United Nations: Indian peacekeepers are “taking robust measures to protect South Sudan refugees sheltered in a massive camp where 18 people have been killed and scores injured this week in fighting between ethnic groups — which has come under attack from the South Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), according to a source monitoring the situation from here.
The fighting started Wednesday between young people belonging to the Shilluk and Dinka tribes in the Malakal camp in South Sudan and SPLA members fired into the camp and also entered it attacking civilians, the Security Council said Friday in a press statement.
At that point, the source at the UN told IANS, “the Indian troops went in and even fired with their APCs (armored personnel carriers) and other things to get the situation under control.”
The SPLA, “although they would deny it, fired into the camp from the outside also” and the Indian peacekeepers “took robust measures externally to prevent any SPLA soldiers from harming these people and getting the situation under control,” the source added.
The internal security of the camp is the responsibility of the UN police forces, while the external protection is of the troops. The troops back up the police inside in emergencies.
The source said that SPLA members were able to get inside the camp as civilians “because they are Dinkas they can wear civvies.” It was also possible for them to bring in weapons through the Dinkas who live inside the camp and can go in and out, the source added.
There were no casualties among the peacekeepers, the source said. Out of the 2,273 Indian peacekeepers in the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) about 550 are stationed in Malakal. Rwandan peacekeepers are also based there and operate alongside Indians.
Medecins Sans Frontiers, the Switzerland-headquartered international medical charity, said two of those killed were its staff members.
Amid rising tensions in South Sudan, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is scheduled to visit it next week, his spokesman Stephane Dujarric announced Friday. He added that Ban condemned the latest round of violence and expressed concern over “the rising inter-communal tensions between the Dinka and Shilluk which precipitated this incident.” (Arul Louis, IANS)
The theme of a major UN wildlife conference dedicated to migratory species in India early next year will be ‘Migratory species connect the planet and together we welcome them home’, it was announced in Bonn on Tuesday.
Under this theme, governments, scientists, conservation groups and wildlife experts will gather at the 13th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Migratory Species (CMS COP13) due to take place in Gandhinagar in Gujarat from February 15 to 22.
The theme was announced by CMS Acting Executive Secretary Amy Fraenkel and Inspector General of Forest at the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change Soumitra Dasgupta during COP13 preparatory meetings currently underway in Bonn.
Throughout their life cycles and migration ranges, migratory animals depend on a functioning network of connected habitats across countries and continents to breed, feed and rest.
The COP13 theme highlights the importance of ecological connectivity to better protect migratory wildlife and their habitats.
Ecological connectivity is the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes that sustain life on earth.
The loss and fragmentation of habitat are the key threats to migratory animals across the world. They are also considered to be the greatest threats to biodiversity worldwide with climate change exacerbating these effects.
In a world that faces a continuous decline in biodiversity with migratory animals being a key component, ecological connectivity is essential to halt and reverse this trend.
The CMS has called for the concept of connectivity to be integrated into the new Global Biodiversity Framework, which will be adopted at the end of next year in China.
Fraenkel said: “The CMS COP13 is expected to be a milestone for future conservation policy. To save nature in an increasingly fragmented world, the core concept of connectivity needs to be incorporated in global conservation efforts and should be embedded in the new deal for nature.”
Dasgupta said the CMS COP13 would be an important opportunity for India to showcase and demonstrate its leading work and commitment to global wildlife conservation.
“We look forward to welcoming the international delegates to India and to working with them to make the planet a more hospitable place for both migratory animals and people.”
The human footprint has left lasting marks on the planet. Roads, railways, fences and urbanization are increasingly cutting through landscapes and dividing nature.
They interrupt the web of life and prevent migratory animals from completing their essential journeys.
Nevertheless, the world is expected to invest around $90 tn in infrastructure in the next 15 years alone, resulting in more new roads and railways. These obstacles to migration interrupt the natural life cycle of migratory wildlife and pose a lethal danger.
The UN global assessment on biodiversity and ecosystem services, released by IPBES in May, documented the dramatic decline of biodiversity in all parts of the world.
Without increased action, over 1 million species could face extinction in our lifetimes.
As environmental changes grow, countries around the world need to save and restore natural connections across land and water. These connections enhance resilience to environmental changes such as climate change and support nature and people.
The CMS brings countries together to shape transboundary policies that ensure the long-term survival of migratory animals across countries and continents.
It is the only convention that conserves migratory species and their habitats across national boundaries.
To be successful, large-scale conservation must consider entire migration systems and the functioning of the migration process itself. The geographic scope goes beyond protected areas or sites subject to other conservation measures, to include an ecological network of areas important for the survival of species.
Preserving large landscapes and seascapes affects many people and requires international collaboration. There is a rapidly growing community of organizations working on large-scale conservation initiatives in landscapes and seascapes built on connectivity.
They connect people and nature across cultures, jurisdictions, and geography.
The Convention on Migratory Species is working closely with governments, international organizations, conservation groups, and wildlife experts to ensure that connectivity. Conservation will be a central part of future global conservation policy and that the unimpeded movement of species and the flow of natural processes will continue to sustain life on earth for generations to come. (IANS)