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Archive for the ‘Humanitarian Aide’ Category

Secretary Clinton Marks 60th Anniversary of Refugee Convention

In Help for Refugees, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Clinton on April 6, 2011 at 10:07 pm

 

Courage and Bravery in the interests of Humanity are alive and well.

Clinton in the Congo, and the real message gets lost…

In Africa, Congo, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on August 14, 2009 at 9:29 pm

Clinton in the Congo, and the real message gets lost.

Clinton in the Congo

CongoShadow

by Nancy Johnston
THE BALTIMORE SUN

August 13, 2009

The UN reports that there have been 200,000 acts of sexual violence in the Congo since 1998, 65 percent against children. Since January, more than half of the thousands of rapes reported were perpetrated by the Congolese army, according to Human Rights Watch. That is to say nothing of the more than 2 million displaced citizens, and 5.4 million who have died in connection with the war waged against rebels backed by Rwanda and Uganda.

An AP report which detailed the $17 million of aid the U.S. has pledge to end such violence described the scene at a refugee camp Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited.

“Residents told Clinton that women and young girls and boys are often victimized by rape when they leave the camp to gather wood or tend to outside gardens. One camp official said a young boy had been raped on Monday.

“One of the two victims Clinton met had been gang-raped after her husband and four children were killed. The other, eight months pregnant at the time, lost her baby and was found by hospital workers in a forest where she had stumbled.”

There are no words for the horrors these people have faced in the past decade.

    But if you’ve watched the news those horrific statistics and stories didn’t register. That’s because Secretary Clinton’s umbrage over a question about a Chinese loan offer became the story, instead of the corruption of officials and the sexual warfare being waged throughout the country.

At a news conference, a student in the audience asks Ms. Clinton what Mr. Clinton thinks about a disputed Chinese contract, and she reacted harshly. It’s unclear what the student was thinking — did he misspeak, meaning to ask for President Obama’s opinion, instead of Bill Clinton’s?

Did the translator ask the wrong question? Did one or the other of them think it appropriate to question our top diplomat about her husband’s opinion, rather than her own? But the point is that the narrative has switched from life-and-death issues that everyone should be united against, to another “Shrill Hill” sound bite.

“Poor Hillary,” her detractors and supporters both say, “She was just so tired! And it must be so hard to see Obama light up the world in his travels; and that Bill, saving those journalists from North Korea, stealing her thunder.”

To which I say, give me a break.

Hillary Clinton has been a professional politician, a U.S. senator, a presidential candidate and she is now the secretary of state of the United States of America. She has nothing to prove to the commentators and the pundits; her job is to advise the president on foreign affairs and enforce the policies of the USA.

She was not a petulant child craving recognition, nor does she need your defense. Secretary Clinton had a point to make, and it was this: I am the representative of the most powerful country in the world, and you will respect both my office and me as a human being.

While you’re at it, why don’t you show that same respect to the women of the Congo?

In a country where being female might be a death sentence and rape is used as a weapon against the population, this is not a point to be made lightly. Perhaps it wasn’t diplomatic, but it was entirely appropriate for Clinton to defend her position and her dignity in a place where so many wives and daughters have no defense or recourse.

So don’t pity Hillary, who in your mind has to compete with her powerful husband and boss. Pity the millions of Congolese who are suffering.

And get alongside her, whether as a feminist or a human being: There’s plenty to find offensive in this situation without falling back to either Clinton hatred or misogynistic punchlines.
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After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

In economy, foreign policy, Global News, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Clinton, Middle East, Peace on May 20, 2009 at 12:21 am

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

After meeting and dining yesterday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, shown above, Secretary Clinton devotes herself to humanitarian issues this morning.

9:45 a.m. Meeting with Representatives of the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria

11:15 a.m. Announcement of Humanitarian Aid to Pakistan, in the Brady Room at the White House

11:50 a.m. Global Press Conference at Foreign Press Center in Washington, DC
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1:30 p.m. Meeting with former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan

Secretary’s 2009 International Women’s Awards Ceremony

In foreign policy, Global News, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Politics, United States, Washington on March 11, 2009 at 8:39 pm

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SECRETARY CLINTON: Well, this is such an exciting occasion, and there were so many people who wanted to come today, but unfortunately, there is a limit to how many people we can let into this magnificent room. So there are people watching on closed-circuit TV all over this building, and beyond.

And it is my pleasure to welcome you to the State Department to celebrate International Women’s Day with a very special event and a very special guest. The event is the International Women of Courage Awards, and in a minute, you will meet these remarkable women and learn more about their lives and their work. And I am especially delighted to thank one person in particular whose presence here means a great deal to all of us – our First Lady, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)

Now, I know a little bit about the role that – (laughter) – Michelle Obama is filling now. And I have to say that in a very short time, she has, through her grace and her wisdom, become an inspiration to women and girls not only in the United States, but around the world. And it is so fitting that she would join us here at the State Department to celebrate the achievements of other extraordinary women, and to show her commitment to supporting women and girls around the globe.

She understands, as we all do here at the State Department, that the status of women and girls is a key indicator of whether or not progress is possible in a society. And so I am very grateful to her and to President Obama, who earlier today announced the creation of the White House Interagency Council on Women and Girls. That will – (applause). That office will help us collaborate across every department and agency in our government.

President Obama has also designated an ambassador-at-large to consolidate our work on women’s global issues here at the State Department. Now, this is a position that has never existed before, and I am very pleased that someone you all know, if you have ever worked on women’s issues – know and appreciate a longtime colleague and friend, Melanne Verveer, who’s been nominated to fill that post. (Applause.)

And I also want to thank Ambassador Susan Rice and our excellent U.S. delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, which is in the middle of its annual meetings now, for the work that they are doing and for the engagement that they demonstrate.

Today, we’re focusing on the International Women of Courage Awards. It’s a fairly new tradition here at the State Department, but it’s already become a cherished institution. For the past three years, our embassies have sent us stories of extraordinary women who work every day, often against great odds to advance the rights of all human beings to fulfill their God-given potential. Today, we recognize eight of those women. Each is one of a kind, but together they represent countless women and men who strive daily for justice and opportunity in every country and on every continent, usually without recognition or reward.

And I want to say a special word about someone who could not join us, who we honor today – Reem Al Numery, who was forced to marry her older cousin when she was just 12 years old. She is now fighting to obtain a divorce for herself and end child marriage in Yemen. She was not able to be here, but we honor her strength and we pledge our support to end child marriage everywhere, once and for all. (Applause.)

We also express our solidarity with women whose governments have forbidden them from joining us, especially Aung San Suu Kyi, who has been kept under house arrest in Burma for most of the past two decades, but continues to be a beacon of hope and strength to people around the world. Her example has been especially important to other women in Burma who have been imprisoned for their political beliefs, driven into exile, or subjected to sexual violence by the military.

Our honorees and the hundreds of millions of women they represent not only deserve our respect, they deserve our full support. When we talk about human rights, what I think of are faces like these. What I am committed to is doing everything in my power as Secretary of State to further the work on the ground in countries like those represented here to make changes in peoples’ lives. That doesn’t happen always in the halls of government. It happens day to day in the towns and cities, the villages and countryside where the work of human rights goes on.

We simply cannot solve the global problems confronting us, from a worldwide financial crisis to the risks of climate change to chronic hunger, disease, and poverty that sap the energies and talents of hundreds of millions of people when half the world’s population is left behind. The rights of women – really, of all people – are at the core of these challenges, and human rights will always be central to our foreign policy.

Earlier today I met with Foreign Minister Yang of China and conveyed to him, as I do in my meetings with all other leaders, that it is our view in the Obama Administration that every nation seeking to lead in the international community must not only live by, but help shape the global rules that will determine whether people do enjoy the rights to live freely and participate fully. The peace, prosperity and progress that we know are best served and best serve human beings come when there is freedom to speak out, to worship, to go to school, enjoy access to health care, live and work with dignity.

The United States is grounded in these ideals, and our foreign policy must be guided by them. Indeed, our own country must continually strive to live up to these ideals ourselves. Not only does smart power require us to demand more of ourselves when it comes to human rights, but to express those views to others and to actually assist those who are on the frontlines of human rights struggles everywhere.

It is important that we focus on human rights because I know what inspiration it has given to me over many years. The people I have met, they have constantly reminded me of how much work lies ahead if we are to be the world of peace, prosperity and progress that we all seek.

I’ve met a lot of people, particularly women, who have risked their lives – from women being oppressed by the Taliban in Afghanistan, to mothers seeking to end the violence in Northern Ireland, to citizens working for freedom of religion in Uzbekistan, and NGOs struggling to build civil society in Slovakia, to grassroots advocates working to end human trafficking in Asia and Africa, and local women in India and Bangladesh, Chile, Nicaragua, Vietnam and many other places who are leading movements for economic independence and empowerment.

These personal experiences have informed my work. And I will continue to fight for human rights as Secretary of State in traditional and especially non-traditional ways and venues.

All of you gathered here represent the kind of broad coalition that we need – business leaders, NGO leaders, ambassadors, experts, people from every corner of our government, citizens who are moved and touched by the stories of courage that we will be hearing some more of today.

And it is exciting that we have now in our own country someone who is standing up for the best of America, a woman who understands the multiple roles that women play during the course of our lives, and fulfills each one with grace. An example of leadership, service, and strength. It is my great pleasure and honor to introduce the First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama. (Applause.)
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U.S. Envisions Palestinian State at Peace With Its Neighbors

In foreign policy, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, United States on March 2, 2009 at 7:40 pm

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Intervention at the International Conference in Support of the Palestinian Economy for the Reconstruction of Gaza

Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton
Sharm el-Sheikh, DC, Egypt
March 2, 2009

Thank you very much. It is a pleasure to be back in Egypt, and to be with so many people dedicated to building regional and global peace. I want to thank the Egyptian Government, my colleagues in the Quartet, the Norwegian co-chair, and other sponsors for convening this meeting. Let me also convey special gratitude to President Mubarak for his hospitality and for his personal efforts to bridge divides and end conflict.

I’m proud to be here on behalf of the Obama Administration – and to bring this message from our new President: The United States is committed to a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors and we will pursue it on many fronts. So too will we vigorously pursue a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As a sign of our seriousness, President Obama and I have appointed Special Envoy George Mitchell to lead this effort.

We commend President Abbas for his commitment to move forward with a negotiated solution, and also Prime Minister Fayyad for his work to build institutions to support a Palestinian state. And we take inspiration from the Arab Peace Initiative proposed by His Majesty King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and endorsed by the Arab League.

Time is of the essence. We cannot afford more setbacks and delays, or regrets about what might have been had different decisions been made. And now is not the time for recriminations. It is time to look ahead.

We gather today to address the humanitarian and early recovery needs of the Palestinian people after the recent conflict, and the United States joins with others in generously stepping forward to help. Our pledge of over $900 million, designed in coordination with the Palestinian Authority and to be submitted to the United States Congress, will deliver assistance to the people of Gaza and the West Bank.

All of us recognize that human progress depends on the human spirit. That a child growing up in Gaza without shelter, health care, or an education has the same right to go to school, see a doctor, and live with a roof over her head as a child growing up in your country or mine. That a mother and father in the West Bank struggling to fulfill their dreams for their children have the same right as parents anywhere else in the world to a good job, a decent home, and the tools to achieve greater prosperity and peace. That progress toward the goals we seek here today is more likely to grow out of opportunity, than futility; out of hope, than out of misery.

So we will work with our Palestinian partners, President Abbas and Prime Minister Fayyad, to address critical humanitarian, budgetary, security, and infrastructure needs. We have worked with the Palestinian Authority to install safeguards that will ensure that our funding is only used where, and for whom, it is intended, and does not end up in the wrong hands.

In pledging these funds, we are pursuing both a short- and long-term approach. It is not enough just to respond to the immediate needs of the Palestinian people. Our response to today’s crisis in Gaza cannot be separated from our broader efforts to achieve a comprehensive peace. Only by acting now can we turn this crisis into an opportunity that moves us closer to our shared goals.

By providing humanitarian assistance to Gaza, we also aim to foster conditions in which a Palestinian state can be fully realized – a state that is a responsible partner, is at peace with Israel and its Arab neighbors, and is accountable to its people; a state that Palestinians everywhere can be proud of and is respected worldwide.

This is the Palestinian state we all envision. This is the Palestinian state that we have an obligation to help create.

For the Israelis, that means showing the Palestinians that there are benefits to negotiating if their goal is to control their own destiny and live in peace and dignity in an economically viable state.

For the Arab states, it means signaling through words and deeds that the spirit of the Arab Peace Initiative can begin to govern attitudes toward Israel now. For all of us – the Arab states and the wider international community – it means working with the government of the Palestinian people, the Palestinian Authority, to help build a state that can meet international expectations and obligations.

And for the Palestinians, it means that it is time to break the cycle of rejection and resistance, to cut the strings pulled by those who exploit the suffering of innocent people, and show the world what the talent and skills of an exceptional people can build and create.

That is why we’re here today – not only to address Gaza’s urgent needs, but to move ahead toward genuine Israeli-Palestinian and Arab-Israeli peace.

Our aid package is meant to accelerate, not hinder, that effort.

Through his commitment to negotiations with neighbors, President Abbas has shown the hallmarks of leadership, as has Prime Minister Fayyad, who has bolstered the credibility of his government by instituting a national budget process that is transparent and serves the needs of the Palestinian people. They are offering their people the option of a peaceful, independent, and more prosperous future, not the violence and false choices of extremists whose tactics – including rocket attacks that continue to this day – only will lead to more hardship and suffering. These attacks must stop.

The positive approaches I’ve outlined offer an opportunity for even greater progress if our Palestinian partners can continue to work with us and abide by the PLO commitments to renounce violence and recognize Israel’s right to exist. The Quartet, in adopting its own principles, has agreed with the Arab League that the interests of the Palestinian people are best served under a government that abides by the PLO commitments.

Only a Palestinian Authority that adheres to these principles can fulfill the aspirations of the Palestinian people to be free, independent, prosperous and peaceful, flourishing in a viable state of their own.

As President Obama has said, the United States will engage in this effort with vigor and intensity in pursuit of genuine progress – progress that will improve the lives and the livelihoods of the people of Gaza and the West Bank, the people of Israel, and the neighbors throughout the region.

Assistance for the Palestinians is one step up the ladder to a comprehensive Arab-Israeli peace. We must be willing to take this step – and many more together – until we fulfill that promise.

Thank you very much. (Applause.)

Secretary Clinton set to begin work on Middle East peace process

In Gaza, Human Rights, Humanitarian Aide, Madame Secretary Hillary Clinton, Middle East, news, travel itinerary, United States on February 28, 2009 at 8:09 am

The U.S. Secretary of State heads to the Middle East on Monday to work toward a solution to the Israeli- Palestinian conflict.

Secretary Clinton Traveling to Middle East and Europe

Secretary Clinton Traveling to Middle East and Europe

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrives in the Middle East on Monday to begin making good on her commitment — and President Barack Obama’s — to make negotiating an end to the Arab-Israeli dispute a diplomatic priority.

Rather than bold visions and sweeping peace plans, however, Clinton will enter the Middle East arena with relatively modest steps to buttress a shaky cease-fire in place since the recent Gaza war, according to senior U.S. officials and Middle Eastern diplomats.

She doesn’t have much choice.

The militant Islamic group Hamas, which opposes negotiations with Israel, controls Gaza, and the secular Palestinian Authority, which is more amenable to compromise and controls the West Bank, is dogged by allegations of corruption and incompetence.

The important talks may be ones that Clinton isn’t participating in directly — negotiations between Hamas and the rival Palestinian Authority over a Palestinian unity government.

Clinton on Friday welcomed progress in the talks between Hamas and the Palestinian Authority but reiterated that Hamas must recognize Israel’s right to exist, renounce violence and commit to peace talks.

”Otherwise, I don’t think [a unity government] will result in the kind of positive step forward either for the Palestinian people or as a vehicle for a reinvigorated effort to obtain peace,” she said in a Voice of America interview.

In Israel, meanwhile, hawkish Likud party leader Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to form a government following elections in which Israeli voters, soured on the prospects for peace, veered sharply to the right.

NO COALITION

Hopes for a pragmatic Israeli unity government were dashed Friday when Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni of the centrist Kadima party rebuffed Netanyahu’s appeals to join him in a coalition.

Livni said she couldn’t join with Likud because of the right-wing party’s opposition to the establishment of an independent Palestinian state.

Livni’s decision makes it more likely that Netanyahu will establish a center-right government with Israel’s ultra-Orthodox and far-right political parties. It probably will boost the power and influence of ultra-nationalist Avigdor Lieberman, the head of Israel’s third-largest parliamentary bloc and a polarizing figure inside Israel and around the world.

Likud traditionally has been a supporter of expanding Jewish settlement on the West Bank, which Palestinians see as making a mockery of peace talks. Obama and Clinton have given no hint yet as to how they’ll handle the politically explosive settlements issue.

HUMANITARIAN AID

Clinton’s first stop will be in Sharm el-Sheik, on the southern tip of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, where she’ll attend a donors’ conference that will marshal humanitarian aid for war-torn Gaza. Clinton is expected to announce a U.S. pledge of about $900 million.

Aid from foreign treasuries alone, however, is unlikely to have much lasting impact. Israel, which controls most of what goes in and out of Gaza, has made it clear that it won’t allow major building supplies into the isolated Mediterranean strip so long as it’s controlled by Hamas.

With the prospects for productive peace talks uncertain at best, however, Clinton and Obama’s special envoy, George Mitchell, are likely to find themselves, like their predecessors, dealing with frustrating details such as how to get humanitarian and rebuilding aid into Gaza without inadvertently helping Hamas.

U.S., Israeli and Arab officials are working on a plan that would see aid channeled to international organizations and directly to individuals and business owners in Gaza, bypassing Hamas.

Miami Herald

~~~~~~~~~   HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA   ~~~~~~~~~~

~~~~~~~~~ HAPPY BIRTHDAY CHELSEA ~~~~~~~~~~

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Being the wonderful parents they are, Bill and Hillary have produced a wonderful daughter.

HAPPY 29th BIRTHDAY CHELSEA…. Many Happy Returns!