European Parliament Adopts a Historic Resolution on Eritrea

By Klara Smits and Florence Tornincasa | IDN-InDepthNews Report

STRASBOURG (IDN) - The European Parliament has adopted a resolution on Eritrea, which sends a strong signal to the European Commission, the EU Council, member states and the Eritrean government that human rights violations in the country need to be addressed.

The resolution approved on March 10 clearly identifies that Eritrean refugees are fleeing serious human rights violations and an indefinite national service which constitutes slavery.

The resolution also addresses the systematic extortion of refugees, a concern expressed earlier in resolutions adopted by the UN Security Council.


UNIDO and CTBTO Express Support for 2030 Gender Equality Target

By Rita Joshi | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - The United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO) and the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization (CTBTO) are determined to undertake necessary steps to make “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, the theme of the International Women’s Day 2016, a reality.

Director General, LI Yong, said: “UNIDO recognizes that investing in the economic empowerment of women sets a direct path towards gender equality, poverty eradication and inclusive industrial development.”

He added: “Women make an enormous economic contribution, whether in businesses, as entrepreneurs, as employers or as employees, or by doing care work at home. But they also remain disproportionately affected by poverty, discrimination and exploitation.” READ IN JAPANESE


UN Vows to End Child Marriage by 2030

By J. Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Report

NEW YORK (IDN) – The United Nations has launched a new multi-country initiative to speed up action to end child marriage by 2030 and protect the rights of millions of the most vulnerable girls around the world.

Announcing the joint initiative on the International Women’s Day March 8, the UN Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA) said the Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage will involve families, communities, governments and young people.

The UNFPA-UNICEF Global Programme to Accelerate Action to End Child Marriage is being supported by Canada, the European Union, Italy, Netherlands, and the UK.


Is the Koran with ISIS and Al Qaeda?

By Jonathan Power | IDN-INPS Viewpoint

LUND, Sweden (IDN | INPS) - Is Islam violent? ISIS in Syria and Iraq. In Pakistan, there is Lashkar-e-Taiba and the attempted murderer of the schoolgirl, Malala Yousafzai. Immigrant Moroccan men roughly pushing women and fondling them in the crowd in Cologne. Murderous bombs in Paris. Ayan Hirsi Ali, a Somali female author who was raised a Muslim, writes, “Violence is inherent in Islam- it’s a destructive, nihilistic cult of death. It legitimates murder.”


Plea for a UN Environmental Disaster Rapid Reaction Capability

By Dr Palitha Kohona* | IDN-InDepthNews Analysis

COLOMBO (IDN) - The worst cyclone on record to lash the idyllic islands of Fiji, Winston, left behind an unprecedented trail of devastation and death. A decade of hard won economic achievements lay scattered in a jumble of twisted steel and shredded plantations. Lives that had at last become more bearable are back to struggling to exist.

Science suggests that deaths and destruction experienced by Fiji, are likely to be repeated elsewhere, more frequently, as global warming and climate change begin to affect the planet's environment, in particular the oceans. The effects of Katrina and Sandy on the U.S. and Haiyan on the Philippines are still vivid in our minds.


Ban Ki-moon Declares Sahel Region a ‘Top Priority’ of the UN

By J Nastranis | IDN-InDepthNews Report

NEW YORK (IDN) - As Ban Ki-moon inches closer to ending his second five-year term as the UN Secretary-General, he is setting his sights on the Saharan Sahel spanning across eight African countries – Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger, Nigeria, Cameroon and Chad – assuring that improving the situation in the region is a “top priority” for the United Nations.

The region is faced with a “triple peril” of environmental degradation, poverty and insecurity, Ban said during a visit to Mauritania on March 4. The UN estimates that one in seven Sahelians lack food, one in five children will die before their fifth birthday, and four and a half million people have been forced to flee their homes. Communities have also been struggling against harsh environmental conditions and worsening climatic shocks. Besides, many of the countries in the Sahel region are dealing with a volatile security situation.


Youth Campaign for a Legally Binding Global Ban on Nuclear Tests

By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepthNews Report

BERLIN | VIENNA (IDN) - An international group of students and young graduates has decided to campaign for North Korea and seven other hold-out states ratifying a global treaty banning all nuclear tests so that it becomes legally binding for all states.

Since the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) was opened for signature twenty years ago, 183 countries have signed it, of which 164 have also ratified it, including three of the nuclear weapon States: France, Russia and the United Kingdom.

But 44 specific nuclear technology holder countries must sign and ratify before the CTBT can enter into force. Of these, China, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the USA are still missing. In fact, India, North Korea and Pakistan have yet to sign the CTBT.


India and China can Rescue Asian Century from Oblivion

By Shastri Ramachandaran | IDN-InDepthNews Viewpoint

BEIJING (IDN) - One term which gained currency in the millennium’s first decade was ‘Asian Century’. The term represented a promise, a prospect and a goal; and, invariably, was used with optimism. For a while, it was as evocative as the term ‘21st century’ was in the 1980s, replete with visions of new vistas of life, living and development far removed from the poverty, deprivation and tribulations suffered by the world’s oppressed majority in the 20th century.

When the 21st century was actually upon us, much of the romantic yearning for it had ceased. Similarly, invocation of ‘Asian Century’ ceased to resonate with the aspirations it brought to mind. It came to be used less frequently, especially in capitals such as Beijing and New Delhi.


Jade Industry Key to Democratic Reform in Myanmar

By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepthNews Feature

This article is the third in a series of joint productions of Lotus News Features and IDN-InDepthNews, flagship of the International Press Syndicate.

SINGAPORE (IDN | Lotus News Features**) - As a new government led by Aung San Suu Kyi takes over in Myanmar this month (March), reforming the country’s jade mining industry and ensuring that the benefits flow to the people and the national coffers would be the litmus test of its democratic credentials.


New Sanctions on North Korea May Prove Counterproductive

By Rodney Reynolds | IDN-INPS Analysis

UNITED NATIONS (IDN | INPS) – After nearly two months of closed-door negotiations, the 15 member UN Security Council (UNSC) decided to impose new sanctions on North Korea penalizing Pyongyang for its fourth nuclear test conducted on January 6.

The resolution, adopted unanimously by the UNSC, imposed some of the toughest sanctions on North Korea calling on all UN member states to inspect cargo destined for – and coming from – Pyongyang, in all airport and sea ports.

The sanctions include restrictions on the export of coal, iron, iron ore or other minerals, while prohibiting the supply of aviation fuel, including rocket fuel. The resolution also mandates member states to expel North Korean diplomats involved in Illicit trafficking.


UN Commission Tasked with Health Employment & Economic Growth

By J Nastranis | IDN-INPS Report

NEW YORK (IDN | INPS) - The global economy is projected to create around 40 million new health sector jobs by 2030, mostly in middle- and high-income countries. But there is a projected shortage of 18 million health workers to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in low- and lower-middle income countries.

In view of this, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced on March 2 the appointment of a High-Level Commission on Health Employment and Economic Growth. The Commission will hold its first meeting on March 23, 2016, and will deliver its final report in the margin of the 71st regular session of the United Nations General Assembly in September 2016.