Rosa Freedman, University of Reading and Nicolas Lemay-Hébert, University of Birmingham
The United Nations has, at long last, accepted some responsibility that it played a part in a cholera epidemic that broke out in Haiti in 2010 and has since killed at least 9,200 people and infected nearly a million people.
This is the first time that the UN has acknowledged that it bears a duty towards the victims. It is a significant step forward in the quest for accountability and justice.
Haiti is one of the poorest countries in the world. It is frequently devastated by disasters – both natural and man-made. Yet cholera was not one of its problems before 2010. Then a group of UN peacekeepers was sent to help after an earthquake.
Continue reading As the UN finally Admits Role in Haiti Cholera Outbreak – Here is How Victims Must be Compensated
Asghar Zaidi, University of Southampton
At the end of one of the largest summits at the United Nations headquarters in New York, government representatives from all over the world will sign a commitment to new global development goals. These will replace the millennium development goals, setting objectives for bringing peace and prosperity, and reducing the impact of climate change.
UN member states have agreed on a list of 17 broad goals and 169 more specific targets. These goals are not legally binding but they will be important. They are aimed at eradicating hunger and poverty, while at the same time promoting peace, prosperity, health and education and combating climate change.
Continue reading What Are the UN Global Goals?
Today the United Nations released their final assessment (PDF) on the eight Millennium Development Goals that were adopted fifteen years ago. Some of the goals have achieved greater global impact than others. However, the fact remains that more people are not living in poverty, less mothers and infants are losing their lives during childbirth, more people have access to water and sanitation, and more children are living past the age of five as quick examples of the MDGs success.
“The report confirms that the global efforts to achieve the Goals have saved millions of lives and improved conditions for millions more around the world,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the launch of the report in Oslo, Norway.
“These successes should be celebrated throughout our global community. At the same time, we are keenly aware of where we have come up short,” he added.
Those eight goals are slated to expire in September and an entirely new set of goals will be voted upon and adopted during the United Nations General Assembly. Now, there are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 targets on the table that need to be not only understood by civil society and governments and worked toward, but also financed.
What is particularly important about the SDGs is that an open working group with the input of seven million people helped create the framework for the new goals as opposed to a few select experts and member states that created and adopted the MDGs. This is partly why the new SDGs are so far-reaching in their outlook and ambitions. The 17 global goals for sustainable development can be found at globalgoals.org.
Continue reading An Update on the Sustainable Development Goals + Key Dates
An international expert panel of leaders convened today in New York City to launch the Code Blue campaign demanding an end to sexual abuses by UN peacekeeping forces and the automatic immunity they are afforded when abuses occur.
In recent weeks a scathing, formerly classified, report: Sexual Abuse on Children by International Armed Forces, was leaked revealing French peacekeeper soldiers sexually abused boys as young as nine during their Central African Republic Sangris operation between December 2013 and June 2014. The report, which was ultimately leaked by a senior UN aid worker and director of operations, Anders Kompass, states that mostly homeless and orphaned boys were sexually exploited. The sexual exploitation, including sodomy and rape, by French peacekeepers occurred in exchange for food and money. The abuses allegedly occurred at the renown M’Poko airport in Bangui where thousands retreated to relative safety during the height of the ethnic violence between Muslims and Christians in Central African Republic’s near genocide.
Kompass was subsequently disciplined for breaking UN protocols. Meanwhile, the report was first leaked in July of 2014 and stagnated until it was revealed recently by AIDS-Free World.
The UN, however, contends the peacekeeping soldiers in question are not a part of their operations. “The forces referred to in the Guardian story are French and do not fall under UN authority,” says a UN official. “The issue of confronting sexual exploitation and abuse by UN personnel remains one of our highest priorities.”
Continue reading Expert Panel Draws Up International Code in Response to Reported Peacekeeper Sexual Abuse