05 June 12
In his penetrating study "Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights," international affairs scholar James Peck observes, "In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us" - whoever "us" is.
Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let's keep to the past few weeks.
From The Washington Post
LEIDSCHENDAM, Netherlands — Judges at an international war crimes court have sentenced former Liberian President Charles Taylor to 50 years in prison following his landmark conviction for supporting rebels in Sierra Leone who murdered and mutilated thousands during their country’s brutal civil war in return for blood diamonds, the Associated Press reported.
From The Guardian
Ewen MacAskill in Washington
Sunday 22 April 2012 12.20 EDT
The UN is to conduct an investigation into the plight of US Native Americans, the first such mission in its history.
The human rights inquiry led by James Anaya, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous peoples, is scheduled to begin on Monday.
The purpose of development must be to create conditions for the pursuit of happiness and not merely boost the gross domestic product, which does not adequately reflect the happiness and well-being of people, Jigmi Thinley, prime minister of Bhutan, told a high-level United Nations meeting Monday. Jeffery Sachs, an economist at Columbia University who co-edited the UN's First World Happiness Report, said:
"The U.S. has had a three time increase of [gross national product] per capita since 1960, but the happiness needle hasn't budged. Other countries have pursued other policies and achieved much greater gains of happiness, even at much lower levels of per capita income." The Washington Post/The Associated Press (4/2), The New York Times (tiered subscription model)/Dot Earth blog (4/2)
Congolese warlord Thomas Lubanga this morning was convicted in the International Criminal Court -- the court's first verdict since its inception a decade ago -- of recruiting and deploying child soldiers under the age of 15 during five years of fighting that ended in 2003, resulting in more than 60,000 deaths. Lubanga could face life imprisonment. Mail & Guardian Online (South Africa) (3/14), Reuters (3/14), BBC (3/14)
|February 1, 2012 | News covering the UN and the world||
Ban ups pressure on Russia over Syria violence
The UN Security Council "cannot wait any longer" to take measures to end the violence in Syria, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today. Discussions were ongoing over an Arab-European resolution that calls for President Bashar al-Assad to step aside, but Russia said it would veto the measure in current form. Bloomberg Businessweek (2/1),Time.com/Global Spin blog (1/31), The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (1/31)
Last October, the German research satellite Rosat plunged into the Bay of Bengal, more than 20 years after it had been launched into orbit. But had it remained aloft for just seven more minutes, it would have landed in Beijing instead, new calculations show.
By Christian Schwägerl
UNFAO chief: Battle to end hunger is winnable
Gains in the battle against malnutrition have been made in many countries, but a concerted effort to slash the number of people around the world facing food shortages is still needed, Jose Graziano da Silva, the new head of the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization says in this interview. Da Silva is supporting tighter regulations on speculation, which has been broadly tagged as a major contributing factor to rising food prices.
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says one of his top priorities as he embarks on a new five-year term at the helm of the United Nations is to help ensure that the popular movements toward democracy across the Arab world are sustained. He also plans to do more for young people and women the world over, and influence policies that might narrow the widening gap between rich and poor. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (12/31)