News / USA

UN: Civilian Deaths in Conflicts on Rise

The United Nations' humanitarian chief warned Wednesday that the numbers of civilians killed and displaced in conflicts is on the rise.  John Holmes told the U.N. Security Council that civilians as well as the aid workers who are trying to help them are increasingly targeted by combatants and armed groups in conflict zones.  

John Holmes said 27 million people were displaced within their own countries at the end of last year due to conflict - the highest number on record.  Of that group, he said nearly seven million were newly displaced during the past year.

"One point eight million alone were in Pakistan - though many have since returned," said John Holmes. "But DRC, Sudan, Somalia, the Philippines and Colombia also experienced large-scale new displacement."

Holmes said equally troubling is that newly displaced persons continue to outnumber by a wide margin those who return home or are resettled.

Additionally, the U.N. Refugee Agency reported recently that last year there were more than 15 million refugees worldwide.

Again, John Holmes:

"Durable solutions are woefully missing for millions in protracted displacement situations, increasing both despair and reliance on humanitarian assistance," he said.

Holmes, who has overseen the United Nations' emergency relief and humanitarian work for the last 3.5 years and is about to step down from his post, told the council that limitations on humanitarian access remains a major problem in many countries in conflict.

He also warned that aid workers are increasingly coming under attack - more than 100 were killed during 2008 and 2009, and at least 30 so far this year; while an additional 200 others have been kidnapped and injured during the past four years.

Holmes urged the Security Council to be vigilant about accountability for perpetrators.

"The conduct of parties to conflict is inevitably affected by their sense of susceptibility to punishment and accountability to their victims and clear signals that impunity will not be tolerated," said Holmes.

Holmes said that although national justice systems must remain the first line of defense, the international community must explore other options when those systems are unable or unwilling to bring perpetrators to justice and provide remedies to victims.   

You May Like

US Firms Concerned About China's New Cyber Regulations

New rules would require technology companies doing business in financial sector to hand over their source code, adopt Chinese encryption algorithms More

WHO Focus on Ebola Shifts to Ending Outbreak

Focus to be less on building facilities and more on efforts to find infected people, manage their cases, engage with communities and ensure proper burials More

US Scientist Who Conceived of Groundbreaking Laser Technology Dies

Charles Townes, Nobel laureate, laser co-creator paved way for other scientific discoveries: CDs, eye surgery, metal cutters to name a few technologies that rely on lasers More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Webi
X
January 29, 2015 9:58 AM
Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Super Bowl Ads Compete for Eyes on TV, Web

Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 1) is about more than just the NFL's American football championship and big parties to watch the game. Viewers also tune in for the world famous commercials that send Facebook and Twitter abuzz. Daniela Schrier reports on the social media rewards for America’s priciest advertising.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Freedom on Decline Worldwide, Report Says

The state of global freedom declined for the ninth consecutive year in 2014, according to global watchdog Freedom House's annual report released Wednesday. VOA's William Gallo has more.
Video

Video As Ground Shifts, Obama Reviews Middle East Strategy

The death of Saudi Arabia’s king, the collapse of a U.S.-friendly government in Yemen and a problematic relationship with Israel’s leadership are presenting a new set of complications for the Obama administration and its Middle East policy. Not only is the U.S. leader dealing with adversaries in Iran, the Islamic State and al-Qaida, but he is now juggling trouble with traditional allies, as White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video MRI Seems to Help Diagnose Prostate Cancer, Preliminary Study Shows

Just as with mammography used to detect breast cancer, there's a lot of controversy about tests used to diagnose prostate cancer. Fortunately, a new study shows doctors may now have a more reliable way to diagnose prostate cancer for high risk patients. More from VOA's Carol Pearson.
Video

Video Smartphones About to Make Leap, Carry Basic Senses

Long-distance communication contains mostly sounds and pictures - for now. But scientists in Britain say they are close to creating additions for our smartphones that will make it possible to send taste, smell and even a basic touch. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.
Video

Video Saved By a Mistake - an Auschwitz Survivor's Story

Dagmar Lieblova was 14 when she arrived at Auschwitz in December 1943, along with her entire Czech Jewish family. All of them were to die there, but she was able to leave after several months due to a bureaucratic mix-up which saved her life. Now 85, with three children and six grandchildren, she says she has a feeling of victory. This report by Ahmad Wadiei and Farin Assemi, of RFE/RL's Radio Farda is narrated by RFE’s Raymond Furlong.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid