Marking the International Day in Support of Victims of Torture, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon roundly denounced torture and called on all countries to ratify the international treaty that bans it.
Ban said, “Let us speak with one voice against the perpetrators of torture, and for all who suffer at their hands…And let us build a better, more humane world for all people everywhere.”
The Convention against Torture went into force twenty years ago, yet, as Ban said, “even after two decades, this instrument falls well short of universal ratification.”
The United Nations food relief agency has appealed to Kenyan authorities to allow assistance for more than 100,000 people to be trucked into Somalia, where deliveries are being hampered.
One hundred and forty WFP-contracted trucks carrying the food left the Kenyan port of Mombasa and were unexpectedly stopped at the Northeast Kenyan border crossing of El-Wak since they first started arriving there on 25 May.
WFP Somalia Country Director Peter Goossens said “The Kenyan overland route was chosen because of major problems with sea routes to Somalia plagued by pirate attacks.”
A new publication by the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights aims to serve as a research tool for children’s rights advocates.
“This major study documents how the Convention on the Rights of the Child came to represent a sea change in the way the international community was prepared to address the rights of children,” said High Commissioner Louise Arbour.
The two-volume Legislative History on the Convention on the Rights of the Child lists among the many major advances ushered in by the Convention recognition, for the first time in a human rights treaty, of the differential and often discriminatory impact that national legislation, policies, attitudes and cultural traditions can have on girls.
The Legislative History on the Convention on the Rights of the Child is the first comprehensive record of the drafting of the Convention, according to a news release from Ms. Arbour’s office.
Deputy Secretary-General Asha-Rose Migiro says that Africa remains off-track in meeting world goals for fighting poverty, and is urging international support for the continent.
Presenting an update on sub-Saharan Africa’s progress towards obtaining the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) – a set of global anti-poverty and development targets to be achieved by 2015 – Ms. Migiro said the summit of the Group of Eight (G8) industrialized nations, currently meeting in Heiligendamm, Germany, provides an opportunity for donor countries to lay out concrete timetables for how they will increase development assistance to African countries.
Migiro said that “challenges remain daunting, yet progress is emerging.”
In a 10-0 vote yesterday, the Security Council backed the creation of a tribunal to investigate and prosecute a series of political assassinations in Lebanon, including the February 2005 car bombing that killed Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. From the Washington Post:
The vote will lead to the creation of the first U.N.- backed criminal tribunal in the Middle East, raising expectations that Hariri’s killers will be held accountable. But that has stoked fears among Lebanese authorities and some council members that supporters of Syria — which has been linked to the assassination — will plunge Lebanon’s fledgling democracy into a bloody new round of internal strife
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.