Unlimited in scope U.N. creates commission to investigate Israel

Luke 19:43 The days will come upon you when your enemies will build an embankment against you and encircle you and hem you in on every side.

Important Takeaways:

  • UN Creates Unprecedented, Open-Ended Probe Against Israel: ‘This Is Something to Empower Hamas’
  • The unprecedented UN decision puts Israel under almost perpetual investigation covering sovereign Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.
  • Hillel Neuer, executive director of the UN watchdog, says the idea for the commission started during Israel’s war with Hamas last May.
  • “You have the UN dedicating millions of dollars to targeting one single country – Israel. And keep in mind, this is not something to promote peace, human rights, or justice. This is something to empower Hamas. We’ve seen it before. Hamas is the first supporter of these commissions of inquiry,”
  • While the US voted against the resolution, the Biden administration has rejoined the Human Rights Council after the Trump administration pulled out. Neuer says the US has an opportunity.
  • “We hope that the United States will call out this absurdity of members on the council like Cuba, China, Russia, Venezuela. Libya just elected the vice president of the council. The United States needs to call this out… China, Iran, Russia, Cuba, Venezuela,” says Neuer.

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‘End Times Beast’ Described in The Bible Removed from UN

Revelation 13:2. “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

Important Takeaways:

  • Sculpture Which Some Likened to ‘End Times Beast’ Described in The Bible Removed from UN
  • The artwork known as the “guardian for international peace and security”
  • Stéphane Dujarric, spokesperson for the Secretary-General, told CBN News the sculpture was not permanent and its removal was planned.
  • Daniel Chapter 7: 2 – 4 describes the beast with the body of a lion and wings of an eagle:
  • “Daniel spake and said, “I saw in my vision by night, and, behold, the four winds of the heaven strove upon the great sea. And four great beasts came up from the sea, diverse one from another.

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Yemen’s Houthis say allowed temporary resumption of U.N. flights to Sanaa airport

CAIRO (Reuters) -The aviation authority run by the Houthi administration in Yemen has allowed temporary resumption of flights by the United Nations and other organizations to Sanaa international airport on Monday, the Houthi-run Saba news agency said.

The Iran-aligned Houthi movement said earlier this month that the capital’s airport had been put out of operation after air strikes carried out by the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen.

The coalition said it only attacked military targets at the airport, from where drone strikes have been launched against Saudi targets.

The airport has been closed to civilian flights since 2015, after the Houthis ousted the Saudi-backed government from Sanaa, although U.N. planes have been permitted to land there.

The Houthi-run aviation authority said in a statement on Monday it allowed the resumption of the UN flights “after the malfunctions in communications and navigational devices were temporarily fixed,” the agency report said.

The authority complained that it could not guarantee the long-term continuity of these old devices, and urged the UN to help the entry of new devices that it had purchased, it added.

The coalition said that the strikes it had carried would have no effect on operational capacity, airspace management, air traffic, or ground handling operations.

(Reporting by Mahmoud Mourad; Editing by Leslie Adler and Alistair Bell)

U.N. concerned by reinstatement of Trump-era ‘Remain in Mexico’ border policy

GENEVA (Reuters) – The United Nations said on Friday it was concerned by the reinstatement of a policy put in place by former President Donald Trump that forced tens of thousands of migrants to wait in Mexico for the resolution of their U.S. asylum cases.

A U.S. appeals court on Monday rejected a renewed attempt by the Biden administration to end the policy – often referred to as “Remain in Mexico”, and officially called the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP).

President Joe Biden, a Democrat, scrapped his Republican predecessor’s policy soon after taking office in January this year. But after Texas and Missouri sued over the rescission, a federal judge ruled it had to be reinstated.

“We are concerned about the re-implementation of the Migrant Protection Protocol and the risk that it poses on the already stretched humanitarian capacity of Mexico to receive migrants,” UN Human Rights Office spokesperson Ravina Shamdasani told reporters in Geneva.

“We are concerned that any kind of heightened security procedures to deal with migration will only drive migrants further into unsafe routes and we are afraid that we will see more resort to the dangerous routes and to smuggling networks.”

Under the 2019 policy, migrants seeking asylum must wait weeks and sometimes years in Mexico for a U.S. court date instead of being allowed to await their hearings in the United States. Biden decried the policy on the campaign trail and immigration advocates have said migrants stuck in dangerous border cities have faced kidnappings and other dangers.

Nancy Izzo Jackson, Senior Bureau Official for the U.S. Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, told reporters on Thursday: “We are trying to make it a much more humane policy, even as we work to appeal (the) decision in the courts.”

The number of migrants caught crossing the U.S.-Mexico border has soared to record highs this year, sparking criticism from Republicans.

Many migrants arrested at the border, however, are quickly expelled without being given a chance to even seek asylum under a different Trump policy put in place at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, which Biden has kept in place.

(Reporting by Paul Carrel; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

U.N. chief urges action on ‘killer robots’ as Geneva talks open

By Emma Farge

GENEVA (Reuters) – United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for new rules covering the use of autonomous weapons as a key meeting on the issue opened in Geneva.

Negotiators at the U.N. talks have for eight years been discussing limits on lethal autonomous weapons, or LAWS, which are fully machine-controlled and rely on new technology such as artificial intelligence and facial recognition.

But pressure has increased in part due to a U.N. panel report in March that said the first autonomous drone attack may have already occurred in Libya.

“I encourage the Review Conference to agree on an ambitious plan for the future to establish restrictions on the use of certain types of autonomous weapons,” Guterres said at the start of the five-day talks.

The Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons has 125 parties including the United States, China and Israel.

Some participating states such as Austria call for a total ban on LAWS while others including Washington have been more reticent and have pointed to potential benefits of such weapons which might be more precise than humans in hitting targets.

Amnesty International and civil society groups are calling for countries to start negotiating an international treaty and will present a petition to negotiators later on Monday.

“The pace of technology is really beginning to outpace the rate of diplomatic talks,” said Clare Conboy of Stop Killer Robots. “(This) is a historic opportunity for states to take steps to safeguard humanity against autonomy in the use of force.”

France’s Disarmament Ambassador Yann Hwang, who is president of the talks, called for “key and vital decisions” to be taken this week. However, diplomats say the body, which requires consensus, is unlikely to reach agreement launching an international treaty, with Russia among others expected to oppose such a step.

“There is not enough support to launch a treaty at this stage but we think some principles could be agreed for national implementation,” said a diplomat involved in the talks.

If no agreement can be reached, countries might move talks to another forum either inside or outside the United Nations.

(Reporting by Emma Farge; Editing by Giles Elgood)

U.N. suspends food distribution in two towns in Ethiopia after looting

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The World Food Program (WFP) has suspended food distribution in Ethiopia’s Kombolcha and Dessie towns after looting of supplies that staff were unable to stop due to intimidation, including being held at gunpoint, the United Nations said on Wednesday.

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said a large quantity of humanitarian food supplies, including nutritional items for malnourished children, were stolen and looted in Kombolcha in the Amhara region.

“The small-scale theft of food escalated into mass looting of warehouses across Kombolcha in recent days, reportedly by elements of the Tigrayan forces and some members of the local population,” Dujarric told reporters.

“Such harassment of humanitarian staff by armed forces is unacceptable. It undermines the ability of the United Nations and all of our humanitarian partners to deliver assistance when it is most needed,” he added.

Government spokesperson Legesse Tulu and military spokesperson Colonel Getnet Adane did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

The looting and intimidation will worsen malnutrition and prolong food insecurity in northern Ethiopia, where an estimated 9.4 million people across the Tigray, Amhara and Afar regions need critical food assistance, Dujarric said.

Three WFP trucks used for humanitarian operations in Amhara were commandeered by military personnel and used for their own purposes this week, Dujarric said. He called for all parties to the conflict to respect and protect humanitarian relief personnel.

U.S. State Department spokesman Ned Price said that the humanitarian catastrophe in northern Ethiopia remains an “absolute priority” for the United States. Price repeated calls for the parties to engage in negotiations to end the conflict.

“On the one hand we are encouraging, but also on the other hand we do have a set of sticks,” Price said, referring to punitive measures that can be used, like the sanctions imposed on the Eritrean military last month.

The year-long war between the federal government and the leadership of the northern region of Tigray has killed thousands of civilians and forced millions to flee their homes.

(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis and Simon Lewis; Additional Reporting by Maggie Fick in Nairobi; Editing by William Maclean, Lisa Shumaker and Grant McCool)

Man with gun outside U.N. in New York surrenders to police

NEW YORK (Reuters) – A man who held an apparent shotgun to his neck near the United Nations headquarters in Manhattan on Thursday is in police custody and poses no threat, the New York City police department said.

Live news video showed the man surrendering to police outside the fence around the UN compound on Manhattan’s East Side.

“The individual is now in custody and there is NO THREAT to the public,” the New York Police Department tweeted.

The U.N. complex was temporarily put on lockdown on Thursday as police responded to the incident. Before turning himself in, the man paced back and forth by the fence and left several notebooks on the sidewalk, which were taken by police in heavy armor.

As traffic was diverted from the area, police tried to establish a dialogue with the man, who appeared to be his 60s, an NYPD spokesman said.

“We have absolutely zero indication that this person is a staff member or former staff member or in any way linked to the U.N.,” U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric told reporters.

Dujarric said an initial full lockdown was partially eased by early afternoon with the reopening of a separate entrance.

(Reporting by Michelle Nichols in New York; Writing by Katharine Jackson; Editing by Jonathan Oatis and Matthew Lewis)

UN official criticizes migrant deportations from southern U.S. border

By Sofia Menchu

GUATEMALA CITY (Reuters) – A top United Nations official has criticized the United States’ deportation of migrants from its southern border, pushing Washington for faster action to roll back hardline immigration policies left over from the previous administration.

Filippo Grandi, U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), urged President Joe Biden’s administration to do more, work faster and more strategically with Mexico and Central America to offer alternatives to illegal migration by improving security and job opportunities.

“We hear a lot of these programs being talked about, but we see very little at this moment still happening on the ground. And I think that this is the real issue …to prevent these movements from happening again or rather from continuing to happen,” Grandi, previously Commissioner-General of the UN Agency for Palestine refugees, told Reuters late Monday in Guatemala. His trip also included Mexico and El Salvador.

Biden vowed to lift many of the strict immigration policies of his predecessor Donald Trump. Still, several of Trump’s most criticized measures remain in place, including the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP) program, informally called “Remain in Mexico”, and Title 42, which enables quick deportations of migrations due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The U.S. is now deporting them back very quickly, but we disagree with that,” Grandi said.

“I am worried that the political context is very strong and for this administration, it may be difficult to do the right thing, which they want to do,” he said, adding that the United States should ensure “due process” before deportations.

The United States has deported more than 1.2 million migrants since the start of the pandemic, according to the American Immigration Council. Detentions at the U.S.-Mexico border have hit record highs.

Mexico, too, should offer alternatives to migrants, including those from Haiti, who arrive at the U.S. border after passing through Mexico and have no option but to request asylum, Grandi said.

“We say to Mexico, why not create a separate migration channel for them and provide them with migration opportunities?” Grandi said.

(Reporting by Sofia Menchu, writing by Cassandra Garrison; Editing by David Gregorio)

U.N. urges Mali to end hereditary slavery

By Nellie Peyton

DAKAR (Reuters) – U.N. human rights experts on Friday called on Mali to crack down on hereditary slavery after a series of violent attacks against people born into servitude.

Slavery was officially abolished in colonial Mali in 1905, but a system persists in which people are still forced to work without pay for families that enslaved their ancestors, the United Nations group of experts said in a statement.

Malian law does not specifically criminalize this form of slavery, so perpetrators are rarely held accountable, they said.

In September, a group of people considered slaves were attacked by other Malians who objected to their celebrating Independence Day, according to the U.N. experts.

The attacks went on for two days, leaving one man dead and at least 12 people injured. It was the eighth such attack this year in the Kayes region, about 500 kilometers (310 miles) northwest of the capital Bamako, the experts said.

“The fact that these attacks occur so often in this area shows that descent-based slavery is still socially accepted by some influential politicians, traditional leaders, law enforcement officials and judicial authorities in Mali,” they said.

“We have condemned this heinous practice many times before – now the Malian government must take action, starting with ending impunity for attacks on ‘slaves’.”

At least 30 people have been arrested from both sides and police have launched an investigation, the U.N. statement added.

Malian authorities could not immediately be reached for comment.

Descent-based slavery is also practiced in Mali’s neighbors Senegal, Burkina Faso, Niger and Mauritania, which became the last country in the world to abolish slavery in 1981.

In Mali, prosecutors charge most hereditary slavery cases as misdemeanors, according to the U.S. State Department’s latest Trafficking in Persons report. It recommended a 2012 anti-trafficking law be revised to include hereditary slavery.

(Additional reporting by Emma Farge in Geneva; Writing by Nellie Peyton; Editing by Peter Graff)

U.S. issues first passport with “X” gender marker

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said on Wednesday it had issued the first U.S. passport with an “X” gender marker, designed to give non-binary, intersex and gender non-conforming people a marker other than male or female on their travel document, according to a statement.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced in June that the X marker would be offered as an option on passports, following other countries including Canada, Germany, Australia and India who already offer a third gender on documents.

State Department spokesperson Ned Price said in a statement that the United States was moving toward adding the “X” gender marker as an option for those applying for U.S. passports or Consular Reports of Birth Abroad.

Price did not say who the first “X” gender passport was issued to.

“We look forward to offering this option to all routine passport applicants once we complete the required system and form updates in early 2022,” Price said.

(Reporting by Simon Lewis; Editing by Mark Porter)