State of Palestine and the Holy See – Participated this Weekend in ‘The People’s United Nations p(UN)’ Event at the Newly Re-Opened Queens Museum

Mme. De Valenzuela, R. Reyes Jr., R. Reyes, J....

Mme. De Valenzuela, R. Reyes Jr., R. Reyes, J.M. Eder, R.J. Maller (LOC) (Photo credit: The Library of Congress)

#AceWorldNews says in Queens, New York where the United Nations General Assembly met during the late 1940’s, a Mexican artist is testing his hypothesis that ordinary people, through creative approaches, can find solutions to world problems facing the current world body.

One-hundred-ninety-five New Yorkers who are immigrants from or have family connections to the 193 UN Member States and two observers – State of Palestine and the Holy See – participated this weekend in ‘The People’s United Nations p(UN)’ event at the newly reopened Queens Museum.

“This is a privilege to be asked to be a part of this bold artistic endeavour by Pedro Reyes,” said Peter Launsky-Tieffenthal, UN Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, referring to the artist who created the event and exhibition which will run through March 2014.

Opening the installation event on Saturday, Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal paid tribute to the borough hosting the Museum, calling Queens “a microcosm of the United Nations” with residents from more than 100 different countries speaking at least 138 different languages.

“It is one of the most ethnically and culturally diverse places on the planet, a place where people from all backgrounds are able to live side by side,” said the UN’s top communications official.

Unisphere at Flushing Meadows COrona Park

Unisphere at Flushing Meadows COrona Park (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1946, the spot from which he spoke was the meeting place of the UN General Assembly, which gathered at the then-New York City’s Pavilion, until 1950. The diplomats would move across the East River to the now iconic 39-floor UN Headquarters building in Manhattan in 1952.

“It’s a reminder that the UN is connected to its host city in so many ways, and has been for years,” Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal said.

The Museum overlooks the Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, the site of the 1939 World’s Fair, and the steel globe Unisphere which has since become a symbol of the borough.

The artist, Mr. Reyes, is hoping to evoke the Organization’s history for the installation, which according to its Facebook, included instruction to delegates such as: ‘Imagine in a perfect world, you open the newspaper and see an ideal headline from your country. Write that headline.’

The “representatives” from Bahamas, Benin, Denmark, and Zimbabwe wrote, “Education on the Go, College on Wheels.” The team which included Azerbaijan, Montenegro, Philippines, Rwanda and Somalia chose: ‘The Philippine Government Partners with the Vatican to Open Free Abortion and Birth Control Clinics.’

English: From top left: Midtown Manhattan, Uni...

English: From top left: Midtown Manhattan, United Nations headquarters, the Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, Times Square, the Unisphere in Flushing Meadows – Corona Park, the Brooklyn Bridge, and Lower Manhattan with the Staten Island Ferry (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“The Sun Welcomes Japanese Nuclear Reactors” and “From year 2130: Remembering Our Nation’s Separation into North and South Korea and Celebrating 50 years of Unity”, were among some other answers.

Over the course of two days, the experimental group used theatre games, group therapy, and techniques from social science to grapple with a set of surprising and provocative proposals as well as real-life problems, according to the Museum website.

“It is precisely the light-hearted spirit of play that allows the participants to engage in subjects whose magnitude would otherwise overwhelm us,” Mr. Reyes is quoted as saying.

Highlighting the parallel activity around him, Mr. Launsky-Tieffenthal said he hoped the world leaders took note of the willingness and eagerness with which the delegates engaged with each other “to learn, to play, to argue and to dream together as part of the People’s United Nations.”

Mr. Reyes’ exhibit also includes a series of art work on display for the next four months.

Among them the “Drone Dove”, which merges the form of an unmanned military drone and a dove of peace, as well as the “Colloquium”, a sculpture of delicately interlocking marble panels which, on close inspection, turn out to be blank cartoon speech bubbles communicating without words.

#1939-new-york-worlds-fair, #de-valenzuela, #flushing-meadows-corona-park, #new-york-city, #pedro-reyes, #peter-launsky-tieffenthal, #queens, #r-reyes, #r-reyes-jr, #un-member-states, #united-nations, #united-nations-general-assembly

RT: Reports Green for Go for Internet Privacy Resolution

privacy

privacy (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

#AceSecurityNews says UN human rights committee unanimously passed a ‘right to privacy‘ resolution sponsored by Germany and Brazil that protects the right to privacy against illegal surveillance, following revelations about NSA spying.

The resolution states that surveillance and data interception by governments and companies “may violate or abuse human rights.”

This is the first document that establishes protection of human rights in the digital sphere, Brazil’s Ambassador Antonio de Aguiar Patriota told the AP. It “establishes for the first time that human rights should prevail irrespective of the medium, and therefore need to be protected online and offline,” Patriota said.

The resolution is concerned with the “the negative impact” that surveillance, “in particular when carried out on a mass scale, may have on the exercise and enjoyment of human rights.”

German Ambassador Peter Wittig added, “Is the human right to privacy still protected in our digital world? And should everything that is technologically feasible, be allowed?”

France, Russia and North Korea were among the 55 countries that co-sponsored the resolution that only made indirect references to US global spying techniques.

The fact that the resolution was unanimously passed by the committee seems to guarantee that it will get the votes of all 193 members of the General Assembly in December. Although the resolution will not be legally binding, it will have some political weight.

The US did not go against the measure, though it did lobby the ‘Five-Eyes’ intelligence sharing alliance of UK, Britain, Australia and New Zealand to water down the language of the resolution. By the end of the day, language stating that foreign spying would be a rights violation was weakened, according to AFP.

Privacy

Privacy (Photo credit: g4ll4is)

#Human Rights Watch specialist Philippe Bolopion lamented that the language had been watered down. But, Bolopion still believes that it was “a vital first step toward stigmatizing indiscriminate global surveillance.”

Brazil and Germany introduced to the UN General Assembly their draft resolution in early November, calling for internationally recognized rights to privacy. The document further urged an end to global electronic espionage and the extension of internet freedom.

The resolution comes amid international scandal over #NSA spying over much of the world’s population and eavesdropping on a number of foreign leaders, including Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

NSA spying revealed by former intelligence contractor #Edward-Snowden revealed that Washington has spied on at least 35 world leaders besides the exposed the mass surveillance against private citizens and business.

According to Snowden’s leak intelligence agencies from all signatories of the ‘Five Eyes’ agreement – the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – collaborated with the #NSA

Since Snowden’s leaks surfaced in June, protests demanding more privacy protections have emerged in countries around the globe, with thousands of people worldwide having joined in recent Million Mask March rallies organized by the amorphous Anonymous movement.

RT:

 

#humanrights, #antonio-patriota, #brazil, #dilma-rousseff, #germany, #human-rights, #national-security-agency, #north-korea, #peter-wittig, #privacy, #united-nations-general-assembly, #united-states

Universal Ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court

#AceWorldNews says the history of the establishment of the International Criminal Court (ICC) spans over more than a century. The “road to Rome” was a long and often contentious one. While efforts to create a global criminal court can be traced back to the early 19th century, the story began in earnest in 1872 with Gustav Moynier – one of the founders of the International Committee of the Red Cross – who proposed a permanent court in response to the crimes of the Franco-Prussian War. The next serious call for an internationalized system of justice came from the drafters of the 1919 Treaty of Versailles, who envisaged an ad hoc international court to try the Kaiser and German war criminals of World War I. Following World War II, the Allies set up the Nuremberg and Tokyo tribunals to try Axis war criminals.

The UN General Assembly Resolution n. 260 on 9 December 1948, provided for the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide, and was the first step towards the establishment of an international permanent criminal tribunal with jurisdiction on crimes yet to be defined ininternational treaties. In the resolution there was a hope for an effort from the Legal UN commission in that direction. The General Assembly, after the considerations expressed from the commission, established a committee to draft a statute and study the related legal issues.

States parties of the Rome Statute of the Inte...

States parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Updated to July 2011 (116 members). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

States parties of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court. Updated to July 2011 (116 members). (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In 1951 a first draft was presented; a second followed during the same year but there were a number of delays, officially due to the difficulties in the definition of the crime of aggression, that were only solved with diplomatic assemblies in the years following the statute’s coming into force. The geopolitical tensions of the Cold War also contributed to the delays.

In June 1989, motivated in part by an effort to combat drug trafficking, Trinidad and Tobago resurrected a pre-existing proposal for the establishment of an ICC and the UN GA asked that the ILC resume its work on drafting a statute. The conflicts in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Croatia as well as in Rwanda in the early 1990,s and the mass commission of crimes against humanity, war crimes, and genocide led the UN Security Councilto establish two separate temporary ad- hoc tribunals to hold individuals accountable for these atrocities, further highlighting the need for a permanent international criminal court.

In 1994, the ILC presented its final draft statute for an ICC to the UN GA and recommended that a conference of plenipotentiaries be convened to negotiate a treaty and enact the Statute. To consider major substantive issues in the draft statute, the General Assembly established the Ad Hoc Committee on the Establishment of an International Criminal Court, which met twice in 1995.

After considering the Committee’s report, the UN GA created the Preparatory Committee on the Establishment of the ICC to prepare a consolidated draft text. From 1996 to 1998, six sessions of the UN Preparatory Committee were held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, in which NGOs provided input into the discussions and attended meetings under the umbrella of the NGO Coalition for an ICC (CICC). In January 1998, the Bureau and coordinators of the Preparatory Committee convened for an Inter-Sessional meeting in Zutphen, the Netherlands to technically consolidate and restructure the draft articles into a draft.

Statute of Rome AfricaEstablished by the Rome Statute of 1998, the ICC can try cases involving individuals charged with war crimes committed since July 2002. The Security Council, the ICC Prosecutor or a State Party to the court can initiate any proceedings, and the ICC only acts when countries themselves are unwilling or unable to investigate or prosecute.

Despite collective efforts, much remains to be done towards universal ratification of the Rome Statute, the treaty that established the International Criminal Court (ICC),United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said recently encouraging Member States to ratify or accede to it.

“I am convinced that the solution of broadening the reach of the Court is not disengagement, but universality,” Mr. Ban told the 12th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC in a <”http://www.un.org/sg/statements/index.asp?nid=7295“>message delivered by Miguel de Serpa Soares, UN Legal Counsel and Under-Secretary-General.

Of the 139 States that signed the ICC’s founding treaty, 31 have yet to ratify it and 43 States have neither signed nor acceded to it.

“Only once the Rome Statute has been universally accepted can the Court be as effective as we would wish it to be, with a truly global reach,” he said in the message.

Beyond the lack of universality, the ICC also faces other challenges, including a struggle for necessary resources and staffing shortages.

The Court also has difficulties bringing the accused to judgement and delivering justice to the victims without undue delay,the UN chief noted in his message.

“It faces the fundamental challenge of upholding the core principles of justice, equality and the rule of law: that the law applies equally to all,” Mr. Ban’s said, adding that the law must also be delivered independently, impartially and in conformity with international human rights law and standards.

Just as importantly, the law must be seen as being so delivered, Mr. Ban highlighted.

He also noted the importance of building effective national justice institutions and dispute mechanisms.

“Our commitment to international criminal justice is not only a commitment to strengthened international cooperation and dialogue, but also to strengthened domestic human rights and rule of law systems,” he added.

“At this difficult moment, we must remain steadfast and ensure that we are on the right side of history,” the Secretary-General said, stressing that as uncomfortable as it might be, “we must address our challenges head on” by encouraging dialogue and remaining true to the principles of the statute.   “This Assembly is the best forum for this dialogue.”

New York, Nov 20 2013  5:00PM

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#bosnia-herzegovina, #international-committee-of-the-red-cross, #international-criminal-court, #kenya, #rome-statute-of-the-international-criminal-court, #security-council, #united-nations, #united-nations-general-assembly

UN:Expert on Democracy States there can be No Democracy without Freedom of Opinion

English: The United Nations Security Council C...

English: The United Nations Security Council Chamber in New York, also known as the Norwegian Room Français: La Salle de réunion du Conseil de sécurité des Nations Unies à New York Nederlands: De Zaal van de Veiligheidsraad van de Verenigde Naties in New York (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There can be no democracy without freedom of opinion, a United Nations independent expert said today, highlighting the importance of access to information as he also presented his ideas on making the main bodies of the UN – the General Assembly and the Security Council – more democratic.

“You should not be subjected to the pressures, the intimidation, whether by Government or by the private sector, which would force you into self-censorship,” Alfred M. de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, told the UN News Centre following a briefing to journalists in New York.

“If you censor yourself, if you cannot articulate your needs, if you cannot articulate your priorities, then whatever you do, putting a little cross in a ballot box, etc, does not represent your view. It is an act of desperation,” he stressed.

Earlier in the day, Mr. de Zayas spoke to the General Assembly’s main social, humanitarian and cultural body (Third Committee), to which he presented 35 recommendations on international and national diplomacy, as well as studies to be carried out ranging from self-determination to issues related to indigenous people’s, war and peace and civil society.

“One of the problems that we have in the human rights community is that special interests often forget the interests of other victims, and there’s competition among victims expressions that are unnecessary,” he said, adding also that some victims are viewed as being “privileged” while others are more “excluded.”

Among those recommendations is the idea of establishing a world parliamentary assembly, or a UN parliamentary assembly, as a consultative body to the General Assembly, which would enhance the possibility of citizens participating in global decision-making and give greater voice to civil society.

Mr. de Zayas also highlighted international democracy deficits prevalent in the UN Security Council, and advanced the idea of phasing out the veto power available to the 15-member body’s five permanent States – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and the United States.

“The UN system is not very democratic, everyone knows that the Security Council is not democratic,” said the independent expert.

Speaking following a press conference heavily attended by representatives of indigenous groups, Mr. de Zayas said he wanted to show a “degree of solidarity” them.

He urged a workshop to be held which would focus on implementation of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples whom he called “the forgotten victims” and “the unsung heroes.”

“You cannot turn the clock back, you cannot give the island of Manhattan back to the indigenous, but on the other hand, you can ensure that the indigenous can maintain their way of life,” Mr. de Zayas said.

He also called for the media to take up the issue and inform the public about the Declaration.

Independent experts or special rapporteurs are appointed by the Human Rights Council to examine and report back on a country situation or a specific human rights theme. The positions are honorary and the experts are not UN staff, nor are they paid for their work.

#aceworldnews, #alfred-maurice-de-zayas, #manhattan, #security-council, #united-nations, #united-nations-general-assembly, #united-nations-human-rights-council, #united-nations-parliamentary-assembly, #united-nations-security-council, #united-nations-special-rapporteur, #united-states

Watch =President Obama as he is delivering his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly

***USATODAY.com Breaking News***
President Obama is delivering his annual address to the United Nations General Assembly, where he’s expected to speak directly about recent overtures made by the Iranian government to try to end a decade of crippling international sanctions for its nuclear program.
For more on this story, go to http://usat.ly/iimQp4.

#acenewsservices, #president-obama, #united-nations-general-assembly, #usatoday