Humanity is well aware of the devastating damage and pollution it have wrought on planet Earth, and “even with this knowledge, we have yet to change our ways,” United Nations Secretary-General on 22 April 2015 said urging people to reset their relationship with nature and every living being it sustains.*
Workers in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, building rock walls and planting vegetation as ways to save arable land and avoid flooding in lower areas. UN Photo/Logan Abassi
In his remarks onInternational Mother Earth Day, marked worldwide on 22 April, Ban Ki-moon called Earth humanity’s “ultimate mother – an astounding planet that has, since time immemorial, supported life in myriad forms.”
This year’s celebration marks the 45th anniversary of Earth Day celebrations from Morocco to Uganda, Armenia to India.
“This can be the year our children and grandchildren will remember as when we chose to build a sustainable and resilient future – both for Mother Earth and all those that development has until now left behind. Let us seize this historic opportunity together,” he said.
“But the big decisions that lie ahead are not just for world leaders and policy-makers. Today, on Mother Earth Day, I ask each one of us to be mindful of the impacts our choices have on this planet, and what those impacts will mean for future generations,” he added.
Following the loss of some 700 lives after a boat carrying migrants capsized and sank over the weekend, the UN human rights chief has urged European Union (EU) governments to take a “more sophisticated, more courageous and less callous approach” to coping with the flows of migrants towards Europe.
Maltese emergency workers in Senglea collect bodies from the Mediterranean disaster which happened overnight Saturday-Sunday 18-19 April 2015. Photo: UNHCR/F. Ellul
“As we learn of yet more men, women and children who have lost their lives in their search for better and safer lives abroad, I am horrified but not surprised by this latest tragedy. These deaths and the hundreds of others that preceded them in recent months were sadly predictable,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein on 20 April 2015 said in astatement.
“The [deaths] are the result of a continuing failure of governance accompanied by a monumental failure of compassion,” he added.
“With law shall our land be built up, but with lawlessness laid waste.” Njal’s Saga, Iceland, c 1270.
After the invention of agriculture, roughly 10,000 years ago, humans began to live in progressively larger groups, which were sometimes multi-ethnic. In order to make towns, cities and finally nations function without excessive injustice and violence, both ethical and legal systems were needed.
**Agricultural scene from Ancient Egypt. | Author: Norman de Garis Davies, Nina Davies (2-dimensional 1 to 1 Copy of an 15th century BC Picture) | Wikimedia Commons.
Today, in an era of global economic interdependence, instantaneous worldwide communication and all-destroying thermonuclear weapons, we urgently need new global ethical principles and a just and enforcible system of international laws.
United Nations officials gathered at the UN Crime Congress under way in Doha, Qatar, on 18 April 2015 called on Member States to take action and implement the new international standards on the elimination of violence against children adopted late last year, stressing that such violence continues to have a devastating effect on children, families, and society as a whole.*
Nearly 400,000 children in Gaza are suffering from psychosocial distress as a result of the 50-day armed conflict in 2014. Photo: UNICEF/Alessio Romenzi
The new set of international standards and norms – entitled the “United Nations Model strategies and practical measures on the elimination of violence against children in the field of crime prevention and criminal justice,” and approved by the UN General Assembly on 18 December 2014 – aim to not only improve the effectiveness of the criminal justice system in preventing and responding to violence against children but also to protect children against any violence that may result from their contact with that system.
Geneva, 14 April 2015 (IRIN)– Drones are already doing a lot of killing on behalf of certain governments, but a human being still has to make a conscious decision somewhere and press a button. What if killing machines were programmed to take such decisions all by themselves?
**Photo: Campaign to Stop Killer Robots | The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has support from a number of British MPs | Source: IRIN
“Killer robots” may sound like fodder for dystopian fiction, but they are exactly what weapons technology experts, human rights groups and United Nations’ member states are meeting in Geneva this week to discuss.
The five-day gathering, taking place within the context of the UN’s Convention on Conventional Weapons, is looking at the legal and moral implications of Lethal Autonomous Weapons Systems, LAWS for short, and assessing how advanced their development already is.
‘Experts estimate that 10-30 per cent of this illegal trade (around US$ 72-426 million per annum) goes to transnational organized criminal networks based outside eastern DR Congo.’
Nairobi, 16 April 2015 — Organized crime and the illegal trade in natural resources continues to increasingly fuel the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners.*
The Government of DRC, supported by the UN Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) – the largest UN peacekeeping mission with 20,000 uniformed personnel – is confronting not only a political insurgency but an increasing number of illegal operations conducted by militarized criminal groups with transnational links involved in large-scale smuggling and laundering of natural resources.
Every year gold, minerals, timber, charcoal and wildlife products such as ivory, valued between US$ 0.7-1.3 billion annually, are exploited and smuggled illegally out of the conflict zone and surrounding areas in eastern DRC.
Efforts to tame the fast-growing cybercrime threat took centre stage at the United Nations Crime Congress under way in Doha, Qatar, as a diverse group of experts in the field urged strong partnerships between the public and private sectors to create a safer digital landscape.
UN Photo/Devra Berkowitz
“Cybercrime has become an established threat to the security of States and individuals alike,” Loide Lungameni, Chief of the Organized Crime and Illicit Trafficking Branch in the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), on 17 April 2015 told a high-level event on the topic.*
Continuing, she warned those gathered for the 13th UN Congress on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice that in the near future, due to ever-increasing global connectivity, it will become hard to imagine a form of cybercrime – or perhaps any crime – that does not involve electronic evidence.