About Last Week: Tragedy in Orlando, Human Rights and Saudi Arabia, Ending AIDS by 2030

What you need to know to start your week off smart.

This weekend saw the deadliest shooting in US history. With guns legally purchased, the now deceased Omar Mateen’s attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida left 49 dead and 53 wounded.

“We live through times when hate and fear seem stronger, we rise and fall and light from dying embers, remembrances that hope and love last longer,” Lin-Manuel Miranda.

Tributes to the shocking loss of life took place across the country, while scores of people lined up in Orlando to donate blood. The shooting has shed new light on a policy that restricts most gay men from donating blood. The US Food and Drug Administration recommends refusing blood donations from men who have had sex with men in the last 12 months.  Recently revised from a lifetime ban, the policy stems from a fear of AIDS in the early ’80s. Advocates have spent the last 10 years working to change the policy, citing discrimination against gay people without “scientific justification.” The increase in public attention to the restriction comes on the heels of last week’s high-level HIV/AIDS meeting at the UN, where leaders pledged to double international outreach efforts over the next five years.

“This weekend’s tragedy in Orlando is a profound manifestation of the ways in which ISIS’s systematic targeting of LGBT people in towns and cities under its control is being exported to the rest of the world,” Mark Leon Goldberg.

While this massacre took place in the United States, Mark Leon Goldberg argues in UN Dispatch that this incident represents “anti-LGBT violence that is a threat to world peace and security.” Goldberg cites 2015’s UN Security Council special session where two gay, Iraqi men living under ISIS rule gave testimony on their extreme vulnerability. No legally binding resolution on anti-LGBT violence as a threat to peace and security was passed.

The Latest On The United Nations And The Global Goals: 

The New York Times’ Editorial Board weighed in on the UN’s status with Saudi Arabia: Ban Ki-moon’s thankless position.It is distressing, but not surprising, that the United Nations secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, succumbed to pressure from Saudi Arabia to erase a Saudi-led military coalition in Yemen from a list of armies that kill and maim children. What is surprising is that Mr. Ban made the incident public and declared that the sort of pressure he came under was unacceptable.”

Designer Kenneth Cole named UNAIDS Goodwill Ambassador. “Cole told reporters at a news conference at UN headquarters he hopes to combine his United Nations work with his work at The Foundation for AIDS Research, known as amfAR, and its goal of finding a cure for the disease by 2020.”

UN honored Ali’s lifelong commitment to peace and rights. “When Muhammad Ali was trying to win a fourth heavyweight championship in the late 1970s, he came to the United Nations to campaign against apartheid and injustice and presented then secretary-general Kurt Waldheim with one of his drawings entitled ‘Peace!’ Nearly 20 years later, Ali returned to U.N. headquarters to be named one of the first U.N. Messengers of Peace, an honor reserved for distinguished people from the arts, music, literature and sports who agree to focus world attention on the work of the United Nations.”

Global Trends – What Experts Are Reading and Writing About:

Equity in the distribution of aid: Do middle-income countries get more aid than low-income countries? “Political pressure to spend more aid in fragile and conflict-affected states—and to spend more of the aid budget on refugees displaced by conflict—has led to concern among policy-makers that poor but relatively stable countries may now be under-aided.”

The Netherlands leads again in social innovation with announcement of fifth social impact bond. “The Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice announced that it will pay for the successful achievement of employment and prison recidivism outcomes among short-term adult prisoners as part of the new “Work After Prison” social impact bond (SIB)—the fifth such transaction in the Netherlands and one of about 60 in the world.”

Mental health and the elimination of poverty: Why do the poor make such poor decisions? “Greater mental bandwidth equates to better child-rearing, better health, more productive employees …At the time when they were comparatively poor, they scored substantially worse on the cognitive tests, not because they had become dumber people somehow — they were still the same Indian sugarcane farmers, after all — but purely and simply because their mental bandwidth was compromised.”

Looking Ahead – What We’re Paying Attention To:

On Monday, Saudi Arabia’s deputy crown prince meets with Ban Ki-moon and Obama during US visit. “Mohammed bin Salman—in charge of overhauling his country’s economy—will meet with president Barack Obama, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, and other senior officials. He also plans to meet with Silicon Valley executives in California.”

Britain goes to the polls to vote on a potential exit from the European Union. “Faced with the very real threat of a British vote to exit the European Union in just over two weeks, Prime Minister David Cameron on Tuesday night made an impassioned plea for the country to stick with an organization that he acknowledged ‘can drive me mad.'”

World Refugee Day will be commemorated amid an escalating migrant crisis. Over the weekend, more than 2,500 migrants were rescued from the Mediterranean. “Italian authorities said they pulled migrants crossing from Libya out of the sea near the coast of Sicily in separate operations on Saturday and Sunday. Almost 50,000 people have arrived in Italy since the start of the year, and thousands have died during the treacherous crossing.” Meanwhile, “The head of the United Nations refugee agency UNHCR, Filippo Grandi, has visited Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp. The visit came amid threat by the Kenyan authorities to close down the world’s largest refugee camp which is home to some 350,000 refugees, majority of who are from Somalia.”

Image: New York Times’ The Week in Pictures: June 10, 2016 – Beyond damaged buildings in Idlib, Syria, a clear, starry Wednesday night. Ammar Abdullah/Reuters. 

Loading Loading More Articles ...