Category: World

On International Day, UNESCO spotlights power of jazz to promote dialogue among cultures

30 April 2017 – Marking International Jazz Day, the United Nations cultural agency today stressed the power of jazz to unite people and its contribution to peace.

“Today, we celebrate the international art form of jazz and its power to promote dialogue among cultures, to make the most of diversity, to deepen respect for human rights and all forms of expression,” said UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Director-General Irina Bokova in her message on the Day.

Ms. Bokova quoted Nina Simone as saying that “jazz is not just music, it is a way of life, it is a way of being, a way of thinking.”

Today, we celebrate the international art form of jazz and its power to promote dialogue among cultures, to make the most of diversity, to deepen respect for human rights and all forms of expression.

“The story of jazz is written into the quest for human dignity, democracy and civil rights,” Ms. Bokova said, noting that its rhythms and variety have given strength to the struggle against all forms of discrimination and racism.

The Cuban capital of Havana is hosting this year’s celebration of International Jazz Day, reflecting the city’s profound ties to jazz. Hometown of renowned bandleaders, Mario Bauzá and Frank ‘Machito’ Grillo, the city and, more broadly, Cuba’s thriving musical culture gave birth to the Afro-Cuban jazz movement, inspired by a great mix of cultures and peoples across the region.

The celebration features an all-star global concert that displays the world’s greatest talents from Cuba, Latin America and around the world, including legendary jazz pianist and composer UNESCO Goodwill Ambassador for Intercultural Dialogue, Herbie Hancock, and Cuban jazzman, Chucho Valdés.

Source: UN

Angola: UN agency airlifts aid to newly-arrived refugees from DR Congo

30 April 2017 – A plane carrying relief items has arrived in Luanda, Angola, to assist over 11,000 people who fled a recent surge violence in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations refugee agency said today.

The aircraft landed Sunday morning from Dubai, carrying 3,500 plastic sheets as well as 100 plastic rolls to provide shelter during the rainy season, 17,000 sleeping mats, 16,902 thermal fleece blankets, 8,000 mosquito nets, 3,640 kitchen sets, 8,000 jerry cans and 4,000 plastic buckets. The Office of the UN High Commissioners for Refugees (UNHCR) will be airlifting more relief items to Angola in coming days.

“Arrivals are in urgent need of life-saving assistance including food, water, shelter and medical services,” said Sharon Cooper, UNHCR Regional Representative for Southern Africa in a press release. “UNHCR is also procuring food locally to support the most vulnerable persons including children, pregnant women and elderly.”

The brutal conflict in DRC’s previously peaceful Kasai region has already displaced more than one million civilians within the country since it began in mid-2016.

The border is managed by the Angolan army. UNHCR has requested the Government to allow refugees to continue crossing the border, provide unhindered access to assist new arrivals, as well as not to return people fleeing the violence to the DRC.

Angola is currently hosting some 56,700 refugees and asylum-seekers, of whom close to 25,000 are from the DRC.

UNHCR Angola had an initial annual budget of $2.5 million to protect and assist some 46,000 people of concern. In response to the current emergency, UNHCR is appealing for a total of $5.5 million to provide immediate lifesaving assistance.

Source: UN

South Sudan: UN urges all sides to cease hostilities; regional force starts to arrive

29 April 2017 – Disturbed by the escalation of violence and subsequent suffering of civilians in South Sudan as a result of the recent government offensive, the United Nations today urged the Government and other warring parties to cease hostilities, uphold their responsibility to protect civilians.

“The renewed upsurge in fighting represents a callous and blatant disregard of the pledges made during the 25 March 2017 IGAD [Intergovernmental Authority on Development] summit to implement a ceasefire and to facilitate humanitarian access,” said a statement issued overnight by Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the UN Secretary-General.

The statement also urged all sides to cooperate with the UN and other humanitarian actors to ensure safe access to all civilians in imminent danger along the West Bank of the River Nile.

“There can be no military solution to the crisis in South Sudan,” the statement emphasized, expressing hope that regional and international partners will join in encouraging the parties to return urgently to the negotiating table.

The United Nations remains committed to working with the African Union and IGAD to secure a peaceful resolution of the conflict, the statement added.

Meanwhile, the first elements of the Regional Protection Force of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have started to arrive in the country, according to a note issued today by the Mission.

The deployment of the 4,000-strong force was authorized by the UN Security Council in its Resolution 2304 (2016).

UNMISS says the force will provide protection to key facilities in the nation’s capital, Juba, and the main routes into and out of the city. It will also strengthen the security of UN protection of civilians’ sites and other UN premises.

The deployment of the force, to be staged over coming months, would free existing UNMISS peacekeepers to extend their presence to conflict-affected areas beyond Juba.

Despite the August 2015 peace agreement, South Sudan slipped back into conflict due to renewed clashes between rival forces – the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) loyal to President Salva Kiir and the SPLA in Opposition backing former First Vice-President Riek Machar.

At a Security Council meeting earlier this week, David Shearer, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative and the head of UNMISS, noted that the opposition has since splintered, making it necessary for UN peacebuilding efforts to be more widely cast than previously. He reiterated the need for a political solution.

Source: UN

Admiral Peter Kikareas, Founder and President of Open Source Intelligence Strategy Forum:Turkey put on Council of Europe watch-list over human rights record

Admiral Peter Kikareas ( 4100+)

The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, one of Europe’s leading human rights bodies, put Turkey on its watch list. The assembly denounced Turkish government actions before and after last year’s failed coup, and said it put the country under closer scrutiny “to ensure that the serious concerns it has expressed about the respect for human rights, democracy and the rule of law are addressed.”

The unprecedented decision to reinstate monitoring of a Council of Europe member triggered a furious reaction from the Turkish government. Meanwhile, Turkey arrested 1,000 people suspected of being Gulenists, while another 2,200 were being sought by police in a move that accelerates the post-coup purge in the country. The police bore the brunt of the detentions on Wednesday, but other institutions are likely to follow suit. (Source HALC)

US criticizes Turkey for striking Kurds in Iraq, Syria

The Trump administration sharply criticized Turkey on Tuesday for attacking Kurdish militants in Syria and Iraq, accusing the U.S. NATO ally of failing to coordinate the airstrikes with the American-led coalition against Islamic State militants.

The State Department and Pentagon both described the United States as “deeply concerned” by the strikes and said the objections were raised directly with the Turkish government. They warned that Turkey’s targeting of Kurdish groups could distract from the common campaign to defeat IS.

What Mr. Erdogan has to say about these and much more if he visits the White House on May 20th, is very difficult to comprehend. He is becoming one of the most dangerous man of the world. A threat for his region and neighborhood but also to our interests in the Middle East and Europe.

Admiral Peter Kikareas

World Foundation For Peace and Security

Hellenic Aspis & Associates Inc.

Founder & President