Monday’s Daily Brief: Independent UN experts on Myanmar, UN chief renounces attacks in US, Libyan airport violence, UN spokesperson on Kashmir, and FAO and Italy on development

World Bank/Markus Kostner Yangon is the commercial capital of Myanmar. (file 2011)

This article is brought to you in association with the United Nations.


Our main stories today: Myanmar companies bankroll ‘brutal operations’ of military; UN chief renounces shootings in the United States; ‘Repeated indiscriminate’ shelling of Libyan airport raises concern; UN voices ‘concern’ over Kashmir; and new UN agriculture chief reaffirms commitment with Italy on development

Myanmar companies bankroll ‘brutal operations’ of military, independent UN experts claim in new report

Money earned by the Myanmar military from international and domestic business deals, “substantially enhances its ability to carry out gross violations of human rights with impunity” according to a report released on Monday by an independent United Nations group looking into military-business ties in the South East Asian country.

In a statement, the UN Independent International Fact-Finding Mission on Myanmar called on the international community to impose targeted sanctions and arms embargoes on the Myanmar military.

The mission members said that their latest report on Myanmar has established, for the first time, the degree to which the country’s military uses its own businesses, foreign companies and arms deals to support “brutal operations” against ethnic groups that constitute “serious crimes under international law”, bypassing civilian oversight and evading accountability.

Read our full story here.

UN chief renounces armed attacks in the United States

UN chief António Guterres has condemned in the “strongest terms” the terrorist attack in El Paso, Texas, on Saturday, and also expressed his “shock and outrage” over the mass shooting only hours later that took place in Dayton, Ohio

The UN chief extended his heartfelt condolences to the families and loved ones of the victims and expressed his solidarity with the peoples and Governments of the United States and Mexico, from where a number of those killed and injured in the El Paso attack hailed.

In a statement issued through his spokesperson, Stéphane Dujarric, on Monday, he stressed the need for “all to work together to counter violence rooted in hatred, racism, xenophobia and all forms of discrimination”.

‘Repeated indiscriminate’ shelling of Libyan airport sparks concern of UN envoy

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the UN Support Mission in Libya, Ghassan Salame, has condemned, the “repeated indiscriminate” shelling targeting Mitiga airport.

As the only functioning airport available for millions of civilians, it is also used to deliver humanitarian assistance in the greater Tripoli area.

“These attacks have continued unabated since the start of the LNA [ Libyan National Army] offensive against Tripoli on 4 April despite United Nations’ calls for the protection of all civilian infrastructure and for precautions to protect the civilian population”, stated Mr. Salame.

Ahead of the upcoming the Hajj pilgrimage season, the attack also jeopardizes the ability or worshippers to travel from western Libya.

On Saturday, after projectiles hit the immediate vicinity of the taxiway used by commercial airliners, more than 250 pilgrims were forced to seek alternative arrangements.

The Special Representative reminded the conflict’s parties that “the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution must at all times be fully respected in accordance with international human rights and humanitarian laws”.

“Repeated strikes against Mitiga airport are one element of the increasing violence affecting the civilian population”, observed the UN envoy, who also worries about the broader impact on those directly affected by the fighting, including the thousands of civilians trapped in frontline areas and the hundreds of thousands of displaced.

UN voices ‘concern’ over Kashmir

The UN has said it is “following with concern the tense situation” in Kashmir after India’s government revoked part of the constitution relating to the special status of Indian-administered Kashmir.

Article 370 of the constitution granted significant autonomy to the state of Kashmir.

Speaking in New York, Stéphane Dujarric, the Spokesperson of the UN Secretary-General, said the United Nations was “aware of reports of restrictions on the Indian side of Kashmir,” and urged “all parties to exercise restraint.”

He added that the UN Military Observer Group in India and Pakistan, known as UNMOGIP, has observed and reported an increase in military activity along the line of control which separates India from Kasmir.

India and Pakistan fought several conflicts over the disputed region and the UN has been mandated since 1949 to monitor the ceasefire between the two countries.

UN agriculture chief reaffirms strategic partnership with Italy to achieve development

The new head of the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Qu Dongyu has reaffirmed the importance of the agency’s relationship with its host country, Italy.

Mr. Qu, who began his tenure as FAO Director-General on 1 August, met the Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Monday and stressed the importance of Italy’s collaboration with FAO, particularly on achieving Zero Hunger and eradicating malnutrition.

FAO is headquartered in the Italian capital, Rome.

Italy ranks as one of FAO’s most important partners and the Director-General welcomed its growing financial commitment to support the agency’s work in several key areas, including nutrition, migration and healthy diets.

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