Cablegate: Fraud Summary - Germany - March - August 2009

DE RUEHFT #2648/01 2821257
R 091257Z OCT 09




E.O. 12958: N/A

Ref: A) FRANKFURT 1712 B) STATE 57623 C) 08 STATE 74840,

A. COUNTRY CONDITIONS: The Federal Republic of Germany is located
in the heart of Europe. It is a member of the European Union, NATO,
the EU's Schengen Agreement, and has been U.S. Visa Waiver Program
country since 1986. Germany is considered a low fraud country and
host government corruption is not an issue. However, because the
embassy and consulates in Mission Germany handle NIV and IV cases
involving over 160 nationalities, fraud awareness is vital. Due to
the large number of third-country nationals residing in Germany and
transiting the country, consular operations in Mission Germany can
and do encounter a variety of document fraud. The international
airports in Frankfurt, Munich, Berlin, Hamburg, Duesseldorf,
Hannover, Cologne/Bonn and Stuttgart are also used for illegal
migration to and through Germany.

Since the 1950s post-war boom, the German economy has been dependent
on immigrant workers. Though many so-called "guest workers"
returned to their home countries in South and Southeast Europe, many
remained. This has resulted in Germany gradually changing from a
country that accommodated guest workers to a country with regulated
immigration. Repatriates of German descent, who for generations
have been living in the states of the former Soviet Union, Romania
and Poland, are also a major group of immigrants. Since the collapse
of the communist systems they have been returning to Germany in
increasing numbers.

There are 6,728,000 foreigners, almost nine percent of the
population, living in Germany (2008). An additional 1.5 million
people are naturalized Germans and 4.5 million are German descent
repatriates. Approximately 15 million people in Germany have an
immigrant background, which the German Statistics Office defines
among others as naturalized foreigners as well as children with one
foreign parent. Among the foreigners, 1.7 million people are of
Turkish citizenship, followed by Italians (528,000), Poles
(384,000), Serbs and Montenegrins (330,000), Greeks (295,000),
Croats, Russians, Austrians, Bosnians, Ukrainians, Portuguese,
Spanish and others. Germany also houses over one million refugees.

As a result, citizenship and residence laws have also changed over
time. In January 2000, a more liberal German citizenship law went
into effect. A child born in Germany now automatically acquires
German citizenship if one parent has been residing in Germany for at
least eight years and has a valid "Right to Abode" permit, or has
been in Germany for a minimum of three years and is in possession of
an unlimited residence permit. If the child is eligible for other
citizenships, at the age of eighteen, s/he must choose whether to
remain a German citizen.

To become a German citizen, one generally has to be legally residing
in Germany for 8 years and have fulfilled certain conditions such
as: a valid "Aufenthaltserlaubnis" or "Aufenthaltsberechtigung"; a
livelihood-guarantee showing no recourse to social welfare or
unemployment benefits (exceptions made for people under 23 years of
age); adequate knowledge of the German language; take an oath to the
German constitution; give up prior citizenship (although there are
exceptions). Since September 2008, foreigners are also required to
answer 17 of 33 multiple choice exam questions correctly. Spouses
and children can often be naturalized even if they have not been
living in Germany for eight years. For spouses of German citizens,
the couple must have been married for two years and the spouse
resident in country for three years before the application can be

In early 2005, a new Immigration Law (Immigration Act) consolidated
the previous five types of residency into two - the
"Aufenthaltsgenehmigung" (limited Residency Permit) and the
"Niederlassungserlaubnis" (unlimited Right to Abode). Both German
and foreign nationals resident in Germany must register with local
authorities and notify the government if they change residences.

The standard of living in Germany is high. The average gross
monthly income in the 4th quarter 2008 of a full-time industry and
service employee was approximately USD 4300 (EUR 3100). Wages vary
by region and hourly wage earners also earn less.

In order to pursue paid employment, all foreigners who are not
nationals of an EU member state or member of the European Economic
Area, need a residence permit. EU citizens are generally exempt
from this requirement, though citizens of some new EU member states
may also require additional EU employment documentation. Non-EU
nationals of certain countries (Tourist Visa Waiver) do not need a
residence permit for stays of up to three months, provided they have
a valid passport.
Labor migration is governed by the German Residence Act, the
Ordinance governing residence and the Ordinance on the admission of
foreigners for the purpose of taking up employment. The Residence
Act establishes the principle that the employment and
self-employment of foreigners are to be oriented on Germany's

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economic needs, taking into account the labor market situation and
the need to reduce unemployment. A ban on recruiting foreign labor
remains in effect for unskilled and less-skilled workers; even
skilled workers will be granted work permits only in exceptional
cases. On the other hand, conditions for highly skilled workers
(i.e. engineers, software technicians) and their families have now
been improved under the residence law. Self-employed persons may be
granted permission to work if exceptional economic interest or
special regional needs exist, if the planned business is expected to
have a positive economic effect, if it has secure financing, and if
it creates employment. Self-employed persons can be granted a
settlement permit after three years if their business is successful
and their livelihood is assured.
B. NIV FRAUD: Using H&L funding from CA/FPP, Frankfurt hosted a
Mission Germany fraud conference on September 9-11. The theme was
"Beyond Indian IT, New Trends in H&L Fraud." Four LES and three
FSOs from Berlin and Munich attended, along with Frankfurt NIV, ACS,
IV and DHS officers. CA/FPP and DS/DBFTDF sent speakers and DVCs
were held with KCC and Chennai. Invitations were also extended to
other European posts to attend at their own cost, and Bern,
Stockholm, London, Kyiv and Paris participated. See septel.

German posts process nationals of over 160 countries annually. On
any given day, visa applicants hail from any continent and
demonstrate varying degrees of compelling ties to Germany and the
country of their nationality. The most common NIV fraud cases
involve B1/B2 and H and L applications. Typical fraud cases feature
applicants who provide questionable documentation, such as
fraudulent employment letters, invitation letters and bank

Many of Mission Germany's H visa fraud cases involve Indian
nationals. In most questionable H fraud cases we note common
inconsistencies, such as non-existent U.S. business addresses, an
unconvincing internet business presence, telephone numbers leading
to non-personalized voice mailboxes or private individuals,
businesses not registered with Dun and Bradstreet and Lexis-Nexis
reports that expose small companies operating from a home

In 2006, alleged misuse of SOFA status by military members stationed
in Germany was investigated by an Army CID Task Force. The reported
misuse involved soldiers, many of them originally from West African
countries, who brought family members to Germany to reside with
them, even when these same family members lacked adequate
documentation to establish eligibility for Immigrant Visas. FPU
worked with the task force to determine to what extent suspect
individuals may have sought and received visa, immigration or
passport benefits they were otherwise not entitled to. The
investigation prompted a change in SOFA card issuance procedures in
country. Now, all non U.S. citizen or lawful permanent resident
SOFA recipients must have, at a minimum, an I-130 immigrant petition
approved by USCIS or authorization from the host country government
to remain in order to receive SOFA status and benefits. FPU works
closely with USCIS in evaluating these petitions for possible

Frankfurt's FPU conducts daily random checks of NIV applicants.
Frankfurt's NIV line officers have all participated in recent
refresher fraud prevention training and all incoming line officers
participate in one-on-one FPU training during their first weeks at

During this reporting period, 18 NIV cases were referred for
Frankfurt FPU investigations. Most were employment verification
cases generated through FPU random checks on the line and by officer
referral. Two cases were for H1B petitioners. The investigation
provided sufficient evidence to question the bona fides of the
petitioner for possible petition revocation. Six "snitch letters"
reporting intending immigrants seeking NIVs were received and
evaluated. Additionally, Frankfurt FPU was informed by its
counterpart in Tel Aviv about a law firm that is connected to Dead
Sea Industry Fraud. Furthermore, Frankfurt FPU enters all relevant
data into the system for all lost/stolen passports with NIVs and for
received DHS/CBP I-275s.

Frankfurt participates as a test post for the Fraud Case Management
System currently in beta testing. It is a good step in the right
direction, but we also regularly share our experience with the
design team.

Frankfurt FPU assisted the NIV Unit in conducting inquiries on
Iranians in reference to an Iranian Validation study (Frankfurt
1722). 93.4% of the B1/B2 visa applicants complied with their
visas. Of the remaining 6/6% who did not return, two groups emerged
- travelers over the age of 60 with immediate family members living
in the U.S. (overstay or adjustment of status) and applicants under
the age of 35 with promising career potential (asylum claims and
change of status).

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Munich FPU routinely performs document checks several times a week
and examined 16 potential NIV fraud cases in depth. Three cases
were referred to Frankfurt for more extensive investigative work.

During the reporting period, Munich evaluated two petitions that it
will return to KCC for USCIS. One is a shell L petition, in which
the beneficiary owns the L company and petitioned for himself; and
the other is an H1B for a part-time Chilean insurance agent going to
work for State Farm so he can join the entire family already in the
United States.

During the summer student rush, Munich also noted a possible trend
of language schools issuing I-20s for 12 months, when the language
class program was to last a few weeks. KAPLAN Aspect was one of the
schools noted. Applicants seemed to indicate they might be have
internships, a J activity, after the language classes ended.

Berlin FPU pulled NIV interview cases randomly during the reporting
period which resulted in simple 214(b) refusals. Berlin's in-depth
fraud efforts from March to August continue to center on Indian H1-B
visa applicants. Two petitions from SVV Technologies were returned
to USCIS via KCC for revocation based on petitioner ability to
provide a qualifying position for the applicants. The company
president entered the US on an H1B in 1999 and the headquarters was
a mortgaged, residential house owned by him and his H4 wife. Wage
records showed the president and his director wife received no
salaries from the company and the company's federal taxes were
insufficient to pay the salaries of the alleged employees.

C. IV FRAUD: Frankfurt is the only post in Mission Germany that
processes Immigrant Visas. Like other posts, Frankfurt encounters
document fraud that purports to establish family relationships or
entitlements to labor certification. Marriage fraud continues to be
an issue, particularly in conjunction with the large U.S. military
community in Germany. The FPU performs regular random checks of IV
applicants. During March - August 2009, FPU received four referrals
from the IV Unit.

In two cases of American citizens trying to obtain immigration
benefits for family members, post sought the assistance of Lagos and
Banjul FPU for document verification. In another case, FPU was able
to prove that an American military petitioner was never legally
married to his Philippine wife. The IV Unit and FPU work closely
with USCIS Frankfurt since it adjudicates the I-130 petitions that
constitute 70% of the IV workload.

D. DV FRAUD: During March - August, two DV fraud referrals were
received by FPU for confirmation of African educational documents.
Addis Ababa FPU confirmed the Ethiopian certificates were genuine;
but, Freetown reported the WEAC certificate from Sierra Leone was

E. ACS AND U.S. PASSPORT FRAUD: Local police stations, the Federal
Police and city authorities often ask for assistance in verifying
suspect U.S. passports and/or U.S. identity documents. Mala fide
travelers are often intercepted during screening at German borders
and are either in possession of photo substituted U.S. passports or
are imposters. German authorities routinely refer U.S. documents
such as passports and driver's licenses to the ARSO-I to determine
if they are possibly fraudulent or are being used by imposters.

Frankfurt's ACS Branch, in conjunction with the ARSO-I, also
conducts monthly fraud prevention training for passport agents from
the DOD installations under the supervision of DOD's Integrated
Management Command (IMCOM) for Europe. The most recent training
sessions took place in September. Attendance at each class is
between 10-15 military acceptance agents from Germany, Kosovo,
Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey. These training sessions
focus on detecting fraudulent documents and observation of
suspicious behavior of military passport/CRBA applicants.

The ACS Branch and the ARSO-I also participated in document review
and fraud training at the annual DOD Heidelberg Conference in May,
which is sponsored by IMCOM and CA/PPT/SIA for the processing of
official passport applications. In 2010, the annual conference will
include a presentation from Children's Issues regarding child
abduction cases and indicators to look for when processing passport

In addition to formalized training, the ACS Branch visits each
installation during the year to provide guidance to individual
military acceptance agents and their supervisors. This informal
"inspection" ensures that controls are in place and reinforces
proper procedures for passport application processing.

From March to August 2009, Frankfurt ACS referred 10 suspect
citizenship/passport applications to the ARSO-I; there are now 20
cases under active investigation. Examples of these complex fraud

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cases include delayed birth registration by a idwife on the Mexican
border, paternity claimed by a quadriplegic, and a Middle-Eastern
applicant with three different dates of birth. By taking the lead
on the numerous passport/citizenship fraud referrals and assisting
with in-depth fraud training of military acceptance agents, the
ARSO-I has provided the Frankfurt ACS Branch enhanced capability to
maintain the integrity of passport and nationality adjudications.

The Munich FPU assisted its ACS section with some quick document
checks during the reporting period.

F. ADOPTION FRAUD: The Frankfurt Immigrant Visa Unit issued 5 IR-3
and no IR-4 cases from March to August 2009.

Germany is a receiving country for international adoption. The
number of foreign adoptions by Germans has increased due to a lack
of children available locally for adoption. Foreign national
children automatically acquire German citizenship once adopted by
German nationals. There is no centralized court system governing
adoption cases in Germany. This means that each Federal State is
locally responsible for the effectiveness and legality of the
adoption. Adoptive parents must be 25 years of age (though one may
be 21 if part of a couple) and declared "fit" for work. Adoption
agencies and the German Youth Welfare Department ("Jugendamt")
require the following documents at the start of the adoption
process: an application for adoption; birth certificates; marriage
certificate; divorce certificates if applicable; resume/curriculum
vitae for both parents; police certificates; medical attestations;
proof of citizenship; earning/bank statements; and character
references. After an investigation and interview, the Jugendamt
issue an initial approval valid for two years. A one year foster
period is required prior to full adoption. The
paperwork/investigation process generally takes between four and
nine months. Germany is a signatory to the Hague Convention on
Inter Country Adoption, so for international adoptions, prospective
adoptive parents would have to follow the Hague procedures,
including using an adoption provider certified under the Hague.

G. USE OF DNA TESTING: Due to the high number of third-country
applicants, the IV Unit occasionally requests DNA testing for cases
where identity and birth records are lacking. USCIS Frankfurt
reports it is increasingly requesting DNA testing in similar
circumstances. In the past six months, ACS has also requested DNA
testing to establish paternity in two citizenship adjudications.
There are no operational concerns.

H. ASYLULM AND OTHER DHS BENEFIT FRAUD: Germany has not encountered
any significant fraud with regard to Visas 92/93 cases or other DHS
benefit fraud. The Immigrant Visa Unit had four Visas 92 cases (9
applicants total) and no Visas 93 cases from March through August

The Frankfurt FPU works closely with DHS/USCIS and also assists in
document examination and verification. During the reporting period,
Frankfurt FPU assisted four colleagues at DHS/USCIS offices in
Florida and Philadelphia in verifying German documents (i.e. vital
documents, school documents) and prior residence status. The FPU
also worked with the Frankfurt DHS/CIS office to verify a birth
certificate from Sierra Leone. FPU was able to confirm its bona
fides from Embassy Freetown.


In May 2009, the Federal Minister of the Interior, Wolfgang
Schaeuble, and the president of the Federal Office for Protection of
the Constitution, Fromm, presented the Protection of the
Constitution Report ("Verfassungsschutzbericht") for 2008. As in
previous years, the current security situation remains the same.
The threat of Islamist terrorism continues, although there have been
no attacks in Germany so far. The rise of force within right-wing
extremist groups also continues to be reported as a cause for
Germany ranks as a Tier 1 country on the 2008 Trafficking in Persons
Report. Germany is a transit and destination country for men and
women trafficked for the purposes of commercial sexual exploitation
and forced labor, including in the construction industry, in
restaurants and ice cream parlors, and as domestic servants.
Victims are primarily trafficked from Central and Eastern Europe and
Nigeria to and through Germany to the United Kingdom and
Scandinavian countries. German nationals are also victims of
commercial sexual exploitation within Germany. German nationals
traveled to Thailand, Vietnam, and other countries for the purposes
of child sex tourism.
Christian Shults works directly with consulate, Washington, U.S.
military and host government authorities to counter fraud, further
enhancing both DS's and CA's ability to interdict criminal activity.

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During the reporting period, Christian initiated an on-going
criminal investigation with the U.S. military on certain citizenship
cases incorrectly processed by U.S. passport acceptance agents at a
U.S. base. The DHS/ICE Visa Security Unit (VSU) officer is also
active in reviewing NIV and IV cases. All three visa security
components in Frankfurt work closely together and with other
agencies on issues related to border security and fraud. A new
USCIS Fraud Detection and National Security (FDNS) analyst, Adonis
Rubenstein, arrived in September 2009.


Passport (ePass): Germany's biometric passport, called "ePass," was
introduced in November 2005. The passport stores the bearer's
identity data, sex, nationality, document serial number, issuing
country, document type and the date of expiration. A second
generation 'ePass' was introduced on November 1, 2007 and also
includes two fingerprints and a passport number composed of nine
alphanumeric digits. As a rule, electronic passports including
fingerprints are issued to persons aged 12 and older. However, at
the parents' request, an ePass may also be issued to children,
although no fingerprints are taken from children under six years of
age. Passports issued to persons aged 24 and older remain valid for
ten years. Passports of persons under 24 are valid for six years.
All pre-ePass passports remain valid until their expiration.

Temporary Passport: Germany's Temporary Passport is machine
readable and is valid up to one year; however, there are no
biometric markers. Passport agencies may require documents such as
airline tickets as proof of the immediate need. DHS had determined
that as of May 1, 2006 German temporary/emergency passports are no
longer valid for travel to the United States under the Visa Waiver
Program due to inadequate controls over the passport book stock and
less-than-timely reporting of lost/stolen temporary passports to a
central authority that would make the information available to CBP
Officers at U.S. ports of entry.

Documentary requirements for ePass and Temporary Passports: Passport
applicants must present a previous passport, children's passport,
identity card or their birth certificate at the time of

Children's Passport: Germany's Children's Passports (Kinderpass,
Kinderreissepasse) are machine readable and contain a digital
photograph, but they do not have an electronic chip. The passport
can be obtained up to the age of 12 and is valid for six years. As
of November 1, 2007, children are no longer endorsed in their
parents' passport. The Child Passport is not valid for use in the
Visa Waiver program. This frequently causes problems for traveling
families as they try to board flights using visa waiver. The child
will have to apply for an NIV or get a regular e-passport.

Documentary Requirements for Children's Passports: In order to
obtain a Children's passport, parents or guardians must present a
previous passport, the previously issued Child Travel Document
(Kinderausweis) or birth certificate, and (declaration of) consent
of the legal guardian. In case of only one legal guardian then that
person must present proof of the right to custody.

Identity Cards: All persons aged 16 and over can obtain an ID card.
Since November 2007, ID cards are also available for all children
irrespective of their age, for travel within the European Union. ID
cards issued to persons aged 24 and older are valid for ten years.
Identity cards issued to person under 24 are valid for six years.

In November 2010, Germany plans to introduce a new electronic
personal identification card ("Elektronischer Personalausweis") to
replace the current ID card. The electronic ID card will be the size
of a credit card and its main feature is an integrated chip storing
the ID card data. This will also allow the bearer to securely
identify him/herself in the internet (e.g., for bank transactions).

ID Card Documentary Requirements: An old Child Travel Document
(Kinderausweis), Children's Passport or birth certificate and
declaration of consent of the legal guardian; if there is only one
legal guardian that person has to present proof of the right to

If an identity document (IDs, passports) is lost/stolen in Germany,
residents should report the loss to the local town hall and police.
The police then enter the document into a nationwide police lookout
system (Sachfahndung). Lost passports and ID cards should also be
reported to the responsible passport office. Any ID document
reported lost, but then found, should also be re-reported as found.

Sections in Frankfurt, Berlin, and Munich have established close

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working relationships with the German Federal Police, Customs,
Airport authorities and city officials. German authorities have
been very cooperative with document verification requests. It is
sometimes difficult to request basic data for Visas Viper purposes
from German law enforcement authorities due to the German privacy
laws, but Mission elements work together to get appropriate

Germany and the United States are moving closer to a bilateral
agreement on increasing cooperation on fighting serious crime.
Germany and the U.S. plan to expand their information sharing in
order to ensure effective prevention and prosecution of serious
crime, especially terrorism. The agreement allows suspects'
personal data to be transmitted in accordance with applicable
national law, in certain cases even without being requested, if
there are reasonable grounds to believe that the suspects may commit
terrorist acts or crimes related to terrorism, or that they are or
have been engaged in training to carry out terrorist acts. The
agreement also creates a basis for the automated exchange of
fingerprint and DNA data using a hit/no hit procedure modeled on the
Pruem Treaty which was signed by several European Member States in
2005. In June 2008, the Federal Cabinet authorized the signing of
the agreement following a March 2008 meeting between the German
Federal Justice and Federal Interior Ministers and the U.S. Attorney
General and Secretary of Homeland Security. In July 2009, the U.S.
and Germany discussed implementation arrangements during German
technical consultations in Washington with DHS and the FBI. Since
German law regarding the right to privacy differs from U.S. law,
both sides are proceeding carefully in order to make the agreement


In late 2007, nine countries joined Schengen. These are
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia,
Hungary, Slovenia and Malta. Checks at internal borders (land and
sea) stopped on December 21, 2007 and checks at international
airports for flights between these new member states were
discontinued as of March 30, 2008. The lifting of border
formalities between Germany and its neighboring countries has led to
a slight rise in illegal immigration in Germany.

N. STAFFING AND TRAINING: The Fraud Prevention Unit in Frankfurt
has coordination responsibilities for all consular posts in Mission
Germany. The FPU consists of three full time LES positions.
Frankfurt's Visa Branch Chief serves as the Fraud Prevention Manager
(FPM). The FPM attends the monthly mission-wide Law Enforcement
Working Group. Two new LES fraud assistants joined the team in June
and July 2009 and are in training.

Given Frankfurt's role as a regional training center, the FPU
regularly works with other training programs. In March, the senior
FPU LES worked with the Regional Consular Officers to provide
fraudulent document training to 28 LES from Africa, Asia and Europe
attending the annual RCO training workshop in Frankfurt. The FPU
and the DHS/CBP-IAP team leader provided fraud training in August to
Frankfurt airport personnel who conduct checks for U.S. bound
flights. These fraud trainings focus on U.S. entry requirements,
imposter training, detection of altered documents as well passenger
analysis. During the reporting period, further training was
conducted at Duesseldorf airport as well. In addition, the FPU, the
DHS/CBP IAP team leader, the Canadian ALO, the UK ALO and
representative from German Federal Police conduct joint fraud
trainings to airport personnel upon request. Likewise, LES
colleagues from other posts continue to visit the FPU while in
Frankfurt attending courses. Such training visits include an
overview of FPU's operations, random checks, databases, trends,
filing systems, archives, and intranet site.

In June, the FPM attended a meeting of the Frankfurt Airline Liaison
Group. The group consists members from Canada (Immigration
Counselor), the UK (now ILMs - Immigration Liaison Manager), the
U.S., New Zealand, Australia, the German Federal Police and DHS/CBP
as well as the Frankfurt FPU. The meeting was hosted at the
Frankfurt airport by the British ILMs and the German Federal Policy.
Briefings focused on fraud trends observed at Frankfurt
International airport. In early September, the senior LES in
Frankfurt attended an annual training program with the German CID.

Berlin designated two LES to assist with fraud prevention during the
reporting period. In addition to attending the Mission Germany H&L
Visa Fraud prevention conference in September 2009, they completed
some on-line training and were briefed by the ARSO-I on NIV and ACS
fraud in August. Two Munich LES also participated in the H&L

The Frankfurt FPU remains in touch with all posts in Mission Germany
regarding fraud trends. In addition, all posts have access to

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Mission Germany's fraud intranet site, which has up-to-date
information about country fraud trends, document alerts, travel and
vital documents.


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