Monthly Archives: October 2009
T. Christian Miller and Dafna Linzer write in ProPublica that the United Nations cannot account for “tens of millions of dollars provided to the troubled Afghan election commission.” They cite two audits and interviews with current and former UNAMA staff to back up these claims.
These are clearly troubling accusations. Exclusive to UN Dispatch, UN Development Program spokesperson Stephane Dujarric sent the following letter to ProPublica last night:
Spencer Ackerman says:
there’s no doubt that diplomatic outreach to Iran on the nuclear question suffers tremendously if Iran rejects the Vienna deal. Desired strategies have to bow to emergent realities, in the final analysis, and Iran just doesn’t appear like it will accept an eminently reasonable deal that would buy time for a diplomatic thaw. If this is indeed Iran’s formal response to Vienna, than sanctions look more likely now, and, frankly, appropriate.
The General Assembly today will endorse a landmark agreement to fight the illegal and irresponsible trade of small arms and conventional weapons. Now, the General Assembly resolution is not an agreement itself, but it does set out a timetable for negotiations on an agreement on ways to curb arms sales to insurgent groups, volatile regions, or irresponsible governments. The vote tomorrow is very significant, however, for the fact that for the first time
A new article at The Daily Beast highlights the risks of motherhood in India in a striking way. Every year, half a million women die as a result of pregnancy. And for every death, there are 20-30 cases of maternal injury. At the same time, high-end private clinics support surrogate mothers bearing children for infertile couple from the wealthy world. It’s an ugly dichotomy, and it points to financial inequalities and health sector weakness.
The saga of the potential Iranian low-enriched uranium export deal continues. The New York Times reports that Iran is preparing a counter-offer, which may or may not include sending partial shipments of its low-enriched-uranium outside the country for further processing. This sort of back and forth is to be expected. But what caught my eye was this:
The UN Special Rapporteur on Torture Manfred Nowak was deported from the airport in Harare yesterday. Prime Minister (and Robert Mugabe’s top political rival) Morgan Tsvangirai invited Nowak to his office in Harare yesterday. But upon arriving at the airport, Nowak was detained by immigration officials and forced on the next plane back to South Africa.
Here is the story, as told from Nowak’s point of view:
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”.