UN Day; Syrian Ceasefire; Human Rights; Polio; Internal Displacement

UN Day: In honor of UN Day, the SG called on individuals and the international community to reaffirm their commitment to building a better world. In his message for the day, he urged the international community to intensify efforts towards achieving the MDGs by 2015 and preparing a bold and practical post-2015 development agenda. The US Mission also issued a statement, reaffirming that “United States under President Obama remains firmly committed to preserving and strengthening this important institution and the U.S.-UN relationship.”

Syrian Ceasefire: Lakhdar Brahimi announced from Cairo today that the warring parties in Syria have agreed to a potential ceasefire later this week, in honor of the Muslim holiday Eid al-Adha. After briefing the SC on his efforts this morning, Brahimi noted that he expects an announcement by the Syrian Government regarding his proposed pause in fighting and that many in the opposition have also responded positively.

Human Rights: The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, told the GA today that protecting human rights during times of conflict is one of the greatest challenges that the international community faces today as evidenced by the crises in Syria, Mali and other parts of the world. “Outright disrespect for international human rights and humanitarian law, let alone for human life, is an anachronism which cannot be tolerated,” she said, emphasizing the urgent need to protect the Syrian people.

Polio: On World Polio Day, the head of WHO called today for renewed efforts to boost the campaign against polio, stressing that its eradication is technically feasible but political will is necessary to realize this goal. The Global Polio Eradication Initiative, led by WHO, has helped to decrease polio cases by more than 99% since 1988, and aims to eradicate polio in the three countries – Nigeria, Afghanistan, and Pakistan – in which it remains. World Polio Day is observed annually on October 24, which marks the birth of United States virologist, Jonas Salk, who was the leader of the team that invented a polio vaccine in 1955.

Internal Displacement: Despite significant gains in the last decade, internal displacement remains one of the world’s most significant human rights and humanitarian challenges, as 26 million people – almost double the number of refugees in the world – continue to be internally displaced every year by conflict, violence, human rights violations, disasters and development projects. The Special Rapporteur on the human rights of IDPs, Chaloka Beyani, briefed the press today, bringing attention to the issue on the 20th anniversary of the mandate for IDPs.