Rescuers and salvage workers have concluded a frantic search for victims in Bangladesh’s Rana Plaza, an eight-story garment factory complex that collapsed on April 24, killing an estimated 1,127 people. Sadly, there will be no more miraculous stories of survival like that of Reshma Begum, the 19-year-old seamstress who was pulled from the rubble 17 days after the collapse. Instead, the United Nations and leading experts like Muhammad Yunus are urging the international community to address this catastrophe’s underlying causes.
UNICEF is planning a “high-level road map” assessment of the education system in Libya that will improve teaching methods and ultimately bring a higher standard of education to schools, according to an announcement made by the organization in early April.
Early on the morning of March 9, a 15-car United Nations convoy was making one of its usual runs through South Sudan’s Jonglei. This northeastern state, which covers over 47,300 square miles, has been riven by conflict long before the country’s independence in 2011. Convoys from the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) frequently patrol the area, offering protection to civilians and workers from other humanitarian groups.
United Nations officials, civil society groups and worldwide media coverage hailed last month’s Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) for taking a significant step forward in the campaign to end gender-based violence. The outcome document from the 57th CSW—supported by UN Women—included substantial agreements regarding the promotion of gender equality and women’s empowerment, including the need to guarantee women’s reproductive rights and access to health services.
Earlier this month, six world powers met with Iran in Almaty, Kazakhstan, to discuss Tehran’s nuclear program. The talks with the “P5+1” of the United States, United Kingdom, France, China, Russia, and Germany were the latest in a series of negotiations that have taken place over the last few months. The talks did not result in a major breakthrough, but neither was there a breakdown. Meanwhile, bipartisan support is building in Washington for a new approach to break the stalemate.
World Malaria Day is meant to draw acute attention to the persistent problem of this disease. NGOs, corporations, governments and donors are using this opportunity to come together and raise global awareness.
In early April, two trucks belonging to the World Food Programme (WFP) were hijacked en route to Aleppo. It was but the latest in a string of incidents primarily involving rebel forces that have challenged the ability of UN organizations to provide aid and health care to those Syrians who need it most.
The United Nations is commemorating the 19th anniversary of the genocide that claimed the lives of over 800,000 Rwandese. In a press release announcing the commemoration ceremony, UN Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon declared, “The United Nations works every day to learn the lessons of Rwanda and to prevent any recurrence of such horror.” Remembering the past brings an awareness of the abhorrent devastation a country can experience, but this remembering must come with a sense of urgency to produce policy plans to prevent such atrocities.
Last month, Bosco Ntaganda, a notorious rebel commander from Rwanda known as “The Terminator,” unexpectedly turned himself in to the U.S. Embassy in Kigali. The International Criminal Court (ICC) had indicted Ntaganda in 2006 for war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and the use of child soldiers. He was immediately transferred to the ICC in the Netherlands to face trial.