Monthly Archives: April 2006
A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary
Opinio Juris: “The United Nations Security Council has unanimously passed Resolution 1664, which calls for Kofi Annan to begin negotiating with the Lebanese government to establish an international tribunal to try the individuals responsible for the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri and 22 others in May, 2005. Annan has suggested to the Security Council that the tribunal be modeled on the hybrid courts in Sierra Leone, East Timor, and Cambodia, although he recommends that the tribunal not be located in Lebanon because of “concerns of security, perceptions of objectivity.” According to diplomatic sources, Cyprus is considering hosting the tribunal.”
Sudanese refugees from Darfur living in
refugee camps in Chad – here Djabal camp –
are concerned about their future security
after fighting last week between government
and rebel forces. © UNHCR/E.Cue
The following statement is attributable to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres:
“In the framework of our efforts to guarantee the protection of refugees from Sudan’s Darfur region in Chad, I spoke with Chadian President Idriss Deby Itno on Sunday night and am pleased to report that he has reaffirmed that refugees will not be refouled [forcibly returned] and Chad will abide by international principles.
“President Deby expressed his understandable concern about the difficulties involved in providing security both to the refugees and to the humanitarian organisations that are helping them.
“UNHCR strongly appeals to the international community and its various organisations to do everything possible to urgently establish peace and security in Darfur, which is essential for the stability of the entire region.” [Read more]
“[T]he decision by the government of Sudan to bar UN relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland from Darfur is as perverse as it is deplorable. It is not, however, atypical. The government appears to pursue a systematic policy of making life difficult for the NGOs and international organisations working to help the people of Darfur. Visa applications for humanitarian workers take weeks to process. Access to essential fuel is limited. Movement between regions is impeded. The obstruction and harassment is subtle but insidious and seriously affects the ability of the aid agencies to do their job….
“The U.N. undersecretary for humanitarian affairs, Jan Egeland, says northern Uganda’s 20-year war, a lethal mix of religion and brutality, is the world’s most neglected humanitarian crisis…. Last month, President Bush blamed the region’s violence on a “barbaric rebel cult.” Sen. Sam Brownback, R-Kan., says Washington should demand “a rapid and organized international response to the humanitarian disaster” in northern Uganda.” [Read more]
“United Nations humanitarian agencies have appealed to all parties in the conflict in Nepal to allow safe passage for food convoys to hundreds of thousands of people, and the distribution of vitamins and de-worming tablets for 6 million children, as roadblocks, curfews and strikes make reaching remote areas increasingly difficult.
“The U.N. Security Council demanded that the Sudanese government and rebels reach agreement by April 30 to end the conflict in Darfur and reaffirmed its determination to hold accountable those blocking peace and violating human rights.
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”.