Wednesday, 25 November 2009

UN peacebuilding body ready for expanded role, Security Council told

Filed under: News Watch Blog — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:28 PDT

The United Nations Peacebuilding Commission (PBC) – tasked with marshalling resources to support recovery and development efforts in countries emerging from conflict – could be put to greater use by the world body, the Security Council was told in a briefing today.

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Darfur: over 300 former combatants discharged through UN-backed programme

Filed under: Africa files,Disarmament,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:27 PDT

More than 300 former combatants in Darfur, including women and disabled persons, have participated in a three-day discharge programme organized by the Government of Sudan with support from the joint African Union-United Nations mission in Darfur.

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Despite progress, challenges remain on child soldiers in Sudan, UN official reports

Filed under: Africa files,children and youth — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:26 PDT

Despite progress in Sudan in the past two years in tackling the problem of children in armed conflict, many challenges remain, ranging from reintegrating child soldiers to dealing with youngsters abducted by the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) who have been brainwashed into killing their own parents, a senior United Nations official said today.

On the positive side, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict Radhika Coomaraswamy cited a recent agreement with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), which fought a two-decade-long war with the Government until a peace accord in 2005.

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Report | China’s Expanding Role in Peacekeeping: Prospects and Policy Implications

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:08 PDT

China’s growing global presence has meant a growing awareness and concern within the country about international economic and political developments. As China’s national interests have become more global in their scope, China has shown an increased willingness to commit resources towards constructively
engaging the international community and contributing responsibly to stability and security in a widening array of locations. China’s expanding role in United
Nations peacekeeping is one important manifestation of this trend, and is the focus of this Policy Paper… (full document .pdf)

Why don’t academic scientists share information with their colleagues?

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 21:00 PDT

“Every scientist knows that science advances only if knowledge is shared,” (Warnick and Wojick 2009). Science is a cumulative process, so its progress and benefits to society hinge critically on multiple scientists testing and building on each others’ work. However, the contribution to the “scientific commons” (Merton 1973) is challenged by individual scientists’ self-interest.

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Winning writing on international development

Filed under: Africa files,Environment,Media and Conflict — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:57 PDT

The winners of the Guardian Newspaper’s International Development Journalism competition have now been chosen. Both winning articles addressed the impact of climate change on water in Africa. Preeti Jha, winner of the professional competition, wrote about water and conflict among pastoralists on Kenya’s Ethiopian border.

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Afghanistan: Elections and the Crisis of Governance

Filed under: Books, reports, sites, blogs,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:49 PDT

President Hamid Karzai’s re-election on 2 November 2009, following widespread fraud in the 20 August presidential and provincial polls, has delivered a critical blow to his government’s legitimacy. The deeply flawed polls have eroded public confidence in the electoral process and in the international community’s commitment to the country’s nascent democratic institutions. Concentration of power in the executive to the exclusion of the legislature and judiciary has also resulted in a fundamental breakdown in governance while strengthening the hand of the insurgency. To restore stability, vigorous constitutional reform under the aegis of a loya jirga must be undertaken; an impartial commission of inquiry into the flawed elections should be formed; the UN Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA) should be restructured to restore credibility; and prompt steps must be taken to strengthen institutions.

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Israel’s pro-settlement soldiers worry leaders

Filed under: Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:25 PDT

In Israel, most men and women do military service. As a result, the public’s attitude towards their military is rather familial and criticism is mostly expressed in private. But, suddenly, an increasing number of soldiers are openly protesting against their involvement in the evacuation of Jewish settlement outposts in the West Bank, reports the BBC’s Katya Adler.

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Zimbabwe women rise up for peace

Filed under: Africa files,gender — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 20:20 PDT

As Americans count their blessings, it is useful to remember women who count their beatings — in the once-fair country of Zimbabwe, cursed by Robert Mugabe.

Magodonga Mahlangu and Jennifer Williams, leaders of Women of Zimbabwe Arise, sit at a table at the Robert F. Kennedy Centre for Justice & Human Rights, in Washington, recounting acts of courage that should be shouted from rooftops. “We are very ordinary people,” says Williams, about a movement of about 75,000 women who have engaged in more than 100 non-violent protests – protests that often end in a hospital or prison.

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North African women at forefront of legal reform

Filed under: Africa files,gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:59 PDT

FEZ, Morocco – Women in North Africa have made tremendous progress in promoting and upholding their rights. Women in this region—commonly known as the Maghreb—are at the forefront of the Arab world in terms of individual rights and gender equality, and constitute models for other Arab women to follow. A number of lessons may be drawn from the inspiring experience of women in North Africa, especially in Morocco and Tunisia.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women Presents an Opportunity for Positive Change

Filed under: gender,Indigenous Peoples — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:53 PDT

Ottawa – Jeannette Corbiere Lavell, President of the Native Women’s Association of Canada (NWAC), called today for an end to violence against all women in Canada. November 25th is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women.

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International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women | 25 November

Filed under: gender,Human Rights,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:51 PDT

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designated to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women’s activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

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UN officials call for intensified efforts to eliminate violence against women

Filed under: gender,Human Rights — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:48 PDT

UNITED NATIONS – UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Wednesday led a chorus of United Nations officials in calling on the international community to make greater efforts to tackle the global pandemic of violence against women and girls.

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Iraq: Negotiations solve tribal disputes

Filed under: Dispute resolution and negotiation,Middle East — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:43 PDT

CAMBRIDGE – No longer locked in one big war, Iraq has become a land of a hundred little wars. And this promised to be one more of them, as two well-armed tribes clashed over a coveted swath of land.

One tribe brandished a promise to 2,000 acres from the current Iraqi government. The other pointed to a like promise from the regime of Saddam Hussein. Guns were raised, shots fired. There seemed no ground for compromise, beyond the familiar local remedy: blood.

But then something extraordinary happened. The tribes agreed to negotiate and, with the help of the local mayor and others, crafted a deal giving both sides enough land to meet their needs.

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Peace activist, 13, urges everyone to take action

Filed under: children and youth,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:35 PDT

What does it take to make a positive change in the world?

It was a question from Bilaal Rajan, the extraordinary 13-year-old speaker at the YMCA 2009 Peace Medal Breakfast in Hamilton this morning.

The answers from the audience: “courage,” “hope,” “love,” “persistence,” “passion,” “energy,” “honesty.”

Bilaal nodded in agreement and then said, “The most important thing I found is, simply, action.”

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Peace medal winners work locally, globally

Filed under: children and youth,Peaceworkers in the news — story spotted by Catherine Morris @ 19:34 PDT

Danielle Kennedy and Meyada Widaatalla have joined a special fraternity this week — winners of the YMCA Northumberland Peace Medal.

Given to individuals, youth and groups who selflessly work to create peaceful conditions at home and abroad, it is awarded during the YMCA Peace Week each year. The Northumberland Y has given these awards since 1988, when the first one went to then-15-year-old Aengus Finnan…

This year’s youth medal recipient, Cobourg District Collegiate Institute East student Widaatalla, is active at school in such initiatives as international video conferencing on social justice issues.

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