You hear a lot of terrible news out of Eastern Congo these days. And rightly so. An overwhelmed and undermanned UN peacekeeping mission is struggling to keep a peace that does not exist. Still, there are occasional stories like this that demonstrate the great value that even a struggling peacekeeping mission can bring to a situation like this.
The United Nations peacekeeping mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has demobilized 880 children associated with armed groups in the volatile eastern province of North Kivu between 30 January and 2 March, it was announced today.
Madnodje Mounoubai, spokesperson for the mission, known by its French acronym MONUC, told a news conference in Kinshasa that the great majority of the 839 boys and 41 girls are Congolese, but there are also 31 Rwandans, two Burundians and two Ugandans.
All of the children were handed over to non-governmental organizations (NGOs) for their return and reintegration into their families and communities, after they were demobilized by MONUC’s Child Protection Unit.
Unicef just posted a pretty powerful video on the subject.
Via UN Good Works, check out this newly embeddable video of some of the 2008 highlights of the UN’s busy year. And while you’re at it, tell me if you think the narrator is celebrating the 100,000 blue berries or the 100,000 blue berets deployed around the world. My guess is that he meant the latter, but I think that’s why we’re better off sticking with blue helmets.
This is my third annual posting of this World Food Program Superbowl ad from Superbowl XLI featuring New Orleans Saints star Reggie Bush. It never gets old.
Consider supporting the World Food Program as you watch the Pittsburgh Steelers crush the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday.
And for viewers outside the United States who have never heard of Reggie Bush, this message should resonate a bit more clearly. Here’s FIFA star Ronaldhino.
Special notice for readers in the Washington, DC area .
On January 9, prepare for an all-out musical assault at the National Press Club. Four of D.C.’s best bands — composed of journalists from the Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, McClatchy Newspapers, the Washington Independent, Bloomberg News, among others — will try to claim for themselves the title of Best Reporter-Based Washington Rock Group. Who will prevail? The bluesy thump of Nobody’s Business? The New Pornographers-esque power pop of Anchorage? The eclectic sounds of Suspicious Package? The spare, dark indie rock of The Surge? Only the first annual JOURNOPALOOZA will determine who wears the crown.
And just as the best journalism is that which serves the public good, JOURNOPALOOZA is a rock festival with a charitable mission. All proceeds will benefit two very worthy causes.
The Committee to Protect Journalists is an advocacy organization that aids our colleagues in their efforts to bring out the truth under the harshest of conditions. Half of the money raised with Journopalooza will go to CPJ’s Journalist Assistance Fund, their emergency resource to save journalists who must go into hiding or exile to escape threats; journalists in need of medicine and other material support in prison; and journalists injured after violent attacks. The other half of the proceeds will help fund the National Press Club’s efforts to hone the skills of the next generation of newsgatherers with their array of training programs and scholarships.
The United Nations office on Drugs and Crime just released volume just released a photo essay about the lives of people touched by the drug trade in the so-called Golden Triangle of Thailand, Laos and Myanmar. The project is produced by the acclaimed photo-journalist Alessandro Scotti, who is a UNODC Goodwill Ambassador.
From the UN News Center
The second volume of the photojournalism book “De Narcoticis” is produced by award-winning photographer, journalist and UNODC Goodwill Ambassador, Alessandro Scotti.
The project “gives a face” to a problem that is often depicted through data and numbers, and focuses on a range of actors, including law enforcement officers, traffickers, plantation workers and addicts, notes Mr. Scotti.
“It’s an underworld which has been examined closely enough to give us plenty of figures and statistics, but which is less known for its personal stories,” he says.
“The people involved in trafficking have only a very partial perception of the overall phenomenon, and yet their lives are powerfully affected by it. They are simple people with a limited perception of the impact of their actions.
“Most are in any case tied to the ‘job’ for their very survival; desperate people with otherwise limited life chances or opportunities,” he says.
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.