Family planning was affirmed to be a human right 50 years ago, leading to what would become the annual observation of World Population Day, which focuses attention on the impact the number of children born, has on the world.In her message for the Day, UN Population Fund (UNFPA) Executive Director Natalia Kanem took that a step further, saying: “Family planning is not only a matter of human rights; it is also central to women’s empowerment, reducing poverty and achieving sustainable development.”Yet, in developing regions, the UNFPA chief pointed out that some 214 million women still lack safe and effective family planning, for reasons ranging from lack of information or services, to lack of support from their partners or communities.“This threatens their ability to build a better future for themselves, their families and their communities,” she explained.UNFPA supports family planning in developing countries by ensuring a reliable supply of a full range of modern contraceptives, strengthening national health systems and promoting gender equality.“UNFPA is fully committed to continuing to support countries’ efforts to uphold the right of individuals, especially women, to plan a family,” Ms. Kanem continued. “We are striving to end all unmet need for voluntary family planning in developing countries, by 2030.”“But, we cannot do this alone,” underscored the Executive Director, outlining the need for governments, parliamentarians, the private sector and civil society to join forces to make it happen.”As a first step, she suggested that for a mere 20 cents per person annually, developed countries could close the global family planning funding gap, which Ms. Kanem said would be “a strategic and doable investment in the world’s future.”The Day was inspired by public interest generated by one particular date of huge significance. The UN estimated that it was 11 July, 1987, which the world's population reached five billion people. Source: UN NEWSLEAGUE OF JUSTICE ONLINE
Following the execution of a 15-year-old in Iran on Wednesday – the fourth juvenile to be put to death in the country this year – the United Nations rights chief condemned the practice, citing the strict prohibition of such executions under international law.“I am deeply disturbed that Iran continues to implement the death penalty against juvenile offenders, with some 85 others reportedly on death row," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said on Thursday.Fifteen-year-old Abolfazi Chezani Sharahi was executed after being found guilty of fatally stabbing a man. A total of five juvenile offenders were executed in the country during 2017."We understand that the execution of at least one more juvenile offender, Mohammad Kalhori, is imminent and urge the authorities not to carry it out, but instead to commute the sentences of all juvenile offenders on death row," urged Zeid.Executing juvenile offenders is in violation of Iran’s obligations as a State party to the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The youth was moved into solitary confinement four times before his eventual execution, further opening up the possibility that he suffered torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The High Commissioner also expressed concern over the lack of transparency prior to implementing the death penalty. When authorities fail to provide relatives with adequate information about the timing of executions, it not only imposes acute mental distress on the convicted person, but also on their family.Zeid also reiterated the UN Human Rights Office's willingness to assist Iran in complying with its international human rights obligations regarding juvenile justice.Source: UN NewsLeague of Justice Online
“I don’t know you, you don’t know me, but I am from Ethiopia and I am so excited to talk to you.”That was the message Roman Tafessework Gomeju had for the stranger on the other end of the phone line when she called a hotel in neighboring Eritrea this week from her home in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.For 20 years, this phone call would have been impossible.Eritrea gained independence from Ethiopia in the early 1990s, but then a border war broke out between them later that decade, locking the two countries in hostilities and leaving tens of thousands dead.Cross-border travel was banned, the embassies were closed, flights were canceled and phone calls on landlines and cellphone networks were not permitted between the two countries. Then this week, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia and President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea announced a formal declaration of peace between the two nations. Economic, cultural and diplomatic ties can be forged again.And now with phone services restored, some people have begun calling strangers, just to say hello.Ms. Gomeju, 32, remembered hearing stories from her father about the beauty of Eritrea. He had lived in Asmara, Eritrea’s capital, for five years and would tell her about the good food, the clean streets and the friendly people.“I used to think, ‘Wow, this is a place I want to see once in my life,’ and this couldn’t happen for the past 20 years because of the war,” Ms. Gomeju said.When she heard the news that a peace agreement had been reached, she was eager to share her excitement with Eritreans.“It was like a dream come true, and when I saw that the land line was working, I said, O.K., who should I call?” Ms. Gomeju said. “I don’t know anyone there, and I’m not from that area. I don’t know the language, but I felt I should call someone.”So she searched online for hotels in Asmara and dialed one of the numbers.The woman on the other end of the line spoke another language — Tigrinya, a language spoken by many in Eritrea — but Ms. Gomeju handed the phone to a friend who translated. The woman at the hotel in Asmara said that she, too, was excited and happy to be speaking with someone in Ethiopia.“When someone answered my call, I couldn’t believe it, did I really call Asmara?” Ms. Gomeju said. “It is a moment I won’t forget in my life.”Source: The New York TimesLEAGUE OF JUSTICE ONLINE
Ethiopia and Eritrea have declared their "state of war" over after landmark talks between the neighbouring countries' leaders, as part of a historic agreement that will see the opening of embassies, development of ports and resumption of flights.The sudden rapprochement ends a decades-long cold war over border disputes that hurt both countries.Eritrean Information Minister Yemane Gebremeskel, quoting from a "Joint Declaration of Peace and Friendship," said on Monday that "a new era of peace and friendship has been ushered (in)".The "state of war that existed between the two countries has come to an end", he wrote on Twitter."Both countries will work to promote close cooperation in political, economic, social, cultural and security areas," Yemane added.The agreement was signed by Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki and Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed on Monday morning at state house in Asmara, the capital of Eritrea."The people of our region are joined in common purpose," Abiy said on Monday, after signing the landmark declaration.Ethiopia's state broadcaster said the two men had "agreed to participate in the development of ports" - potentially a huge economic boost for both countries, particularly landlocked Ethiopia which has one of Africa's fastest growing economies.The deal would also include a resumption of phone connections, Ethiopia's foreign ministry said.Abiy arrived in Asmara on Sunday, where he was welcomed at the airport by Isaias. The two men shared a "brotherly embrace" at the airport runway before being cheered on by thousands of Eritreans who took to the streets to greet them.At a dinner hosted by Isaias late on Sunday, Abiy said diplomatic, trade, transport and communications ties would be re-established and borders re-opened."We agreed that the airlines will start operating, the ports will be accessible, people can move between the two countries and the embassies will be opened," Abiy said."We will demolish the wall and, with love, build a bridge between the two countries," he said.Abiy left Asmara after signing the joint agreement on Monday.The visit comes a month after Abiy surprised people by fully accepting a peace deal that ended a two-year border war between the two countries.Last month's decision to fully accept the deal was the biggest and most surprising reform yet announced by Ethiopia's prime minister, who took office in April and quickly set off a wave of reforms, freeing journalists and opposition figures from prison, opening up the state-run economy and unblocking hundreds of websites after years of anti-government protests demanding more freedoms.A high-level Eritrean delegation led by Foreign Minister Osman Saleh had earlier visited the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, last month for peace talks.The Horn of Africa nations remained at loggerheads since Ethiopia rejected a United Nations ruling and refused to cede to Eritrea land along the countries' border following a 1998-2000 war that killed 80,000 people.Source: AL JAZEERAHLEAGUE OF JUSTICE ONLINE
July 9, 2018, 6:40 pm
today in history
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011
South Sudan gained independence from Sudan on 9 July 2011 as the outcome of a 2005 agreement that ended Africa's longest-running civil war.