Zambia to Host 2019 United Nations All Africa Games

PRESS RELEASE

LUSAKA 14 AUGUST 2019 – Zambia will from 10 to 12 October 2019 host the 12th United Nations All Africa Games 2019. The games, which will be organised and hosted by the United Nations in Zambia, will see about 1,200 participants from over 14 countries compete for honours at the annual United Nations sporting event to be held in Lusaka.

The objective of the UN All Africa Games is to promote good health and well-being among UN staff in line with Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) number 3 as well as encourage unity in the UN family. This is the first time that Zambia is hosting this prestigious event, with last year’s games having been held in Mphumalanga, South Africa, under the auspices of United Nations South Africa.

The United Nations is open to partnership, sponsorship and co-branding with Government, private sector and sports associations, for Zambia to successfully host these annual continental games. Twelve disciplines including athletics, basketball, chess, football, netball, swimming, golf, tennis, volleyball and parasports present life changing opportunities for the private sector in the areas of brand marketing, sales, and Corporate Social Investment.

“As UN Zambia, we are honoured to host the games. This is a huge undertaking that needs sponsors to join hands with us. We invite the private sector to come on board and partner with us to ensure success of these games,” said UN Zambia Resident Coordinator, a.i
Dr George Okech.

Dr. Okech also noted the support so far received from the Zambian Government in the lead up to the UN games.

“We are grateful to the Government of the Republic of Zambia through line ministries such as Foreign Affairs, Home Affairs and Youth, Sport and Child Development for the support and guidance provided to us this far to ensure that we hold a truly memorable and professional sporting event,” Dr Okech added.

A local organising committee comprising UN staff and representatives from the Government has since been constituted to arrange games schedules, accommodation, venues, transportation and communication, among other issues.

About UN Zambia

Through resident and non-resident funds and agencies, the United Nations in Zambia delivers as one in providing development and humanitarian support to the people of Zambia and refugees through the Zambia-United Nations Sustainable Development Partnership Framework. UN Zambia has, through the Resident Coordinator and UN Country Team made significant progress in systematically moving forward the UN reform agenda in the country, striving to reach the highest standards of accountability, transparency and impact.

For more information, please contact:

Mark Maseko, National Information Officer
UN Zambia
P: +260-211-225-494 | M: + 260-955767062 | E: masekom@un.org

Michael Phiri, Chairperson, 12th UN All Africa Games Organising Committee
UN Zambia
P: +260-211-254421 | M: + 260-966743244 | E: mphiri@unfpa.org

Jacqueline Chishimba, Partnership and Sponsorship, 12th UN All Africa Games Organising Committee
UN Zambia
P: +260-211-253802 | M: + 260-977795416 | E: Jacqueline.chishimba@wfp.org

Prison Reforms In The Eyes Of An Inmate

By Glenda Mweni, Intern, UNIC Lusaka

On Thursday 18 July 2019 the United Nations in Zambia along with partners commemorated the International Nelson Mandela Day at the Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in

Inmate Henry Lutangu, giving a vote of thanks during the commemoration of the Nelson Mandela Day at Mukobeko Correctional Facility in Kabwe. Photo/UNICLusaka/Nonde/2019

Kabwe. As part of the celebration, Henry Lutangu an inmate was given an opportunity to give a vote of thanks on behalf of his counterparts.

Lutangu expressed happiness at the Nelson Mandela day for promoting humane conditions in prisons as this is in line with rule 24(2) of the Nelson Mandela Rules which states that “prisons Health-care services should be organized in close relationship to the general public health administration and in a way that ensures continuity of treatment and care, including for HIV, tuberculosis and other infections, as well as for drug dependence.” He stated that the Mandela rules which call for the humane treatment of inmates have influenced the management of prison facilities and the treatment of prisoners in many ways.

He noted that inmates at Mukobeko had equal access not only to heath services but to education too. “I can testify that I am among those that have benefited from education facilities in the prison. I came as a Grade 12 certificate holder but I now have a degree in Education and I have already been enlisted for a Master’s degree at Kwame Nkrumah University.”

Mr Lutangu said inmates now have access to education and skills training, improved access to health and this can be seen in the introduction of fabricated health facilities in correctional

Henry Lutangu. Photo/UNICLusaka/Nonde/2019

facilities. The correctional facilities have experienced improved sanitary conditions and access to clean drinking water. Every day is a Mandela Day for people in prison due to the gradual transformation from offering punitive measures to correctional ones and this is in line with the new mandate which is to rehabilitate and correct inmates into responsible law-abiding citizens.

Lutangu said that following prison reform, inmates are now treated with respect as the focus on not on punishing them but helping them reform.

“We remain prayerful that all the citizens continue to be duty bound to ensure that they promote humane conditions of imprisonment, raise awareness about prisoners being a continuous part of society and value the work of prison staff, an important social service,” Lutangu said.

Zambia Hosts SDGs Sub-Regional Centre for Southern Africa

By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka

In September 2015, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development was adopted by all United

H.E. President Paul Kagame cuts the ribbon after being presented with keys to the SDGs Sub Regional Center as H.E. President E. Lungu of Zambia looks on. Photo:Nonde/UNICLusaka/2019

Nations Member States. The agenda is anchored on five pillars of People, Planet, Peace, Prosperity and Partnership aimed at guaranteeing growth, social inclusion while protecting the environment. The SDGs comprise an ambitious and interrelated set of 17 goals and 169 targets to be achieved by 2030. Following the adoption of the SDGs in September 2015, Africa has made commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals Universal Agenda (SDG 2030) and the African Union Agenda 2063.

At the adoption of the SDGs Africa’s starting point was lower than all the other regions. Additionally, 37 African countries were classified as low human development indicators within the Human Development Index (HDI) of less than 0.55.

The Sustainable Development Goals Center for Africa (SDGC/A) is an international not-for-profit institution that was launched in September 2015 by African Leaders, in order to provide support technical support, neutral advice and expertise as input to national governments, private sector, civil society, academic institutions to accelerate the implementation of the SDGs agenda across Africa.   In July 2016, the SDGC/A signed a host country agreement with the Government of the Republic of Rwanda as an international, non-profit continental institution, and officially launched its headquarters a few months later, in January 2017. Its main engagement and invention areas are; planning, costing, tracking and reporting, financing and governance, setting agenda for policy dialogue, Center engagement on global forums and espousing synergies and partnerships of key stakeholders.

The launch of the SDGCA Sub-Regional Center for southern Africa follows the Host Country Agreement signed in September 2018 between the Government of Zambia and the SDGC/A as a continuation of the Centers commitment to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development throughout the five regions of Africa.

On 7 August, 2019 during a one day event at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre, Lusaka saw the official launch of the Sub-Regional Center where over 200 government officials, international development partners, development finance institutions, Statistics Institutions and

Ceremonial key presentation for the SDG Sub Regional Center. Left to Right Dr. Belay E. Begashaw, Director General, SDGC/A, H.E. President Paul Kagame, Rwanda and H.E. President E. Lungu, Zambia. Photo:Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

experts from the Southern Africa and aboard, joining high level dignitaries to discuss the major themes relevant to the implementation in Africa with focus on the southern Region.

The United Nations in Zambia was represented by the Resident Coordinator a.i. Dr George Okech with some members of the United Nations Country Team in attendance. Dr. Okech participated in the first panel discussion on the key findings of the SDGs 3 years report and the 2019 SDGs Africa that was presented by Dr. Enock Twinoburyo, Senior Economist from the SDGC/A.

His Excellency, Mr. Paul Kagame, President of Rwanda and His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia where present for the launch. During the keynote address given by President Kagame who is also the Chair of the SDGCA Board, thanked the people of Zambia for accepting to hosting the first Center in Southern Africa. He also expressed his gratitude at the commitment to leadership demonstrated by his counterpart in making this a reality.

In his acceptance speech the Zambia’s President Edgar Lungu said the city of Lusaka was synonymous with the struggle for freedom and self-determination in the region. It was a struggle that was successfully waged from here by the liberation movements.

“Today, we meet to rekindle that hope among our people through yet another wave of self-determination from the sustainable Development Front” Lungu said.  He reiterated that the launch of the Centre renewed the hope, and win the war against poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy and the negative effects of climate change and other challenges.

The Republican President said the centre would bring everyone together and together make the Centre a critical asset in the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals and the African Union Agenda 2063.

At the close of the ceremony President Kagame presented a symbolic key to President Lungu officially launching the SDGC/A for Southern Africa with Dr Belay E. Begashaw also on hand to receive the key.

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons celebrated in Chirundu

By Charles Nonde, Public Information Assistant, UNIC Lusaka

Chirundu, is a town in the southern part of Zambia, bordering Zimbabwe and is a key transit

Arrival of Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, Resident Coordinator, UN Zambia at Chirundu Market. Photo:Nonde/UNICLusaka/2019

point for travelers between the two countries. It is the site of two of the five major road or rail bridges across the Zambezi river, and the Chirundu Bridges.

It is against this background and its unique location as a border town where the 2019 World Day Against Trafficking in Persons took place on August 3, 2019.

Chirundu Council Secretary, John Mwanza welcomed the locals and visiting delegates to the commemoration and expressed his happiness that Chirundu district was chosen as the venue because it has experienced cases of human trafficking and it was important the community around Chirundu learnt what to look out for.

In attendance were the senior government officials from the Ministry of Home Affairs under the Immigration department, Zambia Police Service, the Host the District Commissioner and representatives from the Council, the UN Team led by the Resident Coordinator Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio that comprised the IOM Chief of Mission Marianne Lane and UN Office on Drugs and Crime Country Coordinator Sharon Lesa Nyambe. Others in attendance were staff from Save the Children and learners from two local primary schools, among others.

Delivering her remarks, Dr. Mar Gadio, said every year thousands of men, women and children become victim to human trafficking. Human trafficking, often also referred to as modern day slavery, violates the rights of millions of people across the globe and has far reaching consequences for the human security and state security.  She also highlighted that in the period between 2003 and 2016, 225,000 trafficking victims were detected, and unfortunately, there are many, many more hidden victims who need our help.

She highlighted that Zambia has not been spared from the scourge of human trafficking and

Arrival of the Marchers at Chirundu Market. Photo:Nonde/UNICLusaka/2019

the country continues to be designated as a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons. The 2019 United States Department of State Global Trafficking in Persons Report highlights that  most trafficking in Zambia  occurs within the country’s borders (internal human trafficking) and involves women, men and children from rural areas becoming exploited in cities in domestic servitude or forced labour in agriculture, textile production, mining, construction, small businesses and forced begging, among others.

In addition, as we continue to reflect on the theme for this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we must take the opportunity to partner with the government to ensure that we protect victims and their rights and hold perpetrators accountable.

Alfred Haamunjo, District Commissioner for Chirundu, who represented the Minister of Home Affairs Stephen Kampyongo, MP,  said in his remarks said that Zambia was now among the countries considered as low risk areas for trafficking. However, there was need for consented effort from government and its partners. He also highlighted that if left unchecked has the potential to threaten public safety and national security hence the need to curb the scourge.

He thanked the various stakeholders for the technical and financial support rendered for the implementation of various state programs aimed at combating the illegal vice.

During the community outreach events, the public were educated on the dangers of human trafficking, how they could potentially avoid it from taking place and what courses of actions one can take to report such illegal actives in their communities.

“Your prisoner could be your President”

By Moses Magadza

KABWE, ZAMBIA – The year is 2003.  Mr Lloyd Chilundika, now the Deputy Commissioner General in charge of Operations within the Zambia Correctional Service, is a young Senior Superintendent of Prisons and Officer in Charge for Kamwala Remand Prison in Lusaka. He is having a busy day in the office.

An angry tough-talking man has just been arrested and is led into his office. The unwilling and belligerent guest of the state is holding a cigarette. Despite being in the Officer in Charge’s office, the ‘suspect’ proceeds to take several puffs, filling the office with smoke. Chilundika is not amused but maintains his cool.

“Sir,” he says politely to his guest, “you can’t smoke in here, not even in your cell.”

The accused man turns out to be the now late Michael Chilufya Sata, then a Zambian opposition politician. On that September day, it did not seem probable that the sharp-tongued Sata would became the fifth President of Zambia. Yet that is what happened from 23 September 2011 until  his death on 28 October 2014.

Regardless, Chilundika treated him humanely and even allowed Sata’s wife to bring him nicotine sticks so that he would not smoke in his cell, which was not allowed. Six years later, Sata became President.

On Thursday, 18 July 2019 the world marked the Nelson Mandela Day and reflected on how correctional services are implementing the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the

Inmates at Mukobeko follow a sensitisation activity on the Mandela Rules. Photo: Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

Treatment of Prisoners, now known as the Nelson Mandela Rules. Among other things, the Nelson Mandela Rules encourage Member States to offer prisoners health care services comparable to what obtains in mainstream society free of charge and without discrimination.

On the sidelines of colourful commemorations at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility in Zambia’s Central Province at which inmates received food and non-food items courtesy of UNODC, UN Information Centre, UN Zambia staff and the private sector (Unilever, Unified Chemicals and Freshpikt), Chilundika reminisced about his 2003 encounter with the late President Sata.

In a brief interview he said he treated Sata with respect even though he did not have the foggiest idea that the now late politician – fondly remembered widely as King Cobra on account of his sharp tongue – would become Head of State and Government because he acknowledged “his innate dignity as a human being.”

While calling for practical steps from punitive to rehabilitative custody, Chilundika said Nelson Mandela Day provides an opportunity for correctional services all over the world to reflect and hold candid discussions on what can be done differently to improve care of people in incarceration.

“How do you treat an offender today who can be your President tomorrow? If we can see an offender in the same circumstances in which President Nelson Mandela was as he fought tuberculosis and reflect on the way he was treated, that would be a good standard. Let us recognise the inherent dignity of all people,” he said.

Mr Mwape Kasanda, Assistant Secretary in the Office of the President in Zambia, holds the same view. Speaking when the UNODC Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa Ms Signe Rotberga and other UNODC staff paid him a courtesy call in his office in Kabwe on Nelson Mandela Day, he said access to equitable health care was a human rights issue.

“Health and welfare of people in incarceration are very important. If one is incarcerated, one does not cease to be a human being. Basic rights must be upheld so that rehabilitation efforts are fully supported. Penitentiaries are meant to rehabilitate people. Mandela’s voice and fight for those in prison and the underprivileged must not be forgotten,” Kasanda said.

Dr Charles Msiska, the Provincial Health Director in charge of Central Province led 30 health practitioners including medical doctors from the Ministry of Health to Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility and began screening inmates for various health conditions free of charge.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the UN Clinic in Lusaka initiated the screening, which the Ministry of Health enthusiastically embraced. The screening targeted at least 3000 male and female inmates and staff for non-communicable diseases that include hypertension, diabetes and cardiovascular conditions; eye diseases; and other diseases that include epilepsy, herpes zoster, asthma and dental carries.

UN staff and partners pose for a photo with correctional service authorities after the presentation. Photo: Nonde/UNIC Lusaka/2019

Msiska told inmates and scores of people that the Minster of Health had personally called him and instructed him to see to it that all inmates at the correctional facility were screened. He explained that in so doing, the Minister had taken leadership in the quest for universal access to equitable heath care and was toeing the line drawn by Zambia’s President Edgar Chagwa Lungu, who has declared that no one would be left behind as the world strives to end AIDS by 2030.

“We have decided that we will also screen all correctional officers. While here, we will not stop until we have seen the last client. No one should be left behind,” he said to applause.

By midday on Thursday, 1000 inmates had been screened. Depending on their conditions, some inmates were treated on site while others were referred to health facilities for further treatment. Rotberga hailed Zambia for lending much-needed political will to efforts to reform, rehabilitate and reintegrate offenders.

“As we reflect on the Nelson Mandela Rules and rules that are specific to health, seeing the work that is being done in Zambia is heart-warming. There is good collaboration between the Zambia Correctional Service and the Ministry of health in line with the Nelson Mandela Rules that say health care services should be organized in close relationship to the public health administration to ensure continuity of treatment and care.”

Chilundika thanked UNODC and other partners for supporting correctional services reforms in Zambia.

“Let us help future generations of correctional officers to adopt practices that would enable them to stand as being part of truly correctional and not largely punitive or retributive facilities,” he said.

Among the highlights of commemorations was a play written and performed by inmates on the rights of inmates. The play shows correctional officers from the old school brutalizing inmates while progressive ones caution them and teach them about the rights of inmates as outlined in the Nelson Mandela Rules.

In providing screening services for inmates, the Zambia Correctional Services and the Ministry of Health have joined Malawi Prison Service, which recently collaborated with the Ministry of Health to screen all female inmates for cervical cancer, in taking health care services to people in prison.

  • Moses Magadza is the Communication Officer at UNODC Regional Office for Southern Africa.

The UN Secretary-General’s message on World Press Freedom Day, 3 May 2019

A free press is essential for peace, justice, sustainable development and human rights.

No democracy is complete without access to transparent and reliable information. It is the cornerstone for building fair and impartial institutions, holding leaders accountable and

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

speaking truth to power.

This is especially true during election seasons — the focus of this year’s World Press Freedom Day.

Facts, not falsehoods, should guide people as they choose their representatives.

Yet while technology has transformed the ways in which we receive and share information, sometimes it is used to mislead public opinion or to fuel violence and hatred.

Civic space has been shrinking worldwide at an alarming rate.

And with anti-media rhetoric on the rise, so too are violence and harssasment against journalists, including women.

I am deeply troubled by the growing number of attacks and the culture of impunity.

According to UNESCO, almost 100 journalists were killed in 2018.

Hundreds are imprisoned.

When media workers are targeted, societies as a whole pay a price.
On World Press Freedom Day, I call on all to defend the rights of journalists, whose efforts help us to build a better world for all.

Thank you.

Mulungushi University Joins the Commemoration of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in Rwanda

By Racheal Nambeya, Team Assistant, UNIC Lusaka

As part of the commemoration of the 25thAnniversary of the 1994 Genocide Against the Tutsi in

UN Resident Coordinator a.i and Food and Agriculture Organization Country Representative, Dr. George Okech, responds to a question by a student during the event. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Mukonka

UN Resident Coordinator a.i and Food and Agriculture Organization Country Representative, Dr. George Okech. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Mukonka

Rwanda, UNIC Lusaka organized an educational outreach activity on 17 April 2019 at which the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator, a.i. George Okech made a presentation to over 160 students at Mulungushi University in Kabwe district. The event was organised by UNIC in partnership with a student group, the International Relations Association of Mulungushi University Students (IRAMUS).

The presentation focused on events that led to the genocide in which more than 800,000 people, mostly Tutsis but also moderate Hutus, Twa and others who were opposed to the genocide were systematically killed in 100 days, effects of the genocide, how genocide can be avoided, lessons learnt and the role of the United Nations in preventing such mass killings of people.

Speaking during the event, Mulungushi University Acting Vice-Chancellor Dr. Judith Lungu called for a need by humanity to learn from past mistakes in order to build a better future.

Mulungushi University students follow the presentation on the Rwanda Genocide. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Mukonka

Mulungushi University students follow the presentation on the Rwanda Genocide. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Mukonka

“As Mulungushi University, we pay homage to the people who endured that abominable cruelty during the genocide. Only by looking at the past can we strive to avoid the mistakes made. “Students should always strive to encourage the spirit of ‘Ubuntu’ among each other and set high ethical standards for themselves for now and the future generations to come,” she said.

And Dr. Okech who is also Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) Country Representative emphasized on the vital role that youths play in fostering peace and respect for diversity.

“As we commemorate, let us all pledge to work together to build a harmonious future for all people, everywhere and further preserve peace through co-existence among tribal groupings, tolerance, respect for human rights,” he said.

During the event, students also watched a short film documentary titled ‘Kwibuka’ after which they interacted with Dr Okech in a very participatory and though-provoking question and answer session through which issues around the genocide in Rwanda and UN  role were clarified.

Moving a vote of thanks, Natasha Mapulanga a 4thyear student of International Relations, thanked the UN for engaging with students on issues of peace and noted the critical role that

Dignitaries pose for a group photo with students after the event. Photo: UNIC/Lusaka/2019/Nonde

Dignitaries pose for a group photo with students after the event. Photo: UNIC/Lsk/2019/Nonde

the UN has played in ensuring international peace and security since its founding in 1945.

Every year, the United Nations organizes, through its Outreach programme on the Rwanda Genocide, outreach activities to honour those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering of those who survived. The Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide and the United Nations is an information and educational outreach programme run by the UN Department of Global Communications.

UNODC Hands Over Two Prisoner Rehabilitation Facilities in Zambia

By Joshua Sichinsambwe & Glenda Mweni, Interns, UNIC Lusaka

On Tuesday 9 April 2019 the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) handed over

Officials stand for the National Anthem during the launch

Officials stand for the National Anthem during the launch

to Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional Facility what would be the first-ever state of the art vocational training facility. This structure and its machinery came at a cost of US$150,000. Gracing this spectacular event were Minister of Home Affairs Honourable Steven Kampyongo, MP, UNODC Regional Representative for Southern Africa Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva, UN Zambia Resident Coordinator, a.i. Dr George Okech, and Zambia Correctional Service Commissioner General Dr Chisela Chileshe.

While handing over this correctional facility Mrs Akishev said: “It is my hope that this facility will be used to impart much-needed knowledge and vocational skills and to the prisoners at Mwembeshi Maximum Correctional Facility. I am therefore delighted to learn that with new facility now qualifies to be an exam centre under Technical Educational Vocational and Entrepreneurship Training Authority (TEVETA),” she said.

Speaking at the same event, Dr Chileshe said that poverty is one of the leading causes of crime that make people go to prison. He said that crime should be looked like a disease and this new vocational training centre will be used to remedy the disease of crime even as inmates prepare to reintegrate into their various communities. He added that this is why all prisons in Zambia had been changed to correctional facilities in line with the new mandate which is to rehabilitate and correct inmates into responsible law abiding citizens.

Alarming statistics were given by Hon Kampyongo who remarked that 30% of all inmates were reoffenders and prisons which were supposed to only house 12000 offenders were now housing over 22000. The living conditions of inmates have been compounded by the lack of sympathy from society who must remember that all inmates come from communities and will sooner or later have to go back to their communities. With this said he called upon stakeholders and partners to partner with the government the way UNODC has to help inmates.

The day after this opening, UNODC also handed over a national reintegration centre whose main objective is empowering ex-prisoners to easily be re-integrated into society. The centre was handed over to and will be run by the Zambian Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment

Inmates sing and dance during Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization launch

Inmates sing and dance during Prisoner Reintegration and Empowerment Organization launch

Organization (PREO). PREO Board member Princess Kasune, Member of Parliament for Kembe Constituency stated that the issue of reintegration for former inmates is very crucial and cardinal for every parliamentarian or politician as they have more chances to be in prison than any other career. She said the integration of ex inmates and the issue of circumstantial children must be looked into. The UNODC Regional Representative Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva said the principle objective of the United Nations in the area of prison reform is to contribute to successful reintegration of prisoners into society following their release. “When released from prison, ex-prisoners face many challenges and have various reintegration needs such as shelter, food, clothing, capital to initiate projects, educational sponsorship, access to health care, legal issues and others,” she said.

Ms Zhuldyz Akisheva applauded the Planned Parenthood Association of Zambia for providing the space to host the registration centre which will provide the much-needed platform to identify the needs of released prisoners and provide the required linkage services or opportunities in the community. She also recognized the commitment of other stakeholders as well as the Executive Director and founder of PREO Derrick Malumo, a former prisoner, who was wrongly convicted and spent six years in prison for supporting the reintegration of ex offenders.

The two projects were made possible with the support of the Global Programme for the Implementation of the Doha Declaration that was established after the 13th United Nations Crime Congress in Qatar.

The Secretary-General -Remarks on the 25th Anniversary of the Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda

12 April 2019
[as delivered]

I am honoured to be with you on this solemn and moving occasion.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

In one of the darkest chapters in recent human history, more than one million people – overwhelmingly Tutsi, but also moderate Hutu and others who opposed the genocide – were systematically killed in less than three months.

On this Day, we honour those who were murdered and reflect on the suffering and resilience of those who survived.

I would particularly like to acknowledge the presence of our dear guests from Rwanda – Mrs. Esther Mujawayo and Father Marcel Uwineza – who survived the genocide and who will be sharing their stories with us.

Today we stand in solidarity with the people of Rwanda.

But, our reflection on the Rwandan genocide also must should beyond one country and one moment in history.

We must take a hard look at the present.

As we renew our resolve to prevent such atrocities from ever happening again, we are seeing dangerous trends of rising xenophobia, racism and intolerance in many parts of the world.

Particularly troubling is the current widespread proliferation of hate speech and incitement to violence. Things that were very clearly present in Rwanda immediately before the genocide.

They are an affront to our values, and threaten human rights, social stability and peace.

The massacre at two mosques in New Zealand a few weeks ago is just the latest tragedy rooted in such poison.

Today’s commemoration gives us an opportunity to once again raise our voices against racism, xenophobia and related intolerance, including social and ethnic discrimination, anti-Muslim hatred and anti-Semitism.

Wherever they occur, these evils should be identified, confronted and stopped to prevent them leading, as they have in the past, to hate crimes and genocide.

I call on all political, religious and civil society leaders to reject hate speech and discrimination, and to work vigorously to address and mitigate the root causes that undermine social cohesion and create conditions for hatred and intolerance.

The capacity for evil resides in all societies.

But, so too, do the qualities of understanding, kindness, justice and reconciliation.

That is one of the profound lessons of the Rwandan experience.

The country’s recovery is a rightful source of pride and comfort for the people and Government of Rwanda.

I would also like to commend Rwanda for its exemplary role in the international community.

Rwanda is today the fourth largest contributor to UN peacekeeping operations.

It is notable that a nation that has endured the worst atrocities should risk its soldiers to ensure those atrocities cannot happen elsewhere.

After having suffered unspeakable gender-based violence, women now hold 60 per cent of parliamentary seats – another example that Rwanda can share with the world.

Rwanda has also embraced environmental sustainability.

As a pioneer in banning single-use plastic bags, it is now one of the cleanest nations on earth.

In all, Rwanda’s experience holds so many lessons for humanity.

From the darkest depths, the country has risen in a quarter century as a pioneer for the sustainable future we all strive for.

On this day of commemoration, let us all pledge to work together to build a harmonious future for all people, everywhere.

This is the best way to honour those who lost their lives so tragically in Rwanda 25 years ago.

Thank you.

The UN Secretary Generals Message- International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

The transatlantic slave trade was one of history’s most appalling manifestations of human barbarity.

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

We must never forget the crimes and impacts, in Africa and beyond, across the centuries.

The United Nations Remember Slavery Programme helps to ensure that the lessons are learned and heeded today. Enslaved people struggled against a legal system they knew was wrong.

On many occasions, they sacrificed their lives in the hope of freedom. We need to tell the stories of those who stood up against their oppressors, and recognize their righteous resistance.

On this International Day of Remembrance, we pay homage to the millions of African men, women and children who were denied their humanity and forced to endure such abominable cruelty.

We honour them by standing up against ongoing forms of slavery, by raising awareness of the dangers of racism in our time, and by ensuring justice and equal opportunities for all people of African descent today.

Thank you.

Link to video message