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Afghan refugees killed in Iran; MFA investigating the case

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(Last Updated On: June 6, 2020)

The Afghan Foreign Ministry said in a statement that they have been investigating the burning of a vehicle carrying Afghan nationals in the Iranian city of Yazd.

Afghanistan’s ambassador to Iran blames the human traffickers for their failure to comply with traffic rules which led to the burning of the Afghan refugees’ transport.

One day after the burning of a car carrying Afghan refugees in Yazd province of Iran, the Afghan ambassador, who went to Yazd to investigate the incident, met with the injured, said that the car caught fire because of the human trafficker’s negligence on following the traffic rules.

“First, the Iranian police shoot at the car’s tire, and the smuggler speeds up until the car hits the roadside barrier and catches fire,” said Ghafoor Liwal, Afghan ambassador to Iran.

According to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, three Afghan refugees were killed and five others were injured in the incident.

“Iran’s treatment of Afghan refugees is against human rights law,” said Naeem Nazari, deputy commissioner for human rights.

The incident has sparked a wave of reactions on social media, with users highlighting the incident and criticizing Iranian leaders.

“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has never taken a long-standing action regarding the plight of Afghan refugees,” said Faramarz Tamana, a former head of the MoFa’s Center for Strategic Relations.

The Afghan Foreign Ministry added that it would proceed with the matter with its counterpart as per the outcomes of the investigation.

It is worth mentioning, weeks ago, reports indicated that the Iranian border guards had thrown and killed a number of Afghan refugees in the Harirud River. This was followed by the Afghan and Iranian governments assigning a joint delegation to look into it; however, the results are pending.

COVID-19

UN calls for global action against spread of COVID-19 misinformation

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

The United Nations and its partners have called on countries to take urgent action to address what they describe as the “infodemic” around the COVID-19 pandemic and put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information.

In a statement issued by the UN on Thursday, the organization said the pandemic is the first in history in which technology and social media are being used to both inform people and keep them connected but also to undermine global response to the crisis and jeopardize measures to contain the disease.

“WHO and partners are calling on all countries to put in place national action plans to promote science-based health information and to combat misinformation.

They also called on the media, tech companies, civil society, researchers and people everywhere to keep the infodemic from spreading”.

“Misinformation costs lives. Without the appropriate trust and correct information, diagnostic tests go unused, immunization campaigns (or campaigns to promote effective vaccines) will not meet their targets, and the virus will continue to thrive”, the partners said in a statement. 

“We call on Member States to develop and implement action plans to manage the infodemic by promoting the timely dissemination of accurate information, based on science and evidence, to all communities, and in particular high-risk groups; and preventing the spread, and combating, mis- and disinformation while respecting freedom of expression.” 

Authorities also were urged to empower communities to develop solutions and resilience against the infodemic. 

Stakeholders such as the media and social media platforms were called on to collaborate with the UN system, and each other, “to further strengthen their actions to disseminate accurate information and prevent the spread of mis- and disinformation.” 

 

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Trump expects election battle to end up in Supreme Court if he loses

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

US President Donald Trump would not commit to a peaceful transfer of power if he loses the November 3 election and said he expects the election battle to end up before the Supreme Court. 

“We’re going to have to see what happens,” Trump, a Republican, told reporters at the White House when asked whether he would commit to transferring power.

The president, who trails Democrat candidate Joe Biden in national opinion polls, has repeatedly cast doubt on the legitimacy of the election, asserting without evidence that mail-in voting would lead to fraud and a “rigged” outcome, Reuters reported.

“The ballots are a disaster,” Trump said.

Democrats have encouraged voting by mail as a way to cast ballots safely during the coronavirus pandemic – something that has been done for years by millions of Americans, including military personnel. 

Biden, meanwhile, told reporters that Trump’s comments on the transition of power were “irrational.”

His campaign said it was prepared for any “shenanigans” from Trump, and reiterated comments from July that “the United States government is perfectly capable of escorting trespassers out of the White House.”

Trump, who is moving quickly to nominate a successor to liberal Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who died on Friday, said on Wednesday he thinks the election “will end up in the Supreme Court and I think it’s very important that we have nine justices.” 

Trump plans to announce his nominee on Saturday, Reuters reported.

 

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Ghani tells UN the country is dealing will multiple drivers of turmoil

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(Last Updated On: September 24, 2020)

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani called on the international community to help his country achieve peace as Afghanistan is facing “multiple drivers of turmoil all at once.”

He said however that peace remains Afghanistan’s “most urgent and important priority”.

In a pre-recorded address to the UN General Assembly late Wednesday, Ghani said his country is at the center of a region both full of opportunity and afflicted by global problems. 

Asia cannot integrate without Afghanistan, he said, pointing to South Asia’s need for energy and Central Asia’s abundance of resources as a clear example of the country’s relevance. 

“We are right at the heart of untapped potential that could bring prosperity and peace to our region,” he said, adding that to reach that potential it is imperative to clearly identify and address existing challenges.

He said the COVID‑19 pandemic had exposed the international community’s vulnerabilities, and much like the Second World War has forced all countries to take unprecedented action. 

The pandemic exacerbates drivers of inequality, such as unemployment, which is upending our world, he said adding that the fourth industrial revolution, the digital age, is also challenging Afghanistan to adapt in the “ways we work and the ways we govern”. 

He said Afghanistan was looking at how the digital age could be used as an opportunity for the country’s “overwhelmingly young population” and ways it can be used to strengthen governance and rule of law. 

Violence and warfare have also evolved, he said adding that the Afghan people are suffering at the hands of global terrorist networks.  He said Afghans have experienced this evolution and suffer “in real-time and are living and dying inside the 5th wave of global terrorism.”

He also stated that “global terrorist networks are closely linked with global criminal networks making warfare totally unconventional and making peace-building more of a challenge.” 

He said Afghanistan has taken hard decisions to start peace talks with the Taliban but is committed to the process. “This won’t be enough for sustainable peace in Afghanistan. We must get to the roots of the terrorism problem blighting our region and address it as a global phenomenon and threat that it is.”

Further destabilizing the country is the issue of climate-related disasters in relation to climate change. 

He said Afghans grapple with “urgent and real problems daily” and that the country needs a framework and pragmatic solutions to tackle all drivers of turmoil.

Intersecting all these destabilizing factors is an explosion of inequality, he noted.

To face all these challenges, the international community must uphold the founding principles of the United Nations, he said. 

The values enshrined in human rights texts must not be seen as unachievable ideals and aspirations, rather, they must be actualized, Ghani said adding that achieving the promises of peace, dignity, justice, and freedom calls for unprecedented cooperation, frameworks that present pragmatic solutions, and a United Nations capable of fulfilling its goals. 

He said Afghanistan is poised to strengthen State governance structures and create an environment conducive to growth by combating corruption.  The role of the United Nations as the government proceeds with peace talks is important, he said, adding that an urgent end to violence will allow Afghanistan to progress.

 

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