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Female entrepreneurship: laws are not enough

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By Nour Honein

While there is much concern over the lack of female entrepreneurs in first world countries, the gender gap in developing countries is even greater. Poverty, lack of proper identifying information, and little to no access to banking services leave more than 1.3 billion women out of the formal financial system (World Bank). These women then lack the basic financial tools necessary for asset ownership and economic empowerment. But is this the only obstacle? Read the rest of this entry »

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Failure to Protect and UN Responsibility: The Need for Institutional Mechanisms to Strengthen United Nations’ Accountability in Peacekeeping Contexts

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Source : Marco Dormino / ONU

By Nayana Das,

Ever since the onset of peacekeeping operations (PKOs) under the United Nations’ umbrella, several incidents have risen. During these incidents, several humanitarian missions have failed to act in accordance with their aim. For instance, in 1994, the Rwandan genocide occurred despite the presence of an active UN peacekeeping operation. Likewise, in 1995, UNPROFOR/UNPF failed to prevent the massacre of up to 6,000 persons in Srebrenica during the Bosnian war. In 2010, poor sanitation facilities at the UN’s MINUSTAH base in Meye caused the cholera epidemic1 that killed almost 8,000 people in Haiti. Moreover, as the number of PKOs has grown over the years, so have widespread accounts of inappropriate behavior and sexual exploitation by peacekeepers around the world2, notably in Haiti, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Bosnia, Cambodia, East Timor and the DRC.

Such failures undermine the legitimacy of the United Nations as a whole. It is also a violation of the peacekeeping mandate under Chapter VII of the UN Charter and the ‘Responsibility to Protect’ principle, which provides the legal basis for peacekeeping operations. In this light, there is a need for accountability under two circumstances: (1) Failure to protect i.e. institutional accountability; and (2) Sexual exploitation and abuse i.e. criminal accountability. Read the rest of this entry »

Tunisia : Land of Hope in the Arab World

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©A. LE GALL/DEMOTIX/CORBIS

By Flavio Baroffio

Tunisia is considered to be the cradle of the Arab Spring which has changed drastically the political landscape of the Middle East. It all started in December 2010 when mass protestations broke out in Tunisia because the people were discontent with the economic, political situation and the all-occurring corruption. Shortly after, in January 2011 the former ruler of Tunisia, Ben-Ali, had to step down[1]. Three years later, in 2014, democratic parliamentary elections were held and a new Constitution was adopted. The uprising in Tunisia inspired many other democratic movements in the Arab world, but Tunisia remains the only country where democracy took root. Read the rest of this entry »

Time to say goodbye to stereotypes

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This article was published in the printed version of the GIMUN Chronicles, the newspaper of GIMUN’s Annual Conference 2016, two months ago. We thought we’d give you a chance to rediscover it!

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By Michelle Bognuda

In today’s world, people are forced to leave their homeland because of wars. January and February are particularly special months for Ticino’s young people because this is the time when carnival celebrations take place. Although these two statements do not seem to be linked, this year there was a logical connection. Swiss cantons which border other countries, such as Ticino or Geneva, are particularly touchy about immigrants, people in search of political asylum and, last but not least, cross-border workers. Read the rest of this entry »

Calais : the story of a wild “jungle”

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By Sylvia Revello, translated by Gwénaëlle Janiaud

“Rural camp” turned “jungle”: Calais’s refugee camp recently acquired a reputation as “France’s first slum”. The French authorities have spent weeks demolishing the camp. The site, located near the Channel Tunnel, spans several hundred hectares and shelters 3,500-6,000 migrants who have mainly travelled from Syria, Afghanistan, Sudan and Eritrea. Shacks, tents and other makeshift shelters that up until now housed more than 1,000 migrants in the southern part of the camp were torn down by bulldozers and anti-riot police. After a few tense days, which were marked by violent clashes between migrants, activists campaigning against border controls and the police, the evacuation process appears to have been carried out peacefully. As flames slowly engulf the wooden and corrugated iron walls of the migrants’ shacks, some are denouncing this bitter episode, which has done nothing to resolve the migrant crisis. Read the rest of this entry »

Your cameras can free Palestine

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The GIMUN 2016 Annual Conference, held from March 7th to 11th at the Palais des Nations, in Geneva, gathered around 200 students for a model UN. Yes, it was over a month ago, but it turns out the GIMUN Chronicles journalists had not said their last word! When the conference ended, they still had a few more articles left for us…

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Crédit : Facebook / youthagainstsettlement

By Valentina San Martin, translated by John Ryan-Mills

Freedom is relative : although everyone is born free, various laws continually force people to spend their lives living in restricted freedom. As Jean-Jacques Rousseau said, “man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains”.

During the first Arab-Israeli war, which began in 1948,the Israelis took control of a large area of land that still forms part of their state today. The partition which followed this war led to the forced exodus of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians, who for the most part took shelter in neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, or Syria. At present, Palestine remains an occupied and marginalized territory, owingnotably to the failure of numerous attempts at international negotiation led by powerful nations, but above all to politicians and a dominant media who remain indifferent to a nation that has been subjugated for decades.

This is why in 2012 a non-violent protest group named Youth Against Settlements (YAS) was formed, with the aim of ending the establishment and expansion of illegal Israeli colonies through non-violent protests and civil resistance. Read the rest of this entry »

Berta Cáceres : Activist to the last

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By Sylvia Revello, translated by Emily Milne

 Her battle cost her her life. On the 3rd of March, the Honduran environmental activist was murdered in her home in La Esperanza, in the north west of the country, under suspicious circumstances. Described as a “politically motivated crime committed by the government” the tragedy has provoked an international outcry. It demonstrates, if that were even necessary, just how tragically the power struggles between multinational companies and indigenous peoples can turn out. Known for speaking out against the harmful consequences posed to the indigenous Lenca people by the hydroelectric dam, Agua Zarca, the 42-year old activist was no stranger to threats and scare tactics. Now she has paid the price for her freedom of expression. While Amnesty International laments the “numerous flaws in the investigation”, the Honduran authorities maintain that her death was nothing more than a burglary gone wrong. Read the rest of this entry »