation to create the conditions which will generate economic growth.In order to realize the vision of national development with sound STI capacity, it is necessary for the Government to have the officials equipped with knowledge and expertise in establishing and implementing national STI policy, its action plans and an efficient STI system, the Korean Embassy said. Korea has extended support for Sri Lanka’s efforts to become the hub of the Indian Ocean.The Korean Embassy in Colombo today said that the Science and Technology Policy Institute (STEPI) held workshops on “Capacity Building in Building in STI Policy Formulation and R&D Commercialization” in Colombo recently. The workshop was designed to enhance the capacities of 50 senior – level officials and managers of the related Science and Technology governmental agencies, academia and research institutions. The workshop was mainly focused for high level Government officials and researchers in Sri Lanka. The Embassy said that in most of the cases policy formulation and implementation in Sri Lanka are based on ad hoc approaches and intuition.The National Science and Technology Commission (NASTEC) under the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research (MoSTR) of Sri Lanka has requested STEPI to provide a customized training program for STI stakeholders about STI policy development and R&D commercialization mechanisms by submitting the Project Concept Paper(PCP) in March, 2017.As per this request a special workshop on capacity building in STI policy formulation and R&D commercialization commenced in Colombo, 30th May 2018 to June 5th. A special team from STEPI will conduct this training program with presentations on various policy tools, R&D planning and evaluation techniques and R&D commercialization approaches with relevant case studies from Korea. Prof. Gunapala Nanayakkara, Chairman of NASTEC delivering the welcome speech of the inauguration session described the present situation of Science, Technology and Research in Sri Lanka, Dr. EunJoo Kim from the STEPI Team and H M B C Herath, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Science Technology and Research also delivered speeches during the ceremony.Concluding the session vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. Kalpa Samarakoon from NASTEC.The output expected from the workshop is to acquire essential knowledge on framework, concept, schemes and tools involved in developing STI policies and managing national Research and Development programmes. The inauguration ceremony of the workshop was held at the Sri Lanka Institute of Development Administration (SLIDA) auditorium with the participation of the members of the STEPI team from South Korea, officials from NASTEC, Ministry of Science, Technology and Research, and invited scientists and guests from institutes in Sri Lanka. It is also to share Korean experiences and practices which were applied in the fields as well as to explore policy ideas to apply in the Sri Lanka context through discussions with Korean experts. (Colombo Gazette)
“The English Patient is a compelling work of fiction — both poetic and philosophical,” Baroness Helena Kennedy, chair of the Booker Prize Foundation, said in a statement. “As we celebrate the prize’s 50th anniversary, it’s a testament to the impact and legacy of the Man Booker Prize that all of the winning books are still in print.” Born in 1943 in Sri Lanka when it was known as Ceylon, Mr. Ondaatje now lives in Canada. “The English Patient,” which follows the lives of four characters brought together during World War II, told through the morphine-affected memories of a severely burned patient, was a Booker Prize winner in 1992. In a review in The New York Times, Christopher Lehmann-Haupt wrote: “Reading ‘The English Patient,’ you hold on to the gunnel and your hat at the start. But by the end you find yourself resting on the bottom of the boat, with your hat over your face to keep off Mr. Ondaatje’s too brilliant prose.”The film adaptation starring Kristin Scott Thomas and Ralph Fiennes won nine Academy Awards in 1997, including best picture. Each of the judges for the Golden Man Booker Prize was allocated a decade from the prize’s history and tasked with selecting the best work from it. The public then voted on this shortlist.Last year’s winner, “Lincoln in the Bardo,” by George Saunders, was selected by the poet Hollie McNish. Simon Mayo, a novelist and broadcaster, chose the 2009 prize winner “Wolf Hall” by Hilary Mantel. The poet Lemn Sissay picked “Moon Tiger” by Penelope Lively, the winner in 1987. And Robert McCrum, a writer and editor, selected “In a Free State” by V.S. Naipaul, which won in 1971.“The English Patient” was selected by the novelist Kamila Shamsie to represent the 1990s. Ms. Shamsie said in a statement, “‘The English Patient’ is that rare novel which gets under your skin and insists you return to it time and again, always yielding a new surprise or delight.” (Colombo Gazette) “The English Patient,” the wartime love story by Sri Lankan born Canadian Michael Ondaatje, won the Golden Man Booker Prize in London on Sunday night, the New York Times reported.The one-off award, voted for by the public, commemorates the 50th anniversary of the Man Booker prize. The shortlist of five novels was selected by a panel of judges from the 51 previous winners of the Man Booker, which honors the best novels written in English and published in Britain or Ireland.
The search is over.A viticulturist and an oenologist have been selected and hired at Brock’s Cool Climate Oenology and Viticulture Institute (CCOVI), and will soon be on hand supporting grape growers and winemakers with applied research and outreach that follows priorities identified by the industry itself.The two senior positions were created as a result of a funding announcement last December by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada. This program arises from collaboration between the federal government’s Developing Innovative Agri-Products (DIAP) program, the Grape Growers of Ontario and Brock’s CCOVI. The initiative is a key part of CCOVI’s heightened emphasis on outreach to the grape and wine community.James Willwerth“I am excited to have two leading experts joining the team,” CCOVI director Debbie Inglis said. “CCOVI now has the resources to offer enhanced support to the industry both locally and nationally to assist in further developing the international recognition of our industry.”The new viticulturist is Niagara native and Brock alumnus James J. Willwerth. A quality services sensory co-ordinator with the LCBO, Willwerth brings a strong knowledge in vine physiology, cold hardiness, viticulture practices, soil/irrigation management and integrated pest management.“I am very excited to be working closely with the Canadian grape and wine industry through research and outreach activities,” Willwerth said. “It is a dream come true to be based out of Niagara and work with researchers, grape growers, and winemakers who are as passionate as I am about creating world-class wines.”A graduate of Brock’s Oenology and Viticulture program, he has a thorough understanding of the grape industry and an excellent working relationship with researchers and members of the grape and wine sector. Willwerth’s research in viticulture includes more than 20 publications in refereed journals, presentations and invited addresses to numerous conferences and seminars.Willwerth, a PhD candidate in plant sciences at Brock in the lab of CCOVI researcher Andy Reynolds, holds a certificate in Grape and Wine Technology from Brock University (2004) and a BSc degree in biology from St. Mary’s University in Halifax (2001).George KotseridisCCOVI’s new oenologist, George Kotseridis, brings years of expertise in wine flavour chemistry, fermentation, aging aroma compounds and winemaking technology.For the last seven years, he has been teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in oenology, wine chemistry and wine technology at the Agricultural University of Athens. He is also an assistant professor of oenology at the University of Athens in Greece. Kotseridis has worked at two analytical laboratories in France, helped develop the oenological laboratory at the Agricultural University of Athens and has collaborated with CCOVI on research of the multicoloured Asian ladybeetle (MALB) taint. Kotseridis’ research in oenology includes over 30 publications in refereed journals, presentations and invited addresses to numerous conferences and seminars.Kotseridis has a diploma in Agriculture Engineering-specialization Food Science and Technology, University of Thessaloniki, Greece (1993); Diplôme National d’Oenologue, University I, Montpellier, France (1994); MSc in viticulture and oenology, Enology Faculty of Bordeaux II, France (1995); Diplôme universitaire à l’aptitude à la degustation des vins, Faculty of Enology Bordeaux II, France (1996); and PhD in wine analytical chemistry, Faculty of Enology Bordeaux II, France (1999).
CINCINNATI–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Jul 22, 2019–Fifth Third Bancorp (Nasdaq: FITB) announced today that the Board of Directors of its wholly-owned subsidiary, MB Financial, Inc. (the “Company”), has declared a quarterly cash dividend on the Company’s 6.00% Non-Cumulative Perpetual Preferred Stock, Series C (“Series C Preferred Stock”). This dividend equals $0.375 per depositary share, each depositary share representing a 1/40th interest in a share of Series C Preferred Stock, and is payable on August 26, 2019, to holders of record as of August 12, 2019.About Fifth ThirdFifth Third Bancorp is a diversified financial services company headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, and the parent company of Fifth Third Bank, an Ohio-chartered bank. As of March 31, 2019, Fifth Third had $168 billion in assets and operated 1,207 full-service banking centres and 2,559 ATMs with Fifth Third branding in Ohio, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Florida, Tennessee, West Virginia, Georgia and North Carolina. In total, Fifth Third provides its customers with access to approximately 52,000 fee-free ATMs across the United States. Fifth Third operates four main businesses: Commercial Banking, Branch Banking, Consumer Lending and Wealth & Asset Management. Fifth Third is among the largest money managers in the Midwest and, as of March 31, 2019, had $394 billion in assets under care, of which it managed $44 billion for individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations through its Trust and Registered Investment Advisory businesses. Investor information and press releases can be viewed at www.53.com. Fifth Third’s common stock is traded on the Nasdaq ® Global Select Market under the symbol “FITB.” Fifth Third Bank was established in 1858. Deposit and Credit products are offered by Fifth Third Bank. Member FDIC.View source version on businesswire.com:https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190722005775/en/CONTACT: Chris Doll (Investor Relations)Christopher.Doll@53.com| 513-534-2345Gary Rhodes (Media Relations) July 22, 2019Gary.Rhodes@53.com| 513-534-4225KEYWORD: OHIO UNITED STATES NORTH AMERICAINDUSTRY KEYWORD: BANKING PROFESSIONAL SERVICES FINANCESOURCE: Fifth Third BancorpCopyright Business Wire 2019.PUB: 07/22/2019 06:38 PM/DISC: 07/22/2019 06:38 PMhttp://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20190722005775/enThe Associated Press
TORONTO — A set of proposed taxes on foreign technology companies that do business in Canada would have little to no immediate effect on subscribers to foreign digital services like Netflix, experts say.Tax analysts explain that the Liberals seem to be contemplating two different kinds of new taxation aimed at large multinational technology companies, but the party’s platform only provides a timetable for one of them.That’s a new kind of three per cent tax on certain corporate revenue generated in Canada — what the Liberals describe as “the sale of advertising and user data” — starting next spring.C.D. Howe policy analyst Rosalie Wyonch says Netflix doesn’t sell advertising and may not be subject to the three per cent tax on revenue that the Liberals say they’d levy on large foreign companies starting in April 2020.KPMG tax partner Walter Sisti has a similar view and says the Liberals haven’t announced plans to follow the lead of Quebec, Saskatchewan and some foreign jurisdictions by imposing a federal sales tax on digital services.Both tax experts noted that the Liberals say they’ll “work to achieve” the goal of levelling the playing field for Canadian digital service providers, which are already required to collect sales tax for the federal government and some provinces.The Canadian Press
MONTREAL — Metro Inc. reported its second-quarter profit and sales were up compared with a year ago, boosted by its acquisition of the Jean Coutu Group drug store chain last year.The grocer says it earned $121.5 million or 47 cents per diluted share for the 12-week period ended March 16, up from a profit of $106.9 million or 47 cents per share a year ago.Sales totalled $3.7 billion, up from $2.9 billion. Excluding the Jean Coutu Group, Metro says sales were up 4.0 per cent compared with a year ago.Food same-store sales rose 4.3, while pharmacy same-store sales gained 1.1 per cent.On an adjusted basis, Metro says it earned 60 cents per share for the quarter, up from an adjusted profit of 47 cents per share a year ago.Analysts on average had expected a profit of 63 cents per share and revenue of $3.73 billion, according to Thomson Reuters Eikon.Related Stories:HBC Reports Second Quarter 2019 Financial ResultsDollarama misses expectations on profit, but hikes sales forecastBlackberry plunges to 4-year low in first five minutes of trading on earnings miss, outlook cutMetro closed its $4.5-billion acquisition of Jean Coutu on May 11, 2018.The company said Wednesday that Francois J. Coutu will retire as president of the Jean Coutu Group (PJC) Inc., Metro’s pharmacy division, on May 31.Alain Champagne has been named as his successor.
A Bosch radio valued at approximately $200 was stolen from a construction site on Lynndale Road in Simcoe. The incident took place in the early hours of Jan. 23. OPP are reviewing security surveillance footage after the suspect was captured committing the theft. Anyone with information regarding this incident should immediately contact the Ontario Provincial Police at 1-888-310-1122. Should you wish to remain anonymous, you may call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 (TIPS) or leave an anonymous online message at www.helpsolvecrime.com where you may be eligible to receive a cash reward of up to $2000.Theft from Superstore A 44-year-old is facing charges following an incident Jan. 22 at approximately 4:50 p.m. The Norfolk County male attended the store and removed a quantity of merchandise. He then entered a silver vehicle and left the area in an unknown direction. Officers investigating the incident located the vehicle stopped it and took the male into custody without incident. The man was charged with theft under $5,000.Man flees from store On Jan. 17, a 36-year-old Norfolk man attended a store on Queensway East around 7:30 a.m. and removed a quantity of merchandise. He then left the store and fled on foot. Officers reviewed the security surveillance footage and identified the male involved. The man was hit with theft under $5,000 and failure to comply with a probation order.Lock your vehicle Norfolk OPP are reminding drivers to lock their vehicles following a theft on Hillside Avenue in Delhi. In the early morning hours on Jan. 22 suspects gained entry into an unlocked vehicle. Once inside, they removed the ownership and insurance documents along with a battery booster pack.
This morning, a representative of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) met with senior Guinean officials in Conakry to voice growing concern over the country’s failure to meet its international obligations under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees.According to the agency, villagers in the southern border towns of Yomou and Macenta have reported that Liberian asylum-seekers fleeing renewed violence had been turned back by Guinean military when they tried to enter the country. Hundreds have reportedly gathered on the Liberian side of the border waiting to get through.The delicate security situation in the area has prevented UNHCR staff from visiting on a regular basis. Guinean authorities have classified the border region as a military operation zone, requiring authorization to travel there.UNHCR is caring for over 80,000 Liberian refugees in Guinea, most of whom currently live in areas close to the insecure border. The agency, which is working to transfer them to a safer site, said today that it stands ready to assist new arrivals.
“The communities should look toward the future,” Ambassador Anwarul K. Chowdhury, Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations and the President of the Council for the month of June, told a press conference in Pristina at the end of a two-day visit. “They should not be pulled back by their past, but to organize their lives for peaceful coexistence.” Ambassador Chowdhury, who led the Council delegation, noted that the Serb community was particularly concerned about security, saying that displaced Kosovo Serbs would not be able to return home unless their security was insured. The issue of missing and detained persons came up during discussions as a priority concern of the Council, he said, adding that the delegation would take up the matter with Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica on Monday, when it travels to Belgrade. Another strong message the Council repeated throughout its visit was the importance of the participation of the Kosovo Serbs in the 17 November elections and in the interim institutions to be created. Shortly before the Sunday press conference, the delegation met with Russian Federation President Vladimir Putin, who had made a surprise visit to Kosovo from Belgrade to review the 3,000-strong Russian contingent at Pristina airport. According to the UN Interim Administration Mission in the province (UNMIK), the Council members and the head of UNMIK, Hans Haekkerup, had “full and frank discussions” with President Putin on the implementation of Security Council resolution 1244, which established the UN presence in Kosovo. They also discussed the upcoming elections and security concerns. The Council delegation also held meetings with representatives of all Kosovo communities, met with members of the Interim Administrative Council and the Kosovo Transitional Council, visited the divided city of Mitrovica and met with human rights activists.
In a bid to bolster food security in the drought-stricken region bordering Africa’s vast Sahara desert, Libya and the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) today signed agreements totalling $21 million to finance agricultural projects in Sahelian and Saharan countries.The first agreement, part of the FAO Special Programme for Food Security (SPFS), aims to advance agricultural production and enhance food security, alleviating hunger and poverty in Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Sudan and Niger – five of the 16 member countries of the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD).Libya will fund the $9.3 million project, according to Dr. Mohamed Al-Madani Al-Azhari, Secretary General of CEN-SAD and the Director of the Seeds Centre who signed the agreements in Tripoli on behalf of the Government of Libya. CEN-SAD – a regional development cooperative – will work with FAO as those funds will be divided among the five countries to help to ensure access to adequate food and help poor farm communities increase food production and productivity.Projects in Burkina Faso and Mali will each receive $2 million in funding, the project in Sudan is set to receive $1.9 million and Niger and Chad will each receive $1.7 million for their projects, according to FAO.The second agreement, Development of a Seed and Propagation Material System, is designed to develop and modernize the agriculture sector in Libya, and aims to improve national food security by enhancing the organization, promotion and diffusion of massive seed production.The project will also help develop seed policy, legislation, regulation and standards, while advancing capacity building for a sustained seed programme. Libya has committed nearly $12 million and an additional 1,369,673 in Libyan dinars to fund the projects through trust fund arrangements with FAO.
In his latest report on achieving the goals set by the United Nations Millennium Summit of 2000, Secretary-General Kofi Annan calls on the nations of the world to re-forge their unity after the divisions over the Iraq war and agree among themselves on what are the main threats facing humanity, his spokesman said today.Mr. Annan also says the international community must not flinch from radical reform of the UN itself, as well as other international bodies, if this is necessary to make them more effective, the spokesman added.The Secretary-General will release the report – titled “Report on the Implementation of the Millennium Declaration 2003” – on Monday when he will hold a news conference at UN Headquarters in New York.The 2000 summit set a series of Millennium Development Goals, aimed at a series of ambitious targets ranging from halving extreme poverty to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS to providing universal primary education, all by 2015.
Andreas Mavrommatis, the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iraq, said the global community owed it to the long-suffering Iraqi people to stand by them, providing the necessary training and expertise in diverse fields to enable them to carry out the daunting task of reconstruction and reconciliation, eradicating the culture and remnants of 30 years of a regime that used oppression as its only political tool. Welcoming this position, Iraq’s delegate, Ousama Badedine voiced full support for the Special Rapporteur’s position, saying his country is ready for reconstruction and democracy. He added that daily acts of terrorism were creating a climate of fear, but efforts were being made to restore rights by lifting restrictions imposed by the previous regime. In his written report to the Commission, Mr. Mavrommatis says Iraq’s security situation has had an adverse effect not only on the long-overdue reconstruction of the country and the alleviation of the Iraqi people’s suffering, but also on efforts to investigate past violations. He notes that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have made allegations regarding the conditions of detention of people arrested by Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) forces, as well as about unnecessary innocent civilian casualties during security operations by the CPA. In a subsequent update to the report, the Special Rapporteur says he has received important documents about past violations and recommends speeding up the process of criminal investigations in connection with grave human rights violations. He adds that all mass graves must be secured, while the process of identifying remains must be accelerated.
The mission, led by Bacre Waly Ndiaye, Director of the UN Human Rights Office in New York, has started in neighbouring Chad, where tens of thousands of Sudanese have fled over the past year to escape the violence.The team will interview Sudanese refugees taking shelter there before travelling to Darfur itself to assess the situation. The mission is expected to last about 10 days, a UN spokesman told reporters today in New York.Bertrand Ramcharan, the Acting High Commissioner for Human Rights, set up the mission to investigate reports that systematic human rights abuses are occurring against civilians in Darfur.Last Friday Jan Egeland, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said a coordinated, “scorched earth” campaign of ethnic cleansing was taking place in Darfur, which is in Sudan’s west.Mr. Egeland said the region’s black African population, especially the Fur, Zaghawas and Massalit ethnic communities, were being forcibly driven away from the area by militia groups allied to the Sudanese Government.Militia groups, the Sudanese Government and rebel groups have been fighting in Darfur for just over a year.As the fact-finding mission begins work, the UN Office in Sudan is reporting that conditions in Darfur have worsened in some areas, a UN spokesman said.He said outbreaks of communicable diseases, such as measles, are increasing because of the rising number of internally displaced people moving to relatively urban areas in Darfur. Some 200 cases of measles have been confirmed in one camp alone.Humanitarian agencies say they cannot provide enough food, clean water, shelter and health care to internally displaced Sudanese because of the lack of security in Darfur.
“The lingering political instability not only hampers further democratic progress, but also drives donors to withhold the assistance the country urgently needs to meet its massive reconstruction and development challenges,” he says in his latest report to the Security Council on developments in the West African country, including the work of the UN Peacebuilding Support Office in Guinea-Bissau (UNOGBIS).In particular, Mr. Annan calls for all stakeholders to respect the ruling of the Supreme Court, once it is rendered, on the case filed over the constitutionality of the recent governmental changes made by President João Bernardo “Nino” Vieira.President Vieira issued one decree dismissing the Government and another appointing a new Prime Minister on 2 November saying that tensions within the Government had hampered the functioning of State institutions and weakened their capacity to pay salaries or survive in Parliament.In his report, Mr. Annan also reiterates the importance of more assistance from the international community for Guinea-Bissau. “Continued support, especially economic and financial assistance, is particularly important if the ongoing stabilization effort to consolidate peace and prevent violence is to succeed,” he says.The focus of UNOGBIS’s activities since September has been support to national initiatives for security sector reform, according to the report. To that end, an advisory team from the United Kingdom visited the country between 10 and 13 October. In addition, efforts for small arms control and demining are continuing.The report adds that police operations continue to be hampered by inadequate resources, however, with rising concern over the country’s use as a transit point for drug traffic between South America and Europe. In response, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime plans to conduct an assessment mission in the country.