International Current Affairs

US withdraws from UNESCO accusing it for anti-Israel bias

The United States has announced its withdrawal from Paris-based United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), UN’s cultural agency accusing the body of anti-Israel bias. Besides US, Israel has also decided to pull out of UNESCO. US withdrawal will take effect on December 31, 2018. Until then, it will remain a full member. US has announced to establish an observer mission to replace its representation at UNESCO.

Background

USA and UNESCO were at loggerheads since 2011, after UNESCO had admitted Palestinian territories to the organization as an independent member-state called Palestine. UNESCO was first UN agency to recognise and admit Palestine as full member. The recognition was against US policy in Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

This was against US’s law which cut off its funding for any organization that recognizes independent Palestine. The US had previously paid for 22% ($80 million) of UNESCO’s annual budget. UNESCO in 2013, had suspended US voting rights in its core decision-making bodies after US missed several rounds of payments to UNESCO.

United Nations Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)

UNESCO is UN organization that helps preserve historical and cultural sites worldwide. It is special multi-country agency, formed in 1945 and based in France. It promotes literacy and sex education as well as improving gender equality in countries around the world. It is also known for recognising world heritage sites and work to preserve cultural and heritage sites such as ancient ruins, villages and temples, and historic sites.

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October 11: International Day of the Girl Child

The International Day of the Girl Child is observed on October 11 every year across world to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. Observance of the day seeks to increase awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender and supports more opportunity for girls. This year it was sixth edition of this day after it was observed for first time in 2012.

The 2017 theme of the day is ‘EmPOWER girls: Before, during and after conflict’. It aims to end humanitarian emergencies especially gender-based violence in which girls are more likely to be subjected to sexual and physical violence, child marriage, exploitation and trafficking.

Background

The International Day of Girl Child (IDGC) was instituted by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) by adopting Resolution moved by Canada in December 2011. The observation of day supports more opportunity for girls. It also increases awareness of gender inequality faced by girls worldwide based upon their gender. This inequality includes areas such as right to education, nutrition, medical care, legal rights and protection from discrimination, violence and unfree child marriage. It also calls for empowerment and improved rights of the world’s 1.1 billion girls.

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