“All human beings are born free and equal in rights. They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.”
These words, ratified 60 years ago today, open the Declaration of Human Rights. A world divided by war and ideology, but united in hope, gathered to inscribe these words in history. On December 10, 1948, the General Assembly gathered and ratified what would become the most universally translated document of all time.
Unfortunately, we still witness daily violations of these human rights in countries ranging from Mynamar to even the United States. However, as we are driven further apart by our ideological differences and economic competition, we must remember that we are united as a global community. Empowerment of all people, respect for every human life regardless of ethnicity, nationality, race or sexuality is something we declared our alliance to 60 years ago and needs to remain at the forefront of our global consciousness.
The legacy of the Declaration has at times been overshadowed in this era of globalization; yet the United Nations has continued working hard to promote human rights globally. We must recognize the strides we have taken, please visit the web sites of those working to protect human rights: Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, UNHCR.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Have you ever had to deal with pesky mosquitoes? If you live on planet Earth, then the answer is probably yes. You probably have not, however, had to deal with the crippling and deadly effect of malaria; a disease born by and transmitted to humans from mosquito bites. Malaria is a huge problem, and merely smacking every mosquito you see is not going to stop it anytime soon. Fortunately, the United Nations is on the case, and there is promising evidence that malaria may be wiped out by the target goal of 2015. Run and hide little vampires, the entire international community is shining a light on this problem, and the results are already very encouraging.
Almost one million people die every year from malaria, a completely preventable disease. The majority of these deaths are in children under 5 years old. The answer is revolutionary. The World Health Organization, Bill Gates Foundation, and countless other organizations are providing state of the art high tech mosquito repellent webbed force-field technology…or mosquito nets, in layman’s terms. The answer is that simple, and extremely effective. The UN estimates that deaths from malaria have so far dropped 50% this decade, and increased investment in vaccines, pesticide treatments, and bed nets may completely eradicate the disease by 2015. The recent meeting to up the attack on the disease was attended by star-advocates of the cause, Bono and Bill Gates. This plan aims at being the ultimate bug zapper, and will protect millions of at risk people around the world. According to Bill Gates, “It’s going to make a huge difference.”
Friday, December 5, 2008
Imagine you are an elephant in Kenya. You wake up in the morning and smell sweet corn in the distance. Being the curious pachyderm that you are, you decide to head over to a giant corn planting--taking no heed of the fence since, after all, you ARE an elephant. You were just following your nose and it doesn’t occur to you that these crops might be the livelihood of your human neighbors.
However, as land in Kenya becomes scarcer, farmland increasingly encroaches on elephant habitats. This is dangerous for elephants that wander into towns in search of water and for habitants who have had homes and livelihoods destroyed by the elephants. International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is working with the Kenya Wildlife Services (KWS) to search for solutions to wildlife-human conflict. The solution will focus on maintaining biodiversity and elephant habitat while promoting sustainable and environmental farming practices. These solutions include: planting crops that are repellant to elephants such as chili, building moats around crops and cohabiting with the wildlife while promoting ecotourism.
Monday, December 1, 2008
Of the multitude of events and efforts surrounding today’s 20th Annual World AIDS day, football fans across the globe can expect the launch of a new campaign featuring two of the games most popular and renowned players, Michael Ballack and Emmanuel Adebayor. This campaign is aimed at emphasizing the importance of teamwork and cooperation in the battle against global aids. While Ballack has been involved with UNAIDS since 2006, his on the field rival and off the field friend, Adebayor is new to the cause, but no less enthused and dedicated. Employing the prominence and star-power of two such remarkable figures in the world of football, this effort is an effective way to reach out and empower young populations around the world. To view their public service announcement and to find out more about World AIDS day, please visit UNAIDS.