Rosa Freedman, University of Reading and Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, University of Birmingham
The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in 2010 and has since killed at least 9,200 people and infected nearly a million people.
This is the first time that the UN has acknowledged that it bears a duty towards the victims. It is a significant step forward in the quest for accountability and justice.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is frequently devastated by disasters – both natural and man-made. Yet cholera was not one of its problems before 2010. Then a group of UN peacekeepers was sent to help after an earthquake.
Continue reading “As the UN finally Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak – Here is How Victims Must be Compensated”
Asghar Zaidi, University of Southampton
At the end of one of the largest summits at the United Nations headquarters in New York, government representatives from all over the world will sign a commitment to new global development goals. These will replace the millennium development goals, setting objectives for bringing peace and prosperity, and reducing the impact of climate change.
UN member states have agreed on a list of 17 broad goals and 169 more specific targets. These goals are not legally binding but they will be important. They are aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty, while at the same time promoting peace, prosperity, health and education and combating climate change.
Continue reading “What Are the UN Global Goals?”
Today the United Nations released their final assessment (PDF) on the eight Millennium Development Goals that were adopted fifteen years ago. Some of the goals have achieved greater global impact than others. However, the fact remains that more people are not living in poverty, less mothers and infants are losing their lives during childbirth, more people have access to water and sanitation, and more children are living past the age of five as quick examples of the MDGs success.
“The report confirms that the global efforts to achieve the Goals have saved millions of lives and improved conditions for millions more around the world,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report in Oslo, Norway.
“These successes should be celebrated throughout our global community. At the same time, we are keenly aware of where we have come up short,” he added.
Those eight goals are slated to expire in September and an entirely new set of goals will be voted upon and adopted during the United Nations General Assembly. Now, there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets on the table that need to be not only understood by civil society and governments and worked toward, but also financed.
What is particularly important about the SDGs is that an open working group with the input of seven million people helped create the framework for the new goals as opposed to a few select experts and member states that created and adopted the MDGs. This is partly why the new SDGs are so far-reaching in their outlook and ambitions. The 17 global goals for sustainable development can be found at globalgoals.org.
Continue reading “An Update on the Sustainable Development Goals + Key Dates”
A ceremony was held at Central Equatoria Police Headquarters in Juba, South Sudan, to mark the completion of a sensitization workshop for 38 members of the South Sudan National Police Service (SSNPS), which is also known as South Sudan Police Service (SSPS). The workshop in Confidence and Trust Building Policing Strategy was conducted with support from UN Police (UNPOL) of the UN Mission in South … Continue reading Featured Photo: South Sudan Police Officers Complete Sensitization Workshop
Rape has always been used as a weapon of war and women and girls are typically the victims of these heinous crimes.
To bring more awareness to sexual violence during conflict the United Nations General Assembly created the International Day for the Elimination of Sexual Violence in Conflict that will be commemorated on June 19 each year.
“Rape and other forms of sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict constitute grave violations of human rights and international humanitarian law,” President of the 193-member Assembly, Sam Kutesa, declared as he greeted the resolution’s adoption. “Yet these depraved acts still occur and are used to terrorize and control civilian populations in conflict zones.”
Continue reading “International Day Against Sexual Violence in Conflict”
While visiting Haiti you will see that the United Nations’ presence is palpable across the country especially in the capital Port-au-Prince where the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) is housed. During rush hour it is not uncommon to see countless UN vehicles with peacekeepers and leaders in berets (mostly men) among the many motos and cars driven by locals, buses, and NGO SUVs.
Haiti is also the Western hemisphere’s poorest country. That is not to be taken lightly. Poverty is rife and the need for everyday necessities is huge. It isn’t surprising, then, to read that UN peacekeepers are accused of engaging in transactional sex with hundreds of both rural and urban Haitian women in exchange for food, medicines, mobile phones, and money. It also isn’t uncommon for women to become pregnant during this transactional sex as reported by PRI in “Haitian moms demand UN help for the babies their peackeepers left behind.”
Continue reading “Report – UN Peacekeepers Engage in Sex Exploitation in Haiti”
An international expert panel of leaders convened today in New York City to launch the Code Blue campaign demanding an end to sexual abuses by UN peacekeeping forces and the automatic immunity they are afforded when abuses occur.
In recent weeks a scathing, formerly classified, report: Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces, was leaked revealing French peacekeeper soldiers sexually abused boys as young as nine during their Central African Republic Sangris operation between December 2013 and June 2014. The report, which was ultimately leaked by a senior UN aid worker and director of operations, Anders Kompass, states that mostly homeless and orphaned boys were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation, including sodomy and rape, by French peacekeepers occurred in exchange for food and money. The abuses allegedly occurred at the renown M’Poko airport in Bangui where thousands retreated to relative safety during the height of the ethnic violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic’s near genocide.
Kompass was subsequently disciplined for breaking UN protocols. Meanwhile, the report was first leaked in July of 2014 and stagnated until it was revealed recently by AIDS-Free World.
The UN, however, contends the peacekeeping soldiers in question are not a part of their operations. “The forces referred to in the Guardian story are French and do not fall under UN authority,” says a UN official. “The issue of confronting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel remains one of our highest priorities.”
Continue reading “Expert Panel Draws Up International Code in Response to Reported Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse”
Last September Emma Watson, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, helped launch the UN Women’s #HeForShe global campaign that calls upon men and boys to stand up against gender discrimination and to help women gain parity economically, politically, and socially through everyday actions and a commitment to change.
Now Watson is in Davos, Switzerland at the annual World Economic Forum where earlier today she delivered another speech at a press conference attended by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, launching the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, a year-long pilot program that will elicit gender equality commitments from governments, corporations and universities. Through these commitments, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 program will evaluate these commitments to measure their scalability and effectiveness for gender equality.
Continue reading “The Next #HeForShe Initiative Launches in Davos”
A view of internally displaced children at the main mosque in Bangui during the Secretary-General’s visit. It comes as no surprise that many in the international community are now admitting that the Central African Republic, which many believe now rests on the brink of genocide, has been failed entirely. For one, sectarian fighting and ethnic cleansing have not let up. Only 29% of requested funds have … Continue reading Has the Global Community Failed the Central African Republic?
Since I last wrote about the growing violence in the Central African Republic, things have made a marked turn for the worse. Even with a reported 7600 French (1600) and African Union (6000) troops on the ground and with United States’ air support inter-religious violence between Muslims and Christians has escalated into all-out militia and vigilante warfare. Children as young as eleven are picking up … Continue reading An Update on Central African Republic’s Growing Violence, Humanitarian Response
Today, and for a full month, the world will remember the humanitarians and aid workers who work tirelessly around the globe to better the lives of others. Being an aid worker is often a thankless job and a dangerous one to boot. Today marks a day to solemnly remember all of those who have given their lives to make the world a better place such … Continue reading Today Marks World Humanitarian Day
Photo: Ramadan in Somalia: Men pray at a mosque in Mogadishu, Somalia, during the holy month of Ramadan. UN Photo/Ilyas A Abukar Even though there was much fanfare and optimism coming out of Somalia a year ago as a new government was put in place and a new constitution was ushered in , the Horn of Africa country is now mired in an internal fight between the government … Continue reading Somalia: A Country in Flux
To celebrate International Youth Day today, join Catapult.org, the leading crowdfunding site for girls’ and women’s issues, and fund a program that will specifically help girls in developing countries. Projects can be funded quickly and simply on Catapult. OXFAM: Provide education for 6,000 girls in Pakistan’s flooded regions by flood-proofing 30 schools and campaigning for the right of girls in education: http://shorefi.re/1exHyDd Global Fund for Children: Help 42 girls … Continue reading Push the Envelope for International Youth Day