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Divert part of UN peacekeeping budget to peace-building: India

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United Nations, Aug 30: India has suggested diverting a portion of the peacekeeping budget to the under-funded peace-building activities because there can be lasting peace only with development and political solutions.

Criticising UN peacekeeping, India’s Deputy Permanent Representative Tanmaya Lal called on Tuesday for reforming the operations to align them with peace-building objectives and finding political solutions to conflicts — a view shared by UN experts and several countries, including the US.

“There is an obvious lack of appropriate investment into the political dialogue and a huge mismatch between resource allocation for peacekeeping and peace-building,” he told a Security Council debate on peacekeeping and sustaining peace.

While this problem was acknowledged, only lip service was paid finding the resources, he said.

Lal noted that only meagre resources are now available for development programmes and peace-building is allocated less than one per cent of the funds set aside for peacekeeping.

The 2017-18 UN budget for peacekeeping operations is $7.3 billion.

Therefore, he said: “We may consider whether allocation of an appropriate percentage of funds from the peacekeeping budget to activities related to peace-building and sustaining peace in those situations could be an option to move forward to achieve sustaining peace in the various intra-state conflicts we are facing.”

“The long extending peacekeeping missions that go on for decades and elusive political solutions remind us the need to focus on long-term investment in sustainable development or institution building and inclusive political processes,” he added.

While peacekeeping operations rely on the deployment of troops contributed by member-nations to try to physically prevent conflict, peace-building and finding political solutions require civilian developmental, diplomatic and institution-building resources.

Lal welcomed Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s idea of ensuring greater cooperation between different departments of the UN, in particular bringing together the department of political affairs and peacekeeping operations for closer internal coordination, to effectively carry out its role of ensuring peace and security.

The Chair of Advisory Group of Experts on UN Peacebuilding Architecture Review, Gert Rosenthal, pointed out that organisationally the responsibilities for peacekeeping and development were split between the Security Council and the Economic and Social Council and the General Assembly.

“While there is considerable overlapping in carrying out these functions, generally the traditional ‘pillars’ of peace, human rights and development do operate in the proverbial ‘silos’ we all sadly have become accustomed to,” he said.

“Peacekeeping missions alone cannot produce lasting peace,” US Permanent Representative Nikki Haley said.

“They can help create space for peace to take hold, but they must be a part of a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes,” she said.

Haley called for “a larger strategy of coordinating the resources of the UN to prevent conflict to begin with and to address its causes”.

Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that the Security Council should set realistic, up-to-date mandates that also have the flexibility to evolve over time.

“Looking ahead, we must work together to ensure that peacekeeping lives up to its full potential as an essential tool for sustaining peace, not in isolation, but as part of our new, integrated approach,” she said.

Lal also drew attention to a major challenge to peacekeeping which has changed its very nature — armed conflicts taking place within a country often involving non-state actors and international terrorist networks.

A member of the UN’s High-level Independent Panel on Peace Operations, Youssef Mahmoud, acknowledged this fact. He said: “Given that the drivers of instability tend to be transnational in origin and effect, the analysis should assess the drivers of peace and conflict from a regional perspective.”

(Arul Louis can be reached at [email protected])

By Arul Louis

IANS

India

Pranab Mukherjee continues to be on ventilator support

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Pranab-Mukherjee

New Delhi, Aug 14 : The condition of former President Pranab Mukherjee remains critical but has not worsened, his daughter Sharmistha Mukherjee said on Friday.

Doctors attending on the 84-year-old former president at the hospital said his condition remained unchanged on Friday morning.

Mukherjee was admitted to the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi cantonment on Monday and was operated for the removal of a clot in the brain. He had also tested positive for COVID-19.

“The condition of Hon’ble Shri Pranab Mukherjee remains unchanged this morning (14 August 2020). He is under intensive care and continues to be on ventilatory support. His vital parameters are presently stable,” the hospital said in a statement.

The former President’s daughter took to Twitter after the medical bulletin, saying his condition has not worsened.

“Without getting into medical jargons, whatever I could understand from the last two days is that though my dads’ condition continues to remain very critical, it hasn’t worsened. There’s little improvement in his eyes’ reaction to light,” she said.

Mukherjee served as the 13th President of India from 2012 to 2017.

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AIIMS doctor found hanging in his house in South Delhi

He was a permanent resident of Panchkula, Chandigarh and had been living alone in this room since 2006.

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AIIMS

New Delhi, Aug 14 : The decomposed body of a 40-year-old AIIMS doctor was found hanging at his house in South Delhi’s Gautam Nagar.

According to the police, the body of Doctor Mohit Singhla was found in a decomposed state in the room, a suicide note was also found later in the evening in which he did not blame anyone for his death.

The police received a PCR call at around 3:10 pm on Friday. The caller informed that a foul smell coming from the house in Gautam Nagar. Immediately a team rushed to the spot, and the police found the decomposed dead body of a person hanging in a room locked from inside, on the second floor of the house.

An investigation revealed that the deceased was a doctor working at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS).

“Doctor Mohit Singhla was posted in the department of Paediatrics and initial investigation revealed that he last joined his office on Tuesday,” said Atul Thakur, DCP South Delhi.

It is also suspected that Doctor Mohit may have taken the extreme step one or two days before his body was found.

A suicide note has been recovered in which the doctor said that ‘there is no need to live a long life’.

“His parents have told the police that he has attempted suicide earlier too and that he was in depression,” said a senior police officer

He was a permanent resident of Panchkula, Chandigarh and had been living alone in this room since 2006.

“We have initiated the proceedings under section 174 CRPC,” said the officer.

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Monitoring committee’s powers clipped, SC deseals residential premises

The bench observed that in the teeth of various statutes, the monitoring committee would act strictly within the four corners of the powers conferred on it by the apex court.

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Supreme Court

New Delhi, Aug 14 : The Supreme Court on Friday said that it would not be appropriate for the monitoring committee to usurp statutory powers and act beyond the authority conferred upon it by the top court.

A bench comprising Justices Arun Mishra, B.R. Gavai and Krishna Murari said, “We quash Report No. 149 and other reports submitted subsequently in connection with Report No. 149 and the entire action of sealing pursuant thereto.”

On April 2, 2019, Report No. 149 was submitted by the Monitoring Committee concerning specific unauthorised constructions allegedly carried out in the Vasant Kunj and Rajokari area.

These constructions were not on public land. The respective persons owned the land, and the committee had submitted that a letter was received from the SDM, Mehrauli, on February 22, 2019 regarding unauthorised construction in Vasant Kunj, Delhi.

“The Monitoring Committee could not have sealed the residential premises, which were not misused for the commercial purpose as done vide Report No. 149, nor it could have directed the demolition of those residential properties,” said the top court.

The bench said the property sealed as per report No.149 be deA-sealed, and possession be restored to the owners forthwith.A “Let this order be complied with within three days”, said the top court.

However, the top court clarified that this order does not at all mean to belittle the yeomen service done by the monitoring committee for protection of Delhi.

“No doubt about it that matter of encroachment is a matter of concern, but the Monitoring Committee can act within the four corners of powers conferred upon it and purpose for which the court appointed the Monitoring Committee. It cannot exceed its powers and take any action beyond its authorization by the court,” noted the top court.

The bench observed that in the teeth of various statutes, the monitoring committee would act strictly within the four corners of the powers conferred on it by the apex court.

“When we consider the various orders passed by this Court from time to time, before the constitution of the Monitoring Committee, we find that this Court at no point in time has empowered the Monitoring Committee to take action with respect to residential premises not used for commercial purposea,” observed the top court.

The monitoring committee comprises K.J. Rao, former advisor to the Election Commissioner; Bhure Lal, chairman of Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority; and Major General (Retd) S.P. Jhingon. The committee was set up on March 24, 2006, by the top court.

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