UN expert calls for support to protect Burkina Faso from terrorism threat

“Any significant attack on the infrastructure or security of Burkina Faso would undermine social cohesion within the country, impair inward investment, and further de-stabilize the region,” the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson, said at the end of a five-day visit to the country. “The international community needs to ensure that the material and other resources necessary to protect this small and peaceful State, from both external and internal threats, are made available to it.”Mr. Emmerson urged the European Union, the UN and other international donors, to maintain and increase global support for Burkina Faso, and recommended donors to target their support to measures that contribute to social justice, as well as to the protection of the country’s borders, alleviation of poverty, and promotion of job and wealth creation in the country. Burkina Faso is particularly vulnerable at the moment due to its geographical proximity to the conflict in northern Mali, and the length of its borders with Mali and Niger, Mr. Emmerson said, adding that youth unemployment is also a source of tension in the country, where nearly half the population falls beneath the poverty line.“It is essential that a vulnerable State in such an exposed geographical location, has the tools at its disposal to ensure the security of its borders, maintain the security of inward investment that it is essential to its development, and address the economic, social, political and human rights concerns that can so easily become conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism,” he said.Mr. Emmerson praised the country’s commitment to peaceful negotiation and recalled Burkina Faso’s role as chief peace negotiator for many of the major conflicts in the region.“Burkina Faso plays a critical role in promoting peace and dialogue within the sub-region. It will almost certainly occupy an important mediating position in the forthcoming negotiations concerning the future of Mali, and will significantly contribute to the maintenance of any settlement that is reached.”During his five-day visit, the rights expert met with Government officials as well as representatives of the judiciary and law enforcement, and with prosecutors. Mr. Emmerson also held talks with parliamentarians, non-governmental organizations, and visited detention centres.Independent experts, or special rapporteurs, are appointed by the Geneva-based UN Human Rights Council to examine and report back, in an unpaid capacity, on specific human rights themes. Mr. Emmerson is scheduled to present a report to the Council based next year on his visit. read more

Return of Kuwaiti property by Iraq signals hope of full normalization between

“The Secretary-General commends the efforts of the Governments of Iraq and Kuwait towards resolving outstanding issues between them and calls for their continued constructive engagement,” said a statement issued by his office.On 28 October, the Iraqi government chaired the first formal meeting of committees charged with the coordination and guidance of new national priorities, the UN Special Representative for Iraq, Jan Kubis told the Security Council on Tuesday.Such priorities include Iraq’s pledges for reconstruction funds to rebuild its economy and infrastructure, following last year’s victory over ISIL or Dae’sh militants, which were made in Kuwait, as a major conference on reconstructing Iraq, last February.“This signals a Government’s determined shift toward development and investment,” Mr. Kubis said.Iraq is still indebted to Kuwait following the 1991 Gulf War, when former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces invaded and annexed the small nation, seizing oil reserves and other property, prompting an international coalition to launch an offensive to liberate Kuwait.This year, following many months of preparation, Iraqi Foreign Ministry representatives returned “numerous property items taken during the invasion,” to Kuwait on 11 and 13 November, Mr. Kubis said, marking a “clear indication” of the Iraqi government’s commitment to resolving outstanding issues.The repatriation of property being handed over more than 25 years on, includes 2,300 books, an archive of Kuwait Television video tapes, a sword, and a valuable painting.“The Secretary-General reiterates that the United Nations will remain fully committed to the resolution of all outstanding issues between Iraq and Kuwait,” said Wednesday’s statement. read more