Annan laments lack of substantive dialogue in GeorgianAbkhaz conflict

Mr. Annan welcomes the discussions on security guarantees and the return of refugees, but cautions that without a comprehensive political settlement, “the situation in the conflict zone will continue to be unsettled and prone to destabilization.”The report to the Security Council also describes the human rights situation in Abkhazia as precarious and morale-sapping for civilians, noting that numerous murders, robberies and abductions go unpunished.”A number of cases of prolonged detention, violation of the right to legal protection, extortion and use of violence by uniformed Abkhaz personnel were reported,” the report says.The Secretary-General urges the Abkhaz side to allow UN civilian police to be deployed on its side of the ceasefire line, as previously agreed.He also repeats his call on the Abkhaz leadership to take advantage of the new Georgian Government and respond constructively to offers of direct dialogue on all the major issues in dispute.The report blames political situation ahead of Abkhaz elections scheduled for October for slowing the pace of the peace process.Given the instability, Mr. Annan recommends that the Security Council extend the mandate of the UN Observer Mission in Georgia (UNOMIG) for six months until 31 January next year.UNOMIG, consisting of 117 military observers and 11 civilian police, was established in August 1993 to monitor ceasefire lines established after an accord ended fighting that had forced almost 300,000 people to flee their homes. read more

Brock community invited to check out Human Library

Just like a good book, every individual is filled with a vast array of interesting knowledge waiting to be explored.Members of the Brock community, each from a different part of the world, will share chapters of their own background and history during the University’s inaugural Human Library event happening Thursday, Nov. 15.Participants, or “readers” as they’re known, have the opportunity to sign up for 15-minute conversations with the “human books” to learn more about where they came from, what brought them to Brock and similarities and differences between Canada and their home country.“The point is to meet someone from another place, to find out what their story is and to learn what you might have in common with them,” said organizer and Liaison Librarian Karen Bordonaro. “It’s a visual and real-life way for the Library to connect people with information — not just journal articles and books, but other people.”Volunteers leading the conversations hail from Palestine, China (mainland and Hong Kong), Brazil, Cambodia, United Arab Emirates, Ghana, India, Serbia, Uzbekistan, Spain, Mexico, Canada and the U.S.The Human Library event will be held from 2 to 4 p.m. in the study rooms along the main corridor of the Matheson Learning Commons in the James A. Gibson Library.While the main purpose is to connect people on campus to one another and share knowledge, the event also serves as a chance for international students, as well as other members of the Brock community, to practise their English-speaking skills with strangers through small talk, Bordonaro said.The event is Brock Library’s contribution to International Education Week.Bordonaro said the Human Library was made possible through the efforts of a number of Library staff, as well as Donna Pearce, Program Development Co-ordinator for ESL Services, and Luiza Guimaraes, Student Skills Development Co-ordinator for the Goodman School of Business.Set to retire from Brock in January 2020, Bordonaro hopes to see the project continue annually into the future.“All it takes is a few minutes of your time and it can open your eyes to another world you might not be aware of,” she said. “We can learn so much just by reaching out and talking to people.”For more information or to sign up to participate in the Human Library, visit the Brock Library website. Walk-ins will be accepted on the day of the event if space remains available. read more