MDG Summit: Live

Watch heads of state, foreign ministers and other dignitaries address the Millennium Development Goals summit from the floor of the General Assembly.  The first session began at 9 am EST. Afternoon session begins at 3pm.

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Why The United States Did Not Support “Water as a Human Right” Resolution

The General Assembly today voted for a resolution that declares that access to water and clean sanitation to be a human right.  From the UN News Center:

Safe and clean drinking water and sanitation is a human right essential to the full enjoyment of life and all other human rights, the General Assembly declared today, voicing deep concern that almost 900 million people worldwide do not have access to clean water.

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“UN Women” Comes To Life

For the past several months there has been an on going effort at the UN to combine four disparate UN agencies that deal with womens' and gender issues under the leadership of one single under-secretary general.  Inside UN circles, this is clumsily referred to as the "Gender Entity" process. And at 3:30 this afternoon, the General Assembly unanimously voted to bring this effort to life.

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UN General Assembly to Re-Consider Goldstone Report Tomorrow

Tomorrow, the General Assembly is scheduled to vote on the Goldstone Report that criticizes both Hamas and the Israeli Defense Forces for alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead.   The resolution that is up for a vote is partly symbolic -- it will show that the Goldstone Report (which will not be taken up by the Security Council) is not gone and forgotten.  But it also gives both sides five months to implement some of the report's key findings and assures that there will be another vote on the matter this summer.  This helps keep the pressure on both sides to imple

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The Power of Engagement at United Nations

There was a flurry of activity at the United Nations last week on the human rights front.  For the past three months the "Third Committee" of the General Assembly, which includes under its purview human rights issues, has been considering a number of items.  These ranged from country-specific resolutions against Iran, Myanmar and North Korea to thematic issues like from discrimination, torture and human rights treaties.  

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Inside the General Assembly debate on the Goldstone Report; UPDATE V (Final Vote)

Today is a big day of debate and maneuvering at the General Assembly over a resolution on the Goldstone Report. The end results of these negotiations will foretell the degree of support that the resolution will receive when it comes to a vote, likely tomorrow. (See this post from yesterday for more on the substance of the resolution and the EU's proposed edits.)

The big question is whether or not the EU will end up supporting the resolution. A close watcher of today's General Assembly discussion passes along these observations:

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General Assembly debates dueling Goldstone Report proposals

The General Assembly will take up the Goldstone Report in a session tomorrow.  There are two competing resolutions circulating.  The first (below) is drafted by Arab states and calls for the Secretary General to transmit the report to the Security Council.  The EU, lead by France and Germany, are trying to prevent that outcome by inserting language in the resolution that calls on both the Palestinians and Israeli's to pursue internal investigation into alleged war crimes, the credibility of which would be verified by the High Commissioner for Human Rights before a future Huma

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Susan Rice on Cuba vote: “Here we go again.”

Each year for as far back as I can remember, the General Assembly passes a resolution condemning the American embargo on Cuba.  The resolution typically passes with only three no votes: The US, Israel, and the Palau.  This year was no exception, despite the fact that the Obama administration has been inching ever closer toward a rapprochement with Cuba.  Steve Clemons wanted the U.S. to abstain.