Baird later said in a press release that he would be pushing the issue during the the next Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group meeting. Wagiswara meanwhile argues that after an almost 30-year civil war, significant social change in the country is not a sprint—it’s a marathon.On the impeachment of the Chief Justice she said that any issue with a judge can be dealt with through law or standing orders and the government followed the standing orders process. The prime minister’s office also sent out a press release on the subject. “What happened over 30 years we cannot solve in three, or four, or five years,” she argued. “It often takes a generation.”Ms. Wagiswara said many programs currently running are meant to bring both Tamil and Sinhalese youth together to learn about each other’s community, and understand one another.Language training is also being given so that citizens can better interact, she said. But, she said the relationship between the Tamils and the Sinhalese is not as easy to rebuild as buildings or bridges. Ms. Wagiswara said that Sri Lanka wants “all countries to participate” in the Commonwealth meeting, and added that Canada is the only country that has threatened to not take part.She also stressed that the civil war ended less than four years ago.“It was a very difficult conflict, and there are so many issues,” she said, listing the work that has been done to rebuild destroyed infrastructure, rehabilitate child soldiers, and to successfully clear 98 per cent of the landmines that lay hidden. Canada had summoned Sri Lanka’s High Commissioner to discuss Canada’s “deep concern” with the country, a Canadian Foreign Ministry spokesperson has said.Embassy News in Canada said that the meeting between Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird and Sri Lanka’s high commissioner to Canada Chitranganee Wagiswara had taken place recently. Ms. Wagiswara said her government wants the international community to know that the Sri Lankan government accepts “that there are outstanding issues to be addressed,” but argued that when other countries are consistently pointing fingers at Sri Lanka’s faults, it “takes away our focus because we have to keep defending.”“We would want Mr. Baird, or members of Parliament to…go to Sri Lanka and see for themselves what is being done,” she added.When asked if Mr. Baird intended to R.S.V.P, his office only wrote that “Direct engagement with the Government of Sri Lanka at all levels is important” and highlighted that there were high-level Canadian visits to the country in 2012.When asked when Canada would decide on its participation in the Commonwealth meeting, Mr. Baird’s press secretary, Rick Roth, wrote that “There is still time for the Government of Sri Lanka to demonstrate good faith in advance” of the meeting.“Canada will continue to monitor developments closely and make a final decision based on assessment of the situation on the ground closer to the time.”Mr. Roth outlined that “Canada needs to see positive signs in the area of human rights, political reconciliation, democratic values and accountability” before attending.Specifically, Canada wants the Sri Lankan government to implement all recommendations of a post-war Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission, and steps outlined in its own National Action Plan, wrote Mr. Roth.Meanwhile, while Ms. Wagiswara said she has found Canadian MPs and ministers very accessible, Mr. Roth confirmed that the she was “called into a meeting at the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade on Friday, January 11th, to discuss Canada’s deep concern over recent developments in that country as outlined [by] Prime Minister Harper, Foreign Minister Baird and Immigration Minister Kenney.”
“The humanitarian and health situation in Yemen continues to deteriorate, but the health situation is especially critical in Aden, with many people no longer having direct access to food, fuel, medical care and safe drinking-water,” said Dr. Ahmed Shadoul, WHO representative in Yemen.The life-saving health supplies, which were part of a larger UN convoy, contained 46.4 metric tonnes of medicines, medical supplies, and water and sanitation supplies for more than 84, 000 beneficiaries in eight districts of Aden governorate, WHO explains in a press release.Following a surge in the number of suspected cases of malaria and dengue fever since the start of the crisis, most significantly in Aden, WHO said it has also conducted rapid testing for dengue fever and malaria and provided support to a hospital in Aden to resume functionality of its fever/dengue ward and trauma management centre.In addition, stressed WHO, Yemeni health professionals were trained by the Organization’s experts on epidemiological field investigations and early warning system surveillance. As part of malaria preparedness activities, bed nets were distributed to more than 9,000 households in four districts and residual spray materials and equipment in the 8 districts. Staffs were also trained to begin house-to-house spraying.To date, WHO has distributed a total of more than 175 metric tonnes of medicines and medical supplies and more than 500,000 litres of fuel to maintain the functionality of main hospitals, vaccine stores, ambulances, national laboratories, kidney and oncology centres, and health centres in 13 governorates, reaching a total of almost five million people, including 700,000 internally displaced persons and 140,000 children under the age of five. The total civilian death toll since 26 March in Yemen is 1,670 and another 3,829 people were injured during this period. In the mere 10 days between 3 and 13 July, at least 142 civilians, including 36 children and 27 women, were killed, and 224 others injured, according to Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR).On one particularly deadly day, 6 July, two markets in different provinces were hit by airstrikes. Forty civilians, including 12 children and seven women, were killed in the first airstrike, while 17 other civilians were injured. The second one killed 36 civilians, including eight women and nine children, while injuring another 21.During the bi-weekly press briefing today in Geneva, Johannes van der Klaauw, the representative in Yemen of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), today recalled that this country is impacted by one of the largest humanitarian crises in the world, four out of five Yemenis being in need of some kind of assistance, which amounts to 21 out of 25 million people.A party to international instruments for the protection of refugees, Yemen has currently a population of 250,000 refugees, mostly Somalis, who are among the most vulnerable to the current war situation, emphasized Mr. van der Klaauw.Meanwhile, UNHCR also reports that some 10,500 people have arrived in Yemen by sea since March 26 – bringing to over 37,000 the total so far this year, among them Ethiopians, Somalis and others. Many have been tricked into making the crossing by smugglers who told them the conflict in Yemen is over, said the agency, adding that those making the sea crossings faced the usual risks of such journeys – abduction, attacks, drowning, exploitation and sexual assault. However, due to the ongoing conflict and reduced access in general, UNHCR and its partners were unable to take arrivals to urban centres to receive assistance.To discourage crossings, he said mass information campaigns were now planned for Puntland and Somaliland and other points of departure, said Mr. van der Klaauw.