01/29/2010 - 7:53pm
Posted by Bob Enholm
(With Patrick Fiedler)
Colleagues from Citizens for Global Solutions and we attended a panel discussion on Thursday, January 28, 2010, hosted by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) entitled “Rethinking Human Development – Part One.” The “Part One” indicates that this is the first of a series of such presentations to be offered during the year.
01/28/2010 - 2:49pm
During President Obama’s first State of the Union address on January 27, 2010, he focused on the upcoming economic challenges to be faced by the American people, as well as health care legislation and educational reform at all levels. However, he also spoke about several issues that are key to the work of Citizens for Global Solutions.
Climate Change: Although President Obama focused primarily upon the need to improve the domestic job market and American economy, he stated that“…to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, more incentives. And yes, it means passing a comprehensive energy and climate bill with incentives that will finally make clean energy the profitable kind of energy in America.” He reaffirmed his dedication to climate change legislation, asserting that “the nation that leads the clean energy economy will be the nation that leads the global economy. And America must be that nation.”
Prohibition of torture: He spoke of the threat of terrorism as well as the prohibition of torture in the same paragraph. Through this gesture, he established a possible link between the need to balance the pursuit of terrorists and the remembrance of every individual’s inherent human rights.
Nuclear non-proliferation: President Obama stated “the greatest danger to the American people – the threat of nuclear weapons.” Emphasizing the importance of nuclear non-proliferation, he stated that one of his responsibilities as leader of the nation was reducing nuclear stockpiles. Additionally, he described engaging internationally in nuclear weapons discussions at the upcoming Nuclear Security Summit to be held in April.
Engagement with international organizations: Obama emphasized the importance of active US engagement in international institutions through summits such as the G-20, which focuses primarily upon global economic issues. Stressing the historical significance of engagement, President Obama said, “As we have for over 60 years, America takes…actions because our destiny is connected to those beyond our shores. But we also do it because it is right.”
As Obama exclaimed, “Let’s seize this moment – to start anew, to carry the dream forward…” Citizens for Global Solutions has incredible work ahead in order to accomplish our goals. With the assistance of our members, and a president who has expressed support for many of our issue areas, CGS has hope for this next year too.
01/27/2010 - 1:09pm
Today, January 27, 2010 marks the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. International Holocaust Remembrance Day was established as a global day of commemoration by a United Nations resolution in 2005. On the day the resolution was adopted, the President of the sixtieth session of the General Assembly, Mr. Jan Eliasson, stated that the Holocaust must "be a unifying historic warning around which we must rally, not only to recall the grievous crimes committed in human history but also to reaffirm our unfaltering resolve to prevent the recurrence of such crimes…We cannot continue to repeat saying 'Never again'."
More than one million people were murdered at Auschwitz; the death camp in modern-day Poland which was liberated by Soviet soldiers on January 27, 1945. President Shimon Peres of Israel addressed the German parliament in Berlin on Tuesday, January 26, 2010. He stated: ''Across the world, survivors of the Holocaust are gradually departing from the world of the living…At the same time, men and women who took part in the most odious activity on earth -- that of genocide -- still live on German and European soil, and in other parts of the world…My request of you is: Please do everything to bring them to justice.''
The White House has sent a seven-member presidential delegation to Poland to attend the commemoration of the liberation of Auschwitz. The delegation, lead by the Honorable Julius Genachowski, Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, includes three Auschwitz survivors.
At the United Nations a solemn ceremony and concert will take place. Keynote remarks will be made by Nechama Tec, a Holocaust survivor, and her son, Mr. Roland Tec, co-producer of the film "Defiance."
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon released a statement saying that the theme for this year’s observance is "The Legacy of Survival."
"Countless men, women and children suffered the horrors of the ghettos and Nazi death camps, yet somehow survived. All of them carry a crucial message for all of us. A message about the triumph of the human spirit. A living testament that tyranny, though it may rise, will surely not prevail. Survivors also play a vital role in keeping the lessons of the Holocaust alive for future generations… [M]any millions of people were systematically abused and murdered. Most of them were Jews. But others were targeted, too. At Auschwitz, thousands of those killed were inhabitants of the Roma and Sinti ‘family camp’. Holocaust survivors will not be with us forever but the legacy of their survival must live on. We must preserve their stories through memorials, through education, most of all through robust efforts to prevent genocide and other grave crimes... Together, let us pledge to carry forward the mission of Holocaust remembrance and uphold human dignity for all."
01/26/2010 - 5:43pm
The devastating earthquake that hit Haiti on January 12th has led to a series of efforts to speed the adoption process for orphans in Haiti. Some aid groups, however, have cautioned that a hasty process may not be in the best interests of the children and could open the door to child trafficking networks.
One issue revolves around knowing who is truly an orphan and who is not. Save the Children Chief Executive, Jasmine Whitbread, said that family members may still be alive and taking children out of the country would "permanently separate thousands of children from their families - a separation that would compound the acute trauma they are already suffering". Additionally, UNICEF spokesman, Christopher de Bono stated that it is not uncommon for Haitian parents to put their children in orphanages temporarily and, thus, finding out which children are in fact orphans requires great attention to detail and documents.
A second concern voiced by aid agencies is that moving children around without procedure in a time of national emergency can open the door to fraud and abuse, as trafficking networks take advantage of the weakness of local authorities and relief coordination. The UN’s Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights released a statement saying that "[e]nslavement of children and trafficking were … existing problems, and could easily emerge as serious issues over the coming weeks and months."
Fears were raised as United Nations officials confirmed that around 15 children disappeared from a hospital in Haiti. UNICEF adviser Jean Luc Legrand said the situation was similar to the aftermath of the tsunami in Asia five years ago: "traffickers fish in pools of vulnerability. We know from past experience that trafficking happens in the chaos that usually follows emergencies."
UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman released the following statement:
Save the Children, World Vision and a unit of the British Red Cross called for an immediate halt to any new adoptions of Haitian children. World Vision Chief Executive Justin Byworth said "new unregulated adoptions could open the door to child traffickers" and that aid groups said that the focus must initially be on tracing any family members that children may still have. However, other groups are pressing for more urgent action. Margaret Fleming of Adoption-Link, said it was "ludicrous" to expect groups to refrain from taking action to immediately rescue those in need.
Most aid groups agree that adoptions that were already in progress before the January 12 earthquakes should go ahead, as long as the legal documents which meet Haitian and international law are in place. US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said she was "personally directing that we do everything we can to try to find and identify those children who are already adoptable... and to try to expedite all the paperwork... to get them to their new home". Several other countries are also fast-tracking adoption procedures which were already under way including Canada, France, the Netherlands and Spain.
UNICEF and other groups have tried to look for alternatives to immediate international adoption, such as establishing safe zones to register unaccompanied children. The UN mission in Haiti has stepped up surveillance of roads and the border with the Dominican Republic. A joint Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) protection team have arrived in Haiti and will join up with the remaining members of the MINUSTAH team to work with organizations in Haiti. It is the first time these two UN organizations have fielded a joint protection team of this type during a crisis.
To donate to aid efforts in Haiti CLICK HERE
01/25/2010 - 3:23pm
As of January 25, 2010, The United Nations continued its work to provide emergency relief services to the people of Haiti with a meeting of senior United Nations officials today. The purpose of the meeting was to coordinate the various sources of aid that are currently being channeled toward the nation. Immediate goals for the crisis-stricken state include stabilization and security efforts, which are being led primarily through the efforts of UN Peacekeepers.
Based upon the United Nations Security Council resolution of January 19, the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) expanded its forces to 8,940 troops and a police force of up to 3,711 individuals. After visiting Port-au-Prince, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Mmoon requested an additional augmentation of troops for the region after surveying the devastation. In describing the mission, Alain LeRoy, the UN Secretary-General for peacekeeping, stated that “their main task is to assure security and, of course, to help the Haitian people remove the rubble in all the places it can.” The latest figures indicate that there have been 81 total fatalities, of which 21 are confirmed UN Peacekeeping fatalities. The earthquake claimed the head of MINUSTAH, Hedi Annabi, as well as individuals representing Tunisia, Nigeria, Canada, Mexico, Italy, USA, Germany, Niger, Democratic Republic of Congo, France, Guatemala, India, Philippines, United Kingdom, and Brazil. According to the UN News Centre, “the earthquake has caused the single greatest loss of life in the UN’s history.” With at least 50 people unaccounted for, the UN must combine efforts to assist the Haitians as well as identify the dispatched personnel. Although early recovery efforts are currently underway, it is apparent that much greater investments into reconstruction and redevelopment of infrastructure will be necessary.
The first UN peacekeeping operation in Haiti began in September of 1993. After initial issues of cooperation with the Haitian government, the UN had several successful missions. In 2000, the presidential elections were contested and, as a result, armed conflict broke out in 2004. With Security Council Resolution 1529 (2004), the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) was established. The devastating effects of the January 12 earthquake have further engaged UN efforts in Caribbean country. It would appear almost certain that the United Nations will have a continued presence in Haiti for years to come as the nation works to rebuild all that was destroyed.
01/22/2010 - 11:11am
Posted by Bob Enholm
Yesterday's U.S. Supreme Court decision in Citizens United holds tremendous implications for Citizens for Global Solutions and our supporters. As you read the editorials in newspapers and online and listen to the pundits on television, I invite you to consider how this decision fundamentally changes the advocacy landscape in which we often operate.
01/21/2010 - 3:11pm
Posted by Michael Serra
“The era of unilateralism is over,” exclaimed Representative Bill Delahunt (D-MA) during the conference to launch the bi-partisan American Engagement Caucus at 10:00am on Thursday, January 21.
The conference was led by the caucus’ founding members, Representative Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Representative Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-LA), and was complimented by speeches from former UN Ambassador and current President of the Connect US Fund Nancy Soderberg, InterAction’s Lindsay Coats, and Representative Bill Delahunt. Representative Carnahan opened the conference by pointing out the challenges of living in a global society and stating that an isolated United States would leave the country desolated with military, economic, and humanitarian problems.
Carnahan reiterated the importance of understanding our global partners and enemies while working multilaterally for America’s best interest. He made sure to explain that one of the objectives behind the engagement is to create a “smart power” strategy to encompass what Defense Secretary Robert Gates described as, “…military success is not sufficient to win: economic development, institution-building and the rule of law. . . along with security, are essential ingredients for success.” Smart power as a blend of military strength and creative diplomacy can relieve our security issues as well as reinforce our international image. Subsequently, Representative Carnahan used a quote from President Truman to exemplify an overarching goal of the Caucus by stating,
Peter Yeo, Executive Director of the Better World Campaign, said:
Through the continued efforts of organizations like these and the new American Engagement Caucus, the United States can further work on behalf of all humanity to advance the issues that affect the world. Representatives Carnahan and Cao explained through an Op-ed piece in the The Hill that
“Historically, America has been the most respected nation in the world because of our commitment to working with all countries on behalf of freedom, peace, and other common objectives.”
Now, with this Caucus there is greater hope that the United States can further its historic efforts for the betterment of mankind.
01/20/2010 - 4:34pm
The new American Engagement Caucus will officially launch tomorrow, Thursday January 21, 2010 at 10:00 am in the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2200. The Caucus was formed to foster the development of strategies in which to engage other nations. In an increasingly globalized world, the United States cannot expect to unilaterally tackle the many challenges present today, such as terrorism and climate change. The Caucus will analyze potential multilateral approaches to global issues, working to engage both formal governmental institutions and international organizations. One of the primary objectives of the body is to review the role the United States currently plays in regional and international institutions such as the European Union and the United Nations.
The two Congressmen spearheading the American Engagement Caucus are Congressman Russ Carnahan (D-MO) and Congressman Anh “Joseph” Cao (R-LA). They have stressed the importance of the formation of such a governmental body, stating, “Our security, our economic future, and safeguarding the world’s environment all depend on engagement.” The American Engagement Caucus is the first to explicitly evaluate ways in which to improve and strengthen U.S. partnerships amongst nations.
Citizens for Global Solutions, the Better World Campaign, and the United Nations Association of the United States of America support the efforts of Congressmen Carnahan and Cao. CGS encourages members and interested individuals alike to attend the Launch party to be held tomorrow. To RSVP, please e-mail Dana Proctor of the United Nations Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org with your name and organizational affiliation.
01/19/2010 - 6:30pm
On January 20th, 2010, Ms Silvia Fernández de Gurmendi of Argentina and Ms Kuniko Ozaki of Japan will make a solemn undertaking in open court in The Hague to exercise their functions impartially and conscientiously. Later in the day a plenary will be held in which the new judges will be assigned to the judicial divisions.
After the passing of Judge Fumiko Saiga of Japan and the resignation of Mr. Mohamed Shahabuddeen, the Assembly of States Parties to the Rome Statute (ASP) held elections to fill the judicial vacancies during the ASP’s eighth session.
The eighth session of the ASP, which met in November of last year, was the first ICC meeting attended by the US since September 2001. State Department Legal Adviser Harold Koh and Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Issues Stephen Rapp led the US delegation.
CLICK HERE to view the live broadcast of the ceremony from the ICC website. (Video clips of the ceremony will also be available on the ICC website from 1:30 p.m. tomorrow.)
01/15/2010 - 2:45pm
The Lubanga trial at the International Criminal Court in The Hague resumed on January 7th. Thomas Lubanga is the alleged leader of the Union des Patriotes Congolais (UPS) militia which was involved in the Ituri region conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 2002-2003. The ICC investigation into the situation in Ituri has also led to arrest warrants for Germain Katanga and Mathieu Ngudjolo Chui who are both in ICC custody, and Bosco Ntaganda who remains at large.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is the first permanent, treaty based, international criminal court established to help end impunity for the perpetrators of the most serious crimes of concern to the international community. To learn more about the ICC CLICK HERE.
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