Monthly Archives: September 2007
The world premiere of Trade, a movie highlighting the horrors of human trafficking, will be held at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.
Tonight’s premiere of Trade is being co-hosted by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), film distribution company Roadside Attractions and international human rights organization Equality Now.
Deadly tornados, hurricanes, extreme and unexpected weather, melting glaciers — climate change is here. Regardless of the argument of who is to blame for it, global warming has sunk its warm claws into our planet, becoming the greatest global challenge of the 21st century. Countering this challenge requires each one of us to do our share — use fluorescent light bulbs, choose renewable energy, use energy-saving appliances, drive less, drive fuel-efficient cars, use environmentally-friendly fuel. In the large schema, many measures are being taken and are in the planning to fight global warming. Biofuel has emerged as one of the top warriors in this battle. Experts foresee that biofuels could achieve a 25% share of the liquid fuels market in the future.
Emmanuel Jal thinks he’s 27 years old. Like all of the “Lost Boys of Sudan” Emmanuel says his birthday is New Years day — and guesses the year was 1980.
Emmanuel’s confusion should not come as a surprise. When he only was eight years old, Emmanuel left his hometown in Southern Sudan to join an Ethiopian-sponsored militia that was fighting against the Sudanese government. For the next four years Emmanuel fought as a child soldier in South Sudan’s devastating civil war, which lasted two decades and claimed more than 2 million lives. Then, at the age of twelve Emmanuel was rescued by Emma McCune, the late human rights activist who is the subject of the book Emma’s War (which is being turned into a film.)
Like his late rescuer, Emmanuel is also the subject of a forthcoming film. When I met him in a lunch organized by the documentary’s production team, it was apparent that he is still haunted by memories of life as a child soldier. When he wakes up each morning, he instinctively checks himself for bullet wounds. In one recurring nightmare, he is surrounded by enemy soldiers, but his gun won’t fire. “When I don’t talk about it for a few weeks, the nightmares stop,” says Emmanuel.
But Emmanuel does more than just talk about his experience as a child soldier — he raps about it. Emmanuel Jal is one of the rising stars of the world music scene. Check out his YouTube page and you will see why. His unique brand of hip-hop layered with African beats is taking the world music scene by storm. His song “Child Soldier” was featured on the soundtrack to Blood Diamond. USA Today calls him “Africa’s hottest rap star.”
Emmanuel is playing a concert tomorrow night in Washington, DC at Night Club Ibiza. Proceeds will benefit a foundation he has established to build poly-technical schools in Southern Sudan, which under the UN’s watch (which includes 10,000 peacekeepers) is slowly recovering from civil war. Those in the DC area should stop by, listen, and learn. You won’t be disappointed. You can buy tickets (only $15) by following this link.
More than 300 women lined up to see doctors on the opening weekend of a UNHCR-funded center for refugee women in Kuala Lumpur.
Volunteers turning up at dawn on Sunday to run the half-day clinic – organized by the UN refugee agency with funding from the private Obstetrical and Gynaecological Society of Malaysia (OGSM) and the IS Puvan OBGYN Foundation – were amazed to see dozens of women waiting for the medics.
One volunteer said, “We were taken aback. We’d never seen this before at any of our other clinics. It was only 6.00am and at least 50 refugee women were already there.”
30 percent of the 37,000 UNHCR-registered refugees in and asylum seekers Kuala Lumpur are women.
Mitt Romney writes to Secretary General Ban ki Moon to demand the UN block Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmidinejad from speaking before the General Assembly next week. “The only way he should be greeted in the United States,” writes Romney, “is with an indictment under the Genocide Convention.” Romney continues:
“A failure by the United Nations to take a strong stand against Iran’s President Ahmadinejad would be especially disturbing given the United Nations’ record of failure to prevent genocide in other circumstances and the failure of the United Nations Human Rights Council to confront the Iranian regime and others among the world’s worst human rights abusers. Failure to act would mean that the United States must reconsider its level of support and funding for the United Nations as we look to rebuild and revitalize effective international partnerships to meet 21st century threats.” (emp added)
Romney, it would seem, is prepared to condition American support for the United Nations on the whether or not the UN takes a “strong stand” against Iran. This apparently includes preventing the Iranian president from addressing the General Assembly (as all heads of state do) and serving Ahmidinejad with indictment for committing genocide.
Not to get overly technical, but the only country in the world that can block the Iranian president from addressing the General Assembly is the United States, which could deny Ahmidinejad and his entourage a visa to enter the United States. Romney’s letter might better be addressed to the State Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs.
Second, the United Nations does not have the power of an international prosecutor and cannot serve heads of states with indictments willy-nilly. However, one body that could issue an indictment against Ahmidenijad, if it was so inclined, is the United States District Attorney for the Southern District of New York. Of course, then we’re faced with the serious question of whether or not indicting someone for genocide who has not committed genocide waters down the definition of genocide, therefore making it harder to confront genocide when genocide actually happens.
The United Nations World Health Organization (WHO) reports that the number of people struck by a cholera outbreak in Northern Iraq has doubled to 16,000 people.
“The good news was that, although the disease has spread, the number of deaths has remained the same,” spokesperson Fadela Chaib told a news briefing in Geneva.
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.