PHILIPPINE NEWS SERVICE– PRESIDENT Gloria Macapagal Arroyo will fly late Tuesday to the United States, where she is to report to the United Nations General Assembly on the Philippines and the issues affecting the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, a top official said yesterday.
Press Secretary Ignacio Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo would also meet with US business leaders and the Filipino community in New York after she delivers the Philippines’ country report at the United Nations.
The President is also scheduled to meet with UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and to attend the annual meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative, a dialog started by former US President Bill Clinton in 2005 to discuss the problems facing the world and then come up with ideas to fight them.
The initiative seeks to bring together political and business leaders, non-profit organizations and charitable groups for the purpose. This year, the meeting will focus on energy and climate change, global health, poverty alleviation and education, and will be held from Sept. 26 to 28.
Bunye said Mrs. Arroyo might take time off to see the matinee performance of Les Miserables, a Broadway musical in which Filipino international star Lea Salonga is playing the role of Fantine.
Mrs. Arroyo is scheduled to fly back to Manila on Sept. 29 and then visit China from Oct. 2 to 3 and India from Oct. 4 to 5.
Meanwhile, Bahrain, Ecuador and Tunisia will be the first UN members to have their human rights records reviewed next year under a crucial new process implemented by the world’s body’s rights council on Friday.
The three countries are the first among 16 who will be scrutinized at a session of the UN Human Rights Council scheduled for February 2008, according to a list released by the UN.
The selection for the “Universal Periodic Review” was made by a random draw on Friday. It lays out a timetable for the systematic review of all 192 UN member-states by the end of 2011.
UN human rights chief Louise Arbour last week urged the 47 countries in the Council to speed up the process, warning that the credibility of the UN human rights system was at stake.
“We are acutely aware that the credibility of the United Nations human rights system hinges upon satisfactory implementation of the review,” Arbour said.
Three batches of 16 nations are due to be scrutinized a year.
The other countries due for review in the two week session in February are Algeria, Argentina, Brazil, Britain, the Czech Republic, Finland, India, Indonesia, Morocco, The Netherlands, the Philippines, Poland and South Africa.
“They say that the proof of the pudding is eating it… we have to see how it works,” Council president Doru Costea of Romania told journalists.
“It will be very important to have a well prepared and well managed process,” he added.