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Red Cross 2012 Disaster Report

October 22, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

The Red Cross released their annual World Disasters Report, and this year the focus is on forced migration. Their statistics estimate that approximately 1 in 100 people in the world has been forced to leave their home – that’s roughly 72.7 million people. Reasons for their forced departure include conflict, disaster, poverty, and persecution. Forced migration is occurring on a global scale, and the concern of the Red Cross is that there is not a dedicated UN agency that is mandated to coordinate assistance for for forced migrants – only refugees. While the distinction between the two may not be obvious, there is a difference. In 1951 the UN classified refugees as a “person residing outside his or her country of nationality, who is unable or unwilling to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a political social group, or political opinion.” It wasn’t until 1992, however, that a distinction was made, and forced migrants received their own definition. A forced migrant is “persons who have been forced to flee their homes suddenly or unexpectedly in large numbers, as a result of armed conflict, internal strife, systematic violations of human rights or […]

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An example of one of the pre-selected slogan designs

The Big Push!

October 08, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

Geneva’s Global Fund, known for their work in helping to eradicate diseases like HIV, Malaria, and TB, is launching a worldwide campaign, in conjunction with the Huffington Post, to raise awareness for these deadly diseases. The Big Push is intended to draw attention to their cause, in an effort to recruit more sponsors. They encourage people to submit photos of themselves holding signs with a variety of pre-selected slogans, such as “TB treatment for all” and “No child born with HIV.” Leading personalities such as Bono, Charlize Theron and Tony Blair are a few of their recent recruits to promote the campaign, as well as an exhibition in New York. The Global Fund has seen their work pay-off over the years, and they are hoping that this campaign will help them continue the momentum. According to the Huffington Posts statistics: Since 2000, malaria infections have dropped by at least 50% in several countries in Africa.  In Sub-Saharan Africa in 2003, 100,000 people were receiving anti-retroviral therapy for HIV or AIDS. Since then, the number has risen to 6 million. By 2015, Global Fund is hoping to have 15 million people, around the world, taking the treatment. On a global scale, tuberculosis infections have been reduced […]

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Monks from Cambodia outside UN

Cultural Diversity: What Makes Geneva Unique

October 01, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

Part of what makes Geneva a unique place to live is the multitude of cultures that you encounter on a daily basis. In fact, in the 2011 Geneva census, over 70 different ethnicities were recorded as living here, and 54% of inhabitants hold at least one, additional foreign passport. Part of the reason for this diversity is because Geneva is home to the UN headquarters, as well as a number of multi-national corporations. This influx of International corporations, and their workers, means that a whopping 40% of Geneva’s current population are non-Swiss! This array of cultures means that we’re constantly inundated with opportunities to learn about other people and where they come from. One area of the city where this opportunity is particularly prevalent, is at the UN. We are all aware of the International policy-making that goes on behind closed doors, but outside, on the square at Palais des Nations, can be just as emotive. This week, for example, saw Cambodians campaigning for support against their current Prime Minister, Hun Sen. Buddhist monks, traditional food and ancient chants were yet another reminder of the unique and diverse city we live in!  

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News from the International Organisations: Week of September 17, 2012

September 15, 2012 / by / 0 Comment

This past week, organisations such as Plan International and other child rights watch agencies were delighted by Leila Zerrougui’s plea for an increase in action for the support of the rights of children in areas affected by armed conflict. Ms. Zerrougui, the Secretary General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, stated that it is necessary to enforce a better mechanism of accountability and action; a mechanism that would be supported both nationally and internationally. She was also keen to place special emphasis on the recruitment of child soldiers in Sierra Leone, and how this treatment should not be tolerated. She referenced the verdict passed this year by the International Criminal Court against Congolese war lord, Thomas Lubanga, as well as the former Liberian president, Charles Taylor, as part of a campaign to highlight that justice will be sought against those who recruit child soldiers. The committee on armed conflict also cited a report released in June, 2011 that was released in order to hold organisations accountable for their recruitment of children, or for the harm they cause to children, their schools or hospitals. The list contained the names of 52 political parties, worldwide, including new additions in Yemen, Sudan […]

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