Yemens political transition on track but facing serious challenges – UN envoy

Yemen has been undergoing a democratic transition, under the leadership of President Abdrabuh Mansour Hadi Mansour, who came to power in an election in February. This followed the agreement signed by warring factions in November 2011 on a transitional settlement in the wake of widespread protests similar to those seen across the Middle East and North Africa and the resignation of former president Ali Abdullah Saleh. “The transition is on track, but there have been challenges – serious challenges in various areas, including in the political and the security fields,” Jamal Benomar, the Special Adviser of the Secretary-General on Yemen, told reporters at UN Headquarters.Mr. Benomar, who recently returned from his 14th mission to Yemen, told the Security Council in a closed-door briefing that, for the State to be able to function, it will need to reassert its authority in various parts of the country, especially where armed groups are in control.Last week a terrorist attack in the capital, Sana’a, resulted in numerous deaths and injuries, including among the security detail of Yemen’s defence minister.Mr. Benomar had strongly condemned the attack, which was the sixth attempt on the minister’s life, in a statement issued over the weekend. “This atrocious terrorist attack, which killed a number of innocent Yemenis, civilian and military alike, cannot be justified in any way, and every effort must be made to arrest the perpetrators and bring them to justice,” he had stated.He told the Council today that with that terrorist attacks and with the recent attack on the United States Embassy in Sana’a, the re-structuring of the armed forces will need to proceed and the Council will need to support the President in pushing forward this process. Council members voiced their support for the steps taken by Yemen’s President in reforming and restructuring the security sector, while sharing the concerns by Mr. Benomar about ongoing attempts to undermine the transition process.They also agreed that “comprehensive and inclusive national dialogue should begin without delay in order to lay the foundations for a stable and unified Yemen,” Ambassador Peter Wittig of Germany, which holds the Council’s rotating presidency for this month, told reporters.Initial preparations have begun for the national dialogue conference, whose outcome will feed into the constitution-making process that is to conclude in late 2013, enabling general elections to take place in February 2014. Mr. Benomar described the national dialogue as a “historic opportunity” for all Yemenis to come together to address important issues and reported that the preparatory committee for the national dialogue has made progress. “I told the Council that the atmosphere in this committee was very constructive and the national dialogue is really what will make or break this transition, and it is important that we support this process.”A high-level meeting of the Friends of Yemen is scheduled to take place in New York on 27 September on the margins of the general debate of the General Assembly with the aim of reaffirming the international community’s strong support for the transition process. read more

Wikileaks publishes draft from freetrade agreement under secretive negotiations

first_imgWIKILEAKS TODAY PUBLISHED a leaked draft from the largest ever international trade agreement currently being negotiated between twelve prospective member states.The release of the draft from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) comes ahead of a decisive summit of chief negotiators in Utah next week. Contained in the International Property Rights chapter published today are some of the more controversial details which will impact on medicines, publishers, internet services, civil liberties and biological patents.It also includes the negotiation positions and disagreements between all twelve of the prospective member states.60 per cent of global GDPThis agreement precedes the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) with US-EU negotiations for that deal having started in January of this year. Together these agreements will cover over 60 per cent of global GDP and both of them exclude China.Numerous heads of state involved in the negotiations, including US President Barack Obama, have expressed their intention to sign and ratify the deal by the end of this year, though the negotiations have been kept secret and it was previously revealed that only three individuals in each nation have access to the full text.Today Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange accused the US administration of “aggressively pushing the TPP through the US legislative process on the sly”.The 95-page chapter published today lays out provisions for a regime to change or replace existing laws including agreements on patents, copyright, trademarks and industrial design.Far-reachingWikileaks said today the enforcement measures have “far-reaching implications for individual rights, civil liberties, publishers, internet service providers and internet privacy, as well as for the creative, intellectual, biological and environmental commons”.Measures include supranational litigation tribunals which national courts would be expected to defer to, but which would have no human rights safeguards. These courts would be permitted to conduct hearings with secret evidence. This chapter also replicates many of the surveillance and enforcement provisions from the shelved SOPA and ACTA treaties.Assange said: If instituted, the TPP’s IP regime would trample over individual rights and free expression, as well as ride roughshod over the intellectual and creative commons. If you read, write, publish, think, listen, dance, sing or invent; if you farm or consume food; if you’re ill now or might one day be ill, the TPP has you in its crosshairs.Intellectual property law expert Matthew Rimmer told the Sydney Morning Herald that “one could see the TPP as a Christmas wish-list for major corporations”.“Hollywood, the music industry, big IT companies such as Microsoft and the pharmaceutical sector would all be very happy with this,” he said.States currently involved in the negotiations include the United States, Japan, Mexico, Canada, Australia, Malaysia, Chile, Singapore, Peru, Vietnam, New Zealand and Brunei.Read the full chapter released today>Read: The Wikileaks Party got fewer votes than the Australian Sex Party>Read: “I am Chelsea Manning. I am a female.”>last_img read more