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UN issues desperate plea for financial aid in war-ravaged Yemen

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The United Nations has warned that three-quarters of the aid programmes backed by its agencies in war-ravaged Yemen will have to shutter in weeks without more funding, even as both COVID-19 and cholera continue to spread in the country facing the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

Yemen’s long-running conflict mainly pits Houthi rebels against a pro-government camp supported by a military coalition led by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The fighting has left some 24 million Yemenis – more than two-thirds of the population – to rely on some form of aid.

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International donors pledged $1.35bn for Yemen at a conference on June 2 – but that was well below a $2.4bn fundraising target needed to prevent severe cutbacks in the UN’s aid operation.

“More than 30 of the 41 UN-supported programmes in Yemen will close in the coming weeks if additional funds are not secured,” UN human rights spokesman Rupert Colville told a briefing in Geneva.

“Now, more than ever, the country needs the outside world’s help, and it’s not really getting it,” he said.

Jens Laerke, a spokesman for the US Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), said only 47 percent of the promised $1.35bn had actually been received.

Yemen has so far reported 564 confirmed coronavirus infections and 130 related deaths, but the figures lag and may not include all cases in areas controlled by the Houthis in the north, Colville said.

The challenging situation is compounded by the country’s extremely limited testing capacity. According to data compiled by the International Rescue Committee, Yemen has one of the world’s lowest testing rates, even compared with other conflict-hit countries, at just 31 tests per million citizens.

Meanwhile, some 137,000 cases of cholera and diarrhoea have been recorded this year, nearly a quarter of them in children below five, according to the UN.

‘Cataclysmic proportions’

The conflict has killed more than an estimated 100,000 people and displaced millions of others, pushing the impoverished country to the verge of famine and gutting its infrastructure.

The UN says the country’s health system has in effect collapsed, with hospitals lacking beds and basic medicine and turning away sick people. The country’s malnourished population has among the world’s lowest immunity levels to disease.

The world body’s children agency, UNICEF, said water, sanitation and hygiene services for four million people would start shutting down in July if it did not get $30m by the end of this month.

“The crisis is of cataclysmic proportions,” Sara Beysolow Nyanti, UNICEF’s country representative for Yemen, told Al Jazeera.

She said a lack of COVID-19 testing is exacerbating the humanitarian situation unfolding in Yemen, where young boys and girls are the most at risk.

“The children in Yemen are worse off than all children in the world – and for us, this is an emergency.”

“[There is] a pre-existing situation where children were already in dire need and now children are confronted with multiple issues – and COVID-19 just adds to their complex and very difficult lives.”

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Armenian Aggression

Amnesty International verifies use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia to attack Azerbaijani Barda

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Amnesty International has verified the use of banned cluster bombs by Armenia for the first time in the current Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, following an attack on the city of Barda in Azerbaijan.

On October 28, 2020, at approximately 1.30 pm (GMT+4) local time, one or several Smerch rockets were fired into Barda, striking a residential neighbourhood close to a hospital. The Azerbaijani Prosecutor General’s Office has stated that at least 21 people were killed, with an estimated 70 more injured.

Amnesty International’s Crisis Response experts verified pictures (taken by Vice News reporters in the city) of fragments of 9N235 cluster munitions from 9M55 Smerch rockets, that appear to have been fired into the city by Armenian forces.

“The firing of cluster munitions into civilian areas is cruel and reckless, and causes untold death, injury and misery,” said Marie Struthers, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“Cluster munitions are inherently indiscriminate weapons, and their use in any circumstances is banned under international humanitarian law.”

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Armenian Aggression

Lebanese human rights defenders condemn Armenian vandalism in Beirut

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By Trend

Lebanese human rights defenders condemn Armenian vandalism in Beirut, well-known Lebanese lawyer, expert on foreign policy and international law, board member of the International Association of Human Rights Defenders Tareg Chandeb told Trend.

Chandeb noted that the Lebanese Center for Legal and Political Research and Defense of Freedoms condemns the actions of the Lebanese Armenian extremist groups – their burning of the Turkish flag and the image of the president of Turkey.

Ongoing vandalism of some Armenian extremist groups and their incitement to sectarian strife in Lebanon requires Lebanese security forces to arrest these terrorists and punish them appropriately, Chandeb said.

He noted that the security forces and judicial bodies of Lebanon have not yet arrested a single Armenian extremist criminal who had previously abused Lebanon's relations with friendly Turkey.

Also, the security and judicial authorities of Lebanon didn’t take any action against the Armenian extremists who violated Lebanese laws and recruited people as mercenaries, sending them to fight in the occupied Nagorno-Karabakh against peaceful Azerbaijanis.

He also noted that Azerbaijan is a friendly country and Lebanon maintains official diplomatic relations with it.

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Armenian Aggression

Armenia once again violates ceasefire agreements

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By Trend

If to look at the history of the Karabakh conflict, one very interesting detail can be traced – the actions of Yerevan have always been aimed at violating the agreements reached, especially the agreements on a ceasefire and a humanitarian truce, which became relevant due to the latest known events, Trend reports.

The agreement on the third ceasefire regime in Nagorno-Karabakh entered into force at 8:00 am on October 26. However, already five minutes after the regime entered into force, Armenia violated the agreements. Why?

In 1991, 1992, 1993, temporary armistice agreements were concluded:

Kazakhstan played its role during the first war in Nagorno-Karabakh and made the first attempt at peace. Former President of Kazakhstan Nursultan Nazarbayev and then Former Russian President Boris Yeltsin tried to end the hostilities. Despite the consensus reached, Armenia didn’t stop its attacks. Peacekeeping efforts were stopped during the crash of an Azerbaijani MI-8 helicopter with Russian, Kazakh observers, and high-ranking Azerbaijani government officials on board when it was shot down by Armenia over the village of Garakand in the Khojavand district on November 20, 1991.

On February 25, 1992, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati arrived in Baku to apply the experience of the Iran-Iraq war in Karabakh. On February 26, the parties promised each other by telephone a ceasefire from February 27 to 9 am on March 1, after which Velayati arrived in Ganja and began to wait for the promises. On February 26, Armenian militants committed the Khojaly genocide.

In May 1992, the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Tehran and signed a truce. But as soon as the negotiations ended, the Armenian military stormed Shusha city.

On August 27, a meeting of the foreign ministers of Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan, and Armenia took place in Alma-Ata. Its holding was agreed on the eve in a telephone conversation of the presidents of these states. The ceasefire entered into force on Sept. 1, 1992, but was violated within a few days by the Armenian side.

With the mediation of Russia, the ceasefire agreement of September 19, 1992, entered into force on September 25, 1992. The ceasefire was violated by the Armenian side.

Former Iranian President Rafsanjani brokered a ceasefire agreement between the parties on October 28, 1993. Again Armenia violated the ceasefire.

Former Armenian President Robert Kocharian in his book "Life is Freedom: Autobiography of the Ex-President of Armenia and Karabakh" wrote: "We have repeatedly tried to negotiate with Azerbaijan on a truce and ceasefire. But every time for some reason it seemed to me that I needed to take advantage of inept actions. We managed to take advantage of the "truce window" in October 1993, that’s when, having agreed on a ceasefire, we established de facto control over Zangilan on October 29."

On December 5-6, 1994, at the CSCE summit in Budapest, in order to coordinate mediation efforts within the CSCE, it was decided to establish the institution of the co-chairmanship of the Minsk Conference. At the Budapest Summit, the CSCE Chairman-in-Office was instructed to negotiate to reach a political agreement to end the armed conflict. The specified political agreement was intended to eliminate the consequences of the conflict and allow the convening of the Minsk Conference.

On May 12, 1994, an agreement on a ceasefire was reached between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which, with the exception of local and short-term violations, lasted until April 2016;

On March 23, 1995, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office issued a mandate to the Minsk Process Co-Chairs. At the summit held on December 2-3, 1996 in Lisbon, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, and the OSCE Chairman-in-Office recommended the fundamental principles of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’s settlement, which Armenia rejected, becoming the only one of the 54 OSCE member states that voted against the proposal.

On April 2, 2016, after another provocation of the Armenian army, large-scale military clashes took place. As a result, the Armenian army suffered losses and retreated, and the Azerbaijani army took control of new strategic heights. On June 20, 2016, in St. Petersburg, at the initiative of Russian President Vladimir Putin, a meeting was held between the presidents of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia;

On July 11, 2018, the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held their first meeting after the ‘Velvet Revolution’ in Armenia in May 2018. On the eve of the new leadership of Armenia proposed to change the format of negotiations on Karabakh.

On July 12, 2020, after another provocation by Armenia, clashes began in the Tovuz direction of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border, which continued with varying intensity for about a week;

The new leadership of Armenia, trying to change the format of the negotiations, as well as declaring the inadmissibility of any concessions, actually disrupted the process of peace agreements. New statements by the Prime Minister of Armenia N.Pashinyan and the leaders of the military junta in Karabakh indicated the continuation of the aggressive policy and the existence of plans of official Yerevan in this direction;

On September 27, 2020, the Azerbaijani army reacted harshly to the new provocations of the Armenian side. Within a month, 4 cities, 3 settlements, 165 villages were liberated. In fact, the Azerbaijani army in one month returned the territories that Armenia had seized in the early 1990s for several years;

In fact, the 1994 ceasefire ceased to exist. Armenia bears full responsibility for the current situation, which has consistently thwarted all agreements both on the resolution of the conflict and on ensuring the ceasefire;

In a short time, which had existed for 27 years, the status quo and the line of contact were eliminated. A new situation has developed in which Armenia is forced to agree to the withdrawal of troops from the territory of Azerbaijan.

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