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Nobel Laureates Support New UN Human Rights Council

TEXT: We the undersigned Nobel Peace Prize Laureates and representatives of Nobel Peace Prize Laureate organizations urge the creation of a representative and effective UN Human Rights Council. In virtually every armed conflict since the formation of the United Nations, gross human rights violations have preceded armed conflict. The stripping of rights and recognition of a people sets the stage for genocide and ethnic cleansing. In all continents, human rights violations have provided powerful fuel for the escalation of violence.
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UN Making a Difference on Global Challenges

TIMOTHY E. WIRTH President, United Nations Foundation Letter to the Editor, Washington Post "Contrary to the Jan. 9 editorial "Globalization's Deficit," efforts to reform the United Nations have progressed significantly since last year's World Summit. The United Nations has created a Peacebuilding Commission to guide and support nation-building efforts in post-conflict areas, and a Democracy Fund that had been advocated by the Bush administration. Negotiations for a Human Rights Council are proceeding. Management reforms have been implemented, including the creation of an Ethics Office to administer new whistleblower and financial disclosure policies for U.N. staff. Other changes include a more transparent hiring process and creation of an independent audit board to oversee management practices. Finally, the 2006-07 U.N. budget is tied to the completion of reform initiatives.
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Annan: UN Reform Among Top Priorities for 2006

sg-news-focus.jpg "Outlining his major priorities for 2006, his last year as United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan said today that alongside efforts to promote peace and security and combat poverty and disease he was determined to follow through on his wide-ranging agenda of reform and renewal of the world body. "If there's one thing I would like to hand over to my successor when I leave office next year, is that it should be a UN that is fit for the many varied tasks and challenges we are asked to take on today," Mr. Annan told an end-of-year press conference at UN Headquarters in New York, stressing that a strong programme to do that was already embraced by Member States at the 2005 World Summit." [Read more]
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After Final Oil-for-Food Report, Annan Pledges UN Reforms

"Receiving the final report of the Independent Inquiry Committee (IIC) into maladministration and corruption in the United Nations-run Iraqi Oil-for-Food Programme, Secretary-General Kofi Annan today called on Member States to take action against illegal practises by companies under their jurisdiction and to prevent recurrences. At the same time he reiterated his commitment to "vital" reform of the UN management structure in response to criticism in earlier IIC reports that found failures in actions by the UN Secretariat in regard to the now defunct $64-billion Programme which allowed Saddam Hussein's sanctions-bound regime to sell oil to buy essential supplies." [More]
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Annan Seeks to Restore Confidence in UN

88590.jpg "U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan appealed Wednesday to world leaders marking the 60th anniversary of the United Nations to help restore confidence in the world body and to act together to meet the challenges of the new century. Addressing more than 150 presidents, prime ministers and monarchs, Annan said a document they will adopt at the end of the three-day summit was "a good start" but not "the sweeping and fundamental reform" he proposed. He called for urgent action on the tough, unresolved issues. "Because one thing has emerged clearly from this process on which we embarked two years ago: whatever our differences, in our interdependent world, we stand or fall together," Annan said." [Read more]
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UNF President Timothy E. Wirth Remarks on Final Volcker Report

Washington-"Today marks a turning point from focusing on the problems of the Oil-for-Food Program (OFFP) to moving ahead with UN reform. The exhaustive Independent Inquiry Committee's (IIC) report tells us both what went right and wrong with the program. Clearly, the UN made mistakes in the operation of the OFFP. The organization will learn from these lessons and by implementing recommendations offered by the IIC, as it has already begun to do, help ensure that these problems are not repeated in the future." [Read More]