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Thailand: Myanmar: Refugee and IDP Camp Populations: July 2016

Myanmar - Maps - 4 hours 31 min ago
Source: The Border Consortium Country: Myanmar, Thailand

Colombia: Colombia announces historic peace deal

Colombia - Chad - 4 hours 31 min ago
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia
Havana, Cuba | AFP | Thursday 8/25/2016 - 09:07 GMT

by Hector Velasco

Colombia's government and the FARC rebels have reached a historic peace agreement to end their half-century civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

After nearly four years of negotiations in Cuba, the two sides announced a final deal Wednesday, which President Juan Manuel Santos said would be put to a decisive referendum on October 2.

"The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord... on ending the conflict and building a stable and enduring peace," the two sides said in a joint statement read out in Havana by Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez.

"We don't want one more victim in Colombia."

In a national address just after the announcement, Santos -- who has staked his legacy on the peace process -- said the deal marked "the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of war."

He immediately launched his campaign for a "Yes" vote in the referendum, which he said would be the most important election of voters' lives.

"This is a historic and unique opportunity... to leave behind this conflict and dedicate our efforts to building a more secure, safe, equitable, educated country, for all of us, for our children and grandchildren," he said.

Marathon finale

Colombians welcomed the announcement with both skepticism and joy, as many took to the streets late Wednesday night, waving the national flag and carrying balloons emblazoned with the word "yes" to show their support for peace.

"It's hard to believe that we have lived to see such things, it's historic for the country," 24-year-old Marcela Cardenas said, before adding that she believes the transformation will be extremely difficult.

Local TV in Colombia's Caribbean city of Barranquilla showed a rapper chanting "Forward with peace, forward!"

The conflict began with the founding of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964, at a time when leftist guerrilla armies were fighting to sow revolution throughout Latin America.

Over the years, it has killed 260,000 people, uprooted 6.8 million and left 45,000 missing.

Along the way, it has drawn in several leftist rebel groups and right-wing paramilitaries. Drug cartels have also fueled the violence in the world's largest cocaine-producing country.

Three previous peace processes with the FARC ended in failure.

But after a major offensive by the army from 2006 to 2009 -- led by then-defense minister Santos -- a weakened FARC agreed to come to the negotiating table.

Over the past few days, the two sides had been discussing a range of unresolved topics, and worked late into the night Tuesday to draft their joint statement, sources from the two delegations told AFP in Havana.

FARC chief negotiator Ivan Marquez called the accord a new chapter for Colombia.

"We can now say that fighting with weapons ends and with ideas begins," he said from Havana.

Six-point deal

The peace deal comprises six agreements reached at each step of the arduous negotiations.

They cover justice for victims of the conflict, land reform, political participation for ex-rebels, fighting drug trafficking, disarmament and the implementation and monitoring of the accord.

Under the peace deal, the FARC will begin moving its estimated 7,000 fighters from their jungle and mountain hideouts into disarmament camps set up by the United Nations, which is helping monitor the ceasefire.

The FARC will then become a political party. Its weapons will be melted down to build three peace monuments.

Special courts will be created to judge crimes committed during the conflict.

An amnesty will be granted for less serious offenses. But it will not cover the worst atrocities, such as massacres, torture and rape.

Those responsible for such crimes will face up to 20 years in prison, with lighter sentences if they confess.

Santos insisted there would be no impunity for such crimes.

'Historic day, critical juncture'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon congratulated the negotiators for their perseverance, while emphasizing that equal determination will be needed to implement the agreement.

EU foreign affairs chief Federica Mogherini warned in a statement that a number of challenges remain for implementation, but that the deal would bring lasting peace.

On Twitter Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway, one of the countries that mediated the talks, congratulated "both parties for a bold step towards a peaceful Colombia."

Meanwhile the White House said US President Barack Obama had called Santos to congratulate him.

"The president recognized this historic day as a critical juncture in what will be a long process to fully implement a just and lasting peace agreement," it said in a statement.

Obama vowed continuing support for Colombia, a key ally in the US war on drugs.

Washington has spent more than $10 billion on a joint anti-narcotics strategy called "Plan Colombia" -- recently rebaptized "Peace Colombia" by Obama.

Analyst Jorge Restrepo of the Conflict Analysis Resource Center said the agreement allows Colombia to "finally deal with the public policy issues that have been overshadowed by the armed conflict," such as drugs.

However there are still obstacles on the way to peace.

Santos's top rival, former president Alvaro Uribe, is leading a campaign to vote "No" in the referendum, arguing his successor has given too much away to the FARC.

And the government is still fighting a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), whose ongoing kidnappings have derailed efforts to open peace negotiations.

vel-bur/jhb-bfm/ser

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Colombia: Peace depends on support to millions of displaced Colombians

Colombia - Chad - 4 hours 49 min ago
Source: Norwegian Refugee Council Country: Colombia

Following 50 years of civil war, the Government and FARC announced yesterday consensus on a 6-point plan towards peace and reconciliation. “The 6-point agenda needs to translate into meaningful improvements in the lives of people, and a lasting peace. Never has the public trust in the peace process been greater,” said Christian Visnes, NRC Country Director in Colombia.

One of the six points is focused on compensation for victims of war. The attention given to victims represents hope for displaced people. 6.8 million Colombians are internally displaced; hundreds of thousands have become refugees in neighbouring countries.

“While we congratulate Colombia on this important step, we are also reminded that there is a long way to go. It is time to walk the talk. The affected population need to feel the immediate positive impacts. A failure to do so, on the other hand, would threaten the comprehensive progress already made,” said Visnes.

NRC has been present in Colombia since 1991, assisting Colombians fleeing their homes due to conflict. The humanitarian needs for millions of displaced remains dire. Last week, NRC responded to a new wave of displacement in the department of Norte de Santander.

NRC urges donors not to hold back support during this fragile phase. The work of building peace needs to start immediately. Its success will depend not only on the commitment of the negotiating parties, but also on support from the international community. As an international organization our commitment will continue to seek to support state efforts.

The 6-point plan includes economic and social development of rural areas, and provision of land to poor farmers, political participation of rebels, illegal drugs trade, transitional justice, ceasefire, disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and the realization of the rights of millions of victims.

“People cannot wait any longer. Children and young people are getting used to the conflict and we urgently need to take them away from that reality,” said Nayibe Perez, NRC’s Emergency Coordinator in Norte de Santander.

Note to editors: The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is a humanitarian organization working in 30 countries globally. NRC has been working in Colombia since 1991. Photos of NRC’s work in Colombia are available for use here: http://smu.gs/2bilyVn

If you want interviews or more information, please contact: Oscar Rodríguez, NRC Head of Programs in Colombia +57 3134223613, oscar.rodriguez@nrc.no Richard Skretteberg, NRC Senior Adviser in Norway +47 95 04 14 96, richard.skretteberg@nrc.no Michelle Delaney, NRC Media Advisor in Norway, +47 941 65 579, michelle.delaney@nrc.no Christian Visnes, NRC Country Director in Colombia +57 3134223614, christian.visnes@nrc.no

Colombia: Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Colombia

Colombia - Chad - 7 hours 31 min ago
Source: UN Secretary-General Country: Colombia
Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on Colombia

Four years ago, the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP set out to resolve through dialogue one of the world’s oldest armed conflicts. Today, they announced they have concluded their negotiations and will deliver to the Colombian people the results of their discussions.

The Secretary-General warmly congratulates President Juan Manuel Santos, FARC-EP leader Timoleón Jiménez and their negotiating teams in Havana for their hard work and patience in reaching this stage in the process. He also congratulates the many Colombian organizations and citizens who have contributed to the talks with their proposals and encouragement.

He commends the guarantors, Cuba and Norway, and accompanying countries Chile and Venezuela, for their unfailing support to the talks.

Now that the negotiations have concluded, an equally determined and exemplary effort will be required to implement the agreements. The Secretary-General calls upon the international community to lend its full support to Colombia at this new and critical stage of the peace process.

The United Nations will strive to continue and intensify the support it has given to peace efforts over the years through its agencies, funds, and the UN Mission in Colombia, which is mandated to verify the ceasefire and the laying down of arms. We will stand with Colombia in its drive to build a future in peace.

New York, 24 August 2016

Declaración atribuible al Portavoz del Secretario General sobre Colombia

Hace cuatro años, el Gobierno de Colombia y las Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia-Ejército del Pueblo (FARC-EP) se dispusieron a resolver a través del diálogo uno de los conflictos armados más antiguos del mundo. Hoy, han anunciado que han terminado las negociaciones y que van a presentar a los Colombianos el resultado de sus discusiones.

El Secretario General desea felicitar calurosamente al Presidente Juan Manuel Santos, al líder de las FARC-EP, Timoleón Jiménez, y a sus equipos negociadores en La Habana por su arduo trabajo y perseverancia para llegar a esta etapa del proceso. El Secretario General también felicita a las numerosas organizaciones y a los ciudadanos y ciudadanas de Colombia que han contribuido a las conversaciones con sus propuestas y aliento.

El Secretario General expresa su reconocimiento a los países garantes de las conversaciones, Cuba y Noruega, así como a los países acompañantes, Chile y Venezuela, por su apoyo infatigable.

Ahora que las negociaciones han finalizado, será necesario un esfuerzo igualmente decidido y ejemplar para implementar los acuerdos.

El Secretario General hace un llamamiento a la comunidad international para que preste todo su apoyo a Colombia en esta nueva y trascendental etapa del proceso de paz.

Las Naciones Unidas se esforzarán por continuar e intensificar el apoyo que durante años ha brindado a los esfuerzos por la paz a través de sus Agencias, Fondos y Programas y, ahora, a través de la Misión de Naciones Unidas en Colombia para verificar el cese al fuego y la dejación de armas. Estaremos al lado de Colombia en su empeño por construir un futuro en paz.

Nueva York, 24 de agosto de 2016

Colombia: Colombia announces historic peace deal

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 8:00pm
Source: Agence France-Presse Country: Colombia

Havana, Cuba | AFP | Thursday 8/25/2016 - 01:56 GMT | 673 words

by Hector Velasco

Colombia's government and FARC rebels announced Wednesday that they have reached a historic peace deal to end their half-century civil war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives.

After nearly four years of negotiations in Cuba, the two sides announced a final deal, which President Juan Manuel Santos said would be put to a decisive referendum on October 2.

"The Colombian government and the FARC announce that we have reached a final, full and definitive accord... on ending the conflict and building a stable and enduring peace," the two sides said in a joint statement read out in Havana by Cuban diplomat Rodolfo Benitez.

"We don't want one more victim in Colombia."

In a national address just after the announcement, Santos -- who has staked his legacy on the peace process -- said the deal marked "the end of the suffering, the pain and the tragedy of war."

He immediately launched his campaign for a "Yes" vote in the referendum, which he said would be the most important election of voters' lives.

"This is a historic and unique opportunity... to leave behind this conflict and dedicate our efforts to building a more secure, safe, equitable, educated country, for all of us, for our children and grandchildren," he said.

  • Marathon finale -

The conflict began with the founding of the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) in 1964, at a time when leftist guerrilla armies were fighting to sow revolution throughout Latin America.

Over the years, it has killed 260,000 people, uprooted 6.8 million and left 45,000 missing.

Along the way, it has drawn in several leftist rebel groups and right-wing paramilitaries. Drug cartels have also fueled the violence in the world's largest cocaine-producing country.

Three previous peace processes with the FARC ended in failure.

But after a major offensive by the army from 2006 to 2009 -- led by then-defense minister Santos -- a weakened FARC agreed to come to the negotiating table.

Over the past few days, the two sides had been discussing a range of unresolved topics, and worked late into the night Tuesday to draft their joint statement, sources from the two delegations told AFP in Havana.

  • Six-point deal -

The peace deal comprises six agreements reached at each step of the arduous negotiations.

They cover justice for victims of the conflict, land reform, political participation for ex-rebels, fighting drug trafficking, disarmament and the implementation and monitoring of the accord.

Under the peace deal, the FARC will begin moving its estimated 7,000 fighters from their jungle and mountain hideouts into disarmament camps set up by the United Nations, which is helping monitor the ceasefire.

The FARC will then become a political party. Its weapons will be melted down to build three peace monuments.

Special courts will be created to judge crimes committed during the conflict.

An amnesty will be granted for less serious offenses. But it will not cover the worst atrocities, such as massacres, torture and rape.

Those responsible for such crimes will face up to 20 years in prison, with lighter sentences if they confess.

Santos insisted there would be no impunity for such crimes.

  • Obama hails 'historic day' -

The White House said US President Barack Obama had called Santos to congratulate him.

"The president recognized this historic day as a critical juncture in what will be a long process to fully implement a just and lasting peace agreement," it said in a statement.

Obama vowed continuing support for Colombia, a key ally in the US war on drugs.

Washington has spent more than $10 billion on a joint anti-narcotics strategy called "Plan Colombia" -- recently rebaptized "Peace Colombia" by Obama.

There are still obstacles on the way to peace.

Santos's top rival, former president Alvaro Uribe, is leading a campaign to vote "No" in the referendum, arguing his successor has given too much away to the FARC.

And the government is still fighting a smaller rebel group, the National Liberation Army (ELN), whose ongoing kidnappings have derailed efforts to open peace negotiations.

vel-bur/jhb/mdl

© 1994-2016 Agence France-Presse

Colombia: Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities considers initial report of Colombia

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 7:55pm
Source: UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Country: Colombia

Committee on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities today concluded its consideration of the initial report of Colombia on its implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

In the introduction of the report, Juan Pablo Salazar, Director of the Presidential Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, remarked that Colombia had ratified the Convention in 2011 with full awareness that the cultural change it required could not be achieved in the short term. This was a historic moment for Colombia which was closer than ever to ending by negotiation the 50-year-long armed conflict. The 1997 framework law on disability, harmonized with the Convention in 2013, opened a new approach to rights, while the anti-discrimination law adopted in 2015 criminalized discrimination and harassment of persons with disabilities. Those two landmark pieces of legislation were representative of the level of protection of rights that persons with disabilities enjoyed, and although more laws were needed, Colombia was focused on the implementation of the existing laws and the pursuit of the Public Policy for Disability and Social Inclusion on different fronts. As a result of this approach, the Government had eliminated segregated education, provided universal access to free health care, extended social protection coverage, and put in place an ambitious digital policy that focused on access to information and communication technology.

Committee Experts welcomed the adoption of the 1997 law on disability and the prohibition of discrimination and harassment of persons with disabilities in the 2015 law, and took positive note of the progress in the peace negotiations in Colombia. They were, however, concerned about the lack of participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organizations in this process, and at all levels of decision-making in the country. The Experts expressed concern about the system of care and protection of children with disabilities who were victims of abuse and violence within the family, which was contrary to the Convention as it allowed the State to remove the children, institutionalize them, and even cut family ties, thus condemning these children to a life without their family.

Experts welcomed the criminalization of incest, but were worried about the limited attention given to cases involving children with disabilities. Very few children with disabilities were in school, and only 26 per cent of those in the care of the State were in education, so the delegation was asked to explain how the inclusive education system was being implemented and what steps were in place to end the exclusion of children with disabilities. Experts hailed the signing of the historic peace agreement and urged Colombia to ensure that issues, needs and rights of persons with disabilities were adequately included and addressed in the post-conflict period and reconstruction, in particular in matters of restitution, poverty eradication, and accessibility.

In his closing remarks, Mr. Salazar said that this dialogue was a chance for Colombia to grow and to get rid of bottlenecks in the implementation of the Convention.

Maria Soledad Cisternas Reyes, Committee Chairperson, congratulated Colombia on the peace accord, and expressed hope that the referendum on the agreement would take place soon and that it wold have a positive impact on the Colombian people in general and persons with disabilities in particular.

The delegation of Colombia included representatives of the Presidency of Colombia, Ministry of the Interior, Ministry of National Education, Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Ministry of Justice and Rights, and the Permanent Mission of Colombia to the United Nations Office at Geneva.

The concluding observations on the report of Colombia will be made public on Friday, 2 September 2016 and will be available here.

The Committee’s public meetings in English and Spanish, with closed captioning and International Sign Language, are webcast at http://webtv.un.org/

The Committee will next meet in public at 3 p.m. today, 24 August, to begin its consideration of the initial report of Italy (CRPD/C/ITA/1).

Report

The initial report of Colombia can be read here: CRPD/C/COL/1.

Presentation of the Report

JUAN PABLO SALAZAR, Director, Presidential Plan for Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, said that Colombia had ratified the Convention in 2011 with full awareness that the cultural change it required could not be achieved in the short term. This interactive dialogue was taking place at a historic moment, with Colombia closer than ever to achieving a negotiated end to the 50-year-long armed conflict, which had originated because of a culture of exclusion. The 1991 Constitution had established a social, democratic and participatory State of law based on respect for human dignity and human rights, in which persons with disabilities enjoyed special constitutional protection. The 1997 framework law on disability had opened a new approach to rights; it had been updated and harmonized with the Convention through the statutory law adopted in 2013, while in 2015, the anti-discrimination law had been adopted which criminalized discrimination and harassment of persons with disabilities.

Those two landmark pieces of legislation were representative of the level of protection of the rights of persons with disabilities and although more laws were needed, Colombia aimed to move forward with the implementation of the existing laws. This was to be done through the national disability system, composed of various ministries and administrative departments, as well as representatives of civil society and persons with disabilities; the system was linked to territories through a system of provincial and municipal committees.

Although it had been focused on the consolidation of structures and mechanisms of implementation, Colombia was aware that the Convention was a very complex instrument which required progressive incorporation in the national reality. In that sense, the Government pursued the implementation of the Public Policy for Disability and Social Inclusion on different fronts, and had eliminated segregated education; there was access to free and universal health care, social protection coverage had been extended, entrepreneurship had been promoted, and it had seen the implementation of an ambitious digital policy that focused on access to information and communication technology. Colombia was also aware of the victims of the conflict with disabilities, and had in place a separate system to provide them with assistance and reparation. Further, extensive efforts were being made to ensure that professionals in the justice, education and health sectors were trained in the human rights-based approach to disability. Over the past two years, the Government had allocated more than $70 million to those activities.

Despite the progress achieved, it was clear that more work needed to be done to improve data collection and analysis and it was hoped that the next census and the efforts to promote the National Voluntary Disability Registry would provide such data to enable Colombia to prioritize activities and align efforts with the Sustainable Development Goals. The Government understood that the inclusion of all citizens, without distinction, was the pre-requisite for a truly sustainable peace. That was why the Presidential Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities had been adopted to coordinate inter-institutional action for the full implementation of the Convention. Since the ratification of the Convention five years ago, Colombia had travelled a fascinating path and it recognized that the progress was due to the dedicated work of those who had opened that path. More needed to be done and Colombia hoped that the dialogue with the Committee and the Experts’ questions would shed light on the steps in that search for dignity for all persons with disabilities in the country.

Questions from the Committee Experts

SILVIA JUDITH QUAN-CHANG, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur for Colombia, took positive note of the adoption of the 1997 law on disabilities and the 2015 anti-discrimination law and expressed concern about the fact that courts could order forced sterilization, or determine intellectual and legal capacity of persons with disabilities, including in matters of parenting rights. Another issue was that children with disabilities represented only a small percentage of children in school; because they were not in the school system or were prevented from enrolling in schools, families were left without unconditional cash transfers, which were paid out to parents who ensured regular health check-ups and whose children with disabilities attended school at least 80 per cent of the time; this particularly affected indigenous families and families of African descent, as well as parents of children with intellectual disabilities.

It was disappointing that the issues, needs and rights of persons with disabilities had not been considered during the peace negotiations and peace agreement which had ended decades of armed conflict in Colombia. Also, no services were being offered to persons with disabilities in the wake of the conflict, particularly in rural and remote areas. Which measures would be adopted to ask forgiveness from the victims of the conflict and ensure reparations? There was weaknesses in the participation of civil society organizations and representative organizations of persons with disabilities at all levels in the country; administrative procedures were complex and made it very hard for persons with disabilities to be involved in primary and secondary levels of decision-making.

Another Expert noted that the prevention of primary impairment was considered a measure of implementation of the Convention in Colombia, which should not be the case as the Convention was concerned about the rights of people living with disability. This was not only a policy question but also a budgetary issue, as in many countries resources allocated to persons with disabilities were actually spent on the prevention of impairment. How many women and girls with disabilities were included in gender policy and disability policy? Sexual violence and abuse against women with disabilities were ignored and were not investigated. What was being done for the empowerment of indigenous women with disabilities? There was an action plan to address the situation of hundreds of children with disabilities who were not in school; what was the state of implementation of this plan and what other data on children with disabilities in Colombia was available?

A Committee Expert welcomed the criminalization of discrimination in the 2015 law and asked whether there were any court cases for disability-based discrimination, how many complaints for disability-based discrimination were submitted in civil cases to the relevant administrative and human rights institutions, and whether the denial of reasonable accommodation was considered illegal. What system was in place to ensure the monitoring of the implementation of accessibility standards and was there any training provided to architects and engineers on accessibility? What was the level of accessibility of the capital to persons with disabilities using a wheelchair?

What efforts were being made to harmonize the general obligations arising from the Convention with what was being done in designing and putting together policies for persons with disabilities? Sexual violence had been used as a weapon of war, which had caused disability in many women and girls victims of such abuse; how did the policies on conflict-related disability address disability arising from abuse? Many children with disabilities, especially girls, were victims of abuse and rape occurring in the family; the State had a number of measures to address such cases, from removing the child from the family, starting court proceedings and institutionalizing the child, and sometimes even cutting family ties, condemning the victim to live without her or his family for the rest of their life. What was being done to reverse those practices which were contrary to the provisions of the Convention?

The delegation was asked about awareness raising campaigns; systems in place to provide for regular consultations with women with disabilities; efforts to eliminate preferential treatment of some children with disabilities such as children of army and police officers, and ensure that all services to children with disabilities were mainstreamed and that all children in the country enjoyed all services equally; and, considering that Colombia was a middle-income country, how much support was being provided to representative organizations of persons with disabilities.

What positive measures were being taken to combat prejudices, stigma and discrimination against persons with disabilities and promote the dignity of persons with disabilities in the society and the administration?

SILVIA JUDITH QUAN-CHANG, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur for Colombia, asked about measures taken to limit corporal punishment of children with disabilities and steps taken to overturn the decision of the Constitutional Court which allowed forced sterilization of children with disabilities.

MARIA SOLEDAD CISTERNAS REYES, Committee Chairperson, expressed concern over the invisibility of persons with disabilities and noted that they were not consulted, despite the fact that civil society organizations were very well organized and could participate in dialogues.

Response by the Delegation

Responding to questions concerning the participation of women, a delegate said that the national gender policy had been adopted which had set up a standing national bureau for all gender-related issues. There was recognition that public policies must adopt a differentiated approach which would ensure the priority inclusion of women with disabilities. Women who were victims of displacement and women with disabilities were recognized as vulnerable.

It was important to stress the achievements since the initial implementation of the policy on children. Law 1804 of 2016 guaranteed rights to all children in all contexts, inside and outside of the family, and it adopted a differentiated approach to care of children who were victims of abuse and neglect. The programme to promote and protect the rights of children and adolescents recognized them as rights-holders. The Colombian Institute for Family Well-being provided support interventions, as well as substitute homes through civil society organizations and host families. Colombia had recognized 102 indigenous peoples groups, each with their distinct language and culture, and the family services tried to provide children with disabilities from those groups with care which respected the culture they belonged to.

Female genital mutilation had been identified recently in one particular group; this was an imported practice rather than part of the culture. Cases were isolated and there was no consolidated data. The State was working on eradicating the practice by working with midwives of the group, leaders and authorities, and by allocating resources.

The participation of persons with disabilities and their organizations was ensured during the construction and development of public policy on disability, including indigenous and ethnic persons with disabilities, women with disabilities, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex persons with disabilities. Families were involved as well, in their role as support networks, as well as carers, universities, businesses and other stakeholders. The Ministry of the Interior had undertaken consultations on mechanisms of participation. The five priority topics identified by the Presidency included legal capacity, autonomous life, accessibility, education and labour inclusion; technical round tables had been set up for each of the topics, in which persons with disabilities regularly participated.

The 2015 anti-discrimination law could be applicable in cases of denial of reasonable accommodation. Complaints could be filed with the State which had the duty to respond within 15 days, as well as with the Office of the Ombudsman. The online government initiative promoted transparency and obliged all administrative units to publish rules, and ensure they were accessible to persons with disabilities.

Leaders of organizations of persons with disabilities and organizations of victims of conflict had participated in the peace negotiations. The aim of the public policy on social inclusion was to bring together processes in the country to ensure that victims of conflict, regardless of who they were, were not excluded and marginalized.

The Convention was a culturally transformative instrument, and this transformation did not happen overnight, said the head of the delegation, stating that this transformation presented a significant challenge in Colombia. The Government was working closely with the media and the press to promote a human rights-based approach to disability and the positive and dignified image of persons with disabilities, as well as to promote accessibility to television and radio programmes, and the print media. Before considering the ratification of the Optional Protocol, Colombia needed to reinforce the institutional structure for the implementation of the Convention and its translation into national realities.

The Constitutional Court defended the human rights of all in Colombia; it was a modern and progressive court which was responsible for much of the progress in the area of human rights. However, when it came to forced sterilization, the Court did not align with the position of civil society organizations. The matter was being addressed by the round table or technical working groups on legal capacity of persons with disabilities, in which many ministries, universities and civil society organizations participated. The aim was to present a draft law to the Congress which would address many concerns related to Article 2 of the Convention. The Criminal Code codified criminalization of torture, bringing together international standards in this regard.

Questions by the Committee Experts

In the second round of questions, a Committee Expert noted that significant resources were being spent on institutionalization and protective measures targeting children with disabilities, while at the same time parents received very little support in raising children with disabilities. The reunification of institutionalized children with their families was very long and complicated, and when an institutionalized child with disabilities turned 18, he or she was deemed legally incapable and detained in an institution. What steps were being taken to overturn those discriminatory practices?

What measures were being taken to ensure that post-conflict reconstruction efforts included accessibility regulations and standards? What was the status of the implementation of the order of the Constitutional Court to make judicial buildings accessible? What was the practical situation of persons with disabilities in need of a high level of support: did they stay in families, what kind of support did they receive to hire personal assistants, and were they institutionalized?

Another Expert noted that substituted decision-making mechanisms were grounded in the law, and asked how the upcoming reform of the law would ensure that those mechanisms were replaced with a system of supported decision-making in which the free will of persons with disabilities would be taken into account. There were 2,500 incarcerated persons with disabilities – why were they incarcerated, on which grounds, and what was the situation with court proceedings if any?

The delegation was asked to provide more information about the situation of children with disabilities, how public procurement policies promoted accessibility, whether persons with disabilities had the right to buy or own property, measures contained on a gender equality policy that specifically targeted women and girls with disabilities, and how their participation in various decision-making mechanisms was ensured.

Another Expert asked how many persons with disabilities were among internally displaced persons and what protection they enjoyed, and whether incarcerated persons with disabilities had access to mental health or psychiatric services in prisons.

SILVIA JUDITH QUAN-CHANG, Committee Vice-Chairperson and Rapporteur for Colombia, said that the Office of the Mayor in Medellin had recently adopted a decree which threatened to prohibit living in the street and remove all protection of people who lived in the street including their legal capacity; was this some kind of social cleansing? This might be replicated by other towns and it would be a good idea to put an end to the initiative. Prison facilities were not accessible and did not provide rehabilitation services; persons with disabilities serving sentences did not have a possibility to move around or to carry out activities on an equal footing with others.

MARIA SOLEDAD CISTERNAS REYES, Committee Chairperson, asked about steps to ratify the Marrakesh Treaty, and what procedural adjustments were being taken to make justice accessible to persons with disabilities. What intentions were there to change the legal provisions which limited the legal capacity of persons with disabilities who were part of judicial procedures?

Response by the Delegation

In response to questions from Committee Experts raising a number of issues concerning peace negotiations and the peace agreement, a delegate said that although persons with disabilities were not systematically included in the peace process, there were persons with disabilities who had participated in the process, both victims of the conflict and members of the armed forces and paramilitary groups. Furthermore, a webpage called “The Conversation Table” had been developed and was available in accessible formats, in order to disseminate information and receive comments from the public on the talks. It was important to stress that the real challenge was the post-conflict phase, which was starting, and it was now that Colombia must step up its work to ensure the full inclusion of persons with disabilities.

With regard to Teleton, a delegate said that this was a complicated issue which had generated a lot of anger among persons with disabilities in the country. It was not the policy of the State to support Teleton, and despite some ad hoc activities between Teleton and some members of the Government, there was no official partnership with this association. The association of persons with disabilities had sent letters to Teleton challenging it to prove that its activities conformed to the provisions of the Convention. Teleton programmes were not broadcast through public channels, but through private ones. Additionally, it was not a policy of the State to encourage the public to donate to Teleton, although there had been some billboards in Bogotá to that effect; those were the vestiges of the old paradigm of disability, and the lack of awareness of the Convention.

Another delegate took the floor to respond to Experts’ questions on the care and protection of children with disabilities, saying that the administrative design of procedures to reunify children with disabilities removed from the family conformed to due process and the best interest of the child. The State was therefore removing children from harmful situations, placing them into appropriate pedagogical and care environments, and if needed, adoption. The care model for children with disabilities in closed institutions was based on several phases, including return to the family and integration into the home; using the diagnostic of the family, programmes would be prepared to strengthen the family and prepare the child for return. There were 353 children with disabilities in replacement homes; 2,784 children with disabilities in non-governmental organization-run homes; 195 children with disabilities received psychosocial support within their families; and 3,365 children with disabilities who spent half a day in a care centre and the rest of the time at home. Currently, there were 2,954 children with disabilities who were deemed unadoptable. The law made it possible to be involved in court on behalf of children whenever a disagreement existed. The decision that determined the separation of children from their parents was made by the competent authorities on the basis of the best interest of the child.

The State had decided to mainstream women’s issues and to adopt an intersectional approach to women. The cross-cutting nature meant that disability must be integrated in all policies and programmes. The High Council for Women’s Affairs ensured the training of public officials on this approach.

The Working Group on legal capacity, or Article 12 of the Convention, had been working for over a year and had so far developed a draft bill, which however was not yet ready for presentation to the Congress as the aim was to propose a law that would address the issue of legal capacity of persons with disabilities in a permanent manner in accordance with the Convention. Although persons with disabilities had the right to inclusive education, in practice there were still specialized schools, both public and private, which refused entry to students with limited legal capacity. The deinstitutionalization policy was a challenge, and the issue was being addressed within the Working Group.

The 2014 decree of the mayor of Medellin concerning people living in the streets was not being implemented in practice. All public institutions must meet technical norms and accessibility standards, which were also included in all public tenders for new construction, including the construction of 30,000 new classrooms.

The army and the police adopted a human rights-based approach and placed respect for fundamental freedoms and human rights as a fundamental guarantee. Human rights were part of all training programmes provided to the security forces and all protocols were based on human rights. There was cooperation with civil society organizations to raise the awareness of the police and army officers on the realities of working with persons with disabilities.

The penitentiary system in Colombia was in a deep crisis, with overcrowded prisons and inadequate living conditions. There were 2,500 prisoners with disabilities in detention, and although detailed information was not available it was clear that they were deprived of liberty because they had committed a crime. Prisons had a psychiatric block supported by external psychiatric hospitals, but Colombia did not want to hide the reality and the fact that prisoners with disabilities did not live in dignity.

The Law on Victims of Armed Conflict identified different kinds of victims, but the greatest victims were those displaced by the conflict; there were close to seven million internally displaced persons, and three per cent of them, or 200,000, were persons with disabilities. Colombia was aware of the existence of the Charter on Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in Humanitarian Action, which was being examined at the moment; there was a high possibility that Colombia would adhere to it shortly.

Questions by the Committee Experts

In their final round of comments and questions, Committee Experts took up the issue of the criminalization of incest and asked how that article of the Criminal Code was being applied in cases of incest involving persons with disabilities, who were not receiving adequate attention; denial of enrolment of students with disabilities in school and about steps taken to ensure full access to inclusive education; steps to encourage employers to provide reasonable accommodation and equal pay for equal work to persons with disabilities; and the system in place to ensure the full participation of persons with disabilities in public and political life, and in the electoral process.

Other Experts remarked that private schools were applying a very rigorous selection of new students, including the use of IQ tests for example, and asked what was being done to ensure that private schools offered inclusive education as well. Noting that there were very few persons with disabilities in higher education, the Experts asked about measures in place to promote their inclusion in universities, including through the provision of reasonable accommodation.

Experts asked about the understanding and interpretation of the concept of inclusive education, how Colombia planned to implement it and transform its education system, and whether it would adopt a law with a substantive individual right to education. It had been recommended to Colombia to put in place a comprehensive plan for inclusive education and the delegation was asked how the plan would include rural and remote areas, where the achievement of targets was very hard and where the impact of the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals needed to be visible.

How would Colombia utilise the Sustainable Development Goal N°17 to improve data collection in order to come with truly disaggregated data that reflected the real number of persons with disabilities in the country? What plans were in place to implement the Sustainable Development Goal N°8 on employment and decent work for all, including persons with disabilities, and the Sustainable Development Goal N°10 on reducing inequalities?

Only 26 per cent of children with disabilities in the care of the State were currently in school; what was the reason for the exclusion of three quarters of these children with disabilities from education?

There were high levels of poverty among persons with disabilities living in rural areas, exacerbated by the armed conflict; what was being done to mainstream disability in poverty eradication programmes and to ensure that persons with disabilities would be fully included in reparation schemes in the post-conflict period.

MARIA SOLEDAD CISTERNAS REYES, Committee Chairperson, asked about the legal provisions which limited the ability of persons with disabilities to stand trial, which might represent a violation of due process, and what happened if a person with disabilities was declared unfit to stand trial.

Response by the Delegation

Responding to questions on the incapacity to stand trial or being unfit to plea because of intellectual disability, a delegate said that the purpose was to protect persons with disabilities and ensure their integration in the society. The decision was made by a judge and implemented by a local health authority which was in charge of directly liaising with psychiatric institutions which housed people legally unfit to plea. Such persons received various services that they needed, had the right to visits by their family, and where possible, they received services where they already lived. In order to address the issue of criminal responsibility and change the law limiting legal capacity, there was a need to change the legal framework throughout domestic legislation.

Sexual abuse and incest were issues of importance to all persons in the country, and not only to persons with disabilities. The 2009 law had introduced the strictest sentences for sexual relations with minors, particularly those under 14 years of age, and it included perpetrators who were a family relation to the victim. The main weapon to fight incest, in addition to legislation, was a change in the culture. The Government had set up a 24-hour help line open to victims of incest and sexual abuse within family, which was staffed with an interdisciplinary team in charge of investigating the complaints and assisting victims of sexual abuse, incest, child prostitution and child sex tourism. This year, a total of 2,827 complaints had been received through this mechanism.

Colombia was committed to ending the 50 year-old armed conflict and was ready to accept things which were difficult to accept, all that in the service of peace. The people needed to build Colombia and were ready to face the many challenges of the post-conflict period.

A delegate stressed that the budget allocated to education, for the first time, was higher than the war budget. Colombia was setting out to implement the inclusive system of education, which was an obligation for all schools in the country, public and private alike; there were still some private schools which were not implementing the system. In 2012, 30 per cent or 107,000 children with disabilities were in school, while this year, the coverage had been increased by 60 per cent, with 171,000 children with disabilities going to school. Today, 70 per cent of the schools had students with disabilities, which meant that segregation was gradually being phased out. A major challenge at the moment was the lack of trained teachers and interpreters; resources were available for the training programmes and Colombia was finalizing plans for the opening of a university course for the training of teachers in inclusive education.

There were 450 interpreters in the country; however, since they were not professionals, Colombia would start the professional certification of sign language interpreters in October 2016. In addition, there were currently 4,995 teaching assistants, or one per 30 students with disability. Colombia was heading toward inclusion, but could not achieve it overnight. The curriculum needed to be adapted to various forms of disabilities and each case needed to be examined individually. Private schools had admission requirements, but no child with disabilities had been denied access because of disability; 90 per cent of students with disabilities were in public education, and almost 20,000 children and youth with disabilities were in further education. Some 60,000 persons with disabilities had received various forms of technical or technological training.

During elections, persons with disabilities received help from their fellow citizens; the participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process was more due to citizen cooperation and solidarity rather than to universal design. In terms of participation in public and political spheres, 4.6 per cent of civil servants were persons with disabilities, including in managerial and decision-making posts. The law 1145 would be reformed to facilitate the candidacy for national councillors at different levels and to ensure that civil society organizations and persons with disabilities were among those electing people to departmental levels. There were experts on disability in the Office of the Ombudsman.

Last year, Colombia had adopted the law 1751 on the fundamental right to health, which guaranteed special protection for persons with disabilities. based on the law, the new policy for comprehensive health care had been developed which focused on primary health care and recognized specificities of various regions and populations, and based on those specificities, it had developed different routes for ensuring access to health care. Efforts were being put in place to humanize the health service through human rights training provided to health professionals and the adoption of free and informed consent protocols. The work was also ongoing with families of persons with disabilities to ensure full respect for the rights of persons with disabilities, including in health. Forty-six per cent of persons with disabilities participated in at least one of the social protection programmes, and those programmes were now being consolidated to strengthen the effectiveness of the fight against poverty.

Concluding Remarks

JUAN PABLO SALAZAR, Director, Presidential Plan for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities, said that this dialogue was a chance for Colombia to grow and to get rid of bottlenecks in the implementation of the Convention. It was delightful to see civil society organizations from Colombia following this dialogue because they were the ones who had put pressure of the Government and had demanded their rights.

MARIA SOLEDAD CISTERNAS REYES, Committee Chairperson, congratulated Colombia on the peace accord, and expressed hope that the referendum on the agreement would take place soon and that it would have a positive impact on the Colombian people in general and persons with disabilities in particular.

Colombia: Colombia: Does the final peace deal mark an end to the world’s longest conflict?

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 7:23pm
Source: Christian Aid Country: Colombia

Christian Aid and its partners warmly welcome this evening’s announcement of the final agreement between the Colombian government and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) guerrilla group. However, they also urge the government to ensure implementation of the agreement and dismantle paramilitary groups as a matter or priority, to guarantee lasting peace.

The two parties made the announcement in Havana today and the agreement is due to be signed on September 23rd with state leaders present. However, it will be up to the people of Colombia to ultimately decide whether or not to back this deal in a public vote set for October.

For more than half a century Colombia has been devastated by an internal armed conflict. The numbers are staggering; almost a quarter of a million people have been killed, there are an estimated 8 million victims and at 6.9 million the country has the world’s largest number of internally displaced people.

After almost four years of public negotiations the final peace agreement establishes a bilateral and definitive ceasefire between Colombian armed forces and the FARC. It includes action on six major points: rural development, political participation, ending the conflict, illicit drugs, victims’ rights and peace deal implementation and peace deal implementation, verification and endorsement.

Thomas Mortensen, Christian Aid’s country manager in Colombia, stated: “The enormous effort made by the government and the FARC to reach this agreement must be congratulated. However, there remain many outstanding issues which could hinder the success of the peace process.

“The resurgence of paramilitaries is a major threat to peace building in Colombia. Paramilitaries are responsible for most of the attacks and threats against human rights defenders today and they continue to be behind forced displacements and disappearances of people here. In fact, we have seen an increase in attacks during the peace talks.”

“Therefore, we urge the Colombian government to take action to dismantle these groups, including investigating, prosecuting and sanctioning any public official collaborating with these groups, to ensure non repetition.”

Mr. Mortensen continued: “The international community must continue to support the peace process, both politically and financially. This support mustn’t just be now, but also in the years to come, when Colombia no longer has the world’s attention. The conflict has lasted for more than 50 years and it will take many years to build peace. International engagement is critical to the peace deal’s success.”

Mario Valencia, Director of Christian Aid partner Cedetrabajo said: “All Colombians should support and give their backing to the peace process. It represents a huge advancement for the country.

“A move to peace must also mean a move to social equality, inclusion, a reduction in unemployment and poverty, alongside a fall in Colombia’s inequality gap.”

Christian Aid’s partners have warned that the peace agreement does not fully safeguard against the repetition of future human rights violations and violence. Consequently, they are calling for a ‘High Level Commission for the Guarantee on Non-Repetition’, which should include involvement of civil society representatives.

Father Alberto Franco, Director of Christian Aid’s local partner Interchurch Justice and Peace Commission, said: “One challenge is not to repeat history by signing an agreement not complying with it, and allowing the killing of participants to the peace process, as it happened after the agreement of 1984.”

“Another challenge is to see behind the immediate enthusiasm of the peace deal and to remember that peace-building also requires deep and lasting transformation of society. The peace process should mean the end of Colombia’s position as one of the world’s most unequal and corrupt countries, where people are often second to commercial interests.”

The peace deal includes specific measures to ensure victims’ rights to truth, justice and reparation; and provides for no amnesty for perpetrators of serious human rights violations, such as sexual violence, whether committed by state forces, the FARC or paramilitary groups.

The agreement seeks to improve access to land, health and education for marginalised communities, build a more inclusive political system to break the domination of political and economic elites, and support voluntary substitution of illegal crops.

Christian Aid strongly encourages the Colombian Government and the country’s second largest insurgency group, the Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional (ELN), to begin their formal peace talks that were announced in March.

If you would like further information or to arrange an interview please contact Jo Rogers on jrogers@christian-aid.org and 020 7523 2460 24 hour press duty phone – 07850 242950

Notes to Editors:

  1. Christian Aid works in some of the world's poorest communities in around 40 countries at any one time. We act where there is great need, regardless of religion, helping people to live a full life, free from poverty. We provide urgent, practical and effective assistance in tackling the root causes of poverty as well as its effects.

  2. Christian Aid’s core belief is that the world can and must be changed so that poverty is ended: this is what we stand for. Everything we do is about ending poverty and injustice: swiftly, effectively, sustainably. Our strategy document Partnership for Change www.christianaid.org.uk/images/partnership-for-change-summary.pdf explains how we set about this task.

  3. Christian Aid is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of more than 130 churches and church-related organisations that work together in humanitarian assistance, advocacy and development. Further details at http://actalliance.org

  4. Follow Christian Aid's newswire on Twitter: http://twitter.com/caid_newswire

  5. For more information about the work of Christian Aid, visit http://www.christianaid.org.uk

World: Informe de la Representante Especial del Secretario General para la Cuestión de los Niños y los Conflictos Armados (A/71/205)

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 3:33pm
Source: UN General Assembly Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

Resumen

Este informe se presenta a la Asamblea General conforme a lo dispuesto en su resolución 70/137 sobre los derechos del niño, en la que solicitó a la Representante Especial del Secretario General para la Cuestión de los Niños y los Conflictos Armados que siguiera presentando informes a la Asamblea General sobre las actividades emprendidas en cumplimiento de su mandato, con información de sus visitas sobre el terreno, y sobre los progresos alcanzados y los problemas que subsisten en relación con la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados. El informe abarca el período comprendido entre agosto de 2015 y julio de 2016. En él se describen las tendencias actuales y también se reflexiona sobre los 20 años transcurridos desde que la Asamblea, mediante su resolución 51/77, creó el mandato relativo a los niños y los conflictos armados. Además, en el informe se proporciona información acerca de las visitas sobre el terreno realizadas por la Representante Especial, su colaboración con organizaciones regionales y asociados internacionales y el diálogo con partes en conflicto, y se incluye una actualización sobre la campaña “Niños, No Soldados”. También se plantea un conjunto de desafíos y prioridades de la agenda de la Representante Especial y se concluye con una serie de recomendaciones para mejorar la protección de los niños afectados por los conflictos.

I. Introducción

1. En su resolución 70/137, la Asamblea General solicitó a la Representante Especial del Secretario General para la Cuestión de los Niños y los Conflictos Armados que siguiera presentando informes, tanto a la Asamblea como al Consejo de Derechos Humanos, sobre las actividades emprendidas en cumplimiento de su mandato, con información de sus visitas sobre el terreno, y sobre los progresos alcanzados y los problemas que subsisten en relación con la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados. La solicitud se basó en el mandato otorgado por la Asamblea en su resolución 51/77, en la que recomendó, entre otras cosas, que la Representante Especial procurara que se tomara mayor conciencia y promoviera la reunión de información acerca de los sufrimientos de los niños afectados por los conflictos armados, y estimulara la cooperación internacional para asegurar el respeto de los derechos de los niños en esas situaciones. En consonancia con ese mandato, y de conformidad con lo solicitado por la Asamblea en su resolución 70/137, en el presente informe se proporciona información actualizada sobre la campaña “Niños, No Soldados”. También se ponen de relieve los progresos alcanzados durante el último año y se resumen las prioridades inmediatas, así como los objetivos de más largo plazo fijados para impulsar la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados, en colaboración con los Estados Miembros de las Naciones Unidas, las entidades de las Naciones Unidas, las organizaciones regionales y subregionales y la sociedad civil.

II. Estado de la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados

A. Panorama general de las tendencias y los desafíos

2. La Representante Especial presentará este informe a la Asamblea General 20 años después de la aprobación de la resolución 51/77, por la que se estableció el mandato relativo a la cuestión de los niños y los conflictos armados. El 20º aniversario del mandato brinda la oportunidad de hacer un balance de los numerosos logros obtenidos y poner de relieve las esferas que están más rezagadas. En su informe pionero acerca de las repercusiones de los conflictos armados sobre los niños (A/51/306), que fue presentado a la Asamblea en 1996, Graça Machel describió la brutalidad extrema a que estaban expuestos millones de niños atrapados en conflictos y demostró el carácter central de la cuestión para las agendas internacionales de derechos humanos, desarrollo y paz y seguridad.

3. Si bien ha habido progresos sustanciales en los últimos dos decenios, como se indica en el presente informe, en el segundo semestre de 2015 y a principios de 2016 persistían graves problemas para la protección de los niños afectados por los conflictos armados. La intensidad de las violaciones graves de los derechos de los niños aumentó en una serie de situaciones de conflicto armado. Preocupó especialmente la proliferación de agentes que participaban en los conflictos armados. Las operaciones aéreas transfronterizas realizadas por coaliciones internacionales o Estados Miembros a título individual, especialmente en zonas pobladas, produjeron entornos sumamente complejos para la protección de los niños. Los efectos en los niños de la incapacidad colectiva de prevenir conflictos y ponerles fin son graves: existen regiones en crisis y las violaciones de los derechos de los niños se están agravando en varios conflictos. Las violaciones se relacionan directamente con el ultraje al derecho internacional humanitario y el derecho internacional de los derechos humanos por las partes en los conflictos.

4. Los conflictos prolongados han tenido efectos considerables en los niños. En la República Árabe Siria, según el Enviado Especial para Siria, el conflicto ya ha causado la muerte de más de 400.000 personas, incluidos miles de niños. En el Afganistán, en 2015 se registró el mayor número de bajas infantiles desde que las Naciones Unidas empezaron a documentar sistemáticamente las bajas civiles en 2009. En Somalia, la situación siguió siendo peligrosa para los niños: el número de violaciones de derechos registradas no mostró señales de disminuir en 2016, y centenares de niños fueron secuestrados, reclutados, utilizados, brutalmente muertos y mutilados. Cabe señalar, como ejemplo sumamente inquietante, la situación en Sudán del Sur, donde los niños fueron víctimas de las seis categorías de violaciones graves de sus derechos, en particular durante las brutales ofensivas militares lanzadas contra las fuerzas de la oposición. El deterioro de la situación en julio de 2016 es especialmente preocupante por la situación penosa de los niños. En el Iraq, los intensos enfrentamientos armados y los ataques contra la población civil perpetrados por el Estado Islámico en el Iraq y el Levante han causado la muerte de miles de civiles, entre ellos muchos niños. En el Yemen, el conflicto ha continuado intensificándose, con niveles alarmantes de reclutamiento, muerte y mutilación de niños y ataques contra escuelas y hospitales.

World: Rapport de la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général pour le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé (A/71/205)

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 3:04pm
Source: UN General Assembly Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

Résumé

Ce rapport est soumis en application de la résolution 70/137 de l’Assemblée générale relative aux droits de l’enfant, dans laquelle l’Assemblée prie la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général pour le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé de continuer à lui présenter des rapports sur les activités menées en exécution de son mandat, notamment sur les visites qu’elle effectue sur le terrain ainsi que sur les progrès réalisés dans le cadre de l’action engagée pour lutter contre les violences faites aux enfants et sur les problèmes qu’il reste à surmonter en la matière. Le présent rapport décrit l’évolution de la situation sur la période comprise entre août 2015 et juillet 2016. Il revient aussi sur les 20 années écoulées depuis la création du mandat du Représentant spécial pour les enfants et les conflits armés, en vertu de la résolution 51/77 de l’Assemblée générale. Le rapport contient également des informations sur les visites effectuées sur le terrain par la Représentante spéciale, sur sa coopération avec les organisations régionales et les partenaires internationaux et sur le dialogue qu’elle a engagé avec les parties, ainsi que sur les avancées de la campagne « Des enfants, pas des soldats ». Il décrit certaines des difficultés rencontrées et les domaines sur lesquels son action porte en priorité, et se termine par une série de recommandations visant à améliorer la protection des enfants touchés par les conflits.

I. Introduction

1. Dans sa résolution 70/137, l’Assemblée générale prie la Représentante spéciale du Secrétaire général pour le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé de continuer à lui présenter des rapports sur les activités entreprises en application de son mandat, notamment sur les visites qu’elle effectue sur le terrain, les progrès réalisés et les obstacles restant à surmonter dans le cadre de l’action menée en faveur des enfants touchés par les conflits armés. Cette demande découle du mandat donné par l’Assemblée générale dans sa résolution 51/77, qui recommande que le Représentant spécial fasse prendre davantage conscience de la condition dramatique des enfants touchés par les conflits armés, incite à recueillir des éléments d’information sur cette situation et oeuvre à l’établissement d’une coopération internationale qui permette de faire respecter les droits des enfants pendant les conflits armés. Conformément à ce mandat, et comme l’Assemblée le demande dans sa résolution 70/137, le présent rapport rend compte de l’évolution de la campagne « Des enfants, pas des soldats ». Il met également en évidence les progrès réalisés au cours de l’année écoulée et expose les priorités immédiates ainsi que les projets à exécuter à plus long terme dans le cadre de l’action engagée en faveur des enfants touchés par les conflits armés, en collaboration avec les États Membres, les organismes des Nations Unies, les organisations régionales et sous-régionales et la société civile.

II. Bilan des travaux exécutés sur le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé

A. Aperçu des tendances et des difficultés

2. La Représentante spéciale présentera ce rapport à l’Assemblée générale 20 ans après l’adoption de la résolution 51/77 qui a créé le mandat pour le sort des enfants en temps de conflit armé. Ce vingtième anniversaire est l’occasion de dresser un bilan des nombreuses avancées réalisées et de mettre en lumière les domaines dans lesquels il faut encore progresser. Dans son rapport historique (A/51/306) présenté à l’Assemblée générale en 1996, Graça Machel décrivait l’extrême brutalité subie par les enfants pris dans un conflit et soulignait que cette question devait s’inscrire au coeur de l’action internationale pour les droits de l’homme, le développement, la paix et la sécurité.

3. Malgré les progrès substantiels accomplis ces vingt dernières années, comme le démontre le présent rapport, le deuxième semestre 2015 et le début de l’année 2016 ont encore été marqués par de sérieuses difficultés qui ont entravé la protection des enfants touchés par un conflit armé. Les violations graves à leur encontre se sont intensifiées sur de nombreux terrains de conflit et la multiplication des acteurs engagés dans ces troubles a été très préoccupante. Les opérations aériennes transfrontalières menées par des coalitions internationales ou à titre individuel par des États Membres, notamment dans des zones habitées, ont créé des conditions très défavorables à la protection des enfants. L’échec collectif à prévenir et faire cesser les conflits a de graves conséquences pour les enfants, car des régions sont en proie à l’instabilité et les violations commises contre des enfants s’intensifient dans différentes zones de conflit. Ces violations sont la conséquence directe du peu d’intérêt apporté au respect des droits de l’homme et du droit international humanitaire par les parties au conflit.

4. Les conflits prolongés ont des effets considérables sur les enfants. Selon l’Envoyé spécial pour la Syrie, le conflit en République arabe syrienne a causé la mort de plus de 400 000 personnes, dont des milliers d’enfants. En Afghanistan, on a dénombré en 2015 le plus grand nombre de victimes parmi les enfants depuis 2009, quand l’Organisation des Nations Unies a commencé à recenser systématiquement les victimes civiles. En Somalie, les enfants sont toujours en grand danger : le nombre de violations constatées ne semble pas diminuer en 2016 et des centaines d’enfants sont enlevés, enrôlés, utilisés, brutalement tués et mutilés. L’exemple du Soudan du Sud est l’un des plus inquiétants, car les enfants y ont été victimes des six violations graves, en particulier pendant les violentes offensives militaires contre les forces d’opposition. Le sort des enfants est très préoccupant en raison de la détérioration de la situation depuis juillet 2016. En Iraq, l’intensité des affrontements armés et des attaques visant les civils menés par l’État islamique d’Iraq et du Levant a causé la mort de milliers de civils, dont de nombreux enfants. Au Yémen, l’escalade continue du conflit s’est accompagnée d’un nombre alarmant d’enfants recrutés, tués et mutilés, mais aussi des attaques contre les écoles et les hôpitaux.

World: Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict (A/71/205) [EN/AR]

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 2:25pm
Source: UN General Assembly Country: Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Colombia, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Iraq, Mali, Myanmar, Nigeria, Philippines, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syrian Arab Republic, World, Yemen

Increasingly Complex Conflicts with Devastating Impact on Children, UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Warns General Assembly in Annual Report

23 Aug 2016

New York – In her annual report to the General Assembly, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Children and Armed Conflict, Leila Zerrougui, highlighted the devastating impact on children of increasingly complex conflicts, despite concerted efforts and significant progress achieved over the past year.

“The impact on children of the collective failure to prevent and end conflict is severe, with regions in turmoil and violations against children intensifying in a number of conflicts,” Leila Zerrougui said in the report, which covers the period from August 2015 to July 2016. “The violations are directly related to the denigration of respect for international humanitarian and human rights law by parties to conflict.”

Emerging crises and protracted conflicts profoundly disrupted children’s lives during the reporting period. She noted that the proliferation of actors involved in armed conflict and cross-border aerial operations created highly complex environments for the protection of boys and girls. In 2015, and again in the first half of 2016, Afghanistan recorded the highest number of child deaths and injuries since the UN started systematically documenting civilian casualties in 2009. In Syria and Iraq, violence continued unabated. In South Sudan, following a year during which children were victims of brutal violations, hopes for improvement all but evaporated with the resumption of conflict last month. In Yemen, the escalation of conflict continued with alarming levels of child recruitment, killing and maiming and attacks on schools and hospitals.

Twentieth anniversary of the children and armed conflict mandate

The report also takes stock of the achievements accomplished in the twenty years since the publication of Graça Machel’s report, “Impact of armed conflict on children,” which led to the creation of the mandate of the Special Representative by the General Assembly. Since 2000, over 115,000 children have been released as a result of action plans and advocacy. Engagement with non-State armed groups is growing and recently contributed to a historic agreement between the Government of Colombia and the FARC-EP to release all children in the ranks of the FARC-EP.

The advocacy generated by this mandate, and reinforced by the campaign “Children, not Soldiers”, has led to a global consensus among Member States that children do not belong in security forces in conflict. This progress in addressing recruitment and use over the last 20 years has been built upon and utilized in work to reduce other grave violations, notably sexual violence and attacks on schools and hospitals.

In that regard, the new development agenda brings new opportunities to reinforce and create synergies with the child protection agenda. The Special Representative called on the General Assembly in her report to pay special attention to children affected by conflict to fulfil the promise of the Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, she called for adequate resources for education in emergencies and for support to children disabled during conflict.

Protection challenges posed by violent extremism

Other issues addressed in the report to the General Assembly include the impact of violent extremism on children. During the reporting period, children were severely affected, and often the direct targets of acts intended to cause maximum civilian casualties. Recruitment and use of children, abductions and other grave violations were prevalent concerns as armed groups controlled large swaths of territory. The Special Representative urged Member States to avoid responding to these threats with operations that can “create or add to real or perceived grievances in the affected population.”

The report also states that increasingly large numbers of children have been arrested, detained, used as spies and for intelligence gathering, or even sometimes sentenced to death for their alleged association with parties to conflict.

“Detention of children should always be the last resort for the shortest time possible and guided by the best interests of the child. If they are accused of a crime during their association with armed groups, children should be processed by the juvenile justice system rather than by military or special courts,” said Leila Zerrougui.

Attacks on health care and protected personnel

In the past months, attacks on medical facilities, including aerial bombardments, have increased concerns over the protection of health care in conflict. This has severely disrupted access to lifesaving assistance for children growing up in conflict zones, and can have long-lasting consequences as it often takes years to rebuild capacity. The Special Representative calls on all parties to conflict to take clear measures to protect hospitals as outlined in the report.

Displacement

Armed conflict has resulted not only in human casualties, but also in an ever growing number of displaced children. According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, an unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced away from their homes among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are children. In the Report, the Special Representative encourages Member States and other partners to support initiatives to help displaced children rebuild their lives, particularly through ensuring that education is prioritised in emergency settings.

Recommendations

The Report ends with recommendations to the General Assembly and Member States, which include:

  1. To ensure that Member States engagement in hostilities, including in efforts to counter violent extremism, are conducted in full compliance with international humanitarian, human rights and refugee law

  2. To highlight the rights of children displaced by conflict and the obligations of States of origin, transit and destination

  3. To treat children allegedly associated with non-State armed groups as victims entitled to the full protection of their human rights

  4. Encouraging Member States concerned by the “Children, not Soldiers” campaign to redouble their efforts to fully implement their Action Plan

  5. To take appropriate measures to reintegrate children, giving special attention to the needs of girls

  6. To ensure that special attention is paid to children affected by armed conflict in the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Read the full report at: https://documents-dds-ny.un.org/doc/UNDOC/GEN/N16/234/89/PDF/N1623489.pdf?OpenElement

For more information please contact:
Sharon Riggle or Stephanie Tremblay
Office of the Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict,
Tel: +1 212 963-9614 – Mobile: +1 917 288-5791
riggle@un.org or tremblay@un.org

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twitter.com/childreninwar
facebook.com/childrenandarmedconflict

Use the hashtag: #ChildrenNotSoldiers

Myanmar: Myanmar: M-6.8 Earthquake in Magway Region (24 August 2016)

Myanmar - Maps - 24 August 2016 - 12:45pm
Source: Myanmar Information Management Unit Country: Myanmar

Panama: Presidente de Panamá hace un llamado a abrir puertas fronterizas a naciones del istmo

Colombia - Chad - 24 August 2016 - 10:04am
Source: Redhum Country: Colombia, Haiti, Panama, World

Panamá, 23 de Agosto 2016
Fuente: La Jornada

Un llamado a las naciones de Centroamérica de permitir el pase de los migrantes africanos y haitianos en dirección a Estados Unidos, fue hecho por el presidente panameño, Juan Carlos Varela, quien fue claro en referirse a cualquier ciudadano del mundo.

El dignatario panameño lo dijo frente a integrantes de 50 partidos políticos del istmo que se encuentran en una reunión de tres foros del Parlamento Centroamericano (Parlacen), para traerles de recuerdo de los 2 mil 700 inmigrantes que están estancados en la frontera de Panamá con Colombia, de estos mil 500 son albergados de una forma “digna y humana”.

Mientras otro grupo de mil 200 esperan se les construya alguna protección con un toldo de campamentos de ser alojados, además recordó que el 90% son haitianos que vienen desde Brasil en búsqueda de una mejor calidad de vida.

En Panamá, afirmó el gobernante, “no estamos acostumbrados a vivir tan cerca de la muerte y la tragedia, por eso nos impacta cuando nos llega y por eso vamos a actuar con mucha responsabilidad”.

“Pero es responsabilidad de todas las fuerzas políticas de la región (…) no podemos cerrar las puertas, tenemos que actuar con responsabilidad, tenemos que permitir los flujos migratorios”, subrayó.

“Tenemos que legislar, tenemos que crear esos corredores (humanitarios para que pasen los inmigrantes), subir el perfil a ese debate” sobre la crisis migratoria, dijo Varela frente a los diputados del Parlacen de toda la región.

Yemen: Yemen - Taizz Governorate; Access Constraints as of 22 August 2016

Yemen - Maps - 24 August 2016 - 3:52am
Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster Country: Yemen

Yemen: Yemen: Access Constraints as of 22 August 2016

Yemen - Maps - 24 August 2016 - 3:48am
Source: World Food Programme, Logistics Cluster Country: Yemen

Sudan: Possible Flood Water & Saturated Soil over Wad Madani, Al Jazeera State, Sudan (23 Aug 2016)

Sudan - Maps - 24 August 2016 - 3:23am
Source: UNOSAT, International Charter Space and Major Disasters Country: Sudan

This map illustrates satellite detected possible flood water & saturated soil over Wad Madani, in Al Jazeera State, extracted from Radarsat-2 imagery (12 m) acquired on 18 August 2016. According to satellite derived analysis some areas within Al Jazeera State seem to be flooded. Possible flooded agricultural areas and saturated soils are particularly visible over Southern Al Jazeera Locality. The exact limit of flood waters is uncertain because of the low spatial resolution of the satellite data used for this analysis. Detected water bodies likely reflect an underestimation of all flood-affected areas within the map extent. This analysis has not yet been validated in the field. Please send ground feedback to UNITAR - UNOSAT.

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