The Global Citizen: United Nations
A guest blog post by Tony Fleming as posted on the Global Memo:
Yesterday was the deadline for nominations for Executive Director of UN Women. The candidates will succeed the organization's first head, Michele Bachelet, who resigned suddenly in March to return home and stand for election to Chile's presidency.
At least six candidates are rumored to be under consideration.
A guest blog post by Lucy Law Webster
Syria needs help. Its government has no legitimacy having killed some 90,000 Syrian people and forced millions from their homes as internal refugees and into exile in nearby countries.
It would be a mistake for the United States to put its own boots on the ground, but it could help to provide a wide range of equipment (including weapons) to the insurgents. Above all, it could, together with the Arab League and others, support and encourage a transition process, carefully defined and backed by an overwhelming vote in the UN General Assembly.
It is important that the recently agreed Arms Trade Treaty was not abandoned when 100% consensus could not be obtained during the treaty conference negotiations. Instead, the text was taken to the General Assembly where there was a positive vote of 154 versus 3 negative votes (Syria, Iran and North Korea) with 23 abstentions.
President Barack Obama's recent announcement that he believes Syria has used a small amount of chemical weapons ignited a debate. Has the Assad regime crossed the "red line" the White House laid down?
U.S. intelligence reports "varying degrees of confidence" that Syria used chemical weapons. "We have to act prudently," Obama said. "But I think all of us...recognize how we cannot stand by and permit the systematic use of weapons like chemical weapons on civilian populations."
The situation in Syria is clearly dire, with more than 70,000 deaths. Over 2.5 million Syrian refugees (including 600,000 children) have overwhelmed the ability of the United Nations and neighboring countries to provide adequate care. Another 2 million kids are internally displaced within Syria.
But politicians seem more concerned about U.S. credibility than suffering Syrians. So what's next for Washington?
If I were president, I'd try to carefully navigate between two horrendous mistakes my predecessors made:
While the US was dealing with the grips of a terrorist attack in Boston, the most powerful earthquake in over forty years hit Iran. A 7.8 magnitude quake occurred 56 miles beneath the ground but luckily the casualties were minute for such a large seismic event. It was the second earthquake in a week for the gulf country that rests on a tectonic plate, making it prone to numerous earthquakes. They actually on average experience at least one slight earthquake a day.
Besides the obvious destruction caused by the earth moving underneath people's lives, Iran is faced with another problem; their nuclear facilities. The first earthquake struck just miles from Iran's Bushehr nuclear plant, prompting the Gulf Co-operation Council to call for international inspectors to be sent to the plant for fear of radiation leaks.
What do Iran, Syria, North Korea and the NRA have in common? They are all on the losing side of trying to block the creation of a new Arms Trade Treaty. This landmark agreement has been in the making since 2006 and will be the first international treaty to regulate the conventional arms trade. The most powerful way the United Nations can agree to a treaty is by "consensus", where all nations agree to the text. But these three rouge nations blocked agreement. It was a sad sight to witness.
But fortunately, the treaty’s sponsors did the next best thing and brought it to the General Assembly where it was agreed to by an overwhelming majority: 154 to 3, with the U.S. voting in favor. A treaty is born!
The Arms Trade Treaty is a great step forward in dealing with the unregulated and illicit global trade in conventional weapons and ammunition, which fuels wars and human rights abuses worldwide
The United States played a positive role in negotiating the Treaty which is designed to help prevent the more than 500,000 deaths worldwide that happen as a result of armed violence. Firearms are used in armed conflicts and to carry out human rights violations, including genocide and gang rapes. More than 250,000 children have been forced into combat as under-aged child soldiers.
This Sunday, April 7th is World Health Day, which celebrates the founding of the World Health Organization (WHO).
The World Health Organization's mission is one that is truly captivating. Often those in developing nations suffer from illnesses that were eradicated in the developed world decades-sometimes even centuries ago. So here is an update on what international organizations like the United Nations and WHO are doing right now.
There are two major campaigns in the works as of this year to fight both malaria and polio. In many nations, those who have polio are often ostracized from society and once they are paralyzed, they have almost no chance of survival.
Malaria cases have decreased, according the World Malaria Report in 2012 but progress has been slower than in previous years. There is new technology out there to fight malaria but the majority of it has not reached those who need it most. The health sector needs to focus on prevention, quick diagnoses, and effective treatments.
2012 was the hottest year ever in the United States recorded since 1895. Global sea level rose approximately seventeen centimeters within the last century and we have experienced twenty of the warmest years since 1981. But that is not the only problem we are currently facing...
The United Nations made a report on the relationship between climate change and women's equality, stating that "women are more vulnerable to the effects of climate change than men -- primarily as they constitute the majority of the world's poor and more dependent for their livelihood on natural resources that are threatened by climate change."
Women make up 45-80% of all food producers in developing countries. Climate change has caused a wide array of inconsistent agricultural patterns, making traditional practices to be inadequate. This creates many problems for women, who may solely depend on agriculture for food and income.
It is important to understand the effects of climate change to citizens of developing countries. In places such as Africa and Asia, women and their families are very dependent on agricultural crops and resources. But due to climate change, the likelihood to gather these resources has decreased -- leading to a variety of issues for women and their families.
Today is my favorite holiday. I learned about it in Italian class. In Italian, the holiday is called, La Festa della Donna, in English we call it International Women's Day. La Festa della Donna is my favorite holiday because in Italy, women are given mimosa flowers, a mimosa cake and are told to take the day off. It's like the Italian Valentine's Day for every woman.
In honor of La Festa della Donna I am taking the United Nation's International Women's Day theme of A Promise is a Promise: Time for Action to End Violence against Wome.
Project Mimosa is my own personal motto to create awareness of women's issues. This is the year for ending violence against women. The United States Congress recently passed the Violence Against Women Act and with the same commitment to ending violence against women, the US Senate should ratify the Convention of the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Here are my reasons why:
Did you know that international laws dictate the rules of the game when it comes to selling bananas and iPods, but not grenade launchers and AK-47s?
It’s crazy but true. Fortunately, a solution is at hand. Negotiators at the United Nations will soon wrap up a global Arms Trade Treaty that will establish much-needed rules to prevent selling arms to human rights violators.
Every year, more than 500,000 people around the world are killed as a result of armed violence. Firearms are used in armed conflicts and to carry out human rights violations, including genocide, gang rape, and the practice of forcing children into combat as underaged soldiers.
There are about 250,000 child soldiers.
Roughly 60 percent of documented human rights violations involve the use of small arms (such as rifles and machine guns) and light weapons (such as grenade launchers and shoulder-fired missiles). In fact, more human rights abuses are committed with small arms than with any other category of weapon.
North Korea's latest nuclear test highlights the limits of what the United Nations and its member states can do when an outlaw nation is determined to run roughshod over existing international laws. Policymakers and diplomats in Washington, DC and at the UN are scrambling for a way to respond to the young dictator Kim Jong Un's latest delinquency. The bottom line is that North Korea's latest nuclear blast shows just how reliant we are on an effective global network of institutions and laws; and how relatively weak that network still is. Kim Jong Un's nuclear tantrum should be seen not only as a threat, but as a clear message that we need a cooperative global system with the capacity and means to ensure a safer future for us all. And we are not there yet.
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