Indonesia’s founding President Sukarno delivered his annual Independence or National Day address on 17 August 1964 anticipating the forthcoming year as Tahun vivere pericoloso
, the ‘year of living dangerously’. 2020 may well be the world’s turn, and not only due to the obvious Covid-19 threat to the world.
On February 26 this year, 15 South Sudanese children were released from armed groups and handed over to civilian child protection actors, including UNICEF and UNMISS, UN’s peacekeeping operation in South Sudan, who were able to facilitate the children’s safe return to their families.
Despite all the preoccupation with the current raging pandemic, it sadly appears that there has been no let-up in the global arms race among the major powers. In mid-May, the United States President Donald Trump, at an event for his new Space Force at the White House made a significant announcement, It was that the US was building right now an “incredible” new missile which would travel faster than any other in the world “by a factor of almost three”. This was obviously a response to the latest Russian ‘Avangard’ missile, which Russian President Vladimir Putin claims in invincible, with a speed of twenty times that of sound. The Chinese, reportedly are also feverishly working on their own hypersonic counterparts. All these would be strategic tools to significantly alter the war-fighting capabilities of humanity in the future.
Consider this. 24 women, children and babies were murdered at a hospital in Kabul, the Afghan capital. Even by standards of a country as accustomed to bloodshed as Afghanistan, the May 12 attack on a Kabul maternity clinic was an event of unmitigated horror
Hunger and food insecurity continue to rise. The official 2019 statistics refer to 821 million people suffering from hunger all over the world. According the recently launched Global Report on Food Crises
, there are further 135 million people facing crisis levels of hunger or worse. WFP
estimates that due to the impacts of COVID19, additional 130 million people could be pushed to the brink of starvation by the end of 2020. This means a total increase of 265 million people. If there will be no appropriate and urgent actions, “we could be facing multiple famines of biblical proportions within a short few months
”, said David Beasley, WFP Executive Director, addressing the UN Security Council on 21st April.
Earlier this year, just before the coronavirus virtually shut down international travel, I sat under a mesquite tree and listened to a rambling speech by a South Sudanese general at a military base outside of the capital, Juba.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, we estimated that 75 million children and youth - of whom 39 million are girls - were not able to access a quality education in countries impacted by armed conflicts, forced displacement, natural disasters and climate change-induced emergencies. The impact of COVID-19 has both globally and exponentially deepened the already existing critical education crisis.
After six weeks of negotiations, the United States shot down hopes for a resolution to be approved in the United Nations Security Council on May 8, refusing to back worldwide cease-fires as the US continues to castigate China and the World Health Organization for the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, momentum behind tenuous cease-fires is vanishing, experts say.
The world commemorated the 75th Anniversary to mark the end of the 2nd World War also called VE Day on 08 May 2020.
With her nation, and much of the world still in lockdown due to COVID 19, England’s Queen marked 75 years since the allied victory in Europe with a poignant televised address. From Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth said, “the wartime generation knew that the best way to honour those who did not come back from the war, was to ensure that it didn’t happen again”.
Even during this pandemic, perhaps especially during this pandemic, the global institutions to help prevent the spread of biological and chemical weapons to proliferators or terrorists must continue their work.
China and India, which went to war back in 1962 largely over a disputed Himalayan border-- and continue a longstanding battle for military supremacy in Asia-- have set a new record in arms spending.
Humanity has faced no challenge greater than COVID-19 since the Second World War. As this rapidly developing global health emergency places unprecedented strain on our medical, economic and social systems, we must work hard to prevent new risks for instability, unrest and conflict.
In every room in Yemen’s Al-Saba’een hospital, patients in critical condition waited on chairs, and still others laid on the bare ground. I saw women and girls sharing beds in pairs, and children laying close together being treated.
Conflict experts are concerned the the global ceasefire called for by the United Nations amid the coronavirus outbreak may not work and could lead to a rise in violence.
The devastating spread of the deadly coronavirus across every continent-- with the exception of Antarctica-- has triggered a conspiracy theory on social media: what if the virus was really a biological weapon?
The fourth and last presidential election in Afghanistan on 28 September 2019 was yet another setback to the democratic process. Not only did it take months for the Independent Election Commission to announce the results but they were again marred by allegations of massive fraud that culminated with two candidates declaring themselves as winners.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and coincidentally the tenth quinquennial (five yearly) review conference is scheduled to be held at the United Nations in New York from 27 April to 22 May.
Pokot girls are expected to face the knife stark naked and with courage. To inspire confidence, their fathers sit a few metres away from them with a spear in hand.