Monthly Archives: June 2009
From the Food and Agriculture Organization.
World hunger is projected to reach a historic high in 2009 with 1 020 million people going hungry every day, according to new estimates published by FAO today.
The most recent increase in hunger is not the consequence of poor global harvests but is caused by the world economic crisis that has resulted in lower incomes and increased unemployment. This has reduced access to food by the poor, the UN agency said.
“A dangerous mix of the global economic slowdown combined with stubbornly high food prices in many countries has pushed some 100 million more people than last year into chronic hunger and poverty,” said FAO Director-General Jacques Diouf. “The silent hunger crisis — affecting one sixth of all of humanity — poses a serious risk for world peace and security. We urgently need to forge a broad consensus on the total and rapid eradication of hunger in the world and to take the necessary actions.”
“The present situation of world food insecurity cannot leave us indifferent,” he added.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, said Friday she is concerned about reports of an increasing number of arrests, which may not be in conformity with the law, and the possible illegal use of excessive force and acts of violence by some militia members in the aftermath of the recent presidential elections held in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
“The legal basis of the arrests that have been taking place, especially those of human rights defenders and political activists, is not clear,” Pillay said. “What are the grounds for the arrests? Have proper warrants been issued in accordance with Iranian law? Why have some of those who have been arrested been denied access to lawyers and members of their families? And why is the whereabouts of others unknown? These are all troubling questions, and I urge the Iranian authorities to ensure that due process is followed, since to do otherwise may fan the feelings of injustice.”
The High Commissioner noted that freedom of expression and freedom of assembly were fundamental human rights, and commended the largely peaceful and dignified conduct of the huge demonstrations that have been taking place in the Iranian capital, Teheran.
Pillay expressed particular concern about reported acts of violence by members of the Basij militia, which may also be in contravention of international and Iranian national law. “I strongly urge the authorities to ensure that official and semi-official forces act strictly in accordance with the law,” she said. “It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that militia members and regular law enforcement agencies do not resort to illegal acts of violence. If they are perceived to be acting outside the law, it could provoke a serious deterioration in the security situation, which would be a great tragedy and is in nobody’s interests.”
The High Commissioner reminded the Iranian authorities of their international obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which states that ‘no one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention’ (Article 9), ‘everyone shall have the right to freedom of expression’ (Article 19), and ‘the right of peaceful assembly shall be recognized’ (Article 21).
One in four South African men questioned in a survey said they had raped someone, and nearly half of them admitted more than one attack.
The study, by the country’s Medical Research Council, also found three out of four who admitted rape had attacked for the first time during their teens.
It said practices such as gang rape were common because they were considered a form of male bonding.
Is it any wonder I expected a more forceful defense of women’s rights in President Obama’s Cairo speech – granted it was delivered to the Mideast, but the audience was intended to be global.
It’s official! The House and the Senate have concurred on the conference report for the FY09 Supplemental budget request. Included in the bill is the full payment of American dues to the United Nations and, beyond that, payment of America’s arrears. The final vote in the Senate was 91 to 5.
The World Health Organization has rightly garnered a lot of attention from the H1N1 pandemic (which, by the way is now up to 39,620 confirmed cases and 167 deaths). But there is something even more deadly than the deadliest flu outbreak to which the WHO wants is member states to pay greater heed. Something that kills 1.3 million each year and injures 20 and 50 million others: Roadway accidents. And like HIV/AIDS, Malaria and TB, roadway deaths disproportionately affect people living in lower and middle income countries (LIC’s and MIC’s). To wit:
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”.