Photo: Peacekeepers from the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) at the Line of Control that separates the two countries. UN Photo/Evan Schneider. - Photo: 2016

NEWSBRIEFS: Ban Commends India, USA for Backing Early Entry into Force of Paris Accord – Swede to Monitor India-Pakistan Ceasefire Line – UN Rights Experts Bash India

NEW YORK – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has commended a joint statement on climate change made by India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and United States President Barack Obama announcing their support for early entry into force of the Paris Agreement, and encouraged all countries to accelerate their domestic processes to join or ratify it.

“The Secretary-General welcomes the domestic steps being undertaken by both countries to join the Paris Agreement as soon as possible, including in 2016, and their collaborative efforts to address climate change,” indicated a statement issued by Ban’s spokesperson on June 8.

The Paris Agreement was adopted by all 196 Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) at the UN climate change conference in Paris last December, where all countries agreed to work to limit global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius, and to strive for 1.5 degrees Celsius.

“[The UN chief] is further encouraged by the resolve of India and the United States to pursue low greenhouse gas emission development strategies and successful outcomes this year to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through the Montreal Protocol, the International Civil Aviation Organization Assembly, and the G20,” the statement added, noting that the joint announcement by India and the United States also follows on the heels of the G7 Ise-Shima Leaders’ Declaration.

Swede to Monitor India-Pakistan Ceasefire Line

Ban Ki-moon has appointed Major General Per Lodin of Sweden as the head of the United Nations mission tasked with monitoring the ceasefire line between India and Pakistan, UN News reported on June 8.

Major General Lodin succeeds Major General Delali Johnson Sakyi of Ghana, who completes his two-year assignment as Chief Military Observer and Head of Mission for the United Nations Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) on July 2.

With a military career in the Swedish Army beginning in 1978, Major General Lodin most recently held the position of Director of Procurement and Logistics for the Swedish Armed Forces.

According to the Security Council mandate given in resolution 307 of 1971, UNMOGIP observes and reports on ceasefire violations along and across the Line of Control and the working boundary between the South Asian neighbours in Jammu and Kashmir, as well as reports developments that could lead to ceasefire violations.

UN Rights Experts Bash India

GENEVAThree United Nations human rights experts have called on the Government of India to repeal the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) that is been has been increasingly used to obstruct civil society’s access to foreign funding, a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) stated on June 16 in Geneva.

“We are alarmed that FCRA provisions are being used more and more to silence organisations involved in advocating civil, political, economic, social, environmental or cultural priorities, which may differ from those backed by the Government,” said the UN Special Rapporteurs on human rights defenders, Michel Forst, on freedom of expression, David Kaye, and on freedom of association, Maina Kiai.

The experts’ call comes as the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs suspended for six months the registration of the non-governmental organization Lawyers Collective, under the FCRA. The suspension was imposed on the basis of allegations that its founders, human rights lawyers Indira Jaising and Anand Grover, violated the act provisions by using foreign funding for purposes other than intended.

Despite detailed evidence provided by the NGO to rebut all allegations and prove that all foreign contributions were spent and accounted for in line with FCRA, the suspension was still applied.

“We are alarmed by reports that the suspension was politically motivated and was aimed at intimidating, delegitimising and silencing Lawyers Collective for their litigation and criticism of the Government’s policies,” the experts said noting that the NGO is known for its public interest litigation and advocacy in defence of the most vulnerable and marginalised members of Indian society. Read more. [IDN-InDepthNews – 20 June 2016]

IDN is flagship agency of the International Press Syndicate.

Photo: Peacekeepers from the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) at the Line of Control that separates the two countries. UN Photo/Evan Schneider.

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