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Uphold safety, human rights on Belarus-Poland border: UN

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Increasing numbers of migrants are moving towards the Belarus/Poland border.photo: Belarus Red Cross

With news footage showing migrants on the border between Belarus and Poland attempting to dodge teargas and make their way through razor wire, UN agencies called for an “immediate de-escalation”, following weeks of rising tension.

Alarmed by the latest reports, the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) issued a joint statement calling on States to ensure “the safety and human rights of migrants and refugees”.

The border became a flash point after the European Union imposed sanctions on Belarus on the basis of alleged human rights violations, following the crackdown on protests, and the forcing down of a commercial flight between two EU nations by Belarus in May, in order to remove a leading dissident, according to news reports.

The EU reportedly contends that in reprisal, Belarus has been deliberately assisting migrants to cross the border into Poland illegally, a charge which Belarus denies.

Humane treatment ‘highest priority’

On Monday, reports surfaced that a large group of migrants and refugees, including women and children, moved from Belarus towards the international Bruzgi border crossing, where they allegedly settled in a makeshift camp.

In contact with both Governments, UNHCR and IOM are calling for “an urgent resolution” to the confrontational situation along with “immediate and unhindered access” to provide humanitarian assistance and other forms of protection.

With several tragic deaths recently recorded at the border area amidst the onset of winter temperatures, the UN agencies reminded States that it is “imperative to prevent further loss of life” and to treat migrants and refugees humanely, “as the highest priority”.

Political manipulation

Both UN agencies have frequently stated that instrumentalizing migrants and refugees for political ends is “deplorable and must stop”.

“Taking advantage of the despair and vulnerability of migrants and refugees by offering them unrealistic and misleading promises, is unacceptable and has severe human consequences”, their statement read.

UNHCR and IOM have repeatedly reiterated to the Belarusian authorities the need to preserve the well-being of people and avoid creating difficult humanitarian situations.

UN ready to assist

The two organizations stand ready to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants and refugees on both sides of the border and to support Belarus in assessing people and providing counseling away from the areas.

“In view of the alarming situation at the border, both sides must uphold their obligations under international law and guarantee the safety, dignity, and protection of the rights of people stranded at the border”, they stated.

Both IOM and UNHCR have also urged the authorities to explore all humanitarian options to respond to the situation, including voluntary returns.

Protect children

Meanwhile, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe, Afshan Khan, expressed her deep concern over “the dire situation facing migrant and asylum-seeking children in Europe and at its borders”.

She reminded that “shocking” reports of children living in appalling conditions, detained at the eastern borders are “a direct violation” of the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Children and their families have the right to seek asylum and have their protection needs evaluated on an individual basis”, upheld Ms. Khan.

Acknowledging that UNICEF recognizes Member States’ sovereignty, the challenge posed by irregular migration and the need for safe and orderly border management processes, the Special Coordinator joined UNHCR, IOM and the UN human rights office (OHCHR) in condemning the use of pushbacks across borders, as a violation of international law that puts children’s lives at risk.

New commitment

“There is a need for a renewed collective political commitment for the protection and safeguarding of all children in Europe – regardless of their migration status”, she said. “Migrant children should not be instrumentalized for political purposes and their right to safely claim asylum must be guaranteed”.

UNICEF stands ready to work with governments, UN organizations and civil society to ensure that the rights of all children are “understood, protected, and promoted everywhere”.

A child is a child. No matter the circumstances”, concluded Special Coordinator.

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Europe accuses US of ‘profiting from war’

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Top European officials are furious with Joe Biden’s administration and now accuse the Americans of making a fortune from the war, while EU countries suffer. “The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the U.S. because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior official told POLITICO.

Washington announced a $369 billion industrial subsidy scheme to support green industries under the Inflation Reduction Act that Brussels went into full-blown panic mode. “The Inflation Reduction Act has changed everything,” one EU diplomat said. “Is Washington still our ally or not?”

“We are really at a historic juncture,” the senior EU official said, arguing that the double hit of trade disruption from U.S. subsidies and high energy prices risks turning public opinion against both the war effort and the transatlantic alliance. “America needs to realize that public opinion is shifting in many EU countries.”

The biggest point of tension in recent weeks has been Biden’s green subsidies and taxes that Brussels says unfairly tilt trade away from the EU and threaten to destroy European industries. Despite formal objections from Europe, Washington has so far shown no sign of backing down.

As they attempt to reduce their reliance on Russian energy, EU countries are turning to gas from the U.S. instead — but the price Europeans pay is almost four times as high as the same fuel costs in America. Then there’s the likely surge in orders for American-made military kit as European armies run short after sending weapons to Ukraine.

Officials on both sides of the Atlantic recognize the risks that the increasingly toxic atmosphere will have for the Western alliance.

“The U.S. is following a domestic agenda, which is regrettably protectionist and discriminates against U.S. allies,” said Tonino Picula, the European Parliament’s lead person on the transatlantic relationship.

Cheaper energy has quickly become a huge competitive advantage for American companies, too. Businesses are planning new investments in the U.S. or even relocating their existing businesses away from Europe to American factories. Just this week, chemical multinational Solvay announced t is choosing the U.S. over Europe for new investments, in the latest of a series of similar announcements from key EU industrial giants.

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American view: ‘Putting an end to Volodymyr Zelensky’s follies!’

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“Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true,” – writes Philip Giraldi from Ron Paul Institute.

One week ago, he reminds, the Ukrainian government may have deliberately attacked neighbor Poland in an attempt to draw the NATO alliance into its war with Russia. The incident involved a missile that hit a grain processing site inside Poland and killed two farmers.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky immediately blamed Russia for the incident even though he surely must have known that the missile had been fired from Ukraine, meaning that he may have been using a so-called “false flag” to create a false narrative of what had occurred.

Given the fact that Zelensky has been saying and doing everything possible to draw the US and NATO into fighting Russia on his behalf, I believe that the missile strike was quite plausibly a deliberate “false flag” attempt to start a much broader war.

That such a war could easily turn nuclear reveals just how reckless Zelensky can be. One NATO country foreign diplomat based in Kiev told “The Financial Times”, that “This is getting ridiculous. The Ukrainians are destroying [our] confidence in them. Nobody is blaming Ukraine and they are openly lying. This is more destructive than the missile.”

There has been considerable speculation that the unregulated and unmonitored flow of billions of dollars of US taxpayer provided money through Ukraine’s notoriously corrupt government provided a perfect mechanism for large scale money laundering.

Even assuming that the Ukrainian missile strike on Poland was due to some malfunction, Zelensky comes out of the process smelling really bad as he has worked assiduously at blaming Russia, which clearly is not true.

He is using his contrived narrative to dramatically expand the war by creating a situation which would bring NATO directly into the conflict and which could easily go nuclear.

Indeed, he is attempting to compel NATO participation.

Beyond that, the US and NATO, burdened with such an “ally,” should take immediate steps to disengage from supporting the fighting and call for a negotiated settlement of the conflict.

To be sure, Zelensky is capable of anything and no lie is too mendacious for the former comedy actor who is now basking in the glow of his celebrity, writes Philip Giraldi.

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Iran’s Parliament approves bill on accession to SCO

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Iran’s Parliament has approved by a majority vote a bill on the Islamic republic’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), according TASS information.

205 parliamentarians voted for the bill, 3 voted against and 4 abstained.

On September 30, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi signed a bill on the country’s accession to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization. According to the Young Journalists Club news agency, Raisi sent the bill to the country’s parliament for consideration.

Iran signed a memorandum on liabilities for joining the Organization.

The Organization’s summit in Uzbekistan on September 15-16 launched the procedure of admitting Belarus as a full-fledged member.

Egypt and Qatar were granted a dialogue partner status, while Bahrain, Kuwait, the Maldives, Myanmar, and Saudi Arabia began the procedure for obtaining this status.

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