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U.N. Human Rights Commissioner Navi Pillay: 'I am supremely confident that I speak with moral authority'

August 27th, 2014
04:19 PM ET

by Henry Hullah

In a world dominated by conflict, Human Rights are usually the first casualty.

It is the difficult mandate of United Nations Human Rights High Commissioner to try and protect them.

As the longest serving holder of this post, Navi Pillay is leaving just after scolding attacks on the entirety of the security council. She spoke to them in the past week, telling them that greater responsiveness towards the Syrian crisis could have saved hundreds of thousands of lives.

Many commentators believe that what the world has allowed to happen in Syria in turn let ISIS flourish. Chrsitiane Amanpour asked Navi Pillay about the monstrosities of the extremist group that Pillay's department has been documenting.

"This group is committing huge atrocities against men, women and children, large number - thousands of people killed and injured." Pillay told the program.

"What I want say is all actors, state and non-state actors, are accountable under international humanitarian law. But what I see here is neither side is taking measures to protect civilians."

A U.N. report released on the day of the interview has said that chemical weapon attacks by the Assad regime have been ongoing in Syria, even after United Nation's efforts to destroy them.

"Our recent report, which is being released today, shows levels of mass atrocities that are over six months period that have really deteriorated, increased to a large measure."

"Mostly chlorine gas," asked Amanpour.

"That is correct," she confirmed.

In the same region, Gaza has been left devastated by the Israel Defense Forces.

Pillay came out strongly against the actions of the IDF on the program, but went on to say that Hamas' actions are also unacceptable:​

"Obviously the acts of the Israeli government and the Israeli Defense Forces have caused far more civilian deaths and injuries"

"On the other hand, the Hamas and other armed groups are placing civilians as shields. They are placing mortars and rockets within civilian densely populated areas. And those amount to violations of international humanitarian law as well, as disregard for civilians."

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Gaza • Iraq • Latest Episode

Are we closer to stopping Ebola?

August 27th, 2014
01:17 PM ET

by Henry Hullah

It has been over five months since the worst outbreak of Ebola in history struck West Africa.

In Liberia, more than 570 people have died from disease.

But the nation's Information Minister Lewis Brown told the program that they are making progress tackling the spread of the virus.

"We believe now that we are better positioned than we've been in a couple of months to be able to get a handle on this and hopefully to eradicate it from our country."

Talking from Liberia's capital, Monrovia, he was hopeful but quite frank about the troubles his country faced when trying to halt the charge of infections.

"The truth of the matter is we're not just fighting a disease in isolation; we're fighting the disease with people we know. We're fighting cultural, long-held cultural practices and beliefs. And certainly we're not the most enlightened society in the world. And we're trying to bring every tool imaginable to bear in helping our communities help themselves."

"It is truly a difficult fight. We need all hands on deck. We need all those expertise to align behind this fight as best as we can."

FULL POST


Filed under:  Africa • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode • Liberia

UK's Ambassador to the U.N.: ISIS is a monster that the Frankenstein of Assad has largely created​

August 26th, 2014
03:07 PM ET

by Henry Hullah

After the cataclysmic conflict between Israel and Gaza-based militants, some hope came today with an Egypt-brokered peace deal.

Christiane Amanpour asked the British Ambassador to the United Nations Mark Lyall Grant if he was hopeful.

"This is very good news, but we've seen truces before." he told her, "Just a ceasefire, if it gets back to the status quo, is not going to provide a long-term solution to the crisis."

"We need something that is: A) sustainable, and B) acts as a bridge to serious status negotiations between the Palestinian Authority and Israel."

"We have to move on from this cyclical crisis to something that is more sustainable."

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Gaza • Iraq • Latest Episode • Syria

'There was fraud committed on both sides' says U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan

August 26th, 2014
12:10 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

Afghanistan is in a state of paralysis.

On the day of this interview the new Afghan President was supposed to be inaugurated, instead the country remains in a political deadlock.

Is the nation going to be able to take significant steps forward any time soon?

The United States Ambassador to Afghanistan, James B. Cunningham, seems to think so.

"There's actually been quite a bit of progress," he told Christiane Amanpour.

"What they've agreed is that there will be a president; there will be what's called a chief executive officer, not a prime minister, because that position doesn't exist under the Afghan constitution. It may later, but it doesn't now."

"All the details of how to do that are what they're sorting out right now."

Amanpour asked about the probability of a candidate being inaugurated by the new designated date of September 2nd.

"I think it's possible," said the diplomat. "It's an important opportunity for a president to be declared and to get him on to the international stage at the NATO summit a few days later."

"We'll keep trying to help them reach that goal"

FULL POST


Filed under:  Afghanistan • Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon talks about a world in crisis

August 25th, 2014
04:10 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

A tense stand-off in Ukraine, the biggest Ebola outbreak in history, devastation in Gaza - and all the while, ISIS grows in strength in the heart of the Middle East and racial tensions come to a head in the United States.

A fractured world and United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is the man tasked with picking up the pieces.

"The world is confronting multiple crises at this time," Ban Ki-moon told Christiane Amanpour.

"The situation in Iraq, we have a very serious crisis in Ukraine but we still have very serious crises in Libya, South Sudan, Central African Republic. On top of this we are now being hit by Ebola epidemics."

Amanpour first asked him about the increasing threat of ISIS: an extremist militant group whose seized territory across Iraq and Syria has been said to be larger than the United Kingdom. Can the U.N. help those affected and to stop the threat before it spreads even further?

"The United Nations cannot do it alone in addressing international terrorism and extremists. The way they have been terrorizing the international community and its people by kidnapping the women, children and particularly journalists, this is totally unacceptable. These are against the international humanitarian law and against the international human rights law and we saw this horrendous killing of Mr. James Foley, that we have condemned in the strongest possible terms."

Amanpour asked if the horrors of ISIS that he had just described were due to an escalation of the Syrian crisis because, as he had told her in a previous interview, there was no "Plan B".

"That is why I have always been urging, the number one priority should be that that the parties stop the violence unconditionally and return to political dialogue."

FULL POST


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Gaza • Iraq • Latest Episode

As racial tensions simmer over police shooting, how military police tactics aggravate crowds

August 14th, 2014
03:24 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Tensions are high in the small American town of Ferguson, Missouri as people take to the streets to protest the police shooting of an unarmed black teenager last Saturday.

Stunning images Wednesday night showed police officers in full riot gear using military grade-vehicles and firing tear gas canisters towards crowds.

“I sat and watched snipers from the top of armored cars train their sights on demonstrators,” Jamelle Bouie, a staff writer for Slate reporting from Ferguson, told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour.

“When that happens, when people see it happens, it agitates them – completely reasonably. I don’t think there’s anyone, really, who could experience that and not come away from it a little shaken.”

FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • U.S. Politics

Former British Commander: ‘We created Iraq,’ now we have to help fix it

August 14th, 2014
03:20 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

A highly respected former British commander on Thursday said that the UK had a responsibility to help put Iraq back together again.

“Britain created Iraq in 1920,” Col. Tim Collins told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Thursday. “It’s hard to say at this moment is there such a nation as Iraq.”

There must be a strong diplomatic effort to create a more “balanced country;” an effort to supply the Kurds with equipment, ammunition, and training; and an effort to get Sunni tribes on board with fighting ISIS, itself an extremist Sunni group.

FULL POST


Filed under:  Iraq • Latest Episode

Aid or invasion? Russia and Ukraine officials battle it out over convoy on live TV

August 13th, 2014
04:21 PM ET

By Henry Hullah

A convoy of 280 Russian trucks are heading towards Ukrainian border. Russian officials say they are full of aid desperately needed for relief efforts in Eastern Ukraine, officials across the border are not so optimistic.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk has come out strongly against the convoy said the move is "cynical," and that "it would be better for Russia to send 300 empty Kamaz trucks to take their bandits back. Then there would be no need to send humanitarian aid."

Russian officials have insisted the move is to deliver humanitarian aid to areas in need.

Oleksandr Scherba, the Ambassador-at-Large to the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, echoed the view of his Prime Minister on the program:

"Of course we are very distrustful of Russia's intentions from the very beginning Russia didn't show any goodwill whatsoever."

"But on the other hand," Scherba stated, "The humanitarian situation on the ground is very desperate, very difficult. We are not in the kind of situation to be very adamant about sending back anything we receive even from the nation that is behaving in a really hostile manner."

When questioned by Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour, about why there has been no coordination with red cross, Konstantin Dolgov, the Russian Foreign Ministry's Special Representative for Human Rights, rebutted "I am amazed to hear that it hasn't been coordinated. From what has been said many times, not just by Russian officials, all the details, all the parameters of this humanitarian convoy have been meticulously discussed and agreed upon by: Russia, Ukraine, the International Committee for the Red Cross."

"As far as I understand he [Scherba] works in the Foreign Ministry" the special representative went on to say. "The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry has officially, by sending a reply note to the Russian Foreign Ministry, has confirmed that all the details of that humanitarian convoy have been agreed upon. Once they have confirmed that all the details have been agreed upon. This was a very precise official reaction."

"The green light was on in Kiev."

Ukraine's Ambassador-at-large responded: "Nobody except for Moscow knows about that meticulous discussion."

FULL POST


Filed under:  Latest Episode • Russia • Ukraine

Egypt security forces wanted to ‘simply mow down demonstrators,’ says Human Rights Watch

August 13th, 2014
03:22 PM ET

By Mick Krever, CNN

Egyptian security forces systematically fired on largely peaceful Muslim Brotherhood demonstrators during the worst spate of violence in the aftermath of President Mohamed Morsy’s removal from power, Human Rights Watch said in a damning new report this week.

“The broad accounts that we received largely corroborated each other, and told a story not of a careful effort to deal with the specific threat of violence, but rather a broad effort to simply mow down demonstrators,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth told CNN’s Hala Gorani, in for Christiane Amanpour, on Wednesday.

His organization says the killings of more than 800 people at Raba’a Square last August likely amount to crimes against humanity. Human Rights Watch calls it a premeditated attack equal to, or worse than, China’s Tiananmen Square killings.

FULL POST


Filed under:  Egypt • Latest Episode

Former Iraqi Foreign Minister: 'Maliki himself and some of his associates do not realize how big is the threat'

August 13th, 2014
11:41 AM ET

By Henry Hullah

The rise of Haider al-Abadi to the Prime Minister's office has been applauded around the world and across Iraqi party lines.

The general consensus has been that with his tenure so too shall come a more inclusive government. Former Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told the program that more involvment the country's many factions is a pivotal factor in the struggle against ISIS.

"To be truly representative of the Iraqi communities, nationalities, sexes. It is very important to defeat ISIS."

He told the program that in Iraq's current position, the nation needs "a democratic, a representative, an inclusive government to reach out to all communities and fight back."

When asked why the current government, under the incumbent Prime Minister Maliki, had faltered in it's response to the current crisis, the former Foreign Minister said a lack of speed was due to a failure to realize the extent of the ISIS threat.

He told Fred Pleitgen, in for Christiane Amanpour, that "Maliki himself and some of his associates do not realize how big is the threat."

"You don't get that sense of urgency or the need to move or to make concessions in order to save the country from total collapse."


Filed under:  Iraq
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