Monthly Archives: March 2007
In January, Dispatch reported on inflated allegations that United Nations Development Program funds were being converted widely into hard currency to the benefit of the North Korean government. In response to these allegations UNDP moved swiftly, responsibly, and comprehensively to review the concerns expressed by member states. Ultimately, these efforts led to the suspension of certain operations in North Korea.
UNDP’s handling of the situation has been widely praised, but that hasn’t stopped some from reraking the muck in an attempt to discredit the agency.
A high-level mission to Darfur–led by Jody Williams, 1997 Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-landmine campaigner–has told the Human Rights Council that the abuses in Darfur continue.
[She] told the Council that ineffective justice mechanisms, the free flow of weapons and a climate of impunity meant Darfur had become a stranger to the rule of law.
She said civilians had become the main target in the conflict, which has also exacerbated the underlying social and economic deprivation in Darfur.
More than 200,000 have been killed and 2 million displaced since 2003.
Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced yesterday Jan Egeland’s return to the United Nations. From 2003-2006, Egeland was the high profile undersecretary general for Humanitarian Affairs and now it seems his experience will be put to use in a new initiative to bolster the UN’s conflict mediation services. The position is a project of the Department of Political Affairs, now run by the American former ambassador to Indonesia, Lynn Pascoe, and is intended to create a team of peace negotiators and technical advisors that can be quickly dispatched around the world.
UNICEF has issued a warning that camps for displaced persons in Darfur are filled to capacity, some with 50,000 to 100,000 people apiece.
After a visit to the region, UNICEF country representative Ted Chaiban said that “it’s absolutely critical that [a settlement to the conflict] happens now because we simply cannot absorb any more displaced…it’s been very difficult for humanitarian workers in Darfur. I think we should be very proud that we’ve held the line, that we’ve kept malnutrition levels down and mortality levels down, that we’ve been able to vaccinate so many children and that we’ve been able to get children in to school in the camps.”
In today’s confirmation hearing for Zalmay Khalilzad, nominated to be the next United States ambassador to the United Nations, a number of senators pointed out a problematic contradiction of American policy toward the UN. At the Security Council, the United States and other members advocate sending more and more UN peacekeepers to global hot spots. But back in Washington, the White House is proposing to slash its financial contributions to UN peacekeeping operations.
At the hearing, the highest ranking Republican on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Richard Lugar, explained this dilemma well:
Fast on the heels of the report commissioned by the UN Human Rights Council on Darfur, the United Nations Foundation today published “UNF Insights: Darfur and Beyond,” an essay written by Council on Foreign Relations Senior Fellow Lee Feinstein on a revolutionary principle adopted by the United Nations — the “responsibility to protect” — and the steps that could be taken to translate that principle into action — both in Darfur and in preventing future mass atrocities.
Darfur and the Responsibility to Protect
One year ago the United Nations formally endorsed a principle known as the “responsibility to protect,” the idea that mass atrocities that take place in one state are the concern of all states. The universal adoption of this principle at the United Nations World Summit in 2005 went relatively unnoticed. Yet it was a turning point in how states define their rights and responsibilities….The question now is whether this pledge was humanitarian hypocrisy, or did they have something serious in mind? Read more…
The SG: In Ethiopia over the weekend, the SG is now in the United Arab Emirates. Today he met with Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, where the two discussed developments in the region, including Syria, Iran, Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan, and in the Middle East Peace Process.