Lebanon News

U.N. Day marked with less ceremony in spirit of mourning

French UNIFIL peacekeepers attend a handover ceremony at Bourj Qalawy, Monday, Sept. 24, 2012. (The Daily Star/Mohammed Zaatari)

BEIRUT: Despite having cancelled its annual reception in the spirit of national mourning following last Friday’s car bomb attack in Ashrafieh, the United Nations proceeded in marking the U.N. Day Wednesday in Lebanon.

“Following the appalling act of terrorism on 19 October, the U.N. cancelled its planned annual reception in the spirit of national mourning for the victim of the attack. But other activities are still underway,” a press release from the U.N. Information Center said.

Among the activities marking the 67th anniversary of the organization is an interactive lecture series that will take place in a number of high schools across the country and is designed to introduce students to the work and principles of the world body. A photography exhibition will also be held at Rafik Hariri International Airport showcasing the long-standing partnership between Lebanon and the U.N.

The United Nations also took the opportunity to reiterate its hopes for “a stable and secure future in Lebanon.”

All the U.N. bodies in Lebanon “operate on the principle that peace and security can only hold if accompanied by development and respect for human rights and seek to contribute to building a sovereign, stable and prosperous future for Lebanon and the Lebanese,” the press release said.

The cancelled annual reception had been scheduled to take place Wednesday at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut.

Last week, a statement form the organization said that the funds which had been set aside for the reception would instead be used to assist residents affected by the bomb attack.

The attack, which killed three and wounded up to 100 people, also displaced dozens of families from their homes. As of Tuesday, Lebanon’s Higher Relief Committee had registered the residents of some 59 affected apartments.

The United Nations could not be reached Wednesday afternoon to confirm whether or not the transfer of the funds to the residents had yet taken place, or through what mechanism it would occur.

Twenty-three different U.N. entities are currently operating in Lebanon on various political, peacekeeping, development, humanitarian and human rights issues.

U.N. Day is set aside annually to mark the coming into force of the world body’s Charter in 1945 and to celebrate the work of the organization in promoting peace, security, human rights and development.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on October 25, 2012, on page 4.




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