From the UN News Center:
With global glaciers — a vital water source for millions, or even billions, of people worldwide — melting at a record rate, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) urged countries to agree on a new emissions reduction pact.Read This Article
According to the UNEP-backed World Glacier Monitoring Service (WGMS), data from nearly 30 reference glaciers in nine mountain ranges indicate that between the years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, the average rate of melting and thinning more than doubled.
I don’t work on reproductive health and rights on the international level, but I have worked on the national level and think that there’s obviously much work to do that could definitely make us “a better defender” for women’s rights internationally. Just last week a UN committee called the U.S. out for failing to address severe racial disparities that exist in reproductive health care.
So yes, we need to improve our conditions at home, but first there needs to be just a general recognition that these real problems exist rather than continuing to hold ourselves up on a pedestal as this champion of women’s rights, coming to save “the oppressed women” from “uncivilized” countries, and as Kavita said, which has been happening in the midst of this guise of fighting terror.Read This Article
>>Tibet – China has closed Lhasa to visitors and blocked websites (including youtube) as violent protests continue there and spread to the neighboring Sichuan, Qinghai, and Gansu provinces. The Dalai Lama has said that he will not intervene to stop the protests, but instead called for an independent investigation into the “cultural genocide” that he says China is waging. Eighty Tibetans have been killed during the unrest. The Washington Post reports on the domestic politic aspects in China.
>>Iran – Conservatives appear to have won as much as a 70 percent majority in Iran’s parliamentary elections. Many reformist candidates had been barred from participating. However, some analysts believe that President Ahmadenijad may still face significant resistance from moderate conservatives disgruntled over the state of the economy teamed with reformists.
>>Iraq – As part of a congressional delegation, Senator John Mcain made a surprise visit to Iraq on Sunday. He’s scheduled to meet with Ryan Crocker, General Petraeus, and Prime Minister al-Maliki before traveling on to Jordan, Israel, France, and Britain. The LA Times takes a look at the history of his foreign policy.
The Washington Post‘s Craig Timberg reports on the progress made by many of the counties in the region:
Civil wars in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Ivory Coast have ended, and although Ivory Coast has yet to hold its first postwar vote, Liberia and Sierra Leone have elected leaders with popular mandates. Regional giant Nigeria, where military rule ended in 1999, has had a series of deeply flawed votes, but the disputes are being settled in an increasingly independent court system.
These countries are all freer, more stable and more democratic than they were a decade ago, regional analysts say. Peace, however fragile, is the norm rather than war. And citizens of these nations increasingly are demanding responsive governance from their leaders.
Why is West Africa experiencing this improvement, when much of East Africa is embroiled in conflict? Timberg focuses much of his article on the positive influence of burgeoning democracies like Ghana, which has benefited from its peaceful electoral transitions and successful handling of any regional or ethnic tensions. Along with this explanation, though, Timberg highlights another factor:
The exile and prosecution of Liberian warlord Charles Taylor, who spread conflict to the country’s neighbors, has helped stabilize the region, as have U.N. peacekeeping missions.
UN peacekeepers are not just a band-aid to respond to emergencies. The secure environment that they provide, as their success in countries like Liberia and Sierra Leone demonstrates, provides a foundation for long-term development across the entire region.Read This Article
From the UN News Center
The border between Chad and Sudan’s Darfur region remains volatile as the United Nations refugee agency continues to move thousands of civilians who fled recent air and ground attacks against towns in West Darfur further inside their neighbouring country.Read This Article
“The constantly changing security situation regularly affects our relocation operation,” Ron Redmond, spokesman for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, said today in Geneva.
Heavy explosions are frequently heard coming from the border area, and there are continuous sightings of armed groups in vehicles and on horseback, he said.