Honoring UN Convention
Commemorating the 14th anniversary of the adoption of the Convention on the Rights of the Child by the United Nations General Assembly, the East Bay chapter of the United Nations Assembly-USA is sponsoring a conference Saturday entitled “The Rights of the Child and the UN Role in the Middle East.”
The event will take place at Booth Auditorium at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Eva Brook, a member of the East Bay chapter’s board, the UN Assembly is a worldwide organization established to educate people about and promote the work of the United Nations. Conferences such as Saturday’s are scheduled at least twice a year and address current issues facing the international organization.
She said the convergence of the anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and the violence now plaguing the Middle East prompted the assembly this year to invite a number of local and national speakers to address an issue she says has generated enormous amounts of concern.
“The Convention on the Rights of the Child is the most widely ratified UN treaty,” she said. “Only two UN countries haven’t signed it.”
Invited speakers include Raymond Sommereyns, Director of the Outreach Division for the Department of Public Information for the UN; Maher Nasser, Chief of the New York Liaison Office of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East; and Saudamnini Siegrist, a project officer for UNICEF’s (UN Children fund) Office of Emergency Programs. Chairing the panel is University of San Francisco Professor Stephen Zunes.
After the morning presentation by the speakers, there will also be four afternoon workshops. A reception follows at UC Berkeley’s International House from 5 to 7 p.m.
For more information, contact Eva Brook at (925) 389-7557.
Church Seeks Early Members
As it prepares for its 125th anniversary next May 1, St. Joseph the Worker Parish is looking for former parishioners, alumni and alumnae of both St. Joseph the Worker Elementary School and Presentation High School.
Names and current addresses or questions may be sent to 125th Anniversary Committee, 1640 Addison St., Berkeley 94703 or phoned in to 845-6266, extension 24.
Protest at Long’s Drugs
Led by the Berkeley based Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Coalition, a group of concerned citizens and organizations confronted Long’s Drug store at their Walnut Creek headquarters Thursday over what they say are broken promises concerning tobacco sales in the stores.
According to Ron Freund, a member of the Berkeley Tobacco Prevention Coalition, the event coincided with the national Great American Smokeout Day, a tradition started by the American Cancer Association to commemorate all those who have died from diseases related to smoking.
Protesters say their main gripe with Long’s is changes to company policy that have re-written store rules concerning tobacco sales.
Freund said that in May, 2002, several groups received a commitment from the company’s CEO to implement policies to curb tobacco sales at stores—including allowing local store managers to decide whether or not to sell tobacco at their stores, which prompted six branches to discontinue their sales. Stores were also supposed to adhere to a policy that banned in-store cigarette advertising and to publish the number for the California Smoker’s Help line in their advertisements.
A subsequent management change resulted in the discontinuation of all these policies, Freund said, leading to Thursday’s confrontation.
At the headquarters, Freund said protesters received an eight-point response that did not directly address any of the issues raised. They also asked to meet with new company CEO Warren Bryant, and were rebuffed.
Freund said the march is only part of what will be a sustained campaign to reinstate the abandoned policies.