The issue of Iran’s nuclear activities is a matter only for the UN atomic watchdog now and not the Security Council, the country’s President told the General Assembly as he accused “arrogant powers” of abusing the Council to prevent Iran enjoying its rights and entitlements. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad welcomed what he said was a shift by the UN International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) towards supporting the rights of its Member States while supervising their nuclear activities. “Previously, they illegally insisted on politicizing the Iranian nation?s nuclear case, but today, because of the resistance of the Iranian nation, the issue is back to the Agency, and I officially announce that in our opinion the nuclear issue of Iran is now closed and has turned into an ordinary Agency matter,” he said.
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown called for a UN Security Council meeting on Myanmar, vowing there would be “no impunity” for human rights violators in the country. Reuters reports that Brown spoke as a hospital source said one person was killed and five wounded in Myanmar’s main city on Sept. 26 when security forces moved in to disperse the biggest anti-junta demonstrations in 20 years. The European Union was going to look at “a whole range of sanctions that could be imposed,” Brown said.
The Iraqi government will impose travel restrictions in the country if more cases of cholera are confirmed after a warning by the World Health Organization (WHO) that the disease was spreading in Iraq. Reuters reports that the UN agency says 616 new cases of cholera have been reported in the past week. Earlier it had said 1,500 people had succumbed to the disease in early September. The outbreak had spread to 25 districts of northern Iraq, four districts in the south and across the center of the country, the WHO said. An Iraqi woman died Sept. 26 of cholera in Baghdad, the first reported fatality in the capital and the first outside northern Iraq, the Health Ministry said.
The UN refugee agency is supporting a new initiative by 20 Nordic non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to persuade their Governments to review their policies towards asylum seekers fleeing generalized violence and armed conflict. The UNHCR noted that the simultaneous launch Sept. 25 in Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway and Sweden of the “Keep Them Safe” campaign sought to remedy a gap in the Nordic protection regime under which failed asylum seekers, including Iraqis, Sri Lankans and Somalis, are left in legal limbo or sent back to countries affected by violence ? contrary to UNHCR guidelines.
Under fire amid a rash of civil war human rights abuses, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has turned the tables on the UN, questioning its efficiency, and ability to help tackle terrorism. Addressing the UN General Assembly in New York overnight, Reuters reports that Rajapaksa, whose administration has vilified UN envoys for criticism, said solutions to armed conflicts must be homegrown and rights should not be used as a tool to victimize countries.
Egypt will begin fortifying flour used to make subsidized flat bread with iron and folic acid by January in a move expected to cut widespread anemia, the World Food Program (WFP) said on Sept. 26. The USD 23 million project will be phased in over several years, and fortified wheat flour was expected to be ready in some provinces by December or January, according to a WFP official in Cairo.
With hundreds of thousands of deaths or permanent disabilities from traffic accidents, violence, war and other causes easily preventable through simple surgery, the UN health agency has expanded its program to train health care staff in low- and middle-income countries in essential basic surgical and anesthesia skills. “The initiative signifies a shift in the way we think about surgery,” WHO clinical procedures official Luc Noel said. “Until recently, surgery was a neglected health issue in developing countries because it was assumed to be too expensive and sophisticated.”