Arab ministers call for collective action for Palestinians amid COVID-19 pandemic

The ministers issued on Sunday a statement calling for collective action to help Palestinian authorities in the face of the pandemic. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 June 2020

Arab ministers call for collective action for Palestinians amid COVID-19 pandemic

  • The ministers highlighted the importance of tending to vulnerable communities in the region

DUBAI: The council of Arab ministers of social affairs has urged regional governments and organizations to help vulnerable groups fight COVID-19, including Palestinians.
The ministers issued on Sunday a statement calling for collective action to help Palestinian authorities in the face of the pandemic – as they are already embattled with internal conflicts.
They highlighted the importance of tending to vulnerable communities in the region, including internally displace people (IDPs) and refugees, state-run KUNA has reported.
The council also said emphasized the need to share information about national programs that help day laborers, low-income families, and the unemployed during the pandemic.
In the same video conference, the ministers discussed the importance of implementing the Arab strategic framework to eradicate poverty, which was adopted in the fourth Arab development summit held in Beirut last year.


Syrian, Russian airstrikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, as do extremist attacks — UN

Updated 07 July 2020

Syrian, Russian airstrikes in Idlib amount to war crimes, as do extremist attacks — UN

  • UN blames Syrian, Russian planes for bombing schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib

GENEVA: Syrian and Russian planes have carried out deadly aerial strikes amounting to war crimes on schools, hospitals and markets in Idlib province, UN investigators said on Tuesday in a report that also condemned attacks by extremist fighters.
They said that “indiscriminate bombardment” by pro-government forces, ahead of a March cease-fire brokered with Turkey, claimed hundreds of lives and forced nearly one million civilians to flee, which may amount to a crime against humanity.
The UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria also accused Hayat Tahrir Al-Sham (HTS), a extremist group that controls part of northwest Syria, of firing artillery into civilian areas “with no apparent legitimate military objective.”
Fighters from HTS, a group formerly known as Nusra Front, have tortured and executed detainees, it added.
“What is clear from the military campaign is that pro-government forces and UN-designated terrorists flagrantly violated the laws of war and the rights of Syrian civilians,” Paulo Pinheiro, chairman of the UN panel, said in a statement.
The report, covering Nov. 2019 until June 2020, was based on overflight data and witness testimony.
It examines 52 “emblematic attacks” in northwest Syria, including 47 attributed to the Russian-backed Syrian government.
Russian warplanes were solely implicated in a deadly March 5 strike on a poultry farm near Marat Misrin that sheltered displaced people and in three strikes next to a hospital damaged in the rebel-held town of Ariha on Jan. 29, the report said. Russia denies involvement in the latter attack, it said.
The region is home to a mix of Islamist militant and opposition groups, many of which fled other parts of Syria as President Bashar Assad, with Russian backing, seized back territory from them.
“The Commission has reasonable grounds to believe that pro-government forces committed the war crimes of deliberately attacking medical personnel and facilities by conducting airstrikes,” it said.
Karen Koning AbuZayd, a panel member, said: “Women, men and children that we interviewed faced the ghastly choice of being bombarded or fleeing deeper into HTS-controlled areas where there are rampant abuses of human rights...
“The acts by HTS members amount to war crimes.”