Monthly Archives: August 2005
A hallway is filled with rubble at School No. 1
in Beslan. This photo was taken by Vano Vazagov, 17.
“BESLAN, Russia, 26 August 2005 – Photos taken by children from Beslan go on display in the town’s Cultural Centre today – the result of a photography and journalism workshop for the children organised by UNICEF (22-28 July). The exhibition, entitled Children Are the Most Precious Thing in the World, will run until 9 September.
Thirteen children aged 13 to 18 – five of whom were hostages during the siege of School No. 1 last September – took part in the workshop. They learned about photography and writing from UNICEF photographer Giacomo Pirozzi and journalist John Varoli before going out into Beslan to produce their own photos and stories.” [Read more]
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Stygius: “In what is, frankly, a brilliant essay, nadezhda mounts a “defense of John Bolton,” in the wake of my and others’ reaction to Bolton’s undercutting of the draft proposal at the center of the upcoming UN Summit. It’s a long piece, but the central point seems to be that–beyond the sheer quantity of proposed US changes–the document had so many proposals so utterly incompatible with US positions (on, say, the ICC and the Kyoto Treaty) that it is unbelievable it survived so long in its current form. It’s more than possible that the document, apparently shepherded by UN General Assembly President Jean Ping, was designed to highlight faultlines between the developed and developing world when it comes to development policies.”
Think Progress: Just three weeks after his recess appointment, Bolton is reversing the work of U.S. negotiators and is seeking to “scrap much of a draft plan for comprehensive UN reform just weeks before it is to be adopted at a world summit.”
Policy Busters: “The 2005 World Summit, to be held from 14 to 16 September at United Nations Headquarters in New York, is expected to bring together more than 170 Heads of State and Government: the largest gathering of world leaders in history. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to take bold decisions in the areas of development, security, human rights and reform of the United Nations. The agenda is based on an achievable set of proposals outlined in March by Secretary-General Kofi Annan in his report In Larger Freedom (www.un.org/largerfreedom).”
Dogooder: “Poor countries to miss 2015 health goals – WHO – “Most poor countries will miss global targets to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reverse the toll of AIDS and other diseases by 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday. Health is at the heart of the U.N. Millennium Declaration, adopted by 189 heads of state in September 2000, which set out a roadmap of eight goals to be reached by 2015. Using 1990 data as baselines, they aim to reduce poverty and hunger, tackle gaps in health services, education and boost access to clean water.”
In the Bullpen: “How the free world gets rid of Iran’s nuclear threat though is the question of the decade. If they choose to go after Iran militarily, with what army will they do so and how will they attack targets in which they do not have certainty where they are in Iran. Russia and China have already stated they are not in favor of war in Iran (no kidding as both nations are providing Iran technology and engineering expertise) and would then veto any such action in the United Nations Security Council. Both nations could very well veto any sanctions proposed by the Security Council. Fine mess we’re in boys.”
Sudan Watch: “UN news service via ReliefWeb reports Antonio Guterres, UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) is in Khartoum and plans to visit some of the camps which now house hundreds of thousands of the more than 6 million refugees and internally displaced people who fled Sudan’s civil strife.”
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Oxblog: “A front-page story in the WaPo reports that “traces of bomb-grade uranium found two years ago in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and is not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program, a group of U.S. government experts and other international scientists has determined.” In the case of Iran … is it simply nationalist pride that prevents cooperation with UN inspectors?”
Open Democracy: “The UN and Baghdad: two years on – Kofi Annan pays tribute to the 22 people killed in the bombing of the UN headquarters in Baghdad on 19 August 2003. Among them was head of the UN mission, Sergio Vieira de Mello, and openDemocracy columnist Arthur Helton. Gil Loescher, Arthur’s friend and co-columnist who was badly wounded in the attack, bears witness and looks ahead.”
First Draft: “Looks like our new ambassador to the UN has thrown a monkey wrench into the UN reform process at the last minute: “The United States has launched a last-minute drive to scrap much of a draft plan for comprehensive U.N. reform just weeks before it is to be adopted at a world summit, Western diplomats said on Wednesday.”
Global Voices Online: “Sub-Saharan Africa – Displaced people in the troubled Sudanese region of Darfur have written to the United Nations, calling on officials to prevent further delays in peace talks between government and rebel forces, writes aid-worker Sleepless in Sudan.”
Sudan Watch: “A BBC report today says Tony Blair has been urged to use his influence to increase support for an international deal to stop genocide: “The charity Oxfam has praised the UK’s commitment to the deal but hopes the PM will persuade less willing states. The pact, which would oblige countries to intervene when there is evidence of genocide in another nation, is to be tabled at a UN Summit next month. Final negotiations over the agenda for the UN’s meeting in New York – set to be the biggest ever summit of world leaders – will begin with Oxfam seeking to safeguard the proposals for international cooperation to respond to mass killings.”
TBogg: “So, how long before the 101st Fighting Keyboarders turn their, um, Keyboards of Rage, on Colin Powell: “A former top aide to Colin Powell says his involvement in the former secretary of state’s presentation to the United Nations on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction was “the lowest point” in his life.”
TT Children: “On Front line of Niger’s war against hunger, Unicef wields porridge and Syringe – UN News Service – On the front line of the global battle to stop starvation in drought-stricken Niger, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) stands armed with a life-saving porridge for undernourished children and syringes to vaccinate against killer diseases.”
“Most poor countries will miss global targets to reduce child mortality, improve maternal health and reverse the toll of AIDS and other diseases by 2015, the World Health Organisation (WHO) warned on Monday.
None of the poorest regions of the developing world is on track to meet the target of reducing by two-thirds the rate of child mortality, now around 11 million deaths each year, in the next decade, according to the United Nations agency.” [More]
“From its Headquarters in New York to front-line missions in the field, from solemn minutes of silence to impassioned tribute to the fallen, the entire United Nations system marked the second anniversary of the deadly terrorist attack on UN headquarters in Baghdad, one of the darkest days in the world body’s history.
“Our fallen colleagues, taken from us in the prime of their lives, embodied our Organization’s ideals,” Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message. The bombing killed 22 people, including the top UN envoy in Iraq and UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Sergio Sergio Vieira de Mello, and injured hundreds.
“They were courageous and unstinting in their devotion to helping people in impoverished and war-torn lands build better lives. Their commitment and achievements made all of us proud to work for the United Nations,” he added.
“The question of justice lingers, too, as no-one has been held to account for this crime, offering yet another appalling example of the impunity that so often follows assaults on United Nations personnel around the world, be they peacekeepers, humanitarian workers or others.” [Read more]
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”.