UN laments stubborn cycles of violence as South Sudan turns 10
June 22, 2021
Nicholas Haysom, Special Adviser to the UN Secretary General on Sudan, says South Sudan is marking its 10th independence anniversary amid languishing political progress and a range of humanitarian challenges.
Haysom, Under Secretary General at UN, told Security Council members on Monday that South Sudan, the UN’s youngest Member State, had been going through cycles of violence since its independence.
Haysom, who also heads the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan, known as UNMISS, recalled the broad international optimism that surrounded the country’s independence on 9 July 2011.
“A decade later, however, pervasive insecurity in particular inter-communal violence continues to obstruct the realisation of a durable and sustainable peace,” he said.
Reporting some notable achievements on the ground since his last briefing to the Council in March, Haysom said South Sudan’s government had reconstituted the national legislature and appointed 550 new members.
“It also established a taskforce to oversee and coordinate transitional justice and other judicial reforms.
“Importantly, the Government also launched a ‘permanent Constitution-making process,’ based on an inclusive national conversation that aims to lay the foundation for a new social contract between South Sudan’s citizens.
“Drafting a national Constitution is a quintessential act of sovereignty. It expresses the highest aspirations of a nation and its most cherished values,” said Haysom.
For its part, UNMISS recently deployed the needs assessment mission requested by the Council, for the conduct of free and fair elections. A detailed report will be submitted shortly.
That progress notwithstanding, the overall implementation of South Sudan’s Revitalised Peace Agreement adopted in 2018 against the backdrop of multiple security and political crises remains slow.
While the Revitalised Agreement provides a clear roadmap for peace through reform, political transformation, security, development and national reconciliation, many of its requirements have not been met nearly three years later.
In particular, the constitution of the Council of States and the nomination of the legislative assembly speaker, are pending.
Transitional security arrangements remain behind schedule, and pervasive insecurity continues to impede sustainable peace from taking root.
Haysom told Council members that, so far in 2021, more than 80 per cent of civilian casualties have been attributed to inter-communal violence and community-based militias.
Among many critical tasks, UNMISS continues to support the government in protecting displaced populations.
However, weak or absent state governance institutions throughout South Sudan have enabled spoilers to “exploit perennial communal and ethnic cleavages,” Haysom warned.
Entrenched insecurity has also hindered the cultivation of crops and contributed to a vicious cycle of livestock raiding, leaving many communities dangerously short of food.
He noted that the UN and regional actors all shared a deep concern over the resumption of violence between communities in the country’s Greater Pibor district.
He underlined the need for the government to take concrete steps to address root causes of the conflict.
UNMISS continues to collaborate with local authorities and communities to promote reconciliation, secure the release of abducted women and children, and facilitate the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
In addition, Haysom sounded alarms about worryingly weakened rule of law institutions and deteriorating economic conditions, which led to increased criminality and the targeting of humanitarian workers.
In 2021 alone, four humanitarian workers were killed in South Sudan and millions of dollars of humanitarian supplies were looted or destroyed.
Pledging that UNMISS will continue to take the lead in promoting and advocating for safe humanitarian aid delivery, Haysom called for “irreversible progress towards peace,” which will require tangible progress against the benchmarks of the Revitalised Peace Agreement.
Magnitude 5.8 earthquake hits Greek island of Crete
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
A magnitude 5.8 strong quake hit Greece’s Crete island on Monday, according to the Geodynamics Institute of the National Observatory of Athens.
The tremor’s epicentre was located at a depth of 10 km, some 25 km south of the city of Heraklion, the capital of Crete island, while aftershocks up to 4.3 magnitude have followed, according to Greek scientists.
Material damage has been reported, with no injuries until now, local officials told Greek national news agency AMNA.
Earlier, the Euro Mediterranean Seismological Centre put the quake’s magnitude at 6.2, which was later revised to 6.0.
WHO investigators seeking COVID-19 origin going back to China
By Gistflash News
Sept 27, 2021
The World Health Organisation (WHO) is launching a new investigation into the origins of COVID-19, months after an earlier probe ended without drawing firm conclusions, according to a report published.
WHO was putting together a team of some 20 scientists, who will be charged with finding new evidence in China and other locales, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The group will examine whether the virus emerged from a laboratory, a theory that has been angrily rejected by China.
In December 2020, WHO investigators began visits to Wuhan, China, where the first known outbreak of the virus took place.
But their March 2021 report said they had gotten insufficient information from Chinese scientists to answer key questions about COVID-19’s origin.
In August, U.S. intelligence agencies issued a separate report saying they also could not make firm conclusions about COVID-19’s origins.
Florida Gov. appoints Nigerian-American, Joseph Ladapo Surgeon-General
By Gistflash News
Sept 25, 2021
Ron DeSantis, Florida Governor, U.S. has appointed a Nigerian-American, Dr Joseph Ladapo, as Florida Surgeon-General and Secretary of the Department of Health.
DeSantis in a statement posted on the Florida Department of Health website, stated that he was pleased to announce Ladapo for the position.
“I am pleased to announce that Ladapo will lead the Florida department of health as our state’s next surgeon-general
“Ladapo comes to us by way of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA, with a superb background.”
According to him, Ladapo has had both a remarkable academic and medical career with a strong emphasis in health policy research.
The governor said: ” Ladapo will bring great leadership to the department of health, ” thanking both Dr Scott Rivkees and Dr Shamarial Roberson for their hard work on behalf of all Floridians.
Lieutenant-Governor, Jeanette Nuñez described Ladapo’s as, “an excellent choice to serve as our next surgeon general.
“Ladapo has impeccable credentials and a strong vision to effectively serve the people of Florida at the helm of our public health agency.
“Through his service to our state, we will continue Florida’s work to advance our public health goals,” Nuñez said.
Ladapo said he is honored to have been chosen by DeSantis to serve as Florida’s next surgeon-general.
“We must make health policy decisions rooted in data and not in fear.
“From California, I have observed the different approaches taken by governors across the country and I have been impressed by DeSantis’ leadership and determination,” he said.
The new surgeon-general said he was impressed by DeSantis’ leadership to ensure that Floridians were afforded all opportunities to maintain their health and wellness, while preserving their freedoms as Americans.
“It is a privilege to join his team and serve the people of Florida,” he said.
Ladapo was recently granted a professorship at the University of Florida (UF) College of Medicine.
Prior to joining UF, he served as an associate professor at the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA),caring for hospitalised patients.
He is a graduate of Wake Forest University, who also holds an MD from Harvard Medical School and a PhD in Health Policy from Harvard Graduate School of Arts and Sciences.
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