Good News Agency carries positive and constructive news from all over the world relating to voluntary work, the work of the United Nations, non governmental organizations and institutions engaged in improving the quality of life – news that doesn’t “burn out” in the space of a day. It is distributed free of charge through Internet to 10,000 media and editorial journalists in 54 countries and to 3,000 NGOs and 1,600 high schools, colleges and universities. It is an all-volunteer service of Associazione Culturale dei Triangoli e della Buona Volontà Mondiale, an educational charity associated with the United Nations Department of Public Information. In the final report of the Decade for a Culture of Peace project presented to the UN General Assembly (http://decade-culture-of-
Maldives becomes latest country to endorse International Criminal Court
21 September – Maldives today became the latest country to agree to be bound by the International Criminal Court (ICC), the independent, permanent tribunal set up to prosecute individuals accused of genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The Indian Ocean archipelago acceded to the 1998 Rome Statute, the legal document establishing the basis for the ICC, in New York today as part of the annual United Nations treaty event aimed at boosting countries’ engagement in the international treaty framework. Maldives becomes the 118th State Party to the ICC, which is based in The Hague in the Netherlands and can try cases relating to war crimes committed since July 2002.
Global Conference on cluster bomb ban ends with even more states pledging to join the Treaty
Beirut, 16 September – The Second Meeting of States Parties to the Convention on Cluster Munitions ended in Beirut today with a strong international declaration to rid the world of cluster munitions. The conference in Beirut, capital of heavily cluster munition-affected Lebanon, was attended by representatives from more than 120 states and hundreds of civil society campaigners from all over the world. During the meeting countries announced promising progress they’ve made against their treaty obligations, or how they intend to become full States Parties to the Convention.
Czech Republic becomes 66th State Party to cluster bomb ban
23 September – The Czech Republic has become the 66th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions. The NATO and EU member state deposited its instrument of ratification at a UN treaty event in New York on 22 September.
Italy ratifies cluster bomb ban
23September – Italy ratified the Convention on Cluster Munitions on 21 September – global Peace Day – becoming the 65th State Party to the international treaty.
Trinidad and Tobago accedes to cluster bomb ban
23 September – Trinidad and Tobago became the 64th State Party to the Convention on Cluster Munitions after acceding to the ban treaty at the UN in New York on 21 September – the third new State Party in just two weeks.
Former Yugoslav army chief convicted by UN tribunal for war crimes
6 September – The United Nations tribunal set up to prosecute the most serious offences committed during the Balkan conflicts of the 1990s today convicted Momčilo Perišić for crimes against humanity and war crimes and sentenced the former chief of staff of the Yugoslav Army to 27 years in prison. Mr. Perišić was found guilty by the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY) of aiding and abetting murders, inhumane acts, persecutions on political, racial or religious grounds, and attacks on civilians in Sarajevo and Srebrenica.
In the judgment – the first handed down by the tribunal in a case against an official of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia – Mr. Perišić was also found guilty of failing to punish his subordinates for their crimes of murder, attacks on civilians and injuring and wounding civilians during the rocket attacks on Zagreb in May 1995.
Role of Alliance of Civilizations more vital than ever, say UN officials
23 September – With its ability to foster cross-cultural understanding among peoples and societies, the Alliance of Civilizations initiative is crucial in the struggle to combat intolerance, extremism and bigotry worldwide, United Nations officials stressed today. The work of the Alliance touches on many of the threats at the top of the global agenda, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon noted in his remarks to the ministerial meeting of the Group of Friends of the Alliance, which was set up in 2005 by Spain and Turkey under UN auspices. “Two out of every three major conflicts in our world have a cultural dimension. Extremism, religious strife and bigotry fuel the fire,” Mr. Ban said. “Even the most stable democracies suffer horrific acts of hatred and the killing of innocent civilians singled out for their identity or their beliefs,” he added. “Across the world, bridges of understanding strain under the weight of intolerance and polarization.”
The Alliance has a mandate to marshal this power for good, he said, adding that it can also contribute to preventive diplomacy efforts.
The Alliance will hold its fourth forum in December in the Qatari capital of Doha.
UNICEF welcomes agreement against child trafficking in two African countries
22 September – The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has welcomed a new agreement between the Republic of the Congo and Benin to protect children from child trafficking, a major problem in the region in recent years. Although the exact number of trafficked children is hard to estimate, UNICEF put the figure at 1,800 in 2007. However, experts agree that the actual figure is now much higher, according to a press release issued yesterday by the agency. Many trafficked children – some as young as six years old – come from Benin and end up in Pointe Noire, the Republic of the Congo’s port city and economic capital, where they end up working as child slaves or in prostitution, entering a cycle of abuse and exploitation.