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Reading in the Mobile Era

April 23, 2014 Comments off

Reading in the Mobile Era
Source: United Nations Organization for Education, Science and Culture (UNESCO)

Millions of people do not read for one reason: they do not have access to text. But today mobile phones and cellular networks are transforming a scare resource into an abundant one.

Drawing on the analysis of over 4,000 surveys collected in seven developing countries and corresponding qualitative interviews, this report paints a detailed picture to date of who reads books and stories on mobile devices and why.

The findings illuminate, for the first time, the habits, beliefs and profiles of mobile readers. This information points to strategies to expand mobile reading and, by extension, the educational, social and economic benefits associated with increased reading.

Mobile technology can advance literacy and learning in underserved communities around the world. This report shows how.

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UN Interventions: The Role of Geography

April 21, 2014 Comments off

UN Interventions: The Role of Geography (PDF)
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

This paper argues that UN military interventions are geographically biased. For every 1,000 kilometers of distance from the three Western permanent UNSC members (France, UK, US), the probability of a UN military intervention decreases by 4 percent. We are able to rule out several alternative explanations for the distance finding, such as differences by continent, colonial origin, bilateral trade relationships, foreign aid flows, political regime forms, or the characteristics of the Cold War. We do not observe this geographical bias for non-military interventions and find evidence that practical considerations could be important factors for UNSC decisions to intervene militarily.

UNODC — Global Study on Homicide 2013 (released 4/10/14)

April 18, 2014 Comments off

Global Study on Homicide 2013
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC)
From press release (PDF):

Almost half a million people (437,000) across the world lost their lives in 2012 as a result of intentional homicide, according to a new study by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Launching the Global Study on Homicide 2013 in London today, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, Director for Policy Analysis and Public Affairs, said: “Too many lives are being tragically cut short, too many families and communities left shattered. There is an urgent need to understand how violent crime is plaguing countries around the world, particularly affecting young men but also taking a heavy toll on women.”

Globally, some 80 per cent of homicide victims a nd 95 per cent of perpetrato rs are men. Almost 15 per cent of all homicides stem from domestic violence (63,600). However, the overwhelming majority – almost 70 per cent – of domestic violence fatalities are women (43,600). “Home can be the most dangerous place for a woman,” said Mr . Lemahieu. “It is particularly heart-breaking when those who should be protecting their loved ones are the very people responsible for their murder.”

Over half of all homicide victims are under 30 years of age, with children under the age of 15 accounting for just over 8 per cent of all homicides (36,000), the Study highlighted.

United Nations Research Guide — Peace & Security: The Situation in Ukraine

March 26, 2014 Comments off

Peace & Security: The Situation in Ukraine
Source: United Nations

This guide provides Security Council documentation, news, and other resources related to the situation in Ukraine.

Categories: Ukraine, United Nations

UN refugee agency calls on the Americas to keep unaccompanied and separated children safe from violence

March 17, 2014 Comments off

UN refugee agency calls on the Americas to keep unaccompanied and separated children safe from violence (PDF)
Source: UNHCR (United Nations refugee agency)

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) is concerned by increasing numbers of children in the Americas forced from their homes and families, propelled by violence, insecurity, and abuse in their communities and at home.

In a report released today, Children on the Run, UNHCR analyzes the humanitarian impact this insecurity has had on children, forcing them across international borders to seek safety on their own. The agency calls on Governments to take action to keep children safe from human rights abuses, violence and crime, and to ensure their access to asylum and other forms of international protection.

United Nations 2013 World Youth Report — Youth & Migration

March 13, 2014 Comments off

United Nations 2013 World Youth Report — Youth & Migration
Source: United Nations

The United Nations 2013 World Youth Report offers a broad understanding of the situation of young migrants from the perspective of young migrants themselves. The report highlights some of the concerns, challenges and successes experienced by young migrants based on their own lives and told in their own voices. The report focuses largely on the phenomena of international migration which increasingly has a significant impact on the origin, transit and destination countries and communities. The consequences are complex, context-specific and subject to change over time. The Report has been drafted in an interactive manner, allowing you to navigate chapters individually.

Assessing global land use: balancing consumption with sustainable supply

March 7, 2014 Comments off

Assessing global land use: balancing consumption with sustainable supply (PDF)
Source: United Nations Environment Programme

This report explores how the management of land-based biomass production and consumption can be developed towards a higher degree of sustainability across different scales: from the sustainable management of soils on the field to the sustainable management of global land use as a whole.

Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea

February 19, 2014 Comments off

Report of the Commission of Inquiry on Human Rights in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea
Source: United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
From press release:

A wide array of crimes against humanity, arising from “policies established at the highest level of State,” have been committed and continue to take place in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, according to a UN report released Monday, which also calls for urgent action by the international community to address the human rights situation in the country, including referral to the International Criminal Court.

In a 400-page set of linked reports and supporting documents, based on first-hand testimony from victims and witnesses, the UN Commission of Inquiry on human rights in the DPRK has documented in great detail the “unspeakable atrocities” committed in the country.

“The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a State that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,” the Commission — established by the Human Rights Council in March 2013 — says in a report that is unprecedented in scope.

“These crimes against humanity entail extermination, murder, enslavement, torture, imprisonment, rape, forced abortions and other sexual violence, persecution on political, religious, racial and gender grounds, the forcible transfer of populations, the enforced disappearance of persons and the inhumane act of knowingly causing prolonged starvation,” the report says, adding that “Crimes against humanity are ongoing in the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea because the policies, institutions and patterns of impunity that lie at their heart remain in place.”

The second more detailed section of the report cites evidence provided by individual victims and witnesses, including the harrowing treatment meted out to political prisoners, some of whom said they would catch snakes and mice to feed malnourished babies. Others told of watching family members being murdered in prison camps, and of defenceless inmates being used for martial arts practice.

CRS — The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate

February 11, 2014 Comments off

The United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities – Issues in the U.S. Ratification Debate (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via MSPB Watch)

During the 113th Congress, the Senate might consider providing its advice and consent to ratification of the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD, or the Convention). CRPD, which has been ratified or acceded to by 138 countries, is a multilateral agreement that addresses the rights of disabled persons. Its purpose is to promote, protect, and ensure the full and equal enjoyment of all human rights and fundamental freedoms by persons with disabilities.

Many U.S. policymakers, including President Obama and some Members of Congress, agree that existing U.S. laws and policies are compatible with CRPD. In fact, some CRPD provisions appear to be modeled after U.S. disability laws. The United States has historically recognized the rights of individuals with disabilities through various laws and policies, including the Americans with Disabilities Act.

United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child — Concluding observations on the report submitted by the Holy See

February 6, 2014 Comments off

Concluding observations on the report submitted by the Holy See (PDF)
Source: United Nations

The Committee is concerned that in dealing with cases of child pornography committed by members of the clergy, the Holy See has failed to ensure children’s right to express their views and have them given due weight, and that the Holy See has given preceden ce to the preservation of the reputation of the church over children’s rights to have their best interests taken as a primary consideration. The Committee is concerned that in doing so, the Holy See has undermined the prevention of offences under the Optional Protocol and the capacity of child victims to report them and therefore contributed to the impunity of the perpetrators and created further trauma for child victims of offences.

UNICEF’s latest data reveal disparities, show need to innovate to advance children’s rights

February 3, 2014 Comments off

UNICEF’s latest data reveal disparities, show need to innovate to advance children’s rights
Source: United Nations

Declaring that ‘every child counts’, UNICEF today urged greater effort and innovation to identify and address the gaps that prevent the most disadvantaged of the world’s 2.2 billion children from enjoying their rights.

The children’s agency, in a report released today, highlights the importance of data in making progress for children and exposing the unequal access to services and protections that mars the lives of so many.

More Settlements Reached in Foreign Bribery Cases, but Only 3% of Penalties Goes Back to Affected Countries

December 3, 2013 Comments off

More Settlements Reached in Foreign Bribery Cases, but Only 3% of Penalties Goes Back to Affected Countries
Source: World Bank and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

A new report by the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR) highlights the increase in enforcement actions to counter foreign bribery and the growing prevalence of settlements – that is, any resolution short of a full-scale trial – to conclude such cases and impose monetary sanctions.

The study, “Left out of the Bargain,” looks into the scope and value of settlements in 395 foreign bribery cases that took place between 1999 and mid-2012. StAR’s research examined cases in which the country where the legal settlements took place was different from the country where the bribery occurred.

The study illustrates how little money has been returned or ordered returned to the countries whose officials were alleged to have been bribed. According to the report, only 3 percent (US $197 million out of US $5.8 billion) was returned to those countries.

Robust action to counter foreign bribery is a key factor in the global fight against corruption. The return of stolen assets to their legitimate owners and the compensation to affected parties are vital components of that effort.

Afghanistan opium crop cultivation rises 36 per cent, production up 49 per cent

November 28, 2013 Comments off

Afghanistan opium crop cultivation rises 36 per cent, production up 49 per cent
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

Opium poppy cultivation in Afghanistan rose 36 per cent in 2013, a record high, according to the 2013 Afghanistan Opium Survey released today in Kabul by the Ministry of Counter Narcotics and UNODC. Meanwhile, opium production amounted to 5,500 tons, up by almost a half since 2012.

Calling the news “sobering”, Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of UNODC, stressed that this situation poses a threat to health, stability and development in Afghanistan and beyond: “What is needed is an integrated, comprehensive response to the drug problem. Counter-narcotics efforts must be an integral part of the security, development and institution-building agenda”.

Business, Corruption and Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise

November 26, 2013 Comments off

Business, Corruption and Crime in Bosnia and Herzegovina: The impact of bribery and other crime on private enterprise (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

This survey of private businesses in Bosnia and Herzegovina reveals that corruption and other forms of crime are a great hindrance to private enterprise and have a negative effect on private investment. A significant percentage of businesses pay bribes to public officials repeatedly over the course of the year. Businesses in the Building and Construction sector are those most affected by bribery, followed by businesses in the Transportation and Storage sector. The public officials with the highest risk of bribery in interactions with businesses are health authorities, police officers, customs officers and judges/prosecutors.

Handbook on strategies to reduce overcrowding in prisons

November 5, 2013 Comments off

Handbook on strategies to reduce overcrowding in prisons (PDF)
Source: United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime

The topic of overcrowding in prisons is multidimensional. There are a large number of mutually reinforcing reasons that may lead to prison overcrowding, which vary significantly from one country to the other, as well as within each country. The causes of prison overcrowding are not confined to the limits of criminal justice, but extend to other spheres of State responsibility, such as social welfare policies, access to health services, education and employment, among others. It would not be feasible to cover such a vast topic in a comprehensive and useful manner in one publication, the primary aim of which is to provide practical guidance to its readers, rather than offering an in-depth discussion of the diverse political, social and economic factors relating to the topic of overcrowding in prisons around the world. As such, this Handbook’s scope is limited to offering an overview of some key criminal justice centred aspects of overcrowding. Within the framework of criminal justice policies and programmes, it aims to provide some guidance for strategy and policy development, illustrate good practice examples and encourage further thinking and research.

Global hunger down, but millions still chronically hungry

October 8, 2013 Comments off

Global hunger down, but millions still chronically hungry
Source: UN Food and Agricultural Organization

Some 842 million people, or roughly one in eight, suffered from chronic hunger in 2011-13, not getting enough food to lead active and healthy lives according to a report released by the UN food agencies.

The number is down from 868 million reported for the 2010-12 period, according to the State of Food Insecurity in the World (SOFI 2013), published every year by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) and the World Food Programme (WFP). The vast majority of hungry people live in developing regions, while 15.7 million live in developed countries.

Continued economic growth in developing countries has improved incomes and access to food. Recent pick-up in agricultural productivity growth, supported by increased public investment and renewed interest of private investors in agriculture, has improved food availability.

In addition, in some countries, remittances from migrants are playing a role in reducing poverty, leading to better diets and progress in food security. They can also contribute to boosting productive investments by smallholder farmers.

Research Guide: Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War

October 8, 2013 Comments off

Landmines and Explosive Remnants of War
Source: United Nations Libraries

Created by the Dag Hammarskjöld Library and the UNOG Library in collaboration with UN Mine Action Services, this guide provides information on landmines, explosive remnants of war, and other weapons of societal disruption.

UNAIDS reports a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001

September 30, 2013 Comments off

UNAIDS reports a 52% reduction in new HIV infections among children and a combined 33% reduction among adults and children since 2001
Source: UNAIDS

As world leaders prepare to meet at the United Nations General Assembly to review progress towards the Millennium Development Goals—a new report from the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) shows dramatic acceleration towards reaching 2015 global targets on HIV.

New HIV infections among adults and children were estimated at 2.3 million in 2012, a 33% reduction since 2001. New HIV infections among children have been reduced to 260 000 in 2012, a reduction of 52% since 2001. AIDS-related deaths have also dropped by 30% since the peak in 2005 as access to antiretroviral treatment expands.

By the end of 2012, some 9.7 million people in low- and middle-income countries were accessing antiretroviral therapy, an increase of nearly 20% in just one year. In 2011, UN Member States agreed to a 2015 target of reaching 15 million people with HIV treatment. However, as countries scaled up their treatment coverage and as new evidence emerged showing the HIV prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy, the World Health Organization set new HIV treatment guidelines, expanding the total number of people estimated to be in need of treatment by more than 10 million.

232 million international migrants living abroad worldwide–new UN global migration statistics reveal

September 18, 2013 Comments off

232 million international migrants living abroad worldwide–new UN global migration statistics reveal
Source: United Nations

There are as many international migrants born in the South living in other countries in the South as in countries in the North, reflecting changing patterns of Asian migration, but globally the United States remains the most popular destination, according to new data presented by the United Nations today.

More people than ever are living abroad. In 2013, 232 million people, or 3.2 per cent of the world’s population, were international migrants, compared with 175 million in 2000 and 154 million in 1990.

The new estimates include breakdowns by region and country of destination and origin, and by sex and age. The North, or developed countries, is home to 136 million international migrants, compared to 96 million in the South, or developing countries. Most international migrants are of working age (20 to 64 years) and account for 74 per cent of the total. Globally, women account for 48 per cent of all international migrants.

Cannabis production rises in Afghanistan despite decline in cultivation – UN report

September 18, 2013 Comments off

Cannabis production rises in Afghanistan despite decline in cultivation – UN report
Source: UN Office on Drugs and Crime

While the total area of Afghan farmland used for cannabis cultivation fell by 17 percent in 2012, there was still an eight per cent rise in the overall production of cannabis compared to 2011, according to a report released today by the United Nations drug and crime agency and the country’s Ministry of Counter-Narcotics.

The report, Afghanistan: Survey of Commercial Cannabis Cultivation and Production 2012, released today in the Afghan capital, Kabul, noted that the main reason for the increase in production despite the decline in cultivation was better yields by the cannabis, locally known as ‘garda,’ compared to the previous year.

The survey, which covered 16 of Afghanistan’s 34 provinces where commercial cannabis cultivation had been observed or reported in past surveys, estimated that most of the cannabis cultivation concentrated in the southern provinces of Afghanistan, accounting for some 54 per cent, and, to a lesser extent, in the east and north of the country.

In 2012, the national average of garda yield was 136 kilograms per hectare, an increase of 21 per cent compared to 2011, which experienced a yield of 112 kilograms per hectare. The 2012 yield levels came close to the high experienced in 2009 of 145 kilograms per hectare.

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