Articles for this Update were compiled by the City Bar's Committee on the United Nations.
Following violent clashes in Iraq, Ban stresses need for dialogue, reconciliation
Thousands of people have been killed or wounded in clashes erupting across Iraq during the past few months, which have become some of the deadliest months on record in the country. In response, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon voiced his concern and called on all parties to redouble their efforts to support reconciliation and end sectarian violence. The UN chief also expressed his deepest sympathy to the victims of the violence and their families and called on the Government to bring the perpetrators to justice.
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Nigeria crisis sends over 6,000 people fleeing for safety, UN agency reports
Thousands of people in northeastern Nigeria have been uprooted by recent anti-insurgent operations in the country, with more than 6,000 fleeing to neighboring Niger for safety, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported today. “Refugees report that air strikes by Government forces are continuing from time to time, and that planes are regularly flying over the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa where the state of emergency has been in force since May 14th,” stated UNCHR spokesperson Adrian Edwards.
To date, Niger has received 6,240 people, who are “either renting houses or staying with host families, who are themselves living in very precarious conditions,” noted Mr. Edwards. Chad and Cameroon have also received refugees from the crisis in the past few weeks. According to the UNCHR, the security situation in Nigeria remains “extremely difficult.”
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45141
Myanmar authorities must do more to curb abuses against the Rohingya – UN expert
On June 4, police in western Myanmar reportedly fired indiscriminately into a crowd of Rohingyas protesting peacefully against the proposed location of new shelters in Pa Rein village. Three women were killed in the shooting, and at least five other people were reportedly injured. An independent United Nations expert, Tomás Ojea Quintana, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Myanmar, called on Government authorities to investigate the incident, adding that “the human rights violations being committed against the Rohingya in Rakhine State are widespread and systematic and there continues to be absolutely no accountability for what is occurring there.” According to the UN expert, the fatal shooting is just the latest example of law enforcement officials operating with complete impunity in western Myanmar.
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Kenya’s Mukhisa Kituyi appointed new head of UN trade and development body
The UN General Assembly confirmed the appointment of Mr. Mukhisa Kituyi of Kenya as Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). Mr. Kituyi is a former Minister of Commerce and Industry in Kenya, as well as a former member of Kenya’s Parliament. His four-year term begins on September 1, 2013.
Mr. Kituyi will succeed Mr. Supachai Panitchpakdi of Thailand, who has served as head of the Geneva-based agency since September 2005.
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Haiti: Senior UN official ‘gravely concerned’ by forced evictions of displaced families
According to the office of the Humanitarian Coordinator for Haiti, temporary Camp Bristou B1 was razed by a tractor earlier this month, a move that caused the eviction of 120 to 150 families who originally had been displaced by the 2010 earthquake and had subsequently resided in the camp. Acting Humanitarian Coordinator Sophie de Caen has since “expressed concern over violations of the rights of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Haiti and the non-application of established formal camp closure procedures,” according to a news release. Witnesses claimed that the camp was located on private land, but that the owner was not responsible for the eviction.
According to the UN report, this latest incident puts the number of people forced out of four camps at approximately 4,000 people this year. An estimated 75,000 people currently live in 105 other camps, all of which also have been constructed on private land. Haitian President Michel Martelly has condemned the forced evictions.
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UN Libya mission calls for restraint after latest violence in Benghazi
Militias in Benghazi opened fire on a group of protesters yesterday, killing some 20 people and wounding nearly eighty in Libya’s second largest city, according to media reports. As a result, the United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL) today expressed “deep concern,” and called on all involved “to exercise maximum restraint and reiterates the necessity of resolving disagreements peacefully through dialogue and in a democratic spirit.”
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45126
UN envoy welcomes meeting in Kurdistan between senior Iraqi, Kurdish officials
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq, Martin Kobler, welcomed a landmark meeting between Iraqi President Nuri Al-Maliki and the President of the Kurdistan Region, Masud Barzani. The meeting occurred in Erbil, located in the country’s Kurdish region, and also included Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and other Kurdish officials. “This visit is a positive step in the right direction, which should reflect favorably on the political process,” said Mr. Kobler.
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45128
UN Great Lakes Envoy welcomes impending talks between DR Congo, M23 rebels
The possible resumption of peace talks between the Government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the 23 March Movement (M23) has been welcomed by the United Nations Special Envoy for Africa's Great Lake's region, Mary Robinson, who has urged both sides to engage in earnest discussion to resolve all outstanding issues. In a statement, Ms. Robinson “underscored the importance of political efforts to achieve peace and security for the people of the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo and the region.” The M23 is made up of former members of the FARDC who mutinied in April 2012.
Last November, the M23 occupied Goma in eastern DRC, and subsequent clashes between the Government and the rebels displaced more than 130,000 people in and around the city and sent another 47,000 fleeing to the neighboring South Kivu province. Amidst widespread condemnation and calls for their withdrawal, the M23 fighters pulled out after 11 days. Brief hostilities again broke out a little more than two weeks ago, but subsided ahead of an unprecedented visit to the region by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, and Special Envoy Robinson.
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45123
Somalia: With clashes reported in port city, UN political mission chief calls for immediate end to fighting
Fighting in the southern port city of Kismaayo, Somalia has led to civilian deaths, according to unconfirmed reports. In response, the head of the new United Nations Assistance Mission in Somalia (UNSOM), Nicholas Kay, has urged “all parties to commit to resolve differences peacefully” and has “deplore[d] reports of the loss of civilian life.” Mr. Kay called for a cease of hostilities immediately, and said that this “new chapter in Somalia's history must be one in which issues are resolved peacefully.”
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45124
Independent UN rights expert urges more clarity on US counter-terrorism policies
In an effort to further narrow the transparency gap, an independent United Nations human rights expert -- Special Rapporteur on human rights and counter-terrorism, Ben Emmerson -- called for more clarity on aspects of President Barack Obama’s speech last month on the United States’ counter-terrorism policies. Speaking at the National Defense University, Mr. Obama had said that he would reduce the use of drones, recommit to closing the prison at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba, and seek new limits on his own war power. Mr. Obama also attempted to dispose of a number of myths, including the suggestion that the US is entitled to regard all military-aged males as “combatants,” and, thus, as legitimate targets. Although the expert welcomed the speech as “a significant step towards greater transparency and accountability,” he stated that “important questions [still] remained unanswered.”
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Nepal joins new UN initiative protecting journalists
Beginning today in Nepal, the United Nations Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) and its partners will work with professional journalists’ associations, international media rights organizations, human rights organizations, and security and judicial bodies to establish a nationally owned, independent mechanism to address the issue of journalists’ safety. The project also calls for, among other things, enhancing protections for women journalists due to the increasing incidences of sexual harassment and rape, as well as decriminalizing defamation offences and encouraging adequate remuneration for full-time and freelance employees. The two-year initiative is part of the “UN Plan of Action on the Safety of Journalists and the Issue of Impunity,” and will be financially supported by the UN Peace Fund for Nepal.
Read the Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=45115