WEEK OF FEBRUARY 7, 2014

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

Island nation Seychelles not immune to human traffickers, warns UN rights expert

Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the UN Special Rapporteur on trafficking in person, called on the Seychelles, an island off the east coast of Africa in the Indian Ocean, to prevent and fight trafficking in persons. Ms. Ezeilo further noted that the scale of the problem is unknown mainly because the problem remains hidden due to lack of awareness. While the Seychelles has ratified various international conventions on human trafficking, the real problem is the absence of a legal and policy framework to combat human trafficking. To address the problem, Ms. Ezeilo urged the government to draft an anti-trafficking bill and introduce a national action plan to criminalize human trafficking while helping the victims.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47071

In Mali, Security Council gets first-hand look at UN efforts to restore stability

Members of the United Nations Security Council visited Mali to view firsthand the efforts of the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). The Security Council authorized the mission last year following a coup d'etat and fighting between the Mali government and Tuareg rebel group. The Security Council met with various dignitaries, including the President of Mali, the head of the French security mission in Mali, and members of Parliament. Reiterating its commitment to help support the Mali efforts in reconciliation, the Security Council urged all parties to engage in inclusive discussions to find sustainable solutions.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47068

UN seeks $2 billion in international aid for Africa's Sahel region

The United Nations appealed for $2 billion dollars in aid to help 20 million people in Africa's Sahel region who are desperate for food. The Sahel region includes the Central African Republic, Mali, Nigeria and Sudan – countries recently engulfed in conflicts where more than 1.2 million people were forced to flee. Last September, during the UN High-Level Summit, world leaders expressed support for the UN Integrated strategy to address urgent humanitarian needs as well as long-term developments. The plan proposed by Romano Prodi sets out a three-year strategy to build strong governance, security and development. Only 63 percent of the requested funds were received, prompting Kristalina Georgieva, the EU Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis, to call on international donors to provide funds to help meet the basic needs of the people in the Sahel.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47065

UN Security Council declares war on ivory poachers, traffickers

The UN Security Council adopted two resolutions – relating to the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – in an attempt to curb the ivory trade. The resolutions, which state that the trade in illegal wildlife is fueling conflicts in the region and bankrolling organized crime, impose sanctions, including freezing of assets and travel restrictions on armed groups that use ivory trade to finance the conflicts. Among the groups targeted are Joseph Kony's Lord Resistance Army and Somalia's Al-Shabaab. The wildlife activists welcome the sanctions hoping they would act as a deterrent. The ivory trade is a lucrative trade where ivory is worth up to $2000 per kilo on the black market.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/un-security-council-declares-war-ivory- poachers-
traffickers-064758487.html

France holds up mirror in Rwanda genocide trial

Pascal Simbikangwa, a former Rwandese intelligence chief, will be tried in a French court in Paris on charges of genocide and crimes against humanity. The trial is expected to last about seven weeks with more than 50 witnesses testifying. The trial is first among many trials to take place in France relating to charges stemming from the genocide in Rwanda in the mid-1990s. Activists lauded the trial as a positive step to remind France of its role and responsibility in Africa. France, under the leadership of former President Mitterrand, armed and trained Rwandese forces and allegedly assisted perpetrators to flee the country. Bernard Kouchner, a former foreign minister, responded to hearing of the trial by saying, "Finally. For many years, France prevented justice from being done, let's be clear - blocked it for reasons of unease and bad memories of its behavior."

Full story: http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory/france-holds-mirror-rwanda-genocide-trial-22342729

Security Council and Secretary General condemn 'heinous ' terrorist attack in northern Lebanon

The UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council issued strong statements condemning an attack in Lebanon that killed at least four people and injured others. The Security Council and Mr. Ban called on the perpetrators to be brought to justice and extended condolences to the victims' families. The Security Council also reaffirmed its commitment to fight against all forms of terrorism, violence that the Council considers to be the most serious threat to international peace and security. Mr. Ban also called "the recent escalation of violence in Lebanon a grave concern," and urged everyone in Lebanon to help safeguard the safety and stability of their country.

Full story:http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47062

Former New York City Mayor Bloomberg named Ban's envoy for cities and climate change

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed former New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, as a special envoy for cities and climate change. Mr. Bloomberg, who spent 12 years as Mayor, will work with other mayors and stockholders to help reduce greenhouse emissions and bring bold ideas to advance efforts to curb global warming prior to the upcoming United Nations summit this summer. As a mayor, Mr. Bloomberg previously introduced ideas to reduce the strain on natural resources by helping to create a more energy efficient city.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47055

UN chief calls for equality, non-discrimination at Sochi Olympic games

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all involved in the Winter Olympic Games to uphold and defend the values of the Games and to advocate equality and non-discrimination. Russia has come under heavy criticism following a passage of a law banning the spread of "gay propaganda." The United Nations General-Assembly passed a resolution calling for peace and social inclusion without discrimination during the Olympics. While the United Nations has yet to comment on whether Mr. Ban will attend the Olympics, senior leaders from Germany, France and the United States announced they will not be attending the Opening Ceremony.

Full story: http://uk.reuters.com/article/2014/01/31/uk-olympics-russia-rights-un-idUKBREA0U1P120140131

Democratic Republic of Congo: amid military gains, root causes of violence must be addressed, says UN official

Jan Eliasson, the UN Deputy Secretary-General, stated that while the military campaigns backed by United Nations peacekeepers against the rebels in the Eastern Congo made important progress, it is important to address the root causes of the violence. Speaking at a meeting of regional leaders in Addis Ababa, Mr. Eliasson noted the "critical" need to swiftly adopt an amnesty law and launch a comprehensive disarmament, demobilization and reintegration process for the rebels, repatriating those who are in neighboring countries. Mr. Eliasson urged the dignitaries to participate in collective efforts to take the process forward and promote dialogue and the building of trust among leaders in the region. Mary Robinson, the Secretary-General's Special Envoy for the Great Region, emphasized that much remains to be done, and efforts should focus on restoring state authority, addressing the issues of refugees and internally displaced persons and consolidating gains made against the rebels in the Eastern Congo. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon renewed an arms embargo and related sanctions imposed on the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Full story:http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47058

In the wake of unrest, the UN welcomes dialogue between the Ukrainian President and opposition

The spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Rupert Colville, welcomed the start of a dialogue between the President of Ukraine, Victor Yanukovych, and the opposition. The dialogue follows weeks of violent unrest and abolition of laws passed earlier this year aimed to restrict fundamental human rights, including the freedom of association, speech and assembly. While Mr. Colville welcomed the positive developments, he also urged the parties to exercise restraint and called on the government to properly investigate the kidnapping and murders that occurred during the time of unrest.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47051

Topic In Focus

Genuine and durable partnerships for Small Island Developing States

The United Nations plans to launch the International Year of Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in February in an effort to draw the world's attention to these states and to promote actions aimed at achieving sustainable development. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon explained that the lack of focus on these nations is due to their geographical isolation and having markets that are too small to realize large-scale economies. The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio +20, also acknowledged the lack of development progress made by SIDS, noting that SIDS remained a special case for sustainable development due to their "unique and particular vulnerabilities," including their small size, remoteness, narrow resource and export base, and exposure to global environmental challenges and external economic shocks, including potentially more frequent and intense natural disasters. In addition to the International Year of SIDS, the UN will also hold a conference with a focus on creating a partnership between SIDS and traditional and non-traditional partners. The conference is designed to act as a springboard to launch new innovative partnerships and to advance sustainable development for SIDS.

Full story: http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/newsletter/desanews/feature/2014/02/index.html#9691


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