Advocacy Update

May 13, 2013

Talk to Your Representatives in Washington, DC at the 2013 Annual Meeting

Don't miss the opportunity to talk directly with your elected officials about the important work of the United Nations — register now for the 2013 UNA-USA Annual Meeting! Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill occurs on the last day of the meeting and is UNA-USA's most important advocacy day of the year. Last year, more than 100 meetings took place between UNA-USA members and their members of Congress discussing the importance of a strong U.S.-UN relationship.

If you are unable to attend the entire three-day event, consider registering for just Advocacy Day on Tuesday, June 4. Visit the UNA-USA website to register for Advocacy Day or the entire three-day meeting, which includes special policy briefings, advocacy training, and Chapter building sessions. You must be registered to take part in Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill, and all other meeting activities.

For your convenience, all meetings with Congressional offices will be scheduled for you by the Better World Campaign and UNA-USA. Please indicate on your registration form if you plan to participate in these meetings. We will also prepare advocacy packets for you to distribute during your meetings.

Have questions? Please contact Laura Giroux, UNA-USA Membership Director.

Post-2015 Process Sees Much Progress in April

The process to inform and help shape the Post-2015 agenda to advance the Millennium Development Goals beyond 2015 is well underway. April was a busy month, with progress from the Open Working Group on the Sustainable Development Goals, the High-Level Panel, and the Sustainable Development Solutions Network. Read important updates, outcomes, reports, and stories in UNA-USA’s April update. For more information on the Post-2015 process, visit www.unausa.org/post2015.

What's Happening at the UN

Read the latest and most important news coming out of the United Nations, so you can tell your member of Congress about the important work of the UN. This month:


  • UN Issues Scathing Report on Sexual Assaults in DRC
  • UN Security Council Establishes Peacekeeping Force for Mali
  • UNICEF Increases Vaccination Campaigns Amid Increase in Measles Cases
  • OCHA Operations Director Highlights Work to be done in Myanmar, Philippines

UN Issues Scathing Report on Sexual Assaults in DRC
A joint UN report released  confirmed nearly 200 women and girls raped by Congolese FARDC troops and M23 rebels. The report, which details victim and eyewitness accounts of mass rape, killings, arbitrary executions and other gross violations of human rights, was authored by the UN Joint Human Rights Office (UNJHRO) comprised of MONUSC and the office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While the report also cites M23 rebels for committing atrocities, it notes that the serious rights violations committed by FARDC soldiers, in particular, were “perpetrated in a systematic manner and with extreme violence” and may constitute international crimes under human rights law, as well as crimes under Congolese criminal law. “Those responsible for such crimes must know that they will be prosecuted,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay said in a statement, calling the sexual violence outlined in the report “horrifying” in scale and systematic nature. The joint investigation attributes poor discipline among soldiers and officers, as well as improper training and inadequate vetting mechanisms for what happened. In the noon briefing, in response to questions, the Spokesperson said that elements of the 41st and 391st battalions of the FARDC are suspected of involvement in the violations. Two of the 11 soldiers arrested in relation to the Minova incidents have been charged with rape. He added that 12 senior officers have also been suspended in relation to the Minova incidents while the investigation by Congolese justice authorities is ongoing, in what he called a positive development. He added that that includes the commanders and deputy commanders of these battalions.

Security Council Establishes Peacekeeping Force for Mali Effective July 1
The Security Council unanimously approved the creation of a 12,600 member peacekeeping force in the West African nation of Mali, strongly condemning the January offensive by armed groups towards the south and stressing that terrorism could only be defeated by a sustained and comprehensive approach to isolate the terrorist threat.

UNICEF Increases Vaccination Campaigns Amid Increase in Measles Cases
UNICEF and partners are stepping up vaccination campaigns in Jordan, Lebanon, Iraq, and Turkey due to a measles outbreak. UNICEF reports that there have been 3,000 to 4,000 reported cases in Turkey during the past year, including 300 among Syrian refugees. UNICEF also said that nearly half of all internally displaced Syrians are children, the majority of which live in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions where disease can easily spread.

UN Deputy Secretary-General Launches Zero Hunger Challenge
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson launched the Zero Hunger Challenge in Bangkok. In his statement, the he called for governments, farmers, scientists, business, civil society, and consumers in Asia to join hands to end hunger in the region. He also called for an acceleration of efforts with less than 1,000 days until the end of 2015. Eliasson also said that the Millennium Development Goals were the most successful global anti-poverty drive in history, but that there are still many gaps.

The UNA-USA Advocacy Update keeps members up-to-date on the progress of the organization’s advocacy priorities. The Update is structured around the UNA-USA Advocacy Agenda, which focuses UNA’s work on four core issue areas: securing U.S.-UN funding; advancing human rights through the UN; encouraging U.S. ratification of international treaties; and supporting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Also included in the Update is a recent “round-up” of the month’s most important UN news. If you would like additional information on any of the items included, contact the Membership team at membership@unausa.org.

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