UN Chief Says ‘Rules of War’ Being Disregarded From Ukraine to Gaza

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Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres speaks at the opening of the 55th session of the Human Rights Council in Geneva, Switzerland on February 26, 2024. (Photo: Fabrice Coffrini/AFP via Getty Images)

“Today’s warmongers cannot erase the clear lesson of the past,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “Protecting human rights protects us all.”

The head of the United Nations said Monday that countries and groups involved in wars around the world are “turning a blind eye to international law” and imperiling the lives of millions of innocent people, including many children.

“The rule of law, and the rules of war, are being undermined,” U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said in remarks to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.

Guterres pointed specifically to conflicts raging in Ukraine, Gaza, and Sudan and lamented that the U.N. Security Council has frequently been “deadlocked” in the face of mass atrocities, “unable to act on the most significant peace and security issues of our time.”

“The council’s lack of unity on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and on Israel’s military operations in Gaza following the horrific terror attacks by Hamas on 7 October, has severely—perhaps fatally—undermined its authority,” said Guterres, who delivered his address less than a week after the U.S. used its veto power for the third time since October 7 to tank a Gaza cease-fire resolution at the U.N. Security Council.

“Flouting international law only feeds insecurity and results in more bloodshed.”

Guterres’ speech marked the start of the Human Rights Council’s first high-level session of 2024. The U.N. chief said at the session that the world “urgently” needs a “new commitment to all human rights—civil, cultural, economic, political, and social—as they apply to peace and security, backed by serious efforts at implementation and accountability.”

Toward that end, Guterres announced the launch of a “systemwide United Nations Agenda for Protection” under which U.N. bodies “will act as one to prevent human rights violations, and to identify and respond to them when they take place.”

“Flouting international law only feeds insecurity and results in more bloodshed,” Guterres warned. “Human rights conventions and humanitarian law are based on cold, hard reality: They recognize that terrorizing civilians and depriving them of food, water, and healthcare is a recipe for endless anger, alienation, extremism, and conflict.”

“Today’s warmongers cannot erase the clear lesson of the past,” he added. “Protecting human rights protects us all.”

Guterres’ address came after Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International said in separate analyses published Monday that Israel is blatantly disregarding an interim ruling handed down last month by the U.N.’s highest legal body, the International Court of Justice (ICJ).

Israeli forces have killed more than 3,400 people in Gaza since the ICJ’s January 26 ruling, and nearly 30,000 total since their assault on the Palestinian enclave began following a deadly Hamas-led attack on October 7.

“Not only has Israel created one of the worst humanitarian crises in the world, but it is also displaying a callous indifference to the fate of Gaza’s population by creating conditions which the ICJ has said places them at imminent risk of genocide,” Heba Morayef, Amnesty’s regional director for the Middle East and North Africa, said in a statement.

“Time and time again,” Morayef added, “Israel has failed to take the bare minimum steps humanitarians have desperately pleaded for that are clearly within its power to alleviate the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza.”

In his remarks Monday, Guterres warned that an Israeli ground assault on the southern Gaza city of Rafah “would not only be terrifying for more than a million Palestinian civilians sheltering there; it would put the final nail in the coffin of our aid programs.”

“International humanitarian law remains under attack. Tens of thousands of civilians, including women and children, have been killed in Gaza,” said Guterres. “I repeat my call for a humanitarian cease-fire and the immediate and unconditional release of all hostages.”

Original article by JAKE JOHNSON republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). 

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Continue ReadingUN Chief Says ‘Rules of War’ Being Disregarded From Ukraine to Gaza

With $280 Billion in Profits, Oil Giants Are ‘Main Winners of the War in Ukraine’

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Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

A protester pretends to celebrate outside Shell’s London headquarters. (Photo: Greenpeace U.K./X)

“They have amassed untold wealth off the back of death, destruction, and spiraling energy prices,” a Global Witness investigator said of a new analysis.

As Russia’s invasion of Ukraine approaches its second anniversary, one group has clearly benefited: the five biggest U.S. and European oil and gas companies.

BP, Chevron, ExxonMobil, Shell, and TotalEnergies have made more than a quarter of a trillion dollars in profits since the war began, according to an analysis published by Global Witness on Monday.

“This analysis shows that regardless of what happens on the front lines, the fossil fuel majors are the main winners of the war in Ukraine,” Global Witness senior fossil fuels investigator Patrick Galey said in a statement. “They have amassed untold wealth off the back of death, destruction, and spiraling energy prices.”

Big Oil’s profits were fueled in part by high wholesale gas prices, which were already elevated before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022 and skyrocketed afterward. All five companies covered by the analysis reported record profits for 2022.

This bonanza came as the conflict killed more than 10,000 Ukrainian civilians.

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has been devastating for millions of people, from ordinary Ukrainians living under the shadow of war, to the households across Europe struggling to heat their homes,” Galey said.

During 2022, U.S. President Joe Biden accused Big Oil of “war profiteering.”

Global Witness calculated that BP and Shell have raked in enough since the war began—at £75 billion—to pay all British household electricity bills through July 2025. Chevron and ExxonMobil have made a combined $136 billion while Total has netted $50.4 billion.

These massive profits also come as the climate crisis, driven primarily by the burning of fossil fuels, continues to escalate. 2023 was the hottest year on record, and likely the hottest in 125,000 years. Yet instead of using their record profits to invest in renewable energy technology, the five major oil companies have cut back on their climate initiatives and handed massive payouts to shareholders.

“This is yet another way in which the fossil fuel industry is failing customers and the planet.”

Of the more than $280 billion the five companies have brought in since the war began, they returned what Global Witness said was an “unprecedented” $200 billion to shareholders. At the same time, Shell rescinded a promise to curb oil production by 2030 and said it would fire around 200 people employed by its green jobs division. BP, meanwhile, slashed its emissions reduction target from 35-40% of 2019 levels by 2030 to 20-30%.

The money paid to shareholders is also money that could have been paid to help communities adapt to the climate crisis or recover from the damage it has already caused. The $111 billion that the five companies paid to shareholders in 2023 alone is 158 times more than the money pledged to climate-vulnerable nations at COP28, and the €15 billion that TotalEnergies rewarded shareholders with was more than the €10 billion that France needed to recover from droughts and storms in 2022.

Galey said the companies were now “spending their gains on investor handouts and ever more oil and gas production, which Europe doesn’t need and the climate cannot take.”

“This is yet another way in which the fossil fuel industry is failing customers and the planet,” Galey said.

Original article by OLIVIA ROSANE republished from Common Dreams under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).

Rishi Sunak offers huge fossil fuel subsidies to develop fossil fuel extraction in UK.
Rishi Sunak offers huge fossil fuel subsidies to develop fossil fuel extraction in UK.

Investigating the so-called ‘windfall tax’

Continue ReadingWith $280 Billion in Profits, Oil Giants Are ‘Main Winners of the War in Ukraine’

Morning Star: The imperialist consensus exposes the hollow sham of democracy under capitalism

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I would like to quote all of this editorial but I am unfortunately restricted to quoting only an excerpt. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/editorial-imperialist-consensus-exposes-hollow-sham-democracy-under-capitalism

Labour leader Keir Starmer addressing 400 business leaders at the Kia Oval, London, during the launch of Labour Party’s plan for business, February 1, 2024

BRITAIN’S ruling class is eager to carry on the pretence that there is real choice under their political system.

Capitalism promises us that it’s the politicians that call the shots, there are real differences between those politicians and that we’re the ones that elect the politicians and they’re answerable to us.

But as with most tricks, when looked at too closely, reality and the nature of the fraud become clear.

Nowhere is it clearer that there is no real difference between the ruling-class parties than the imperialist consensus on questions of foreign policy, militarism and war.

Rather than questioning the Tory government’s policy or strategy on the burning issues of Palestine or Ukraine, Keir Starmer has bent over backwards (not hard when you’re spineless) at each and every turn to not only stymie any criticism, but to heartily endorse Tory policy.

Britain is a proud western democracy — the oldest in the world in fact: you can stand as a candidate for whoever you want; you can vote for whoever you want; just as long as they enthusiastically cheerlead genocide in 2024.

I would like to quote all of this editorial but I am unfortunately restricted to quoting only an excerpt. https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/editorial-imperialist-consensus-exposes-hollow-sham-democracy-under-capitalism

Image of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. UK halts aid to UNRWA in Gaza over Israeli allegations that 12 staff from a total of 13,000 were involved in the 7 October 2024 attack on Israel.
Image of UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak. UK halts aid to UNRWA in Gaza over Israeli allegations that 12 staff from a total of 13,000 were involved in the 7 October 2024 attack on Israel.
Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel's Gaza genocide.
Zionist Keir Starmer supports Israel’s Gaza genocide.
Continue ReadingMorning Star: The imperialist consensus exposes the hollow sham of democracy under capitalism

Former prime minister wins Slovakia’s elections pledging to end military support for Ukraine

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https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/former-prime-minister-wins-slovakia-elections-pledging-to-end-military-support-for-ukraine

FORMER Slovak prime minister Robert Fico and his left-wing Smer (Direction) party came first in the country’s parliamentary elections today after campaigning on a pro-Russian and anti-US message.

Mr Fico and his party got more than 23 per cent of the vote, with the pro-West Progressive Slovakia party second with 18 per cent and the left-wing Hlas (Voice) party third with 15 per cent.

The Hlas party, led by Mr Fico’s former deputy in Smer, Peter Pellegrini, alongside the pro-Russian Slovak National Party, which received 5.7 per cent, would have a parliamentary majority if they joined forces in a coalition government.

Slovakia has backed Ukraine since Russia invaded last February, donating arms and opening the borders for refugees fleeing the war.

During the election campaign Mr Fico, who served as prime minister between 2006 and 2010 and again from 2012 to 2018, vowed to withdraw Slovakia’s military support for Ukraine if he was returned to power.

Mr Fico has blamed “Ukrainian neonazis and fascists” for provoking Russia into launching its invasion in 2022.

During the campaign he said: “The Soviets freed us from the Nazis, we should show some respect.

“We must tell the whole world that freedom comes from the East; war always comes from the West.”

https://morningstaronline.co.uk/article/former-prime-minister-wins-slovakia-elections-pledging-to-end-military-support-for-ukraine

Continue ReadingFormer prime minister wins Slovakia’s elections pledging to end military support for Ukraine

Human Rights Watch reports new evidence of Ukrainian use of anti-personnel landmines

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https://www.eureporter.co/world/human-rights-category/2023/07/03/human-rights-watch-reports-new-evidence-of-ukrainian-use-of-anti-personnel-landmines/

Human Rights Watch (HRW) said on Friday (30 June) that it uncovered new evidence of the indiscriminate use by Ukrainian forces of banned anti-personnel landmines against Russian troops who invaded Ukraine in 2022.

The group called on Ukraine’s government to follow through with a commitment made earlier this month not to employ such weapons, investigate their suspected use and hold accountable those responsible.

“The Ukrainian government’s pledge to investigate its military’s apparent use of banned anti-personnel mines is an important recognition of its duty to protect civilians,” Steve Goose, Human Rights Watch’s arms director, said in a statement.

HRW said it shared its findings with the Ukrainian government in a May letter to which it received no response.

https://www.eureporter.co/world/human-rights-category/2023/07/03/human-rights-watch-reports-new-evidence-of-ukrainian-use-of-anti-personnel-landmines/

Continue ReadingHuman Rights Watch reports new evidence of Ukrainian use of anti-personnel landmines