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UN getting closer to agreeing on Security Council reform: Lajcak

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United Nations, Sep 14: UN General Assembly President Miroslav Lajcak has said that the Security Council reform process has made headway in the past year and “we are getting closer to agreeing” on what it should be like.

Emphasising the need for a reform, he told reporters on Thursday that the inability of the Security Council to unite and act overshadows the positive work of the UN and the entire system “gets criticised harshly”.

Therefore, the importance of the reform process “goes well beyond the role of the Security Council”, he said.

Lajcak said that he had tried to ensure that the reform process was a credible one “and I think we succeeded on that”.

“I think here, the views of different member states would differ,” he conceded. “For some, we went very far; for some others, this was not far enough.”

The Intergovernmental Negotiations (IGN) as the reform process is known, was unable during the current session of the General Assembly to agree on a negotiating text, the most fundamental requirement for meaningful negotiations and in June rolled over the task to next session that begins later this month.

Lajcak appointed Ambassadors Kaha Imnadze of Georgia and Lana Nusseibeh of the United Arab Emirates as co-chairs of the IGN to revitalise the process stalled for over a decade.

“The current composition of the UN Security Council is not representative because it does not reflect the realities of 2018, of the 21st century. It copies the realities of 1945. So therefore, the call for reform is just, and it is not denied,” he said.

Despite a universal acceptance of the need for change, the reform process faced practical issues “like, if expanded, to how many members? What about veto rights? What about permanent, non-permanent, semi-permanent?”

But he added that the UN members “have to feel that the Security Council represents them all and they have to identify with the work of the Security Council.

“And this will not be the case for as long as there are important countries that believe that they are not adequately represented, or continents, and obviously starting with Africa.”

Lajcak said that he was certain that the member states would not allow the reform process to become a “routine question” and go around in circles.

“Honestly, I was taken aback by the level of emotions and also the level of frustration when we started the discussions about Security Council reform during this session,” he added.

“The Member States have very clear, very strong positions, and many of them will make sure that this will not become a routine.”

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Honour Killing in Pakistan : Teen, boyfriend beheaded by father

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Islamabad, Sep 24 : An 18-year-old girl was beheaded along with her 21-year-old boyfriend in Pakistan by her father and uncle in what the police are calling yet another incident of honour killing, the media reported on Monday.

The incident took place in a small village in Attock district when the man arrived at the girl’s house to meet her, police was quoted by Dawn News as saying. Soon after, the girl’s father and her uncle walked in and, after tying the victims with ropes, beheaded them with a sharp object.

The police have arrested both suspects and recovered the murder weapon as well, Sub-inspector of Saddar police station Asif Khan said.

Scores of people in Pakistan, an overwhelming majority of whom are women, are still being murdered by relatives for bringing “shame” on their family.

At least 280 such murders were recorded by the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan from October 2016 to June 2017 – a figure believed to be understated and incomplete.

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Trump, Abe discuss military ties, denuclearization of Korean Peninsula

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Trump and Abe hail US-Japan alliance

New York, Sep 24 : US President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held  talks on the sidelines of the UN General assembly and both the leaders  discussed trade ,military ties and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

Abe is  in New York this week for the U.N. General Assembly session and said he had a “very constructive” dinner meeting with President Trump at Trump Tower, where the leaders discussed trade and military ties.

Both the leaders also reaffirmed their commitment to denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.

“We had a very constructive discussion on trade and investment between Japan and the United States.”

“Prime Minister @AbeShinzo is coming up to Trump Tower for dinner but, most importantly, he just had a great landslide victory in Japan. I will congratulate him on behalf of the American people!” Trump tweeted earlier Sunday.

Abe added that Trump and he also had constructive talks on trade relations between Japan and the US.

Later, the Japanese Prime Minister tweeted that his dinner with Trump lasted longer than he expected, and allowed them to have frank and constructive conversations in a relaxed environment.

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End ‘brainwashing’ Muslims in Xinjiang : Amnesty to China

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Beijing, Sep 24 : Amnesty International has asked China to end the “brainwashing” and the mass incarceration of Uighur and other Turkic Muslim minorities in the Xinjiang Uighur Autonomous Region

Amnesty International in a report stated that China has held nearly one million Muslims  in “re-education” camps in the Xinjiang Uighur region.

In the past year, the government has intensified its campaign of mass internment, intrusive surveillance, political indoctrination and forced cultural assimilation against the region’s Uighurs, Kazakhs and other predominantly Muslim ethnic groups, according to the report.

The campaign prohibits any display of religious and cultural affiliation, including growing an “abnormal” beard, wearing a veil or head scarf, regular prayer, fasting or avoidance of alcohol, or possessing books or articles about Islam or Uighur culture as Chinese authorities consider them “extremist” behaviour, reports Efe news.

It is estimated that currently nearly one million Muslims are being held by the authorities in re-education camps, without the right to trial, access to lawyers or contact with family members, the report said.

“The mass detention camps are places of brainwashing, torture and punishment. A simple act of messaging your family abroad can get you detained highlights how ludicrous, unjustified and completely arbitrary the Chinese authorities’ actions are,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s East Asia Director.

The Chinese government justifies these measures as part of its counter-extremism and counter-terrorism efforts and only releases an individual who “has been transformed”.

Those who resist or fail to show sufficient progress could face punishments ranging from verbal abuse to food deprivation, solitary confinement or beatings.

“There have been reports of deaths inside the facilities, including suicides of those unable to bear the mistreatment,” the human rights organisation said, based on its interviews with former detainees.

Among them was Kairat Samarkan, who was sent to a detention camp in October 2017 after travelling to Kazakhstan and later released in February 2018. The Chinese authority accused him of “betraying his country”.

According to AI, Samarkan was hooded, made to wear shackles on his arms and legs and forced to stand in a fixed position for 12 hours.

There were almost 6,000 people held in the same camp as Samarkan, where they were forced to sing political songs such as “Long live Xi Jinping” and study speeches of the Chinese Communist Party, Samarkan recounted.

Travel abroad for work or education, particularly to majority Muslim countries, or contact with people outside China are also major reasons for suspicion, according to AI.

“Families have suffered enough. Hundreds of thousands of families have been torn apart by this massive crackdown. They are desperate to know what has happened to their loved ones and it is time the Chinese authorities give them answers,” said Bequelin.

AI called on the government of President Xi Jinping to put an end to this campaign of “systematic repression” against Muslims, a call raised on numerous occasions by many international organisations.

It is estimated that in China there are some 23 million Muslims or approximately 1.7 per cent of the population, among which are ethnic minorities such as Hui or others whose origins are linked to Uighur, Kazakh, Uzbek, Kyrgyz or Tajik people in Central Asia.

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