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UN: 22 February 2008 – The United Nations human rights agency says it is concerned by the reported abduction and detention of several opposition leaders and members of civil society organizations in Chad, following the recent rebel assault on the capital, N’Djamena.

“While appreciating that the Chadian Government has faced a major crisis, the Office has called for fundamental human rights and freedoms to be respected during the state of emergency,” Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), said.

“We remain concerned about reports of killings of large numbers of civilians during the fighting and call upon the Government of Chad to fully investigate these allegations and hold those responsible to account,” he added

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Monaco- Agencies:(20/2/2008): Problems connected with climate change, such as the melting of the permafrost and extreme weather events, are increasingly changing the attitudes of leaders from a number of areas, but especially in business, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) said in its Year Book 2008, presented Wednesday in Monaco. 

Climate change is "beginning to change the mind-sets, policies and actions of corporate heads, financiers and entrepreneurs as well as leaders of organized labour, governments and the United Nations itself," UNEP said in a press statement. 

In addition, a so-called green economy appears to be developing "as growing numbers of companies embrace environmental policies and investors pump hundreds of billions of dollars into cleaner and renewable energies," UNEP said.  

This green economy is driving inventions and innovation in a great number of fields and "on a scale perhaps not witnessed since the industrial revolution of more than two centuries ago."

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UN:19 February 2008 – Only a permanent political settlement ending the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory and giving Palestinians their independence “can fundamentally alter the economic and humanitarian problems of the Palestinian people and bring lasting security for Israel,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said today.

In a message delivered on his behalf by Robert Serry, the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, to the UN Seminar on Assistance to the Palestinian People, held in Amman, Jordan, Mr. Ban said that international law must serve as the basis for any sustainable solution.

But he noted that “the key ingredients for a breakthrough exist,” citing the launch by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of bilateral negotiations to resolve all core issues, the “impressive reform and development agenda” of the Palestinian Authority, the support of donors and the efforts of a range of international envoys.

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UN: 18 February 2008 – A group of independent United Nations human rights experts have welcomed Australia’s recent apology to its indigenous peoples for the pain and indignity they endured under the Government’s past laws and policies.

The apology, made in a speech delivered by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Federal Parliament on 13 February, “will strengthen the moral fabric of the country and reinforce the Aboriginal contribution to Australian society,” the experts said in a statement issued today in Geneva.

“We are specially moved by the apology offered to the members of the Stolen Generation and their families, victims of a deliberate policy of assimilation of the Aboriginal culture that contradicted the basic human rights principles of equality and dignity,” the group added.

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Jerusalem: 16 February 2008 – During a visit to the West Bank today, the United Nations humanitarian chief saw the difficulties faced daily by Palestinian residents due to restrictions on the movement of people, goods and services.

At the Augusta Victoria Hospital, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs John Holmes heard about the various hardships faced by West Bank patients in getting to hospitals and receiving crucial treatments, as well as the difficulties health workers holding West Bank identity cards encounter in getting to their jobs due to the existing permit regime.

During a stop in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Abu Dis, Mr. Holmes, who is also UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, saw the Barrier being constructed by the Israeli Government, and upon crossing the Gilo checkpoint, viewed the enclaves created by the construction.

Stressing the consequences of further construction of the Barrier for the daily lives of Palestinians, he said: “It is clear that the route of the Barrier, the expanding settlements and the closure regime and associated controls are severely damaging the social and economic structures of the West Bank and contributing to increased aid reliance, poverty and unemployment.

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VIENNA, Austria, Agencies-(13/2/2008):  Human trafficking is a modern form of slavery that must not be tolerated, a senior UN official and celebrities said Wednesday.

Egypt’s First Lady Suzanne Mubarak delivers a speech during the opening session of the "Vienna Forum to Fight Human Trafficking" in Vienna February 13, 2008.

Pop star Ricky Martin, Oscar-winning actress Emma Thompson and Egyptian first lady Suzanne Mubarak were among dignitaries who urged action at a three-day UN conference on trafficking.

"Two hundred years after the end of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, we have the obligation to fight a crime that has no place in the 21st century," said Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime.

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UN: (14/2/2008): Deputy spokesperson the UN secretary general, Mary Ocabi, announced today that the UN Secretary general has sent a message to the Committee on the Exercise of the Inalienable Rights of the Palestinian People.  

The source added that the message delivered by Mr. Vijay Nambiar, Chef de Cabinet to the Secretary-General states that the decision by Israel to introduce a full closure of the Gaza Strip has cut off an already destitute population of Gaza from vitally needed supplies. The recent breach of the border between Gaza and Egypt showed the degree of desperation among ordinary Gazans, as thousands crossed into Egypt in search of food and basic daily necessities.

In his message, the deputy spokesperson of the secretary general, went on to say, Mr. Ban Ki-moon reminded Israel of its obligations towards the civilian population of Gaza under international law, including the laws of occupation, which continue to apply to the extent of Israel’s control over the territory and its population.

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UN: 12 February 2008 – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) today asked donors for $856 million to assist children and women who are victims of emergencies, ranging from the conflicts in Chad and Kenya to flood-hit areas such as Mozambique.

Launching its Humanitarian Action Report 2008 in Geneva today, the agency said the funds will be used to provide urgent assistance in health, education and nutrition.

In Kenya, some 150,000 children are among the 300,000 people who were forced from their homes, while in Chad, an estimated 30,000 of the 52,000 who have been driven from the country are vulnerable and urgently need help.

“In both these conflicts, and in the 37 other crises described in this report, children and women continue to bear the brunt of conflict and displacement,” UNICEF Deputy Executive Director Hilde Johnson told a press briefing in Geneva.

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UN: 11 February 2008 – The United Nations envoy for Western Sahara is continuing his in-depth consultations with the parties and neighbouring countries in the region ahead of the next round of scheduled talks between Morocco and the Frente Polisario.

Peter van Walsum, the Secretary-General’s Personal Envoy for Western Sahara, met Secretary General Mohamed Abdelaziz and other members of the Frente Polisario leadership in Rabouni on Saturday, UN spokesperson Michele Montas told reporters.

Those consultations followed meetings with senior Moroccan officials in the country’s capital, Rabat, late last week.

Mr. van Walsum told journalists that he was in the region to listen to the views of both the parties and the neighbouring States, Algeria and Mauritania, on how to move into more substantial negotiations on how to provide for the self-determination for the people of Western Sahara.

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Chicago: 8 February 2008 – United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged hundreds of business leaders gathered in Chicago to help usher in a new era of ‘green economics,’ where addressing the problem of climate change becomes not a cost but an opportunity for growth.

“As businesspeople, you will appreciate the power of markets and innovation to change the world. In this, the UN is your partner,” said Mr. Ban in an address Thursday evening to the Economic Club of Chicago.

He stressed that any solution to climate change should involve shaping the world’s economic future. “We have experienced several great economic transformations: the industrial revolution, the technology revolution, our modern era of globalization. We’re now on the threshold of another – the age of green economics.”

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