WEEK OF MARCH 29, 2013

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

Central African Republic’s capital calm but security and aid at risk in north, UN says

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for the swift restoration of constitutional order in the Central African Republic (CAR) after rebels seized the capital, Bangui, in fierce fighting, forcing President François Bozizé to flee.

The crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), including the seizure of power by the Séléka rebel coalition, has exacerbated an already difficult humanitarian situation. It was warned that tens of thousands of people could go hungry if safety and security throughout the country is not restored quickly.

The Country Director of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Amy Martin, described the security situation in the capital as unpredictable, and said that incidences of sporadic - and sometimes intense - gun fire continue to be heard in the suburbs of Bangui.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44513

Independent UN human rights expert urges Indonesia to halt executions

An independent United Nations human rights expert today urged the Indonesian Government to restrict the use of the death penalty, following the recent reported execution of a man convicted on drug charges.

Christof Heyns, the UN Special Rapporteur on extrajudicial executions, reiterated that “any death sentence undertaken in contravention of a State’s international human rights obligations is tantamount to an arbitrary execution, and is unlawful.”

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44512

UN agency voices concerns about time and cost of technology-related disputes

The United Nations World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) reported today that court litigation in technology-related disputes is generally costly and time-consuming, leading more cases to be resolved through alternative means, such as negotiation and mediation.

The International Survey on Dispute Resolution in Technology Transactions, conducted by WIPO, presents the practices and motivation of almost 400 respondents from over 60 countries, and assesses the current use and comparative merits of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) methods for resolving technology-related disputes.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44516

Syria: Security Council expresses ‘grave concern’ over presence of troops in Golan Heights

The United Nations Security Council today expressed its grave concerns over the presence of the Syrian and opposition troops inside the demilitarized area of the Golan Heights which UN peacekeepers have been monitoring since 1974, calling on both sides to respect the blue helmets’ freedom of movement and security.

UN peacekeepers have been in the area to monitor the 1974 disengagement accord agreed upon by Syria and Israel after their 1973 war.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44511

Head of UN probe into chemical weapons use in Syria says preparatory work has begun

The newly-appointed head of the United Nations investigation into allegations of reported chemical weapons use in Syria, Swedish scientist Åke Sellström, says that preparations for the probe have begun and the mission could start in a week or two.

The initial focus of the investigation will be an incident involving the alleged use of chemical weapons in Kfar Dael region in Khan Al-Asal area in Aleppo governorate. Mr. Sellström was appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon to head the UN fact-finding mission, which was launched following a formal request from the Syrian Government.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44507

Renewed global partnership critical for post-2015 development agenda, says UN panel

Wrapping up its three-day meeting in Bali, Indonesia, the UN Secretary-General’s High-level Panel tasked with advising on the global development agenda beyond 2015, issued a communiqué that highlights key areas which need progress for realizing its post-2015 vision.

The eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which range from halving extreme poverty rates to halting the spread of HIV/AIDS and providing universal primary education, all by the target date of 2015, were agreed upon by world leaders at a UN summit in 2000. The Goals set specific targets regarding poverty alleviation, education, gender equality, child and maternal health, environmental stability, HIV/AIDS reduction and a ‘Global Partnership for Development’.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44510

Mićo Stanišić and Stojan Župljanin sentenced for crimes in Bosnia and Herzegovina

Two former high-level Bosnian Serb officials were sentenced today to 22 years imprisonment by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), a United Nations ad-hoc tribunal established for prosecuting crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1992.

Since its establishment the Tribunal has indicted 161 persons for serious violations of humanitarian law committed on the territory of the former Yugoslavia between 1991 and 2001. Proceedings against 136 individuals have been concluded.

Full story: http://www.icty.org/sid/11262

UN chief urges determination to achieve substantial arms trade treaty as conference nears end

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged participants at the United Nations Final Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) to show a shared determination to put in place substantial measures which would establish standards for the international trade in conventional weapons.

The last negotiations on the ATT ended in July 2012 without agreement. This year, some 2,000 representatives of governments, international and regional organizations and civil society have gathered at UN Headquarters to take part in the negotiations and related events. The process is overseen by Ambassador Peter Woolcott of Australia which holds the presidency of the conference.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44500

Ban honours late Bangladeshi President for his role in advancing country’s democracy

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today paid tribute in the United Nations General Assembly to the late president of Bangladesh, Zillur Rahman, praising his political contributions to the country’s democratic transition.

Ban called Mr. Rahman “one of the country’s leading political figures” whose reward in the final years was the presidency, “an acknowledgement of a lifetime of dedication.” Mr. Rahman had taken office in 2009 while already in his 80s.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44499

Ban calls on countries to ensure safety of ‘increasingly vulnerable’ UN staff

Contrary to the situation with regard to the Convention on the Privileges and Immunities of the United Nations, less than half of the UN’s 193 Member States have ratified the Convention on the Safety of United Nations and Associated Personnel, even though it entered into force 14 years ago, and more than four out of five Member States have yet to ratify its 2005 Protocol, which extends protection to UN personnel delivering humanitarian, political or development assistance.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today urged countries to ensure the protection of thousands of United Nations personnel who risk their lives to help people in need around the world, and called upon Member States who have not done so to sign and ratify the Convention and its Optional Protocol. It was emphasized that ensuring the safety of staff members is paramount.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=44479

Topic In Focus

Interview with Valerie Amos, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Baroness Amos recently sat down with the UN News Centrefollowing a visit to Turkey, where she visited with some of the more than 1 million refugees who have fled the ongoing conflict in Syria and are residing in neighbouring countries.

Interview: http://www.un.org/apps/news/newsmakers.asp?NewsID=87
Biography: http://ochanet.unocha.org/p/Documents/Valerie%20Amos_Biography_20120718.pdf

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