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Sri Lanka warns of a world dictator

The government delegation in Geneva said Sri Lanka will continue its policy of peace and reconciliation ad will also continue to defend the independence and the prerogatives of the Human Rights Council.Meanwhile the delegation also said it has sought a clarification on the allegations that members of the government delegation had threatened and intimidated human rights defenders.However the delegation says so far it has not received any clarification. (Colombo Gazette) However the government delegation did not name the country it sees as a dictator although it was apparent Sri Lanka was referring to the U.S which pushed for the resolution on Sri Lanka and which was subsequently adopted.Sri Lanka called for unity in the common struggle to defend its sovereignty, independence, and the free choice of the people to shape their own society and destiny. “Today one country deems itself the depository of a mission to dictate to the rest of the world its vision of democracy, of human rights, of development. Is any of us safe from becoming the next target, the object of pressure, even of military aggression, the detriment of our peoples and their right to life?” the statement said. Sri Lanka has warned that there is an attempt by one country to dictate to the world through which arises the threat of pressure or even military aggression.A statement by Sri Lanka to the UN Human Rights Council on the closing day of its 19th session yesterday (Friday) also notes that pressure and various other methods were used to obtain support for the U.S sponsored resolution on Sri Lanka. The statement said that Sri Lanka rejects all form of unilateralism, threats, sanctions, blockades, conditionality and an orchestrated disinformation campaign on the country. read more

Thousands flee fresh violence in South Sudan many suffering from trauma

Some 5,000 people have settled in several villages along the border near the town of Ingbokolo in Ituri province in north-eastern DRC, the United Nations Refugee agency (UNHCR) said on Tuesday.“Most are women, children and the elderly” said UNHCR spokesperson Babar Baloch, explaining that they have been arriving by foot “exhausted, hungry and thirsty”.“Among them are people suffering malaria or other illnesses” he continued, noting that many of those traumatized have “witnessed violent incidents, including armed men reportedly murdering and raping civilians and looting villages”.According to reports, the violence has displaced another 8,000 people inside South Sudan, near the town of Yei.The clashes started on 19 January between the army and a rebel group known as the National Salvation Front, UNHCR says, blocking humanitarian access to affected areas. The conflict in South Sudan has created over 2.2 million refugees since 2013. Armed groups continue child release, but 19,000 remain: UNICEFEvery child no longer with an armed group represents a childhood restored and a future regained – UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta ForeMeanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund, UNICEF, reported that an armed group in South Sudan released 119 children on Tuesday in the south-west town of Yambio, who had been held captive by the militia group known as the South Sudan National Liberation Movement (SSLM), which signed a peace agreement with the Government in 2016.Of the newly-released, 48 were girls, with the youngest child being 10-years-old. More than 3,100 children being held by armed groups have now been freed.“Every child no longer with an armed group represents a childhood restored and a future regained,” said UNICEF Executive Director Henrietta Fore.During the process, each child was registered and provided with a certificate stating they were no longer affiliated with the group. They then met social workers, health workers and education specialists, so their immediate needs could be assessed.UNICEF said that for each released child given help, one vulnerable child and their family from the host community receiving them, is also being supported to foster acceptance and promote a boost the chances of successful reintegration. “More and more children are being freed from armed groups and armed forces in South Sudan, and while this is an encouraging development, there is a long way to go before all of the more than 19,000 children still in their ranks are returned to their families,” asserted Ms. Fore.This year marks the 30th anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child which requires governments to meet the basic needs of children and to help them reach their full potential, according to the UNICEF chief.“Five months after the signing of a peace agreement, UNICEF calls on all parties to South Sudan’s conflict to recommit themselves to upholding these rights and to ensuring that children are never soldiers”, concluded Ms. Fore. read more