Senior BJP leader MK Ajatshatru Singh

At UN, Maharaja Hari Singh’s Grandson Hails Indian Govt’s Decision To Abrogate Article 370

Senior BJP leader MK Ajatshatru Singh in his address to the United Nations hailed the Government of India’s bold decision to abrogate Article 370 in Jammu and Kashmir.

Ajatshatru, the grandson of Maharaja Hari Singh who had signed the treaty of accession of the region with India in 1947 expressed his deep concern for the plight of those living under Pakistan occupation and sought UN intervention to ameliorate them.

In his address at the UN on Friday, the senior BJP leader said, “Since the constitutional reforms in 2019, there has been a significant decline in terrorist incidents in the region. From 2004 to 2014, Jammu and Kashmir experienced a total of 7,217 terrorist incidents. However, thanks to the reforms, terror incidents have decreased by over 70 per cent. This improvement underscores the effectiveness of the government’s actions in restoring peace and stability to the region.”

“Moreover, on the socio-economic front, the reduction of poverty in Jammu and Kashmir from 40.45 per cent in 2005-2006 to a mere 2.81 per cent in 2022-2023 is a testament to the optimal utilization of development funds. The recent interim budget for 2024 allocated a substantial USD 14 billion for Jammu and Kashmir, further demonstrating the government’s commitment to the region’s prosperity,” he said.

Ajatshatru said that over the past nine years, Jammu and Kashmir has witnessed a remarkable revolution in infrastructure development, including the establishment of new medical colleges, tunnels, railway lines, and civic infrastructure. These advancements have been achieved while preserving the rich cultural heritage of the region, said the son of Karan Singh, the titular king of undivided Jammu and Kashmir.

However, it is essential to acknowledge that not all parts of Jammu and Kashmir have benefited equally. Recent protests in regions under Pakistani occupation highlight the growing awareness of economic disparities compared to those under Indian administration.

The former minister appealed to the United Nations to take concrete steps in accordance with Security Council resolutions to ameliorate the situation faced by the people of Jammu and Kashmir under Pakistan occupation. It is imperative that the international community addresses their grievances and ensures their fundamental rights are upheld, he concluded. (ANI)

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Religious Freedom India

India extends assistance to Palestine bilaterally and through UN: MEA

Following Israel’s accusation of UNRWA staff being involved in the October 7 Hamas attack, Ministry of External Affairs official spokesperson Randhir Jaiswal on Thursday, said that India has been extending assistance to Palestine both bilaterally and through the United Nations, adding that, at the same time, it has zero tolerance towards terrorism.

While addressing the weekly presser, the MEA spokesperson further expressed concern at the allegations imposed by Israel on United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff members for being involved in the Hamas terror attacks.

The allegations assert that 13 UNRWA employees were associated with the October 7 Hamas attack on Israel, with varying levels of involvement, according to information shared by an Israeli official. The Israeli claims suggest that these employees participated in activities ranging from kidnapping hostages to setting up an operation room.

MEA spokesperson emphasised that India is an important development partner for Palestine.

“On UNRWA, India is an important development partner of Palestine, and we have been extending assistance to them both bilaterally and through the United Nations. but at the same time, we have a policy of zero tolerance towards terrorism, and in this regard, we are deeply concerned at the allegations that the UNRWA staff were involved in the October 7 terror attacks,” he said.

When asked about the allegation against the UNRWA, he said that India welcomes investigations launched by the United Nations in this matter.

“We also welcome investigations launched by the United Nations in this regard,” he added.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres announced the termination of nine out of the 12 United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) staff members implicated in the October 7 Hamas attack in Israel, CNN reported.

One staff member was reported dead, and the identities of two others are still under clarification. Guterres emphasised the severity of the allegations and assured swift action, with an ongoing investigation and an independent review in progress.

Guterres underscored the accountability of any UN employee involved in acts of terror, including potential criminal prosecution. Despite the serious allegations, he urged countries to continue financial assistance to UNRWA, emphasising the vital support it provides to 2 million Gazans for their daily survival.

However, the US decided to temporarily withhold approximately USD 3,00,000 in funding to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) as the United Nations (UN) investigates allegations of agency staff involvement

State Department spokesperson Matt Miller confirmed the pause in funding, originally scheduled for delivery in the coming weeks, while the investigations are ongoing.

A meeting between the US and 34 other donor nations with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is set to take place on Tuesday. The meeting aims to provide a briefing on actions taken since the revelation of the allegations against UNRWA staff. Guterres is expected to underline the organization’s vital humanitarian work during the meeting.

Meanwhile, when asked about the International Court of Justice’s (ICJ) verdict on South Africa’s case alleging that Israel is violating the 1948 Genocide Convention in Gaza, the MEA spokesperson, said that, “We have taken note of the provisional measures that the ICJ has given a verdict on. so that is where we are as far as the ICJ provisional measures verdict is concerned.”

The ICJ in the Hague ordered Israel to ‘take all measures’ to prevent genocide in Gaza. However, the court did not order that a ceasefire be implemented.

The ruling by the court was agreed upon by a 15 to 2 vote.

South Africa previously argued that Israel’s leaders were “intent on destroying the Palestinians in Gaza” and called for a halt to the military campaign. However, Israel dismissed the accusation as “blood libel” and accused South Africa of functioning as the “legal arm of Hamas.” (ANI)

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UN: China Being Grilled On Human Rights During Universal Periodic Review

UN: China Being Grilled On Human Rights During Universal Periodic Review

China’s human rights record is facing international scrutiny during the fourth Universal Periodic Review (UPR) Working Group session of the United Nations Human Rights Council, taking place from January 22 to February 2.

This review is a unique opportunity for member states to hold China accountable for its human rights obligations, according to analysts and rights advocates.

The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is a peer-review process under the auspices of the UN Human Rights Council, where UN Member States assess each other’s human rights records, their fulfilment of human rights obligations and commitments, and provide recommendations to the State under review.

This is China’s fourth appearance before this mechanism. The last one was in November 2018. At the time, countries called out the existence of mass detention camps for Uyghurs a few months after they were revealed by a UN committee.

During China’s 3rd UPR in November 2018, China received 346 recommendations from 150 countries, and accepted 284 of them, with many questionably noted as ‘accepted and already implemented.’

Despite a seemingly high acceptance rate, China broadly rejected recommendations on the rights of Uyghurs and Tibetans, cooperation with the UN and unrestricted UN access to all regions of the country, enforced disappearances and arbitrary detention, the death penalty and the ratification of international treaties.

Since 2018, mounting human rights abuses have been largely documented by a range of UN human rights bodies.

After the narrow defeat of a resolution calling for a debate on the situation in Xinjiang at the Human Rights Council, in September 2022, the UPR is one of the few spaces left where China’s record can be openly discussed, challenged and scrutinised on the basis of UN information.

This is also the first UPR session since the publication in 2022 of the UN ‘Xinjiang Report’, which found that Beijing’s actions against Uyghurs and other minorities could amount to ‘crimes against humanity’, and which Chinese diplomacy has worked hard to suppress.

In the absence of a UN Human Rights Council debate on the human rights situation in China, the UPR is a rare moment of global scrutiny of the country’s human rights crisis.

After the review, the government will review the recommendations it received, and decide which ones it commits to implement or not. During the June 2024 session of the Human Rights Council, China will have the opportunity to provide further information, and a limited number of governments and NGOs will be able to make comments. The Council will then adopt China’s UPR report.

The Chinese government is expected to implement accepted recommendations until its next UPR in 2029. The government is also encouraged by the UN to report on the status of implementation halfway through, by publishing a ‘mid-term report’; yet, China has never done it for past reviews. (ANI)

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United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)

Delighted To Arrive In When Country Is Celebrating ‘Second Diwali’: UNGA Prez

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Dennis Francis expressed his happiness as he arrived in India amid Ram Lalla’s Pran Pratishtha ceremony in Ayodhya and said that he is looking forward to discussing peace and progress in the country.

Expressing his feelings, the UNGA President said, “Delighted to arrive in New Delhi on an auspicious day when the country is celebrating its ‘Second Diwali’.

Taking to X, the UNGA President said, “Namaste, Bharat! Delighted to arrive in New Delhi on an auspicious day when the country is celebrating its ‘Second Diwali’. Looking forward to fruitful discussions over the next few days on Peace, Progress, Prosperity and Sustainability!”

United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) President Dennis Francis arrived in New Delhi on a five-day visit to India to advance India-UN ties.

The UNGA President was received at the airport by India’s permanent representative to the UN, Ruchira Kamboj.

The UNGA President is visiting India from January 22-26 at the invitation of External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar.

Meanwhile, the Pran Prathistha ceremony is being held today in the temple town of Ayodhya amid tight security. The historic ritual of Ram Lalla ‘Pran Pratistha’ will take place in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, saints, and a host of distinguished guests.

Shri Ram Janmabhoomi Teerth Kshetra Trust announced on Sunday that the ‘Pran Pratishtha’ ceremony will be marked by a dazzling musical event titled ‘Mangal Dhwani’.

The ‘Pran Pratishtha’ of Shri Ram Lalla at Ayodhya Temple was held at 12:30 pm.

The theme of his presidency of the 78th UNGA is “Rebuilding trust and reigniting solidarity.” During the visit, the PGA will hold talks with EAM Jaishankar on key multilateral issues of mutual interest.

In New Delhi, the PGA will pay homage to Mahatma Gandhi at Rajghat. He will also attend a round table on India’s advancements in Digital Public Infrastructure (DPI). He will also deliver a public address at the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) on “Multilateralism and Peace, Prosperity, Progress, and Sustainability” on January 24, as per a release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).

Francis will then travel to Jaipur and Mumbai. In Mumbai, he will pay floral tributes at the 26/11 memorial. His engagements in Mumbai will include a visit to the National Stock Exchange and an address on New Orientation for Reformed Multilateralism organized by the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

On January 26, on the occasion of Republic Day, Francis will participate as a state guest in the Republic Day Parade of Maharashtra.

The President’s visit to India presents a unique opportunity to strengthen India-UN ties and especially with the General Assembly, which is the most representative organ of the United Nations.

Discussions during the visit would include India’s call for reforms of the United Nations, particularly the Security Council, to make it more equitable and representative with a view to enhancing the representation of developing countries.

The visit will also be an opportunity to enhance India’s collaboration with the United Nations on Indian priorities as well as the global challenges being faced by the Global South, as per the official release.

Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi participated in the Pran Pratishtha ceremony of Shri Ramlalla in the newly-built Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir in Ayodhya on Monday.

The Prime Minister reached Ayodhya earlier in the day to take part in the auspicious ceremony.

“The divine moment of Pran Prathishta of Shri Ram Lala in Ayodhya Dham is an emotional moment for everyone. It is my good fortune to be part of this unique programme. Jai Siyaram,” PM Modi said on X.

RSS Chief Mohan Bhagwat, Uttar Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel and state Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath are also attending the ceremony being held at the sanctum sanctorum of the temple.

Over 8,000 guests have been invited to the ceremony at the grand temple.

Representatives of all major spiritual and religious sects in the country are attending the historic Pran Pratishtha ceremony. People from all walks of life, including representatives of various tribal communities, are also attending the ceremony. The Prime Minister will address this distinguished gathering on the occasion.

PM Modi will interact with shramjeevis associated with the construction of Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir. He will also visit the Kuber Tila, where the ancient Mandir of Bhagwan Shiv has been restored.

The magnificent Shri Ram Janmbhoomi Mandir is constructed in traditional Nagara style. Its length (east-west) is 380 feet; width 250 feet and height is 161 feet; and is supported by a total of 392 pillars and 44 doors. The pillars and walls of the temple showcase intricately sculpted depictions of Hindu deities, gods, and goddesses. In the main sanctum sanctorum at ground floor, the childhood form of Bhagwan Shri Ram (the idol of Shri Ramlalla) has been placed.

The main entrance to the Mandir is situated on the eastern side, which can be approached by ascending 32 stairs through the Singh Dwar.

There are a total of five Mandaps (Halls) in the Mandir – Nritya Mandap, Rang Mandap, Sabha Mandap, Prathana Mandap and Kirtan Mandap. Near the Mandir is a historic well (Sita koop), dating back to the ancient era. In the southwestern part of the Mandir complex, at Kuber Tila, the ancient Mandir of Bhagwan Shiv has been restored, along with the installation of a statue of Jatayu.

The foundation of the Mandir has been constructed with a 14-meter- thick layer of roller-compacted concrete (RCC), giving it the appearance of artificial rock. No iron is used anywhere in the Mandir. For protection against ground moisture, a 21-foot-high plinth has been constructed using granite.

The Mandir complex has a sewage treatment plant, water treatment plant, water supply for fire safety and an independent power station. The Mandir has been constructed employing the country’s traditional and indigenous technology. (ANI)

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Russia Fully Support Of India

Russia Fully Supportive Of India Becoming Permanent Member Of UN Security Council

Voicing his support, Russia’s Ambassador to India, Denis Alipov, has said that Russia is fully supportive of India’s right to become a permanent United Nations Security Council member.

He underlined that the matter was also discussed in depth among the foreign ministers of both countries in December.

“Russia is fully supportive of India’s right to become a permanent UN Security Council member. This topic was also discussed in depth between the Foreign Ministers in December,” the Russian Ambassador said, while speaking at the public talk-international turbulence: Challenges and opportunities, here in the National Capital.

“The India’s permanent membership in the UN Security Council, given its balanced and independent approach to the most topical issues, and the concurrent Indian Presidencies in the G20 and in the SCO in 2023 have given an opportunity to efficiently promote the agenda of these crucial associations for the sake of overcoming the current economic upheavals, promoting Sustainable Development Goals, digital and energy transitions to enhance benefits for all but not a few, [1.9s] we extensively collaborate within the BRICS format,” the envoy added.

The Russian envoy emphasised that there were exchanges between the heads of Security Councils, foreign Ministers met seven times last year.

He said, “Received the Speaker of the Federation Council of the Federal Assembly of Russia Valentina Matviyenko. As also there were exchanges between the heads of Security Councils, foreign Ministers met seven times last year. This dynamic is a reflection of the high relevance of our dialogue in the current turbulent geopolitical scenario and is destined to remain so…”

“We stand like-minded in preserving the unbiased character of multilateral institutions, focusing on genuine democracy in international affairs and global governance based on the central role of the United Nations and international law, as opposed to the never-formulated rules-based order,” Alipov added.

“We resumed last year the work of the Intergovernmental Commission after the pandemic,” he said, adding that “Russia and India maintained steadfast bilateral relations underpinned with intensive political dialogue in 2023.”

Quite recently, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar visited Moscow on a 5-day trip, where he not only met his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov but also President Vladimir Putin.

Jaishankar held extensive discussions with Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov on a wide range of global issues Indo-Pacific, Ukraine conflict as well as Gaza.

The two leaders also discussed progress in economic cooperation, connectivity efforts, military-technical cooperation and people-to-people exchange.

Jaishankar appreciated the India-Russia trade, which is at an all-time high. He said that the negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement between India and the Eurasian Economic Union will resume in January next year.

The Eurasian Economic Union is an economic union of five post-Soviet states located in Eurasia. The five member nations are; Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, and Kyrgyzstan.

The EAM, in Moscow also announced that New Delhi is looking to expand its investments in oil and gas in which the two countries enjoy a very substantial relationship. Jaishankar said that amendments have been signed to take the Kudankulam nuclear power project forward.

He added that the two leaders also spoke about connectivity from the North-South Transport Corridor.

He called Russia India’s “valued and time-tested” partner, and said that India and Russia have benefited enormously from the relationship that the two nations share and added that the developments in various sectors, including trade, investment and military technical cooperation showcase a good sense of importance that New Delhi attaches to its ties with Moscow. (ANI)

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Afghanistan's humanitarian aid

EU Contributes 3 MN Euros To Afghanistan Humanitarian Aid

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Aid (OCHA) said the European Union has contributed 3 million euros to Afghanistan’s humanitarian aid, Afghanistan-based Khaama Press reported.

According to OCHA, the funds provided by the EU will enable aid agencies to give necessary assistance and protection to millions in need across Afghanistan, Khaama Press reported.

Throughout the year, the European Union has been supporting Afghanistan by providing several aid packages to address the ongoing crisis. The humanitarian situation in Afghanistan remains dire, with more than half of the population in need of assistance, according to a Khaama Press report.

OCHA has stated that USD 3 billion will be required for adequate aid in Afghanistan in the coming year. Initially, OCHA for the year 2023 requested USD 4.6 billion for Afghanistan’s aid efforts. However, it has not received all the funds, resulting in a significant funding shortfall for aid needs in Afghanistan, Khaama Press reported.

Due to the funding gap, an estimated 10 million people in Afghanistan lost access to vital food aid from May to November, according to OCHA. The funding shortfall comes amid a severe humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, exacerbated by harsh winter conditions. The situation in Afghanistan is critical as Afghan migrants face forced deportation from Pakistan, further adding to the already dire circumstances.

The financial shortfall hampers the delivery of essential aid and services, affecting the vulnerable people in need. The convergence of the harsh winter, the humanitarian crisis and the influx of returning migrants causes an escalating need for increased support and resources.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has said that over one million children in Afghanistan are facing severe malnutrition, Afghanistan-based TOLO News reported.

According to WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Afghanistan needs USD 185 million to fight against malnutrition. In a post on X, he said that 30 per cent of the total Afghanistan population faces acute food insecurity.

He said: “Close to 1 million children are severely malnourished and 2.3 million are suffering from moderate acute malnutrition. WHO needs USD 185 million to continue providing medicine and supporting hospitals to prevent more Afghan children and women from dying of malnutrition and the consequences of food insecurity.”

Afghanistan’s Taliban-appointed Ministry of Public Health said that the number of malnourished mothers and children in the country has slightly increased compared to past years.

According to the doctors of Indira Gandhi Children’s Hospital, the number of malnourished children in Afghanistan has increased compared to past years, and in the winter 20 to 25 malnourished children visited the hospital.

A nurse, Fatima Azimi, said: “Compared to the past year, especially in winter, our patients increased and nowadays 15 to 20 patients are referred daily.”

“For children not to face malnutrition, respectable families should increase the distance between births and observe health guidelines, and our society should be saved from poverty and improved,” said a doctor Abdul Gafoor Rasooli, according to TOLO News. (ANI)

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UN India Terror Attacks

India Calls For Zero Tolerance For Terror Actors, Sponsors At UN

India’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Ruchira Kamboj, called on the UN on Friday to exercise zero tolerance against the terror groups and their sponsors, adding that the illicit traffic of small arms and light is a key enabler for sustaining conflicts by armed and terrorist groups.

“The illicit traffic of small arms and light weapons and related ammunition is a key enabler for sustaining conflicts by armed and terrorist groups. This necessitates the need for coordinated efforts by states to limit the acquisition of small arms and light weapons by such actors. It is therefore important that this council exercise a zero tolerance for terror actors and their sponsors, their possession and misuse of small arms and light weapons,” Kamboj said.

While speaking at the UNSC Open Debate on Small Arms, she highlighted that India has suffered from cross-border terrorism and violence carried by terrorist groups using illicit weapons.

She said, “Having fought the scourge of terrorism for several decades. India is aware of the perils of the diversion and illicit transfer of small arms and ammunition to armed non state actors and terrorists. We have suffered immensely due to cross-border terrorism and violence carried out by terrorist groups using these illicit weapons smuggled across our borders, including now through the use of drones.”

Kamboj added, “The increase in volume and the quality of the arsenal acquired by these terrorist organizations reminds us time and again that they cannot exist without the sponsorship or support of states.”

Asserting the need of International cooperation to identify diversion points and trafficking routes, India supported the implementation of UN program of Action and the international tracing instrument for controlling the illicit trafficking.

Kamboj stated, “International cooperation is essential in strengthening existing mechanisms for information exchange to identify diversion points, trafficking routes, customs control, cross border cooperation, etcetera, to prevent diversion and the illicit transfers of small arms and life weapons and their ammunition.”

She said further, “India accordingly supports the redoubling of efforts at the national and global levels to strengthen the implementation of the UN program of Action and the international tracing instrument, including through national legislative measures and enforcement, exporter controls information sharing and capacity building. “

Kamboj highlighted India’s efforts for controlling export of all munitions and related items and shared India’s participation in the ” Wassenaar Arrangement”.

She said, “India maintains strict, export controls over all munitions and related items, including small arms and light weapons. Our commitment is also reflected in India’s participation in the Wassenaar Arrangement. As plenary chair for the year 20 23, India remains committed to work towards a further strengthening of the global non proliferation architecture, including in the area of small arms and light weapons. Thank you very much.” (ANI)

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Israeli Envoy to United Nations

Israeli Envoy Reminds UNSC of ‘Barbarity And Savagery’ by Hamas

Israel’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, lambasted the United Nations Security Council for failing to condemn the October 7 Hamas terror attacks and the slaughter of unarmed civilians.

Addressing a meeting of the UN Security Council on the prevailing state of affairs in West Asia in the wake of the October 7 terror attacks and the ongoing ground offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the Israeli envoy invoked Kristallnacht Holocaust of 1938, which saw anti-semitic violence being perpetrated on the Jewish communities of Germany and Austria.

“The holy Jewish Sabbath is a day of peace and rest. It is the day on which God rested following the creation of the world yet no Jew will ever forget the Sabbath of October 7th. It has been seared into the collective trauma of the Jewish people forever. Exactly 85 years ago, today, another traumatic atrocity was burned into the Jewish people’s history. Between November 9th and 10th 1938, the Jewish communities of Germany and Austria suffered Kristallnacht, the Nazis November pogrom which was the first hyper violent exposure of the Nazis murderous Jew hatred,” Erdan said at the UNSC meeting.

“Nearly 100 Jews were murdered, thousands of Jewish homes, hospitals, schools, houses of worship and businesses were ransacked and burned to the ground. Israelis endured another such pogram five weeks ago, yet here, we are 34 days later and this Council still has not condemned Hamas’s heinous planned Massacre of Israeli civilians. Had this Council in its current form existed in 1938, I doubt that the response would be much different,” he added.

The Israeli envoy urged the UNSC to invite him to share a screening of the footage from Hamas’s slaughtering of civilians on October 7. He said the footage was captured by the terrorists themselves, adding, “Once you see the barbarity and savagery with your own eyes you will understand the evil that Israel is defending itself against.”

He said Hamas, over the past 16 years, has turned “every inch of Gaza into a terror trap”.

Erdan had invited Hamas co-founder’s son, Mosab Hassan Yousef, to the UNSC meeting, Fox News reported, adding that Yousef sat behind the Israeli envoy during the meeting on Friday afternoon.

“Over the past 16 years, Hamas has turned every inch of Gaza into a terror trap. Nothing is sacred to these jihadist Nazis every medical worker doctor and patient in Gaza is a human shield for the Hamas terrorist. This is…., it is a war crime of epic proportions will this be the focus of today’s meeting how can we possibly hold a briefing on the medical situation in Gaza without making this the primary issue of this meeting,” Erdan said.

He noted that Israel has asked all civilians to temporarily evacuate northern Gaza and move to the south. He said Hamas was trying to stop civilians from leaving the active war zone, adding that Israel was making an effort to keep civilian casualties in the ongoing ground operations down to a minimum.

“Israel is providing safe passage for Gazan civilians to leave an active war zone while Hamas is actively working to prevent civilians from leaving. In footage that surfaced today, Gazan civilians were waving White flags as they tried to leave Al Nasr Hospital yet they were forced to stay after Hamas opened fire on them,” he said.

“Israel is at war with Hamas and we have gone above and beyond to mitigate civilian casualties. For Israel, life is sacred but yet for Hamas, death is sacred particularly civilian deaths,” he added.

He said Israel was fighting a war it did not “start or want.”

“On October 6th, there was a ceasefire in place yet Hamas violated that ceasefire with the brutal slaughter rape and burning of 1400 Israelis. Despite their unbelievable claims otherwise Hamas is fully responsible for the situation in Gaza they are fully responsible for Gaza’s civilian population. They are fully responsible for Gaza’s resources and they are fully responsible for exploiting hospitals and ambulances as weapons of terror while Hamas must be held fully accountable there is another body sadly that is complicit the UN colleagues for years,” the envoy said.

Erdan added that he had, for years, warned the Council that the statistics they receive from Gaza do not reflect the situation on the ground. He said the information they receive with regard to the situation on the ground comes from Hamas and not international UN employees in Gaza.

“For years, the UN has refused to establish verification mechanisms that can provide us a truthful picture of reality. WHO is it that supplies the UN with these so-called facts sorry, who is it that supplies the UN with these so-called facts is this information coming from unbiased and impartial third parties the answer is no. Every piece of information regarding the situation on the ground that this Council receives comes from Hamas not international UN employees in Gaza,” the envoy added.

Meanwhile, the Alternate Representative of US for Special Political Affairs in the United Nations, Robert Wood, said the US was closely monitoring the situation at the hospitals in Gaza.

Addressing the UNSC meeting, he said, “We are closely monitoring the situation at the hospitals in Gaza. We are deeply concerned for the well-being of civilians who are at these facilities, and rely on them for life-saving care and shelter from the violence.”

“All civilian and humanitarian facilities, especially hospitals and medical facilities, as well as the people who work for them and are engaged exclusively in medical duties, must be respected and protected consistent with international law,” he added.

Wood said the international community must call out Hamas as it “cynically and atrociously uses Palestinian civilians as human shields, putting its command posts, weapons, and ammunition within or beneath the very hospitals”. (ANI)

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UN Chief

UN Chief Says Horrified By Blast Outside Gaza Hospital

The Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, on Saturday voiced his anguish over the suspected air strike on a convoy of ambulances outside Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza.

The attack on Friday left many dead and injured, according to reports.

While condoling the loss of lives in the attack outside the Gaza hospital, the UN chief also called for the immediate release of hostages by terror group Hamas.

“I do not forget the terror attacks committed in Israel by Hamas and the killing, maiming and abductions, including of women and children. All hostages held in Gaza must be released immediately and unconditionally,” Guterres said.

However, opening up on the suspected air strike on the ambulance convoy outside the Gaza hospital, the UN Secretary-General said, “I am horrified by the reported attack in Gaza on an ambulance convoy outside Al Shifa hospital. The images of bodies strewn on the street outside the hospital are harrowing.”

Underlining the dire humanitarian crisis in Gaza, with reports of food, water, medicine, and fuel for hospitals and water plants in short supply, Guterres added, “Not nearly enough food, water and medicine are coming in to meet people’s needs. Fuel to power hospitals and water plants is running out.”

He claimed that the morgues were overflowing with bodies in Gaza and the shops were empty. He also pointed to the ‘abysmal’ situation with regard to sanitation, adding that there were fears of children coming down with ailments.

“Morgues are overflowing. Shops are empty. The sanitation situation is abysmal. We are seeing an increase in diseases and respiratory illnesses, especially among children. An entire population is traumatized. Nowhere is safe,” he added.

Responding to Guterres’s statement, Israel’s Ambassador to the United Nations, Gilad Erdan, took a swipe at the UN Secretary-General for rushing to condemn Israel without seeking a full understanding of the situation.

Invoking the UN chief’s remarks in light of a previous suspected air strike at Gaza’s al-Ahli hospital, he accused Guterres of making false claims about aid not entering Gaza and ignoring the alleged misuse of ambulances by Hamas to further its nefarious actions.

Following the attack on the al-Ahli hospital, the UN chief posted from his social media handle, “I am horrified by the killing of hundreds of Palestinian civilians in a strike on a hospital in Gaza today, which I strongly condemn.”

Israel’s permanent envoy to the UN said Guterres chose to unjustly condemn Israel while neglecting the issue of hostages.

“@antonioguterres once again, you rush to condemn Israel without even bothering to ask what happened (eg. al-Ahli hospital), you blatantly lie regarding the lack of aid entering Gaza, and you completely ignore the fact that Hamas intentionally exploits ambulances for terror. You didn’t ask for the truth, bc you don’t care about the truth. Instead, you prefer to falsely condemn Israel, while making our hostages a literal footnote. It’s absolutely disgraceful. Where was your ‘horror’ when Hamas deliberately targeted Israeli ambulances with RPGs and executed paramedics in cold blood?” Erdan added.

Earlier, Israeli airstrikes damaged a building near the emergency entrance of Al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City, injuring 21 people, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) said in a post on social media.

“This has resulted in significant damage to the location and the injury of 21 displaced individuals,” the aid group said.

A UN-run school serving as a shelter in a refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip was also struck, resulting in 15 fatalities and more than 70 injuries, according to the Hamas-controlled Ministry of Health in Gaza.

Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken conveyed his condolences to the kin of more than 70 UN staffers, who have lost their lives in the ongoing conflict in Gaza, CNN reported. (ANI)

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UN To Send Mission To Nagorno-Karabakh As 80% Population Displaced

In the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s victory over the Nagorno-Karabakh and thousands of people displaced from the territory, United Nations will send a mission to the territory, CNN reported on Saturday.

The American media outlet said the United Nations will send a mission to Nagorno-Karabakh this weekend, amid reports that about 80 per cent of the population have been displaced.

Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, Stephane Dujarric, said during a press briefing on Friday that the mission’s visit had been agreed by Azerbaijan and would go ahead over the weekend.

“We haven’t had access there in about 30 years. So it’s very important that we will be able to get in,” he said.

“While there, the team will seek to assess the situation on the ground and identify the humanitarian needs for both people remaining and the people that are on the move,” the spokesperson added.

Earlier it was reported that the self-declared republic of Nagorno-Karabakh will cease to exist from next year. This comes as the region’s president signed a decree dissolving state institutions following its defeat to Azerbaijan, according to CNN.

Further, as per CNN, the Azerbaijani victory last week triggered a huge exodus of ethnic Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh and marked the end of decades of conflict, and potentially the end of centuries of Armenian presence in the region.

After the defeat, President Samvel Shahramanyan issued a decree that calls for all institutions and organizations of the Republic of Artsakh, which is not recognized internationally, to dissolve from January 1, 2024.

“The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) ceases its existence,” read the decree.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan’s borders but has for decades operated autonomously with a de facto government of its own. Last week, Azerbaijan reclaimed control of the breakaway region after an offensive lasting just 24 hours.

Azerbaijan has long been clear about the choice of confronting Karabakh Armenians: Stay and accept Azerbaijani citizenship, or leave. The majority of the population has already voted on its feet and tens of thousands have fled their ancestral home rather than submitting to rule by Baku, CNN reported.

Azerbaijan launched its offensive on September 19, firing missiles and drones at the regional capital of Stepanakert in what marked the start of a third war fought for control of the region in as many decades. Under the Soviet Union, of which Azerbaijan and Armenia are both former members, Nagorno-Karabakh became an autonomous region within the Republic of Azerbaijan.

According to CNN, Karabakh officials passed a resolution in 1988 declaring its intention to join the Republic of Armenia, causing fighting to break out as the Soviet Union began to crumble, in what became the First Karabakh War.

About 30,000 people were killed in over six years of violence, which ended in 1994 when the Armenian side gained control of the region. The Second Karabakh War began in 2020 after years of sporadic clashes.

Azerbaijan, backed by its historic ally Turkey, reclaimed a third of the territory of Karabakh in just 44 days before both sides agreed to lay down their weapons in a Russia-brokered ceasefire. (ANI)

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