Tag Archives: UN report

UN Report–Plague On Both Heads

Judge Richard Goldstone who was asked by the UN to investigate Israel’s invasion of Gaza is expected to hand down a report which, in essence, says a plague on both your houses. Israel refused to cooperate with his 15 member commission on grounds one nation was being singled out while countries such as Sri Lanka which have violated human rights for years have gotten a pass. The commission is expected to condemn Israel for human rights violations during its invasion of Gaza, but it also will criticize Hamas for bombarding Israel for years with over 12,000 rockets.

Israel has conceded that at least 1166 Palestinians died during the fighting while only nine Israelis were killed of whom three were civilians. Any impartial study of this conflict must conclude that while Israel had justification for taking action in light of constant rocket attacks, the death of 1166 Palestinians of whom the majority were civilian, is a response that went too far. There simply were too many examples of killing civilians due to excessive force by the IDF.

Are Kenya Policemen A Law Unto Themselves?

A UN official who has been visiting Kenya told reporters he has uncovered evidence that Kenya police operate with impunity and regard their decisions as final in dealing with those they deem to be criminals. “I (found) the existence of a systematic, widespread and clearly planned strategy to execute individuals carried out on a regular bais by Kenya police.” UN Special Rapporteur Philip Alston urged President Kibaki to fire the Police Commissioner and to initiate an impartial investigation into these killings. A government spokesperson rushed to the defense of the police and claimed Alston’s report was made “in bad faith, almost impinging on matters of sovereignty.” Naturally, the Police Commissioner insisted all was well in the world and no one was getting executed.

There is scant doubt wagons are being drawn into the circle as everyone in the government rushes to the defense of the status quo.

Afghan Civilians Continue Dying In Cause Of Freedom

A United Nations report reveals that deaths of civilians during the war in Afghanistan increased by 40% last year to a number of 2,118. The research indicates 829 were killed by US, NATO and Afghan forces, an increase of 30% over figures from the previous year. Militants were responsible for 55% of deaths and forces of freedom for the remaining 45%. The death of civilians has long been a source of conflict between the Afghan government and those fighting as members of coalition and US forces. UN figures note that despite efforts to establish new rules in dealing with fighting where civilians are in the area, the death rate continues rising, “notwithstanding efforts to implement policies and procedures to minimise the impact of their operations on civilians.”

Of course, forces of freedom do provide monetary compensation to families of those being killed. One can only wonder whether a young son uses the death as a reason for joining the Taliban. Perhaps, it is time to appoint a military officer who would focus on ways to avoid civilian deaths.

Rape And Murder In Congo

In theory, living in the capital of a nation should afford women some form of protection against crime and violence, but in Kinshasa, abusing women is something that occurs on a daily basis. Clara, age 16, described how two men posing as policemen, “threw me on the ground and raped me.” She shared the experience that hundreds of other women in the capital have endured. As armed soldiers in the eastern section of the country rape and pillage without fear of retribution, women in the capital are now facing a similar fear of being violated by those who supposedly represent forces of law and order. Doctor Arthur Ngoy, says in his medical unit there are three daily cases of rape he has to treat, many of them resulting in pregnancy.

Last week, several thousand women took to the streets of the capital demanding an end to rape and violence. As a 2008 UN report noted, “Congolese women lie in a soul-destroying environment in which they are ;undervalued, discriminated against, and sexually assaulted.” It is doubtful if protests will end this violence against women.

HIV Now Impacts Over 33 Million People

A UN r eport issued yesterday said an estimated 33.2 million people in the world are infected by the HIV disease as of December, 2007. However, the UN report believes “the annual rate of new HIV infections appears to have decreased over the last decade.” The report believes there is increasing evidence “progress in containing the HIV epidemic is now being seen in nearly all regions of the world” which it attributes to heavy investment in new drugs and treatment programs. In 2007, about 2.5 million people were newly infected which is down from 3.2 million n 1998 and the annual rate of AIDS deaths has declined from 3.9 m ilion in 2001 to 2.1 million in 2007.

There is no doubt progress is being made in combating the debilitating effects of HIV in the world. But, there is much more needed in the way of low cost drugs for people in low income nations and preventive care to ensure people do not get infected. The disastrous Bush policy of refusing to support condom use programs is illustrative of how ignorance and bigotry lead to the deaths of millions of people.

UN Chief Says Global Warming Reduction Is Expensive

Global warming could cost the world up to $20 trillion over the coming decades in the effort to develop cleaner energy sources according to a new report issues by UN Secretary General, Ban ki-moon. The report will be a major topic of discussion at the upcoming two day climate meeting in Febrary which is intended to help shape the direction of UN policy on climate control. A new climate control treaty is expected by 2009 that will replace the existing Kyoto Agreement. The Kyoto pact requires the 37 industrial nations to reuce greenhouse gases by a relatively modest 5% on average.

Much of the focus on climate control debate revolves around the United States which simply has refused to cooperate with nations of the world and the emerging industrial giants of China and India which are and increasingly will become major sources of pollution. The 52 page report by Ban argues that a global investment of betwen $15 to $20 trillion will be required “to place the world on a markedly different and sustainable energy trajectory.”

A great unknown is the attitude of the new American president who will assume office in January of 2009. Will she/he be an activist in the struggle to control the effects of global warming or will she/he ignore it as has been the policy of George Bush? Only the future knows the answer to that question.