Daily Archives: April 28, 2011

Model UN: A Students’ Perspective

As we blogged about a few weeks ago, we had a fantastic group of students from all over the Greater Boston area participate in UNA-GB’s Invitational Model United Nations Spring 2011 Conference (IMUN) at the beginning of March. More than 250 middle and high schoolers from over a dozen Boston-area schools eagerly stepped into the shoes of diplomats, representing more than 40 countries, and spent the day taking on the world’s most pressing issues, including the crisis in Haiti, human organ trafficking, HIV/AIDS, and migrant workers.

Here is a sample of what students had to say about the day:

  • “What I enjoyed most about the Model UN Conference was getting to meet other people and discussing international issues.”
  • “Model UN taught me to understand more about the conflicts in the world and how they can be solved with help from other people. It also taught me how ideas and solutions from our own countries can assist others as well.”
  • “Model UN has really interested me in world issues and debating. Now, when I grow up, I definitely would like to do something to help my country and others.”
  • “Model UN has made me more comfortable talking in front of people now this proves I can be a teacher in the future.”
  • “Model UN is helping me understand the world, and I want to do things, and take every opportunity to help the world.”

Don’t just read about what the young people have to say – you can watch them too!  Check out our video from the IMUN Conference and spread the word that Model UN makes a difference for our young people!

You can also help us reach even more urban students by donating today.  You can also encourage the youth in your life to participate in Model UN (including our brand new summer camp this upcoming July!!).  Remember, Model UN rocks!

Libyan Conflict Reaches the UN

If you have been up to date with the news in Libya, you are probably aware that the situation in Libya is escalating. Libya has now become the center of attention for not only the media but also the U.N.

Libya’s bloody crackdown on protesters and its innocent civilians is alarming. It is reported that thousands may have been killed or injured.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon announced at a press conference on Wednesday, February 23rd that the current situation in Libya is unpredictable and it is possible that the situation could go in many directions, many of them, which are dangerous. He also stated that the international community should remain unity and act together. While the young people are pushing the frontier of freedom, it is important to note that there should be no violence and instead respect for human rights. He emphasized that the government of Libya should protect its people as attack on civilians are violations of international humanitarian and human rights law and those responsible must be held accountable.

Ironically, Libya is an elected member of the Human Rights Council and now some members have called for its expulsion.

On Friday, February 25th, the UN Human Rights Council met in a special session in Geneva, Switzerland to discuss possible sanctions against Moamer Kadhafi’s embattled government while the UN Security Council met Saturday 26th, in New York for a formal session to discuss the crisis in Libya and Moamer Kadhafi’s refusal to halt his crackdown on democracy protests.  See below for a brief overview of those sessions:

U.N. Human Rights council in Geneva (Friday, 02/25/2011)

Along with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, Russia’s Sergei Lavrov, as well as counterparts from Britain, France, Germany, the European Union and Italy, the Human Rights Council, the UN’s top rights assembly, decided unanimously on Friday to approve Libya’s exclusion from the body.

It also launched an UN-led investigation into “systematic violence” in Libya that could amount to “crimes against humanity,” after 1,000 people were reportedly killed in attempts to crush an uprising against Kadhafi.

Security Council Meeting in New York (Saturday, 02/26/2011)

The U.N. Security Council unanimously decided to impose economic and military sanctions on Libya and urged the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague to pursue charges of war crimes against Kadhafi, members of his family, and 16 of his political and military advisers.

At the meeting, U.N Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon announced that the U.N. receives daily reports of clashes and the “indiscriminate use of violence” resulting in an estimated 1,000 deaths and countless arrests and wounded in Libya. In addition, reports of Kadhafi’s supporting forces killing wounded opposition members in hospitals where they were being treated for wounds, have also reached the U.N.

The results of the meetings were praised by human rights groups, but they also urged the international community to ensure protection of civilians in Libya and justice for victims of violence over the coming months.

How do you think the unrest in Libya should be handled? Is the international community doing enough?  How can peace be achieved?  Let us know what you think and keep posted with UNA-GB on the current situations in Libya.

-NaEun

UN Continues Working Tirelessly in Haiti

While it may not have maintained dominant coverage on the 24-hour news networks, the United Nations’ relief efforts in Haiti remain in full force.

Just over six months after the 7.0 earthquake that rocked the Caribbean nation in January 2010, destroying the country’s infrastructure and killing an estimated 230,000 people, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced July 27 that the UN is hoping to reach an additional 500,000 children in the ravaged nation in a second round of emergency immunization.

The 7.0 earthquake hit the Caribbean nation on January 12, 2010.

Among the illnesses being vaccinated against are diphtheria, tetanus, whooping cough, measles, rubella, and polio. Haiti is considered by UNICEF as one of the nations where children are at the highest risk for contracting of these dangerous diseases.

In addition to providing health care, UNICEF and its partner organizations are providing water to 1.2 million people and food to an estimated 550,000 children and women.

The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) also recently announced on July 22 that they have assessed more than double their initial target of 100,000 buildings in Haiti for structural damage. With the help of the World Bank and the Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery, the United Nations have been working closely with the Haitian government in the recovery and rebuilding process.

The destruction caused by the disaster continues to dominate Haiti's landscape.

These announcements come on the heels of international football superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lionel Messi’s visit to Haiti, during which the reigning FIFA World Player of the Year visited a homeless camp and attended UNICEF meetings. In addition, the Barcelona player met with troops from his native Argentina serving the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).

Argentine football superstar and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Lionel Messi meets with children in Haiti.

Additionally, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), recently launched “A Book for a Child in Haiti,” collecting French-language books in an effort to jumpstart the educational system for “internally displaced persons (IDPs)” in Haiti.  The program is also working to forge relationships between Haitian and French schoolchildren.

However, in spite of all the efforts, there is still much work to be done. Over 800,000 Haitians are living in tents with no access to clean water or sanitary conditions. Almost 500,000 buildings have been deemed unlivable and still need to be removed, and education and health facilities have yet to sufficiently recover from the disaster. UNICEF reports that over 1,200,000 children are being exposed to exploitation and abuse amidst the disorder and turmoil.

The UN’s World Food Program (WFP) is spearheading the expansive relief effort, providing food, agricultural support, and both short- and long-term solutions to the island nation. This work is even more critical with hurricane season fast approaching and threatening the already fragile Haitian infrastructure.

Show your support and Help Haiti Rebuild by donating to the WFP’s Haitian relief efforts and stay informed by visiting their Haiti Emergency website.

-Patrick

There is work left to be done in the rebuilding process in Haiti.