October 2011

Palestine Swept in as a Full Member of Unesco

Unesco voted today at its Paris headquarters to admit Palestine as the 195th member to the organization, seriously risking the chance that the agency will lose tens of millions of dollars immediately in contributions from the United States, its biggest donor. The agency also voted in South Sudan as the 194th member. Unesco is popularly …

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Africa Upgrades Its Business Climate

This year’s edition of an annual report from the World Bank measuring how easy or hard it is to start and run a business around the world has good news for sub-Saharan Africa. In its 2012 Doing Business survey, the bank found that in 36 of 46 countries – 78 percent of the economies in …

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Climate Change, Migrations and Few Welcome Mats

Climate change is being linked to such far-flung situations as rising seas that threaten to sink small island nations and drying up vast regions in Africa, which has spurred large upheavals of people, most recently in Somalia. This week, the complicated topic of environmental shifts and their effect on migration was tackled at a lunchtime …

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Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies at Fordham University

New Members, New Chances? Security Council Elections

BERLIN — This month, the United Nations General Assembly elected Azerbaijan, Guatemala, Morocco, Pakistan and Togo as nonpermanent members of the Security Council for the next two years. Three of the new members, Guatemala, Morocco and Pakistan, were elected in the first round of voting, Togo was in the third and Azerbaijan, in the seventeenth. …

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Four Candidates Named at The Hague Court

The International Criminal Court has released the names of four candidates short-listed for the December 2011 election of the chief prosecutor to replace Luis Moreno-Ocampo, an Argentine whose nonrenewable term is expiring in June 2012. The court is the first and only permanent international court that tries people accused of genocide, crimes against humanity, and …

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Libya’s Leaders, the UN Says, Value Democracy

Very soon after the reported death of Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi in Surt on Oct. 20, the United Nations responded with a statement by the secretary-general calling for reconciliation and national unity and with a press conference live from Tripoli featuring Ian Martin, the head of the UN’s new political mission in Libya, which was set …

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Saving the Troubled Khmer Rouge Tribunal

[This essay was updated on Nov. 23, 2011] The United Nations sent its top legal official to Cambodia this week in a belated effort to deal directly with the threatened implosion of a war crimes tribunal charged with bringing to trial leaders of the apocalyptic Communist regime that presided over the deaths of at least …

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Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies at Fordham University

One Book, Many Libraries: Hope for Darfuri Children

Children in refugee camps receive basics – food, shelter, clothes, medicine – but education remains impossibly elusive once they hit secondary school, while primary school quality can be questionable. Sales of a new book aim to both finance libraries for Darfuri children who live in a dozen refugee camps in eastern Chad and indirectly raise …

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First Global Human Rights Survey Completed

When the Human Rights Council was created in 2006 to replace the woeful Human Rights Commission, one novelty assigned to the new body was the Universal Periodic Review, which would, over a period of four years, methodically assess the rights records of all UN member nations for the first time. On Oct.13, the process was …

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A German to Run New UN Mission in Iraq

Martin Kobler, from Germany, arrived in Baghdad recently to take over as Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s special representative and head of the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (Unami). Much of his work is likely to center on stabilization and development – political as well as economic – as US troops withdraw from the country by the …

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And an Afghan Takes Over in Kosovo

Farid Zarif of Afghanistan has been appointed the secretary-general’s special representative for Kosovo. He succeeds Lamberto Zannier of Italy, who led the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (Unmik) until June. Zarif held a number of diplomatic posts in the past, among them Afghanistan’s ambassador to the United Nations in the 1980s. In 1993, he …

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Master of Science in Humanitarian Studies at Fordham University

Cutting Back on Peacekeepers in Haiti

The Security Council extended the mandate of the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti, known as Minustah, for another year, to Oct. 15, 2012, and agreed to reduce the number of troops there by 2,500 in a unanimously adopted resolution. The number of uniformed personnel in Haiti will be cut from an estimated 13,000 to about …

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A Rwandan Deputy at UN Habitat

Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of Rwanda has been named deputy executive director and assistant secretary-general for UN Habitat, which is based in Nairobi, Kenya. She succeeds Inga Björk-Klevby, a Swede who was appointed by Kofi Annan, secretary-general at the time. Kirabo, appointed by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, is the governor of Eastern Province, the largest province in …

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Where Murder Rates Soar

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime reported in early October that young men are most at risk of becoming victims of homicide in the Caribbean-Central American region and central and southern Africa. Women in those regions are at high risk of death in domestic violence. The agency’s Global Study on Homicide puts the blame …

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