Migrant labourers work at a construction site at the Aspire Zone in Doha, Qatar, March 26, 2016. Photo REUTERS/Naseem Zeitoon
Qatar’s public prosecution has charged a Kenyan man who has written about migrant rights in the Gulf Arab state with receiving payment to spread disinformation, the government’s communication office (GCO) said on Saturday.
Malcolm Bidali, who had been writing under a pseudonym, was arrested on May 5 for violating Qatar's security laws, according to a Qatari official. Rights groups have voiced concern that his detention may be in reprisal for human rights work.
"Mr Bidali has been formally charged with offences related to payments received by a foreign agent for the creation and distribution of disinformation within the State of Qatar," the GCO said in a statement, without elaborating.
It said his case was transferred to the Public Prosecution after a thorough investigation and that Bidali was "receiving legal advice and representation ahead of the court date, which has not yet been set".
Rights groups including Amnesty International said in a statement on Friday that Bidali, a security guard and blogger, told his mother in a May 20 phone call that he was being held in solitary confinement and had no access to a lawyer.
The GCO did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Bidali had a week before his arrest given a presentation to a large group of civil society organisations and trade unions about his experience working in Qatar, according to an earlier statement by Amnesty, Migrant-Rights.org, Human Rights Watch, FairSquare and the Business & Human Rights Resource Centre.
Qatar's human rights record has been in the spotlight as it prepares to host the 2022 soccer World Cup, especially over migrants' living and working conditions.
Doha has introduced labour reforms that aimed to address some concerns. - Reuters
Kenya, in the next two weeks, will receive a loan of $750 million from the World Bank that was approved in 2019, the country’s central bank governor Patrick Njoroge said on Thursday.
In May 2019, the World Bank approved the $750 million credit from International Development Association, the World Bank arm that helps the world’s poorest countries, to support the country’s reforms in agriculture, housing, digital technology and fiscal management.
Njoroge told a virtual press conference that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is expected to complete the first review of a 38-month financing package under the Extended Fund Facility and Extended Credit Facility arrangements in June, which will lead to the disbursement of 410 million U.S. dollars.
Njoroge noted that the African Development Bank (AfDB) will also provide concessional financing to support Kenya in its COVID-19 response program.
According to the official, the external financing will help the East African nation reduce its current account deficit, which is expected to stand at 5.2 percent of the gross domestic product in 2021. By P H News of Africa
New York Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Thursday, 27 May. Secretary-General António Guterres will lay a wreath to honour the more than 4,000 United Nations peacekeepers who have lost their lives since 1948 and preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 129 military, police and civilian peacekeepers from 44 countries, who lost their lives serving under the United Nations flag in 2020 and in the first month of 2021.
The Secretary-General will also award the “2020 Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award” to Major Steplyne Buyaki Nyaboga, a Kenyan military officer who served with the African Union–United Nations Hybrid Operation in Darfur (UNAMID). Created in 2016, the Award “recognizes the dedication and effort of an individual peacekeeper in promoting the principles of UN Security Council resolution 1325 (2000) on women, peace and security”.
In a message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said of the fallen peacekeepers: “Their service and sacrifices will never be forgotten.” He further said: “I express my deep gratitude to the 85,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed in some of the world’s most challenging hotspots to protect the vulnerable and help to build peace. Despite the restrictions imposed by the pandemic, as well as the risk of infection, these men and women have pursued their mission while also supporting local authorities in the fight against COVID-19. I offer sincere condolences to the families of peacekeepers who have fallen victim to this terrible disease.”
The theme for this year’s observance is, “The road to a lasting peace: Leveraging the power of youth for peace and security”. Tens of thousands of young peacekeepers deployed around the world play a key role in helping United Nations missions implement their mandated activities, with the active participation of young people from host communities. Across the missions, peacekeepers collaborate with youth to reduce violence and sustain peace, including through disarmament, demobilization and reintegration, and community violence reduction programmes.
Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations, said: “We salute the dedication and bravery of our peacekeepers, who serve and perform admirably in challenging environments only compounded by the ongoing pandemic. I also honour our young peacekeepers who bring energy and innovation and serve as role models to youth populations working tirelessly to ensure meaningful representation and participation in political processes.”
He added: “Our peacekeepers deserve our full support, and we must continue to work together to do all we can to improve their safety and security and give them the tools to succeed.”
The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002 to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace. The General Assembly designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in commemoration of the day in 1948 when the Organization’s first peacekeeping mission, the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), began operations in Palestine.
Since then, more than 1 million women and men have served in 72 United Nations peacekeeping operations, directly impacting millions of people, and saving countless lives. Today, the United Nations deploys more than 89,000 military, police and civilian personnel in 12 operations.
While the Day will be marked at New York Headquarters on 27 May, United Nations missions and offices around the world will commemorate the Day on 29 May.
Schedule of Events at Headquarters on 27 May
10:00 a.m.: The Secretary-General will lay a wreath in honour of all fallen peacekeepers at the Peacekeepers Memorial Site on the North Lawn. Only UN Photo and UN TV will cover the ceremony.
10:30 a.m.: The Dag Hammarskjöld Medal and Military Gender Advocate of the Year award ceremonies will be held virtually and shown live on UN Webcast: webtv.un.org/.
11:45 a.m.: Under-Secretary-General for Peace Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix will be the guest at the noon briefing. It will be webcast live at webtv.un.org/.
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