FEATURED PHOTOS AND STORIES

Tuesday:  October 27, 2014

When Will Chile's Post Office's Re-open? 

(PHOTO: Workers set up camp at Santiago's Rio Mapocho/Mason Bryan, The Santiago Times)Chile nears 1 month without mail service as postal worker protests continue. This week local branches of the 5 unions representing Correos de Chile voted on whether to continue their strike into a 2nd month, rejecting the union's offer. For a week the workers have set up camp on the banks of Santiago's Río Mapocho displaying banners outlining their demands; framing the issue as a division of the rich & the poor. The strike’s main slogan? “Si tocan a uno, nos tocan a todos,” it reads - if it affects 1 of us, it affects all of us. (Read more at The Santiago Times)

WHO convenes emergency talks on MERS virus

 

(PHOTO: Saudi men walk to the King Fahad hospital in the city of Hofuf, east of the capital Riyadh on June 16, 2013/Fayez Nureldine)The World Health Organization announced Friday it had convened emergency talks on the enigmatic, deadly MERS virus, which is striking hardest in Saudi Arabia. The move comes amid concern about the potential impact of October's Islamic hajj pilgrimage, when millions of people from around the globe will head to & from Saudi Arabia.  WHO health security chief Keiji Fukuda said the MERS meeting would take place Tuesday as a telephone conference & he  told reporters it was a "proactive move".  The meeting could decide whether to label MERS an international health emergency, he added.  The first recorded MERS death was in June 2012 in Saudi Arabia & the number of infections has ticked up, with almost 20 per month in April, May & June taking it to 79.  (Read more at Xinhua)

LINKS TO OTHER STORIES

                                

Dreams and nightmares - Chinese leaders have come to realize the country should become a great paladin of the free market & democracy & embrace them strongly, just as the West is rejecting them because it's realizing they're backfiring. This is the "Chinese Dream" - working better than the American dream.  Or is it just too fanciful?  By Francesco Sisci

Baby step towards democracy in Myanmar  - While the sweeping wins Aung San Suu Kyi's National League for Democracy has projected in Sunday's by-elections haven't been confirmed, it is certain that the surging grassroots support on display has put Myanmar's military-backed ruling party on notice. By Brian McCartan

The South: Busy at the polls - South Korea's parliamentary polls will indicate how potent a national backlash is against President Lee Myung-bak's conservatism, perceived cronyism & pro-conglomerate policies, while offering insight into December's presidential vote. Desire for change in the macho milieu of politics in Seoul can be seen in a proliferation of female candidates.  By Aidan Foster-Carter  

Pakistan climbs 'wind' league - Pakistan is turning to wind power to help ease its desperate shortage of energy,& the country could soon be among the world's top 20 producers. Workers & farmers, their land taken for the turbine towers, may be the last to benefit.  By Zofeen Ebrahim

Turkey cuts Iran oil imports - Turkey is to slash its Iranian oil imports as it seeks exemptions from United States penalties linked to sanctions against Tehran. Less noticed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, in the Iranian capital last week, signed deals aimed at doubling trade between the two countries.  By Robert M. Cutler

HUM HUMOR

"CLIMATE CHANGE: EVERYWHERE"

CARTOON: Peter Broelman, Australia/BROELMAN.com.au) "HILLARY ROUND THE WORLD"

(CARTOON: Taylor Jones/Politicalcartoons.com)

"HOW THE MIGHTY FALL"

(CARTOON: Michael Ramirez/Weekly Standard)

COUNTRIES AND TERRITORIES
WORLD CLOCKS
   
San Marino     Mongolia
   
Vancouver     Ghana
"THE GIRL EFFECT" - VIDEO

Advertisement

 

HUM SEARCH
@HUMNEWS ON TWITTER

`SUPPORT-A-REPORTER'

 Follow Me on Pinterest  Folo us on Pinterest.

Read some exciting news about our founder and FFI, here: http://bit.ly/12GJyXs

Are you a Global Citizen?Join us on GlobalCitizen.org to help end extreme poverty.

TRANSLATE HUMNEWS

THE HUM - OUR DAILY EMAIL OF WORLD HEADLINES
MY HUMPLANET

Do you have your eye on the world? Help us expand the global perspective and tell the stories that shape it.  SHARE what's happening locally, globally wherever you are, however you can. Upload your news, videos, pictures & articles HERE & we'll post them on  MY HUM PLANET CONNECT.  Learn something NEWS every day! THX

Advertisement

HUM BOOKS: Focus on FRIENDSHIP
  • Friendship in an Age of Economics: Resisting the Forces of Neoliberalism
    Friendship in an Age of Economics: Resisting the Forces of Neoliberalism
    by Todd May
  • Friends to the End: The True Value of Friendship
    Friends to the End: The True Value of Friendship
    by Bradley Trevor Greive
  • Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement
    Friendship as a Way of Life: Foucault, AIDS, and the Politics of Shared Estrangement
    by Tom Roach
HUM SOCIAL GOOD

Learn more and join us here!

HUMNEWS SOCIAL MEDIA

  Look for HUMNEWS in the News Section of PULSE @www.pulse.me. For iPad, iPhone & Android-recently launched on deck for Samsung’s Galaxy tab.

Advertisement

HUM TWITTER FEEDS
10000 Women 9/11 9-11 92Y ABC News Abdel Futuh Abdoulaye Wade abductions Abidjan Abuja abyei Acapulco ACS Action Against Hunger ADB Adivasi Adjara adolescents Afghanistan Africa Africa Fashion Week Africa Human Development Report African Wax AFRICOM agriculture agrochemical Ahmad Ashkar Ai Weiwei aid Aid Effectiveness aid work aid workers AIDS Air Canada Air France airlines Aisha Gaddafi Alain Juppe Alan Fisher Alassane Ouattara Albania Albanians Alexandria Algeria Alina Vrejoiu Alliance of Small Island States al-Qaeda Amama Mbaba Amazon American Samoa Americas Amina Filali Amnesty International Amr Moussa ANC Andaman Islands Andes Andorra Angelina Jolie angola Anguilla Anna Hazare Ansar Dine Antarctica Antigua & Barbuda Antonio Guterres Antonio Patriota apartheid Apple Arab Spring Aral Sea Arctic Argentina Armenia Art Aruba ascetism ASEAN ASEM Asia Asia Pacific Asia Society Asian Development Bank Asylum Asylum-seekers Augusto Pinochet Aung San Suu Kyi Aurora Borealis Australia Autism Azawad Azerbaijan baby trafficking Baghdad Bahamas Bahrain Balkans Balthasar Garzon Baluchistan Ban Ki-moon Bangalore Bangkok BANGLADESH Barack Obama Barbados Bashar Assad Bashir Bashir al-Assad bats Beijing belarus Belgium BELIZE Belo Monte Benghazi Benin Berlusconi Bermuda Bettina Borgfeld Beyonce Bhutan Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation BILL GATES Bill McKibben bio fuel Bishkek Bitter Seeds black jails Boko Haram Bolivia Bono books Bosco Ntaganda Bosnia Bosnia-Herzegovina Botswana Bouthaina Kamel BRAC Brazil Brazilian government Brian Williams BRICS Britain British Indian Ocean Territory British Indian Territory British Virgin Islands broadband Bron Villet Bruce Springsteen Brunei Brunei Darussalam Bruno Pellaud Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burma Burundi Business Cairo Cambodia Cameroon Campesino Campesinos sin Terra Canada cancer Cape Town Cape Verde Carbon CARE Caribbean CARICOM Carlos Enrigue Garcia Gonzalez Carlos Travassos Cartagena Casablanca Catherine Ashton Catholic Relief Services Cayman Islands CBS Central Africa Central African Republic Central America Central Asia CGI Chad Charles Feeney Chernobyl Child Labor child labour child marriage child soldiers Children chile China China's Communist Party Chinese farmers Chocolate cholera Cholpan Nogoibaeva Christiane Amanpour Christianity Christmas Island CIDA CItigroup Citizen Ciudad Jarez climate climate change Clinton CLMV Countries cluster munitions CNN Cocos Island coffee Colombia Columbia University Commission for Africa Committee on World Food Security Committee To Protect Journalists commodities Commonwealth community-based organizations Comoros conflict Congo Congolese conservation consumer Contas River Contraception Cook Islands COP17 corruption Costa Rica Cote D'Ivoire cotton Council on Foreign Relations coup Cover The Night CPJ credit Crime Crimes Against Humanity crisis Croatia Cuba culture cyclone Cyprus Dadaab Dakar Damon Runyon Dan Lashof Dan Toole Darfur David Bernet David Von Kittelberger DDenmark Dear Kara Delhi democracy Democratic Republic of Congo demonstrations Dengue Fever Denmark dennis fentie Department of State depression Deraa Desmond Tutu developing countries development Diabetes Dilma Rousseff Disaster Risk disasters discrimination disease Diwali Djibouti Doctors without Borders Dominica Dominican Republic Dominique Strauss-Kahn DPKO DPRK Dr. Judy Dr. Judy Kuriansky Dr. Mark Welch Dr. William Gray DRC DRINKS drought Drug war Drugs Dubai Duncan McCargo Earth Hour Earthquake East Africa East Timor Easter Island Eastern Europe ECHO economy ECOSOC ECOWAS Ecuador Education Egypt Eid Eirene El Alto EL SALVADOR El Trabajo de Crecer Election elections electricity Elizabeth Okoro Ellen Johnson SIrleaf Emerging emerging markets energy Energy4All enough project environment Environmental Defense Fund equality Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia ethnic cleansing EU Eurasia EurasiaNet Europe European Union expats explosion Facebook Falkland Islands famine FAO FARC farmers Farming Faroe Islands FASHION Father Wismick Jean Charles Federated States of Micronesia Feeding America Felipe Calderon Femicide Fernando Lugo Festival FGM FIFA Fiji Fiji Islands Films finance Finland flood floods food food crisis food security Forbes Ford Foundation foreign aid foreign assistance foreign correspondents club of China Foreign Policy Forest Whitaker Foxconn France FRENCH GUIANA French Polynesia fuel Future G20 G8 Gabon Gabriel Elizondo Gaddafi Gambia Gandhi Ganges River Gangs Gao Gauteng Gaza Gbagbo GCC GDP Geena Davis Gender Genetically Modified Food Geneva Genocide George Clooney Georgia Germany Ghana Giants of Broadcasting Gibraltar Girl Effect Girls Giving Pledge Gladstone Harbour Glenn Ashton Global Compact Global Digital Solidarity Fund global food prices Global Fund Global Health Global Malaria Program Globalhealth Globalization GMO's GMO's India Golden Globes Goma Good Samaritan Center Goodluck Jonathan Google grassroots organizations Greece Greed Greenland Greg Mortenson Grenada GRIST GRULAC Guadeloupe Guam Guantanamo Guarani Guatemala Gucci Guinea Gulf of Aden GUYANA Habitat For Humanity Haiti Half the Sky Halloween Hamadoun-Toure Hamid Karzai Happiness Haze health Heglig Helen Wang Hershey hhuman rights Hillary Clinton Hindu HIV HIV/AIDS HIVAIDS Hoffman Hollywood Hollywood Foreign Press Association homosexuality Honduras hookah Horn of Africa Hotel Housing HSBC Hu Jintao Hubble Telescope Hugo Chavez Hult Global Case Challenge HUM Human Impact Institute human rights Human Rights Watch Human Rights Watch Film Festival human trafficking Human Unlimited Media Humanitarian humanitarian work HUMmingbirdz Hunger hurricane Hurricane Rina IAEA IAVI Ibrahim Azim ICC Iceland ICG ICRC IHL ILO IMF immigrants Immigration improved cook stoves Imran Garda India Indian Ocean Indians Indigenous Indonesia inequality information infrastructure Innocence of Muslims Innovation INSI International Aid international community International Criminal Court International Crisis Group international development International Human Rights Day International Labour Organization International Maritime Board International Red Cross Internet Internews Interpol investing investment Invisible Children IO IOC IOM IPad IPhone Iran Iraq IRC Ireland irrigation Islam Islamabad Islamic Broadcasting Union Islamic Republic of Iran Islamists Islamophobia Islands Israel Italy ITC ITU Ivory Coast IWD Jamaica Japan Jarvis Island Jason Russell Je Yang Camp Jerusalem Jerusalem Post Jezebel Jim Rogers Jody Williams Johannesburg John McCain John Prendergast JOIDES Resolution Jordan Jose Carlos Meirelles Jose Graziano Da Silva Joseph Kabila Joseph Kony journalism journalists Joyce Banda Jr Judy Kuriansky Julia Gillard Kachin State Kah Walla Kaingang Kano Karachi Karen Attiah Karl Marx Kashmir Kazakhstan kenya Kenya Airways kgb Khaled Said Kidal Kigali Kim Jong-il King Mswati Kiribati Koror Kosovo Kurdistan Workers' Party Kurds Kuwait Kyoto Treaty Kyrgyzstan La Nina Labuje camp Lagos landmines Laos Las Vegas latin america Latvia Laurent Gbagbo Laurie Garrett LDCs Lebanon Leslie Lane Lesotho Lesser Antilles Leyla Qasim LGBT Liberia Libya Liechtenstein Literacy Liu Changlong Liuxiazhuang London London Stock Exchange Louise Arbour LRA LTTE lukasenka LUNCH Luxembourg lybia M23 Macau Macedonia Madagascar Maggie Padlewska Maha Kumbh Mela Mahatma Gandhi Mahmoud Abbas Mahmoud Ahmadinejad malaria Malawi Malaysia maldives Mali malnutrition Malvinas Islands Manuel Zelaya Margaret Chan Marie Claire Marina Cue marine Mark Fitzpatrick Marrakesh Marshall Islands Martin Indyk Martin Luther King Martinique Marwan Bishara Mary Robinson MASERU Mashable Mastercard Foundation maternal health mauritania Mauritius Max Frisch Mayotte MDG Summit MDGs MDG's media Melanesia Melanesian Spearhead Group Memorial Day Memphis Mental Health Mercy Corps Mexican Red Cross mexico Mia Farrow Micha Peled Michael Bociurkiw Michelle Funk Micronesia micronutrient initiative micronutrients Middle East migrants migration Mike Hanna millennium development goals Mine Ban Treaty mining Misogyny Misrata Miss Universe Mississippi river Miyagi MLK Mogadishu Mohamed Cheikh Biadilah Mohammad Nasheed Mohammad Waheed Hassan Moldova Money Mongolia Mongolian Stock Exchange Monsanto Montenegro MONTSERRAT Morocco Mothers Mozambique Mr. Gay World MSF Mswati Mt. Merapi Muammar Gaddafi Mubarak Muhammed Munduruku Murder Musharraf Muslim Brotherhood Mustapha Erramid Myanmar MYUGANDA NAB Nahru Nairobi Namibia NASA Natalie Billon national congress party National Congress Party (NCP) National Democratic Force National Science Foundation NATO Natural Resources Defense Fund Nauru NBC News Nelson Mandella NEMA Nepal Netherlands Antilles Nevada New Caledonia New Jersey New York New Zealand NGO nicaragua Nicholas Kristof Nick Popow Niergai Nigel Fisher Niger Nigeria Nigerian elections Nike Nike Foundation Niue Nobel Nobel Women's Initiative Nokia Non-Aligned Movement North Africa North Kivu North Korea Northern Mexico Norway not on our watch Nuclear nuclear power plant Nutrition NYC OAS Obama OccupyNigeria Ocean Ocean Health Index oceans OCED OCHA OECD OHCHR Ohrid Framework Agreement OIC Oil Olena Sullivan OLPC Olympics Oman Omar al-Bashir Omar Suleiman One Laptop Per Child One Village Planet-Women's Development Initiative Oprah Organization of American States Organization of Islamic Countries Osama bin Laden OSCE Ouattara OXFAM Oxi P-5 Pacific Pacific Institute of Public Policy Pacific Island Forum Pacific Small Island Developing States Pakistan Palau Palestine Palestinian Liberation Organization Palestinians Palocci Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Parana Park Won Soon Paul Giannone Paul Kagame Paul Martin PDP Peace Peacekeepers Peacekeeping PEACEMEAL PEPFAR Perspective Peru philanthropy Philippines Pilay Piracy Pirates Pitcairn PKK PNG Pokuaa Busumru-Banson polio politics pollution Pope Benedict population Pork Port-au-Prince Porto Alegre Portugal poverty President Asif Zardari President Bingu wa Mutharika President Joseph Kabila President Karzai President Lee Myung-bak President Thein Sein Press Freedom Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski Prime Minister Shekh Hasina Wajed Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani Prince Zeid protests Proview Puerto Rico Putin Qatar Quetta rainforest Ramadan rape Rarotonga Ray Chambers RC Palmer Red Cross Reduction referendum refugees religion remittances Reporters Without Borders Reproductive Rights Republic of Congo Republic of South Sudan Reunion Island Richard Branson Richard Parsons Richard Pithouse Richmond Rick Steves Rio Branco Rio de Janeiro Rio Grande do Sul RIO+20 Robert Mugabe Robinah Alambuya Romania Ronit Avi Room to Read Rousseff Rowan Jacobsen Roxy Marosa Royal Air Maroc Russell Daisey Russia Rwanda S-5 SACMEQ sacsis Sahel Sahel NOW Saint Helena Island Salafists Saliem Fakir Salva Kiir Salvador Dali Samoa San Marino sanctions Sanitation Saudi Arabia Save the Children Savvy Traveller Scenarios From the Sahel ScenariosUSA security Security Council Senegal Senetable Seoul Serbia Sergio Vieira de Mello Seth Berkley sex trafficking Sexism sexual abuse Seychelles Sharia Sharks Shashi Tharoor Shirley Wessels shisha Shreeya Sinha Shrein Dewani Sierra Leone Sindh Singapore Skype Slovakia Slovenia smoking Social Good Summit social development social media Solar Solar Panels SolarAid Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South America South China Sea South Kordofan South Korea South Pacific South Sudan Southeast Asia Southern Kordofan Southern Sudan South-South cooperation South-Sudan Southwest Farm Press Soweto Soya Spain SPLA sports Sri Lanka St . Vincent & The Grenadines St Lucia St. Kitts and Nevis St. Maarten St. Vincent and the Grenadines Stand Up For Peace Project starvation statelessness steel StopRape Students Sub-Saharan Africa sudan sudan people's liberation movement Summitt of the Americas Superstorm Sandy Surfing SURINAME Sustainable development Svalbard Svalbard & Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syria Tahiti Taiwan Tajikistan Taliban Tanzania technology Ted Turner Tehran Terena terror Thailand Thaksin The Arab Spring The Bahamas The Caribbean The Carter Center The Elders The Enough Project The Gambia The Hunger Games The Marshall Islands the Middle East The Netherlands The Ocean Project the Philippines The Republic of South Sudan The Surfrider Foundation The Whistleblower theatre Thein Sein Themrise Khan Three Cups of Tea Tibet Tiger Tigers Tikki Pang Tim Hetherington Timbuktu Timor-Leste Tobacco Togo Toilets Tokelau Tom Schelling Tonga Tony Lake Toronto tourism trade Trademarks trafficking travel Trinidad & Tobago Trinidad and Tobago Tripoli tsunami Tuareg Tuberculosis Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks & Caicos Tuvalu Twitter Typhoon Bopha Typhoon Pablo UAE Uganda UK Ukraine UN UN Clean Development Mechanism UN Food and Agriculture Organization UN Foundation UN Peacekeepers UN Security Council un techo para mi pais UN Women UNAIDS UNCTAD UNDP UNEP UNESCO UNFCC UNFPA UNHabitat UNHCR unicef Union Solidarity and Development Party UNISDR United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United Nations United States United to End Genocide University of South Florida UNOCI UNRWA urbanization Uruguay US US Peace Corps US Supreme Court US Troops USA Uzbekistan Vancouver Vandana Shiva Vanuatu Vanuatu. Fiji Venezuela Vestergaard Vice President Joyce Banda Victoria Hazou Vidal Vega Vietnam Vii VIIPhotography Viktor Yanukovych Vladimir Putin Vladivostok Vlisco Vodafone volcano Walmart War Water West Africa West Bank Western Sahara WFP WHO wimax Wine Woman Women Women's Economic Opportunity World World AIDS Day World Bank World Cup World Economic Forum World Food Day World Food Prize World Food Programme World Health Assembly world hunger World Refugee Day WorldCup WTO WWF Xi Jinping Xingu Yemen Youssou N'dour Youth Youth Olympics YouTube Yoweri Museveni Yukon Yulia Tymoshenko Zambia Zimbabwe Zuma

HUM QR CODE

Entries in Peacekeepers (3)

Monday
Oct172011

Prodded by Film, UN Makes Rare Admission on Involvement of Peacekeepers in Sex Trafficking (REPORT)

Madeleine Rees (L) and Larysa Kondracki. Credit: UNTV(HN, October 17, 2011) - In a rare move, the United Nations has admitted the involvement of UN professionals in human trafficking and sexual exploitation and has apologized for their acts.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon made the admission at a panel on human trafficking and sexual exploitation late Friday following the screening of the highly-acclaimed German-Canadian co-production, The Whistleblower.

(HUMNEWS was able to review a transcript of the panel today).

Said Ban: "I was deeply saddened by the involvement of the international community, particularly the United Nations, in the abuses connected in the trafficking of women and their use as sex slaves. This movie tells this ugly story."

Ban viewed the film in August with senior advisors and subsequently wrote to the director Larysa Kondracki and ordered the film to be shown at UN headquarters. Ban said he wanted to act after reading a letter from Kondracki. He said sexual exploitation and human trafficking has taken on "a frightening global dimension."

He added: "In all of our work it is essential to face up to difficult issues. When we fall short we must learn the lessons and to act on them.

The UN mission in Boznia-Herzogovina was the focus of the Canadian-German co-production, and centred around the true story of American whistleblower Kathryn Bolkovac- an American former police investigator from Nebraska, who worked as a UN International Police Force monitor in Bosnia.

Bolkovac was not only shocked to discover the sexual enslavement of young girls in the mission, but that UN peacekeepers and private contractors were major customers. The film documents a disturbing culture at the UN of denial, retribution and cover-up in regards to the abuses at the peace keeping mission. It stars Rachel Weisz, Monica Bellucci, and Vanessa Redgrave.

Referring to the peace keppers' acts portrayed in the film, Ban said: "These acts were in clear breach of UN Peace Keepers code of conduct, and in some cases, were illegal...We all know that what could have been done and should have been done was often not done."

Ban said several steps have been taken by the organization since the revelations have come to light. 

He said the UN now has clear policy shaped by the story in the film. "That policy is no tolerance, none." He added clear policies and codes of conduct are now in place for staff in the field, including curfews and delineation of out-of-bounds areas for UN personnel.

Rachel Weisz stars as Kathryn Bolkovac in Samuel Goldwyn Films' The Whistleblower. Credit: Samuel Goldwyn FilmsBan also said that by 2014, the UN police should consist of about 20 percent.

"The bottom line is that we have made much progress since the dark period portrayed in this film..But we also know that we still have much to do," said Ban.

For her part, Kondracki told the panel that much more needs to be done. "I do worry...but rhetoric only goes so far," she said, adding that sexual exploitation is still continuing.

Kondracki also pointed out that the UN only notified the main protagonist of the film, Bolkovic, was only invited to the panel six days ago.

Bolkovic, she said, has never received a formal apology from the UN, nor was her record ever cleared.

Madeleine Rees, former UN rights lawyer and secretary of the Women’s International League For Peace And Freedom (played in the film by Redgrave), also attended the panel. She said the panel would have never taken place without the appearance of the film.

Rees said she is often asked if there is more she could have done during the difficult time portrayed in the film. "We were blocked every time by the very people we were trying to work with. And I feel guilty for that."

She said that the only time that the trafficking stopped was when the peace keepers went away.

The Whistleblower, Rees added, accurately portrayed the shocking reality on the ground in post-conflict Bosnia: "Everything that happened in the film is true, and I know because I was there...What you saw happened to the girls in that film did happen.

"But we will never know to how many because we weren't able to keep the records."

Rees said that when she first raised concerns about UN peace keepers involvement in sex trafficking, she was met with giggles, boredom and was even told off.

The panel appeared to reveal a split in opinions, with UN officials taking a defensive stance for their actions since the accusations came to light. "In practical terms..we have moved a lot. We have many more instruments than we did 10 years ago," said UN Under-Secretary General Susana Malcorra.

In an email response in HUMNEWS today, Kondracki said she remains cautiously optimistic.

"I hope for more than just rhetoric. The Secretary General was apologetic, he spoke how this film raises the issue about the importance of the single voice, and how we need courageous people to continue to stand up against abuse.

"But Kathy (Bolkovic) still hasn't been recognized for her work. The UN still claims she was fired for time sheet violations - so until at the very least that is corrected, I don't have full faith in the zero tolerance policy he is citing.

"I'm hoping that apology to Kathy and to the thousands of victims of the rape, kidnapping, murder and torture committed not only by peace keepers but then covered up by high-level diplomats, is forthcoming. It would signal to me the start of genuine reforms."

Currently, the UN is sponsoring 18 peace keeping operations and special missions, utilizing 14,000 individuals. They serve between six and 18 months, and are then rotated. "The vast majority of these officers do excellent work, some do not," said Ann-Marie Orler of Sweden, who is the Police Officer in DPKO.

 

- HUMNEWS staff

Monday
Sep052011

UN Backers Blast Draconian US Bill to Reduce UN Budget (REPORT)

Palestinian youths in a refugee camp. Proposed cuts would severely curtail aid to millions of refugees in the Palestinian Territory and three countries. CREDIT: Nora Stribrna(HN, UPDATED September 6, 2011 0637GMT) - Supporters of the United Nations are lashing out at proposed US legislation that would slash Washington's support to the world body, threaten crucial overseas programmes and peacekeeping operations, and possibly strangle UN support to Palestinian refugees in Gaza and three countries.

The bill, proposed by Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and known as H.R. 2829, threatens funding to the UN from the US, which accounts for 22 percent of the world body's budget.

The bill by Ros-Lehtinen, who is also the Republican chairwoman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, proposes that countries be allowed to decide how much to pay and which programs they will support, rather than the current arrangement of assessing payments based on a formula.

Moreover, the bill, if passed, would end funding for Palestinian refugees, limit use of U.S. funds to only purposes outlined by Congress and put a hold on creating or expanding peacekeeping operations until management changes are made. Support to the controversial UN Human Rights Council (HRC) would also be cut under the bill.

“We need a UN which will advance the noble goals for which it was founded,” Ros-Lehtinen of Florida said in a statement. “The current UN continues to be plagued by scandal, mismanagement and inaction, and its agenda is frequently hijacked by rogue regimes which protect each other while targeting free democracies like the U.S. and Israel.”

Critics say the bill does nothing to promote reform, transparency and accountability at the UN.

UN police working alongside counterparts in Haiti. CREDIT: UN"This legislation does not bring us any closer to achieving those laudable goals.  H.R 2829 would not only undermine real progress toward reform at the United Nations, but would also return the U.S. to an era of debt and ineffective leadership," said a statement by the Better World Campaign, a non-profit backed by billionaire philanthropist Ted Turner that works on bettering relations between the US and the US.

“We believe in UN reform,” she said. “We just don’t think this is the right way to go about it.”

The U.S. pays 22 percent of the UN’s regular operations budget and is assessed 27 percent of the peacekeeping budget. U.S. payments totaled $3.35 billion in 2010, of which $2.67 billion was dedicated to the 16 peacekeeping operations worldwide, from South Sudan and Ivory Coast to Haiti.

As of July 2011, the UN peackeeping force consisted of almost 120,000 military, police and civilian personnel from 114 countries.

In recent times, the behaviour of UN peacekeepers has stirred controversy. The UN has confirmed that an investigation has been launched into alleged sexual exploitation and abuse involving Uruguayan UN peacekeepers in Haiti.

The bill already has 57 co-sponsors - all Republicans - and could obtain widespread support in a Republican-controlled House. However, opposition is already being generated in the Senate and it is highly unlikely to get support from President Barack Obama.

“We oppose this legislation,” said Victoria Nuland, a State Department spokeswoman. She said the measure would cut by half U.S. funding for the U.N and “dangerously weaken the UN.”

A Palestinian girl at a refugee camp. Many young Palestinians know of no other life than growing up in a camp. CREDIT: Nora Stribrna“We believe in UN reform,” she said. “We just don’t think this is the right way to go about it.”

Aside from budget support, the US already has significant political influence over key UN agencies: it regularly selects appointees for the head of the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) and the World Food Programme (WFP).

Ending funding for Palestinian refugees - about 5 million of whom are living under UN-run camps in the Palestinian Territory, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon - would likely put the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) out of business.

It could also seriously damage relationships with Arab states that have recently been transformed in the "Arab Spring."

The bill is gaining momentum as as the UN General Assembly prepares to vote on recognizing Palestinian statehood regardless of the outcome of Palestinian-Israeli peace talks.

Better World and others say most Americans support the world body - pointing to recent bi-partisan research that found the UN is considered as an important global forum and organization that is still needed today, and the majority of Americans believe the United States should be actively engaged at the United Nations. The survey also showed that Republicans, Democrats and Independents alike support paying UN and UN peacekeeping dues on time and in full. 

- Agencies, HUMNEWS staff. Special thanks to Nora Stribrna for photography.

Friday
Oct082010

UN worker kidnapped during visit to Sudan's Darfur region - In the meantime Security Council team stresses timely, peaceful referendum

(MAP: About.com) (HN, October 8, 2010) -- A UN employee that was part of a UN Security Council visit to Sudan's Darfur was kidnapped on Thursday night.

A UN peacekeeper was abducted in Sudan's Darfur region on Thursday night amid renewed clashes between rebels and government forces.

While the kidnapping was most likely motivated by money rather than by politics, the abduction raises concerns about deteriorating security conditions in Darfur, where separatists have been battling government forces for the last six years.

The UN worker, whose nationality has not yet been released, was abducted just hours after a United Nation's Security Council mission arrived in El Fasher, the capital city of Darfur. (Continue reading @ Christian Science Monitor)

Amb. Susan Rice of the United States, head of the Security Council delegation to Sudan, with other members in JubaThe Security Council delegation visiting Sudan yesterday stressed that the two referenda scheduled for January must be held on time, in a peaceful environment and according to the provisions of the peace agreement that ended the war between the north and the south.

“We are here to reinforce that message and the determination of the Council to support you and all parties to the CPA [Comprehensive Peace Agreement] in that process,” said Ambassador Susan Rice of the United States, who is heading the delegation.

On 9 January the inhabitants of southern Sudan will vote on whether to secede from the rest of the country, while the residents of the central area of Abyei will vote on whether to be part of the north or the south.

The referenda will be the final phase in the implementation of the CPA, which was signed in 2005 to end two decades of warfare between the northern-based Government and the Sudan People’s Liberation  Movement/Army (SPLM/A) in the south.

The Council’s visit was a follow-up to last month’s high-level meeting on Sudan held under UN auspices in New York that produced a communiqué calling on the international community to respect the outcome of the referenda if they meet those stipulated criteria.

Ms. Rice noted that the “core responsibility” for successful implementation of the CPA remains in the hands of the regional Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS), the national Government in Khartoum, and the Sudanese people.

The delegation concluded its two-day stop in Juba, the capital of southern Sudan, with a visit to the Dr. John Garang Unified Memorial Police Training Academy in the nearby town of Rejaf.

The visit to the police-training academy was significant because the Southern Sudan Police Service (SSPS) will play a central role in crowd control and the securing of polling centres and ballot boxes during the referenda.

“The UN has been one of the key components in the support that we are getting for the development of the police and in training these recruits […] from the 10 states,” said GoSS Minister for Internal Affairs Gier Chuang Aluong.

Since July, UN Police advisers have trained over 11,500 SSPS officers in referendum security procedures and regulations throughout southern Sudan, according to Rajesh Dewan, the Police Commissioner in the UN Mission in Sudan (UNMIS).

An initial group of 5,400 police cadets who began to receive instruction at the Rejaf training facility in January is expected to graduate at the end of this month, and a second group of 4,000 cadets will subsequently start their training.

Wednesday, the Council delegation held a two-hour closed-door meeting with senior Southern Sudanese officials led by GoSS President Salva Kiir.

The delegation travelled to Darfur yesterday, from where they will proceed to Khartoum before completing their mission on Saturday.

- UN News