Following up on my previous post on the UN Human Rights Council, it is worth noting that the top republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee Ileana Ros-Lehtinen misrepresents the most recent session when she suggests that Israel–and only Israel– came up for criticism during its most recent meeting. Here is part of a statement her office sent out via email last week.
“Stop the madness. Time for the U.S. to pull out of the UN Human Rights Council.
Courtesy of Senator Jim Bunning of Kentucky, millions of Americans have seen how a single United States senator can use procedural chicanery to prevent important legislation from moving forward. By withholding his “consent” from a resolution extending unemployment benefits to out of work Americans last week, Bunning prevented social security checks from reaching many thousands of people in need.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing USAID, the US Agency for International Development, for refusing to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests. The ACLU is seeking documents from July and September 2009 that relate to abstinence education programs supported by USAID.
Thankfully, for the sake of those of us relying on them for our safety, the U.S. Department of Defense seems to understand both the difference between climate and weather and that an attempted assassination by 1,000 cuts cannot change the underlying truths of the IPCC’s 2007 climate assessment.
The U.S. Department of Defense just released its most recent edition of the Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), a Congressionally mandated run down of U.S. defense strategies and priorities. Those interested in the structure of American defense parse the document carefully, as seemingly innocuous omissions and minute wording choices could signal a long-term shift in Department priorities.
The Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) is the lead American agency on humanitarian relief efforts like the one underway in Haiti. The problem is, it is just one office within the relatively small U.S.
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”.