There is word from Capitol Hill that the Senate will vote this week on ratification of the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities. Can an international treaty that have little to do with abortion can nonetheless escape the trap of domestic American abortion politics?
Thirty years ago today, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women was adopted by the General Assembly. Susan Rice has a nice statement marking the occasion. It’s about time the United States gets on board and ratifies the treaty, eh?
Some good news on the long struggle to ban cluster bombs. From StopClusterMunitions.org:
The global Campaign against cluster bombs has received a major boost with the ratification of the treaty banning the weapons by three additional countries. Croatia deposited its instrument of ratification at the UN headquarters on Monday 17 August followed by its neighbour, Slovenia, on Wednesday 19 August. Subsequently, on 24 August, the UN Office for Legal Affairs sent its official notification that Zambia had deposited its instrument on 12 August, making it the 15th country to do so. Seventeen countries have now ratified this crucial treaty in less than nine months. Thirteen more ratifications are needed to reach 30 and trigger entry into force six months later.
Cluster munitions are troublesome from a moral and legal standpoint because their use results in a percentage of unexploded “bomlets” that can lay dormant long after the war is over. These bomlets become the functional equivalent of landmines and do not discriminate between combatants and non-combatants.
The idea is to relegate cluster munitions to the same illegal and universally shunned status as mustard gas. To that end, in 2008 94 countries met in Oslo to sign the Convention Against Cluster Munitions. Signatories include every Western European, central American and pretty much all commonwealth countries. A large number of Sub-Saharan and west African states are also signatories. The big holdouts are the United States and Russia, and China. In fact, the United States and Russia both used cluster munitions in recent conflicts.
The Cluster Munitions Coalition explains how you can take action and help ban these bombs for good.
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”.