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

UN chief and Security Council condemn rocket launch by DPR Korea

The Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) launched a long-range rocket, dropping debris into the sea off the Korean Peninsula, the East China Sea and waters near the Philippines. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council condemned the launch, noting the clear violation of Security Council resolution 1874 (2009), which forbids DPR Korea’s use of ballistic missile technology. The Security Council is scheduled to meet shortly to address the latest developments.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.a-sp?NewsID=43745

Zdravko Tolimir sentenced to life imprisonment for Srebrenica and Zepa crimes

The UN International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia, the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, sentenced Zdravko Tolimir to life imprisonment for various war crimes, including genocide and crimes against humanity, committed in 1995 after the fall of the enclaves of Srebrencia and Zepa, Bosnia and Herzegovina. Zdravko Tolimir, former Assistant Commander and Chief for Intelligence and Security of the Main Staff of the Bosnian Serb Army (VRS), was charged with the commission of crimes through the participation in two joint criminal enterprises (JCE), and ultimately found guilty of genocide, conspiracy to commit genocide, murder as a violation of the laws or customs of war, as well as extermination, persecutions, inhumane acts through forcible transfer and murder as crimes against humanity.

Full Story: http://www.icty.org/sid/11175

UN launches new initiative to eliminate cholera in Haiti and Dominican Republic

The United Nations announced a new initiative to assist in the struggle to eliminate cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic. The initiative will focus on cholera prevention, treatment, and education, and will include extending clean drinking water and sanitation systems. The initiative also aims to develop an oral cholera vaccine. In support of the initiative, the UN has agreed to add $23.5 million from its budget to the $215 million in existing funds from bilateral and multilateral donors.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43743

New UN report highlights gender gaps in global labor markets

The UN International Labor Organization (ILO) and the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) released a report entitled Global Employment Trends for Women 2012, noting the gender gap in global labor markets. The report specifically notes that women face higher unemployment rates than men and advocates for social protection measures, investments in education and policies to promote access to employment. The report highlights the ways in which women are prevented from realizing their full economic potential, hindering economic performance and growth. Additionally, the report notes that women are more limited than men with regard to choice of employment and that women continue to be segregated into particular types of occupations.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43735

Number of displaced Syrians registered in region passes half a million – UN refugee agency

According to the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than half a million Syrian refugees have now been registered or are awaiting registration in neighboring countries and North Africa, with the number climbing by more than 3,000 per day. The UNHCR’s figures identify 425,160 Syrians as registered and another 84,399 as in the process of being registered. The most recent figures of registered Syrian refugees or those in the process of registration in each country are: Lebanon, 154,387; Jordan, 142,664; Turkey, 136,319; Iraq, 64,449; and North Africa, 11,740. The UNHCR also added that, contrary to public perceptions, only about 40 percent of registered Syrian refugees live in refugee camps, while the majority live in rental housing, with host families, or in various types of collective centers and renovated accommodations.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43734

On Human Rights Day, UN officials highlight how every voice counts

December 10 marked Human Rights Day, celebrated globally through various awareness-raising events. Addressing the importance of human rights, United Nations officials took the opportunity to affirm that everyone has the right to be heard and to shape the decisions that affect their lives and communities. In line with this year’s theme of ‘Inclusion and the Right to Participate in Public Life,’ Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stated: “International law is clear: No matter who you are, or where you live, your voice counts.”

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43722

UN refugee agency and NGO appeal to United States to do more to end statelessness

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Open Society Justice Initiative, a global non-governmental organization, published its report Citizens of Nowhere: Solutions for the Stateless in the U.S. advocating for policy changes including action by the US Congress and Administration to address statelessness in the United States. Introducing the allegations in the report, UNHCR’s Washington, D.C.-based regional representative, Vincent Cochetel, added statelessness "means living without rights that most people take for granted, being at constant risk of detention, and having a life of ever-present fear and uncertainty." Cochetel also cited a US Governmental pledge, made at a December 2011 UNHCR ministerial conference in Geneva, in which it agreed to undertake important actions to reduce statelessness, both internationally and domestically.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43727

General Assembly Commemorates Thirtieth Anniversary of Opening for Signature of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea

The General Assembly commemorated the thirtieth anniversary of the opening for signature of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea with a meeting of nearly 40 speakers and a video presentation on the history of the Convention. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon described the Convention as a “constitution for the oceans,” guiding every aspect of maritime affairs and setting out certain rights and duties. Opening the commemorative meeting, he noted: “Indeed, the treaty was a firm foundation — a permanent document providing order, stability, predictability and security — all based on the rule of law.”

Full Story: http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2012/ga11323.doc.htm

UN officials urge support for integrated strategy to tackle crisis in Africa’s Sahel region

Senior United Nations officials are seeking the assistance of the Security Council and international community to address the complex and escalating crisis in the Sahel region of West Africa, which stretches from the Atlantic Ocean to the Red Sea, and includes Chad, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, and parts of Sudan, Cameroon and Nigeria. The region is suffering from extreme poverty, with human development levels among the lowest in the world, unstable borders, and human rights problems. While the United Nations has committed to providing over $1 billion to support the region, it notes that a “comprehensive approach encompassing security, development and humanitarian issues to address the immediate and long-term needs of the Sahel region” is needed.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43726

On Anti-Corruption Day, Ban seeks universal adherence to global convention

Addressing the international community on International Anti-Corruption Day, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for full global acceptance of an international convention aimed at ending corrupt practices around the world. In 2003, the General Assembly created International Anti-Corruption Day in an effort to raise awareness and attempt to combat and prevent the prevalence of corruption. The Convention, adopted by the Assembly in 2003, is the world’s first global legally binding international anti-corruption instrument. To date, 164 countries are Parties to the Convention, while universal adherence remains a goal.

Full Story: http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=43717

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