Putting in Persepective: Aid vs Bailouts

This is from the UN Millennium Campaign and certainly puts things in perspective.

Lets hope they do something about it at the UN General Assembly’s high-level summit on the economic crisis, which is currently taking place.

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Human Rights Day – Dignity and justice for all of us

Today is the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). The theme for the past year in the lead up to the 60th anniversary has been “Dignity and justice for all of us”. The UNDR has been translated into 360 languages allowing various UN and NGO organisations to spread the word about this important document which informs us of our rights. The Declaration has been translated into Gaeilge: Dearbhú Uile-Choiteann Cearta an Duine.

The commemoration was established in 1950, when the General Assembly invited all states and interested organizations to celebrate the day as they saw fit. It is also the day that the five-yearly United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights and Nobel Peace Prize are awarded. The United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights are due to be presented today to Ms. Louise Arbour (former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights), Mr. Ramsey Clark (former United States Attorney General and lawyer), Dr. Carolyn Gomes (Jamacan Human Rights Defender), Dr. Denis Mukwege (founder, director and chief surgeon of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo) and Human Rights Watch. Mrs. Benazir Bhutto (Pakistani politician) and Sr. Dorothy Stang (US/Brazilian Human Rights Defender) are to be awarded the prize posthumously.

In his remarks on Human Rights Day the UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon hopes “that we will all act on our collective responsibility to uphold the rights enshrined in the Universal Declaration.” He went on say that we could only “honour” that “inspiring document when its principles are fully applied everywhere, for everyone.”

Full Video

The High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navanethem Pillay wants the “full implementation of human rights on the ground” in a way that is “regardless of their race, sex, religion, nationality, property or birth, to realization of each and every right set forth in the Universal Declaration.”

Full Video

There are a number of events being organised around the worldmy favourite being this campaign in Austrailia being organised by the UNYA called write4rights asking young people to text what they think about Human Rights. An excellent idea.

If you have any links or stories on Human Rights Day, please post them in the comment thread!

Universal Periodic Review – UN Human Rights Council

Via UN News Centre.

Under General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (Which also established the Human Rights Counicl), the General Assembly mandated the Council to

undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliable information, of the fulfillment by each State of its human rights obligations and commitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equal treatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism, based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concerned and with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shall complement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies.

This Universal Periodic Review got underway yesterday in Geneva with Bahrain and Ecuador. The other states in this 1st Session Review are

* Tunisia
* Morocco
* Indonesia
* Finland
* United Kingdom
* India
* Brazil
* Philippines
* Algeria
* Poland
* Netherlands
* South Africa
* Czech Republic
* Argentina

These will all be examined during the First Session which lasts till the 18th of April.

The Second Session will consider

1. Gabon
2. Ghana
3. Peru
4. Guatemala
5. Benin
6. Republic of Korea
7. Switzerland
8. Pakistan
9. Zambia
10. Japan
11. Ukraine
12. Sri Lanka
13. France
14. Tonga
15. Romania
16. Mali

This session will take place between 5-16 May.

The third and Final Session this year will see the following states examined,

1. Botswana
2. Bahamas
3. Burundi
4. Luxembourg
5. Barbados
6. Montenegro
7. United Arab Emirates
8. Israel
9. Liechtenstein
10. Serbia
11. Turkmenistan
12. Burkina Faso
13. Cape verde
14. Colombia
15. Uzbekistan
16. Tuvalu

That session will take place between the 1-12 December.

What do these reviews entail?

The reviews entail each country giving its own information, limited to a 20 page report, but also shadow reports can be submitted by Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), limited to 10 pages. NGOs, NHRIs (National Human Rights Institution’s), Human rights defenders, Academic institutions and Research institutes, Regional organizations, as well as civil society representatives may also submit observations as stakedholders but there submissions summarized by the OHCHR in a 10 page report.

Example: Bahrain

Bahrain’s Report(PDF) contains information on reforms it pledged to make on election to the Human Rights Council. It details constitutional protections, legal protections, treaties signed and/or ratified, as well as the State’s view of whats happening on the ground. State’s may also give additional Documentation, Bahrain has taken the opportunity and submitted 6. They havent been translated from Arabic so I cant read them.

The OHCHR Report (PDF) is a summary of the Treaties signed and ratified by Bahrain. It gives a summary of the views of the bodies set up by the treaties on work done and any issues.

12 stakeholders (PDF) made submissions to the OHCHR giving there view on whats happening on the ground.

Hopefully these UPR’s will make a difference around the world and put more pressure on states to respect Human Rights and their treaty obligations.

Ireland will be reviewed in 2011 in the 12th (and last) Session of the UPR.


Sources:
UN human rights body begins first-ever examination of all countries’ recordsUN News Centre
Universal Periodic ReviewOHCHR
General Assembly Resolution 60/251 (PDF) – UN
Universal Periodic Review: BahrainOHCHR
Human Rights Council Universal Periodic Review Calender (PDF)OHCHR

UN Convention on the rights of Persons with Disabilities

I should have picked up on this alot earlier. But anyway 20 coutries have ratified the Convention meaning it can enter into force so who are these twenty enlightened countries?

Bangladesh – 30 November 2007
Croatia – 15 August 2007
Cuba – 6 September 2007
Ecuador – 3 April 2008
El Salvador – 14 December 2007
Gabon – 1 October 2007
Guinea – 8 February 2008
Hungary – 20 July 2007
India – 1 October 2007
Jamaica – 30 March 2007
Jordan – 31 March 2008
Mexico – 17 December 2007
Namibia – 4 December 2007
Nicaragua – 7 December 2007
Panama – 7 August 2007
Peru – 30 January 2008
San Marino – 22 February 2008
South Africa – 30 November 2007
Spain – 3 December 2007
Tunisia – 2 April 2008

Now I must say some of these countries to not instantly spring to mind when thinking of countries that might sign up for it! Only one of the twenty seven EU Member States has ratified the Convention which was opened for signature over a year ago (30 March 2007).

Ireland signed the convention on the 30th of March last year, but there is still no sign of legislation forthcoming to allow us to ratify the treaty.

Here some information on the Convention. Links at the end of the post (As usual!)

There are eight guiding principles that underlie the Convention and each one of its specific articles:

* Respect for inherent dignity, individual autonomy including the freedom to make one’s own choices, and independence of persons
* Non-discrimination
*Full and effective participation and inclusion in society
* Respect for difference and acceptance of persons with disabilities as part of human diversity and humanity
* Equality of opportunity
* Accessibility
* Equality between men and women
* espect for the evolving capacities of children with disabilities and respect for the right of children with disabilities to preserve their identities

The convention will become legally binding on 3 May.

—-
Links:
Secretary-General Ban hails entry into force of treaty on disability rights – UN News Centre
CONVENTION on the RIGHTS of PERSONS with DISABILITIES
List of Signatories and RatificationsUNEnable

Kosovo: Who recognises the new state?

Its been over 24hrs since Kosovo unilaterally declared independence from Serbia. The following countries have recognised an Independent Kosovo:

  • Afghanistan, 18 February 2008
  • Albania, 18 February 2008
  • Australia, 19 February 2008
  • Costa Rica, 17 February 2008
  • France, 18 February 2008
  • Turkey, 18 February 2008
  • United Kingdom, 18 February 2008
  • United States, 18 February 2008

Partailly Recognised States who recognise Kosovo:

  • Republic of China (Taiwan), 18 February 2008
  • Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, 18 February 2008

Kosovo will also be recognised by the International Olympic Committee, but it will be too late to organise a delegation for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Other countries in the process of recognising Kosovo are:

  • Austria
  • Belgium
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland, 29 February 2008
  • Germany, 20 February 2008
  • Hungary
  • Ireland
  • Italy, 20 February 2008
  • Japan
  • Latvia
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Pakistan
  • Panama
  • Poland
  • Slovenia
  • Sweden, 4 March 2008
  • Switzerland

The following states are refusing to recognise an Independent Kosovo:

  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • People’s Republic of China
  • Cyprus
  • Georgia
  • Greece
  • Kazakhstan
  • Moldova
  • Romania
  • Russia
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Spain
  • Sri Lanka
  • Vietnam

Other countries are waiting for a decision from the UN, which will be slow coming as the P5 on the Security Council are split on the issue.

Source

Kosovo declares itself independent as an EU Colony

Today the Kosovar Assembly voted unamimously for Independence from Serbia. What does this actually mean for the province is something else entirely. Independence here is entirely symbolic as the EU will be running the Administration, the Courts and the Police Service, with NATO being the Army. Not exactly an “Free, independent and sovereign state”?

Pristina will be able to pass laws and sign treaties but will depend on EU Officals to implement them. The EU mission, when it is up and running, will have sweeping executive powers. It will have the right to veto the elected government if it deviates from the Brussels-approved reform path. It will have the power to intervene directly in Kosovo’s internal affairs.

The EU of course are playing these powers down. Saying they will be seldom used, or are for emergencies only. Kosovo can be expected to be ruled like Germany and Japan after World War II for at about five to eight years.

Kosovo will be the EU’s first time being an exporter of democratic principles. The EU has of course helped countries in tranisition from Dictatorships (Greece, Portugal, Spain) and from Communism (Estonia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Lithuania and Poland). Kosovo is different as it is it defiance of international law. United Nations Security Council Resolution 1244 which in the preambulatory clauses states “Reaffirming the commitment of all Member States to the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and the other States of the region, as set out in the Helsinki Final Act and annex 2”

This leaves Russia in a strong poistion in the UN. It can veto any application by Kosovo to join the UN, it can also block changes to Reslution 1244. Conversely France, the UK and the US can block Russian moves to have the UNSC declare the move illegal. So its stale mate at the UN.

Serbia, immediately disregard the´declaration saying it will not recognise a ‘false state’ which would be a “satellite state known as Kosovo”. Serbia of course has ruled out the use of force, but will use ddiplomatic means to try and bring Kosovo back in.

Serbia remains the main trading partner of Kosovo so if Serbia brings in sanctions then Kosovo could be worse off.

Only time will tell if Kosovo will end up a “Free, independent and sovereign state” or just a failed state.

Morning Briefing, 26th February

Well I’m back in Cork after USI LGBT Standing Conference, where I was re-elected to Working Group on the 3rd count! Also congrats to Ms. Sonya Donneally who was elected unanimously as the new LGBTRO! woo! (P.S. If anyone wants to know what motions where passed email me!)

In the news today!

The International Court of Justice, is due to deliver its verdict today on whether ot not Serbia is responsible for Genocide ‘through the killing, torture, rape and expulsion of Bosnian Muslims’ (CNN, RTÉ, Breakingnews) If passed, it will be the first time that a state, rather than an individual or group, has been held responsible for genocide.

Nurses begin there industrial action today with a protest outside CUH (Breakingnews, RTÉ) The INO and PNA are seeking a 10% pay increase for their members and a reduction in their working week to 35 hours.

Israel is after performing a raid on the West Bank, it has now entered its second day (RTÉ, Breakingnews)

Jean-Marie Le Pen has laucned his latest bid for the french presidency (France 24, CNN) He has put forward an anti-immigration, ultranationalist stance, pledging to cut off social benefits for foreigners and deporting those who are unable to fend for themselves. He is having difficulty getting 500 mayors to back him.

Talks begin today in London on Iran’s Nuclear program. (CNN, France 24). The P5 and Germany are meeting to discuss the next course of action. Israel is denying that its has plans to attack Iran’s Nuclear facilities (France 24) and the USA have plans to bomb Iran according to Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist Seymour Hersh (CNN)

Thats its for now!

Morning Briefing, 16th February

Dia Duit

An nuacht ar an maidin seo.

The row over the cost of the Mahon Tribunal continues today (Breakingnews) with Judge Mahon saying the tribunal will only cost €300m, maybe less. Also Labour are getting in on the act (RTÉ) saying that the government are trying to delay the tribunal. Well d’uh

Russian President Vladimir Putin has appointed a former rebel as President of Chechnya (France 24) Pity he wasn’t elected.

Serbia has rejected the UN plan for Kosovo (CNN). Surprise surprise. I can’t see any Serbian parliament accepting independence, virtual or not, for Kosovo.

North Koreans are celebrating Kim Jong-Il 65th birthday (France 24). Though state media in north korea seam to warning about a military threat from the US. I don’t see how they can invade as the armed forces are stretched to the limit Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US House of Representatives is due to vote on a resolution against the troop surge in Iraq today. (CNN)Also House speaker Nancy Pelosi has stated that “Bush lacks authority to invade Iran”

The European Parliament has adopted a report which implicates 13 member states in cooperating with CIA rendition flights (France 24) The national governments specifically criticised for their unwillingness to cooperate with Parliament’s investigations were those of Austria, Italy, Poland, Portugal and the UK. The report also gives detailed evidence of investigations of illegal rendition or CIA flight cases involving Germany, Sweden, Spain, Ireland, Greece, Cyprus, Denmark, Turkey, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), Bosnia and Romania (EU Parliament Website)

Thats it for now!

Slán!

Morning Briefing, 26th January

Dia Duit ar an maidin fuar!

An nuacht ar an lá seo.

A conference is taking place in Spain on the EU Constitution (BBC). Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain are sending ministers and Germany, Ireland and Portugal are sending observers. Im not sure what outcome it will have as only 17 member states are attending.

The UN will announce its plan for Kosovo today (BBC). Hopefully it will safe gaurd

In a historic step the Prime Minister of Vietnam has met with the Pope (CNN)

Kofi Annan has returned home to Ghana (CNN) after his ten year stint as head of the United Nations. He is thinking of entering agriculture

No more .um sites (CNN)awww, but there are talks of getting rid of .su sites also.

The US has unveiled an non-lethal ray gun!(CNN) i thinks its a cool idea. It makes u think ur going to catch fire, wo wont run from that!

And finally in UCC RAG week is over and nominations for the Student Union Elections open next wednesday. I am intending to seek a nomination to run for Welfare officer in the SU. check out my website its still under construction so check back. But i do have a Bebo, MySpace and Facebook profiles

MORE THAN 20 UN PERSONNEL KILLED IN 2006, SAYS STAFF UNION AS IT CALLS FOR ACTION

Fatal attacks against United Nations personnel last year claimed the lives of at least 22 peacekeepers and civilian staff, mostly in southern Lebanon, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Haiti, Sudan, and Afghanistan, the world body’s staff union said today, as it called for greater effort to bring those responsible to justice.

“Apprehending and punishing the perpetrators would go a long way to address this situation. Very seldom those who attack and kill United Nations personnel pay for their crimes,” said Stephen Kisambira, President of the Staff Union. Last year’s figure is lower than the fatalities in 2005, when 32 UN staff were killed worldwide.

As well as the killings in 2006, there were also “numerous violations of the independence of the international civil service around the world, and staff members were detained or expelled in Eritrea,” the Union said.

The most deadly place for the UN last year was southern Lebanon during the month-long war between Israel and Hizbollah, when 16 personnel from the world body were killed or wounded, according to figures from the Staff Union’s Committee on the Security and Independence of the International Civil Service.

The worst incident occurred on 25 July when an Israeli air strike hit the building and shelter of a UN observer post in the town of Khiyam, southern Lebanon, killing four observers: Du Zhaoyu, 34, of China; Hans Peter Lang, 44, of Austria; Paeta Hess-von Kruedener, 43, of Canada; and Jarno Mäkinen, 29, of Finland.

Other deadly attacks occurred against operations worldwide, particularly in the DRC on 23 January when eight Guatemalan peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission (MONUC) were killed and five others wounded by suspected elements of the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

On 15 March, two gunmen attacked a compound of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Yei, southern Sudan, killing UNHCR guard David Batali and critically wounding Nabil Bahjat Abdulla, 48, of Iraq, who died later that month.

In Afghanistan, Sarajudin Noorzai, an Afghani driver serving with the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), was killed on 12 May by a rocket-propelled grenade while his UN vehicle was travelling between Badghis and Herat.