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UN Daily News
Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Issue DH/7131

In the headlines:
Political progress to end Darfur conflict through

If we work and build together, a more sustainable

We need to rethink our daily lives, warns UN

Fiji: UN warns of flooding as cyclone-battered

dialogue remains elusive UN peacekeeping chief

health chief, urging action to halt rising tide of


diabetes

country braces for another storm

Libya: senior UN relief official calls for independent


probe into migrant deaths at detention centre

Sport plays essential role in advancing 2030

world will be a safer world, Ban says in California

UN agency condemns large-scale home demolitions


in West Bank

UN experts urge Mexico to counter current smear


campaign, support right defenders

development agenda UN

Prosecutor to appeal UN tribunals acquittal of


Vojislav eelj of war crimes in the Balkans

Political progress to end Darfur conflict through dialogue


remains elusive UN peacekeeping chief
6 April Intensified fighting since January has resulted in a rapidly
worsening security situation and large-scale displacement in Sudans
Darfur region, the top United Nations peacekeeping official warned
today, stressing that it is important that Security Council impress on
all parties to the conflict [] that a political solution remains the only
viable option.

Displaced persons in Sortoni, North Darfur, Sudan, who fled their


original homes and sought refuge near UNAMIDs Team Site
following ongoing clashes between armed movements and government
forces in the Jebel Marra area. Photo: UNAMID

UN Under-Secretary-General Herv Ladsous said that since his last


briefing to the Council on 25 January, the security situation in Darfur
has been characterized by fighting between Government forces and
fighters of the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdel Wahid (SLA/AW) in the
Jebel Marra region, which straddles three Darfur states, namely North
Darfur, Darfur Central and South Darfur.
Current situation on the ground

According to the Sudanese Government, it has taken control of the


entire Jebel Marra region with the exception of a few pockets of resistance. The SLA/AW has denied those claims,
maintaining that it had pushed the Government offensive back. The escalation of fighting in Jebel Marra had led to largescale displacement, especially from mid-January to late March, and humanitarian organizations estimated that at least
138,000 people from that region were newly displaced as of 31 March, he explained.
He went on to state that due to the Governments restrictions on access, the exact number of civilian causalities could not be

For information media not an official record

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6 April 2016

ascertained, adding that African Union-UN Mission IN Darfur (UNAMID) and relief agencies have been prevented from
addressing the protection and humanitarian needs of the displaced. While emphasizing the difficulty of establishing an
objective assessment of the fighting due to the access restrictions, he said it was clear that there had been continued clashes
and aerial bombardments.
The security situation in other parts of Darfur remained fragile with underlying tensions among and between local tribes
over the access to, use and management of land, water and other resources, leading to persistent outbreaks of intercommunal conflicts despite measures taken by the local authorities to contain the clashes, said Mr. Ladsous, adding that
UNAMID continued to support Government efforts to mediate those conflicts and advocated consistently for addressing
their root causes in a comprehensive manner, he said.
However, the proliferation of small arms and the presence of various militia groups had led to a rise in criminality and
various types of banditry against civilians, he said. In spite of some improvements, the general weakness of the rule of law
across Darfur had resulted in such violations going largely unpunished.
Despite the volatile security situation and considerable challenges, however, UNAMID remained steadfast in the
implementation of its strategic priorities, including the protection of civilian and displaced populations, he stressed.
Elusive progress on finding sustainable political resolution
The political process to settle the conflict remained polarized, he noted. A referendum on Darfurs administrative status
to determine whether it would become a single region or retain its current five subregional divisions was scheduled to
take place from 11 to 13 April. Despite several meetings held under the auspices of the African Union High-level
Implementation Panel, progress in political efforts to reach a sustainable resolution of the conflict through inclusive dialogue
remained elusive.
Underlining the great importance of UNAMID and the Government pursuing a renewed partnership, he recalled that the
UN, AU and the Government held a strategic tripartite panel meeting on 22 March. As elaborated in the meetings outcome,
concrete actions by the Government were required in terms of lifting restrictions on the missions operations, among them
delays in clearing customs, issuing visas and granting access to all areas, including conflict zones.
It is important that the members of the Council impress on all parties to the conflict in Darfur that a political solution
remains the only viable option, said Mr. Ladsous, stressing that pursuit of political objectives through military means over
the past decade has only contributed to the prolonged suffering of the civilian population.
As such he reiterated the Secretary-Generals call upon the Sudanese Government and the Sudan Liberation Army/Abdul
Wahid to immediately cease hostilities in Jebel Marra, and commit to peaceful negotiations, without preconditions.

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We need to rethink our daily lives, warns UN health chief,


urging action to halt rising tide of diabetes
6 April The number of people living with diabetes has nearly
quadrupled since 1980 to 422 million adults, most living in
developing countries, a dramatic rise mainly driven by overweight
and obesity, the United Nations World Health Organization (WHO)
has announced ahead of World Health Day.
To mark World Health Day (7 April), which celebrates WHOS
founding in 1948, the agency is issuing a call for action on diabetes.
In its first-ever Global report on diabetes, WHO highlights the
need to step up prevention and treatment of the disease.
Raghad who lives in a refugee camp in Jordan, suffers from type 1
diabetes and requires daily administration of insulin, but finds it hard
to keep the insulin cool in the summer with limited electricity in the
camp. She exercises to stay healthy. Photo: WHO/T. Habjouqa

Measures needed to tackle the disease include expanding healthpromoting environments to reduce diabetes risk factors, like physical
inactivity and unhealthy diets, and strengthening national capacities to
help people with diabetes receive the treatment and care they need to
manage their conditions.

If we are to make any headway in halting the rise in diabetes, we need to rethink our daily lives: to eat healthily, be
physically active, and avoid excessive weight gain, says Dr. Margaret Chan, WHO Director-General, who adds that even
in the poorest settings, governments must ensure that people are able to make these healthy choices and that health systems
are able to diagnose and treat people with diabetes.
WHO notes that diabetes is a chronic, progressive noncommunicable disease characterized by elevated levels of blood
glucose (blood sugar). It occurs either when the pancreas does not produce enough of the insulin hormone, which regulates
blood sugar, or when the body cannot effectively use the insulin it produces.
Key findings from WHOs Global report on diabetes
Among the key findings from the report are:
1. The number of people living with diabetes and its prevalence are growing in all regions of the world. In 2014, 422
million adults (or 8.5 per cent of the population) had diabetes, compared with 108 million (4.7 per cent) in 1980.
2. The epidemic of diabetes has major health and socioeconomic impacts, especially in developing countries.
3. In 2014, more than 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years were overweight and more than one in 10 were obese.
4. The complications of diabetes can lead to heart attack, stroke, blindness, kidney failure and lower limb amputation.
For example, rates of lower limb amputation are 10 to 20 times higher for people with diabetes.
5. Diabetes caused 1.5 million deaths in 2012. Higher-than-optimal blood glucose caused an additional 2.2 million
deaths by increasing the risks of cardiovascular and other diseases.
Global commitments to reduce diabetes
Many cases of diabetes can be prevented, and measures exist to detect and manage the condition, improving the
odds that people with diabetes live long and healthy lives, says Dr. Oleg Chestnov, WHOs Assistant DirectorGeneral for NCDs and Mental Health. But change greatly depends on governments doing more, including by
implementing global commitments to address diabetes and other [noncommunicable diseases].
These include meeting Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target 3.4, which calls for reducing premature
death from noncommunicable diseases, including diabetes, by 30 per cent by 2030. Governments have also
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committed to achieving four time-bound national commitments set out in the 2014 UN General Assembly
Outcome Document on Noncommunicable Diseases, and attaining the nine global targets laid out in the WHO
Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of NCDs, which include halting the rise in diabetes and
obesity.
Around 100 years after the insulin hormone was discovered, the Global report on diabetes shows that essential
diabetes medicines and technologies, including insulin, needed for treatment are generally available in only one in
three of the worlds poorest countries, says Dr. Etienne Krug, Director of WHOs Department for the Management
of NCDs, Disability, Violence and Injury Prevention.
Access to insulin is a matter of life or death for many people with diabetes. Improving access to insulin and NCD
medicines in general should be a priority.

Libya: senior UN relief official calls for independent probe into


migrant deaths at detention centre
6 April Expressing deep regret and concern over the deaths of four
migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa in a detention centre in al-Zawiya,
Libya, the senior United Nations humanitarian official in that country
has called today for an independent, impartial and full investigation
into their deaths.

An exterior view of the Zawiya detention centre near Tripoli, the


capital of Libya. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi

According to the UN Support Mission for Libya (UNSMIL), the four


detainees sustained fatal gunshot wounds and 20 more were injured on
1 April during and in the aftermath of an apparent escape attempt
from the detention centre, where conditions are reportedly inhumane,
with severe overcrowding and shortages of food and other basic
necessities, including medical care. A guard was also injured in the
incident.

UNSMILs Deputy Special Representative, Ali Al-Zatari, which is


also the UN Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator called for independent, impartial and full investigations
into their deaths. HE also wished a speedy recovery to the injured guard and wounded migrants.
The al-Zawiya prosecution opened an investigation into the incident, and questioned a number of witnesses. Welcoming the
investigation, Mr. Al-Zatari said: This incident yet again highlights the deplorable conditions endured by migrants,
asylum-seekers and refugees in Libya; many of them fleeing persecution, abuses or poverty in their own countries.
He went on to express the hope that the Government of National Accord will urgently address the dire humanitarian
situation of particularly vulnerable groups in Libya including migrants. In the meantime, all those with effective authority
of the ground should protect migrants from abuse and exploitation and put an end to their prolonged detention in horrid
conditions, he said.

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Sport plays essential role in advancing 2030 development


agenda UN
6 April Sport has an essential role to play in supporting the
achievement of the post-2015 development goals, United Nations
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said as he observed the International
Day of Sport for Development and Peace.
Sport is a unique and powerful tool for promoting dignity and the
equal and inalienable rights of every member of the human family,
he said in an annual message on the Day. It is a driving force for
positive social change.

A girl passes a ball during a drill at basketball training session in


Mogadishu, Somalia in 2013. Banned under the extremist group Al
Shabaab, basketball is once again making a resurgence in Mogadishu.
UN Photo/Tobin Jones

Sport promotes health and well-being, fosters tolerance, mutual


understanding and peace, and contributes to social inclusion and
equality. It empowers women and girls and persons with disabilities,
and is a vital part of quality education in schools.

It empowers, inspires and unites, he said, urging Governments,


organizations, businesses, and all actors in society to harness the values and power of sport to support the achievement of the
Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
By working and playing together, we can create the future we want, Mr. Ban said.
In her message, Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO),
said that the history of sport has shown its power to break down prejudices, to pave the way for and promote the movements
striving for the rights and dignity of individuals, giving them a global audience.
Sport is a powerful vehicle for social inclusion, gender equality and youth empowerment, with benefits that are felt far
beyond the stadiums, she said.
The UNESCO Member States adopted the new International Charter of Physical Education and Sport in November 2015,
marking a major step towards a fairer, more inclusive and more tolerant sporting environment, she said, stressing the need to
ensure support for all those women and men in the world who show their commitment each day, as volunteers and
professionals, to fostering the spirit of sport as an infinite source of renewal and vitality for societies.
In August 2013, the sixty-seventh session of the UN General Assembly decided to proclaim 6 April as the International
Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

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Prosecutor to appeal UN tribunals acquittal of Vojislav eelj of


war crimes in the Balkans
6 April The long-serving Prosecutor of the United Nations tribunal
for the former Yugoslavia today announced that he will appeal The
Hague-based courts recent acquittal of Serbian politician Vojislav
eelj on war crimes charges in connection with actions committed by
Serbian forces between August 1991 and September 1993.
Serge Brammertz, who is also serving as the Prosecutor of the
International Mechanism for Criminal Tribunals the body
that will oversee the residual functions of the UN war crimes tribunals
for the former Yugoslavia, known by the acronym ICTY, as well as
for Rwanda (ICTR) said he had come to the decision after reviewing
the written reasons given by the Trial Chamber Majority for acquitting
Prosecutor of the Mechanism for International Criminal Tribunals
Mr. eelj. That verdict was announced on 31 March.
(MICT) in The Hague Serge Brammertz. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Given the far reaching nature of the errors we have identified in the
Majority Judgement, we underscore for the victims of the crimes that the forthcoming appeal is of utmost priority for this
Office, said Mr. Brammertz, adding that his Office considers there has been a fundamental failure by the Majority to
perform its judicial function.
Among others, his Office noted that in its view, the Majority has omitted to properly adjudicate core aspects of the
Prosecutions case, including by: failing to consider large parts of the evidentiary record; failing to provide proper reasons
for its conclusions; failing to properly apply the beyond reasonable doubt standard; and failing to consider the charges
against Mr. eelj in light of the pervasive pattern of crimes proved.
At the same time, we consider that the Majority unreasonably allowed for the possibility that criminal conduct was simply
a lawful contribution to the war effort, despite the overwhelming body of evidence pointing against it, said Mr. Brammertz,
noting a sweeping disregard of the large number of crimes proved at trial had lead the Majority to conclude that there
was no widespread or systematic attack against the civilian population in parts of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina as
required for crimes against humanity.
Mr. Brammertz said that his Office would exert maximum effort to ensure the appeal in the Vojislav eelj case is litigated
efficiently, effectively and fairly in accordance with the prescribed appeals process of the Mechanism for International
Criminal Tribunals.

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6 April 2016

If we work and build together, a more sustainable world will


be a safer world, Ban says in California
6 April Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon continued his programme
in California today, where he received an honorary doctorate from
Loyola Marymount University, after addressing yesterday the Los
Angeles World Affairs Council, where he gave the audience an
overview of United Nations efforts to meet todays global challenges,
from humanitarian crises to climate change to sustainable
development.
He stressed that in his talks with world leaders he has encouraged
them to show greater solidarity to refugees not just through relief,
but through resettlement and other legal pathways. He said that, when
managed properly, accepting refugees is a win for everyone.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon addresses students from the High
Programme of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council. UN
Today, we need your engagement more than ever. This is a time of School
Photo/Mark Garten
turbulence in world affairs, Mr. Ban said, stressing however that
despite multiple crises and daily outrages that defy our common
humanity, this is also a decisive moment when we can set the world on a safer, better path.

Drawing attention to the ongoing refugee and migrant crisis, as well as to conflicts in Syria, South Sudan and Afghanistan,
the Secretary-General noted that UN diplomatic efforts are bringing hope to people in conflict-torn regions.
At the same time, the UN is looking to tackle the deeper roots of todays crises, and in that regard, the first-ever World
Humanitarian Summit, which he will convene in Istanbul on 23 and 24 May, will be an opportunity to address that issue,
and to improve our global response.
In the broadest sense, our aim is to leave no one behind, he continued, noting that this is the promise at the heart of the
2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
That landmark achievement approved by world leaders last September is a 15-year blueprint to end global poverty, fight
inequality promote the rule of law and build peaceful societies.
Womens empowerment is a key thread running through the goals, he said, adding that climate action will also be critical.
To that end, with the adoption of the historic Paris Agreement, for the first time, every country in the world has pledged to
curb their emissions.
On April 22nd, I will host the signing ceremony for the agreement at UN Headquarters. I am pleased that both the United
States and China have announced their intention to sign on the first day it is open for signature. We have a long way to go
but the trajectory is clear, the UN chief said.

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Fiji: UN warns of flooding as cyclone-battered country braces


for another storm
6 April Less than two months after Tropical Cyclone Winston cut a
path of destruction across Fiji, the country is bracing for the impact of
another storm, the United Nations relief aid office said today.
Category 2 Tropical Cyclone Zena is predicted to bring 200
millimeters of rainfall in the next 24 hours, presenting a significant
flood risk, particularly along rivers and the southern coast of Viti
Levu, according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston caused widespread destruction


in Tamavua, Suva, Fiji. Photo: UNICEF/Alice Clements

Many rivers in Fiji's west and south are already flooded after heavy
rainfall over recent days and this system will only compound the flood
danger. Soil is saturated and any new rain will run off immediately,
further adding to the existing inundation that has already closed roads
and prompted warnings for the public to stay away from waterways.

Zena and associated rainfall will add to the distress being experienced by thousands of people across Fiji who remain in
transitional shelter since Winston, a Category 5 storm, hit in February.
In response to the recent days' events, a total of 79 evacuation centres have been opened with 3,592 people taking shelter
there. All schools have been closed for the day. The Fiji Met Service and National Disaster Management Office (NDMO)
are sending out regular updates and the ongoing State of Natural Disaster means the NDMO still has its coordination system
activated. A Pacific Humanitarian Team Meeting was scheduled this afternoon by OCHA to discuss the situation.
As of this morning, Zena was located about 740 kilometers west of Nadi. Close to its centre, the cyclone is estimated to have
average winds of 95 kilometers per hour and gusts to 130 kilometers per hour.
The cyclone was moving east-southeast at 34 kilometers per hour and was still intensifying. On this track, it is predicted to
pass south of the main island of Viti Levu in the early hours of Thursday morning, passing directly over the island of
Kadavu.
While the cyclone is not expected to pass directly over Suva, it is currently expected to bring sustained winds of 100
kilometers per hour with squalls to 150 kilometers per hour from the early hours of Thursday morning onwards.
These winds may affect weak structures across the greater Suva urban area and may take down trees not already brought
down by Winston.

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UN agency condemns large-scale home demolitions in West


Bank
6 April The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine
Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) has condemned todays large
scale home demolitions by Israeli authorities in the Bedouin refugee
community of Um al Khayr in the South Hebron Hills.
As a result, according to UNRWA, 31 Palestine refugees, including
16 children, were made homeless in a community that has endured
several rounds of demolitions and often faced harassment from the
nearby illegal settlement of Karmel.
Already this year, over 700 Palestinians have been displaced by Israeli
demolitions in the West Bank. This figure is approaching the total
A boy in the Bedouin refugee community of Um al Khayr in the South
number of displaced for all of 2015, said Lance Bartholomeusz,
Hills where large scale home demolitions by Israeli
Director of UNRWA Operations in the West Bank, who said that he Hebron
authorities took place. Photo: UNRWA
was appalled by the unjustifiable demolitions, which are in
violation of international law.
As the UN has said repeatedly, these demolitions must stop, said UNRWA.

UN experts urge Mexico to counter current smear campaign,


support right defenders
6 April Three United Nations human rights experts today urged the
Government of Mexico to express its full support for the work of
human rights defenders and civil society organisations, and actively
counter the current stigmatisation campaign to undermine their work.
The Mexican authorities should publicly recognize that defending
human rights and victims of violations of human rights is not only
legitimate, but fundamental to strengthen rule of law, accountability,
and democracy within the country, said Michel Forst, UN Special
Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders.
The experts appeal comes amid a wave of criticism of human rights
defenders, non-governmental organisations and members of
international human rights bodies in various Mexican media outlets.

UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders


Michel Forst. Photo: MINUSTAH

In a targeted media campaign over the past month, several human rights defenders and civil society organizations have been
accused of fraud and corruption, of defending alleged criminals and falsely claiming torture thus promoting impunity.
The work carried out by human rights defenders and civil society in Mexico has actively contributed to promoting victims
access to justice and truth, and is particularly important in a context where serious human rights violations occur and for a
large part remain in impunity, Mr. Forst stated.
Any attack against the work carried out by human rights defenders creates a deterrent effect, silencing dissenting views and
expressions by all those who exercise their right to freedom of expression or freedom of peaceful assembly and association,
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said David Kaye, UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression.


The Government needs to counter such attacks and take measures to ensure a safe environment for individuals and civil
society, free of harassment of any sort, added Maina Kiai, UN Special Rapporteur on the freedoms of peaceful assembly
and association.
Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Geneva-based Human Rights Council to examine and report
back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff,
nor are they paid for their work.

The UN Daily News is prepared at UN Headquarters in New York by the News Services Section
of the News and Media Division, Department of Public Information (DPI)