Tag Archives: Prevention

Secretary-General António Guterres video message on International day of UN Peacekeepers, 29 May

29 May 2020

Today we honor more than one million men and women who have served as United Nations peacekeepers and the more than 3,900 who have lost their lives in the line of duty.

We also express our gratitude to the 95,000 civilian, police and military personnel currently deployed around the world.

They are facing one of the greatest challenges ever: delivering on their peace and security mandates while helping countries to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

The theme of this year’s observance – Women in Peacekeeping – highlights their central role in our operations.

Women often have greater access in the communities we serve, enabling us to improve the protection of civilians, promote human rights and enhance overall performance.

This is especially important today, as female peacekeepers are on the frontlines in supporting the response to COVID-19 in already fragile contexts – using local radio to spread public health messaging, delivering necessary supplies to communities for prevention, and supporting efforts of local peacebuilders. Yet, women continue to represent only 6 per cent of uniformed military, police, justice and corrections personnel in field missions.

As we commemorate the 20th anniversary of Security Council Resolution 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, we must do more to achieve women’s equal representation in all areas of peace and security.

Together, let us continue to wage peace, defeat the pandemic and build a better future.

 

UN stands with Zambia as the country confirms 16 COVID-19 cases

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Lusaka, 27 March 2020: Following the announcement that Zambia has now confirmed 16 cases

Dr. Coumba Mar Gadio, UN Resident Coordinator Zambia.

of COVID-19, the United Nations family in Zambia under the leadership of the Resident Coordinator stands in solidarity with the Government and people of Zambia as they respond to the global pandemic.

“As the United Nations, we stand with Zambia and pledge our continued assistance through the Government in ensuring that the pandemic is contained. Under the lead of the World Health Organisation (WHO), we will continue supporting the Government with contingency planning and response, resource mobilisation and Risk Communication and Community Engagement.”

“With support from our cooperating partners, the UN will contribute to ongoing efforts by the Government including training of technical staff and helping strengthen surveillance in communities, procurement of personal protective equipment and essential medicines, promoting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) in health facilities and strengthening infection prevention and control,” said UN Resident Coordinator, Dr Coumba Mar Gadio.

Additional support will go towards strengthening health systems to effectively deliver health services, including supporting human resources for health to provide antenatal care, safe delivery and addressing sexual and Gender-Based Violence, which increases in times of crises.

The UN is also working with the Government on the development of a multisectoral contingency plan, leaving no one behind, and assessment of the socio-economic impact of the pandemic in Zambia.

Members of the public are key in helping respond to COVID-19. Every individual should do their part while avoiding panic and stigmatization to prevent the spread of COVID-19 including regular and correct hand washing with soap and water.

Other measures include coughing or sneezing into a tissue or a bent elbow, being sure to safely dispose of the tissue afterwards, maintaining a distance of at least one meter from one another (also called social distancing) whether or not that person is coughing or sneezing, avoiding touching the eyes, nose and mouth. It is also important to seek medical attention early if a person develops a fever, cough or difficulty in breathing as well as to stay at home if ill.

Zambia joins over 44 other African countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

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For more information, please contact:

United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Lusaka, Mark Maseko, National Information Officer, P: +260-211-225-494 | M: + 260-955767062 | E: masekom@un.org

70 years of the Genocide Convention – demonstrating our commitment to the promise of “never again”

By Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide

This year we will commemorate the seventieth anniversary of the Convention on the Prevention

Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

Mr. Adama Dieng, United Nations Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.

and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (the Genocide Convention). The Genocide Convention was the first human rights treaty to be adopted by the United Nations General Assembly, on 9 December 1948, just three years after the birth of the United Nations. Its adoption was largely the result of the tireless efforts of one man, Raphael Lemkin who, after losing most of his family in the Holocaust, was determined to do what he could to make sure that this crime could never happen again. Some six million Jews were murdered in the Holocaust, one of the most devastating human tragedies of the twentieth century, as well as many others whom the Nazis considered “undesirable”. The Genocide Convention represents the United Nations commitment to the often quoted “never again”; a commitment to learn from and not repeat history.

Regrettably, this commitment has often failed to translate into action, even when it has been most needed. We saw this in 1994 in the abject failure of the international community to prevent the genocide of the Tutsis in Rwanda, which cost the lives of almost a million people in the space of 100 days. No more than a year later, we witnessed it again as the international community, including United Nations peacekeepers, looked away during the Srebrenica genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Important progress has been made since – and because of – these failures. In 1998, the International Criminal Court was established, a permanent court already foreseen by the Genocide Convention in 1948. In 2005, the Secretary-General established the post of Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide, a position I currently hold, to ensure that there is a voice within the United Nations system that can alert the Secretary-General and, through him, the Security Council, to early warning signs of genocide and advocate for preventative action before genocide becomes a reality.

In addition, at the 2005 World Summit all United Nations Member States made a ground-breaking commitment to protect their populations from genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity (atrocity crimes) and to take collective action when States manifestly fail to do so, in accordance with and using the tools provided by the United Nations Charter. This has become known as the principle of “the responsibility to protect”

Despite these achievements and the continued commitment to “never again”, we have not managed to eradicate genocide. International crimes, including genocide, are a terrible reality faced by populations across the globe. We know the warning signs and we know how to prevent these crimes, but we often fail to act in time, or to act at all. In the Central African Republic, Iraq, Myanmar, South Sudan, Syria and in so many other places, people are being targeted because of their identity – because of the religion they practice, the culture in which they were raised or simply because of their distinctive physical characteristics. This is unacceptable.

We also fail to invest sufficiently in prevention, to build the resilience needed to address the risk factors for genocide, or to take timely and decisive action when we see the warning signs.

Our commitment to the Genocide Convention must be reinvigorated. The fact that we have not eradicated genocide is not because the Convention is flawed, but rather because its potential has not been fully realised. And despite universal rejection of genocide, some Member States have still not taken the fundamental step of ratifying the Convention.

At the time of writing, 145 States have ratified the Genocide Convention. Surprisingly, 45 United Nations Member States have not yet done so. Of these 20 are in Africa, 18 in Asia and seven in Latin America.

Universal ratification of the Convention is fundamental to demonstrate that genocide has no place in our world. That no one should fear discrimination, persecution or violence simply because of who they are.

What message are the States who have not ratified the Convention sending, 70 years after its adoption? That genocide could never happen within their borders? Genocide can happen anywhere. History has shown us time and again that no region or country is immune. Yet many States seem reluctant to even consider this a possibility or to undertake a critical evaluation of their risks and vulnerabilities.

In December last year, I launched an appeal for universal ratification of the Genocide Convention, urging the 45 United Nations Member States that have not done so to take steps to ratify or accede to the Convention before its 70th anniversary on 9 December 2018. The aim of this appeal is to refocus our attention on the Convention, underline its continued importance as the legal standard for ensuring the punishment of this crime, as well as its often-untapped potential as a tool for prevention.

The Genocide Convention, together with its sister treaties on human rights and the Rome statute for the International Criminal Court, remains the most important legal standard we have to fulfil the commitment to “never again” that the world made 70 years ago. For our own sakes, and for the sake of future generations: #PreventGenocide.

 

To learn more about the Convention and how you can support the appeal click here

To learn more about the Special Adviser and the work of his office click here