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War, abuses of human rights, global terrorism, climate change, mass movement of people and poverty are major threats: Theresa May

Newsroom24x7 Staff

british-prime-minister-theresa-mayNew York: British Prime Minister Theresa May told the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday that some of the threats the world faces today are war, political instability, abuses of human rights and poverty, global terrorism, climate change, and unprecedented mass movements of people.

Addressing the General Assembly, the British PM said these challenges that do not respect the borders of individual nations can be addressed only by working together.

As a new Prime Minister to the United Kingdom, Theresa May made a pledge to United Nations by stating – “the UK will be a confident, strong and dependable partner internationally – true to the universal values that we share together.”

The British Prime Minister reiterated commitment to spend 0.7% of Britain’s Gross National Income on development, building on the achievements made to reduce poverty, deal with instability and increase prosperity the world over. The UK will also drive forward the implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, she added.

Theresa May said:

On Women and girls

We will continue to champion the rights of women and girls, making sure that all girls get the education they deserve, and tackling horrific abuses such as female genital mutilation and the use of sexual violence in conflict.

NATO and UN Peacekeeping

We will continue to be a steadfast, permanent member of the Security Council, meeting our NATO commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence and making a leading contribution to UN peacekeeping efforts, where we have doubled our commitment, including new deployments to Somalia and South Sudan.

We will continue to stand up for the rules based international system and for international law, and I join other leaders in condemning the outrageous bombing of the aid convoy in Syria yesterday.

And we will continue to strengthen our existing partnerships, from this United Nations, to the Commonwealth and NATO, seeking to resolve conflict in countries across the world – from Colombia and Cyprus to Somalia and Yemen.
Climate Change

We will continue to play our part in the international effort against climate change. And in a demonstration of our commitment to the agreement reached in Paris, the UK will start its domestic procedures to enable ratification of the Paris agreement, and complete these before the end of the year.

Relevant and responsive institutions

We must recognise that for too many people in our countries the increasing pace of globalisation has left them feeling left behind.

The challenge for those of us in this room is to ensure that our governments and our global institutions, such as this United Nations, remain responsive to the people that we serve. That we are capable of adapting our institutions to the demands of the 21st Century and ensuring that they do not become irrelevant.

So when it comes to the big security and human rights challenges of our time, we need this – our United Nations – to forge a bold new multilateralism.

Global Terrorism

We have seen even in the past week, no country is untouched by the threat of global terrorism. And when extremists anywhere in the world can transmit their poisonous ideologies directly into the bedrooms of people vulnerable to radicalisation, we need not just to work together to prevent conflict and instability in nation states but to act globally to disrupt the networks terrorist groups use to finance their operations and recruit to their ranks.

Terrorism

As a United Nations we have shown how we can work together to reduce the threat from international terrorism by preventing conflict and instability from developing.

For example, through our Permanent Membership of the Security Council, Britain has played a leading role in the fight against Al Shabaab in Somalia. Since 2010, with huge support from across the region, and critically the commitment of Somalis themselves, Al Shabaab has been driven from all the major cities it used to control.

It is vital that as an international community we continue to support countries in the region that are contributing thousands of troops, and that we continue to build the capacity of Somali security forces. That is why the UK is now going to increase further our security support and we will be calling on others to do the same, hosting an international conference on Somalia in 2017 to maintain this vital momentum.

Missions like this must remain central to the work of this United Nations, but on their own they are not enough.

Because the terrorist threats we face today do not come from one country but exist in a different space. The global networks they exploit require a different kind of global response.

These organisations are using our own modern banking networks against us. So we need to look at our regulations, our information sharing and using our technological capabilities to get ahead of them.

They are targeting our airlines, exploiting the fact that no one country can keep its citizens safe when they are flying between multiple jurisdictions.

That is why this week the United Nations will vote on a UK led resolution on aviation security to ensure that every country implements the standards we need to ensure that no country is the weak link.

They are exploiting the internet and social media to spread an ideology that is recruiting people to their cause all over the world. So we need to tackle this ideology head-on.

That is why the UK has championed the work that the Secretary General has led to develop a strategy for preventing violent extremism. Now, as an international community, we must work together to adopt and implement the most comprehensive national action plans to tackle both the causes and the symptoms of all extremism.

It is not enough merely to focus on violent extremism. We need to address the whole spectrum of extremism, violent extremism and non-violent extremism; Islamist and neo-Nazi – hate and fear in all their forms.

Trafficking and Human slavery

When criminal gangs do not respect our national borders, trafficking our fellow citizens into lives of slavery and servitude, we cannot let those borders act as a barrier to bringing such criminals to justice.

In each of these areas, it is the convening power of our United Nations that gives us a unique opportunity to respond. But we can only do so if we modernise and adapt to meet the challenges of the 21st Century.

A new approach to migration

Just as we need the United Nations to modernise to meet the challenges of terrorism in the 21st Century, so we also need to adapt if we are to fashion a truly global response to the mass movements of people across the world and the implications this brings for security and human rights.

The 1951 convention and the 1967 protocol must remain the bedrock of our response, but the context in which they must be applied has dramatically changed.

Across the world today, there are 65 million people who have been forcibly displaced. That it is equivalent to the entire population of the United Kingdom.

It is an unprecedented figure, one that has almost doubled in a decade. And yet UN appeals are underfunded; host countries are not getting enough support; and refugees are not getting the aid, education and economic opportunities they need.

We must do more. And as the second largest bi-lateral provider of assistance, the UK remains fully committed to playing a leading role.

In the last 5 years the UK has invested over $9 billion in humanitarian assistance, saving millions of lives every year.

The London Syria Conference in February raised $12 billion in pledges, the largest amount ever raised in one day in response to a humanitarian crisis.

And that money is being used to combine both urgent humanitarian assistance and vital economic development, benefitting both refugees and the communities and countries hosting them.

Clearly we need to continue our efforts to bring an end to the conflict and the appalling slaughter in Syria and to get aid through to those who need it.

And while these efforts continue inside Syria, we also agreed new efforts to support refugees and host communities in neighbouring countries, including through education and opportunities to work. This is being assisted by loans from international financial institutions and access to European markets. And through our trading relationships and direct engagement with businesses we are mobilising the private sector to create new jobs in the region for everyone.

And while there is more to be done, it is this approach to financing both humanitarian support and economic development that I will be championing when I announce a further UK financial contribution at President Obama’s Refugee Summit later today.
Displacement of People

When we see the mass displacement of people, at a scale unprecedented in recent history, we must ensure we are implementing the policies that are fit for the challenges we face today.

But in addition to refugees and displaced people fleeing conflict and persecution, we are also seeing an unprecedented movement of people in search of greater economic opportunities through the same unmanaged channels.

This affects all of us, and it is the responsibility of us all to take action. We cannot ignore this challenge, or allow it to continue unmanaged. We need to do better. Better for the countries people leave, for the countries they move through, for the countries they try to get to – and most of all, better for the migrants and refugees themselves.

Despite the huge increase in international efforts, more migrants have died attempting hazardous journeys across borders this year than any other. I believe we have to use the opportunity afforded by this General Assembly for an honest global debate to address this global challenge.

In doing so, we should be clear that there is nothing wrong with the desire to migrate for a better life. And also that controlled, legal, safe, economic migration brings benefits to our economies.

Exercise Control over Borders

But countries have to be able to exercise control over their borders. The failure to do so erodes public confidence, fuels international crime, damages economies and reduces the resources for those who genuinely need protection and whose rights under the Refugee Convention should always be fulfilled.

I believe there are three fundamental principles that we now need to establish at the heart of a new approach to managing migration that is in the interests of all those involved.

First, we must help ensure that refugees claim asylum in the first safe country they reach. The current trend of onward movements, where refugees reach a safe country but then press on with their journey, can only benefit criminal gangs and expose refugees to grave danger.

So we must all do more to support countries where the refugees first arrive, to provide the necessary protection and assistance for refugees safely and swiftly, and to help countries adapt to the huge economic impact that refugees can have – including on their existing population.

As we are seeing in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey, when the right assistance is provided, solutions that provide sanctuary and opportunity to refugees, and opportunities for those hosting them, can be found.

This is also good for the refugees and the countries they come from – because the closer they stay to home, the easier it will be for them to return and rebuild after the conflict.

Second, we need to improve the ways we distinguish between refugees fleeing persecution and economic migrants. I believe we must ensure the existing convention and protocol are properly applied to provide protection to refugees and reduce the incentives for economic migrants to use illegal routes. This in turn will help us target support for those refugees who need it most and retain the support of our populations for doing so.

Third, we need a better overall approach to managing economic migration which recognises that all countries have the right to control their borders – and that we must all commit to accepting the return of our own nationals when they have no right to remain elsewhere.

By ensuring a managed and controlled international migration response – and at the same time investing to tackle the underlying drivers of displacement and migration at source – we can reject isolationism and xenophobia, achieving better outcomes for all of our citizens – and particularly for the most vulnerable.

Modern Slavery

Finally, as we gather here today to bring the founding values of the United Nations to bear on some of the most pressing global problems, the likes of which we haven’t seen before, so we must also face up to the fact that some of the worst human rights abuses that we thought we had confined to the history books have re-emerged in new pernicious forms.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights proclaimed by the General Assembly stated that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, that no one shall be held in slavery or servitude and that slavery and the slave trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.

Yet nearly 70 years on, we are presented with a new form of slavery: modern slavery.

Organised crime groups, who are largely behind this modern slavery, lure, dupe and force innocent men, women and children into extreme forms of exploitation.

Trafficked and sold across borders; victims are forced into living the kind of inhumane existence that is almost too much for our imagination.

These criminals have global networks to help them make money out of some of the world’s most vulnerable people. Victims are held captive in squalid conditions under the constant shadow of violence and forced into sex and labour exploitation.

If we are going to succeed in stamping out this abhorrent crime and bring the perpetrators to justice, we need to confront the reality of what we are dealing with.

These organised crime groups work across borders and jurisdictions. And they often use the internet and modern technology to recruit, transport, control and exploit their victims, all the while staying ahead of legal systems that are often constrained by traditional geographical boundaries.

So we must take action.

We must use our international law enforcement networks to track these criminals down, wherever they are in the world, and put them behind bars where they belong.

We need to be smarter and even more co-ordinated than the criminal gangs in our efforts to stop them.

In the UK, I am setting up the first ever government taskforce for modern slavery, bringing together every relevant department to co-ordinate and drive all our efforts in the battle against this cruel exploitation.

We are also using our aid budget to create a dedicated fund focused on high risk countries where we know victims are regularly trafficked to the UK.

And yesterday, I committed the first £5 million from this fund to work in Nigeria to reduce the vulnerability of potential victims and step up the fight against those who seek to profit from this crime.

But if we are to meet the Sustainable Development Goal to eradicate modern slavery, we need to go much further.

Security relationships have developed between so many countries for dealing with issues like counter-terrorism, cyber security, drug trafficking and wider intelligence sharing. But we do not have a similar relationship for this fight against modern slavery.

So we need our law enforcement agencies to work together, with joint investigation teams working across multiple countries.

Victims will only find freedom if we cultivate a radically new, global and co-ordinated approach to defeat this vile crime.

Together we must work tirelessly to preserve the freedoms and values that have defined our United Nations from its inception.

Together we must work tirelessly to restore these freedoms and values to the lives of the men, women and children who are exploited for profit and held captive with little or no chance of escape.

Conclusion

From the St James’ Palace declaration and the Atlantic Charter forged by Winston Churchill and President Roosevelt, to the first meeting of this General Assembly in London in 1946, the United Kingdom has always been an outward-facing, global partner at the heart of international efforts to secure peace and prosperity for all our people.

And that is how we will remain. For when the British people voted to leave the EU, they did not vote to turn inwards or walk away from any of our partners in the world.

Faced with challenges like migration, a desire for greater control of their country, and a mounting sense that globalisation is leaving working people behind, they demanded a politics that is more in touch with their concerns; and bold action to address them.

But that action must be more global, not less. Because the biggest threats to our prosperity and security do not recognise or respect international borders. And if we only focus on what we do at home, the job is barely half done.

So this is not the time to turn away from our United Nations. It is the time to turn towards it.

Only we, as members of this community of nations, can act to ensure this great institution becomes as relevant for our future as it has been in our past.

So let us come together, true to our founding values but responsive to the challenges of today and let us work together to build a safer, more prosperous and more humane world for generations to come.

Stop sending us messages of war – warns Ashraf Ghani to Pakistan and Taliban

Newsroom24x7 Desk

Prez of Afghanistan speaks on PakKabul, Afghanistan : “Pakistan still remains a venue and ground for gatherings from which mercenaries send us messages of war”, politely fumed Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani while addressing a press gathering at Kabul on Monday. This came in after the recent suicide car bombing earlier in the day near Kabul International Airport, killing 5 people and adding to the chain of deadly terrorist Taliban-sponsored attacks in the capital of Afghanistan. Ghani stated that the recent series of attacks in Kabul and other provinces show that the war has changed shape. The enemy who was fighting to gain some territory and to claim a victory has now had its backbone broken. It is so desperate now that it has turned to cowardly attacks against innocent people just to weaken people’s morale.The incidents of the past two months in general and the recent days in particular show that the suicide training camps and the bomb making facilities targetting and murdering innocent Afghan people still operate, as in the past, in Pakistan. Just as the incident in Peshawar and the killing of hundreds of innocent children in a school became a turning point in Pakistan, the recent incidents in Kabul and other provinces are no less and is a turning point for Afghanistan. President Ghani paid heartfelt tributes and prayers to all those killed in the recent terrorist attacks and gave condolences to their families and wished quick recovery for all those injured.

Expressing deep concern over restoration of peace and harmony in and around Afghanistan, Ghani said that over the last few days, Afghanistan has witnessed significant changes in war methods against Afghans. The peace process is facing new questions. and the country needs to know where the Afghanistan-Pakistan relations are heading.

Ghani said that the withdrawal of over 100,000 highly equipped international military forces plus the transfer to Afghan forces of the entire responsibility to counter threats was a development that was not unforeseeable. International observers had predicted that Afghanistan may not be able to deal with this new situation even for a few days.Ghani revisited the earlier anticipation which had predicted that the situation in and around Afghan had given signals that this year would be the most difficult of all since the Bonn process. The reason being, enemies waiting for a power vacuum so they could take advantage of and see the government collapse.

Expressing relief over the falsification of such earlier claims, Ghani said that none of the gloomy predictions turned to reality. The enemies were disappointed. Afghan defense and security forces quickly filled in the gap left behind by the international forces and defeated the enemies on all fronts. Ghani expressed his deepest gratitude to the brave sons and daughters in Afghan uniform for all the sacrifices they are making.

Speaking on terrorism, Ghani’s political messaging stressed on the recent significant development about Mullah Omar not being alive, this news Ghani mentioned, was an Intel from the Afghanistan intelligence agencies which confirmed the death of Mullah Omar and exposed the lies and fabrications. This confirmation not only demonstrated the strength and maturity of Afghan intelligence, but also reaffirmed the fact that the war in Afghanistan is fought for and by others and that the so-called Amir-ul-Momenin, who apparently led and commanded the war, might not have even existed.

Ghani spoke emphatically on terrorism. He said that Terrorism is a vast and a widespread concern. The terrorist attacks in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Syria, Turkey and other Muslim countries are of the same nature. These attacks pursue to collapse states and state system in the region. Appreciating the rejection of such attacks, Ghani praised the grand gathering of Muslim scholars in the city of Makkah for condemning these attacks. As reaffirmed in the Shanghai Summit in Russia earlier, Ghani again reiterated that Afghanistan will continue to make every effort to overcome to build a regional consensus for effective cooperation against terrorism.

Emphasizing on Pakistan’s dual-messaging syndrome, Ghani threw light on his day-old conversation with Pakistan’s Prime Minister and the Chief of Army Staff, Ghani made it clear that the government of Pakistan should have the same definition of terrorism in regard to Afghanistan, just as it has for its own. Recalling his previous visit to Pakistan last November, Ghani reminded that Afghanistan and Pakistan both had affirmed full commitment for peace and Afghan side had made it clear that peace had two aspects – peace with Pakistan and peace with Taliban.Even now, Ghani said that he discussed the common opportunities and threats and made it very clear to the Pakistani side that a new window of opportunity has opened. Ghani detailed what he meant by this, when he said that depending on the capacity and the will of the Pakistani leadership, it is upon that side to change the window into a door and then to an alley and even a highway, or mess around with attacks on innocent lives and shut the opportunity door all together.

Over the past ten months, Afghanis have shown commitment and the will by sharing intelligence with the Pakistani side so that both could carry out a comprehensive and targeted anti-terrorism campaign to rid both nations of violence. But Ghani fretted at the inability of Pakistani side to demonstrate its will through action.The decisions that Pakistani government will be making in the next few weeks will be significant for the bilateral relations in coming decades he added, pointing out that the security of Afghan people and the national interests of Afghanistan would be the basis of relationship with Pakistan. “We can no longer tolerate to see our people bleeding in a war exported and imposed on us from outside” he added.

“We hoped for peace, but war is declared against us from Pakistani territory; this in fact puts into a display a clear hostility against a neighboring country. I ask the government and people of Pakistan to imagine that a terrorist attack just like the one in Kabul’s Shah Shahid area took place in Islamabad and the groups behind it had sanctuaries in Afghanistan and ran offices and training centers in our big cities, what would have been your reaction? Will you have looked at us as friends or enemies? I would like to call on those Taliban who do not want their country destroyed and their people killed, to quit the ranks of criminals and insurgents and to reintegrate into their society. Today, the resources that should have been spent on building factories, hospitals and on other development projects are spent for defense and fighting a war exported to us by others” stated Afghanistan President.

He further went on to add that the people of Afghanistan are all Muslims, so Islam is not the issue in this war. The political system in Afghanistan is based on the religion of Islam, and all the research shows that the Constitution of Afghanistan compared to those in the neighborhood, is enriched with Islamic values and ideas. Islamic scholars believe that having a system, even weak and rife with defects, is a lot better than not having a system at all. Islam is a religion of peace and stability. According to Islamic Sharia, anyone engaged in acts to destabilize and wreck security in a society and kill Muslims, is described as insurgent and warmonger.The main question is how can those who claim to have been acting on Sharia can be this careless to the massacre of the innocent people? What would be their response to Aya 32, Sora Almaida of the Holy Quran which says, “Whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely”?

Ghani use stern words and stated that there will be no flexibility of any kind with the criminals. We have directed the courts and the judicial authorities to show no leniency with those who have our people’s blood on their hand and those who respond the peace call with war and criminality will undoubtedly receive maximum punishment. Whoever is engaged in criminality, narcotics, and atrocities, and whoever works for the outsiders to destroy Afghanistan is the enemy of peace. Such people fear peace, they fear rule of law and fear a stable and peaceful Afghanistan. Experience has shown that whenever there is a chance for peace, enemies are irritated and resort to violence and brutality. However, such acts cannot deter Afghanistan from its quest for peace and completely rules out out the option of giving warmongers any concessions. Peace will be traded with only with those who believe in the meaning of being a human, Muslim and Afghan and who do not destroy their own country on order from foreign masters, warned Ghani.

Ghani called upon the country’s politicians to do their utmost to keep Afghanistan together at this critical juncture and to refrain from any actions that spread suspicions and disunity from which enemy may benefit.

Praising the youth power of Afghan, Ghani said that Afghan youth are more willing today than ever to join the ranks of their country’s armed forces. Consistent to the demand, the forces have increased recruitment volume up to 9 percent.

On a concluding note, Ghani again brought the focus back on Pakistan. He reiterated that relation between Pakistan and Afghanistan is based on national interests, on top of which comes security and safety of Afghani people. He end up his address by saying this to Pakistan – “If country’s people continue to be killed, relations lose meaning.”