UN Radio: Reconstructing Iraq – Palestinian Plight
UN Radio: Reconstructing Iraq – Palestinian Plight in Iraq - Protecting People with Disability – SARS Beijing Travel Advisory Lifted - Tobacco Treaty Draws 41 Signatures the First Week
UNDP Opens Informal Meeting on Reconstructing Iraq
United Nations officials today called for the establishment of a representative Iraqi interim authority to help lead efforts in rebuilding the country. UN humanitarian coordinator for Iraq Ramiro Lopez da Silva told a meeting called to discuss reconstruction in Iraq that while the coalition has improved security more is needed to be done:
"A fundamental precursor to any process is the establishment of a representative Iraqi interim administration to lead the reconstruction process."
UN Embarking on More Difficult Business of Reconstruction in Iraq
Meanwhile, UNDP Administrator Mark Malloch Brown said they were engaging in the more difficult business of reconstruction. He said the meeting is coming together around a common commitment to help the people of Iraq back on their feet, to Iraqi government and control over their own destiny as quickly as is feasible and possible:
"The goal of today is to plan a process of assessment of understanding the reconstruction challenges Iraq faces in order to come together later around a formal high-level ministerial reconstruction conference."
The meeting is a prelude to a conference of donor countries aiding in the rebuilding of Iraq.
UNHCR Voices Concern about Plight of Palestinians in Iraq
The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has expressed concern over the situation of Palestinian refugees in Baghdad. The agency says hundreds of Palestinian and Syrian refugees have been thrown out of their homes. UNHCR Spokesman Kris Janowski:
"The other problem is Palestinians who were living in subsidised housing under the former regime and they have lost this housing now because the landlords basically just put them on the streets so we have created some tentative accommodation for them but, in the longer run, it's not going to work."
UNHCR is trying to get the provisional authority in Iraq to agree to lodging the refuges in government buildings.
UN Urged to Enact Convention to Protect People with Disability
United States National Council on Disability says the United
Nations has the opportunity to consider enacting a
convention that would protect the rights of people with
Chairman of the council Lex Frieden says the whole process of working towards a UN convention on the rights of people with disabilities helps to educate all. He adds that despite their disabilities, people can be independent and can make a contribution to their families, their community and the world:
"And finally we believe it is important to eventually enact a convention that provides equal opportunity for all people with disabilities throughout the world and give everyone with a disability the right to be fully participating members of their societies in the countries where they live."
The US National Council on Disability aims to promote policies, programmes and practices that guarantee equal opportunity for people with disabilities.
WHO Removes Beijing from SARS-Related Travel Advisory
The UN health agency (WHO) has removed Beijing from the list of SARS-related travel advisories. WHO says the city has gone more than 20 days without any new cases of the disease. Communications Officer Ian Simpson describes the move as significant since Beijing has been at the centre of the SARS outbreak:
"Of course, the important thing now is to maintain vigilance both in Beijing and elsewhere in China, and also in other areas where there have been cases of SARS."
Beijing was the last area in the world to which the travel advisory still applied. SARS claimed the lives of more than 300 people in China.
Tobacco Treaty Draws 41 Signatures the First Week
More than 40 countries and the European Community have signed the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control. WHO's Director-General Gro Harlem Brundtland said it is only through a concerted worldwide effort that global tobacco control can happen. She said the fact that so many countries signed the convention in its first week demonstrates how strongly it is supported and how meaningful it is to diverse populations and situations.