Tag Archives: Human Rights

UN Secretary-General releases Report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach

The Secretary-General’s Report on Special Measures for Protection

from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse:  A New Approach
New York, 9 March 2017

The Secretary-General today released his report on Special Measures for Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse: A New Approach for consideration by the General Assembly.

During his first week in office, in January 2017, the Secretary-General established a diverse

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

High-Level Task Force, led by his Special Coordinator Jane Holl Lute, to develop as a matter of urgency a strategy to achieve visible and measurable improvements in the way the Organization prevents and responds to sexual exploitation and abuse.

“Such acts of cruelty should never take place.  Certainly no person serving with the United Nations in any capacity should be associated with such vile and vicious crimes,” said the Secretary-General in a video message.

The report emphasizes that sexual exploitation and abuse is not exclusive to the peacekeeping forces, but can occur within any Organization just as any other part of the United Nations. It is therefore imperative that the United Nations addresses this problem through a system-wide approach.

The Secretary-General acknowledged that “the vast majority of UN troops and personnel serve with pride, dignity and respect for the people they assist and protect, very often in dangerous and difficult conditions and at great personal sacrifice.” However, he added that the “Organization continues to grapple with the scourge of sexual exploitation and abuse, despite great efforts over many years to address it.”

The report outlines a victim-centered strategy rooted in transparency, accountability and ensuring justice. It focuses on four main areas:

·        Putting the rights and dignity of victims of sexual exploitation and abuse at the forefront of our efforts;

·        Establishing greater transparency on reporting and investigations in an effort to end impunity for those guilty of sexual exploitation and abuse;  

·        Building a truly multi-stakeholder network to support the UN effort to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse; and

·        Raising awareness and sharing best practices to end this scourge.

Sexual exploitation and abuse are deeply rooted in gender inequality and discrimination. The Secretary-General is convinced that increasing the number of women throughout UN activities, including service as uniformed peacekeepers, would help advance the UN efforts to prevent and respond to sexual exploitation and abuse.

The Secretary-General’s new approach to combat sexual exploitation and abuse also seeks to build a strong partnership with Member States and stamping out this scourge will require all relevant actors to find strength in unity. The Secretary-General calls on all parties to deliver on these goals together: “Let us do so in the name of all who look to the United Nations for life-saving protection and support – and on behalf of the tens of thousands of United Nations personnel around the world who deliver that assistance with courage and commitment to the highest ideals.”

The Secretary-General is committed to the implementation of this strategy and has instructed and expects all his leadership to take immediate action. “We owe it to the people we serve, to all of those women, men and children who see the UN flag as a symbol of something as invaluable as it is intangible: hope”.

It is available on the Official Document System under symbol: A/71/818

The Secretary General’s Written Message on International Womens Day- March 8 2017

Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.

Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.

Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined.  Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.

Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.

Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.

Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

When women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies.

Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges we face. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and this is central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs.

I am committed to increasing women’s participation in our peace and security work. Women negotiators increase the chances of sustainable peace, and women peacekeepers decrease the chances of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Within the UN, I am establishing a clear road map with benchmarks to achieve gender parity across the system, so that our Organization truly represents the people we serve.  Previous targets have not been met. Now we must move from ambition to action.

On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Zambia: 22nd Anniversary of the Rwanda Genocide-Film Screening and Exhibition “Fighting the ideology of genocide”

The United Nations Information Centre in Zambia embarked on a 2-day outreach tour of educational institutions in the two provincial towns namely Ndola on the Copperbelt at Ndola National Technical School and Kabwe in Central Province at Kabwe Secondary School from April 6-7, 2016 whose was the theme “Fighting the Ideology of Genocide”.

Students from Kabwe Secondary School (KSS), listening to the presentation

Students from Kabwe Secondary School (KSS), listening to the presentation

The target groups were the students, members of staff and other non-academic staff who were interested in learning and knowing about the Rwanda Genocide. During the tour there was a video screening of documentaries of some survivors and an exhibition, the purpose being to highlight the experiences of what the survivors went through as a way of generating discussions around the theme.

On hand to give background information on the genocide as well as answer questions was Charles Nonde, Team Assistant who coordinated the exhibition, documentaries and the discussion. There was also a screening at UNIC on April 8, 2016.

Discussions from Ndola and Kabwe generated the following questions and opinions:In the documentaries, the survivors mention that some of the perpetrators are still in the community, what sort of punishment has been minted out on the perpetrators?

  1. Why was the UN very slow at putting in place preventative measures to avert the killings, since one of the roles is conflict prevention and peace building?
  2. In Zambia of late there has been a lot intolerance and tribal talk from politicians, who are also using the youth to perpetrate violence against each other. What advice or interventions can the UN in Zambia apply to prevent what happened in Rwanda?
  3. An observation has been made, that in Zambia political leaders are exhibiting dangerous behavior and using language that is inciting violence as evidenced from political meetings, threats on the media and political opponents, there is need to counsel them
    Rwanda Genocide memorial

    Passersby viewing the Rwanda Genocide Panels

    and show them documentaries such as those of the survivors so that they don’t encourage violent acts towards others.

  4. Some students after the presentation were of the view that forgiveness and the process of healing for them would be applicable only if they would also inflict some form of hurt on the perpetrators so that they too feel the pain and annoy of losing loved ones to a senseless cause.

Other activities included; Exhibition, outreach through bulk sms (30, 000), video screening and public outreach (1000 students) and media interview with the Post Newspapers (300,000 readers)

 

 

Press Statement on the riots in Lusaka, Zambia

LUSAKA, 20 April, 2016 – The United Nations is concerned over the recent riots and attacks on foreign nationals in Lusaka.

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan

Xenophobia is nothing more than discrimination and violation of rights on the basis of nationality. Zambia has a strong reputation as a safe haven for those in need of international protection and has provided shelter to refugees for many years.

The attacks on the premises and persons of foreign nationals, especially Rwandese, Congolese and Burundians on suspicion of connection with several recent murders is a violation of their rights and a rejection of the rule of law. The individuals who committed these murders, whatever their nationalities are the only ones responsible for the crimes.  Mob attacks on individuals because of their nationality is wrong and can only further undermine peace and safety in our communities.

More than a hundred refugees of other nationalities have also been affected by the attacks and lawless behaviour, and been forced to seek refuge with the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). This does not represent the hospitality and welcome extended by Zambian communities to refugees over the years.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Zambia, Ms Janet Rogan, said “We commend the police for reestablishing peace in the compounds affected and urge all individuals to remain calm, respecting the rights of others, while the police continue their urgent investigations into the murders.”

INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, February 3, 2016

INTEUNIC Lusaka ACTIVITY REPORT –
INTERNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, February 3, 2016

UNIC Lusaka organized an outreach activity at Ndola Technical School for Girls on February 3, 2016 in Ndola. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, this was a very dark and sad period in human history; the NAZIs targeted the Jewish people with the sole purpose of total elimination of an entire race, however, other groups were not spared who included some religious groupings, gypsies, invalids, and prisoners of war. Over 6 million people met their end in death camps built by the NAZI’s across German occupied territory.

The Holocaust was a unique evil in the 20th century and cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten especially at a time in the 21st century when in some parts of the world similar atrocities are being committed of indiscriminate killings of defenseless people mostly women and children.

Inspired by the theme “The Holocaust and Human Dignity,” links Holocaust Remembrance with the founding principles of the United Nations and reaffirms faith in the dignity and worth of every person that is highlighted in the United Nations Charter, as well as the right to live free from discrimination and with equal protection under the law that is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In order to put the discussion into perspective, Charles Nonde, Team Assistant from UNIC Lusaka, gave a background of the Holocaust during the Second World War and gave insight on the theme for 2016, the students also watched a video entitled “The path to Nazi Genocide”. He shared with the audiences present that the purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remember and learn from the lessons of the past by looking at different themes every year, further adding; that it also provides a way into discussing difficult issues such as racism, xenophobia, discrimination and bigotry among different faiths and diverse communities within a country and the world at large.

Besides the presentations done at the school, there was a public display of panels highlighting different aspects of the Holocaust. Social media tools such as bulk sms were used to reach out a further 20000 people around the country in ten provinces with the following messages sent out;

1. Today’s is International Holocaust Remembrance Day. More information at https://www.un.org/en/holocaustremembrance/

2. Do you know about the Holocaust? Visit the UN Information Centre to learn more

During the question and answer session the major concern raised was the senseless killings that were perpetrated because of ethnical and political differences perpetuated by one man to convince a whole country, there was a plea that outreach activities must not be restricted to commemorative days such as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, there is need for the outreach to be done on the regular basis so that people were continually reminded of the dangers associated with intolerance and the consequences thereof.

Questions asked during the session

1. How and why did the holocaust end in Germany (Europe)
2. What did the Jews do to the Germans for them to be branded inferior?
3. Are there any people who are still alive among those who escaped from Sobibor? If any, where are they now?
4. Did Hitler threaten his supporters in anyway?
5. What was the main aim of Dr Sigmund Rascher experiments and why did he specifically need to perform them on children?
6. What happened to the officials heading the camps after the Jews were rescued?
7. How were the soldiers who used to execute the Jews affected psychologically exactly?
8. Are the Jews still being killed in Germany?
9. Was there anything wrong with Hitler, mentally? Because it’s hard for me to believe that someone in their right mind could be so cruel!

Outreach in numbers:

Bulk sms: 20 000 countrywide
Hand out distribution: 1 500 in various locations
School outreach reach: 100 students

Prepared by Charles Nonde, Team Assistant

RNATIONAL HOLOCAUST REMEMBRANCE DAY, February 3, 2016

Transatlantic Slave Trade Outreach, Lusaka Zambia

“This year’s Day of Remembrance pays particular tribute to the many women who suffered and died during the slave trade. … Women slaves played a key role in maintaining the dignity of their communities. Too often their leadership and brave resistance have been underestimated or forgotten.” (Ban Ki-moon, UN Secretary-General)

Slavery is one human tragedy that occurred over 4 centuries ago, on continents such as Africa especially in West Africa were affected as many people along the coast were transshipped across the Atlantic Ocean to mainly the Americas to work in the sugar and coffee fields there. Many suffered many atrocities during these gruesome journeys. However, even though slavery was banned centuries ago its practices have continued in this day and age in different formats in many parts of the world.

Students from the University of Zambia take part in a discussion on slavery via WebEx with Students from Lagos, Nigeria. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka.

Students from the University of Zambia take part in a discussion on slavery via WebEx with Students from Lagos, Nigeria. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka.

Transatlantic Slave Trade has been an annual observance with a different theme every year and this year the focus was on “women and slavery”. As part of the activities UNIC Lagos and Lusaka held a joint WebEx meeting for students in the two cities and the discussion was primarily focused on modern day slavery, students from university and high school level took part and gave their views on the issues around modern day slavery in relation to what is presently happening in their communities.

Some of the examples relating to modern day slavery included payments of gratitude by those who look for jobs for others such as maids, forced labor of both adults and children, subjecting people to inhumane conditions of service. The issue of surrogacy was discussed, however, it was not fully determined whether it was a form of modern slavery or not.

The discussion continued in Lusaka through various platforms such as on Twitter, Facebook and via bulk sms. Also campaign material was distributed as another way of creating awareness. There was also a special screening of the documentary called “They Are We” held at UNIC Lusaka. Other outreach activities included social media awareness and distribution of background information on the topic of slavery and the theme for 2015.

International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Lusaka, Zambia

The United Nations in Zambia held a series of outreach activities in various educational institutions from January 26 to 28 January 2015 namely Lake Road School, University of Zambia and a public display at the UN Information Centre. The International Holocaust Remembrance Day is an important reminder of the universal lessons of the Holocaust, this was a very dark and sad period in human history; the NAZIs targeted the Jewish people with the sole purpose of total elimination of an entire race, however, other groups were not spared to include gypsies, invalids, and other prisoners of war. Over 6 million people met their end in death camps built by the NAZI’s.

UNIC Lusaka

Students from Lake Road School viewing the Holocaust bio panels . Photo credit UNIC Lusaka

The Holocaust was a unique evil in the 20th century which cannot simply be consigned to the past and forgotten especially at a time in the 21st century when in some parts of the world similar atrocities are being committed of indiscriminate killings of defenseless people mostly women and children.

Inspired by the theme “Liberty, Life and the Legacy of the Holocaust Survivors”, this year’s observance coincides with two milestone events: the 70th anniversary of the Second World War’s end and the founding of the United Nations. First and foremost a testament of our respect to those who survived and a tribute to the memory of the victims, this International Day also will be an opportunity to recall the commitment of the international community to taking action against anti-Semitism and racism, and to preventing similar violence from occurring in the future. It is a time to reflect on how deeply the Organization was shaped by the experience of the Holocaust, the principle of human rights for all was enshrined in both the United Nations Charter and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

In the video shown during the discussions one of the survivors, Gilbert Schie recalls memories of the journey taken during this dark period, from deportation to incarceration to freedom. A story of pain and suffering, yet ultimately also of triumph and renewal, serving as a guiding force for future generations.

In order to put the discussion into perspective, Charles Nonde from The UN Information Centre, gave a brief background of the Holocaust during the Second World War and gave insight on the theme for this year. He shared with the audiences present that the purpose of Holocaust Memorial Day is to remember and learn from the lessons of the past by looking at different themes every year, as was the case with this year whose focus was on”liberty, life and the legacy of the holocaust survivors” Further adding that it also provides a way into discussing difficult issues such as racism, xenophobia, discrimination and bigotry among different faiths and diverse communities within a country.

Besides the presentations done a various school, there was a public display of panels exhibiting the stories of some of the survivors. Social media tools such as Facebook, Twitter and bulk sms were also used to create awareness on the Holocaust in addition to a public display that was mounted at the Centre.

Holocaust Bio Panels on display at the UN Information Centre, Lusaka. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka.

Holocaust Bio Panels on display at the UN Information Centre, Lusaka. Photo credit UNIC Lusaka.

During the question and answer session the major concern that was raised was the senseless killings that were perpetrated because of ethical differences, there was a plea that outreach activities must not be restricted to commemorative days such as the International Holocaust Remembrance Day, there is need for the outreach to be done on the regular basis so that people were continually reminded of the dangers associated with intolerance and the consequences thereof.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE FOR HUMAN RIGHTS DAY 10 December 2014

 

On Human Rights Day we speak out.

We d365 Human Rights_logo_final_CMYK_ENenounce authorities who deny the rights of any person or group.

We declare that human rights are for all of us, all the time: whoever we are and wherever we are from; no matter our class, our opinions, our sexual orientation.

This is a matter of individual justice, social stability and global progress.

The United Nations protects human rights because that is our proud mission – and because when people enjoy their rights, economies flourish and countries are at peace.

Violations of human rights are more than personal tragedies. They are alarm bells that may warn of a much bigger crisis.

The UN’s Human Rights Up Front initiative aims to heed those alarms. We are rallying in response to violations – before they degenerate into mass atrocities or war crimes.

Everyone can advance the struggle against injustice, intolerance and extremism.

I call on States to honour their obligation to protect human rights every day of the year. I call on people to hold their governments to account. And I call for special protections for the human rights defenders who courageously serve our collective cause.

Let us respond to the cries of the exploited, and uphold the right to human dignity for all.

Human Rights Day 2014 a call to action

Human rights 365

On 10 December every year, Human Rights Day commemorates the date on which the United Nations General Assembly adopted the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaiming its principles as the “common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations.”

This year’s slogan, Human Rights 365, encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights 365 Human Rights_logo_final_CMYK_ENDay. It celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights, that human rights belong equally to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

In 2014 the message from Human Rights 365 is unequivocal: the UN Human Rights Office stands by its mandate and stands with the millions of men and women globally, who risk their all for human rights.

Make your voice heard now via our campaign on Vine: explain why Human Rights matter 365.

It is as important now, as it has been at any time in recent years to declare your membership of and support for the international human rights community.

On any scale, 2014 will be remembered as a year of daunting human rights challenges. In places where only recently there had been progress in achieving human rights, there has now been retreat. Nonetheless, there have been, significant, ongoing, global advances in achieving our human rights.

Support for the Declaration continues to grow: this year the Convention against Torture reached its 30th year, the Convention on the Rights of the Child is 25. In 2015, the very first of the international agreements giving effect to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination marks its half century.

As a global community we all share a day when those milestones can be acknowledged and we can take stock of the challenges ahead: Human Rights Day on 10 December. It offers all of us the opportunity to declare our commitment to the principles and standards developed over the more than six decades since the the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted.

Human Rights 365 on Vine

In six seconds tell us why human rights matter 365 and post it on Vine. Tag your Vine with #rights365 and we will collect them all in our Storify and tell the story on 10 December.

More information

UN ZAMBIA JOINT STATEMENT INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY, 2014

This year’s United Nations theme for International Women’s Day stresses that “Equality for women is progress for all.” Achieving equality for women and girls is important not simply because it is a matter of fairness and fundamental human rights, but because progress in so many other areas depends on it.

An investment in the improved health and education of women, leads directly to a healthier and

International Women's Day march past

Women in uniform marching

more prosperous household, village and larger community. Giving women the power to make choices over their lives is one of the first steps towards a world with zero hunger. In every country where UN works, including in Zambia, women are front and centre in programmes to tackle many development challenges, including food insecurity and nutrition.

“It is evident that equality for women and girls means progress for all. This simple fact must be central as we work to accelerate progress towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) by 2015 deadline, and design an ambitious agenda for the Post-2015,” said Martin Clemensson, the UN Resident Coordinator a.i in Zambia. “We are seeing some progress on gender equality indicators in the area of health and education; continued commitment and intentional policies and programmes however, are essential to accelerating the progress made so far.”

Over 50 per cent of Zambia’s population is female. The chance to go up the education chain, without having to drop out, be beaten or become a child labourer, and having the same access to skills and resources required to participate fully in the country’s economic development will more than double Zambia’s GDP, and halve the levels of child malnutrition and ill-health.

The UN in Zambia commends the efforts that have been taken by government to address Gender Based Violence in Zambia, through the enactment of the Anti-Gender Based Violence Act. The UN acknowledges the political commitment attached to this issue, and takes special note of the fact that work to establish ‘fast track courts” is being undertaken. The UN System is actively collaborating with Government, the Police and the Judiciary on these initiatives. “I have a message for every girl born today, and to every woman and girl on the planet: Realizing human rights and equality is not a dream, it is a duty of governments, the United Nations and every human being,” said the UN Secretary General, Ban Ki-Moon in his message on International Women’s Day.

The Secretary General also appealed men and boys to play their part. “All of us benefit when women and girls – your mothers, sisters, friends and colleagues — can reach their full potential.

Together, let us work for women’s rights, empowerment and gender equality as we strive to eliminate poverty and promote sustainable development. Equality for women is progress for all.”