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UN panel urges S. Arabia to halt air strikes in Yemen

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UNITED NATIONS:  UN Human Rights Committee has urged Saudi Arabia to put an end to the air strikes against Yemen, amid reports that they have resulted in the deaths of at least 1,248 children since March 2015.
The recommendation was addressed to Saudi Arabia on Thursday by the Geneva-based UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, which also issued concluding observations on Benin, El Salvador, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Mauritania, and Niger, according to an official press release.
Each country is a signatory to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which has two Optional Protocols: involvement of children in armed conflict and the sale of children, child prostitution and child pornography.
Every four years, the Member States are expected to provide an update to the UN on their activities and progress relating to these international accords.
In a statement, the 18-member UN panel noted that Saudi Arabia was involved in the Yemen conflict as the leader of an internationally-backed coalition to restore legitimacy there.
The country has been split by a devastating war involving the internationally recognized government of President Abd Rabbu Mansour Hadi, in the south and Houthi opposition fighters, who control the capital, Sana’a to the north and other key locations.
Saudi representatives said that the coalition had been accidentally responsible for casualties among children, the Committee said in its report, before expressing serious concern that youngsters continue to be the primary victims of that ongoing conflict and represented 20 percent of all civilian casualties caused by air strikes.
Of three aerial attacks in August highlighted in the UN report – on August 9, 22, and 23 – it was the initial strike which prompted particular international condemnation, after at least 21 boys died when a bus they were traveling in was hit in Dahyan market in Saada governorate, in the north of the country.
All parties in the conflict had been responsible for attacks on civilians, the UN panel said, underscoring how targets included homes, medical facilities, schools, farms, wedding functions, markets, vehicles in crowded areas.
Cluster munitions had been used in some of these attacks, the Committee said, before highlighting how the on-going aerial and naval blockade on Yemen had dramatic consequences for many millions of people, including a high proportion of children.
Among its other concerns, the UN panel noted the inefficiency of the coalition’s investigative mechanism into attacks on children and facilities and spaces frequented by children and underscored the lack of independence of its members.

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Pakistan

NAB laws: Govt. to sit with Opposition!

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Govt. to sit with Opposition

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry has said the government is ready to sit with the opposition parties to bring improvement in the NAB laws and the Accountability process.

Speaking in the National Assembly today on the points raised earlier by Opposition Leader Shahbaz Sharif, he said we will welcome the opposition parties’ suggestions in this regard. He said we want to bring more transparency.

Fawad Chaudhry however, clarified that none of the cases registered against the Opposition Leader were initiated by the PTI government. He reminded that all the appointments in the NAB including that of its Chairman were made by the previous government and Pakistan Peoples Party.

The Information Minister said that the PTI government has set healthy democratic traditions and it is the first in the history that production order of an elected person on remand was issued.

Taking the floor, PPP leader Khurshid Shah said the parliament is the mother of all institutions and it can form committees to investigate important matters. He supported the demand of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif for the formation of a committee to investigate the allegations leveled against him.

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Pakistan

Information Minister says accountability will continue!

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Govt. to sit with Opposition

ISLAMABAD: Information Minister Chaudhry Fawad Hussain has categorically declared that an across the board accountability process will continue without any discrimination.

Talking to newsmen outside the Parliament House on Wednesday, he said government does not believe in any political victimization but will bring to justice all those who plundered the national exchequer. He said any amount of hue and cry would not hinder the ongoing accountability process in the country.

He said opposition parties should come out with concrete proposals to amend the accountability laws to ensure transparency in the process.

Fawad Chaudhry said the government did not oppose the participation of opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif in the National Assembly Session and he has been brought to Islamabad from Lahore on production orders by the Speaker National Assembly.

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Europe

DG ISPR briefs British parliamentarians

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LONDON: Director General Inter-Services Public Relations, Major General Asif Ghafoor here on Tuesday visited British  Parliament and briefed the parliamentarians about the Pakistan Army’s role in the war against terrorism.
He visited the British Parliament at the invitation of the parliamentarians of House of Commons and House of  Lords, a statement of Pakistan High Commission said.
The parliamentarians highly appreciated the role of Pakistan in the war against terrorism. Lord Nazir Ahmed and Baroness Syeeda Warsi were also present on the occasion.

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