Epidemiological findings of major chemical attacks in the Syrian war are consistent with civilian targeting: a short report

Featured Journal Content

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Conflict and Health
http://www.conflictandhealth.com/
[Accessed 21 April 2018]
Short report
16 April 2018
Epidemiological findings of major chemical attacks in the Syrian war are consistent with civilian targeting: a short report
Authors: Jose M. Rodriguez-Llanes, Debarati Guha-Sapir, Benjamin-Samuel Schlüter and Madelyn Hsiao-Rei Hicks
Abstract
Evidence of use of toxic gas chemical weapons in the Syrian war has been reported by governmental and non-governmental international organizations since the war started in March 2011. To date, the profiles of victims of the largest chemical attacks in Syria remain unknown. In this study, we used descriptive epidemiological analysis to describe demographic characteristics of victims of the largest chemical weapons attacks in the Syrian war.

We analysed conflict-related, direct deaths from chemical weapons recorded in non-government-controlled areas by the Violation Documentation Center, occurring from March 18, 2011 to April 10, 2017, with complete information on the victim’s date and place of death, cause and demographic group. ‘Major’ chemical weapons events were defined as events causing ten or more direct deaths.

As of April 10, 2017, a total of 1206 direct deaths meeting inclusion criteria were recorded in the dataset from all chemical weapons attacks regardless of size. Five major chemical weapons attacks caused 1084 of these documented deaths. Civilians comprised the majority (n=1058, 97.6%) of direct deaths from major chemical weapons attacks in Syria and combatants comprised a minority of 2.4% (n=26). In the first three major chemical weapons attacks, which occurred in 2013, children comprised 13%-14% of direct deaths, ranging in numbers from 2 deaths among 14 to 117 deaths among 923. Children comprised higher proportions of direct deaths in later major chemical weapons attacks, forming 21% (n=7) of 33 deaths in the 2016 major attack and 34.8% (n=32) of 92 deaths in the 2017 major attack.

Our finding of an extreme disparity in direct deaths from major chemical weapons attacks in Syria, with 97.6% of victims being civilians and only 2.4% being combatants provides evidence that major chemical weapons attacks were indiscriminate or targeted civilians directly; both violations of International Humanitarian Law (IHL). Identifying and quantifying chemical weapons violations requires inter-disciplinary collaboration to inform international policy, humanitarian intervention and legal action.

The Belgian commitment to pharmaceutical quality: a model policy to improve quality assurance of medicines available through humanitarian and development programs

Featured Journal Content

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Journal of Pharmaceutical Policy and Practice
https://joppp.biomedcentral.com/
[Accessed 21 April 2018]
Commentary
19 April 2018
The Belgian commitment to pharmaceutical quality: a model policy to improve quality assurance of medicines available through humanitarian and development programs
Authors: Raffaella Ravinetto, Tim Roosen and Catherine Dujardin
Abstract
Today, a combination of globalization of pharmaceutical production, lack of regulatory harmonization, and weakness of Medicines Regulatory Authorities, creates the “perfect conditions” for poor-quality medicine to circulate in the global market and to penetrate the less-regulated countries. Medicines regulation is the responsibility of the national regulatory authorities in the recipient country, but in the poorer countries, in practice, the responsibility of supply of quality-assured medicines is often taken by Non-Governmental Organizations and other implementers. But with some notable exceptions, many donors lack a pharmaceutical procurement policy with adequate quality requirements; and many implementers lack the skills and expertise needed to orient themselves in the complex web of global pharmaceutical supply. Thus, patients served by humanitarian or development programs may remain exposed to the risk of poor-quality medicines.

When public money is used to purchase medicines for medical programs to be carried out overseas, adequate policies should be in place to assure that the same quality requirements are set that would be required for medicines marketed in the “donor” country.

We will describe here a policy recently adopted in Belgium, i.e. the “Commitment to Quality Assurance for Pharmaceutical Products”, signed in October 2017 by the Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation and 19 Belgian implementing agencies. By signing the new policy, the counterparts committed to ensure quality of medicines in the programs funded by Belgium’s Official Development Assistance, and to build quality-assurance capacity in the recipient countries. Implementers are requested to integrate in their financing applications a section for pharmaceutical quality assurance, with a justified budget. They are also invited to consider how costs could be rationalized and mutualized by aligning the strengths of the various implementers. This model policy has the potential to be considered for adoption by other donors, to help to reduce the current multiple standards in pharmaceutical quality, and to contribute to protect vulnerable communities from the plague of poor-quality medicines.

Emergencies

Emergencies

 
POLIO
Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC)
Polio this week as of 17 April 2018 [GPEI]
Summary of newly-reported viruses this week:
Pakistan: Two new wild poliovirus type 1 (WPV1)  positive environmental samples have been reported, one in Sindh province, and one in Balochistan province.
Kenya:  Notification of a circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVPDV2) detected from an environmental sample has been confirmed, linked to the cVDPV2 confirmed from Somalia in March. No cases of paralysis associated with this virus have been detected in either country.

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Yemen

UNICEF – Military action on and around water infrastructure jeopardizes efforts to prevent another outbreak of cholera in Yemen
AMMAN, 17 April 2018 – “Yemen continues to be one of the world’s most water-scarce countries. Access to drinking water is extremely costly for the most vulnerable people: 8.6 million children in Yemen don’t have sufficient access to water, sanitation and hygiene services.

“Since 2015, the escalation of conflict has only exacerbated this already dire situation, with attacks and military action on and around water infrastructure cutting off even more people from access to safe drinking water.

“Earlier this week, the Al-Hamazat water system in the Sehar district in Sa’ada governorate was completely destroyed in an attack that left 7,500 people, including internally displaced families, without water. During the attack, the nearby solar energy system which provides power to the water system was also severely damaged. The same water system came under attack and was destroyed in 2015. UNICEF rebuilt it in 2017.

“At the same time, armed groups have launched military attacks from sites close to water points.

“Access to clean water is especially critical to prevent waterborne diseases from spreading further in the war-torn country. Last year, Yemen had the biggest outbreak of cholera/acute watery diarrhea in the world and the likelihood of another outbreak looms if access to water continues to be jeopardized.

“UNICEF is calling on all parties to the conflict wherever they are in Yemen and those who have influence over them to protect basic civilian infrastructure. In line with international humanitarian law, all parties to the conflict should immediately stop attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure and any military activities near or from these facilities including schools, hospitals, water facilities and keep children out of harm’s way.”

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WHO Grade 3 Emergencies  [to 21 April 2018]

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WHO Grade 2 Emergencies  [to 21 April 2018]
Democratic Republic of the Congo
:: 5 April 2018 Reanalysing the humanitarian context to better redefine priorities for action [FR]
— The crisis in the Democratic Republic of the Congo affect more than 13.1 million people, specally affected areas are Tanganyika, Kasai region, Kivus and Ituri. WHO national experts from the Health Emergency Management Team (WHE) and other Country Office clusters (epidemiologists, logisticians, internal and external communications, data managers, finance and travel services etc.), and international experts deployed in the Democratic Republic of the Congo gathered together to review WHO emergency operations in the county…

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UN OCHA – L3 Emergencies
The UN and its humanitarian partners are currently responding to three ‘L3’ emergencies. This is the global humanitarian system’s classification for the response to the most severe, large-scale humanitarian crises. 
Syrian Arab Republic
:: Syrian Arab Republic: The Humanitarian Crisis in Syria as of 15 April 2018 [EN/AR] 18 Apr 2018
KEY MESSAGES
…As humanitarian needs remain staggering in terms of their scale, severity and complexity, no amount of humanitarian assistance and protection services can offset the lack of a political solution.
…Against this backdrop, the overall conditions for safe, dignified, voluntary and sustainable returns are not yet in place in Syria, with the need for a coherent response to the needs of IDPs and returnees based on humanitarian and protection principles paramount…

DRC 
::  Democratic Republic of the Congo: CERF allocations overview 2017-2018 (as of 12 April 2018…

Yemen  
:: Yemen Humanitarian Update Covering 10 – 16 April 2018 | Issue 11

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UN OCHA – Corporate Emergencies
When the USG/ERC declares a Corporate Emergency Response, all OCHA offices, branches and sections provide their full support to response activities both at HQ and in the field.
Ethiopia 
:: Ethiopia: Conflict Displacement Situation Report #3 (17 April 2018)

The Sentinel

Human Rights Action :: Humanitarian Response :: Health :: Education :: Heritage Stewardship ::
Sustainable Development
__________________________________________________
Week ending 14 April 2018

This weekly digest is intended to aggregate and distill key content from a broad spectrum of practice domains and organization types including key agencies/IGOs, NGOs, governments, academic and research institutions, consortia and collaborations, foundations, and commercial organizations. We also monitor a spectrum of peer-reviewed journals and general media channels. The Sentinel’s geographic scope is global/regional but selected country-level content is included. We recognize that this spectrum/scope yields an indicative and not an exhaustive product. Comments and suggestions should be directed to:

David R. Curry
Editor
GE2P2 Global Foundation – Governance, Evidence, Ethics, Policy, Practice
david.r.curry@ge2p2center.net

pdf version: The Sentinel_ period ending 14 April 2018.docx

Contents
:: Week in Review  [See selected posts just below]
:: Key Agency/IGO/Governments Watch – Selected Updates from 30+ entities
:: INGO/Consortia/Joint Initiatives Watch – Media Releases, Major Initiatives, Research
:: Foundation/Major Donor Watch -Selected Updates
:: Journal Watch – Key articles and abstracts from 100+ peer-reviewed journals

Syria :: Security Council – Chemical Weapons – Airstrikes

Syria :: Security Council – Chemical Weapons – Airstrikes

Editor’s Note:
The extraordinary and disturbing series of Security Council Meetings over the last week included too many low points to fully capture here. But included below are links to the videos of the SC meetings on Syria held on Friday and Saturday [if you elect to watch the four+ hours of meeting coverage prepare to be disheartened]. Also below is the report on yesterday’s meeting and the sobering briefing at Friday’s meeting by the UN Secretary General.

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UN Security Council 14 Apr 2018
The Situation in the Middle East (Syria) – Threats to international peace and security – Security Council, 8233rd meeting
[Video: 2:42.06]
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Following Air Strikes against Suspected Chemical Weapons Sites in Syria, Security Council Rejects Proposal to Condemn Aggression
14 April 2018
SC/13296
[Excerpt]
On the heels of air strikes meant to hamper Syria’s ability to use chemical weapons, the Security Council today rejected a proposal by the Russian Federation to condemn such aggression by the United States and its allies over suspected chemical weapons use in the country, amid pressure from the Secretary-General to abide by the tenets of international law.

The draft resolution — which was defeated by a recorded vote of 8 against (Côte d’Ivoire, France, Kuwait, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, United Kingdom, United States) to 3 in favour (Bolivia, China, Russian Federation), with 4 abstentions (Equatorial Guinea, Ethiopia, Kazakhstan, Peru) — would have demanded the United States and its allies immediately cease such actions and refrain from any further use of force in violation of international law.

It also would have expressed grave concern that such acts had taken place at a time when the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission had begun to collect evidence in the Syrian city of Douma.

Briefing the Council, Secretary-General António Guterres said it was his duty to remind States of their obligation, particularly in peace and security matters, to act consistently with the Charter of the United Nations and with international law in general.

“I urge all Member States to show restraint in these dangerous circumstances and to avoid any acts that could escalate matters and worsen the suffering of the Syrian people,” he asserted. “If the law is ignored, it is undermined.”

Speaking before the vote, the representative of the Russian Federation said his Government had called for the meeting — the fifth that week on the Syria situation — to discuss aggressive actions by the United States. It was shameful that, in justifying its aggression, that Government had cited its Constitution. Washington, D.C, must learn: the international code of behaviour regarding the use of force was regulated by the Charter.

Decrying that the United Kingdom and France had taken part in such an illegal military venture, he said: “You’re constantly tempted by neo-colonialism. There is no serious work you’re doing in the Council. You don’t consult us, yet claim otherwise.” The conflict could end within a day if Washington, D.C, London and Paris ordered their hand-picked terrorists to stop fighting the Syrian authorities.

The United States delegate, meanwhile, said the time for talk had ended the previous night when her country, along with the United Kingdom and France, had acted, not in revenge, punishment or a symbolic show of force, but to deter the future use of chemical weapons by holding the Syrian regime accountable.

She said a disinformation campaign by the Russian Federation was in full force. However, a large body of information demonstrated Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s culpability. The targets selected were at the heart of the regime’s illegal chemical weapons programme, and the action taken by the three countries had been legitimate and proportional. In the coming weeks, the Council should reflect on its role in defending the international rule of law…

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UN Security Council 13 Apr 2018
The situation in the Middle East (8231st meeting), 2) Sudan and South Sudan (8232nd meeting[
[Video: 2:16:41]
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Cold War ‘Back with a Vengeance’ amid Multiple Entrenched Divides in Middle East, Secretary-General Tells Security Council, Urging Efforts to Avert Further Chaos
SG/SM/18986-SC/13294
13 April 2018
Following are UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ remarks to the Security Council meeting on the Middle East, in New York today:

The situation in the Middle East is in chaos — to such an extent it has become a threat to international peace and security. The region is facing a true Gordian knot — different fault lines crossing each other and creating a highly volatile situation with risks of escalation, fragmentation and division as far as the eye can see with profound regional and global ramifications.

We see a multiplicity of divides. The first is the memory of the cold war. But, to be precise, it is more than a simple memory. The cold war is back — with a vengeance, but with a difference. The mechanisms and the safeguards to manage the risks of escalation that existed in the past no longer seem to be present.

Second, the Palestinian-Israeli divide. Third, the Sunni-Shia divide, evident from the Gulf to the Mediterranean. It is important to note that apparent religious divides are normally the result of political or geostrategic manipulations.

Finally, a wide range of different factors — from opposing attitudes in relation to the role of the Muslim Brotherhood or the status of the Kurds, to the dramatic threats to communities that have been living in the region for millennia and are part of the rich diversity of Middle Eastern societies.

This multiplicity of divides is reflected in a multiplicity of conflicts with different degrees of interconnection, several of them clearly linked to the threat of global terrorism.
Many forms of escalation are possible. We see the wounds of the Palestinian Israeli conflict deepening once again. The recent violence in Gaza has resulted in many needless deaths and injuries. I repeat my call for an independent and transparent investigation into these incidents. I also appeal to those concerned to refrain from any act that could lead to further casualties, and in particular, any measures that could place civilians in harm’s way.

This tragedy underlines the urgency of revitalizing the peace process for a two-State solution that will allow Palestinians and Israelis to live in two democratic States side by side in peace and within secure and recognized borders. I reaffirm the United Nations’ readiness to support these efforts.

In Yemen, we are witnessing the worst humanitarian disaster in today’s world. There is only one pathway to ending the Yemeni conflict and addressing the humanitarian crisis — a negotiated political settlement through inclusive intra Yemeni dialogue. My Special Envoy, Martin Griffiths, is doing everything possible to facilitate that political settlement — and he will brief the Council next week.

In Libya, I encourage all parties to continue to work with my Special Representative Ghassan Salamé, as he engages in the political process with a broad range of Libyan interlocutors across the country to implement the United Nations Action Plan. It is high time to end the Libyan conflict.

Iraq demonstrates that progress is possible with concerted local, regional and global commitment. With the defeat of Da’esh, and after overcoming the risk of fragmentation, the Government of Iraq must now focus on reconstruction, reforms and reconciliation. I hope the upcoming elections will consolidate this progress.

At the recent Paris and Rome conferences, the international community reaffirmed its support for Lebanon’s sovereignty, stability and State security institutions. It is absolutely essential to avoid a new Israel-Hizbullah conflict that could inevitably result in many more victims and much greater destruction than the last war. I reiterate the critical importance to act on key principles and commitments on Lebanon, including Security Council resolutions, such as [resolution] 1701 (2006), and the policy of disassociation. The dangers of the links to the Syrian conflict are evident in the recent confrontations between Iran and Israel in Syria.

Syria indeed today represents the most serious threat to international peace and security. In Syria, we see confrontations and proxy wars involving several national armies, a number of armed opposition groups, many national and international militia, foreign fighters from everywhere in the world and various terrorist organizations.

From the beginning, we have witnessed systematic violations of international humanitarian law, international human rights law and international law tout court — in utter disregard of the letter and spirit of the United Nations Charter. For eight long years, the people of Syria have endured suffering upon suffering.

I reiterate: there is no military solution to the conflict. The solution must be political through the Geneva intra-Syrian talks, as stipulated in resolution 2254 (2015) of the Security Council, in line with the consistent efforts of my Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

Syrians have lived through a litany of horrors: atrocity crimes, sieges, starvation, indiscriminate attacks against civilians and civilian infrastructure, the use of chemical weapons, forced displacement, sexual violence, torture, detention and enforced disappearances. The list goes on.

In a moment of hope, the Security Council adopted resolution 2401 (2018) demanding that all parties cease hostilities without delay for a durable humanitarian pause. Unfortunately, no such cessation of hostilities ever really took place. That is the bleak panorama of Syria today.

In this panorama, I am outraged by the continued reports of the use of chemical weapons in Syria. I reiterate my strong condemnation of the use of chemical weapons by any party to the conflict and under any circumstances. Their use is abhorrent and a clear violation of international law. The seriousness of the recent allegations requires a thorough investigation using impartial, independent and professional expertise.

In this regard, I reaffirm my full support for the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons — the OPCW — and its fact-finding mission in undertaking the required investigation into these allegations. The fact-finding mission should be granted full access, without any restrictions or impediments to perform its activities. I take note that the Syrian Government has requested it and committed to facilitate it. The first team of the OPCW is already in Syria. A second is expected today or tomorrow. But, we need to go further.

In a letter to the Council two days ago I expressed “my deep disappointment that the Security Council was unable to agree upon a dedicated mechanism to attribute responsibility for the use of chemical weapons in Syria”, following the end of the mandate of the Joint Investigative Mechanism, or JIM.

I want to repeat today that the norms against chemical weapons must be upheld…

As I wrote in the same letter: “Ensuring accountability for a confirmed use of chemical weapons is our responsibility, not least to the victims of such attacks. A lack of accountability emboldens those who would use such weapons by providing them with the reassurance of impunity. This in turn further weakens the norm proscribing the use of chemical weapons and the international disarmament and non-proliferation architecture as a whole. I urge all Member States to act responsibly in these dangerous circumstances. I appeal to the Security Council to fulfil its duties and not give up on efforts to agree upon a dedicated, impartial, objective and independent mechanism for attributing responsibility with regard to the use of chemical weapons. I stand ready to support such efforts.”

Increasing tensions and the inability to reach a compromise in the establishment of an accountability mechanism threaten to lead to a full-blown military escalation. In my contacts with you — especially with the permanent members of the Security Council — I have been reiterating my deep concerns about the risks of the current impasse and stressed the need to avoid the situation spiralling out of control.

This is exactly the risk we face today — that things spiral out of control. It is our common duty to stop it.

Forced Displacement – World Bank

Forced Displacement
World Bank
April 11, 2018 Type: Brief
Globally, there are an estimated 65.6 million people who have fled their homes either as refugees (22.5 million), internally displaced persons (40.3 million), or asylum seekers as a result of conflict…

…“Under its mandate to reduce poverty, the World Bank Group is concerned about the welfare of the displaced as well as their host communities. The Bank is actively engaged to address this challenge through financing, data and analytics and operations, working in complementary ways with the United Nations Refugee Agency UNHCR and across humanitarian-development partners. As part of a global effort, the Bank takes a development approach, focused on addressing the social and economic dimensions of displacement crises in the medium-term, to help both refugees and host countries thrive.

The flagship report Forcibly Displaced: Toward a Development Approach Supporting Refugees, the Internally Displaced, and Their Hosts, examines available data to better understand the scope of the challenge, and suggests a development approach that aims to help the displaced access jobs and services so they can become self-reliant and rebuild their lives with dignity. It also emphasizes the need to support host communities manage the arrival of large numbers of people.

For low-income countries, the International Development Association, the Bank’s fund for the poorest, is making an additional $2 billion available to support refugees and host communities. Eight countries so far – Cameroon, Chad, Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Niger, Pakistan, and Uganda – have been found eligible for this financing, and projects are under preparation. Overall, interventions will aim to make a shift from crisis response to managing risks; support host communities and lagging regions; move towards social and economic inclusion; and take regional and country-level approaches.

For middle-income countries, the Global Concessional Financing Facility, launched in partnership with the UN and Islamic Development Bank, has unlocked $1.4 billion in concessional financing for Jordan and Lebanon, promoting job creation and expanding vital public services and infrastructure.

The GCFF has approved nearly US$200 million in grants to leverage five times that amount in concessional financing for projects to improve the lives of Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them by promoting job creation and expanding vital public services and infrastructure.
In the long term, the Bank is doing more to help fragile and conflict affected areas address the drivers of conflict and create more stable societies that provide opportunities for all, so that people will not need to risk their lives and flee in the first place….
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Forcibly Displaced: Toward a Development Approach Supporting Refugees, the Internally Displaced, and Their Hosts
World Bank
2017 :: 187 pages
PDF: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/25016/9781464809385.pdf?sequence=11&isAllowed=y
Forcibly Displaced — Toward a development approach supporting refugees, the internally displaced, and their hosts is a groundbreaking study conducted in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), which examines the role of development in resolving the challenge of forced displacement. It responds to the growing need to better manage these crises as an important development challenge, part of an overall effort to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. The aim of development support is to address the longer term, social and economic dimensions of displacement, in close collaboration with humanitarian and other partners working in complementary ways.

While the current crisis is severe—with a reported 65 million people living in forced displacement—the report finds that over the past 25 years, the majority of both refugees and Internally Displaced Persons under UNHCR’s mandate can be traced to just a few conflicts in the following areas: Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Colombia, the Caucasus and the former Yugoslavia.

Since people typically flee to neighbors of their countries of origin, the responsibility of hosting has not been shared evenly. About 15 countries have consistently been hosting the majority of refugees. At the end of 2015, Turkey, Lebanon, and Jordan, Syria’s neighbors, hosted 27 % of all refugees worldwide; Pakistan and Iran, Afghanistan’s neighbors, hosted 16 %; and Ethiopia and Kenya, Somalia and South Sudan’s neighbors, hosted 7%.

“Forced displacement denies development opportunities to millions, creating a major obstacle to our efforts to end extreme poverty by 2030,” said World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim. “We’re committed to working with our partners to help the displaced overcome their ordeal and seize economic opportunities, while ensuring that host communities can also benefit and continue to pursue their own development.”…

Report Excerpt [p.29]
…To help the forcibly displaced rebuild their lives in a durable manner, development actors
should:
:: Support returnees and the communities that receive them. The impact of return on receiving communities is in many respects similar to the impact of forced displacement on host communities: it is a shock that has to be managed. Receiving communities are likely to face considerable economic and social difficulties, which typically affect both the returnees and those who stayed throughout the conflict. Development actors should support the countries of return in their recovery efforts. They should also help create socioeconomic opportunities for the returnees and their communities, to the extent that these are economically viable and can be sustained.

:: Help people who are “de facto” integrated acquire a satisfactory legal status. For example, providing formal legal migrant status to de facto integrated refugees may be a way to recognize the reality of their situation and the normality of human mobility. Such an approach distinguishes between citizenship (formal political membership and associated rights) and residency (economic and social integration). And it makes economic security a priority over
political membership. Development actors should support countries willing to explore such solutions, including with financing.

:: Work to end situations of “continuing limbo” where people remain dependent in camps for extended periods. Development actors should support efforts to transform camps into settlements. They should also work with other partners to enhance the way assistance is provided so as to gradually reduce dependency—for example, by strengthening targeting, supporting people in rejoining the labor force, and building capacity to allow for a gradual
shift to country systems.

:: Remain engaged over the medium term to help overcome lasting vulnerabilities. Forced displacement can leave scars that take decades, sometimes generations, to heal. Development support may be needed for very long periods. This would typically include assistance to overcome trauma or destitution, building on programs that have been developed for marginalized or excluded groups.

First Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network appointed at Vienna launch

Governance – Judicial Integrity

First Advisory Board of the Global Judicial Integrity Network appointed at Vienna launch
Vienna, 10 April 2018 – After two days of discussions among more than 350 participants and in the presence of chief and senior justices from around the world, the Global Judicial Integrity Network was formally launched by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration.

During the conference closing session the Terms of Reference of the Global Judicial Integrity Network were endorsed by acclamation. The Terms outline the Network’s mission statement, objectives, participation and organization of work, as well as the role of the Secretariat (carried out by UNODC) and of the Advisory Board.

The Advisory Board of the Network will help identify priority challenges and emerging topics in judicial integrity, and assist judiciaries in addressing those challenges as they arise.

The conference concluded with the adoption, by acclamation, of the Declaration on Judicial Integrity and the invitation by Masoud Mohamed Alameri, Chief Justice of the Supreme Judicial Council of Qatar, to hold the next conference of the Global Judicial Integrity Network in Qatar. Addressing the participants, Chief Justice Alameri stressed: “As we proceed with the Global Judicial Integrity Network, we should remember that our efforts are of historic value to us, as it will be the first purely judicial project connecting and bringing together the world’s judicial authorities under the auspices of the United Nations.”

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Declaration on Judicial Integrity [April 2018]
Recalling Article 11 of the United Nations Convention against Corruption, which recognizes the crucial role of the judiciary in combating corruption and requires that States parties, in accordance with the fundamental principles of the legal system and without prejudice to judicial independence, take measures to strengthen integrity and prevent opportunities for corruption among members of the judiciary, including rules with respect to the conduct of members of the judiciary,

Convinced that a justice system based on the principles of integrity, transparency, accountability and professionalism is key to the rule of law, to upholding public trust, and to ensuring the effective delivery of justice;

Recalling the work carried out by the Judicial Integrity Group, including in the development of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct and the Commentary thereto;

Re-committing ourselves to the effective implementation of the Bangalore Principles of Judicial Conduct, as endorsed by ECOSOC Res. 2006/23;

Recalling with appreciation the work of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime in developing the Resource Guide on Strengthening Judicial Integrity and Capacity and the Implementation Guide and Evaluative Framework for Article 11 and in providing assistance to States in strengthening judicial integrity, accountability, capacity and professionalism;

We, the members of Judiciaries here gathered, on 9 and 10 April 2018 at the United Nations in Vienna, decide to:
1. Continue our efforts in upholding judicial independence and promoting integrity, accountability and transparency in the justice system;
2. Promote peer-learning and the exchange of good practices in strengthening and upholding judicial integrity;
3. Support the creation and the strengthening of oversight and accountability mechanisms, without prejudice to judicial independence;
4. Support initiatives that promote transparency in the recruitment and promotion of judges and magistrates, as well as on court and case management and on disciplinary proceedings, when appropriate;
5. Support initiatives that promote the training of judges on effectively complying with relevant standards of conduct;
6. Work together, as appropriate, to develop guidance materials and other knowledge products to help our judiciaries to address new challenges to judicial integrity and independence, including those created by the emergence of new information technology tools and social media;
7. Recognizing that the above mentioned objectives should be pursued at the global level to the benefit of every region, launch the Global Judicial Integrity Network as a platform of mutual support by judges for judges, and welcome the readiness of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime to facilitate the Network;
8. Invite all judges and judiciaries to participate in the Global Judicial Integrity Network;
9. Express our appreciation to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime for hosting this first meeting of the Global Judicial Integrity Network…