27 April 2009Following last week’s over $200 million pledge by international donors for Somalia, the top United Nations envoy to the Horn of Africa nation today voiced hope that resources will be mobilized quickly to promote peace and stability. At the donors’ conference in Brussels – under the joint auspices of the UN, the African Union (AU), European Union (EU) and the League of Arab States – pledges of $213 were received for the AU peacekeeping mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and for Somalia security.That amount surpassed the $166 million requested by the AU.Ahmedou Ould-Abdallah, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, characterized last week’s international gathering as a “turning point” for Somalia, which has not had a functioning national government since 1991 but has witnessed several encouraging developments in recent months, including the election of a new President and the formation of a Government of National Unity.“While strengthening security, providing youth employment and delivering humanitarian assistance are essential, lasting peace and stability will come through continued dialogue as laid out in the Djibouti Agreement,” he said, referring to the last year’s UN-facilitated pact between the Transitional Federal Government and the Alliance for the Re-Liberation of Somalia (ARS), in which the two agreed to end their conflict.Due to that Agreement, uprooted people are returning to their homes, the Parliament is more inclusive and Ethiopian troops withdrew in an orderly manner, the envoy said.“Now is the time for Somalis to show their people, their region and the international community that they are finally serious about peace and leaving behind the culture of ‘winner takes all’ and the ever-shifting alliances that are still devastating their nation,” he said. The UN Independent Expert on the situation of human rights in Somalia last week stressed the importance of international assistance to stabilize the political situation in the country, noting that accountability and transitional justice initiatives are essential in Somalia, “where human rights is a victim of endless and myriad violations on a daily basis.” Shamsul Bari pointed out that there is a consensus among many that the “success of the security mechanisms will be judged on their capacity to protect the civilian population rather than abuse.” Thus, he stressed, to ensure that security forces are human rights-compliant, vetting processes, command structures and international disciplinary structures and independent oversight are essential.On the humanitarian front, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) is helping authorities in the self-declared autonomous region of Somaliland to truck water to residents of areas hit by prolonged drought.Cases of malaria have dropped in Somalia, thanks to the stepped up distribution of long lasting insecticide-treated mosquito nets (LLINs), UNICEF said. The nets have been shown to provide the best protection against malaria in south-central Somalia, with a prevalence rate of just under 7 per cent for net users, compared to 17 per cent for those who did not.
Labour is no worse than any other party when it comes to anti-Semitism, Shami Chakrabarti has claimed, adding that her report is more respected within the Party because she is an “insider”.The Shadow Attorney General said the debate on anti-Semitism has been “weaponised”, which she suggested was part of a wider “civil war” within Labour.Baroness Chakrabarti, whose report was branded a “whitewash” by critics after clearing the Party of anti-Semitism, said she had no regrets about announcing her affiliation to Labour while presiding over the review.Speaking at the Oxford Union on Wednesday night, she said: “The problem that I was asked to look at was a problem inside our party. Shami Chakrabarti (centre) takes her seat in the House of LordsCredit:PA Labour party leader Jeremy CorbynCredit:PA “I thought it was quite important that there were people in the Labour Party, some of whom needed to change their conduct, their behaviour and their attitudes, knew that it was coming from an insider.”She added: “It’s too easy to diminish criticism as coming from the outside or from someone who is politically suspect, and I have finished my cross party job, I was going to do this anyway, and my view was that change has to come from within.” Show more Ms Chakrabarti, former director of Liberty, the civil liberties group, was asked by Jeremy Corbyn to look into claims of anti-Semitism in Labour after the suspension of Naz Shah, an MP, and Ken Livingstone, a former London mayor.The report, which Ms Chakrabarti published in the summer, found the party was not overrun by anti-Semitism or other forms of racism, but there was an “occasionally toxic atmosphere”.Addressing an audience of around 200 students in the Oxford Union debate chamber, she said: “By the way, I don’t believe that Labour is much worse than any other party, but I’m not getting into the competition.” She went on: “I’m saying to my fellow Labour Party members, there’s some work to do here. And I’m saying it in a moment when I know that the debate is to some extent weaponised.“People within any political party, and I’ve been learning this in recent times as a new member of a political party, will hunker down and say that every criticism is from the outside, every criticism is from an opponent, because that’s what people do, in a civil war, or where there’s a war going on.”Earlier this year it emerged that Jeremy Corbyn had given Ms Chakrabarti, civil liberties campaigner, a peerage weeks after she published a report that cleared the Labour Party of anti-Semitism. Chakrabarti addressed around 200 Oxford University students on Wednesday nightCredit: Andrew Matthews The decision by Mr Corbyn to offer a peerage to Ms Chakrabarti so near to the publication of her report was described as “appalling” by Labour MP John Mann. Last month, Wes Streeting MP called on the Labour peer to set out clearly when she was made aware that her name was on a longlist of peers drawn up by Mr Corbyn and when the Labour leader first spoke to her about the honour.It came after claims that Baroness Chakrabarti was aware that she could be given a peerage before she was invited to investigate allegations of anti-Semitism and other forms of racism in the party.The shadow attorney general has strongly denied the claims and a spokesman for Mr Corbyn has said the first conversation between the pair about the peerage came after the report was concluded. By the way, I don’t believe that Labour is much worse than any other party, but I’m not getting into the competitionShami Chakrabarti Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings.