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India has to uphold cordial relations with Sri Lanka: Naidu

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NewsGram Staff Writer

Chennai: Reiterating the Narendra Modi government’s stand on relationship with neighboring countries, union Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu said on Saturday that India has to maintain friendly relations with its neighbor.

Image courtesy DNA
Image courtesy DNA

Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of loan distribution function under the Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana in Chennai, Naidu further said that Tamil Nadu has every right to pass a decree urging India to bring about a strong resolution against Sri Lanka at the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

However, Naidu mentioned that BJP, being a national party and leading the central government, will have to see the national and international ramifications of actions relating to Sri Lanka.

Speaking on the issue of credible enquiry on the alleged war crimes in Sri Lanka, Naidu said, Sri Lanka must ensure that the truth is unearthed and justice is delivered to the people.

An appropriate response would be given by the government at an appropriate time at the UNHRC, said Naidu.

Naidu said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has taken up the issue of Lankan Tamils with Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickramesinghe during the latter’s recent visit to India.

The BJP leader said India is firm on it stand that there should be devolution of powers to all provinces in Sri Lanka.

(With inputs from IANS)

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UN to Allocate More Funds for War Crimes Inquiries in Syria and Myanmar

UN Increases 2020 Budget, Adds Funds for War Crimes Inquiries

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BANGLADESH-MYANMAR-ROHINGYA-REFUGEE
Rohingya refugees attend a ceremony organised to remember the second anniversary of a military crackdown that prompted a massive exodus of people from Myanmar to Bangladesh, at the Kutupalong refugee camp in Ukhia. VOA

The United Nations General Assembly Friday adopted a $3.07 billion operating budget that for the first time includes funding for the investigation of war crimes in Syria and Myanmar.

The budget represents a slight increase from 2019’s figure of $2.9 billion.

The increase was the result of additional missions assigned to the U.N. Secretariat, inflation and exchange rate adjustments, according to diplomats.

These include the observer mission in Yemen, a political mission established in Haiti, the investigation of crimes committed in Syria since the outbreak of civil war in 2011, and in Myanmar after the 2017 crackdown on the Rohingya Muslim minority.

Syria, Myanmar inquiries

Myanmar Refugees
Rohingya refugees gather near a fence during a government organized media tour to a no-man’s land between Myanmar and Bangladesh, near Taungpyolatyar village, Maung Daw, northern Rakhine State, Myanmar. VOA

For the first time, the budgets for the Syria and Myanmar investigations, which were previously financed by voluntary contributions, will in 2020 be transferred to the U.N. secretariat’s budget and will receive compulsory contributions from the 193 member states.

Russia proposed multiple amendments during negotiations in the Committee on Budgetary Questions meeting and in the General Assembly plenary session.

Dissenters

At each vote, Russia, Syria, Myanmar and their supporters, including North Korea, Iran, Nicaragua and Venezuela, were outvoted. They all stated that they dissociated themselves from references to investigative mechanisms in the adopted resolutions.

Russia said it would examine its future obligatory payments in light of the vote outcome and predicted an increase in the arrears that currently plague the U.N.’s treasury because of countries not paying enough.

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Moscow argued Friday the investigative mechanism was illegitimate, while Damascus stressed that it had no mandate from the Security Council.

The U.N.’s operating budget is separate from the annual budget for peacekeeping operations of some $6 billion that is adopted in June. (VOA)

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Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu Feels Need to Protect Mother Tongue

Earlier in the day, Naidu paid condolences to the family of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who died after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer on March 17

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Venkaiah Naidu came in defence of Dangaal star's trolling
Urban Development Minister of India M. Venkaiah Naidu. Twitter

Unlike the Latin American countries, India due to its size, tradition and wisdom withstood attempts by the Western colonisers to destroy its indigenous culture, Vice-President M. Venkaiah Naidu said here on Sunday.

Addressing students and officials at the National Institute of Oceanography, Naidu said along with the economic reforms, India attracted investments from other countries because it is one of the world’s oldest surviving civilisations.

“I have been to Latin American countries. I asked people there about their mother tongue and whether they were promoting it or not. Many of them do not even know their mother tongue,” Naidu said.

“When I asked them what happened, they said we were under Spain and our language got lost,” he said.

“The colonial rulers first try to attack your culture and then destroy everything. British tried it in context of India. They made English a qualification for jobs, but because of our size, culture and wisdom of people they could not succeed,” he said.

Venkaiah Naidu
Venkaiah Naidu. Wikimedia Commons

Naidu said the mother tongue helps articulate original thoughts, which make it imperative for everyone to learn and understand it.

The Vice-President also said the global business community were keen on investing in India not just because of recent economic reforms and stability, but also because of the ancient Indian civilisation and culture.

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“People appreciate of our culture because we are one of the oldest civilisations. We have never attacked any country,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Naidu paid condolences to the family of late Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar who died after a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer on March 17. (IANS)

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Australian government to find humane solutions for refugees in Manus Island

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FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters)
FILE - An undated image released Nov. 13, 2017, shows detainees staging a protest inside the compound at the Manus Island detention center in Papua New Guinea. (Refugee Action Coalition/Handout via Reuters). VOA

The U.N. refugee agency is calling on the Australian government to find humane solutions for hundreds of refugees it has abandoned in a precarious situation on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island.

UNHCR accuses the Australian government of shirking its responsibilities to care for and protect some 800 refugees and asylum seekers on Manus Island.

It says the situation has become more precarious for the refugees since the government closed its so-called offshore processing facility at the end of October. Over the past four weeks, it notes, refugees who were moved to three new accommodation sites have been attacked several times. The worst case involved three people armed with machetes and an axe.

UNHCR spokeswoman, Cecile Pouilly, says local hostility and resentment against the refugees is high and growing. She told VOA the Australian authorities must resolve this critical situation.

“We are talking here about people who have suffered extreme trauma and now are feeling so insecure in these places where they are staying. There are many victims of torture. People who have been deeply traumatized have been detained, having no idea what is going to happen next to them. I think this mental issue, this psychological issue is a major one,” Pouilly said.

A recent medical report commissioned by UNHCR finds the cumulative effect of uncertainty about their future is causing a deterioration in the mental and physical health of the refugees.

It warns cessation of services, substandard living and hygiene conditions and inadequate medical care are increasing violence and self-harm among the refugees. (VOA)