Yearly Archives: 2006
“North Korea launched at least six missiles on Wednesday, including a long-range Taepodong-2, a move the United States called provocative and in defiance of the international community.
The United States said it was urgently consulting other U.N. Security Council members after the launches, which came despite repeated warnings from the reclusive Stalinist country’s neighbors and from Washington.” [Full story]
“There are too many times when we still do not come to the defence of civilian populations in need,” Jan Egeland, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, said at the outset of the [Security] Council’s open debate. “When our response is weak, we appear to wash our hands of our humanitarian responsibilities to protect lives. The world is a safer place for most of us, but it is still a death trap for too many defenceless civilians, men, women and children.”
“With tens of thousands of illiterate and unskilled former child soldiers in Afghanistan providing a tempting target for recruitment by one of the war-torn country’s numerous armed groups, United Nations agencies need additional funds to continue training projects to reintegrate them as members of a peaceful society.” [More]
The New York Times reported yesterday that the Prime Minister of East Timor, Mari Alkatiri, “who has been accused of arming hit squads in recent battles within the country’s security forces” and instructing them “to eliminate opponents of the government and of Mr. Alkatiri’s political party,” has resigned, an action that many see as the turning point in the recent crisis. As the Times points out, it is unclear how long it will take East Timor to fully recover, but it will undoubtedly be accelerated due the presence of the United Nations, which is already on the ground providing vital security and humanitarian assistance.
Warren Buffett is a generous man. His gift of over $30 billion in stock to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation will nearly double the size of the country’s largest charitable organization. As media coverage of the gift has noted, $60 billion is roughly five times the annual budget of the United Nations and its agencies. And as Slate points out, the Foundation’s future $1.7 billion annual disbursement requirement is roughly equivalent to UNICEF’s annual budget.
“To seize the moment of opportunity that the Abuja peace deal offers for ending the suffering in Sudan’s Darfur region, African peacekeeping must immediately be bolstered in anticipation of a “substantial” United Nations force and dialogue must start quickly between the local parties, the world body’s top peacekeeping official said today.
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”.