In the News
July 12, 2011
July 10, 2011
June was a busy month for multilateral elections. Within seven days of each other, the following individuals were elected as the head of a major multilateral organization:
- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon was re-elected to a second five-year term (June 21),
- French finance minister Christine Lagarde was chosen as the new Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (June 28),
- Nassir Abdulaziz al-Nasser was selected as President of the UN General Assembly’s 67th session (June 22), and
- Jose Graziano da Silva was elected as the new Director-General of the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (June 26).
This last one, however, could not have been more different from the others. ...
July 10, 2011
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird is set to announce Monday that Canada is boycotting the United Nations Conference on Disarmament over North Korea’s involvement, a senior government source told Postmedia News.
So Se Pyong, North Korea’s ambassador, was last week named chair of the Geneva-based group dedicated to promoting global nuclear disarmament.“
North Korea is simply not a credible chair of this UN body as its leaders are working in the exact opposite direction,” the source told Postmedia News on Sunday evening. ...
July 5, 2011
Less than a week after the United Nations Human Rights Council appointed former Maldivian Foreign Minister Ahmed Shaheed as Special Rapporteur on Human Rights for Iran, Head of Iran's Judiciary, Sadegh Larijani, in a TV interview said, "accepting the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights is not our policy."
In March, the UN Human Rights Council passed a resolution establishing a monitoring mechanism for Iran and appointing a Special Rapporteur. Last month, three candidates were considered for this position. The Iranian side, knowing that a Special Rapporteur would be immediately appointed soon, sent a message to Geneva that the Rapporteur on Iran should have three qualifications: Be a man, be a Muslim, and not be from an Arab country. One of the male candidates didn't seem to cause any controversy for Tehran; Ahmed Shaheed's appointment met all of Iran's requirements. ...
July 2, 2011
Dear Dr. Shaheed,
We the undersigned, members of Iranian academics, journalists, writers, lawyers, artists and human rights activists, welcome your appointment as the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran. The systematic violations of human rights by the Islamic Republic of Iran and atrocities committed against the members of the opposition have reached an unprecedented level. The arbitrary arrests of women activists, lawyers, journalists, students, labour leaders, and human rights advocates are on the rise. The continuous hunger strikes, attempted suicides and mysterious death of prisoners in custody, and executions are indeed alarming. ...
July 1, 2011
What's a North Korean apparatchik to think when he's both welcomed and told to quit by Canada after assuming the presidency of a key United Nation s disarmament body?
The naming of North Korea's Ambassador So Se Pyong as chair of the UN's Conference on Disarmament drew sharp criticism from Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird on Thursday. ...
June 29, 2011
Christine Lagarde's appointment to replace Dominique Strauss-Kahn as managing director of the International Monetary Fund comes as no real surprise. But the aggressive manner in which European authorities pushed through Lagarde's appointment to retain control over the position creates at least three major challenges Lagarde must quickly address.
One, Lagarde has to establish her independence. She has to demonstrate that the IMF will not automatically rubberstamp European decisions and be a convenient piggy bank to help Europe finance the debt crisis in some euro-area countries. The pressure European officials applied to secure the managing director's position for Lagarde and the important role she played as the French finance minister in dealing with the crisis raises suspicions that the Europeans' primary interest in backing her is to ensure access to IMF resources. ...