Monthly Archives: August 2005
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Chrenkoff: “Nearly half a million Iraqi children will benefit from upgraded sanitation facilities at schools across the country this year as a result of United Nations (UN) initiatives aimed at raising a new generation of educated Iraqis to help their country rebuild from war.”
Feministing: “According to a new report from UNICEF: “About 20 percent of children in Afghanistan die before their fifth birthday, girls being particularly vulnerable. Girls’ enrollment in secondary schools is less than 10%. Female illiteracy rates as high as 85%. In some parts of Afghanistan, maternal death rates are as high as 6,000 per 100,000 women.” These statistics have led UNICEF to declare a state of “acute emergency” for women and children living in Afghanistan.”
Booker Rising: “Haiti Election Doubts – Haiti’s planned election timetable is looking increasingly doubtful as officials say there are problems with finance, and violent clashes between police and supporters of former President Jean Bertrand-Aristide continue. Despite a United Nations stabilizing force having been present for more than a year, violence continues. The UN’s representative in Haiti fears that armed gangs could disrupt the election process.”
Coalition for Darfur: “Oxfam on the Genocide Agreement – I mentioned this yesterday, but I finally found the official Oxfam press release… The current draft wording on the ‘responsibility to protect is below’: 118. The international community should, as appropriate, encourage and help States to exercise this responsibility and support the efforts of the United Nations to establish an early-warning capability. The international community, through the United Nations, also has the obligation to use diplomatic, humanitarian and other peaceful means, including under Chapters VI and VIII of the Charter to help protect populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 119. We invite the permanent members of the Security Council to refrain from using the veto in cases of genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. 120. We support the implementation of the United Nations Action Plan to Prevent Genocide and the work of the Secretariat to this end.”
Crooks and Liars: “James Wolcott – “Roger L. Simon I don’t consider a liberal hawk. Because he isn’t. He isn’t much of a liberal of any kind. Instead, he typifies a subset of bloggers who day-in, day-out bash the UN (particularly over the “oil-for-food” scandal”) while saying damn near nothing about the billions of reconstruction money lost or stolen in Iraq and the sweetheart deals for companies like, yes, Halliburton; who dump scorn regularly on the ACLU and minimize the brutalities at Abu Ghraib…”
Democracy Arsenal: “Responding to my post of yesterday, in which I made the point that France had intervened without UN authorisation in the civil war in Cote d’Ivoire, KB says that “when the French deployed in 2002 it did so at the request of the legitimate government of the IC and therefore didn’t need UN say so.”
“Americans should seek to learn more about the broader mandate and work of the UN and its agencies beyond the very limited portrayal of the UN in the mainstream media. Americans should follow the important work of the UN through mechanisms such as the UN Wire, and should express their support and ideas for the UN by communicating these to their elected representatives and the President.” – Andrew Hudson, Principal Technical Advisor, International Waters, at United Nations Development Program’s Global Environment Facility
There are thousands of Americans who work for the UN – over 1,800 in New York City alone. “Americans at the UN” is a project dedicated to telling their stories and celebrating the extraordinary work they do quietly every single day in countries all over the world.
The Americans profiled on these pages come from very different backgrounds and work in extremely diverse settings. But whether they are from Los Angeles, St. Louis, or Boston, and whether they work from an office in New York City, a tent in a tiny village in Sri Lanka, or a battleground in the Congo, they are all committed to creating a better world.
“Sri Lanka’s government has declared a state of emergency hours after Foreign Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar was killed outside his home by sniper fire. The assassination is bound to further strain the shaky cease-fire agreement between Sri Lanka’s government and the Tamil Tiger rebels. The truce, in place since February 2002, has been threatened by recent violence and the suspension of talks in 2003.
World leaders, including U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, were quick to condemn the killing.
“Sri Lanka has lost a deeply respected statesman dedicated to peace and national unity,” Annan’s spokesman said in a statement. “The secretary-general hopes that this tragedy will not weaken the commitment of the people of Sri Lanka to achieve a durable peace in the country.” [Read more]
Selected summary of United Nations related news and events
Hadjara with her 5-month-old son
Lawali at a therapeutic feeding
centre in Aguie, Niger.
“AGUIE, Niger, 10 August 2005 – “My son’s name is Lawali,” says 30-year old Hadjara. “He’s five months old. He’s still very weak, but I think he’s getting better. His eyes follow me around now.”
Lawali is snuggled in his mother’s lap in a colourful cloth wrap to keep his tiny body warm. Hadjara sits on a thin mat on the floor of a therapeutic feeding centre in Aguie village, in the Maradi region of Niger – hit hard by the current food crisis.
Hadjara is spoon-feeding her son with nutritious therapeutic milk, supplied by UNICEF. Lawali swallows each spoonful of milk with a small gulp, and as with all babies, some of it trickles down his chin. Therapeutic milk is rich in nutrients and is easy to digest for children like Lawali.” [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”.