UN Aid Reaches Displaced Civilians in Libya

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By UN News | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW YORK (IDN) - The United Nations refugee agency said August 18 it had, for the first time, begun sending aid into western Libya from Tunisia to help some of the tens of thousands of people displaced by weeks of fighting in Tripoli.

A first convoy carrying urgently needed medical supplies and relief items from the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was organized by the International Medical Corps (IMC) on August 16.

The two trucks set off from Medinine and crossed the border at Ras Ajdir before heading to the town of Zawiya, where some 12,000 people have sought shelter from the fighting in Libya’s capital.

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Development Includes Disaster Risk Management

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By J C Suresh  | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

TORONTO (IDN) - Two thousand cities around the globe have signed on a United Nations global campaign – launched in 2010 for a period of five years until 2015 – to take on the challenge of integrating disaster risk management into their development processes.

The global campaign, Making Cities Resilient: My City is Getting Ready! is promoted by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR). Presently, about 25 per cent of the participating cities are located in the Americas, and approximately 11 per cent (or 226) of all cities are situated in Brazil.

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Faith Based Organizations Keen To Influence UN Development Agenda

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BANGKOK (IDN) - 2015 is expected to become a watershed year for shaping the global development agenda with the post-2015 Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development models and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) frameworks, all coming up for review at major UN conferences during the year.

Thus, the 6th Asian Ministerial Conference On Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) that concluded in the Thai capital on June 26 gave a taste of things to come with a lot of emphasis given to discussion on community based solutions.

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G77 Summit Set To Influence UN Negotiations

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By Martin Khor* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SANTA CRUZ (IDN) - The Declaration of the G77 Summit held in Santa Cruz on June14-15 has sections on three prominent issues that are presently the subject of negotiations at the United Nations – the Millennium Development Goals, Sustainable Development Goals and the UN’s Post-2015 Development Agenda.

The Declaration should thus have significant influence on the UN negotiations since it reflects the positions of the G77 and China, at highest political level, and these positions can be expected to be maintained by the Group during the negotiations on these three issues.

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Maldives Lifts Moratorium As Death Penalty Declines

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By Richard Johnson | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

GENEVA (IDN) - Since the United Nations General Assembly’s landmark vote in 2007 calling for a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty, the trend against capital punishment has become stronger and stronger. An estimated 160 countries have either abolished the death penalty or no longer practice it.

While welcoming these developments, UN Secretary-General Ben Ki-moon has deplored the fact that many States still execute people with little regard to due process. “I am also deeply concerned that some States with long-standing de facto moratoriums have suddenly resumed executions, or are considering reintroduction of the death penalty in their legislation,” Ban said at an event organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) on April 24.

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UN Consolidating Rule of Law in Haiti

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By J. C. Suresh | IDN-InDepth NewsReport

NEW YORK (IDN) - “The objective of every peacekeeping mission is for the national authorities to take over the responsibilities to which the mission makes its contributions,” says Sandra Honoré of Trinidad and Tobago, who is Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Haiti and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission there, known as MINUSTAH, a position she assumed in July 2013.

“The outcome I would like to see in Haiti is one in which the four areas of focus of the Mission in this phase of consolidation is fully taken over by the Government of Haiti, so the Mission can leave with satisfaction that the Government has fully taken up its responsibilities and that security in country is be assured by the National Police with, as I’ve said, at least a minimum of 15,000 agents, putting it into a good situation to keep developing,” Honoré adds.

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Sri Lanka Remains Committed To Reconciliation

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

COLOMBO (IDN) - Rejecting the resolution passed at the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on March 27 to mount an ‘independent’ international investigation into alleged human rights violations in Sri Lanka, President Mahinda Rajapkase said that Sri Lanka would continue with its own reconciliation process that was started after the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) was defeated in May 2009.

The resolution, which was adopted by 24 votes to 12 with 12 abstentions, has been described by the government as a lop-sided vote where most of those voting for it were Europeans. “The EU votes as a block and the US had more than a dozen votes already in the bag while we started with none,” Rajapakse pointed out in a meeting with foreign media representatives in Colombo.

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Death Sentences in Egypt ‘Mockery of Justice’

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By Jaya Ramachandran

NEW YORK (IDN | UN News) - A group of eight United Nations human rights independent experts have urged the Egyptian authorities to quash the 529 death sentences announced in Egypt and give the defendants new and fair trials, in line with international human rights law.

“The right to life is a fundamental right, not a toy to be played with. If the death penalty is to be used at all in countries which have not abolished it, international law requires the most stringent respect of a number of fundamental standards,” the experts said in a news statement.

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Three Conferences To Focus On Nuke-Free World

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By Jamshed Baruah | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

BERLIN (IDN) - As tension mounts in relations between the U.S. and Russia on Ukraine amid apprehensions of a nuclear fallout, three international conferences scheduled for April 2014 have acquired added significance in promoting efforts towards nuclear non-proliferation and disarmament.

The first in the series is a meeting of foreign ministers on April 11-12 in Hiroshima, nearly two months after the Second Conference on the Humanitarian Impact of Nuclear Weapons in Mexico. It will be followed by an inter-faith conference organised by the Tokyo-based Soka Gakkai International (SGI) on April 24 in Washington. From April 28 to May 9 the Preparatory Committee (PrepCom) for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) will hold its third session at the United Nations in New York.

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UNHRC - Part II: Prioritising Economic Aspects Of Human Rights

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - “As a result of the financial crisis, the ability of individuals to exercise their human rights and that of States to fulfill their obligations to protect human rights has diminished,” noted Bat-Erdene Ayuush, Head of the Right to Development Section at the UN Human Rights Office speaking at a UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) panel discussion at last year.

But, at its 25th session from March 3 to 28 in Geneva, only two out of about 100 reports tabled, address the economic and development aspects of human rights. Almost all other reports address individual rights specific to countries, rather than collective rights of people.

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UNHRC - Part I: Navi Pillay Faulted For Abuse Of Power

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By Kalinga Seneviratne* | IDN-InDepth NewsAnalysis

SINGAPORE (IDN) - UN Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) head Navi Pillay’s current campaign against Sri Lanka over alleged human rights violations – along with similar campaigns against Libya and Syria earlier – could jeopardize the cause of human rights around the world, analysts say.

Pillay released a report in February calling for an international investigation into alleged war crimes when the Sri Lankan armed forces crushed the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) in a final battle in May 2009.

Sri Lanka’s Permanent Envoy in Geneva conveying the Sri Lankan Government’s response to Pillay’s report stated that the UN High Commissioner’s recommendations, “reflect the preconceived, politicised and prejudicial agenda which she has relentlessly pursued with regard to Sri Lanka”, and in a 18-page document pinpointed her double standards accusing her of giving “scant or no regard to the domestic processes ongoing in Sri Lanka”.

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