Government says it will continue to honour UN Organisation

“The United Nations is the organisation that we, the Member States, created, following two devastating world wars. The promise that was made in the Charter that came into effect on 24th October 1945, was to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, and uphold instead, respect for dialogue, diplomacy, international cooperation and an international rules-based-system,” he said. Kariyawasam said that having almost driven itself to self-isolation, the people of Sri Lanka once again took destiny into their hands, and took the bold step, through democratic means, on the 8th of January 2015, to bring the nation back from the depths of isolation onto respectability on the international stage. “Shedding divisive practices, and futile arguments that we were engaged in with the international community, we stood up once again with confidence to take responsibility for all our citizens, and to recommit to upholding the values and principles enshrined in the Charter of the United Nations,” he said.The Foreign Secretary said that the United Nations exists and works for “We the Peoples” and has been in the forefront in drawing attention to the greatest problems faced by mankind. The Government says it will continue to honour the United Nations Organisation and its work and also engage with the United Nations, and its systems and procedures.Foreign Secretary Prasad Kariyawasam, speaking at the 72nd United Nations Day held at the UN compound in Colombo today, said that Sri Lanka’s relationship with the UN is at present, probably at the best it has ever been. “It has helped lift populations across the world out of poverty. It has helped promote democracy, and make the world safer for children, women, and the vulnerable. It has helped draw communities across the world, closer, and it has helped build strong partnerships and forge greater ties. Of course, the challenges before us in the world seem daunting. Effects of climate change, conflict, refugees, rise of violent extremism and intolerance, threats to human rights, terrorism. We see “we the people” suffer as a result of these human-made phenomena on a daily basis around the world. Yes, these do pose considerable challenges. Yet, it is my firm belief that no matter how hard it may seem, or how challenging it may be, it is by upholding the values upon which the United Nations was founded – pluralism, human rights, respect for diversity, and the principle of working together – that we can overcome the problems that the world is faced with,” he added.He also said that the United Nations must take the lead to create awareness among people and inspire people that we are ultimately one human family, and that we must work together for the benefit of all. (Colombo Gazette) read more

Violence in northern Nigeria sparks major new exodus into Niger border region

The second half of 2014 saw a major increase in the number of new arrivals in the Diffa region. While only 15,000 people had crossed the border in October, the total estimated number now stands at 125,000 people, spread out over more than 140 sites and villages, said Elisabeth Byrs of the World Food Programme (WFP).The arrival of displaced people has seen the population of Diffa almost double, putting enormous pressure on people’s livelihoods and food stocks, in a region that had been struggling with drought for several years in a row.Ms. Byrs said the WFP had started distributing food in one of the refugee camps that the Government of Niger had agreed to open to accommodate Nigerians arriving in the region, and was providing supplementary feeding for all children under the age of five.That was particularly important, she said, given that one in three displaced children is affected by Global Acute Malnutrition, compared to one out of five within host populations, both well above the emergency threshold of 15 percent. She added that WFP, UNHCR and UNICEF were developing a joint nutrition strategy for the camps.WFP and its partners had also conducted a food security and vulnerability assessment in Niger in November 2014, which showed that a total of 52.7 per cent of displaced households and their host families were severely – 14 per cent – or moderately – 38.7 per cent – food insecure, and in need of food assistance.Ms. Byrs said WFP plans to distribute food for everyone in camps, with an additional mixture of conditional and unconditional support, based on vulnerability, for out-of-camp host and displaced populations in sites where new arrivals were most highly concentrated.She added that WFP sought to reach 238,000 people in Cameroon, Chad and Niger with food assistance, including in the form of transfers and vouchers, over the next year. In that time, the agency’s regional emergency operation in the area needs $50.1 million and it currently has a funding shortfall of $41.4 million. read more