Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.

With a nod to multiculturalism, UN hosts 'Project Runway' Finale

The season finale of reality show "Project Runway All Stars" was filmed at the United Nations Secretariat building. UNICEF National Ambassador Alyssa Milano co-hosted the finale, which featured the three finalists' runway show of collections inspired by their family heritages - Spain, Liberia, and Ukraine. The Under-Secretary-General for the Department of Public Information, which oversees the Creative Community Outreach Initiative (CCOI), was responsible for bringing the event to the UN.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46890&Cr=education&Cr1=

UN, partners seek $1 billion to save Syria's children from becoming 'lost generation'

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees unveiled the "No Lost Generation" initiative in Geneva, appealing for humanitarian aid one week ahead of a major donor conference set to take place in Kuwait. The initiative seeks a major investment in ensuring safe education and protection from violence and abuse for over 4 million Syrian children affected by the ongoing conflict. Over 1 million of Syria's 2 million refugees are children and 3 million children are displaced in Syria. UN agencies and partners, including UNICEF, Save the Children, and World Vision, seek to invest $1 billion into programs that will deliver safe education, psychological support, and community-based child protection systems. The initiative has launched the website http://championthechildrenofsyria.org.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46882&Cr=Syria&Cr1=#.Usy4YmRkGpA

Nepal: Pillay welcomes Supreme Court ruling against amnesty for serious crimes

Navi Pillay, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, praised a decision by Nepal's top court denying amnesty for serious human rights violations committed during the country's decade-long civil war. The decision relates to the Nepalese Government Ordinance to establish a Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The Government sought to include in that Ordinance provisions that granted amnesty, limited criminal prosecution, and implemented a 35-day limit for filing cases. The court held that these provisions violated fundamental rights. Ms. Pillay called the decision a "significant development for the thousands of victims of the conflict" and urged the Government of Nepal to make implementation of the decision a top priority.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46872&Cr=Nepal&Cr1

UN agency praises China's destruction of ivory stockpile

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) applauded China's first public destruction of six tons of confiscated ivory in its effort to crackdown on illegal trading in ivory. In the last decade, elephant poaching doubled and illegal ivory trading tripled, placing both vulnerable and previously secure elephant populations in greater danger. A report released in March 2013 by UNEP recommended bolstering local law enforcement efforts and increased collaboration among transit and consumer countries through Interpol, the World Bank, the UN office for Drugs and Crime, and other international organizations. The Philippines, Gabon, and the United States are among the other states that have destroyed ivory stockpiles.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46878&Cr=China&Cr1=

Ban appoints Jane Holl Lute to aid relocation of Iranian exiles in Iraq

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Jane Holl Lute as his Special Adviser for Relocation of Camp Hurriya Residents Outside of Iraq. Located in Baghdad, Camp Hurriya houses approximately 3,200 Iranian exiles, including many members of the People's Mojahedeen of Iran. Many of the Camp residents have been in Iraq since the 1980s. Though in 2011 Iraq signed an agreement with the UN committing to protecting the camp's residents, Camp Hurriya continues to be the target of violent attacks. Thus far, relocation has been secured for only 311 residents.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46871&Cr=iraq&Cr1=#.Usy20GRkGpA

UN peacekeepers reinforcing presence in South Sudan amid continued fighting

The UN Mission in South Sudan ("UNMISS") has sent reinforcements of peacekeeping troops to areas most affected by the violence between pro- and anti-Government troops. Over the last three weeks, thousands of people in South Sudan have been killed, and approximately 200,000 have been displaced. The majority of these displaced persons have sought shelter in UNMISS bases. In addition to troop reinforcements, some $100 million have been raised to bring in additional staff and supplies, and humanitarian partners issued a $166 million plan for the provision of food, water, shelter, and healthcare.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46870&Cr=South#.Us4Us2RkGpA

Cambodia: UN expert urges restraint as police fire on striking garment workers

The Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia, Surya P. Subedi, pled for calm and restraint after military police shot into a crowd of protesting garment workers and killed at least four people. The deadly clash was one of a number of violent encounters over the last few weeks between military police and garment workers who have been protesting for an increase in the minimum wage. The garment worker protests coincide with demonstrations by opposition groups who have been calling for a re-election and the resignation of Prime Minister Hun Sen since June. In this climate of political tension, Mr. Subedi has urged all parties to engage in meaningful negotiations about a realistic wage that reflects the real cost of a dignified living.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46869&Cr=protest&Cr1=#.UsqScmRkGpA

UN agency urges end to rising violence against journalists in Iraq

The UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization ("UNESCO") condemned the recent killing of six media workers in two separate incidents in Iraq. Raad Yassin, Jamal Abdel Nasser, Mohamed Ahmad Al-Khatib, Wissam Al-Azzawi and Mohamed Abdel Hamid were killed in a suicide attack on the headquarters of Salaheddin TV in Tikrit. Omar Al-Dulaimy, a correspondent for Voice of Ramadi radio, was killed while covering armed clashes in the city of Ramadi. The Director-General of UNESCO, Irina Bokova, called on Iraqi authorities to take all possible measures to bring the perpetrators of those crimes to justice.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46865&Cr=journalist&Cr1=

Jordan assumes U.N. Security Council chair as conflicts persist

The composition of the 15-member Security Council has changed, as Chad, Chile, Lithuania and Nigeria join the Council and as Jordan assumes the role of Council Chair. The Council originally nominated Saudi Arabia to chair the Council, but the state turned down the seat in protest of the Council's position and track record on a number of Middle Eastern issues. In its place, the General Assembly elected Jordan. Despite the last-minute appointment, Security Council diplomats believe Jordanian Prince Zeid Ra'ad Zeid al-Hussein may prove himself to be an influential member of the Security Council, given his reputation at the UN for his outspoken stance on human rights issue.

Full story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/31/us-un-council-idUSBRE9BU0IY20131231

Security Council, Ban deplore Mogadishu bombings, reaffirm resolve to help end
Al-Shabaab threat

In the wake of bombings in Mogadishu carried out by Al-Shabaab that killed dozens of people and injured more, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Security Council reiterated their commitment to support efforts to end the threat posed by the group and to restore peace in Somalia. At the press conference, the Security Council called for the perpetrators, organizers, financiers, and sponsors of this and other acts of terrorism to be brought to justice. The Council pointed to their recent decision to extend the deployment of the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) through October 31, 2014, to boost the number of troops on the ground, and to increase financial support to AMISOM, and resolved to continue support for the mission.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46864&Cr=Somali&Cr1=#.UsogrmRkGpA

Topic In Focus

Central African Republic

The humanitarian toll of the conflict in Central African Republic is rising dramatically. Thousands have been killed and more than 935,000 people have been displaced form their homes as a result of the violence between Christian militias and the Muslim Seleka rebel group that overthrew President François Bozizé last March. The delivery of humanitarian aid has been limited severely, and experts fear that the conflict could become a regional religious war.

In the last month, the number of displaced persons in Central African Republic spiked from 400,000 to over 935,000. The vast majority of the displaced are from the capital city of Bangui. Some 100,000 residents have taken shelter in the airport. However, only 23,000 people have been able to access relief supplies. This is due in part to three-week suspension of food delivery after machete attacks on food distribution centers and attacks on health clinics, schools, and humanitarian personnel.

Experts estimate that 90% of the food aid presently in the Central African Republic will be depleted by February. The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of internally displaced persons, Chaloka Beyani, has stressed that the scale of response required in the Central African Republic should not be affected by the fact that crises in other parts of the world also have escalated. Mr. Beyani also emphasized the need to protect and assist more vulnerable populations that are fleeing violence, such as women, children, and people with disabilities.

The population is split among religious lines, with access to residential neighborhoods in the capital city being controlled by "anti-Christian" or "anti-Muslim" checkpoints. Since the overthrow of President Bozizé, violence against Christians rose, leading to the creation of local self-defense groups known as the anti-Balaka. Muslims in the Central African Republic, who make up 20% of the population, have long been frustrated with their governments' lack of recognition of Muslim holidays and the like.




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