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European Union to relocate 40,000 migrants

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news.yahoo.com

Brussels:  European Union leaders have agreed to relocate thousands of migrants, currently being sheltered in Greece and Italy, a media report said on Friday.

At talks held in the Belgian capital of Brussels late Thursday night, President of the European Council, Donald Tusk said that 40,000 people would be relocated to other EU (European Union) states over the next two years, BBC reported.

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“Leaders agreed that 40,000 persons in need will be relocated from Greece and Italy to other states over the next two years,” Tusk told reporters. Interior ministers will finalise the scheme by the end of July.

Europe is facing a growing crisis with a surge in the number of people trying to make the treacherous journey across the Mediterranean from the coast of Libya.

There has also been a sharp increase in migration from the Middle East to the eastern part of the EU via the Balkans.

In April, after hundreds of people died when a makeshift vessel sank off the Libyan coast, EU leaders pledged to come up with a long-term solution to the migration crisis.

(IANS)

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European Union (EU) Takes Lead in Campaign to Prevent Gender-based Violence during Humanitarian Crises

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world

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Violence against women and girls
A South Sudanese refugee and 32-year-old mother, who was raped for several days by a group of soldiers before she was allowed to leave, stands by a window at a women's center. VOA
  • Violence during times of war and natural disasters also affects men and boys
  • The EU says its mission is to strengthen awareness and encourage the humanitarian community to take stronger action to protect women, men, girls and boys in crisis zones
  • Monique Pariat, director-general for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, says more must be done to prevent gender-based violence from occurring in humanitarian emergencies

Geneva, June 21, 2017: The European Union is assuming the leadership of a global initiative to prevent gender-based violence during humanitarian crises.

Violence against women and girls is one of the most prevalent human rights violations in the world. The United Nations and many human rights organizations have documented tens of thousands of cases of rape, sexual abuse and exploitation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic, Bosnia and Herzegovina and other places of conflict.

Violence during times of war and natural disasters also affects men and boys. So, the European Union’s Call to Action on Protection from Gender-Based Violence is inclusive of both sexes and all ages.

ALSO READ: June 19 is International Day for Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict 2017: Why Women in India are Victims of Sexual Abuse?

The EU says its mission is to strengthen awareness and encourage the humanitarian community to take stronger action to protect women, men, girls and boys in crisis zones.

Monique Pariat, director-general for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, says more must be done to prevent gender-based violence from occurring in humanitarian emergencies. She says many simple measures can be taken to mitigate violence.

“For instance, to have separate and properly illuminated toilets and washing facilities in camps. Safe access to water and food distribution points. Safe access to hospitals. That can have a very significant impact in preventing and reducing gender-based violence. We can do more also on the education to armed groups, to armies. There are a lot of activities we can promote that will reduce the risk and occurrence of these atrocities.”

Pariat says it is crucial to bring the Call to Action program to the field, adding it is there that these life-saving measures can have the biggest impact. Pariat also says preventive actions must be taken at the earliest onset of an emergency where victims and survivors are at greatest risk. (VOA)

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India-UK free trade agreement to be signed once it exits the European Union in 2 years Time

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European Union. Pixabay

New Delhi, March 28, 2017: With Britain set to launch the formal process of its exit from the EU on Wednesday, a prominent British entrepreneur has said that a joint working group of officials from both countries is working on an India-UK free trade agreement to be signed once it exits the EU in two years time.

“One of the very important steps forward of Theresa May’s (India) visit last November was that we now have a government-to-government working group with the Commerce Secretary and the International Trade Secretary in charge that is looking at the totality of the relationship,” Patricia Hewitt, Chair UK-India Business Council, told BTVi in an interview.

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“What I found since the referendum is the great enthusiasm on the part of India’s political and business leaders as well as Britain’s political and business leaders, for…it may be a free trade agreement…perhaps more accurately a comprehensive economic partnership. This was discussed further during Finance Minister Arun Jaitley’s very successful visit to London recently,” she said.

“And the aim there is not only to identify things that both governments could act on immediately even before Brexit actually happens, but also to lay the groundwork for a more formal agreement..a bilateral agreement that could happen once the UK actually leaves the European Union,” she added.

British Prime Minister Theresa May plans to trigger Article 50 – the step that starts the process of negotiations for Britain’s formal exit from the EU – on Wednesday.

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There is consequent uncertainty over what will happen once Britain leaves the EU because it needs to make new trade agreements with the rest of the world.

Indian Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had announced this joint working group last year following talks here with UK’s then Secretary of State for International Trade Liam Fox after Britain voted in a referendum to exit the EU.

Sitharaman said formal talks on a bilateral free trade agreement could only begin once the UK formally exited the EU.

Bilateral trade between the two countries stood at $14 billion in 2015-16, as compared to $14.33 billion in 2014-15. (IANS)

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UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) urges Turkey not to use children, refugees as bargaining chips in its latest dispute with European Union

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FILE - The United Nations headquarters building is pictured though a window with the UN logo in the foreground. VOA

Geneva, March 18, 2017: The UN Children’s Fund (Unicef) urged Turkey on Friday not to use children, refugees and undocumented migrants as bargaining chips in its latest dispute with the EU, after Ankara threatened again to break the migration agreement.

Unicef humanitarian affairs adviser Lucio Melandri, told a news conference that children should never be used as bargaining chips, and refugees and migrants should not be manipulated for political reasons, Efe news reported.

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Melandri said he was aware of the situation in Turkey, which is home to 3 million Syrian refugees, adding that Unicef does not take a political stance, but asks all parties to consider the protection of children.

Turkey repeatedly threatened the EU to suspend the agreement, closed in March 2016, by which it agreed to receive refugees arriving in Greece from their country, in exchange for economic aid and visa exemptions for its citizens.

The threats have risen sharply since Germany and Holland vetoed the campaign rallies of Turkish ministers in their territories, to support the constitutional reform that would hand over all executive power in Turkey to the president. (IANS)