Priyanka calls for more help for Rohingya children

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Priyanka Chopra visited the Hariakhali camp for Rohingya refugees. Below, at the weekend’s British royal wedding. Photos/social media
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Priyanka Chopra highlights plight of Rohingya refugee children in UNICEF visit to Bangladesh. Photo courtesy: Priyanka Chopra Instagram
Updated 23 May 2018
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Priyanka calls for more help for Rohingya children

  • Violence drove 700,000 Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh — 60% are children!”
  • Priyanka met children at Unchiprang camp, which is currently home to around 30,000 Rohingyas

DHAKA: Bollywood superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Priyanka Chopra has been using the power of her fame to focus world leaders’ — and her fans’ — attention on the plight of Rohingya refugee children.
In a post on her official Instagram account, she wrote: “In the second half of 2017, the world saw horrific images of ethnic cleansing from the Rakhine State of Myanmar. This violence drove nearly 700,000 Rohingya across the border into Bangladesh — 60% are children!”
Priyanka, UNICEF global Goodwill Ambassador, has embarked on a four-day visit to Rohingya children in the refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.  On Monday she reached Dhaka in her bid to witness the plight of Rohingya children with her own eyes and monitor conditions on the ground.
Priyanka’s field trip with UNICEF started early in the morning when she visited the Hariakhali camp of Teknaf subdistrict, in Cox’s Bazar – one of the main entry points for Rohingya refugees.  She spoke to Rohingya children, asking them about living conditions, what schooling they are receiving at the camps and whether they had had proper vaccinations.
“The world needs to care. We need to care. These kids are our future. Please lend your support at www.supportunicef.org,” Priyanka added in her Instagram post.
“She is here to raise global awareness of the issue of Rohingya refugee children,” said Benjamin Steinlechner, UNICEF spokesperson in Cox’s Bazar.  The UNICEF ambassador will return to Dhaka on Thursday after concluding her visit to the refugee camps, Steinlechner told Arab News.
On Tuesday, Priyanka met children at Unchiprang camp, which is currently home to around 30,000 Rohingyas.


Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

Updated 18 October 2018
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Kosovo votes to create national army over Serb objections

  • Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted to set up a 5,000-strong national army
  • The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops

PRISTINA: Parliament in Kosovo, Europe’s newest independent state which relies on NATO troops for its protection, voted on Thursday to set up a 5,000-strong national army though its Serb minority said the move was illegal.
Serb deputies, backed by Belgrade which does not recognize Kosovo’s independence, have blocked any such move in the past saying creation of a national army required a change to the constitution.
But three laws promoted by the Kosovo government and passed by a parliamentary vote on Thursday simply upgraded the mandate of the lightly-armed domestic Kosovo Security Force (KSF) to become a national army — something which the government said did not require any changes to the constitution.
The vote was passed with 98 in favor in the 120-seat parliament, though it was boycotted by the legislature’s 11 Serb deputies. A second vote will be required in the next few days.
“The three laws have one task, to protect the territorial integrity of Kosovo, to protect the citizens of all communities in Kosovo,” Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj said before the vote.
The landlocked Balkan territory of 1.8 million, which declared independence in 2008, is still guarded by 4,000 stationed NATO troops nearly two decades after the end of the war.
NATO moved into the fledgling state in June 1999 following weeks of air strikes to halt the killing and expulsion of ethnic Albanian civilians by Serbian forces fighting a two-year counter-insurgency after the break-up of Yugoslavia.
The United States and most of the European Union member states recognize Kosovo. But objections by permanent Security Council members Russia and China which back Serbia in not accepting Kosovo’s statehood prevent it from being a member of the United Nations.
The laws passed said the new army would have 5,000 active soldiers and 3,000 reservists. The present KSF security force is a lightly armed, 2,500-strong force trained by NATO and tasked with crisis response, civil protection and ordinance disposal.
NATO says it has no plans to leave the territory just now, but it suggested that any change to the status of the KSF might lead to a reduction in its forces there.
“Any change in the structure, mandate and mission of the Kosovo Security Forces is for the Kosovo authorities to decide,” a NATO official told Reuters in an emailed answer.
“NATO supports the Kosovo Security Force under its current mandate. Should this mandate evolve, the North Atlantic Council will have to re-examine the level of NATO’s engagement in Kosovo. We cannot predict decisions by the North Atlantic Council.”