Posts Tagged ‘UN Secretary-Genral Ben Ki-moon’

When Will India Quit Kashmir?

October 20, 2008

Kashmir Watch, Oct 19, 2008

Dr Abdul Ruff Colachal

After protesters thronged to United Nations Military Observer Group office in Srinagar demanding the resolution of Kashmir dispute, as it is already known, the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is planning to visit India towards the end of this month or in early November.  Another important move in this regard is that United Nations Secretary General has informed the Security Council of his intention to appoint Major General Kim Moon Hwa of the Republic of Korea as Chief Military Observer in the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP). Major General Kim will replace Major General Dragutin Repinc of Croatia.

The historic opening of Srinagar-Muzaffarabad and Poonch-Rawalakote roads for trade would be supplemented by some more bold initiatives to facilitate Kashmir resolution process, both on bilateral and internal fronts. Kashmir resolution process involves not only various shades of political opinion but all sections of the society. In a historic decision, the Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries (KCCI), Chamber of Commerce and Industry Jammu (CCIJ) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AJKCCI) on Oct 14 formed a 32-member joint chamber of commerce. But the cross-LoC trade cannot be an alternative to Kashmir solution.

The latest developments in the State offer Government of India an opportunity to reinforce its resolve of working through peaceful means and through public participation towards the resolution of the problem.

Freedom Leader Geelani

Calling for a complete shutdown on October 24, the United Nations Raising Day, the Hurriyat Conference (G) chairman, Syed Ali Shah Geelani on Saturday urged masses to send emails, letters, faxes, telegrams and SMS to the UN’s New York headquarters to press for granting Right to self determination (RSD) to people of Kashmir to determine their fate.

Indian Terrorism

Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Muhammad Sayeed claimed the State had started witnessing continuous changes of great importance and substance after the 2002 elections transforming its ground scenario positively and this had resulted in consistent increase of public participation in the democratic processes and his party contributed to it. Let that be. But he should enter now the freedom movement by actively involving himself with the freedom leaders fully committed to the cause of full and complete freedom from foreign occupation.

An international organization research on the Kashmir conflict,, to assess experiences with violence and mental health status among the conflict-affected Kashmiri population, has reported that 85 per cent of Valley population have confrontation with the violence while 66 percent have witnessed torture. The survey reported that the civilian population in Kashmir is exposed to high levels of violence, as demonstrated by the high frequency of deliberate events as detention, hostage, and torture. Respondents reported frequent direct confrontations with violence since the start of conflict, including exposure to crossfire (85.7%), round up raids (82.7%), the witnessing of torture (66.9%), rape (13.3%), and self-experience of forced labor (33.7%), arrests/kidnapping (16.9%), torture (12.9%), and sexual violence (11.6%).The survey found high levels of psychological distress that impacts on daily life and places a burden on the health system. Ongoing feelings of personal vulnerability (not feeling safe) were associated with high levels of psychological distress. Over one-third of respondents were found to have symptoms of psychological distress, women scored significantly higher. A third of respondents had contemplated suicide.

India Destroys Medicinal Fauna of Kashmir

Kashmir is infested with Indian terror forces, agents and pro-India elements sabotaging the cause of freedom. India argues it has every right to heavily militarize Jammu Kashmir and kill the Kashmiri Muslims stock and barrel. Around 60,000 troops are posted in the Gurez which has a habitation of only 30,000 people. The ecology of Gurez is under threat as the army troopers deployed in the border area have been accused of vandalizing the environment by extracting valuable medicinal plants and minerals. Gurez has got vast resources of precious and costly medicinal plants and minerals, which were extracted legally by the locals till 1989 when armed rebellion broke out in Kashmir. After the turmoil, thousands of soldiers were deployed in Gurez and they continue to man each and every ridge.

The locals said that valuable medicinal plants like Kuth (Saussurea cosstus), Diosoriea (Dioscorea deltoidea), Mushki Bala( Veleriana wallichii) Guchies (Morchella esculenta), Black Zeera, Artimesia, Bellodona, Podophyllum (Banwangon) are found in abundance in Gurez. They said that had these natural resources been extracted by the state administration with the help of locals, the economy of the border area would have received a boost. They, however, alleged that the troopers are illegally extracting the natural resources, posing ecological and economic threat to the border area.  “There are legal, scientific and technological methods to extract the medicinal plants from the forests. However, troops during illegal extraction are not following these methods and destroy the precious and costly medicinal plants for their monetary benefits,” they said. “We were exporting medicinal plants legally worth crores of rupees to other parts of India and world before start of militancy. After the deployment of army personnel in Gurez, peaks encumbered with medicinal plants and minerals are now on the verge of extinction.

Continued . . .

Peace is not the absence of conflict; it’s a way through it

September 22, 2008, Sunday, September 21, 2008

By Susan Van Haitsma

September 21 is International Day of Peace, a day established by the General Assembly of the United Nations for “commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace within and among all nations and people.” UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon also has urged all combatants to honor the day by standing down from battle. “I call for a day of global ceasefire: A 24-hour respite from the fear and insecurity that plague so many places,” he stated on this date last year. “I urge all countries and all combatants to honor a cessation of hostilities. I urge them to ponder the high price that we all pay because of conflict. I urge them to vigorously pursue ways to make this temporary ceasefire permanent.”

What is peace? Is it a temporary condition between periods of conflict? A worthy but unattainable ideal? Just a hope, or a dream?

Peace is not as elusive as that. It’s got a past, present and future. Peace is not so much a goal as a process. As the great nonviolent organizer, AJ Muste famously said, “There is no way to peace. Peace is the way.”

Peace is not the absence of conflict; it’s a way through it. Because we humans are always going to be in conflict in some form or another, making peace means actively addressing conflict and injustice – not running away from it — using nonviolent methods. The choice is always available.

Some forms of peacemaking are so common that most people do it just like breathing. It’s the smile of affirmation, the word of encouragement, the humor that eases tension, the candid statement that clears the air. It’s the community garden, the guitar lesson, the basketball game. We make peace a hundred times a day because it’s the natural thing to do.

Peacemaking is also a discipline. We may make conscious decisions to refrain from gossip or name-calling, learn how to apologize, let go of a grudge, and firmly and respectfully stand up to bullying. Nonviolence, at its best, involves confronting an adversary while simultaneously preserving the adversary’s dignity.

People using principled nonviolence catch courage from one another. Like the father who forgives the man who murdered his daughter and then visits him in prison, the unarmed peace team that intercedes between armed militias, the former gang member who talks kids out of retaliatory violence, the soldier who refuses to return to war.

Peacemaking is done spontaneously or may be strategically planned – and is often both. Actions may be immediate responses to overt violence or symbolic acts that address root causes of injustice. Methods may include civil disobedience, nonviolent resistance and creative intervention. Like the elderly woman who is first to crawl under the barricade, the young people who sit in the road to halt business as usual, the cellist who plays Bach in the middle of a besieged town square, the student who faces down the rolling tanks.

The more we know about nonviolence, the more likely we are to use it. If media reports about people who commit violence dominate the news at the same time that nonviolent actions are ignored or minimized, what message does this convey, especially to young people who want to be heard?

I’m not convinced that violence sells the news, but I do think that the news sells violence, and it doesn’t have to.

I’d like to see what would happen if, even just for one day, like a Global Day of Ceasefire, all major media outlets around the world directed their journalists, photographers and videographers to document the ways people are choosing active nonviolence in the face of conflict, terror and injustice. Inspiration is contagious. A temporary ceasefire could become permanent.

Susan Van Haitsma writes as makingpeace on the Austin American-Statesman reader blogs.

MIDEAST: Israel Pushes Ahead with Settlement Expansion

August 28, 2008

By Mel Frykberg

JERUSALEM, Aug 27 (IPS) – Israel has published tenders for the construction of 1,761 illegal housing units for Israeli settlers in occupied east Jerusalem alone, according to the Israeli rights group Peace Now.

The expansion plans come despite promises by the Israeli government at last year’s peace summit at Annapolis, Maryland (in the U.S.) to freeze all settlement growth.

“Once again this government has shown that its words and commitments are meaningless, and they have no intention of keeping to their word,” says Peace Now.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has stressed repeatedly that settlement construction or expansion in the West Bank is contrary to international law and Israel’s commitments under the ‘road map’ peace process.

The road map was a series of peace-building measures proposed by U.S. President George W. Bush in 2002 and subsequently developed by the diplomatic Quartet of the European Union, the United Nations, Russia and the United States.

Ban Ki-moon further urged Israel to freeze all settlement activity and to dismantle outposts erected since March of 2001.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, normally a diehard supporter of Israel, also expressed her concern about the settlement building during her last visit to Israel several months ago.

“It’s important to have an atmosphere of confidence and trust,” Rice said following talks she held with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in Ramallah. “The United States believes that the (settlement) actions and the announcements that are taking place are indeed having a negative effect on the atmosphere for negotiation.”

The new construction should not be allowed to shape future Israeli-Palestinian borders, which remain under negotiation, Rice said. “The United States will not let these activities have any effect on final status negotiations, including final borders.”

The Geneva Conventions specifically forbid the transfer of a civilian population into occupied territory.

But even as Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was meeting with Abbas in Jerusalem last week in an endeavour to further the peace process, plans for further settlement construction were already under way.

At the beginning of the month, prior to Peace Now’s statement, the Israel Lands Authority published tenders for the construction of 130 new housing units in Har Homa, East Jerusalem.

Continued . . .

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