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UN: 24 July 2008 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has expressed deep concern about the announcement today of the initial approval by the Ministry of Defense of 20 residential units in the Israeli military post of Maskiyot in the West Bank.

“The Secretary-General has stressed many times before that settlement construction or expansion is contrary to international law,” his spokesperson said in a statement.

It is also contrary to Israel’s commitments under the international plan for Middle East peace, known as the Road Map, and the Annapolis process, the statement added, referring to the peace process launched in the United States city of that name late last year.

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Al-Fasher-Agencies(23/7/2008):  Sudan‘s president has said he is "not worried" by International Criminal Court (ICC) accusations against him, during a rare visit to Darfur.  Omar al-Bashir made the comments at a rally in the northern town of Fasher shortly after the start of his trip.

Sudan
has also agreed to set up special courts to try alleged human rights abuses in Darfur which will be monitored by international bodies including the U.N., an Arab League official said
Wednesday.
"They agreed to establish special courts," Hisham Yussef, chief of staff for Arab League Secretary General Amr Moussa told AFP.

"They also agreed that the Arab League, the U.N. and the African Union would follow (the trials) but also ensure that laws in Sudan cover all the aspects required under international law."

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SINGAPORE, July 20 (Bernama) — Human rights issues are expected to be the main topic of discussion by Asean Foreign Ministers at the 41st Asean Ministerial Meeting (AMM), which will kick off here tomorrow.

The issues need further deliberation by the
10 member states of the grouping before they can be accepted under the Asean Charter.Apart from this, the discussions will also focus on matters of common interest and concerns to Asean as well as current global developments such as financial, food and energy security.I

In addition, the pertinent issues that would be also discussed are on the follow-up action and coming into force of the ASEAN Charter, strengthening of the ASEAN Secretariat as well as the drafts of the ASEAN Political-Security and ASEAN Socio-Cultural Blueprints.

Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Rais Yatim was quoted earlier as saying that the
meeting from Monday till July 24 would concentrate on human rights under the Asean Charter, the definition of human rights, its scope and so on.

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UNITED NATIONS New York(Agencies-19/7/2008)— The United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, is planning to name a judge from South Africa, Navanethem Pillay, to the key post of high commissioner for human rights, according to a United Nations official briefed on the decision.

The nomination, which requires the approval of the General Assembly, is expected to be announced early next week. Judge Pillay would succeed Louise Arbour, a prosecutor and judge from Canada whose term ended June 30.

Judge Pillay was born in 1941 to a family from the ethnic Tamil minority in South Africa. Her father was a bus driver, and her mother had no formal education, but she rose in legal circles to become the first nonwhite woman to serve as a High Court judge in South Africa.

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MADRID : 16 July 2008 – Faith communities have a crucial role to play in fostering mutual understanding and in promoting consensus on common values and aspirations, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today in a message addressed to the World Conference on Dialogue in Madrid. 

 
 The Custodian of the two holy mosques, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia exhorted followers of the world’s leading faiths to turn away from extremism and embrace a spirit of reconciliation, saying at the start of the interfaith conference today that history’s great conflicts were not caused by religion itself but by its misinterpretation. 

The Saudi Monarch’s  comments came at the start of the Saudi-sponsored gathering that aims to bring Muslims, Christians and Jews closer together at a time when the world often puts the three faiths at odds.

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UN: 15 July 2008 – The two United Nations peacekeeping missions in Sudan have reported that the situation there is calm, following yesterday’s announcement by the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) that he is seeking an indictment against President Omar Al-Bashir for war crimes committed in Darfur.

Three years after being request by the Security Council to investigate atrocities committed in the war-ravaged Sudanese region, Luis Moreno-Ocampo presented evidence against Mr. Al-Bashir to The Hague-based Court in relation to 10 counts of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes.

The joint UN-African Union mission in Darfur – known as UNAMID – said today that security patrols and humanitarian escorts carried out by peacekeepers, along with aid activities, continued as usual.

The mission’s forces conducted nearly one dozen security and confidence-building patrols throughout Darfur. Aid workers carried on with their operations, including food distribution, water support, deliveries of non-food items, health care and the protection of civilians.

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Cairo Agencies: (14/7/2008: An Arab League ministerial session is expected to be scheduled for Saturday to discuss the unprecedented decision by ICC Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo to ask the International Criminal Court (ICC) for an arrest warrant for President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, the most senior figure pursued by the court since it was set up in 2002. Echoing concern expressed by other world leaders, The African Union on Monday warned of "widespread anarchy" in Sudan if president al-Bashir were to be indicted. The US government has said it is bolstering security for its staff in Sudan as the ICC prosecutor’s move raised concerns of a violent backlash. Sudan immediately rejected the prosecutor’s call as damaging to Darfur peace hopes. 

 
ARAB LEAGUE TO HOLD SUDAN CRISIS TALKS TOMORROW (WEDNESDAY:16/7/2008):  

The Arab League said Monday it will hold crisis talks on Sudan tomorrow (Wednesday: 16/7/2008) to discuss Moreno- Ocampo’s bid to seek the arrest of President Omar al-Beshir. Arab League permanent representatives will hold an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday in Cairo to discuss the situation between Sudan and the ICC. A ministerial session is expected to be held in Cairo Saturday.  

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Cairo:(Agencies: 12/7/2008): The Arab League and the African Union have joined Sudan in warning against the International Criminal Court (ICC) becoming "politicized". 

This came after Khartoum called for an emergency meeting of Arab foreign ministers to discuss reports that the prosecutor of the court in The Hague may seek a warrant for the arrest of Sudanese President Omar Bashir over killings in Sudan’s western Darfur region.
 

In a statement, the African Union said that the search for justice should be pursued in a way that does not jeopardize peace efforts.

ICC chief prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo announced on Thursday that he would unveil a new case on Darfur and name suspects next Monday.

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TOYAKO:(Agencies-8/8/2008): The international community must act without delay to ease the plight of tens of millions of people suffering under soaring global food prices, the heads of the United Nations and the World Bank said on Monday. 

 
A preliminary World Bank study released last week estimated that up to 105 million people could drop below the poverty line due to rising food prices, including 30 million in Africa. 

 
"High food prices are already turning back the clock on development gains," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. Grain prices have more than doubled since January 2006 with 60 per cent of the rise occurring this year.

  "To halt further suffering, we are calling on world leaders to deliver a full range of immediate needs including food assistance as well as fertiliser and other inputs for this year’s planting cycle," Ban told a news conference on the first day of the annual summit of the Group of Eight rich nations. 

 
World Bank President Robert Zoellick, who also attended Monday’s talks on the northern Japanese island of Hokkaido, said there was an urgent need for $10 billion to provide food and cash handouts for the poorest and for farming inputs in time for the next growing season.

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UN: 7 July 2008 – A former slave hideout in Mauritius, an archeological site in Saudi Arabia, earthen houses in China and monasteries in Iran have been inscribed on the World Heritage List of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), it was announced today.

The decision to add these sites was made by the 21-member World Heritage Committee, which is currently meeting in Quebec City, Canada.

During the 18th and early 19th centuries, runaway slaves sought shelter on the mountain of Le Morne, which juts out into the Indian Ocean in south-west Mauritius, where they formed small settlements. The mountain became a symbol of the slaves’ search for freedom, as well as their suffering and sacrifice due to the oral traditions linked to the maroons.

Al-Hijr, or Madâin Sâlih, is the first Saudi Arabian site to be added to the World Heritage List. The largest conserved Nabataean civilization area south of Petra, Jordan, it features over 100 tombs dating back from the 1st century BC to the 1st century AD.

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