UN Secretary General stresses the need to eliminate attacks on hospitals in areas of conflict

United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, stated that the continuous treatment of hospitals and clinics as targets in conflict reflects the “grave disregard for international law and the protection of civilians.” At a Security Council debate on the protection of civilians in armed conflict, Guterres explained that there has been minimal change since the adoption of Resolution 2286 – which calls on “States and all parties to armed conflict to develop effective measures to prevent and address acts of violence, attacks and threats against medical personnel and humanitarian personnel...

Myanmar ethnic states to draft their own constitutions

Myanmar’s ethnic states are to right to draft their own constitution said one of one of Myanmar’s ethnic militant groups, the Pa-o National Liberation Army. Speaking after preliminary working group meetings ahead of the second round of the 21 st Century Panglong peace conference to begin on May 24, the negotiator of the PNLA told reporters that the Burmese government “has acknowledged the right to self-determination for the state as we are allowed to draft the state constitution. The states under the union have never had such rights as to draft their own constitutions, but we have earned it...

Controversial 'Jewish nation-state' bill given preliminary approval in Israel

The Israeli parliament has preliminarily approved a controversial bill this week, which states that the “right to self-determination in Israel is unique to the Jewish people” and demotes Arabic from its official status. Supported by Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu's Likud party, the bill states that Israel is the “national home of the Jewish people” and would demote Arabic from an official language to one that has “special standing”. Mr Netanyahu said the bill would ensure that Israel is legally established “as the nation-state of the Jewish people”. “There is no contradiction...

Arrests warrants for Buddhist monks in Myanmar after clashes with Rohingya

Police in Myanmar have issued arrest warrants for at least seven Buddhist nationalists, including at least two monks, after a clash with Rohingya Muslims left at least one injured, according to reports. The BBC quoted local media sources as reporting Buddhist monks marched into the Rohingya town of Mingalar Taung Nyunt on Wednesday, where they were allegedly looking for “illegal” Rohingya. The town, in the Yangon province, has seen increased tensions in recent months, as Buddhist nationalists have attempted to halt Islamic ceremonies and forced two schools to temporarily close. At least 70,...

Ontario passes motion to describe 1984 anti-Sikh riots as genocide

The province of Ontario is the first legislature in Canada to carry a motion describing the 1984 anti-Sikh riots as genocide. Harinder Malhi, Member of Provincial Parliament, moved the motion with 34 votes in favour and five against. Malhi stated that the Legislative Assembly of Ontario should “condemn all forms of communal violence, hatred, hostility, prejudice, racism and intolerance in India and anywhere else in the world, including the 1984 Genocide perpetrated against the Sikhs throughout India, and call on all sides to embrace truth, justice and reconciliation.” In response, India’s...

UN Security Council votes to end Haiti peacekeeping mission

The UN will withdraw its peacekeeping mission in Haiti by October 2017, the Security Council decided in a vote today. Unanimously adopting a new resolution, the Council decided that, after over 13 years operating in its current form, the UN Stabilization Mission, known by its French acronym, MINUSTAH, would gradually draw down its military component during the next six months, finally withdrawing from Haiti by 15 October 2017. Acting on the recommendations of the Secretary-General, the Council also decided to establish a successor operation, the United Nations Mission for Justice Support in...

South Sudan violence now genocide says UK international development secretary

The violence in South Sudan has now escalated to genocide, the UK’s International Development Secretary has said. The Secretary, Priti Patel visited South Sudan this week and said there is a “scorched earth policy” with “massacres taking place, people’s throats are being slit”. Speaking to the Associated Press, Ms Patel said villages were being burned down, women being raped and food being used as a weapon of war. “It’s tribal, it’s absolutely tribal, so on that basis it’s genocide,” she said. Ms Patel also said there was a need for increased International pressure to bring peace and...

US launches air strike over Syrian military base

The US fired Tomahawk missiles at a Syrian military base on Friday in response to the chemical weapon attack over Idlib province earlier this week. The US Department of Defense said the air strike was "in retaliation for the Assad regime using nerve agents against its people." Four Syrian military officers had been killed in the attack, which has been condemned by Russia as "aggression against sovereign state". Australia, UK and Turkey expressed support for the air strike. China urged the avoidance of "further deterioriation" in the situation in Syria, AFP reported. The US' action came after...

Suspected sarin gas attack in Syria, US accuses Assad

The third suspected chemical attack was reported to have been carried out in Syria on Tuesday over the province of Idlib, killing at least over 50 people, including children. The US has accused the Assad government of carrying out this attack, however, the military has denied this. "We deny completely the use of any chemical or toxic material in Khan Sheikhoun town today and the army has not used nor will use in any place or time neither in past or in future," the Syrian army said in a statement. Local aid workers and human rights activists have pointed to victims foaming at the mouth, with...

Scottish parliament backs second independence referendum

The Scottish parliament on Tuesday voted in favour of holding a second referendum on independence, thereby endorsing the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon. The vote, which was won by 69 to 59 votes, translates into a formal request to Westminster to grant Holyrood powers to hold a referendum under a section 30 order. It shortly after a meeting between Ms Sturgeon and the British Prime Minister, Theresa May, on Monday in Glasgow, where Ms May reiterated that "now is not the time" for such a referendum. Ms May had earlier this month rejected such a proposal, stating that it would not be...

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