In conversation with Hans Blix

30 August 2007 at 10:16 am | Posted in Hans Blix, Iraq, News, Sydney Peace Prize, United Nations, Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission | Leave a comment

Click here to listen to an ABC Melbourne interview with 2007 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Dr Hans Blix, together with former Australian Foreign Minister Gareth Evans who now heads the International Crisis Group.

Blix was in Melbourne to attend the United Nations Association of Australia National Conference.

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Global Compact needs to be strengthened: Khan

9 July 2007 at 10:41 am | Posted in Amnesty International, Human rights, Irene Khan, News, Sydney Peace Prize, United Nations | Leave a comment

2005 Sydney Peace Prize recipient Irene Khan has called for the United Nations Compact to be strengthened.

At the recently concluded Global Compact Leadership Summit, Khan acknowledged the significance of the Global Compact, but asked if the Compact’s “great potential to advance corporate social responsibility, including the protection of human rights…is being fully realised”?

“It is not enough for the Compact simply to teach and to insist on transparency and disclosure, and then let things be. It is easy to sign-up to principles when no-one will hold you accountable for implementing them,” the Amnesty International Secretary General said in her address. “The Global Compact needs to find ways to hold participants accountable for upholding its principles.”

The UN Global Compact is an initiative to “bring companies together with UN agencies, labour and civil society to support universal environmental and social principles”. It was launched in July 2000. Its aim was to include the private sector in promoting responsible corporate citizenship in achieving a more sustainable and inclusive global economy.

Pleas amidst the chaos in Gaza

14 June 2007 at 11:25 am | Posted in Desmond Tutu, Gaza, Hanan Ashrawi, News, Sydney Peace Prize, United Nations | Leave a comment

At a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council meeting on Wednesday, Archbishop Tutu has pleaded for an end to the fighting in the Occupied Palestinian Territories between the Israelis and Palestinians.

The Nobel Laureate and 199 Sydney Peace Prize recipient was presenting a report by the fact-finding mission he led into the killing of Palestinian civilians by the Israeli military in Beit Hanun last November.

Tutu called on both Israel and the Palestinian authorities to hold accountable those responsible for the incident. He urged Israel to prosecute soldiers responsible for the deaths of Palestinian civilians when it shelled the Gaza town last year and the Palestinian authorities should hold to account militants who fired rockets into nearby Israel.

“Regardless of whether the casualties at (the town of) Beit Hanoun were caused by a mistake, recklessness, criminal negligence or were willful, those responsible must be held accountable,” Tutu told the HRC.

The mission report expressed concern about the  “the seemingly intractable and unending cycle of human rights violations” that has affected the daily lives of both Palestinians and Israelis.

“True peace and security can never come from the barrel of a gun. These conditions come only when the human rights of all are respected,” Tutu said.

Separately, Tutu said he is in despair over the fighting between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza, but he understood why the rival factions are fighting each other, the Voice of America reported.

“When you are oppressed, it is so very easy to turn on yourselves,” he said.  Referring to apartheid South Africa, Tutu added: “At home, we had horrendous instances of internecine conflict.  And you would say, for goodness sake, do we not realise that it is, in fact, playing into the hands of those who are abusing us, who are oppressing us.”

The increasing division within the Palestinian forces could mark “the end of the Palestinian state,” said Palestinian legislator and 2003 Sydney Peace Prize recipient, Dr Hanan Ashrawi.

“If you have two separate systems, there is no way that you can have a Palestinian state that is contiguous,” Ashrawi said. She added that if the situation contines, Gaza will become a “hostile” Palestinian ministate controlled by Hamas, while the West Bank would remain under Israel’s control with a Fatah-run militia in control of the cities.

Multilateral effforts not unilateralism in Sudan: Khan

31 May 2007 at 6:49 pm | Posted in Dafur, Irene Khan, News, Sydney Peace Prize, United Nations | Leave a comment

Amnesty International Secretary General has urged the international community to pressure Sudan into accepting a multinational UN peacekeeping force in the Dafur region.

Speaking to reporters in Cairo, Ms Khan said: “The support of the entire international community is needed to have an impact on the Sudanese government…there needs to be international mobilization rather than unilateral action at this stage.”

Ms Khan was in Egypt to meet with the Arab League. “It’s not just a question of finding a political solution among the different groups, but making sure that there is justice for those people who have suffered,” the International Herald Tribune quoted Ms Khan as saying.

The 2006 Sydney Peace Prize recipient’s comments came after US President George Bush ordered new economic sanctions on Sudan.

“Any decision of how to progress on the Sudanese situation has to be one that is a multilateral process, because it has to have the support of the entire international community to have … an impact on the Sudanese government,” the International Herald Tribune quoted

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