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Archive for the ‘United nations’ Category

Every year, the U.S. Department of State issues a Human Rights Report based on data collected from sources operating in U.N. member states and countries receiving U.S. assistance.  Upon the release of the 2009 Human Rights Report, Hillary Clinton announced that the United States would be added to the list of countries under review.  Republicans and conservatives did not take this news well.

Human rights are universal, but their experience is local. This is why we are committed to holding everyone to the same standard, including ourselves. This year, the United States is participating in the Universal Periodic Review process in conjunction with our participation in the UN Human Rights Council. In the fall, we will present a report, based on the input of citizens and NGOs, gathered online and in face-to-face meetings across the country attended by senior government officials. Assessing opportunities for progress and soliciting citizen engagement is one way that we demonstrate our commitment in word and deed to the basic principles that guide us toward a more perfect union and a more peaceful world.

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The U.N. also reviews human rights conditions among member states.

It should be no secret to readers here that an organization exists that formulates legislation to be put forth in multiple states. If you were watching MSNBC in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, you saw Karen Finney unveil ALEC.

One example of  Karen’s  effect at MSNBC was her unmasking of ALEC  (American Legislative Exchange Council) behind the Stand Your Ground laws in many states, including Florida, in the wake of George Zimmerman’s fatal attack on Trayvon Martin.  No one, in my experience of viewing multiple hours of MSNBC,  had ever mentioned ALEC.  But after Karen filled in for Bashir that day, it seemed that not an hour went by without some anchor bringing up ALEC.

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This comes as disturbing news.

The UN Has Stepped In To Issue A Severe Warning To GOP After Their Plans To Strip Americans Of Freedoms Is Exposed

If you thought your rights are protected in the USA, think again. There are lawmakers who are working hard to under-handedly take them away. Sixteen states have proposed bills that would criminalize peaceful protests. This is a worrying trend that may result in fatal blows to our rights and freedom to peacefully protest, assemble, and express our opinions and voices.

It is so concerning, that even the United Nations has weighed in on the trend. In an unprecedented move, representatives from the UN have sent a letter to the US government offering a strong condemnation for proposed legislation in sixteen states that is meant to limit peaceful protest.

The letter, penned by David Kaye, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression, and Maina Kiai, Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, claims that if passed, these bills would be “incompatible with US obligations under international human rights law.”

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There is a link to a PDF of the 19-page letter in the body of the article. I encourage you to take a look. At the end of the letter, there is a link to the U.N. Human Rights website.  Please also see that. Here are the letters sent regarding the U.S. in 2017 according to that page.

United States of America

  • 9 May 2017 – Intensified screening of travellers at the US border based on their religious affiliation – OL USA 6/2017

United States of America

  • 1 May 2017 – Intensified social media screening of travellers at the US border – OL USA 7/2016

United States of America

  • 27 March 2017 – Draft bills on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and freedom of expression – OL USA 3/2017

Those are the letters sent this year.  Further down the same page is a list of  all communications sent since 2011 divided by country. Here are the letters sent to the U.S.

United States of America

  • 30 September 2016: Proposal to request travelers’ social media information on immigration forms – USA 9/2016.
  • 20/04/2016 – Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement –USA 4/2016

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There is a danger of rapid erosion of human rights afoot. The U.N. is watching. It is not clear the degree to which such pending legislations will make their way into the State Department’s Human Right Report for 2017.  The easy out for this administration would be for DOS to exclude the U.S. from that report as it had been until Hillary Clinton included us.

The multiple pending legislations are most likely the work of ALEC. When you look at the menu bar on their website,  you see a “more” category.  There is a drop-down where you can access their “free speech” position.  The proposed curtailment of protest rights appears to be tied to recent protests against right wing speakers on university campuses.

This is going to become a matter of framing as our friend George Lakoff often reminds us. We need to make sure that protest remains framed as freedom of expression and not as the enemy or abrogation of someone else’s right to speak. That, from what I see on their page, is how they plan to frame these legislations.

While it is encouraging that the U.N. Human Rights folks are looking out for us, it also raises concerns that our own local governments are working formally to curtail our rights. The federal government, specifically the State Department, could potentially stand down on reviewing and reporting on rights violations within our borders. Lastly, and most dangerously, this administration, already inimical to the U.N. having its headquarters here, could move to exit the U.N. altogether.  I know that sounds far-fetched, but we ought to keep that in mind. Though I doubt it would ever pass, there are factions in our country that despise the U.N.  We need to be vigilant.

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion, Press, Expression

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

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Hillary Clinton Statement on Appointment of António Guterres as UN Secretary General

Today, Hillary Clinton released the following statement on the official appointment of António Guterres as the next United Nations Secretary-General:

“I would like to extend my warmest congratulations to António Guterres on his appointment as the next Secretary-General of the United Nations. Throughout his career, Mr. Guterres has proven himself to be an advocate for human rights and a champion for the most vulnerable. As UN High Commissioner for Refugees, he provided help and hope to millions of men, women and children who have been forced to flee from their homes.  And he is a consensus-builder who can bring people together to advance common interests and address common challenges. I was heartened that Mr. Guterres indicated that gender equality will be a top priority when filling senior positions. I strongly support efforts that increase diversity in UN leadership. And if I’m elected President of the United States, I look forward to working with Mr. Guterres and all of our partners to help shape a more peaceful and prosperous future for every global citizen.”

Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Secretary of State of the United States of America shakes hands with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, right, during the UNHCR Intergovernmental event at the ministerial level of Member States of the United Nations, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday Dec. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Keystone/Martial Trezzini)

Hillary Rodham Clinton, left, Secretary of State of the United States of America shakes hands with United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Antonio Guterres, right, during the UNHCR Intergovernmental event at the ministerial level of Member States of the United Nations, at the European headquarters of the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday Dec. 7, 2011. (AP Photo/Keystone/Martial Trezzini)

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Early in February, Leo DiCaprio took a break from filming The Revenant to introduce a screening of an Oscar-nominated documentary, Virunga, at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York.   Bill and Hillary Clinton were there.

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Hillary continued collecting honors and awards. It was announced that she would join Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, Martin O’Malley, and Chris Matthews as a member of Irish America Magazine’s Hall of Fame.  (At the time, many said “Martin who?”)  Emily’s List announced that it would present Hillary with their We Are EMILY Award.  Both events were scheduled for March.  The U.N. announced her as a keynote speaker for its March Women’s Empowerment event.

Although she was officially a private citizen at the time, visiting dignitaries continued to seek her company.  She met in New York with London Mayor Boris Johnson and with Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni.

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Italian Foreign Minister Paolo Gentiloni shakes hands with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton at the Clinton Foundation in New York

Near the end of the month, speaking at a women’s conference in Silicon Valley, Hillary started becoming more transparent about mulling over a run for the White House.  She did not say she would, but she did explain how seriously she was considering it.

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DEM 2016 Clinton

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As February drew  to a close, the Clinton Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced that the No Ceilings Full Participation Report would be released at an event with Chelsea, Hillary, and Melinda Gates in March.

 

Here are the archives for February 2015 >>>>

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If you were to judge according to the news media feeds, you might have concluded that Hillary Clinton chose U.N. Plaza as a location to meet with the press and answer some questions about the server that was installed in her home originally for her husband’s secure use.  In fact, she was at the U.N. to deliver a keynote speech about women’s participation in mainstream society 20 years after her iconic speech in Beijing.

As Huffington Post pointed out, the cameras and reporters at the events preferred to await the 20 minute presser that she delivered at the venue rather than focus on her speech.   TV audiences, thus, were subjected to a few hours of waiting outside the main event while an important address was being delivered in the main hall.  HuffPo  has been kind enough to share this speech for all who missed it.

TV Networks Wouldn’t Show Clinton’s Speech On Women. Here It Is.

WASHINGTON — On Tuesday, likely Democratic presidential contender Hillary Clinton spoke at a United Nations conference on women. But if you were watching cable TV’s coverage of the speech, you wouldn’t know what exactly she said.

That’s because the big three cable news channels focused on the controversy over Clinton’s decision to use a private email account to conduct government business while serving as secretary of state. She was scheduled to address the issue at a press conference following her speech, so pundits took the opportunity to rehash the controversy during her speech.

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Here are a few photos.

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Ban pledges UN commitment to advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (second right) with from left: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of UN Women, former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea Clinton. UN Photo/Evan Schneider

4 February 2014 – Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today pledged to root for women everywhere ahead of his departure for the Winter Olympics in Sochi, while stressing the need for the United Nations and its partners to lay the groundwork to enable all women to enjoy their rights and be empowered.

“We are at a key moment,” Mr. Ban said at a photo-op with former United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, the Executive Director of the UN Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), ahead of their meeting at UN Headquarters.

He noted that 2015 will be crucial for the future of development and the future of women’s rights. Next year marks the target date for the achievement of the global anti-poverty targets known as the Millennium Development Goals, which contain specific benchmarks for gender equality.

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pledges commitment to advancing gender equality, women’s empowerment

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This tweet just came through.

UN Women@UN_Women

#UNSG praises “visionary” leadership of Michelle #Bachelet, following her announcement of departure from @UN_Women http://owl.li/j1wlQ

Full statement.

Secretary-General Praises ‘Visionary’ Leadership of Michelle Bachelet,

Following Announcement by UN-Women Chief of Departure

Following is UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s statement on the announcement by Michelle Bachelet of her departure as Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN-Women):

Ms. Michelle Bachelet has informed me of her intention to step down as Executive Director of UN-Women.  I would like to express my tremendous gratitude for her outstanding service.

Michelle Bachelet was the right person in the right job at the right time.  Her visionary leadership gave UN-Women the dynamic start it needed.  Her fearlessness in advocating for women’s rights raised the global profile of this key issue.  Her drive and compassion enabled her to mobilize and make a difference for millions of people across the world.

Her record of achievement includes new steps to protect women and girls from violence, new advances on health, and a new understanding that women’s empowerment must be at the core of all we do at the United Nations.  This is a stellar legacy, and I am determined to build on it.

I thank Ms. Bachelet for her contributions and wish her every success as she embarks on the next chapter in her extraordinary life.  She will always have a home at the United Nations, and I am confident that she will continue to advance our shared goals for a better future.

Just wondering who out there might be qualified to replace her.  Someone who right now has no official position to prevent her from accepting.  Many saw a certain person we know pretty well taking a position like this at some point.  Someone Michelle knows and respects.  Someone who lives in NY and for whom Michelle might have been willing to place-hold for awhile  … until she was available.  Someone married to another UN employee.  I don’t know!    Can you think of anyone?  Anyone?  Anyone?

Hillary Rodham Clinton,  Michelle Bachelet, 03-02-10-001 Chile's President Bachelet and U.S. Secretary of State Clinton walk together in Santiago 03-02-10-03 Hillary Rodham Clinton,  Michelle Bachelet, 03-02-10-13 03-02-10-14

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Mme. Secretary  began the  month on foreign travel,  most of it her typical country-a-day routine, to countries engaged in disputes over rights in the South China Sea.  It was a particularly hectic trip with a lot of bilaterals that would have been less necessary had the Law of the Sea Convention not been killed by the Tea Party members of Congress.

September is always a heavy month for a secretary of state with the U.N. General Assembly convening at the New York headquarters.  For this particular SOS it has always been even busier since her husband simultaneously runs his Clinton Global Initiative in NYC,  and she always makes an appearance.   This year was altogether heavier than in the past since it was an election year and the president stayed only a short time and left her in charge in his wake.  She acted as head-of-state through most of UNGA this year.

Punctuating all of this were demonstrations and riots at embassies in the Middle East and North Africa.  The American School in Tunis was destroyed, and of course there was the deadly attack on the consulate in Benghazi that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

Here are some pictures from September starting with her visit to the Cook Islands.

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On the third she was in Indonesia.

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On the fourth she left Indonesia for China following a stop at Embassy Jakarta and a visit to the ASEAN Secretariat.

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She remained in china through the fifth.

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She was in Timor-Leste on the sixth when her husband addressed the Democratic Convention in Charlotte.  Somehow they managed to find an internet connection for her to be able to watch.

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The same day she arrived in Brunei, the first top U.S. diplomat to visit all 10 ASEAN countries.

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From there she traveled to Vladivostok, Russia (birthplace of Yul Brynner) where she and Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov signed a cooperation agreement.

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She attended and spoke at an APEC conference.

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She left Russia on the ninth for D.C. and although she had no public events on the 11th, we later learned from State Department spokesperson Victoria Nuland that she was indeed at her office late into that night when the attack on the consulate occurred.  The next day the sad aftermath rolled out from the Rose Garden of the White House to the State Department where devastated colleagues mourned the dead.

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On the 14th, the coffins came home.  She and President Obama were at the transfer  ceremony.

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The 18th was “Ladies’ Day”  at the State Department.  She welcomed  Aung San Suu Kyi and held a signing ceremony with her Mexican counterpart Patricia Espinosa.

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As world leaders began to arrive in the U.S. for UNGA, there were events in D.C.

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And on the 23rd it was off to UNGA and CGI in New York where her September ended.

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When the General Assembly convened, it was clear how much she would be missed on the world stage.

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Here is the archive for September 2012.

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