UNGA Adopts Resolutions on Oceans

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6 December 2017: The UN General Assembly (UNGA) adopted two resolutions that aim to advance implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and support the conservation and management of straddling and highly migratory fish stocks and marine life in areas beyond national jurisdiction (ABNJ). Catherine Benson Wahlén SDG Knowledge Hub | IISD Member States also discussed an international legally binding instrument under UNCLOS, and other documents related to the law of the sea.   A ... Read More »

Syrian boys caught in ‘vicious cycle’ of sex abuse: UN

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Syrian men and boys, in their war-torn country and abroad, have suffered “a vicious cycle” of sexual abuse with more devastating consequences than previously reported, the United Nations said on Dec. 7. BEIRUT – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet In its new report, “We Keep it in our Heart,” the UN’s refugee agency said it had documented widespread sexual violence against Syrian males, including those seeking refuge. “There have been documented reports of how Syrian women and girls have suffered sexual violence ... Read More »

Ten things Australia can do to be a human rights hero

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Sunday is Human Rights Day. December 10 marks 69 years since the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948. Carolien van Ham Lisa Hill Louise Chappell With the 70th anniversary coming up in 2018, the UN has launched Stand Up 4 Human Rights, a year-long campaign to bring the ideals of the declaration closer to reality. The Conversation As a leader in the framing of the UN declaration and one of the ... Read More »

UN votes 151-6 against Israel, an ‘occupying power’ with no rights to Jerusalem

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The UN passed six new resolutions against the Jewish state, including one denying Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem 151-6. United with Israel The United Nations General Assembly in New York passed six resolutions on Thursday affirming Palestinian rights and condemning Israeli violations of international law, Middle East Monitor reported. According to one resolution (‘Jerusalem’), “the Assembly reiterated that any actions by Israel, the occupying Power, to impose its laws, jurisdiction and administration on the Holy City of Jerusalem were illegal and therefore null and… UN ... Read More »

UN appeals for record $22.5 bln in global aid for 2018

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The United Nations appealed Dec. 1 for a record $22.5 billion (18.9 billion euros) to provide aid in 2018 to soaring numbers of people slammed by conflicts and disasters around the world GENEVA – Agence France-Presse Hurriyet The global appeal by U.N. agencies and other humanitarian organizations aims to raise funds to help the some 91 million most vulnerable of the nearly 136 million people expected to need aid across 26 countries next year. The number of people in need ... Read More »

Foreign parliaments are not powerless to help the Rohingya – their pressure on Myanmar is vital

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As the pope made a high profile visit to Myanmar in late November, attention turned to how to help the thousands of Rohingya Muslims who have fled their homes to Bangladesh following violence and what UN officials have described as ethnic cleansing. Wessel Vermeulen Andreja Pegan  A deal struck between the two countries to start returning the refugees, has been criticised for going against international refugee law. The Conversation Western politicians have also travelled to Myanmar and Bangladesh to witness ... Read More »

In Times Of Crisis We Must Work Especially Hard To Protect Women And Girls

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Violence against women and girls anywhere and at any time is not acceptable Julie Bishop In conflicts and crises across the world, women and girls can suffer terrible abuses HuffPost The UN estimates that seven in 10 women are exposed to violence in crises The risk of abuse increases when they flee without the family or community networks that would normally support them, leaving them vulnerable to trafficking or assault. The trauma of such experiences cannot be overstated, severely affecting ... Read More »

Humanitarian aid arrives in Yemen as coalition allows UN flights

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The first shipments of humanitarian aid arrived at Sanaa airport overnight after a weeks-long closure which aid groups said deprived Yemen’s residents of badly needed food and supplies. tvnz On Saturday, the airport received two flights – one from the Red Cross and another from UNICEF. Both carried medical supplies, among them polio vaccines.They also carried UNICEF and Red Cross aid workers. The Saudi-led coalition that has imposed an air, sea and land blockade on war-battered Yemen since November 6 ... Read More »

What next for the unresolved Cyprus question?

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Despite high expectations, the conference on Cyprus at Crans-Montana in Switzerland from 28 June to 5 July did not lead to a breakthrough. Andreas Theophanous Friends of Europe The stakes were high, given the conference’s broader goals, which included addressing the need for multilateral cooperation, involving Turkey, in the Eastern Mediterranean on energy and security issues. Furthermore, a solution to the Cyprus problem in times of regional turmoil and conflict would have been considered a success for the United Nations ... Read More »

UN slams Australia’s human rights record

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Last night, the United Nations Human Rights Committee released its recommendationsfrom its review of Australia’s compliance with a key human rights treaty, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Anna Cody  Maria Nawaz The committee harshly criticised Australia for failures in key areas. The Conversation These included the treatment of refugees, Indigenous rights and inadequate protection of human rights, including the lack of a national human rights act. What is the UN Human Rights Committee? This is the treaty body for the… UN slams Australia’s… Read More »

Will anyone protect the Rohingya?

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Since August, the Rohingya, an ethnic minority in Myanmar, has faced what a United Nations official called “a textbook example of ethnic cleansing.” Vincent A. Auger  The Conversation Recent reports describe a campaign by Myanmar security forces to drive the Rohingya from the country permanently. Hundreds of thousands have fled to camps in neighboring Bangladesh, creating a new refugee crisis. This is exactly the type of atrocity that the United Nations vowed to combat in 2005, when it asserted a ... Read More »

Colombia’s Armed Groups Battle for the Spoils of Peace

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Colombia’s 2016 peace accord has brought over 10,000 FARC fighters to the cusp of civilian life, but in their wake rival armed groups are battling for control of vacated territory and lucrative coca crops. ICG In order to roll back booming drug production and expanding non-state groups, the Colombian government should provide local farmers with alternative livelihoods while developing grassroots security and local governance. Executive Summary The peace process with Colombia’s largest and longest standing guerrilla group has defied its ... Read More »

Australia’s “chronic non-compliance” “completely off the charts” says UN

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Overnight Australia was slammed by the UN Human Rights Committee for its “chronic non-compliance” with, and disengagement from, that Committee’s work. Australia’s record on human rights was found lacking as part of the Committee’s review into Australia’s protection of civil and political rights HRLC Professor Yuval Shany, Vice Chair of the Committee, said Australia’s track record was “incredible” for a country that claims to be a leading voice on human rights. Mr Shany directly contradicted Foreign Minister Julie Bishop’s previous ... Read More »

How to Turn Battleground Ukraine Into a Success Story

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If the West manages to talk Kiev out of any hasty ill-judged decisions and convince it to accept Moscow’s peacekeeper proposal as it is, then the world will finally see a win-win Anna Tikhonova, Cyril Fokin The National Interest Putin’s early September suggestion that a UN peacekeeping force be sent to the Donbass region triggered a skeptical reaction from the Western block To a certain degree, the Kremlin’s acceptance of the deployment of UN peacekeepers signifies a diplomatic victory of the ... Read More »

Maltese professor made vice-president of international maritime law tribunal

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David Attard elected to International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea position Leading international maritime law professor David Attard has been elected vice-president of the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea. PN congratulates Prof. Attard Times of Malta Prof. Attard will serve a three-year term in the post. He has been a member of the tribunal since 2011. In a statement announcing his appointment, the government said Prof. Attard’s achievements built on Malta’s long tradition of maritime ... Read More »

The Twists and Turns along China’s Belt and Road


China’s trillion-dollar Belt and Road Initiative could potentially transform relations with over 60 countries across Eurasia, Africa and beyond But to bring the concept to fruition, Beijing must overcome mammoth logistical obstacles, navigate fragile political situations and placate growing regional apprehension surrounding its ambitions. Michael Kovrig  ICG “The project of the century” is how Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi touted the Belt and Road Initiative to the world when addressing the UN General Assembly on 21 September. It was only ... Read More »