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UNRIC Library Newsletter - December 2008

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UNRIC Library Newsletter - December 2008
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UN in General

60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

2008 ECOSOC resolutions
The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) website (English version) has been updated to include the 2008 resolutions and decisions. ECOSOC resolutions are not issued as individual UN documents, but are published altogether, first in sessional compilations (e.g. E/2008/INF/2 + Add.1), and finally as part of the Official Records (e.g. E/2007/99). However, the website provides links to the text of each resolution or decision (e.g. ECOSOC resolution 2008/23, "Protection against trafficking in cultural property").

Charter of the United Nations – new website
The Charter of the United Nations website has been updated. The new site includes an Introductory Note and is organized by chapter.

New Civil Society Participation Database
This database, developed by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), provides online registration for the Civil Society Organizations, facilitates the application procedure for consultative status with ECOSOC and assists accredited NGOs in submitting quadrennial reports and in designating representatives to the UN. Users can search the database of more than 12.000 organizations to find out more about their activities, meeting participation and accreditation status in the areas of sustainable and social development, advancement of women, financing for development, forests and public administration.

Peace & Security
Children and armed conflict in Afghanistan (S/2008/695)
English, French and Spanish:
This is the first report on this topic for Afghanistan, and covers July 2007- August 2008. According to the summary, "The report focuses on grave violations perpetrated against children in Afghanistan and identifies parties to the conflict, both State and non-State actors, who commit grave abuses against children. In particular, the report highlights the fact that children have been recruited and utilized by State and non-State armed groups and that non-State armed groups such as the Taliban continue to train and use children as suicide bombers."

Children and armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (S/2008/693)
English, French and Spanish:
This is the third report for the Democratic Republic of the Congo and covers the period from June 2007 to September 2008. According to the summary, "The report notes the decrease in the number of allegations of grave violations against children in the reporting period, while indicating that children are still the primary victims of the ongoing conflict in affected areas. It stresses the continued recruitment and use of children by armed forces and groups, particularly in connection with outbreaks of hostilities in some areas. The report also raises concerns about the re-recruitment of children, due in part to insufficient support from earlier disarmament, demobilization and reintegration processes. Widespread incidents of rape and other sexual violence against girls and boys remains of critical concern. The report identifies both State and non-State parties responsible for grave violations against children."

Satellite Images of Hijacked Vessels (UNOSAT)
During the first week of December, the United Nations Operational Satellite Applications Programme (UNOSAT), released a map presenting "a satellite-based identification of three vessels recently hijacked in the Gulf of Aden, and anchored off the Somali coast near the town of Eyl, Nugaal, Somalia as of 20 November 2008".

UNAMI  Human Rights Report, 1 January – 30 June 2008
The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) has issued its 13th report on the human rights situation in the country covering the period 1 January – 30 June 2008. During the reporting period, Iraq has witnessed great improvements in general security conditions, with a marked drop in violent, high-visibility, high-casualty attacks by militias or criminal gangs, but the human rights situation in the country

Economic & Social Development
2009 Education For All Global Monitoring Report (UNESCO)
Summary also available in French and Spanish.
Deep-rooted inequalities persist in education, condemning millions of children in the world to diminished opportunity and even to poverty. This is one conclusion of the 2009 Education For All Global Monitoring Report,“Overcoming inequality: why governance matters”. Published every year since 2002, the Education For All Global Monitoring Report is prepared by a team of independent experts and published by UNESCO. Following up the World Education Forum in Dakar (Senegal) in 2000, the Report assesses progress towards reaching Education For All goals by the deadline of 2015.

Atoms for Food: A Global Partnership (FAO / IAEA)
The IAEA and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) have produced a on the FAO/IAEA collaboration to address global food security.

UNEP and Partners: United to Combat Climate Change
The campaign theme for the run-up to the crucial negotiations in Copenhagen in December 2009, ‘Unite to combat climate change’, says that we are all part of the solution. The goal: an inclusive, comprehensive and ratifiable deal that will address the challenges and harness the opportunities that climate change presents.

UNEP Climate Change Strategy
UNEP’s Climate Change Strategy is the result of a comprehensive process involving external experts and UNEP staff from across the organization. The strategy is built on the analysis of UNEP’s political mandate, the existing portfolio of climate change activities and the areas of distinctiveness. The Climate Change Strategy provides the foundation for transforming the organization’s engagement on climate change and for developing a results-oriented programme of work. UNEP will complement other processes and the activities of other institutions and will emphasize the substantial co-benefits of climate change actions and their contribution to environmental sustainability.

Human Rights
The “Audiovisual Library of International Law” on Human Rights
This website, maintained by the Office of Legal Affairs has a special section devoted to human rights, including information related to the Universal Declaration. the online library is a unique, multimedia resource which provides the United Nations with the unprecedented capacity to provide high quality international law training and research materials to an unlimited number of recipients on a global level. With an introduction by Antônio Augusto Cançado Trindade, former President of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights, the web site includes a list of related documents and an explanation of the procedural history involved in the drafting of the Declaration along with the historic video footage (,
UN Radio interviews ( and photographs (

Human rights translated - a business reference guide
A new publication Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide was launched in Paris at the International Seminar on Business and Human Rights. The guide is a joint product of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, the International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights(OHCHR), and the UN Global Compact Office. The main purpose of the guide is to explain the universal human rights in the language of business through the use of case studies and suggested practical actions. Section One covers International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Section Two - International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide
For the 60th anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide on 9 December 2008, the Office of the Special Advisor on the Prevention of Genocide a new website was launched.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights: An Historical Record of the Drafting Process
This website provides access to the full text of the historical documents of all meetings from 1946-1948 that led to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Launched on 10 December, the website is a cooperative effort of the UN Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the Library of the UN Office in Geneva.

Unfinished Business: A Comparative Survey of Historical and Contemporary Slavery (UNESCO)
Slavery may have been legally abolished around the world, but it remains “a widespread and deeply rooted component on contemporary life” concludes the first-ever comparative analysis of historical slave systems and modern forms of human bondage, published by UNESCO.

International Law
International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) - new website
English & French:,
The Tribunal today launched a new website intended to provide audiences with greater information about its history, achievements and ongoing work. Together with a fresh new look, the site contains many innovative approaches and additional content to promote a better understanding and appreciation of the Tribunal's historic mission and the role of international justice.

Special Tribunal for Lebanon report (S/2008/734)
English, French & Spanish:
The 3rd report of the Secretary-General on the Special Tribunal for Lebanon has been released (S/2008/734). In the report, the Secretary-General informs that the start-up phase of the Tribunal is well under way, and the following steps have been taken:
  • The work on the preparation of the premises has started;
  • The process for the recruitment and appointment of staff has begun;
  • A core unit of Registry personnel will soon be established;
  • Measures to support the transition from the Investigation Commission to the Office of the Prosecutor are being taken;
  • Practical arrangements for the Prosecutor to arrive in The Hague on 1 March 2009 and to continue the investigation with the minimum of disruption to the investigation will soon be finalized;
  • Initial drafts of the Rules of Procedure and Evidence and other basic legal documents have been prepared.