Bhutan pledges troops to UN peacekeeping operations

Bhutan is now the first country to voluntarily pledge rapid deployment troops to the UN peacekeeping missions. According to Business Standard, the Rapid Deployment Level (RDL) agreement was signed on Friday, which the UN has declared “the first of its kind in UN peacekeeping.” The agreement was jointly signed by Atul Kahre, the Under-Secretary-General for Field Support and Bhutan’s Permanent Representative Doma Tshering.

 An official statement was released which said that the  Force Protection Company from Bhutan is going to be a part of the Vanguard Brigade of the Peacekeeping Capability Readiness System (UNPCRS) which will be able to deploy troops within 60 days of a request by the Secretary-General. The Vanguard Brigades is utilised by the UN to provide a military element to a new peacekeeping mission area or reinforce an existing mission with a swift response time. The UNPCRS is focussed on dealing with conflicts and unstable situations before they potentially escalate. This is in contrast to the standard deployment process that takes several months to mobilise troops on the ground.

 Atul Khare has stated that Bhutan’s pledge is “a great example of commitment to the ideals of a nimble, effective UN peacekeeping.” Presently, Bhutan has 45 military and police personnel- of which 2 are women- that serve in 10 UN peacekeeping operations. These personnel are concentrated in the Darfur mission of Sudan that has a total of 22 peacekeepers from Bhutan.

Sources: Business StandardDaily World

Priyanka speaks for girl empowerment at UN Global Goals Awards

A UN Goodwill Ambassador and actor Priyanka Chopra spoke about girl child rights and empowerment at the UN Global Goals Awards in New York. In the event, Chopra presented the Leadership Award to Ria Sharma, the founder of Make Love Not Scars MLNS) group that works in supporting acid attack victims. While presenting the award to Sharma, the goodwill ambassador shared the advocacy of the MLNS group has ensured a Supreme Court verdict in favour of free treatment for acid victims.

According to the Times of India, Priyanka said,“Ria founded Make Love Not Scars (MLNS), which is an organization that actively supports survivors of acid attacks physically and mentally, and campaigns to raise awareness of the issue’. Ria’s efforts are contributing to change the lives of many women who have survived acid attacks,”

The 35-year-old National Award winner also met the youngest UNICEF goodwill ambassador, Muzoon Al-Mellehan, a Syrian activist and refugee working towards education for Syrian girls.

The event was an august gathering of world leaders from the fields of non-profits, business, media and the UN aimed at accomplishing the Sustainable Development Goals for girls and empowering them.

Sources: HT, TOI

Antonio Guterres convenes a political solution for North Korea

North Korea is becoming an increasing threat to the global community in the wake of the persistent ballistic missile tests in Pyongyang.

On Thursday the UN Secretary Antonio Guterres has called for a political solution to clamp down on the violence and growing political tensions between North Korea and the rest of the world.

“The solution can only be political. Military action could cause devastation on a scale that would take generations to overcome,” Guterres told reporters at a news conference at the UN headquarters in New York as reported in the Times of India.

North Korea will be forced to comply with its international obligations, Guterres added as he called upon all the member nations to see to its implementation. This comes amidst a unanimous agreement and implementation of a new resolution by the Security Council, thus sending a clear warning to North Korea.

However, Nicholas Burns, an eminent American think tank believes this resolution is not enough for the North Korea and that they might not budge from their current political ideologies and plans.

“We are in a new and dangerous phase of the crisis” Burns said as reported in the Times of India.

Sources: The Hindu, TOI

Image Source: AFP

U.N. High Commissioner disparages U.S. President

U.S. President Donald Trump’s feedback of journalists adds up to an assault on the flexibility of the press and could incite brutality against columnists, the United Nations’ human rights boss said on Wednesday.

“It’s really quite amazing when you think that freedom of the press, not only sort of a cornerstone of the U.S. Constitution but very much something that the United States defended over the years is now itself under attack from the President,” the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said.

Both amidst his election battle and all through his presidency up until now, Donald Trump has over and over pummelled and offended US prevailing press outlets, calling them the “fake news.”

Also, in February, Trump named numerous prevailing press outlets “enemies of the American people.”

Zeid voiced worry that a journalist from the Guardian had been ambushed in the United States most as of late, however, gave away no more subtle elements.

Trump has likewise made agonizing comments over ladies, Mexicans and Muslims derided a man with inabilities openly and issued a mandate on a transgender boycott in the military.

At a current rally in Phoenix, Arizona he reprimanded the media for distorting his reaction to the fatal racial oppressor walk in Charlottesville, Virginia, calling them unpatriotic and “truly dishonest people.”

The President prides himself as a taboo breaker, undoubtedly his supporters consider him to be such. In any case, at the time Zeid communicated his inclination that this was horribly flippant, on the grounds that it has consequences, it encourages the individuals who may think comparable to hone their ambushes on these groups, expressed an exasperated Zeid.



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  2.  DW.COM-

China blocks listing of JeM Chief Masood Azhar as terrorist, again

In yet another blow to India, China has again held back on the proposal to blacklist Pakistani terror group Jaish-e-Mohammed(JeM) Chief Masood Azhar as a designated terrorist. The proposal at the United Nations has been backed by the US, France and UK.

The proposal was first brought to the UN Security Council in January and blocked by China in February. The deadline for the country to take action on this technical hold was August 2, 2017. However, just hours before this deadline lapsed, Beijing once again sought a three-month extension until November 2, 2017. This is now the fourth time that it has blocked such moves by India and the Western nations. If the proposal was accepted and passed, Masood Azhar would by default have been considered a UN-designated terrorist.

India considers Azhar the mastermind of the January 2, 2016 terrorist attack on the Pathankot air force station and holds JeM responsible for a series of attacks, including the December 13, 2001, attack on the Parliament. In March 2016, China was the only member of the 15-nation UN Security Council to block the application moved by India to designate him as a terrorist and place him on the sanctions list. However, sources had claimed that the block would not prevent India from pursuing issues of terrorism or sanctioning of leaders of terror outfits at the world body.

Notably, the Chinese action comes in the midst of a tense military standoff between India and China at Dokalam in Bhutan.


Sources: NDTV, Livemint

India contributes $500,000 to UN peacebuilding fund

In the belief that more funding by nations will boost efforts by the world body to maintain peace, India has contributed $500,000 to the UN Peacebuilding Fund. This funding is, in fact, an addition to the $500,000 India has already contributed since the inception of the Peacebuilding Commission.

The Peacebuilding Fund is the Secretary General’s Fund – launched to support activities, actions, programs, and organizations that seek to build a lasting peace in countries emerging from war, conflict, and destruction.

“We hope that the Peacebuilding Fund will be able to attract much greater funding as we go along so that the UN efforts to build and sustain peace can have greater impact on the ground,” said Ambassador Tanmaya Lal, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative to the UN, at the fund’s annual stakeholders’ meet.

He further added, “India has always argued for comprehensive sustainable development, inclusive economic growth and political processes for preventing conflict as well as undertaking effective peacebuilding efforts.”

Acknowledging the complexity of the issue, he conceded that this was not easy and required long-term commitment and investment, especially in the form of expanded funding. India’s latest contribution can be seen in this very light of increasing significance of funding and its recognized impact on peacebuilding contribution can be seen in this very light of increasing significance of funding and its recognized impact on peacebuilding.

Sources: India Today, NDTV

Image Source: Ministry of External Affairs, India

Evacuation begin after failed pact as city suffers from hunger and cold

Post a confusing Friday in Aleppo when the evacuation was suspended from the rebel held areas of Khan al-Asal and Khan Touman, a new deal has been struck to evacuate the thousands of civilians who still remain trapped in the parts of eastern Aleppo.

The break-down of the previous pact is alleged to have resulted from the refusal of Al-Gaida linked militants to allow the evacuation of injured civilians from the rebel held areas. Conflicting reports are also coming in where activists have alleged the pro-government forces to have openly fired on the vehicles during the vulnerable hours.

The recent deal does not let allow to rebel groups to take any prisoners, hostages and any corpses of Syrian Army soldiers, and only light weapons were to taken out of the militant occupied areas.

Correspondents from Al-Jazeera report that thousands of cold and hungry civilians remain stranded in the rebel held east, still waiting to be moved to safety.

Meanwhile President Obama has condemned the Russian forces and its allies stating that “the world is united in horror at the savage assault by the Syrian regime and the Russian and Iranian allies on the city of Aleppo”

The UN Security Council is supposed to vote this weekend with a proposal, drafted by France to ensure that all the operations will be conducted by international observers in Syria, with urgent humanitarian aid being allowed into Aleppo and hospitals receiving protection.