DR Congo UN peacekeeping official visits the east after rape of civilians

Atul Khare, Assistant Secretary-General in the UN Department of Peacekeeping Operations (DPKO) travelled yesterday from DRC’s capital Kinshasa to the east, where he will make stops in the towns of Goma, Kirumba, Kibua, Bukavu and Uvira.He spent several days in Kinshasa meeting with various officials, including the Foreign Minister, the Deputy Prime Minister and the President’s security advisor. He also met with representatives of the civil society and non-governmental organizations (NGOs).Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon dispatched Mr. Khare to DRC to work with Roger Meece, his Special Representative in the country, following reports that members of armed groups active in the DRC’s troubled North Kivu had raped at least 154 civilians in the province’s Banamukira territory between 30 July and 2 August.Earlier this week, Mr. Meece urged authorities in DRC, the UN peacekeeping mission in the country, MONUSCO, and the international community in general to work together to put an end to crimes against civilians by illegal armed groups. 1 September 2010A senior United Nations peacekeeping official, who is visiting the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) following the recent mass rape of civilians by members of illegal armed groups, has travelled to the eastern region of the country where the crimes were committed, a UN spokesperson said today. read more

UN forum in Beirut hears call for science and technology renaissance in

Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri underscored the need for Arab governments to join hands with the private sector in attempting to bridge the “gaping” divide between the technological progress seen in the Arab world and that found in Western countries. The Prime Minister also voiced regret over the failure of the majority of Arab states to include the issue of technology transfer among their decision-making priorities. “The human resources are available [and] the markets are available,” he said. “What remains is the will.” The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA), Mervat Tallawy, agreed on the need for action. “The problem is how to raise awareness of the potential of these new sciences, how to find the people who are determined to make change and exploit technology, and how to change traditional ways of thinking,” she said. Speaking on behalf of Juan Somavia, the Director-General of the International Labour Organization (ILO), his Special Adviser, Salim Radwan, called attention to the power of information and communication technologies to promote more open, more just, and more prosperous societies. Citing the ILO’s World Employment Report 2001, he noted that “both productivity and employment were increasing in countries where information and communication technologies were most diffused.” Ahmad Zuwail, the 1999 Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, said nothing less than an Arab renaissance of science and technology would allow the Arab countries to achieve progress. He called on Arab States to “sponsor and encourage human creativity and excellence” and pointed out the region’s strengths in this area. “People still have the brainpower and history is on our side,” he said. “What we have lacked is a rational system able to transform the premises of a rich culture and to take advantage of new advances in the world.” The forum is being jointly organized by ESCWA and the ILO under the patronage of Prime Minister Hariri. read more