Monthly Archives: June 2005
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
“The negative impacts of the illicit drug trade touch every society in the world. This year’s World Drug Report estimates that 200 million people, or 5% of the global population age 15-64, have consumed illicit drugs at least once in the last 12 months. The drug trade is pernicious and large. UNODC estimates its retail value at US$ 321bn. It impacts almost every level of human security from individual health, to safety and social welfare. Its consequences are especially devastating for countries with limited resources available to fight against it.
From President Bush’s speech at Fort Bragg, N.C. 6/28/05:
“In January 2005, more than 8 million Iraqi men and women voted in elections that were free and fair and took place on time…. In the past year, the international community has stepped forward with vital assistance. Some 30 nations have troops in Iraq, and many others are contributing nonmilitary assistance. The United Nations is in Iraq to help Iraqis write a constitution and conduct their next elections.”
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Campaign 2008: “John Kerry gets Op/Ed space in today’s New York Times to discuss the speech the President should give…(referring to the President’s live televised speech on Iraq, tonight from Fort Bragg, NC). Read the entire piece here: “The administration must work with the Iraqi government to establish a multinational force to help protect its borders. Such a force, if sanctioned by the United Nations Security Council, could attract participation by Iraq’s neighbors and countries like India.”
Coalition for Darfur: “UN Refugee Agency Fears for Darfur Children – From Reuters: “The world was not paying enough attention to the plight of children in Sudan’s west Darfur, where many were forced to join armed groups or were separated from their families, the U.N. refugee agency said on Monday. “The whole issue of child protection is one that deserves more focus,” said Erika Feller, director of international protection at the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).”
Iraq Solidarity Campaign: “Rescuing Iraq – UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, writing in The Washington Post Tuesday, assured the Iraqi people that the international community “stands with them in their brave efforts to rebuild their country”. But Annan also emphasised the need for “a broad-based and inclusive strategy that embraces the political transition, development, human rights and institution-building, so that all of Iraq’s communities see they stand to be winners in the new Iraq.”
Political Forecast: “Bolton looks set for a recess appointment – A big political loss for the Bush White House if true. Frist announced the schedule for the rest of this week this morning and there was no mention of Bolton at all. Expect a recess appointment next week. Steve Clemons has more.”
Say Uncle: “Say Uncle’s resident troublemaker Hellbent links to this article which notes that the legal structure used in the past to address piracy can be adapted to the terror war: “International Law lacks a definition for terrotism as a crime. According to Secretary General Kofi Annan, this lack has hampered “the moral authority of the United Nations and its strength in condemning” the scourge.”
World Changing: “There was a lot of anecdotal evidence that where healthy mangrove greenbelts — and coral reefs — still lined the coast, they blunted the impact of the tsunami and saved lives. The United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) is encouraging assessing the “unseen value” of healthy ecosystems, which might in turn encourage governments to factor them into development plans. The second report in the U.N.’s Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, Biodiversity and Human Well-being, estimates that about two and a half intact acres (one hectare) of mangrove swamp in Thailand is worth about $1,000 a year in benefits such as fishing and soil protection, but worth only $200 a year if converted to intensive farming.”
WP: “In today’s world, no state can protect itself alone,” said Mary Robinson, former U.N. high commissioner for human rights and president of Ireland, in a speech at Grace Cathedral. “A transparent and accountable United Nations is in the United States’ interest. We know the U.N. needs reform, but it also needs resources.”
Middle East: During the last 48 hours of the continued ceasefire, humanitarian workers have delivered food to hundreds of thousands of people, repaired water and sanitation infrastructure, re-stocked medical supplies, and some of the 520,000 displaced Palestinians have returned to their homes. However, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator remarked the scale of needs remains “unprecedented in the Gaza Strip.”
Middle East: At today’s informal session of the General Assembly on Gaza the SG remarked that the most recent ceasefire has held since yesterday at 8 a.m. local time. He noted that a durable ceasefire is necessary and UN shelters must continue to remain safe zones. The SG thanked UN staff in Gaza and will fly the UN flag at half-mast tomorrow in memory of those who died in the conflict.
Middle East: The SG commended Israeli and Palestinian parties for committing to a 72-hour ceasefire that took place at 8 a.m. local time today. He urges all parties to abide by the ceasefire and commence peace talks in Cairo to address underlying issues and agree on a durable ceasefire to sustainably stop the violence. The UN lends its full support toward these efforts.
Middle East: The SG condemned yesterday’s shelling outside of an UNRWA school in Rafah that killed at least 10 Palestinian civilians. The SG stated that the attack violated international humanitarian law and UN shelters must continue to be safe zones and not combat zones.
SG: Last night the SG spoke at a joint press conference with the Foreign Minister of Costa Rica where he repeated his call for an unconditional and extendable humanitarian ceasefire. Speaking about yesterday’s shelling of a UN shelter he said: “Nothing – nothing – justifies such horror” and demanded “that all parties immediately respect UN premises”.
SG: The SG met with President Ortega yesterday in Nicaragua where he visited a wind farm and praised the country’s commitment to renewable energy. The SG arrived in Costa Rica today where he is expected to lecture about “Costa Rica and the United Nations: Challenges and Opportunities in the 21st Century”.