Blog Roundup #78

A sampling of United Nations related blog commentary

Tapped (Mark Leon Goldberg): “Today, at the United Nations, negotiations will begin in earnest over the composition and mandate of a new human rights council that will replace the much maligned and discredited human rights commission. Creating the council has been on the UN reform agenda for quite some time now, and it was one of the pillars of reform that went unfulfilled at the UN summit last September. But as of today, UN member states are redoubling their effort to create a newly empowered human rights organ — and spoiler countries, like Pakistan, Cuba, Venezuela and India, are doing their utmost to stall this work.” Coalition for Darfur: “Darfur: Calls for a High-Level Envoy for Peace – From Human Rights First: “Human Rights First today called on the United Nations Secretary-General to appoint a new high-level Envoy for Peace in Darfur, where millions of innocent people are suffering in a human rights crisis. “The situation in Darfur is rapidly deteriorating, and there is an urgent need for greater action by the United Nations and its members, including the United States, to work to end the conflict.”

Congogirl: “In DR Congo, the training of 20 civilian and military personnel is in progress in France, to show that that country is dedicated to enforcing the rule of law. This training is an important step in light of recent events in Katanga province: 49,000 people have fled fighting there between the Congolese army and the Mayi-Mayi rebel militia. Humanitarian groups such as Medecins Sans Frontiers are having difficulty accessing those regions to provide aid. The International Crisis Group says that the situation is as bad as in Ituri and the Kivus but is not garnering comparable attention. “The number of displaced in central and northern Katanga now exceeds 100,000,” said Anne Edgerton, head of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)….”Their most immediate need is clothing,’ she said. ‘Many arrived with clothes rotting off their bodies.”

Fergie’s Tech Blog: “February Meeting on Internet Governance – Kieren McCarthy writes on The Register: “The first steps toward the new Internet Governance Forum, which will take a lead role in how the internet will be run now and in the future, have been taken. A website for the IGF has popped up on the net, and the first official convening meeting has been scheduled for 16-17 February at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. Invitations to interested parties were sent out yesterday. The establishment of the IGF was decided on at the World Summit in November, where UN secretary general Kofi Annan was asked to “to convene a meeting of the new forum for multi-stakeholder policy dialogue”.”

Mental Meanderings: “The New York Times carried an editorial yesterday on John Bolton’s proposals for reform of the Commission on Human Rights (CHR) in the United Nations. As I wrote here reform of the CHR is one of the main prongs in Kofi Annan’s reform package and is long overdue.”

Regime Change Iran: “As the world awakens, signs the regime may be fracturing as it prepares for a confrontation. Iran Breaks The Seals and the World Wakes Up: Reuters reported that the U.N. nuclear watchdog confirmed that Iran had broken U.N. seals at the Natanz uranium enrichment plant. * The Financial Times reported that European diplomats said an emergency meeting could be held this week. * The New York Times reported that the White House said if Iran continues on its current nuclear course, it will leave the international community no choice but to refer Tehran to the U.N. Security Council for possible actions. * The Times reported that Iran was likely to be referred to the UN Security Council for punitive sanctions by the end of the month.”

Thoughts About K4D: “Temporary Resolution of the US Funding Threats to UN – Read the full article by Thalif Deen published on January 9, 2006 on the Inter Press News Agency website. Lead: “The United States, a major funder of the United Nations and its myriad agencies, has a longstanding notoriety for exercising its financial clout to threaten U.N. bodies refusing to play ball with Washington.”

Central PA UNA-USA Chapter: “UN Activist Tool: A Citizens’ Guide to the UN in the 21st Century – A Citizens’ Guide to the UN in the 21st CenturyYou Can Make a Difference: “We have it in our power to pass on to our children a brighter inheritance than that bequeathed to any previous generation… If we act boldly – and if we act together…” – UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. “A Citizens’ Guide to the UN in the 21st Century” is a brochure that you can download, copy, and to use in your communities to talk to your friends and neighbors about the need to make the UN stronger and more effective in order to meet the challenges of a new century.”