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15 May 2014

UNA-NCA Board Adopts New Resolution on Recommendations for UN Peacekeepers in Haiti

The International Law Committee (ILC) of UNA-NCA recommended to the Board of Directors the adoption of the proposed Resolution set forth below (the “Resolution”) to the effect that the UN should promptly seek to establish a standing claims commission in accordance with its Status of Forces Agreement with Haiti or otherwise promptly provide an appropriate modality to address the claims of the Haitian victims of cholera.
       
On February 26, 2014, ILC sponsored, in cooperation with ASIL, a compelling symposium, “Remedies for Harm Caused by UN Peacekeepers”, that examined the remedies available to victims and others injured as a result of UN Peacekeeping activities, particularly in the context of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. (Presenters were Jose Alvarez, NYU Law School, Ira Kurzban, a lead attorney in the Haitian Cholera case filed in the SDNY, and Bruce Rashkow, former highest ranking American in the UN Office of Legal Affairs. Moderated by David Birenbaum.) A summary of the program can be found on UNA-NCA’s website
    
Cholera in Haiti, introduced by UN Peacekeepers from Nepal, has resulted in more than 8,500 deaths, 700,000 illnesses and more than 5,000 complainants who have alleged negligence bordering on recklessness by the UN Peacekeepers. Distinguished experts, including the UN’s own Panel of Independent Experts, have determined that the cholera virus was unquestionably introduced into Haiti by the Peacekeepers from Nepal.  The UN has stated that the claims “are not receivable” because they involve “political and policy matters”, without further explanation.
       
Other organizations have taken similar positions recently.  On April 11, 2014, the Association of the Bar of the City of New York, representing 24,000 local and international lawyers, urged Secretary of State John Kerry to implore the UN to take responsibility for its actions in Haiti. Last October, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for the cholera victims to be compensated

An additional article that resulted from the symposium can be found on ASIL’s website

Robert H. Craft,Jr.
Chair, International Law Committee
UNA-NCA

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15 May 2014

Closing the Gap: Gender Disparity and Education in the Developing World

Distinguished panelists tackle women and education in the developing world. 

On May 15, UNA-NCA's Human Rights Committee hosted a thought provoking panel discussion highlighting the importance of improving access to education for girls and women globally at the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). "Closing the Gap: Gender Disparity and Education in the Developing World" brought together four panelists who discussed their own experiences and provide insight on how to close the gap in the gender disparity in education. Additionally, they examined ideas that governments and organizations can focus on in the coming years and potential action steps that can be taken. The panelists included: Dr. Edwin H. Gragert, Director, Global Campaign for Education-USA, Lyric Thompson, Senior Policy Manager, International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), Dr. Farhana Shah, Education Expert, Khadim Hussain, Founding Director/Chief Executive, GRACE Association, Pakistan.
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08 May 2014

Successful UNA-NCA/ WIN Event on Women in Sustainablilty

On Thursday, May 8th 2014 the UNA-NCA and the Women’s Information Network (WIN) hosted a successful event titled “Women in Sustainability” at the Science Club DC. During the program the two speakers, Kim Lovell from the Seirra Club and Hilary French from the United Nations Environment Programme, discussed the role of women in sustainability. In addition, both women also shared their professional journey and provided several helpful tips on breaking into the field of sustainability. Thanks to our speakers and audience for an infomative event with great turnout!



29 April 2014

Successful Global Classrooms Spring Model UN Conference

GCDC holds 12th Annual Model UN Conference

2014_MUN_Conference
On April 29th, Global Classrooms DC hosted its annual Spring Model UN Conference for 650 middle and high school students at the U.S. Department of State and Pan American Health Organization.  The students, many from local DC Public Schools and some coming from as far away as Ghana, worked together to pass resolutions on critical global issues including Access to Clean Water, Human Trafficking, and the Situation in the Congo.  Volunteers from local universities and organizations, including the State Department, led the Model UN simulations and guided students through a full day of committee sessions.  Students were required to negotiate with each other while representing the perspectives of different countries, with the shared goal of passing a resolution by the end of the day.   
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02 April 2014

UNA-NCA Honors former U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins with the Lifetime Achievement Award

On April 2, 2014, the UNA-NCA Africa Committee honored former U.S. Ambassador Edward Perkins with the Lifetime Achievement Award in a ceremony held at the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA).   During the program, Ambassador Perkins talked about seminal events in his life that lead him down the path of public service.
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26 February 2014

Remedies for Harm Caused by UN Peacekeepers

This compelling program examined the remedies available to victims and others injured as a result of UN Peacekeeping activities generally and in the context of the cholera epidemic in Haiti. 

Bruce Rashkow explained that the grant of immunity to the UN in Section 2 of the UN Convention on Privileges and Immunities was not intended to shield the UN from justifiable claims, and that Section 29 requires the UN to provide appropriate modes of settlement of disputes of “a private law” character. Claims against Peacekeepers generally have been settled administratively, but in two recent cases, Mothers of Srebrenica, where UN peacekeeping forces failed to protect innocent civilians against almost certain death, the Dutch Supreme Court held the UN had absolute immunity and, on appeal, the European Court of Human Rights held the claims inadmissible; in the case of the Haitian Cholera epidemic, the UN has refused to entertain the claim.  
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24 February 2014

Book Lecture by Dr. Roy D. Morey

"Will China Replace the US in the Global Leadership Race?"

On February 24, 2014 UNA-NCA hosted a book lecture by Dr. Roy Morey.  Dr. Morey gave an insightful account of his time  as the UNDP representative to China in the 1990s. The presentation also discussed Dr. Morey's opnion on the topic: "Will China Replace the US in the Global Leadership Race?" addressed in the epilogue of his latest book The United Nations at Work in Asia: An Envoy's Account of Development in China, Vietnam, Thailand and the South Pacific.
Read more about the book!

 

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19 February 2014

The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2014: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in the Year Ahead

A dialog and discussion on the UN Human Rights Council

On February 19, 2014, UNA-NCA and the American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) facilitated an informative and insightful panel discussion about the United Nations Human Rights Council titled: “The UN Human Rights Council: What’s New, What’s Old, and What to Expect in The Year Ahead.” The panel featured speakers Wesley Reisser of the United States Department of State and Ed Elmendorf, former United States- United Nations Human Rights Officer and a decades-long leader of the United Nations Association in various capacities. Billed as an ‘insider’s dialogue’, the two panelists discussed some of the challenges facing the Human Rights Council and the current state of US engagement on the Council.
Watch the Discussion!

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