UN and US have failed to deliver promised support for Syrian refugees, says expert

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Updated 23 September 2022

UN and US have failed to deliver promised support for Syrian refugees, says expert

UN and US have failed to deliver promised support for Syrian refugees, says expert
  • Zaher Sahloul, president of humanitarian organization MedGlobal, said Ukrainian refugees have received more help in 7 months than Syrians have received in 11 years

Promises by the UN and US to take action to help ease the worsening global refugee crisis have not be fulfilled, according to an expert playing a leading role in efforts to provide healthcare services to displaced people.

Zaher Sahloul, president of humanitarian organization MedGlobal and founder of the American Relief Coalition for Syria, told Arab News there are more than 26 million refugees in the world who were forced to leave their home nations, and about a quarter of them are Syrians who fled the 11-year civil war in their country.

He said UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has personally visited Ukrainian refugees since the conflict in their country began seven months ago but has never visited Syrian refugees during a conflict that has lasted more than a decade.

Meanwhile, he added, despite promises by President Joe Biden that his administration would help Syrian refugees, only a small number have actually made it to the US.

 

 

“We’ve seen the secretary-general of the UN recently in Kiev,” Sahloul said on Wednesday during an appearance on The Ray Hanania Radio Show. “He was pictured greeting the president of Ukraine.

“He never went to the Syrian border. He never met with (Syrian) refugees and made this big deal of this issue. It is his responsibility to respond to crises and he is not doing his job when it comes to Syria.

“Unfortunately, the global refugee crisis is getting worse by the day. Every day you have thousands of refugees fleeing oppression, fleeing the brutalities of war, fleeing climate change, floods and natural disasters and, of course, economic and governance deterioration in countries in Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia — and now in Europe, with the Russian invasion of Ukraine, where you suddenly, within a few months, have 6 million Ukrainian refugees.

“Right now there are about 26 (to) 29 million refugees in the world. Many of them came from countries that are going through wars, whether it is wars with other countries or civil wars, including in Syria. There are still 6.5 million Syrian refugees. One out of four refugees in the world are from Syria, still, after 11 years of crisis.”

Sahloul said US authorities have consistently promised to help Syrian refugees and yet have not. Former President Barack Obama pledged assistance but it was delayed for more than five years. When Donald Trump because president, all efforts to help Syrian refugees were derailed by his “Muslim ban” policies.

When Biden took over in 2021 he promised to address the problem but this has not yet happened. Approval to enter the US has been granted to as many as 25,000 refugees, Sahloul said, but in many cases their arrival has been delayed by politics.

 

 

“Let’s just put things into perspective,” he said. “President Biden, after one week of war in Ukraine, he said we would be welcoming 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the United States. It took five years for the Obama administration to welcome the first Syrian refugees.”

Sahloul said that Obama had “humanized” the perception of refugees and added: “The Trump administration had their refugee ban, or ‘Muslim ban’ or whatever you want to call it, where they prevented any resettlement of Syrian refugees and other refugees from the Middle East.

“And then the Biden administration, in spite of their pledges to rectify the policies of the Trump administration, they were slow, still are very slow, in resettling Syrian refugees. So far (the US has) settled 3,500 (refugees).”

During 11 years of war in Syria, 1 million refugees have been killed and 100,000 have “disappeared,” Sahloul said.

“When it comes to the Middle East, we treat them a different way than any other country in the world,” he added.

 

 

“It took 70 years of war with Israel to have 6.5 million Palestinian refugees. It took six years to have 6.5 million Syrian refugees. That will give you the scale of brutality between Arab regimes and Israel, which is considered the eternal enemy of everyone in the Middle East,” Sahloul said, by way of highlighting the sheer intensity of the Syrian conflict and its refugee crisis.

In total about 89 million people in the world are “displaced” after being forced to leave their homes, he added. Some are able to remain in their own countries while others become refugees in other nations.

 

 

“In this UN General Assembly week, there are some strong voices in support of the Syrian refugees in general, including the president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, although there are question marks about his politics and policies and things like that,” said Sahloul.

“One of the best speeches about refugees came from the emir of Qatar; he talked about the moral responsibility of the UN and the fact that we forgot about Syria and we forgot about the Syrian Refugees. It was a very inspiring speech.

“Unfortunately, the United Nations and other countries are not treating the root cause of the problems, they are treating the symptoms with Band-Aids.”

Hosted on the US Arab Radio Network and sponsored by Arab News, The Ray Hanania Radio Show is broadcast live every Wednesday at 5 p.m. EST in Detroit on WNZK AM 690 and Washington D.C. on WDMV AM 700, and rebroadcast in Chicago on Thursday at 12 noon CST on WNWI AM 1080.

 

You can listen to the radio show’s podcast by visiting ArabNews.com/rayradioshow.


South Korea, US conduct missile drill in response to North Korea missile test

South Korea, US conduct missile drill in response to North Korea missile test
Updated 05 October 2022

South Korea, US conduct missile drill in response to North Korea missile test

South Korea, US conduct missile drill in response to North Korea missile test

SEOUL South Korea and the US military fired a volley of missiles into the sea in response to North Korea’s launch of a ballistic missile over Japan, Seoul said on Wednesday, as Pyongyang’s longest-range test yet drew international condemnation.
Nuclear-armed North Korea test-fired an intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM) farther than ever before on Tuesday, sending it soaring over Japan for the first time in five years and prompting a warning for residents there to take cover.
South Korean and American troops staged a missile drill of their own in response, South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff said on Wednesday.
Each side fired a pair of US-made ATACMS short-range ballistic missiles, according to a statement.
The military separately confirmed that a South Korean Hyunmoo-2 missile failed shortly after launch and crashed, but caused no casualties.
US President Joe Biden and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida condemned North Korea’s test in the “strongest terms,” the European Union called it a “reckless and deliberately provocative action,” and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned the launch and said it was a violation of Security Council resolutions. The United States asked the UN Security Council to meet on North Korea on Wednesday but diplomats said China and Russia are opposed to a public discussion by the 15-member body.


Indonesia pins hopes on UAE trade pact to open new export markets

Indonesia pins hopes on UAE trade pact to open new export markets
Updated 05 October 2022

Indonesia pins hopes on UAE trade pact to open new export markets

Indonesia pins hopes on UAE trade pact to open new export markets
  • Indonesia-UAE bilateral trade volume reached around $4 billion in 2021
  • Trade pact erases about 99 percent of existing tariffs, Indonesian ministry says

JAKARTA: Indonesia is hopeful that a wide-ranging economic pact with the UAE will open more markets in the Gulf region to the country’s exports, the Trade Ministry said on Tuesday, as officials aim to ratify the agreement by November.

Indonesia and the UAE signed the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement in July, after talks aimed at eliminating tariffs and boosting investment between the two countries were launched in September 2021. The pact is Jakarta’s first with a Gulf country and Abu Dhabi’s first with a Southeast Asian nation.

Bilateral trade volume reached around $4 billion last year, according to Indonesian Trade Ministry data, showcasing an increase of nearly 38 percent from 2020, when it was worth $2.9 billion.

The agreement is still pending ratification by the Indonesian House of Representatives, which held a meeting this week with Trade Minister Zulkifli Hasan to discuss the process in detail.

“IUAE-CEPA will benefit Indonesia because UAE will be Indonesia’s hub to tap new, very big markets,” Hasan said, as quoted by the ministry in a statement on Tuesday.

Through the agreement, he continued, the country’s goods, from jewelry and agricultural commodities to products from small and medium-sized enterprises, can enter Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and Eastern Europe.

Hasan said the pact is expected to boost Indonesian exports to the UAE by an annual average of 7.7 percent.

The pact erases about 99 percent of existing tariffs, the Trade Ministry said, and includes commitments to increase Indonesia’s services exports to the UAE by 6 percent and mutually recognize each country’s halal certification.

“We hope that Indonesia will ratify IUAE-CEPA before the upcoming meeting between the presidents of Indonesia and the UAE in Solo that is being planned for Nov. 17, 2022,” Hasan said.

The trade pact appears to be part of the Indonesian government’s strategy to attract more investment from the UAE, Yanuar Rizky, economist and chairman of Jakarta-based research company Bejana Investidata Globalindo, told Arab News.

“From what I’ve read, Indonesia is hoping that with the tariff cut and its becoming a trading hub, UAE investment will increase in Indonesia,” Rizky said.

“This is something that the Jokowi administration has continued to pursue,” he added, referring to Indonesian President Joko Widodo’s popular nickname.

Rizky said the effort is in line with ongoing attempts to attract foreign investors to fund the development of a $32 billion new capital city in Borneo, a project that saw Japan’s SoftBank withdraw its backing earlier this year.

UAE Ambassador to Indonesia Abdulla Salem Obaid Al-Dhaheri said in March that his country would invest in Indonesia’s new capital through an existing $10 billion funding commitment to the Indonesia Investment Authority.
 


Three physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science

Three physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science
Updated 05 October 2022

Three physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science

Three physicists share Nobel Prize for work on quantum science

STOCKHOLM: Three scientists jointly won this year’s Nobel Prize in physics on Tuesday for their work on quantum information science that has significant applications, for example in the field of encryption.

Frenchman Alain Aspect, American John F. Clauser and Austrian Anton Zeilinger were cited by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences for discovering the way that unseen particles, such as photons or tiny bits of matter, can be linked, or “entangled,” with each other even when they are separated by large distances.

“Being a little bit entangled is sort of like being a little bit pregnant. The effect grows on you,” Clauser said in a Tuesday morning phone interview with The Associated Press.

It all goes back to a feature of the universe that even baffled Albert Einstein and connects matter and light in a tangled, chaotic way.

Clauser, 79, was awarded his prize for a 1972 experiment that helped settle a famous debate about quantum mechanics between Einstein and famed physicist Niels Bohr. Einstein described “a spooky action at a distance” that he thought would eventually be disproved.

“I was betting on Einstein,” Clauser said. “But unfortunately I was wrong and Einstein was wrong and Bohr was right.”

Clauser said his work on quantum mechanics shows that you can’t confine information to a closed volume, “like a little box that sits on your desk” — though even he can’t say why.

“Most people would assume that nature is made out of stuff distributed throughout space and time,” Clauser said. “And that appears not to be the case.”

Quantum entanglement “has to do with taking these two photons and then measuring one over here and knowing immediately something about the other one over here,” said David Haviland, chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics.


US ex-Marine gets 4-1/2 years in Russian penal colony for attacking police officer

US ex-Marine gets 4-1/2 years in Russian penal colony for attacking police officer
Updated 04 October 2022

US ex-Marine gets 4-1/2 years in Russian penal colony for attacking police officer

US ex-Marine gets 4-1/2 years in Russian penal colony for attacking police officer
  • Police hauled Robert Gilman off a train in Voronezh in January, while he was traveling from the southern city of Sochi to Moscow, after complaints from fellow passengers about his behavior
  • Russia has sentenced several US citizens to lengthy prison terms in recent years, though Gilman’s case has attracted less attention than most

LONDON: Former US marine Robert Gilman was sentenced to 4-1/2 years in a Russian penal colony on Tuesday for attacking a police officer while drunk, Russian news agencies reported.
Police hauled Gilman off a train in Voronezh in January, while he was traveling from the southern city of Sochi to Moscow, after complaints from fellow passengers about his behavior, the agencies reported, citing the prosecution.
While in custody, Gilman was accused of kicking out at a police officer, leaving him with bruises.
Gilman, whose lawyers told the TASS news agency he had come to Russia to study and obtain citizenship, told the court in Voronezh that he did not remember the incident but had “apologized to Russia” and to the police officer.
After being found guilty, Gilman said the four-and-a-half year sentence requested by the prosecution was too strict.
Gilman’s lawyer Valeriy Ivannikov told reporters he intended to appeal and would ask the United States to seek a prisoner exchange.
US State Department deputy spokesperson Vedant Patel said Washington was aware of the decision but said he could not give further details citing privacy considerations.
“We continue to insist that the Russian Federation allow consistent, timely consular access to all (detained) US citizens, and we urge the Russian government to ensure fair treatment to all US citizens detained in Russia,” Patel said, declining to say whether consular access had been granted in Gilman’s case.
Russia has sentenced several US citizens to lengthy prison terms in recent years, though Gilman’s case has attracted less attention than most.
WNBA basketball star Brittney Griner was sentenced in August to nine years in prison after being found in possession of cannabis oil vape cartridges.
Paul Whelan, another ex-marine who also holds Canadian, Irish and British citizenship, is serving 16 years in prison on espionage charges, which he denies.
But in April, former marine Trevor Reed, who was serving nine years after being found guilty of violence against a police officer, was freed in a prisoner exchange.
Russian officials have said they are in talks with Washington about possible new prisoner exchanges. Media reports say they could involve convicted arms dealer Viktor Bout, serving a 25-year sentence in the United States, being released back to Russia.


UK interior minister vows to stop migrant ‘small boats’

UK interior minister vows to stop migrant ‘small boats’
Updated 04 October 2022

UK interior minister vows to stop migrant ‘small boats’

UK interior minister vows to stop migrant ‘small boats’
  • Irregular migration is a thorny political issue for the UK government
  • Deportation flights have been stymied by a series of legal challenges in the UK courts and at the European Court of Human Rights

BIRMINGHAM, United Kingdom: Britain’s new interior minister on Tuesday vowed to prevent migrants from claiming asylum if they arrive through an “illegal” route, and stop small boat crossings across the Channel from France.
Suella Braverman said the situation, in which criminal gangs were exploiting vulnerable migrants, had “gone on for far too long.”
Irregular migration is a thorny political issue for the UK government, which promised to tighten borders after the country left the European Union.
But a partnership deal with Rwanda signed earlier this year under the premiership of Boris Johnson to send some migrants to the African country for resettlement has so far failed.
Deportation flights have been stymied by a series of legal challenges in the UK courts and at the European Court of Human Rights.
Braverman said Britain needed to “find a way to make the Rwanda scheme work” and denounced the intervention of the ECHR, describing it as a “closed process with an unnamed judge and without any representation by the UK.”
“I will commit to look to bring forward legislation that the only route to the United Kingdom is through a safe and legal route,” she told the ruling Conservative party’s annual conference.
“If you deliberately enter the United Kingdom from a safe country you should be swiftly removed to your home country or relocated to Rwanda. That is where your asylum claim will be considered,” she said.
Reacting to Braverman’s speech, the PCS trade union which represents civil servants responsible for implementing the policy, said she did not “appear to understand the UK’s international obligations under the Geneva Convention.”
“Time and again we have called upon the government to use the expertise of our members in the Home Office to develop a solution to this crisis through safe passage,” PCS general secretary Mark Serwotka said.
“Instead, it chooses to continually demonize refugees to deflect from its hopeless inability to address the cost of living crisis facing the people of this country.”
Official government figures last month showed more migrants had crossed the Channel to the UK from northern France so far this year than in the whole of 2021, when 28,526 made the journey.
More than 33,500 people have now arrived in Britain.
Braverman’s speech played into Prime Minister Liz Truss’s right-wing agenda, urging police to stop “virtue signalling” on issues such as race and gender.
She promised to empower officers to stop “the mob” of direct-action protesters who use “guerilla tactics” to bring “chaos and misery” to the public.
“Whether you’re Just Stop Oil, Insulate Britain or Extinction Rebellion, you cross a line when you break the law and that’s why we’ll keep putting you behind bars,” she added.
On Tuesday, the Metropolitan Police said it had arrested 54 Just Stop Oil protesters on suspicion of “wilful obstruction of the highway” after a demonstration blocked traffic in central London.