Yearly Archives: 2007
In a 10-0 vote yesterday, the Security Council backed the creation of a tribunal to investigate and prosecute a series of political assassinations in Lebanon, including the February 2005 car bombing that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. From the Washington Post:
The vote will lead to the creation of the first U.N.- backed criminal tribunal in the Middle East, raising expectations that Hariri’s killers will be held accountable. But that has stoked fears among Lebanese authorities and some council members that supporters of Syria — which has been linked to the assassination — will plunge Lebanon’s fledgling democracy into a bloody new round of internal strife
The UN World Health Organization (WHO) and the Joint UN Programme Against HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) have called for increased care and prevention services related to HIV.
The prevailing model now is voluntary testing and counselling, where individuals actively seek diagnosis. But experts say this system is impeded by the fear of stigma and discrimination, limited accessibility to services and the perception of many – even in areas with high rates of HIV infection – that they are not at risk.
Approximately 80 per cent of people living with HIV in low-income countries are unaware that they’re infected with the disease.
The United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) has announced its support for a $11.5 million development project in Cambodia to help the rural poor.
“The project will not only boost incomes, it will also lay foundations for sustainable social and economic development in the future,” said Youqiong Wang, IFAD’s country programme manager for Cambodia, noting that it is the agency’s first to target the poor, ethnic population living in remote areas of the country.
Today is the International Day of UN Peacekeepers. From the UN News Center:
Last year marked the fourth in a row when more than 100 men and women died in the service of UN peacekeeping, Mr. Ban noted. “Now, with our deployment at a record high, more soldiers, police and civilian staff face danger in places like Sudan, the Middle East and Haiti,” he said, citing Friday’s killing of Lieutenant-Colonel Ehab Nazih, a UN peacekeeper from Egypt working in Darfur, as but the latest example of this.
The White House today announced long anticipated new steps to pressure the Sudanese government into accepting a peacekeeping force in Darfur. Known as “Plan B,” the new measures include expanding existing American sanctions on Sudanese business interests and imposing targeted sanctions against one rebel leader and two Sudanese government officials (including one who is wanted by the International Criminal Court).
President Bush also announced that he would seek additional sanctions against Sudan at the United Nations. This would be a positive development. The unilateral American sanctions are of only limited value–the United States already has an expansive sanctions against Sudan. At this point, the best way to leverage Sudanese cooperation on Darfur is though multilateral forums like the United Nations and International Criminal Court.
Q and A with Jordan Ryan, Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General of the United Nations Mission in Liberia.
Until the United Nations intervened in 2003, some 250,000 people lost their lives and as many as one million people were displaced or made refugees as a result of fourteen years of conflict in the small, West African country of Liberia. UN Dispatch recently contacted Jordan Ryan, an American citizen who is one of the top administrators of the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL). From his office in Monrovia, Mr. Ryan discusses the history of the conflict, reconstruction efforts, and how UN peacekeepers are contributing to the political and physical rehabilitation of a broken country.
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”.