Monday, December 16, 2013

Why celebrate this day? It is important in the lives of each one of us.

Margaret Besheer
December 10, 2013
UNITED NATIONS — On this year’s International Human Rights Day, on December 10, the United Nations will mark the 20th anniversary of the signing of the Vienna Declaration, committing states to the promotion and protection of human rights for all and creating the post of U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Some things in life may be taken for granted, such as the ability to receive an education, but as the Taliban attack on teen activist Malala Yousafzai taught the world last year, school is a right that can't be taken for granted.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said 57 million children worldwide do not attend school. Many of them live in conflict zones, and most are girls.

“No child should have to die for going to school. Nowhere should teachers fear to teach or children fear to learn,” said Ban.

The right to an education, the rights of children, the elimination of violence against women, and the eradication of poverty were envisioned for all people by the Vienna Declaration. 

Click on this YouTube video for further information.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Nelson Mandela — May His Words Live In Our Memories

Here are more of his memorable quotes on education, global health and poverty.   
· “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” 
· “No country can really develop unless its citizens are educated.” 
· “Our human compassion binds us the one to the other - not in pity or patronizingly, 
   but as human beings who have learnt how to turn our common suffering into hope 
   for the future.” 
· “I dream of the realization of the unity of Africa, whereby its leaders combine in 
   their efforts to solve the problems of this continent. I dream of our vast deserts, 
   of our forests, of all our great wildernesses.” 
· “Let us give publicity to HIV/AIDS and not hide it, because the only way to make it 
   appear like a normal illness like TB, like cancer, is always to come out and say 
   somebody has died because of HIV/AIDS, and people will stop regarding it as 
   something extraordinary.”
· “If you are poor, you are not likely to live long.”
· “There is nothing I fear more than waking up without a program that will help me 
   bring a little happiness to those with no resources, those who are poor, illiterate, 
   and ridden with terminal disease.”

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Another Reason Why the United Nations is Needed

Imogen Foulkes, BBC News, Geneva

The fact that serious violations have been committed in Syria is not in doubt - UN investigators have evidence of torture, mass killing, and rape. The investigators have always said the Syrian regime appears to be responsible for the majority of abuses.

But they have never publicly singled out specific figures; there is a list of names, but it is confidential pending a possible prosecution for war crimes. Today, Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, openly suggested President Bashar al-Assad may be directly responsible for violations. She took care to say she had not seen that confidential list, but she has been briefed by the UN investigators.
Based on those briefings, she has repeatedly called on the UN Security Council to refer Syria to the International Criminal Court, something it has not so far done. Her surprising candour today may be a sign of her impatience. 
The UN's commission of inquiry into Syria has produced "massive evidence... [of] very serious crimes, war crimes, crimes against humanity," Ms. Pillay said.
"The scale of viciousness of the abuses being perpetrated by elements on both sides almost defies belief," she said. The evidence indicated responsibility "at the highest level of government, including the head of state", she added.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Will countries agree that Climate Change must be addressed NOW?

Bickering, walkouts and deadlocks marked the two-week-long United Nations climate summit in Warsaw, Poland — also known as the Conference of the Parties 19 or COP19 — which ended Nov. 23. UN climate summit leaders declared the conference a success, while some environmental groups deemed the progress insufficient. Financial, economic and political complexities remain related to how rich nations and developing nations will take steps reduce global warming.

"There were three major issues that had to be delivered here in Warsaw. One was climate finance, one was a much more clear path toward the 2014 and 2015 COPs and, of course, loss and damage," United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Executive Secretary Christiana Figeures said in a media briefing at the close of the conference. Loss and damage deals with the mechanism that provides financial support and compensation to countries facing the impacts of severe climate events.

"This COP has managed to deliver on all three, in addition to many other issues," said Figueres, at the same time acknowledging that success in addressing climate change is measured in phases.

"What is important to underscore is that as successful as this COP was, because I think it exceeded many expectations, it is not possible to solve climate change with one meeting, with one COP, with one negotiation," said Figueres. "It is imperative that every single one of these climate talks, of which we have one a year, is very firm step forward in the right direction... and this was definitely a very firm step forward toward Lima and Paris."

The Warsaw summit put the UN climate change conference on track toward future summits to be held in Lima, Peru in 2014 and in Paris in 2015, where the goal is for nations to reach a binding pact on greenhouse gas emissions, she said. 


Tuesday, November 19, 2013