Tag Archives: Equality

The United Nations Secretary General- Message on The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, 21 March

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is an occasion for all of us to renew our promise to end racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred. The recent massacre at two mosques in New Zealand is the latest tragedy rooted in such poison.

No country or community is immune from racial and religious hatred and the terrorism of bigots. I am deeply alarmed by the current rise of xenophobia, racism and intolerance. Hate speech is entering the mainstream, spreading like wildfire through social media and radio. It is spreading in liberal democracies and authoritarian States alike.

These dark forces menace democratic values, social stability and peace. When people are attacked, physically, verbally or on social media because of their race, religion or ethnicity, all of society is diminished. It is crucial for us all to join hands, stand up and defend the principles of equality and human dignity.

We must all work harder to repair the fissures and polarization that are so prevalent in our societies today. We must nurture mutual understanding and invest in making diversity a success. And we must counter and reject political figures who exploit differences for electoral gain.

We must also ask why so many people feel excluded and tempted by messages of intolerance against others. We need to engage everyone in dismantling the harmful and specious notion of racial superiority. Even today, decades after the pseudo-science of the Nazis contributed to the Holocaust, the world is seeing the persistence – and even a surge – of neo-Nazi thinking and white supremacy. We must bury such lies once and for all.

Today let us all resolve to fight racism and discrimination wherever it occurs. Let us reflect on how we can promote non-discrimination in every country and at every level. We are all connected by our humanity. We are all equal. We should all be looking out for each other’s welfare.

Message in other UN official languages: ArabicChineseFrenchRussianSpanish.

The UN Secretary Generals Message on International Womens Day

New York, 8 March 2019

Gender equality and women’s rights are fundamental to global progress on peace and security,

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

The UN Secretary-General Mr. António Guterres

human rights and sustainable development. We can only re-establish trust in institutions, rebuild global solidarity and reap the benefits of diverse perspectives by challenging historic injustices and promoting the rights and dignity of all.

In recent decades, we have seen remarkable progress on women’s rights and leadership in some areas. But these gains are far from complete or consistent – and they have already sparked a troubling backlash from an entrenched patriarchy.

Gender equality is fundamentally a question of power. We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. Only when we see women’s rights as our common objective, a route to change that benefits everyone, will we begin to shift the balance.

Increasing the number of women decision-makers is fundamental. At the United Nations, I have made this a personal and urgent priority. We now have gender parity among those who lead our teams around the world, and the highest-ever numbers of women in senior management. We will continue to build on this progress.

But women still face major obstacles in accessing and exercising power. As the World Bank found, just six economies give women and men equal legal rights in areas that affect their work. And if current trends continue, it will take 170 years to close the economic gender gap.

Nationalist, populist and austerity agendas add to gender inequality with policies that curtail women’s rights and cut social services. In some countries, while homicide rates overall are decreasing, femicide rates are rising. In others we see a rollback of legal protection against domestic violence or female genital mutilation. We know women’s participation makes peace agreements more durable, but even governments that are vocal advocates fail to back their words with action. The use of sexual violence as a tactic in conflict continues to traumatize individuals and entire societies.

Against this backdrop, we need to redouble our efforts to protect and promote women’s rights, dignity and leadership. We must not give ground that has been won over decades and we must push for wholesale, rapid and radical change.

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, “Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change”, addresses infrastructure, systems and frameworks that have been constructed largely in line with a male-defined culture. We need to find innovative ways of reimagining and rebuilding our world so that it works for everyone. Women decision-makers in areas like urban design, transport and public services can increase women’s access, prevent harassment and violence, and improve everyone’s quality of life.

This applies equally to the digital future that is already upon us. Innovation and technology reflect the people who make them. The underrepresentation and lack of retention of women in the fields of science, technology, engineering, mathematics and design should be a cause of concern to all.

Last month, in Ethiopia, I spent time with African Girls Can Code, an initiative that is helping to bridge the digital gender divide and train the tech leaders of tomorrow. I was delighted to see the energy and enthusiasm these girls brought to their projects. Programmes like this not only develop skills; they challenge stereotypes that limit girls’ ambitions and dreams.

On this International Women’s Day, let’s make sure women and girls can shape the policies, services and infrastructure that impact all our lives. And let’s support women and girls who are breaking down barriers to create a better world for everyone.

*****

French Translation

L’égalité des genres et les droits des femmes sont fondamentaux pour progresser à l’échelle planétaire sur la voie de la paix, de la sécurité, des droits de l’homme et du développement durable. Nous ne pouvons rétablir la confiance dans les institutions, reconstruire la solidarité au niveau mondial et tirer parti des diverses perspectives qu’en luttant contre les injustices historiques et en promouvant les droits et la dignité de toutes et de tous.

 

Ces dernières décennies, nous avons vu les femmes réaliser de remarquables avancées dans certains domaines, en matière de droits et de leadership. Mais ces progrès sont loin d’être complets ou systématiques – et ils ont suscité une réaction hostile et inquiétante de la part d’un patriarcat solidement enraciné.

 

L’égalité des genres est essentiellement une question de pouvoir. Nous vivons dans un monde dominé par les hommes où la culture l’est également. Ce n’est que lorsque nous nous fixons comme objectif commun les droits des femmes, un nouveau cap à prendre au profit de toutes et de tous, que nous commencerons à faire évoluer la situation.

 

L’augmentation du nombre des femmes à des postes de décision est fondamental. À l’ONU, j’en ai fait une priorité personnelle et urgente. Nous avons assuré la parité entre les sexes parmi celles et ceux qui dirigent nos équipes dans le monde, et le nombre de femmes occupant des postes de responsabilité est le plus élevé jamais atteint dans l’Organisation. Nous continuerons à faire fond sur cette avancée.

 

Toutefois, les femmes se heurtent encore à des obstacles importants pour accéder au pouvoir et pour l’exercer. Comme la Banque mondiale l’a constaté, seuls six pays accordent aux femmes et aux hommes la même égalité de droits dans des domaines touchant à leur vie professionnelle. Et si les tendances actuelles se maintiennent, il faudra 170 ans pour combler l’écart économique entre les sexes.

 

Les programmes nationalistes, populistes et d’austérité ajoutent à l’inégalité de genre par des politiques qui restreignent les droits des femmes et suppriment l’accès aux services sociaux. Dans certains pays, alors que le taux d’homicide est d’une manière générale en baisse, celui de féminicide est en hausse. Dans d’autres, nous constatons un recul de la protection juridique contre la violence domestique et la mutilation génitale féminine. Nous savons que la participation des femmes aux accords de paix rend ces derniers plus durables, ce qui n’empêche pourtant pas les gouvernements qui plaident en leur faveur de ne pas réussir à traduire leurs paroles en actes. Le recours à la violence sexuelle en tant que tactique dans les conflits continue d’être à la source de traumatismes à l’échelle des individus et de sociétés entières.

 

Dans ce contexte, il nous faut redoubler d’efforts pour protéger et promouvoir les droits, la dignité et le leadership des femmes. Nous ne devons pas céder un pouce du terrain conquis depuis des décennies et nous devons appeler à un changement rapide, radical et en profondeur.

 

Cette année, le thème de la Journée internationale des femmes : « Penser équitablement, bâtir intelligemment, innover pour le changement », aborde la question des infrastructures, des systèmes et des cadres qui ont été en grande partie établis dans l’esprit d’une culture définie par les hommes. Nous devons trouver des manières innovantes de réinventer et de reconstruire notre monde pour qu’il profite à toutes et à tous. Les femmes occupant des postes de décision dans des secteurs comme l’urbanisme, les transports et les services publics peuvent accroître l’accès d’autres femmes, prévenir le harcèlement à leur égard et les violences dont elles font l’objet, et améliorer la qualité de vie de chacune et de chacun.

 

Cela vaut également pour l’avenir numérique qui nous entoure déjà. L’innovation et la technologie sont le reflet de celles et ceux qui sont à leur origine. La sous‑représentation des femmes et le fait qu’elles ne demeurent pas en poste dans les secteurs de la science, de la technologie, de l’ingénierie, des mathématiques et de la conception devraient être une source de préoccupation pour nous toutes et tous.

 

Le mois dernier, en Éthiopie, j’ai passé du temps avec l’équipe d’African Girls Can Code, une initiative qui contribue à combler le fossé numérique entre les femmes et les hommes et à former les responsables des entreprises de haute technologie de demain. J’ai eu le plaisir de voir l’énergie et l’enthousiasme avec lesquels ces filles menaient leurs projets. Les programmes de cette nature ne développent pas seulement les compétences : ils combattent les stéréotypes qui limitent les ambitions et les rêves des filles.

 

En cette Journée internationale des femmes, veillons à ce que les femmes et les filles puissent concevoir des politiques, des services et des infrastructures ayant un effet sur notre vie. Et apportons notre soutien aux femmes et aux filles qui suppriment les obstacles à la création d’un monde meilleur pour toutes et pour tous.

 

 

Bookmark the Spokesperson’s website:http://www.un.org/sg/en/spokesperson

 

Taking action where we can to stop Cybercrime

By Yury Fedotov

The author is the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. The op-ed is on the need for cooperation to tackle cybercrime.

Cyber. It is the inescapable prefix defining our world today. From the privacy of individuals to relations between states, cyber dominates discussions and headlines – so much so that we risk being paralyzed by the magnitude of the problems we face.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

Yury Fedotov, Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.

But we would do well to keep in mind that despite the many outstanding questions on the future of cybersecurity and governance, international cooperation is essential to tackle the ever-growing threats of cybercrime.

Online exploitation and abuse of children. Darknet markets for illicit drugs and firearms. Ransomware attacks. Human traffickers using social media to lure victims. Cybercrime’s unprecedented reach – across all borders, into our homes and schools, businesses, hospitals and other vital service providers – only amplifies the threats.

A recent estimate put the global cost of cybercrime at 600 billion US dollars. The damage done to sustainable development and safety, to gender equality and protection –women and girls are disproportionately harmed by online sexual abuse – is immense.

Keeping people safer online is an enormous task and no one entity or government has the perfect solution. But there is much we can do, and need to do more of, to strengthen prevention and improve responses to cybercrime, namely:

  • Build up capabilities, most of all law enforcement, to shore up gaps, particularly in developing countries; and
  • Strengthen international cooperation and dialogue – between governments, the United Nations, other international as well as regional organizations, INTERPOL and the many other partners, including business and civil society, with a stake in stopping cybercrime.

Cyber-dependent crime, including malware proliferation, ransomware and hacking; cyber-enabled crime, for example email phishing to steal financial data; and online child sexual exploitation and abuse all have something in common besides the “cyber” aspect: they are crimes.

Police, prosecutors and judges need to understand these crimes, they need the tools to investigate and go after the criminals and protect the victims, and they need to be able to prosecute and adjudicate cases.

At the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), we are working in more than 50 countries to provide the necessary training, to sharpen investigative skills, trace cryptocurrencies as part of financial investigations, and use software to detect online abuse materials and go after predators.

As a direct result of our capacity-building efforts in one country, a high-risk paedophile with over 80 victims –– was arrested, tried and convicted. We delivered the training in partnership with the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children and Facebook. This is just one example of how capacity building and partnerships with NGOs and the private sector can ensure that criminals are behind bars and vulnerable children protected.

Working with the Internet Watch Foundation, we have launched child sexual abuse reporting portals – most recently in Belize – so that citizens can take the initiative to report abuse images and protect girls and boys from online exploitation.

With partners including Thorn and Pantallas Amigas we are strengthening online protection and educating parents, caregivers and children about cyber risks through outreach in schools and local communities. Prevention is the key.

UNODC training – focused primarily on Central America, the Middle East and North Africa, Eastern Africa and South East Asia – is also helping to identify digital evidence in online drug trafficking, confront the use of the darknet for criminal and terrorist purposes, and improve data collection to better address threats.

A critical foundation for all our efforts is international cooperation. Our work – which is entirely funded by donor governments – has shown that despite political differences, countries can and do come together to counter the threats of cybercrime.

We are also strengthening international cooperation through the Intergovernmental Expert Group, which meets at UNODC headquarters in Vienna.

Established by General Assembly resolution, the Expert Group brings together diplomats, policy makers and experts from around the globe to discuss the most pressing challenges in cybercrime today. These meetings demonstrate the desire and willingness of governments to pursue pragmatic cooperation, which can only help to improve prevention and foster trust.

As a next step, we need to reinforce these efforts, including by providing more resources to support developing countries, which often have the most new Internet users and the weakest defences against cybercrime.

Tech companies are an indispensable ally in the fight against cybercrime. We need to increase public-private sector engagement to address common concerns like improving education and clamping down on online abuse material.

Countering cybercrime can save lives, grow prosperity and build peace. By strengthening law enforcement capacities and partnering with businesses so they can be part of the solution, we can go a long way in ensuring that the Internet can be a force for good.

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark, visits Zambia

UNDP Administrator Ms. Helen Clark was in Zambia from July 16 to July 19 2015. During this visit she held a number of meetings with Republican President Mr. Edger Lungu, The National Assembly, Minister of Foreign Affairs and corporating partners of the United Nations in Zambia.

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande's area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

UNDP Administrator, Helen Clark on arrival in Chief Nyampande’s area, Petauke, Eastern province, Zambia. Photo credit/UNIC Lusaka

She also took part in the official launch of the “HeforShe” Campaign which took place in Chief Nyampande area and Misolo Village in Petauke, of the Eastern Province Zambia some 500kms from the capital city Lusaka on July 18, 2015 she was accompanied by the UN Zambia Resident Coordinator Ms. Janet Rogan and UNDP staff. The launch was graced by the Head of State, various traditional Chiefs, the Ministers of Gender; Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, Women for Change and other corporating partners.

In Lusaka, she saw the President; the Vice President who hosted a lunch on environment and climate change resilience, attended by the Ministers of Mines, Energy and Water Development, Agriculture and Tourism as well as the French Ambassador and the Director of the Disaster Mitigation and Management Unit; the Speaker of the National Assembly and Chairs of main Committees and Caucuses, including the new SDG Caucus; the Minister of Foreign Affairs, who also hosted a reception for her; the Ministers of Commerce, Trade and Industry and Transport, Works and Supply and Communications, who co-hosted a meeting with the private sector; the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, who hosted a meeting with youth representatives. The Chief Justice hosted lunch with senior members of the judiciary. She also met the diplomatic community in Lusaka and the UN Country Team.

Students wearing branded attire for the "HeforShe" campaign.

Students wearing branded attire for the “HeforShe” campaign. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

Her field trip to Eastern Province was a great success. The President agreed to launch the Zambia HeForShe campaign and spent the whole day with the UN Team at Chief Nyamphande’s village and then at Misolo village visiting the Anti-GBV One-Stop Shop there. We could not have a better platform for pushing forward this campaign. Driving around Eastern Province, Helen was struck by the persisting levels of rural poverty, which she had also seen in other countries, such as Malawi and Tanzania, which have not experienced conflict since independence. She found the persistent rural poverty and inequalities in such circumstances shocking and she hopes that, among other work, the UN (UNDP) extractives project, once launched, can become part of a solution for dealing with persistent rural poverty and inequalities.

About the global HeforShe Campaign, HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls. Grounded in the idea that gender equality is an issue that affects all people — socially, economically and politically — it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as “a struggle for women by women”. Some noticed the contradiction of a campaign for gender equality which only takes action against inequalities faced by women and girls, ignoring problems affecting men and boys.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia.

Branded HeforShe Minibus at Chief Nyampandes Palace. Petauke, Eastern Province, Zambia. Photo Credit/UNIC Lusaka

On the HeForShe website, a map which uses a geo-locator to record global engagement in the campaign counts the number of men and boys around the world who have taken the HeForShe pledge, as UN Women works towards its goal of engaging 1 million men and boys by July 2015. The campaign website also includes implementation plans for UN agencies, individuals and civil society, as well as those on university and college campuses, both through online and sustained engagement.

“Initially we were asking the question, ‘Do men care about gender equality?’ and we found out that they do care,” said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women. “Then we started to get a lot of emails from men who signed up, who now want to do more.”