UN leaders amid global concern over regional conflicts

In today’s world, few conflicts remain local.

There is India’s struggle for the Kashmir region with bitter rival Pakistan, Haiti’s domestic unrest escalating into a migration crisis at the US-Mexico border and questions about the role of government Ethiopia in starvation deaths reported in the Tigray region.

All are highlighted on Saturday as leaders from these regions address the United Nations General Assembly.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has spent part of the week meeting with US officials to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific, was measured in his reaction to the scathing – albeit predictable – rhetoric of the Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan who landed a few hours earlier.

Modi called on the international community to help Afghanistan’s women, children and minorities and said it was imperative that the country not be used as a base from which to sow terror.

“We must also be vigilant and ensure that no country tries to take advantage of the delicate situation there and use it as a tool for its own selfish interests,” he said in an apparent reference. in Pakistan, wedged between Afghanistan and India. .

On Friday, Khan had once again called Modi’s Hindu nationalist government “fascist” and railed against India’s crackdown on Kashmir, the disputed region divided between each country but claimed by both.

The Indian government has raised concerns that the chaos left over from the US military withdrawal from Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan and fuel the long-simmering insurgency in Kashmir, where militants have already gained a foothold.

In another highly anticipated address, Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry said inequality and conflict are driving migration, but he refrained from directly criticizing Washington, whose treatment of Haitian asylum seekers has sparked an outcry.

“Human beings, fathers and mothers who have children, are always going to run away from poverty and conflict,” Henry said. “Migration will continue as long as the planet has two rich areas, while most of the world’s population will live in poverty, even extreme poverty, without any prospect of a better life.

Henry’s pre-recorded speech came as Haiti grapples with unrest following the assassination of its president and a recent major earthquake.

It comes days after Henry fired his chief prosecutor, who had asked a judge to charge Henry with the murder of Haitian President Jovenel Moise and bar the prime minister from leaving the country.

The unrest has spread beyond Haiti’s borders, with thousands of migrants fleeing to the United States. This week, the Biden administration’s special envoy to Haiti, Daniel Foote, resigned in protest against large-scale “inhumane” US deportations of Haitian migrants. Foote was not appointed to the post until July, after the assassination.

Ethiopia also addresses the largest gathering of world leaders on Saturday and faces global concern for its Tigray region.

The UN has warned of famine in Ethiopia’s beleaguered northern corner, calling it the world’s worst hunger crisis in a decade. Starvation deaths have been reported since the government imposed what the UN calls “a de facto blockade of humanitarian aid” in June.

Russia and the Holy See are also expected to speak on Saturday. The Catholic Church government is one of only two non-member permanent observer states to be included in the United Nations.

Teresa H. Sadler