Monthly Archives: May 2006
United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan vowed to continue working for the release of Myanmar democracy leader Daw Aung San Suu Kyi, whose house arrest the authorities have extended.
To Ed Lasky, the Secretary General’s decision to evacuate non-essential U.N. personnel from East Timor is proof positive of the U.N.’s inherent fecklessness: “Meant to protect civilians, UN staff have run away from the capital of East Timor after an outbreak of violence… If someone says “boo” to them, they turn tail.” Lasky, however, does not bother to mention that those workers who were evacuated from East Timor last week were civil servants who perform important (but in a conflict zone, non-essential) tasks such as HIV/Aids education, civil society training, legal work, and more.
Memorial Day (May 29) was also the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. Here’s an excerpt of a message by the President of the General Assembly: “The General Assembly first designated 29 May as the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers four years ago. On this day, we pay tribute to the professionalism, dedication and courage of all the men and women serving in United Nations peacekeeping operations, and honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.”
“The United Nations has warned that the task of helping survivors of Saturday’s earthquake on the Indonesian island of Java is “a race against the clock”.
Emergency workers and supplies are arriving at the scene, but the UN’s top relief co-ordinator Jan Egeland told the BBC the task was “enormous”.
Driving rain has made conditions worse for survivors of the quake, which killed at least 4,900 and hurt 20,000.
And activity at nearby erupting volcano Mount Merapi is said to have increased.
United Nations aid agencies are holding talks in Geneva to plan humanitarian relief.
The agencies, including Unicef, the World Food Programme, the World Health Organization and the International Red Cross, have already begun distributing some relief supplies but say much more will be needed.” [Read more]
“A frantic search for survivors is continuing after a strong earthquake struck the Indonesian island of Java, killing more than 4,200 people…. Unicef said it was sending emergency supplies including 2,000 tents, 9,000 tarpaulins and hygiene kits.” [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”.