Monday, July 28, 2014

UNESCO votes to admit Palestine as full member

31 October 2011 –The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) today voted to admit Palestine as a full member of the Paris-based agency.

News Release

UNESCO’s General Conference, the agency’s highest ruling body, took the decision by a vote of 107 in favour to 14 against, with 52 abstentions, according to a news release.

The move brings the total number of UNESCO member States to 195.

“The admission of a new member State is a mark of respect and confidence,” UNESCO Director-General Irina Bokova said following the vote. “This must be an opportunity to strengthen the Organization and not weaken it, a chance for all to commit once again to the values we share and not to be divided.”

Ms. Bokova voiced concern by the “potential challenges” that may arise to the universality and financial stability of UNESCO. “I am worried we may confront a situation that could erode UNESCO as a universal platform for dialogue. I am worried for the stability of its budget.

“It is well-known that funding from our largest contributor, the United States, may be jeopardized,” she noted. “I believe it is the responsibility of all of us to make sure that UNESCO does not suffer unduly as a result…

“UNESCO’s work is too important to be jeopardized,” she stressed.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, asked about the UNESCO decision during a press conference in New York, said that it is up to Member States to ensure that the UN system as a whole has consistent political and financial support.

“As such, we will need to work on practical solutions to preserve UNESCO’s financial resources,” he stated.

He also emphasized once again the urgency of a negotiated solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stressing that the two-state solution is “long overdue.”

For its membership to take effect, Palestine must sign and ratify UNESCO’s constitution, which is open for signature in the archives of the Government of the United Kingdom in London.

Admission to UNESCO for States that are not members of the UN requires a recommendation by the agency’s Executive Board and a two-thirds majority vote in favour by the General Conference.

The General Conference, which consists of the representatives of the States that are members of the agency, meets every two years, and is attended by member States and associate members, together with observers for non-member States, intergovernmental organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

It is tasked with setting the programmes and the budget of UNESCO. It also elects the members of the Executive Board and appoints, every four years, the Director-General.

The current 36th session of the General Conference began on 25 October and will run through 10 November.

UNESCO’s mission is to contribute to the building of peace, the eradication of poverty, sustainable development and intercultural dialogue through education, the sciences, culture, communication and information.

Vote

The breakdown of the vote to admit Palestine as a full member state in UNESCO, was: “yes” (107), “no” (14), “abstention” (52) and “absent” (21).

No: Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Germany, Israel, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Palau, Panama, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Sweden, United States of America, Vanuatu.

Abstentions: Albania, Andorra, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Colombia, Cook Islands, Côte d’Ivoire, Croatia, Denmark, Estonia, Fiji, Georgia, Haiti, Hungary, Italy, Jamaica, Japan, Kiribati, Latvia, Liberia, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro, Nauru, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Rwanda, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Singapore, Slovakia, Switzerland, Thailand, Macedonia, Togo, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uganda, Ukraine, United Kingdom, Zambia.

Yes: Afghanistan, Algeria, Angola, Argentina, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belarus, Belgium, Belize, Benin, Bhutan, Bolivia, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei Darussalam, Burkina Faso, Cambodia, Chad, Chile, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Cuba, Cyprus, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Democratic Republic of Congo, Djibouti, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador, Equatorial Guinea, Finland, France, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Greece, Grenada, Guatemala, Guinea, Honduras, Iceland, India, Indonesia, Iran, Iraq, Ireland, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Lebanon, Lesotho, Libya, Luxembourg, Malawi, Malaysia, Mali, Malta, Mauritania, Mauritius, Morocco, Mozambique, Myanmar, Namibia, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Qatar, Russian Federation, Sant Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Saudi Arabia, Senegal, Serbia, Seychelles, Slovenia, Somalia, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Suriname, Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, United Republic of Tanzania, Uruguay, Uzbekistan, Venezuela, Viet Nam, Yemen, Zimbabwe.

Absent: Antigua and Barbuda, Central African Republic, Comoros, Dominica, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Guinea-Bissau, Guyana, Madagascar, Maldives, Marshall Islands, Confederated States of Micronesia, Mongolia, Niue, Sao Tome and Principe, Sierra Leone, South Sudan, Swaziland, Tajikistan, Timor-Leste, Turkmenistan.

Video

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Libyans must come together and reconcile after Qadhafi’s reported death – Ban

20 October 2011 –Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon today called on all sides in Libya to lay down their arms and work together peacefully to rebuild the North African nation amid reports that Colonel Muammar al-Qadhafi has been killed.

“Clearly, this day marks an historic transition for Libya,” Mr. Ban said at UN Headquarters in New York, reacting to the reports of the death of the Libyan leader and the end of fighting in Sirte and other cities.

“In the coming days, we will witness scenes of celebration, as well as grief for those who lost so much,” he stated. “Yet let us recognize, immediately, that this is only the end of the beginning. The road ahead for Libya and its people will be difficult and full of challenges.”

Pro-Qadhafi forces and rebels have been engaged in fighting for months after a pro-democracy movement emerged at the start of the year, similar to the popular uprisings witnessed in other parts of the Middle East and North Africa.

Mr. Ban stressed that now is the time for all Libyans to come together, and that they can only realize the promise of the future through national unity and reconciliation.

“Combatants on all sides must lay down their arms in peace,” he said. “This is the time for healing and rebuilding, for generosity of spirit – not for revenge.”

As Libya’s transitional authorities prepare the way for elections and take the many other steps toward building their new nation, “inclusion and pluralism must be the watchwords,” he added.

“The high hopes sustained through the long days of revolution and conflict must translate into opportunities and justice for all,” said the Secretary-General.

The UN began deploying staff last month to its newly established UN Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), headed by the Secretary-General’s Special Representative, Ian Martin. The mission, based in the capital, Tripoli, will assist the authorities in restoring public security, plan for elections and ensure transitional justice.

Mr. Martin, speaking to reporters in New York via video-link from Tripoli, said that today is indeed an historic day and a “key moment” in the transition. As soon as the National Transitional Council (NTC) formally declares liberation, the path will begin towards the main tasks of the transition process.

“It’s the people of Libya who have made their liberation… and they will lead on the way ahead,” Mr. Martin noted, while adding that they have asked the UN for assistance. No one should underestimate the “great challenges” that lay ahead for the country, he added.

UN welcomes South Sudan as 193rd Member State

14 July 2011 –The General Assembly today admitted the Republic of South Sudan as the 193rd member of the United Nations, welcoming the newly independent country to the community of nations.

South Sudan’s independence from the rest of Sudan is the result of the January 2011 referendum held under the terms of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) that ended the decades-long civil war between the North and the South.

“At this moment… in this place… the world gathers to say in one voice: Welcome, South Sudan. Welcome to the community of nations,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said at the meeting.

Mr. Ban, who was among the UN dignitaries that attended the independence ceremony in South Sudan’s capital, Juba, last Saturday, pledged the world body’s assistance as the country shapes its future. “The commitment of all Member States will be essential as South Sudan moves forward,” he stated.

“Together, let us say to the citizens of our newest Member State: You now sit with us. We stand with you.”

Assembly President Joseph Deiss said today marks a “historic” moment for Africa and for the world community.

“Today we are firmly entrenching South Sudan in the community of nations in the same way as other Member States with the same rights and responsibilities. The universality of the United Nations and the values that are enshrined in its Charter are thereby enhanced,” he stated.

“I am confident that South Sudan will contribute to promote the objectives of security, peace, prosperity, friendship and cooperation between peoples as they are promoted by the United Nations, and this for the good of the people of South Sudan, for the good of the region and for the entire African continent.”