WEEK OF APRIL 18, 2014

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

Argentine jail conditions violated rights of prisoner with disabilities, UN panel finds

The Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which monitors the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, found that Argentina violated its duties under the treaty by failing to ensure that a prisoner with disabilities was able to use person facilities and services equally with other detainees. The petitioner suffered a stroke in prison that resulted in cognitive and physical disabilities. He alleged that he had not received the rehabilitation services, as recommended by his doctors, and that he could not access the bathroom or prison courtyard. The Committee called on the Argentine government to make necessary adjustments to their prisons.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47595

UN calls for immediate release of abducted school girls in north-Eastern Nigeria

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the UN Children's Fund ("UNICEF") spoke out against the abduction of approximately 100 school girls from a hostel in Chibok, located in north-eastern Nigeria. The girls are all aged between 12 and 17 and were abducted on the same night that over 70 people were killed in a bomb attack at a bus station near the capital, Abuja. Mr. Ban and UNICEF expressed concern about the increasingly frequent attacks against schools in Nigeria, noting that the targeting of educational institutions is a grave violation of international humanitarian law.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47593

In Mexico, Ban urges renewed global partnership for development in address to aid forum

In Mexico City, at the First High-Level Meeting of the Global Partnership for Effective Development Co-operation, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for a renewed global partnership to further sustainable development and a life of dignity for all. The remarks come in advance of the rapidly approaching target dates for implementation of the Millennium Development Goals and on commitments made in 2011 at the Fourth High-Level Forum on Aid Effectiveness. Mr. Ban identified the need to increase country ownership, accountability, predictability, and flexibility in the provision of aid as an area requiring attention.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47589

Chile: UN cultural agency offers support after devastating fires in Valparaíso

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) responded to the destruction caused by volcanic fires raging around the Chilean coastal town of Valparaíso by promising to support measures to protect the city's Historic Quarter, which is registered on the World Heritage List. The fires began over the weekend and have since killed at least 13 people, burned 2,150 acres of land, and destroyed 2,000 homes. Earthquakes and aftershocks threaten the Humberstone and Santa Laura Saltpeter Works structures, also inscribed on the World Heritage List.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47583

UN chief commends Guinea-Bissau people for orderly, peaceful elections

The office of the Secretary-General applauded the citizens of Guinea-Bissau for completing an orderly and peaceful election of a president and legislative representatives. In a statement issued to the people of Guinea-Bissau, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon observed that the high voter turnout indicates the population's desire to return the country to constitutional order. Mr. Ban called on all candidates to respect the official results to be announced by the Supreme Court and to follow legal protocol and procedure to resolve any electoral disputes.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47579

UN mission welcomes release of partial results in presidential poll, urges patience

The UN Assistance Mission to Afghanistan (UNAMA) commended the Afghani people on the first set of results in the Afghani presidential elections. The mission touted as a logistical achievement the fact that the Afghani Independent Election Commission tallied 10 percent of the results from 26 of Afghanistan's 34 provinces one week after the April 5 election. Full preliminary results from the voting are expected on April 24, with the Independent Electoral Complaints Commission adjudicating any complaints regarding the preliminary results. Final results are expected on May 14.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47570

UN, United States, European Union issue joint 'call for action' on South Sudan

At a Humanitarian Ministerial Mission in Washington, D.C. representatives from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs ("OCHA"), USAID, and its European Union counterpart, called for immediate support for the people of South Sudan. The representatives explained that the upcoming rainy season would lessen the ability of aid agencies to serve some 5 million civilians affected by the months-long internal conflict. Valerie Amos, head of OCHA, warned of a serious food and nutrition crisis if aid is not increased. The announcement came one day after Ms. Amos allocated $15 million to support critical, life-saving operations across South Sudan.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47567

UN official urges measures to create more jobs, boost household incomes

At the spring meeting of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, the head of the UN International Labor Organization, Guy Ryder, noted that the shaky economic recovery has failed to put the global economy back on a path for sustainable and balanced growth. Mr. Ryder pointed out that if the economic crisis had not occurred, approximately 62 million more people would be working than are working now. Mr. Ryder warned that unless economic growth increases, this "jobs gap" would widen to 75 million people by 2018 and income inequalities would continue to increase. Mr. Ryder called for an integrated demand-side and supply-side strategy to increase growth and create more jobs.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47557

Some 437,000 people murdered worldwide in 2012, UN crime agency reports

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime ("UNODC") reported that nearly half a million people were intentionally murdered in 2012. The Americas and Africa saw the highest murder rates worldwide, while Europe, Oceania, and Asia saw the lowest. The UNODC reports that men account for 95% of homicide perpetrators and 80% of homicide victims. Domestic violence-related homicides account for 15% of all murders worldwide, while nearly 70% of domestic violence fatalities are women. The report further noted that firearms account for the most widely used murder weapon and saw that post-conflict societies experienced a surge in homicide rates.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47544

UN chief teams up with global leaders, celebrities to get all children into school by 2015

At the 2015 Countdown Summit, the UN launched the Emergency Coalition for Global Education action, a new campaign supported by a host of celebrities and global leaders united by the goal of ensuring that all children begin an education by 2015. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted that many children are prevented from attending school because of displacement, conflict, child labor, child marriage, and sexual and gender-based violence, while poverty and insecurity make many schools places of vulnerability rather than opportunity. At the current pace of educational development, it will not be until 2086 that all children enter school. The new campaign aims to accelerate successful policies and to develop new initiatives to see all children attend school by 2015.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47543

Topic In Focus

UN Focuses on Climate Change

Earlier this week, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon attended the Climate Leaders' Summit in Washington, D.C., where he emphasized the importance of keeping global warming a top priority in the development agenda and urged governments to reach a universal legal climate deal to enter into effect in 2015. Mr. Ban advocated for an agreement to limit global temperature rise to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, citing that number as an achievable goal. Otherwise, Mr. Ban argued, the consequences will be "unpredictable, highly dangerous and perhaps irreversible." In September, Mr. Ban will convene a Climate Change Summit and has called for financial and political investments in sustainable development, noting that addressing climate change is an integral part of the post-2015 development agenda.

The need to curb climate change and achieve sustainable levels of development is buttressed by a report issued on April 13 by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Titled "Climate Change 2014: Mitigation of Climate Change," the report states that global greenhouse emissions are continuing to rise rapidly and urges immediate action to limit the increase in global temperature to less than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The report pushes global leaders to take mitigating action on climate change by presenting a number of alternative futures if certain measures are taken or ignored. Likewise, the report presents a number of options for mitigating climate change and indicates the technological, economic, and institutional requirements necessary for implementation.

Full stories: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47569

Related story: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/14/science/earth/un-climate-panel-warns-speedier-action-is-needed-to-avert-disaster.html?hpw&rref=us
Report: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar5/wg3/

Click here to visit the UN Committee Page