WEEK OF JUNE 13, 2014

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

Annual UN review focuses on youth with disabilities, advancing inclusive development

Activists and government delegates gathered at United Nations Headquarters for a three-day meeting to review implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2006. Participants seek to identify practical ways to take the rights, needs and concerns of persons with disabilities, particularly youth, into consideration in an effort to advance inclusive, sustainable development.

"As the international community discusses a universal post-2015 development agenda, we need to make sure that the new framework will not leave the one billion persons with disabilities behind," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message to the seventh session of the Conference of States Parties to the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48004

At global summit, UN envoy Angelina Jolie calls for end to sexual violence in conflict

Screen actress, activist and Special Envoy for UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) Angelina Jolie called for action to end once and for all the use of gender-based and sexual violence as a weapon of war. In her address to the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, which opened in London and brings together over 900 experts, non-governmental organizations, survivors, faith leaders and international organizations from around the globe, Ms. Jolie stated that it is a myth that gender-based violence is an inevitable part of conflict. "There is nothing inevitable about it. It is a weapon of war, aimed at civilians. It has nothing to do with sex, and everything to do with power. It is done to torture and humiliate innocent people, often very young children."

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48008

UN forum spotlights harnessing power of technology to advance development

Globally, nearly everyone has access to a mobile cellular network and some three billion people have internet access. More than 300 languages are now available on Wikipedia and more than 100 on social networks. Recognizing the importance of this technology in the world today, the United Nations information and communication technology (ICT) forum opened in Geneva calling for greater efforts to ensure that everyone also has access to broadband connectivity.

"We are here to pave the way for the future and set the roadmap for sustainable development in the post-2015 era," UN International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré said in his opening message to the High-Level Event on the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS)+10. Throughout the week, participants will continue to review progress made in the past 10 years and will discuss possible changes in the field of information technology over the next decade.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48009

New UN site in Malakal offers protection to South Sudanese civilians fleeing conflict

The United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) opened a new site adjacent to its base in Malakal to offer protection for civilians displaced by conflict and to ease the congestion inside the Malakal compound, which is currently home to an estimated 19,000 people. An estimated 3,100 people have moved to the new site over the last week. Over 93,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) are currently living in 10 of the Mission's compounds across the country.

The Mission also noted that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and former Vice President Riek Machar plan to meet in the Ethiopian capital, Addis Ababa, as agreed to in the May 9 document that aimed to end the fighting.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47998

Ahead of World Cup, UN hails power of sport to bring communities, peoples together

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed the "best values of sport" – teamwork, fair play and mutual respect – in advance of the kick-off of the 2014 FIFA World Cup, taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brasilia, Salvador and elsewhere across Brazil, from June 12 to July 13.

Meanwhile, at a special event earlier in Salvador, Brazil, the Joint UN Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) Protect the Goal campaign was officially launched. The agency hopes to "harness the passion and solidarity of the World Cup" in an effort to ensure that young people protect themselves against HIV and have access to life-saving HIV services.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47997

Nigeria: UN envoy urges national actors to 'close ranks' to ensure release of schoolgirls

A United Nations envoy renewed the UN's commitment to support ongoing efforts by the Nigerian Government to secure the safe release of more than 200 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno state, and called for increased efforts to address the insurgency in the north-eastern Nigeria.

The April 14 abduction of the girls from their school by Boko Haram militants garnered world-wide attention, but runs the risk of fading into memory. "In the face of the threat of terrorism and insecurity posed by the activities of Boko Haram, the Special Representative urged all national stakeholders to close ranks and work together to overcome this daunting national challenge," said a news release issued by the UN Office for West Africa (UNOWA).

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47993

'One planet, one ocean – together, we must protect them,' urges UN on World Oceans Day

In celebration of World Oceans Day, the United Nations is encouraging the international community to reflect on the multiple benefits of oceans and commit to keeping them healthy and productive for current and future generations. This year, the observance coincides with the 20th anniversary of the entry-into-force of the landmark UN Convention on the Law of the Sea – known as "Constitution for the Oceans" – that provides a comprehensive legal regime for all ocean activities.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47989

Somalia: UN envoy welcomes release of ship crew held by pirates since 2010

The envoy for the UN Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM) welcomed the release of 11 sailors on the MV Albedo hijacked by Somali pirates and held hostage since November 2010. According to UNSOM, the 11 survivors of the MV Albedo crew were released to officials from the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) inside Somalia and are now safely in Kenya. The UNSOM envoy called for the release of all remaining captives still being held by Somali pirates.

UNSOM commended the efforts of UNODC and the local authorities, who facilitated the safe return of the 11 individuals. UNODC's Counter Piracy Program, now in its fourth year of operation, supports the criminal justice professionals of States in the Indian Oceans region that are dealing with Somali piracy.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47986

Iraq: Security Council supports political, security, humanitarian action for restive Anbar

The United Nations Security Council emphasized its support for the engagement of all political groups in Iraq, where nearly 800 people fell victim to violence last month. The Anbar province, in particular, has been embattled for months.

According to reports from the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), since the beginning of 2014, more than 66,000 families have been displaced by the conflict, with additional families displaced in prior months by attacks carried out by Al-Qaida-linked militants. The Iraq Strategic Response Plan, tasked with assisting individuals affected by the ongoing conflict in Anbar, reportedly received only 10 percent of its required $103.7 million of funding. The Council appealed to Member States to fully fund the initiative.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47974

Ban deeply concerned at reported Israeli settlement expansion in West Bank

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated that he is deeply concerned by reports that Israeli authorities have issued tenders for the construction of over 1,400 new housing units in settlements in the West Bank, including in occupied East Jerusalem. Israelis and Palestinians have been engaged since last August in United States-brokered talks to reach a comprehensive peace agreement. "As the United Nations has reiterated on many occasions, the building of settlements on occupied territory is illegal under international law," Mr. Ban added through a statement issued by his spokesperson.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=47972

Topic In Focus

UN Peacekeeping

Since the beginning of peacekeeping operations in 1948, over one million "blue helmets" have participated in more than 70 operations on four continents. More than 116,000 UN personnel from more than 120 countries currently serve in 16 peacekeeping operations.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told the United Nations Security Council that the international community must be prepared to invest in peacekeeping and peacebuilding. "The continued use of UN peacekeeping by the Security Council testifies to its continued relevance and its unique universality and legitimacy. The demand for peacekeeping will remain," Mr. Ban told the 15-member Council at the opening of a debate on trends in UN peacekeeping.

More than two-thirds of all military, police and civilian personnel operating under the UN flag are in the Central African Republic, Darfur, eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), South Sudan, and Mali, with high levels of violence. UN "blue helmets" are also being authorized when there are no clearly identifiable parties to the conflict or viable political process, such as in Mali, where no comprehensive agreement in place. Peacekeepers are also increasingly operating in more complex environments and face unconventional threats.

In 2000, former Secretary-General Kofi Annan appointed the Panel on UN Peace Operations to assess the shortcomings of the then existing system and to make specific and realistic recommendations for change. The result, commonly known as the "Brahimi Report," after Lakhdar Brahimi, the Panel's Chair, called for renewed political commitment by Member States, significant institutional change, and increased financial support.

Mr. Ban noted that, as we near the 15-year anniversary of the Brahimi report, "it may be necessary to again take stock of evolving expectations of UN peacekeeping and how the Organization can work toward a shared view of the way forward."

Full stories: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=48020

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