Blog Roundup #76

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Kenneth Anderson: “Reuter’s carries a story on a report from the UN staff union that attacks on UN workers around the world were up significantly in 2005, here. I discuss the general problem of UN neutrality and values in this Harvard Human Rights Journal article, from 2004, here.”

Green Think: “The UN Millennium Eco-System Assessment, the most comprehensive study of its kind ever done, tells us that 60% of the earth’s eco-systems are not functioning or are in a state of decline. This is the degradation of our life support systems. The same things that are negatively impacting our health are also having the same impacts on our biosphere.”

Coalition for Darfur: “From AFP: “More than 46 000 people have fled fighting in the past two months between army troops and local militia in the southeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), a UN aid official said Wednesday. The numbers of the newly displaced come in addition to 121 000 others who fled the war-torn region of the vast central African state in 2005 following continued unrest, UN humanitarian affairs official Anne Egerton told AFP. Egerton, who heads the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Kalemie, in Katanga province, warned that the situation of the new internal refugees was “extremely difficult”.”

Intelligence Watch: [Reuters] “The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Ivory Coast needs major reinforcements to cope with the volatile security situation there as the West African nation nears long-delayed elections, the United Nations said on Wednesday. The mission, which now stands at 6,891 soldiers and 697 international police, needs an additional 3,400 soldiers and 475 police officers, Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in his latest progress report on Ivory Coast to the Security Council. His appeal, which is certain to meet with resistance in the budget-conscious 15-nation council, was based on the findings of a U.N. team that visited the region in November 2005.”

Paper Chase: “The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) on Wednesday appealed to Egyptian authorities in an attempt to prevent the deportation of 654 Sudanese refugees whom Cairo authorities say are in the country illegally. Also Wednesday, US-based rights group Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to stop the deportations, which were announced earlier this week following a violent dispute on December 30 between Egyptian police and approximately 2,5000 Sudanese protesters. An estimated 27 Sudanese were killed [BBC report] during the violence. Both HRW and UNHCR have sent letters urging Egypt not to deport the refugees, with the concern that some of the refugees may face persecution in Sudan if they are forced to return. Reuters has more. AKI has local coverage.”

Syria Comment: “Khaddam is moving to form a government-in-exile, as-Seyassah reports below. Asad and Sharaa have been asked to testify before the Hariri investigators. According to ABC news, Syria has agreed that Sharaa will testify. Anyone interested in what I had to say on the PBS News Hour with Jim Lehrer can read the transcript of the show.”

Washington Note: “TWN has been inundated with emails asking why I have not written more about revelations about non-court approved NSA intercepts of electronic phone and email transmissions within the United States and the connection to John Bolton’s requests for NSA intercept material when he served as Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security. My response will no doubt frustrate many, but it is an honest one. I don’t believe that John Bolton was involved with electronic monitoring or spying domestically — with a couple of potential exceptions.”