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

In visit to former Nazi death camp, Ban affirms value, dignity of each human being

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon visited the Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz Birkenau where millions of Jews and members of other minorities perished during World War II. During the visit, Mr. Ban emphasized the importance of remembering the victims, and noting that persecution and hatred had not ended. Mr. Ban said that we must be on guard and work harder to promote equality and fundamental freedoms. He added, “For our future, let us embrace our common duty as members of the human family to build a world of peace, justice, equality and human dignity for all.”

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46519

Independent UN expert urges Ghana to re-think criminal justice, mental health practices

Juan E. Mendez, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, voiced a deep concern for overcrowding in prisons in Ghana and other violations of human rights arising from deplorable prison conditions, including lack of ventilation, poor quality of food, poor hygiene and a high risk of the spread of diseases. The Special Rapporteur was particularly concerned with the treatment of youth in prisons and called on the authorities to investigate these claims and hold persons responsible for the attacks of torture against children. The Special Rapporteur also urged the Ghanaian government to ratify and implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture that allows for regular independent monitoring of the prison system.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46524

Darfur: Joint African-UN mission assists talks to diffuse intertribal tensions

The United Nations Mission in Darfur held talks between the Salamat and Misserirya tribes in an attempt to ease the tensions and cease the hostilities, expressing particular concern about the intertribal conflict on civilians. During the talks, UNAMID representatives met with representatives of international non-governmental organizations who confirmed that the security situation on the ground has improved and they continue to provide assistance to households affected by the intertribal hostilities. The UN Joint Special Representative for Darfur, Mohammed Ibn Chambas, confirmed to the Security Council that the intertribal conflicts continue to be a serious concern and complicates the already delicate security situation on the ground.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46522

Tense week ahead for UN climate talks

This week in Poland, the United Nations climate talks will resume in a tense atmosphere. Among the most controversial discussion topics, the parties will focus on reduction of emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases that scientists say are warming the planet. Last week, a delegate from the Philippines addressed the delegates in a tearful call for action after Typhoon Haiyan devastated his country.

Two decades of talks to reduce the gas emission were stalled when Australia and Japan refused to sign onto voluntary emissions targets and cut back emissions. Brazil also announced that the destruction of Amazonian forest has increased dramatically this year. Scientists, environmental activists and UN officials agreed that humans are affecting the climate system and time is running out to rein in emissions to avoid disastrous consequences for the planet.

Full story: http://news.yahoo.com/tense-week-ahead-un-climate-203120749.html

Food still major priority for typhoon survivors, UN Official says during Philippines visit

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) and UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) are working together to deliver food and other humanitarian assistance to Filipino people affected by Typhoon Haiyan in Tacloban and the surrounding areas. The head of OCHA, Valerie Amos, called on governments to give generous donations while acknowledging the urgency of the appeal, stating that they are racing against time to try to deliver food, water and shelter and sanitation to more than 13 million people affected by the crisis. WFP has distributed family food packs with rice to more than 760,000 people, plus high-energy biscuits for 33,000 people, since the typhoon hit.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46514

On International Day, UN officials urge tolerance to promote peaceful, sustainable future

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon marked the International Day for Tolerance by calling on national and community leaders to embrace tolerance, arguing that tolerance is the strongest foundation for peace and reconciliation. Mr. Ban said, “Tolerance is not passive. It demands an active choice to reach out on the basis of mutual understanding and respect, especially where disagreement exists. Tolerance means recognizing that our diversity is a strength - a wellspring of creativity and renewal for all societies.” Mr. Ban also called on the leaders to help reduce violence, especially against women and children, and to cultivate respect for diversity as an essential part of the post-2015 development agenda.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46511

UN chief calls for peaceful holding of Nepal’s Constituent Assembly elections

The Nepalese population was set to go to the election polls on November 19 to elect representatives of the Constituent Assembly. The newly elected Constituent Assembly will be responsible for drafting a new constitution, an important task that the previous Constituent Assembly was unable to complete. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all stakeholders to conclude the upcoming election peacefully, allowing voters to express their choice freely without intimidation and in an atmosphere free of violence.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46506

Africa Fails to Get Kenya ICC Trials deferred at United Nations

The African Union unsuccessfully pushed for a UN Security Council Resolution seeking to defer the trials of Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy Vice President William Ruto at the International Criminal Court. Both men are facing charges of crimes against humanity stemming from the 2007 post-election violence in Kenya.

The African Union made the request to allow the Kenyan leaders to deal with the situation in Kenya following the terrorist attack on the Westgate mall. The Resolution, made pursuant to Article 16 of the Rome Statute, which gives the UN Security Council the power to seek a one-year deferral, only obtained seven votes in favor while eight states abstained. Following the unsuccessful vote, the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs stated that those who abstained showed “clear cowardice in the face of a critical African matter.”

Full story: http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/11/15/us-kenya-icc-un-idUSBRE9AE0S420131115

UN rights office hails adoption of African-led resolution on people with albinism

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) welcome the Resolution on People with Albinism adopted by the African Commission on Human And People’s Rights and urged states to take action to protect people with Albinism and to increase awareness through education and public activities. The spokesperson for the OHCHR called this the first-ever resolution addressing the rights of people with Albinism, but cautioned that more needs to be done to prevent and address the continuing attacks and discrimination against people with Albinism in several African countries.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46504

DPR Korea: UN expert calls for justice, reconciliation based on human rights approach

The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPKR), Marzuki Darusman, has called the tackling of human rights issues “crucial” to addressing reconciliation in the Korean Peninsula. Mr. Darusman serves as a member of the Commission of Inquiry that has a mandate to investigate alleged wide-spread violation of human rights and determine whether the alleged violations in DPKR since March may amount to crimes against humanity. Mr. Darusman recently spent three days in Seoul where he met with a wide range of leaders to discuss the situation in DPKR and to learn about the issues important to reconciliation and improvement of human rights.

Full story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46502

Topic In Focus

Universal Children’s Day – November 20
Prioritize and fund child protection in post-2015 development agenda, UN child rights experts urge

Universal Children’s Day, celebrated annually on November 20, marks the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. Acknowledging this year’s Universal Children’s Day, five top United Nations experts on children’s rights called on governments to make protection from violence against children a priority in the post-2015 development agenda and to commit to provide proper funding to carry out the agenda. The post-2015 development framework provides an opportunity to prevent all forms of violence against children and ensure that perpetrators of crimes committed against children are prosecuted. The experts further called on governments to provide adequate resources to protect children and create child protection programs that would address root causes of violence against children, to promote universal access to social services, and to safeguard the rights of children in need of assistance.

Full story:
http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=14007&LangID=E; http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=46537

Further information:
The Convention on the Rights of the Child: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/ProfessionalInterest/

The three Optional Protocols:

Click here to visit the UN Committee Page