Tag Archives: Human Rights

UNIC commemorates Human Rights Day

Over 50 youths from Lusaka on December 21, 2017, attended a discussion dialogue in commemoration of the Human Rights Day held at the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Lusaka.

Group photo of participants

The event which was aimed at discussing various issues concerning people’s rights attracted students from various learning institutions such as the University of Zambia (UNZA), Zambia Institute of Chartered Accountants (ZICAS) as well as Zambia Center for Professional Training and Consultancy (ZCTC) among others.

Gilbert Kasulwe, a Student at UNZA expressed concern at the levels at which elderly people’s rights are being abused as most of them get accused of practicing witchcraft because of their age.

“Most elderly people’s rights are being abused because the society thinks everyone who has grown very old and has grey hair is a wizard, and it is high time that these people’s rights are protected because not every old human being is practicing witchcraft,” Said Kasulwe

Meanwhile, in a message on the Human Rights Day from the United Nations (UN) Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres, he stated that everyone has the right to speak freely and to participate in decision making that affect the people’s rights.

“All of us have the right to speak freely and participate in decisions that affect our lives. We all have a right to live free from all forms of discrimination and we all have a right to education, health care, economic opportunities and a descent standard of living,” said Mr. Guterres.

He further stated that since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration in 1948, human rights have been one of the three pillars of the UN along with peace and development.

The UN in Zambia commemorates the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people

The United Nations (UN) in Zambia joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 50th anniversary of the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People which falls on the 29 th of November anually.

Group Photo: Participants who took part in the International Day of Solidarity with the People of Palestine.

The event which was held at International Labour Organisation in Lusaka was attended by the Ambasssdor of the State of Palestine H.E.Dr. Walid Hassan, the United Nations Developpement Programme(UNDP) Country Representative Ms. Mandiso Mashologo who was representing the UN Resident Coordinator Ms Janet Rogan as well as the Acting Director for Zambia Mine Action Centre in the Ministry of Foreign affairs who was representing the Guest of honor the Director of Political Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Mrs. Isabel Lemba.

In her remarks, Mrs. Lemba commended the UN for successfully organising the event under the theme; “peace , freedom and national building,” as it is in line with the values of the Zambian Government.

” I wish to express my gratitude to the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Lusaka and the Embassy of the State of Palestine for successfully organizaing this year’s observance and I also commend the Government of the State of Palestine for its efforts aimed at finding an amicable solution to the Isreali-Palestine Conflict,” Mrs Lemba said.

Speaking at the same function, H.E.Dr. Hassasn stated that the question of Palestine has always

Students from David Kaunda Secondary School recite a poem on peace.

remained a priority of the UN since its establishement in seeing to it that the people of Palestine have a free State.

” The question of Palestine has remained a standing item and a priority on the United Nations agender since its inception and this institution has adopted resolutions and recommendations that constitute a solid basis of a just and lasting peace,” Dr. Hassan said.

He further said that the people of Palestine await the day when everyone will come together and celebrate the independence of the State of Palestine.

Meanwhile, in a statement read on behalf of the UN Resident Coordinator by the UNDP Country Director Ms. Mandisa , the UN Secretary General Mr. Antonio Guterres stated that during his last visit to Israel and Palestine he met both leaders of the States and encouraged them to create an enabling environment for peace negotiations.

” Last August, during my visit to Isreal and Palestine, leaders on both sides restated their commitment to a negotiated peace, and I encouraged them to tangibly demonstrate this commitment and create the conditions for a retur to meaningful negotiations,” Mr.Guterres said.

He further stated that this is the time to end the conflict by establishing an independent Palestinian State and live in peace with the State of Israel.

Dag Hammarskjöld Remembered

On 20th September 2017, over 50 youths in Lusaka joined the rest of the world in

Dag Hammarskjöld

commemorating the 56th memorial of the death of former United Nations Secretary General (UN) Dag Hammarskjöld who died in a plane crash near Ndola while on a peace mission involving the Democratic Republic of Congo in 1961.

The event which was held at the United Nations House in Lusaka attracted guests that included Swedish Ambassador to Zambia Henrik Cederine and Resident Representative of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in Zambia Alexio Musindo (who represented the UN Resident Coordinator Janet Rogan).

In a speech read on her behalf by Mr. Musindo, Ms. Rogan expressed sadness at the use of youths in Zambia as perpetrators of violence.

“It is sad to note that the youth have been used as tools to injure others simply because they belong to a political party different from their own,” Ms. Rogan said. She urged the youths to refrain from violent activities and embrace peace as they are vibrant and can act as agents for change.

His Excellency the Ambassador said that the life of Hammarskjöld shows that one man can make a difference. “Dag Hammarskjöld showed as that one man can make a difference. He followed his own convictions, and he had the ability to shape events as well as tirelessly defending the ideals of the UN charter,” The Ambassador said.

Other institutions such as the Dag Hammarskjöld foundation in Sweden represented by Ms. Karin Abbor-Svennsson, the Pillars of Peace, Global Platform, Zambia Scouts Association as well as Agents of Change were present at the event.

As part of the event, dialogue was held on the role of youths in building peace. Several proposals were later made by participants on how youths can ensure that they are advocates of peace. One of the proposals made was the need for the youths to be actively involved in events that are aimed at promoting peace.

Laying of Wreaths on Cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold

Laying of Wreaths on Cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold

On 22nd September 2017 In Ndola, a solemn event was held at the Dag Hammarskjold crash site in honour of the work that Dag did. There were songs, poems and dance with messages of peace. in attendance was the Provincial Minister Hon. Bowman Lusambo, The Swedish Ambassador, Representative of the Dag Foundation in Sweden, the United Nations, various educational institutions and the Defense Forces. The Minister called on the nation to come together and work for peace.

Wreaths were laid at the cenotaph erected in honour of Mr. Hammarskjold and a tour of the crash site was conducted by the Site Manager Mr. Hanguwa who explained a few significant findings at the site such as how long it took the recovery team to reach the site, where Dag was found and how the site was designed in the shape of the plane based on the direction the plane was facing at the time of the crash.

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.