Category Archives: United Nations

Bilderberg Gathering Envisions Top Job For Kristalina Georgieva

Georgi Gotev reports for EurActiv:

Vice-President Kristalina Georgieva attended a meeting of the secretive Bilderberg group in Dresden yesterday (9 June), where, according to information obtained by EurActiv.com, former Commission President José Manuel Barroso promoted her as the next UN Secretary-General.

The official list of participants at the annual meeting includes the name of Georgieva. According to the Commission’s program, Georgieva was indeed in Germany. However, the Bilderberg event is not mentioned.

Speaking to a Bulgarian media, Georgieva said she attended the Bilderberg meeting in private capacity, but “presented the position of the Commission”.

EurActiv asked the executive to confirm or deny that it was aware that Georgieva participated to the Bilderberg gathering, and received confirmation that her participation was in private capacity. The European Commission’s weekly program mentions that Georgieva was in Germany yesterday, where she delivered a keynote speech at Berlin’s Europe in a changing world conference,  and also had a meeting in Dresden with Stanislaw Tillich, the premier of Saxony .

Georgieva’s name appears in the Bilderberg gathering list alongside VIPs such as Mark Rutte, the prime minister of the Netherlands, IMF chief Christine Lagarde, Thomas de Maizière, the interior minister of Germany, Kyriakos Mistotakis, the leader of Greece’s New Democracy party, Michael Noonan, minister of finance of Ireland, former US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, Barroso and others.

READ MORE…

U.N. Chief Admits He Removed Saudi Arabia From Child-Killer List Due to Extortion

Alex Emmons and Zaid Jilani report for The Intercept:

U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon publicly acknowledged Thursday that he removed the Saudi-led coalition currently bombing Yemen from a blacklist of child killers — 72 hours after it was published — due to a financial threat to defund United Nations programs.

The secretary-general didn’t name the source of the threat, but news reports have indicated it came directly from the Saudi government.

The U.N.’s 2015 “Children and Armed Conflict” report originally listed the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen under “parties that kill or maim children” and “parties that engage in attacks on schools and/or hospitals.” The report, which was based on the work of U.N. researchers in Yemen, attributed 60 percent of the 785 children killed and 1,168 injured to the bombing coalition.

After loud public objections from the Saudi government, Ban said on Monday that he was revising the report to “review jointly the cases and numbers cited in the text,” in order to “reflect the highest standards of accuracy possible.”

But on Thursday, he described his real motivation. “The report describes horrors no child should have to face,” Ban said at a press conference. “At the same time, I also had to consider the very real prospect that millions of other children would suffer grievously if, as was suggested to me, countries would defund many U.N. programs. Children already at risk in Palestine, South Sudan, Syria, Yemen, and so many other places would fall further into despair.”

READ MORE…

UN Report Taps Libya as ‘Next Key Battleground’ for ISIS War

Jason Ditz reports for Antiwar:

A new UN Security Council report on ISIS once again claims that the group is suffering “setbacks” in Iraq and Syria, but suggests that the group is looking for more countries to expand into as “alternative regions,” with Libya seen as the start of a major move into Africa.

ISIS has a significant presence in Libya, holding key oil regions in the central coast, including the city of Sirte. The report describes ISIS as a “real threat” in Libya, and Security Council officials say the group is raising money selling oil in Libya to fund operations in other countries.

The claims of ISIS losses in Iraq and Syria are likely overstated, however, with regular claims of massive percentages of territory lost depending on arbitrary assignments of control over vast areas of empty desert back and forth.

READ MORE…

U.N. Concerned About Rising Political Tensions in Cambodia

Reuters reports:

The United Nations on Sunday voiced alarm at the escalating political tensions in Cambodia, including attempted arrests of politicians, amid allegations from the opposition that Prime Minister Hun Sen’s ruling party is persecuting it.

Last week Hun Sen said Cambodia’s next election will be in July 2018. Meanwhile leaders of the opposition are facing legal charges they say are politically motivated to stop them challenging the veteran premier in the vote.

[…] Long before the Southeast Asian nation goes to the ballot box, political tensions have risen. The last election in 2013 marked self-styled strongman Hun Sen’s toughest challenge in three decades of rule.

The opposition Cambodia National Rescue Party (CNRP), led by Hun Sen’s longtime foe Sam Rainsy, accused the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP) of cheating its way to victory and boycotted parliament for a year.

READ MORE…

Leaked Report Reveals Unsanitary Conditions At UN Bases During Haitian Cholera Epidemic: Interview with Brian Concannon

Jessica Desvarieux talks to Brian Concannon, Executive Director of the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti, who says the United States is actively discouraging countries from holding the UN accountable for bringing cholera to Haiti. (The Real News)

Saudi War in Yemen Takes Devastating Toll on Children

Al Jazeera reports:

The year-old conflict in Yemen is taking a horrifying toll on the country’s youth, UNICEF said on Tuesday, warning that an estimated 320,000 children face life-threatening malnutrition.

In a new report marking the anniversary of the start of the Saudi-led campaign in Yemen, the agency said six children have been killed or injured daily over the past year – up nearly seven times compared with 2014.

“Children are paying the highest price for a conflict not of their making. They have been killed or maimed across the country and are no longer safe anywhere in Yemen.  Even playing or sleeping has become dangerous,” said Julien Harneis, UNICEF’s representative in Yemen.

The intervention of the Arab coalition assembled by Saudi Arabia in support of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi began on March 26 last year, but has yet to deal a decisive blow to Iran-backed Houthi rebels and their allies, who still control the capital Sanaa and key parts of the country.

Hopes for a breakthrough in the conflict emerged last week when the warring sides agreed to a cessation of hostilities from April 10 and peace talks from April 18, after a year of war that has killed overall more than 6,200 people.

READ MORE…

UN Panel: Too Often Only Half of Aid Money Get to the Needy

Edith M. Lederer reports for the Associated Press:

Too often only half of the money from donors is getting to the millions of people devastated by conflicts and natural disasters who desperately need humanitarian aid, the co-chair of a U.N.-appointed panel said Wednesday.

Kristalina Georgieva, the European Commission’s vice president for budget and human resources, said the nine-member panel trying to find new financing to help the rapidly growing number of people needing humanitarian aid is urging donors and aid organizations to work more closely to drive down costs.

“Humanitarian money is like gold” because it saves lives, she told a briefing on the panel’s report. “But our goals very often are very low karat — a 9 karat gold — because we take a dollar or a pound or a yen or a ruble, and by the time it gets to the recipient it shrinks to only half of what it is worth.”

Georgieva said this is because of transaction costs, administration and “because of us creating bureaucracy.”

The report said the world is spending around $25 billion to help 125 million people today — more than 12 times the $2 billion spent in 2000 — but there is still a $15 billion annual funding gap. It warned that if the current trend continues, the cost of humanitarian assistance will rise to $50 billion by 2030.

The report focuses on three solutions: mobilizing more funds, shrinking the need for aid by preventing and resolving conflicts, and improving the efficiency of assistance.

READ MORE…

UK Rejects UN Ruling that Assange Detention Is Illegal: Interview with Carey Shenkman

Jessica Desvarieux talks to human rights lawyer and Assange attorney Carey Shenkman who explains how the UK is undermining the authority of the UN while simultaneously relying on it to release detained UK citizens. (The Real News)

UN Panel Rules Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Is Being Arbitrarily Detained: Interview with Mads Andenæs and Jennifer Robinson

After a United Nations panel officially concluded WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been “arbitrarily detained” in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London and should be allowed to walk free, Amy Goodman and company talk to Assange legal representatives Jennifer Robinson, and U.N. special rapporteur on arbitrary detention Mads Andenæs. (Democracy Now!)

Syria: The U.N. Knew for Months That Madaya Was Starving

Roy Gutman reports for Foreign Policy:

Until the beginning of this month, Madaya was an obscure town in southwestern Syria, overshadowed by nearby Zabadani, where opposition rebels had fought a fierce battle against President Bashar al-Assad’s regime and more recently Hezbollah. But today, as international relief convoys arrive with food and medicine to lift a starvation siege, Madaya has become the focal point of Syrian aid workers’ anger at the United Nations, who accuse the international body of giving higher priority to its relationship with Damascus than to the fate of Madaya’s beleaguered residents.

Madaya was the worst off of all the besieged towns in Syria, relief workers say. As early as October, locals in the town had been raising alarms about the dire humanitarian situation there. At least six children and 17 adults starved to death in December, and hundreds more risked starvation.

U.N. officials knew this — but until shocking images of starving infants started circulating and news media sounded the alarm, it remained silent, reserving alarm for an unpublished internal memo.

The “Flash Update” issued on Jan. 6 by the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), which negotiates aid deliveries, spoke of “desperate conditions,” including “severe malnutrition reported across the community,” and said there was an “urgent need” for humanitarian assistance. In October, community leaders reported some 1,000 cases of malnutrition in children under the age of 1, it said.

But the general public could not have known this, because OCHA classified the bulletin as “Internal, Not for Quotation.” OCHA had no immediate comment on why the update, leaked to Foreign Policy, wasn’t published.

READ MORE…

Saudi Arabia Silences UN Human Rights Council Over Its War Crimes in Yemen: Interview with Omer Aziz

Sharmini Peries talks to Omer Aziz, a student at Yale Law School and Student Fellow at the Yale Information Society. He discusses Saudi Arabia’s human rights records and its successful effort to block a UN inquiry into the situation in Yemen, one of the worst humanitarian disasters in recent times. (The Real News)

The UN Says US Drone Strikes in Yemen Have Killed More Civilians Than al Qaeda

Samuel Oakford  reports for VICE News:

American drones strikes may have killed as many as 40 Yemeni civilians over the past year, the UN reported on Monday, offering a tally of the human cost of the long-running US campaign against al Qaeda in Yemen, which has continued amid the chaos of country’s current war.

The data on drone strikes came from the latest report on Yemen issued by the UN’s Office of the High Commissioner For Human Rights (OHCHR), which compiled accounts of human rights violations from July 1, 2014 to June 30 of this year.

The US first launched armed unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) over Yemen in 2002, but the bulk of strikes carried out by the aircraft have taken place since since 2011. According to figures maintained by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s Drone War program, at least 101 people have been killed by confirmed drone strikes in Yemen, plus 26 to 61 others killed by “possible extra drone strikes.” Between 156 and 365 civilians have also been killed in other covert missions since 2002, according to the group.

If accurate, the UN’s estimates would represent a significant rise in confirmed civilian casualties in the country as a result of drone strikes.

READ MORE…

UN: Gaza could be ‘uninhabitable’ by 2020 if trends continue

Cara Anna reports for the Associated Press:

A new United Nations report says Gaza could be “uninhabitable” in less than five years if current economic trends continue.

The report released Tuesday by the U.N. Conference on Trade and Development points to the eight years of economic blockade of Gaza as well as the three wars between Israel and the Palestinians there over the past six years.

Last year’s war displaced half a million people and left parts of Gaza destroyed.

The war “has effectively eliminated what was left of the middle class, sending almost all of the population into destitution and dependence on international humanitarian aid,” the new report says.

READ MORE…

UN Official Says Human Suffering in Yemen ‘Almost Incomprehensible’

Kanya D’Almeida reports for IPS News:

With a staggering four in five Yemenis now in need of immediate humanitarian aid, 1.5 million people displaced and a death toll that has surpassed 4,000 in just five months, a United Nations official told the Security Council on August 19 that the scale of human suffering is “almost incomprehensible”.

Briefing the 15-member body upon his return from the embattled Arab nation on Aug. 19, Under-Secretary-General for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs Stephen O’Brien stressed that the civilian population is bearing the brunt of the conflict and warned that unless warring parties came to the negotiating table there would soon be “nothing left to fight for”.

An August assessment report by Save the Children-Yemen on the humanitarian situation in the country of 26 million noted that over 21 million people, or 80 percent of the population, require urgent relief in the form of food, fuel, medicines, sanitation and shelter.

The health sector is on the verge of collapse, and the threat of famine looms large, with an estimated 12 million people facing “critical levels of food insecurity”, the organisation said.

In a sign of what O’Brien denounced as a blatant “disregard for human life” by all sides in the conflict, children have paid a heavy price for the fighting: 400 kids have lost their lives, while 600 of the estimated 22,000 wounded are children.

READ MORE…

ISIS: Iraq conflict leaves nearly 15,000 civilians dead over last 16 months

The Associated Press reports:

Conflict in Iraq has led to nearly 15,000 civilian deaths and left 30,000 wounded during a 16-month period that ended on 30 April, according to a UN report.

The UN’s human rights office and its mission in Iraq said violations of international humanitarian law and gross human rights abuses by the Islamic State group, which controls large swaths of Iraq’s north and west, may in some cases amount to war crimes, crimes against humanity and possibly genocide.

Iraq is going through its worst crisis since the 2011 withdrawal of US troops. Isis captured Iraq’s second-largest city of Mosul and the majority of western Anbar province in 2014 and still holds large parts of the country, though Iraqi forces have made progress in recent months with the help of a US-led air campaign.

During the 16-month period, the report said, more than 2.8 million people fled their homes and they remained displaced in the country, including an estimated 1.3 million children.

The UN officers did not break down who was responsible for the casualties.’

READ MORE…

The Srebrenica Precedent

David N. Gibbs, author of First Do No Harm, writes for Jacobin:

This month marks the twentieth anniversary of the Srebrenica massacre, in which eight thousand people were killed in the Bosnian town of Srebrenica. The mass killing was the single deadliest event of the Bosnian War, and the most recognized atrocity of the post–Cold War era.

Its significance cannot be overstated: the massacre triggered a NATO bombing campaign that is widely credited with ending the Bosnian War and giving NATO a new lease on life after the fall of the Soviet Union. Ever since, the Srebrenica precedent has been invoked to justify military interventions around the globe.

In 2005, Christopher Hitchens defended the US decision to invade Iraq with an article entitled “From Srebrenica to Baghdad.” In 2011, when Guardian columnist Peter Preston advocated military intervention in Libya, his article began with the words: “Remember Srebrenica?” In 2012, a call in CNN for Western intervention in Syria appeared under the title “Syria, Sarajevo, and Srebrenica.” And a 2014 article on ISIS advances in Syria warned of a possible “New Srebrenica,” with the implication that Western military action was needed to prevent this calamity.

When supporters of military intervention cite Srebrenica, it’s often to insist on the need to dispense with diplomacy and use decisive military force in response to humanitarian emergencies. As a 2006 New Republic editorial succinctly argued, “In the response to most foreign policy crises, the use of military force is properly viewed as a last resort. In the response to genocide, the use of military force is properly viewed as a first resort.” Given the broad way that genocide is now defined, this is a call for interventions without limit.’

READ MORE…

How Britain and the US decided to abandon Srebrenica to its fate

Florence Hartmann and Ed Vulliamy report for The Guardian:

MUSLIM REFUGEES[…] Over two decades, 14 of the murderers have been convicted at the war crimes tribunal in The Hague. The Bosnian Serb political leader Radovan Karadžic and his military counterpart, General Ratko Mladic, await verdicts in trials for genocide. Blame among the “international community”charged with protecting Srebrenica has piled, not without reason, on the head of UN forces in the area, General Bernard Janvier, for opposing intervention – notably air strikes – that might have repelled the Serb advance, and Dutch soldiers who not only failed in their duty to protect Srebrenica but evicted terrified civilians seeking shelter in their headquarters, and watched the Serbs separate women and young children from their male quarry.

Now a survey of the mass of evidence reveals that the fall of Srebrenica formed part of a policy by the three “great powers” – Britain, France and the US – and by the UN leadership, in pursuit of peace at any price; peace at the terrible expense of Srebrenica, which gathered critical mass from 1994 onwards, and reached its bloody denouement in July 1995.

Until now, it has always been asserted that the so-called “endgame strategy” that forged a peace settlement for – and postwar map of – Bosnia followed the “reality on the ground” after the fall, and ceding, of Srebrenica. What can now be revealed is that the “endgame” preceded that fall, and was – as it turned out – conditional upon it.

The western powers whose negotiations led to Srebrenica’s downfall cannot be said to have known the extent of the massacre that would follow, but the evidence demonstrates they were aware – or should have been – of Mladic’s declared intention to have the Bosniak Muslim population of the entire region “vanish completely”. In the history of eastern Bosnia over the three years that preceded the massacre, that can only have meant one thing.’

READ MORE…

Will the UN Tackle Impunity for Peacekeepers Who Sexually Abuse Women and Children? Interview with Paula Donovan

Interview from 2nd July with Paula Donovan, co-director of AIDS-Free World. She is part of the Code Blue campaign, which seeks to end the sexual exploitation and abuse by United Nations military and non-military peacekeeping personnel. (Democracy Now)

4,777 Killed in Iraq during June

Margaret Griffis reports for Antiwar:

The United Nations released its June casualty figures. It found that 1,466 people were killed and 1,687 were wounded. The fatalities are the highest since last September and may be due to increased fighting involving security figures and the fall of Ramadi. The U.N. does not attempt to tally deaths among the militants, so these are the absolute minimum figures possible. There is evidence that the Iraqi government is undercounting its dead, and there is no method to count the victims behind enemy lines.

Antiwar.com, using news reports, found at least 3,311 militants were killed and 287 were wounded. Many of these deaths were reported by the Iraqi government, which could be exaggerating its successes. On the other hand, many of the wounded might not have fallen into government hands and therefore are uncountable. In total, 4,777 were killed and 1,974 were wounded during June.’

READ MORE…

Amid Warnings of Famine, Yemeni Civilians Trapped Inside Conflict with No End in Sight

‘U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for a full investigation after Saudi coalition airstrikes hit a U.N. compound in Yemen. A guard was injured when the office of the U.N. Development Programme in the southern city of Aden was hit Sunday. The United Nations has warned Yemen is one step away from famine as a humanitarian crisis intensifies. We discuss the latest with Democracy Now! correspondent Sharif Abdel Kouddous, who reported recently from Yemen.’ (Democracy Now!)

Humanitarian Warriors

Chase Madar writes for the London Review of Books:

Harold Koh is the former dean of Yale Law School and an expert in human rights law. As the State Department’s senior lawyer between 2009 and 2013, he provided the Obama administration with the legal basis for assassination carried out by drones. And despite having written academic papers backing a powerful and restrictive War Powers Act, he made the legal case for the Obama administration’s right to make war on Libya without bothering to get congressional approval. Koh, who has now returned to teaching human rights law, is not the only human rights advocate to call for the use of lethal violence. Indeed, the weaponisation of human rights – its doctrines, its institutions and, above all, its grandees – has been going on in the US for more than a decade.

Take Samantha Power, US Ambassador to the United Nations, former director of Harvard’s Carr Centre for Human Rights Policy and self-described ‘genocide chick’, who advocated war in Libya and Syria, and argued for new ways to arm-twist US allies into providing more troops for Obama’s escalated but unsuccessful war in Afghanistan. This last argument wasn’t successful in 2012, though she was at it again recently when interviewed on Charlie Rose. Or there’s Sarah Sewall, another former director of the Carr Centre, who was responsible for the material on human rights in the reworked US Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual. Or Michael Posner, the founder of Human Rights First, now a business professor at NYU, who, as assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labour in Obama’s first term, helped bury the Goldstone Report, commissioned by the United Nations to investigate atrocities committed during Israel’s 2008-9 assault on Gaza. Or John Prendergast, a former Human Rights Watch researcher and co-founder of Enough, an anti-genocide group affiliated with the Centre for American Progress, who has called for military intervention to oust Robert Mugabe.’

READ MORE…

UN Official: ‘Gaza reconstruction could take 30 years’

The National reports:

‘Gaza reconstruction could take 30 years’Gaza reconstruction is moving at a “snail’s pace” and at this rate, it would likely take 30 years to rebuild the extensive damage from last summer’s Israel-Hamas war, a senior UN official said. Roberto Valent, the incoming area chief of a UN agency involved in reconstruction, blamed the delays on the slow flow of promised foreign aid and continued Israeli curbs on the entry of building material to Gaza.

Speaking in the Gaza City office of the UN Development Programme, he said his tour of destroyed neighbourhoods this week was “very, very disheartening”.

Israel and Egypt have severely restricted access to Gaza since the militant Hamas seized the territory in 2007.

After last year’s 50-day war, Israel allowed the import of some cement and steel under UN supervision to ensure the materials would not be diverted by Hamas for military use.

Mr Valent said on Wednesday that the system is too slow and Israel must open Gaza’s borders to allow for the speedy rebuilding or repair of 141,000 homes he said suffered minor to severe damage or were destroyed.’

READ MORE…

UN Report: Israel Committed Unprecedented Devastation and Killings in 2014 Gaza War

Saudi-led naval blockade leaves 20 million Yemenis facing humanitarian disaster

Julian Borger reported earlier this month for The Guardian:

Twenty million Yemenis, nearly 80% of the population, are in urgent need of food, water and medical aid, in a humanitarian disaster that aid agencies say has been dramatically worsened by a naval blockade imposed by an Arab coalition with US and British backing.

Washington and London have quietly tried to persuade the Saudis, who are leading the coalition, to moderate its tactics, and in particular to ease the naval embargo, but to little effect. A small number of aid ships is being allowed to unload but the bulk of commercial shipping, on which the desperately poor country depends, are being blocked.

Despite western and UN entreaties, Riyadh has also failed to disburse any of the $274m it promised in funding for humanitarian relief. According to UN estimates due to be released next week 78% of the population is in need of emergency aid, an increase of 4 million over the past three months.

The desperate shortage of food, water and medical supplies raises urgent questions over US and UK support for the Arab coalition’s intervention in the Yemeni civil war since March. Washington provides logistical and intelligence support through a joint planning cell established with the Saudi military, who are leading the campaign. London has offered to help the Saudi military effort in “every practical way short of engaging in combat”.’

READ MORE…

Leaked cables: Morocco lobbied UN to turn blind eye to Western Sahara in ‘House of Cards’ operation

Joe Sandler Clarke and Katherine Purvis report for The Guardian:

The Moroccan government intercepted United Nations communications and used “unethical tactics” in a “House of Cards”-style operation designed to get the organisation to turn a blind eye to the humanitarian situation in Western Sahara, according to a leaked UN report.

The leaked report is a UN analysis of correspondence between the Moroccan government and the country’s permanent ambassador to the UN in Geneva and later New York, Omar Hilale, in the period from January 2012 to September 2014. The Moroccan correspondence was made public last year by an anonymous source using the @chris_coleman24 Twitter handle.

The Moroccan correspondence appears to show that the north African country intercepted internal UN communications; made significant donations to the UN Office of the High Commission for Human Rights (OHCHR) with the expressed intention of influencing the body; lobbied to cancel fact-finding missions to the area by senior officials; and attempted to stop a mandate to monitor human rights abuses being given to the UN peacekeeping mission in the territory.’

READ MORE…

Think Tank: Global Conflicts “Cost 13% of World GDP”

BBC News reports:

Syrian residents flee Maskana town in the Aleppo countryside and make their way towards the Turkish border on 16 June 2015Conflicts around the world cost $14.3tn (£9.1tn) last year, 13% of world GDP, says a survey on global peace.

That amount is equivalent to the combined economies of Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Spain and the United Kingdom, the report by the Institute for Economics and Peace (IEP) said.

The divide between the most peaceful and the least peaceful nations was deepening, the annual report added.

Iceland is the world’s most peaceful nation, whilst Syria is the least.

Libya saw the most severe deterioration over the course of 2014, according to the Australia-based IEP says.

The Middle East and North Africa now ranks as the world’s most violent region, overtaking South Asia which received that ranking for 2013.’

READ MORE…

UN accuses Eritrea of “possible crimes against humanity”

Israeli Report Finds 2014 Gaza War “Lawful” and “Legitimate” Ahead of Critical U.N. Investigation: Interview with Yousef Munayyer and Gideon Levy

‘The Israeli government has released a report that concludes its military actions in the 2014 war in Gaza were “lawful” and “legitimate.” The findings come ahead of what is expected to be a critical United Nations investigation into the 50-day conflict that Israel has dismissed as biased and refused to cooperate with. More than 2,200 Palestinians died in what was called “Operation Protective Edge,” the vast majority civilians. On Israel’s side, 73 people were killed, all but six of them soldiers. In its report, Israel says it made “substantial efforts” to avoid civilian deaths, insisting Hamas was to blame for the high number of civilian casualties and accusing Hamas militants of disguising themselves as civilians and of converting civilian buildings into military centers. We are joined by Yousef Munayyer, executive director of the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation and the former executive director of The Jerusalem Fund. We also go to Tel Aviv to speak with Gideon Levy, Haaretz columnist, whose latest piece is “Israel washed itself clean of Gaza’s dead beach children.”‘ (Democracy Now!)

20% of Africans Live in Post-Conflict Fragile States: Interview with Leonce Ndikumana

‘Leonce Ndikumana, director of the African Policy Program at the Political Economy Research Institute says while poverty, inequality, weak institutions, and low development in general are the outcome of fragility, they also undermine efforts to accelerate economic development in these countries. He also says aid and timing coupled with a national economic development strategy by sector is required for success.’ (The Real News)

Saudi Arabia “seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council”

Roisin O’Connor reports for The Independent:

Saudi Arabia is reportedly planning to make a bid to head the United Nations’ Human Rights Council, in a move that has been described as the “final nail in the coffin for the credibility” of the HRC.

Reports of the bid come just days after Saudi Arabia posted a job advertisement for eight new executioners. This year it has already put 85 people to death in what has been branded by Amnesty International a “macabre spike” from the 87 people it killed in total last year.

The country will move to assume lead control over the HRC after 2016 when the presidency is awarded to a new nation.

UN Watch, a non-profit human rights group that monitors the international body, disclosed Saudi Arabia’s intentions in a recent report and urged the United States to fight against it.’

READ MORE…