Author Archives: teresadebuque

UN Secretary-General’s Remarks on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

20 March 2018

The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination commemorates the Sharpeville massacre — the horrific killing of 69 people peacefully demonstrating against apartheid in South Africa.

The apartheid regime was based on institutionalized racial discrimination.

It was ultimately – and thankfully – consigned to history on the release from prison and accession to the presidency of Nelson Mandela, whose centennial we mark this year.

The memory of Sharpeville lives on in this annual UN observance, when we reaffirm our unequivocal rejection of all forms of racism, xenophobia and intolerance.

Sadly, these attitudes persist in countries and among communities around the world.

A stark and tragic example lies in the egregious treatment of Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human race.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of that landmark document.

We have made considerable progress since it was adopted.

People around the world have gained greater freedoms and equality.

Conditions of profound economic misery and exploitation have been improved.

Women’s rights have advanced, along with the rights of children, victims of racial and religious discrimination, indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities.

And perpetrators of horrific human rights violations have been prosecuted by international criminal tribunals.

But it is also plain that the words of the Universal Declaration are not yet matched by facts on the ground.

In practice, people all over the world still endure constraints on — or even total denial — of their human rights.

Gender inequality remains a pressing issue – with untold women and girls facing daily insecurity, violence and violation of their rights.

We are also seeing an alarming rise in xenophobia, racism and intolerance, including anti-Semitism and anti-Muslim hatred.

Far-right political parties and neo-Nazi viewpoints are seeing a resurgence.

Refugees and migrants are systematically denied their rights and unjustly and falsely vilified as threats to the societies they seek to join, despite the proven benefits they bring.

We still have a long way to go before we end the discriminatory attitudes, actions and practices that blight our world.

So, on this international Day, let us all consider how we can better promote tolerance, inclusion and respect for diversity in all nations and among all communities.

Let us work to eliminate messages of hatred – the concept of “us” and “them”; the false attitude that we can accept some and reject and exclude others simply for how they look, where they worship or who they love.

And let us keep in mind the grave consequences of racist thinking – discrimination, slavery and genocide.

We must always stand up to leaders who spread their toxic vison of racial superiority – especially when they couch it in sanitized language to denigrate migrants and foreigners.

We have to protect our youth from these forces of intolerance and division.

We cannot allow extremist ideologies to become normalized and legitimized in our societies.

The answer is to preach and practice tolerance, inclusion and respect for diversity.

This is achieved through greater debate and openness, and the exchange of different views, experiences and perspectives.

And it is achieved through leadership – the kind of leadership admirably shown by Nelson Mandela.

Leadership that is courageous enough and principled enough to counter intolerance, racism and discrimination in all its forms.

And that is what this Organization stands for.

Thank you.

UNIC Manila co-organizes peace concert to diffuse tensions in West Philippine Sea

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila is co-organizing a peace concert dubbed Not by Force but by Art on 20-23 April 2018 to encourage dialogue among claimant countries–China, Philippines, Vietnam, and Brunei, in the West Philippine Sea.

UNIC Manila announced this initiative at a press conference held on 5 March 2018 at the Manila Hotel, specifically at a weekly gathering of the press there called “Kapihan sa Manila Hotel” sponsored by Samahang Plaridel–an association of members of the local press.

UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque formed the panel of interviewees, along with representatives of the organizing committee, including Cecile Guidote-Alvarez, executive director, Earthsavers UNESCO DREAM Center/president, Philippine Center of the International Theatre Institute; and Harold Clavite, director-general, Philippine Information Agency.

 

UN Secretary-General’s Message for World Radio Day, 13 February

Radio reaches the widest audience in the world.

In an era of dramatic advances in communications, radio retains its power to entertain, educate, inform and inspire.

It can unite and empower communities, and give voice to the marginalized.

This year, with the Winter Olympics now under way, we also recognize the many ways in which sports broadcasting brings people together around excitement and achievement.

On World Radio Day, let us celebrate both radio and sports as ways of helping people achieve their full potential.

 

UN Secretary-General’s Message for International Day of Women and Girls in Science, 11 February

Both girls and boys have the potential to pursue their ambitions in science and mathematics, in school and at work.

But systemic discrimination means women occupy less than 30 percent of research and development jobs worldwide.

We need concerted, concrete efforts to overcome stereotypes and biases.

One starting point is banishing the predominantly male images of scientists and innovators on social media, in textbooks and in advertising.

We need to encourage and support girls and women achieve their full potential as scientific researchers and innovators.

Women and girls need this, and the world needs this, if we are to achieve our ambitions for sustainable development on a healthy planet.

Throughout history, from Hildegard of Bingen to Wangari Maathai, women scientists have built our world.

It’s time to support and invest in them.

 

UN recalls 1.5M children killed during Holocaust

(L-R: Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines; Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Head of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila; Director Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Department of Foreign Affairs-UNIO)

About 160 university students gathered at the National Commission for Culture and the Arts (NCCA) on 26 January 2018 to take part in a commemorative event recalling the memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust, or the systematic killing of Jews by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Organized by the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Manila, the 2018 Holocaust remembrance event focused on the children of the Holocaust. It featured an exhibit opening, a student briefing and a film showing.

In a video message, shown during the event, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said, “Decades since the Second World War, we see the persistence of anti-Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice. And too often, vile views are moving from the margins to the mainstream of societies and politics. We must stand together against the normalization of hate.”

In the student briefing, Ms. Yulia Rachisnky-Spivakov, Deputy Chief of Mission of the State of Israel in Manila, said, “All of us today have a special obligation. An obligation to never lose sight of what went wrong and how it happened. And an obligation to be ever vigilant in the face of persistent anti-Semitism and other forms of hate in our time.”

Meanwhile, UNIC Manila National Information Officer Teresa Debuque enjoined the students to “remember never to forget what happened during the Holocaust” and to call out “Holocaust deniers who say that the Holocaust is a myth that was created by and perpetuated by the Jewish people.”

Earlier, the exhibit was opened by Ms. Rachisnky-Spivakov, Ms. Debuque, Ms. Arlene Gonzales-Macaisa, Director for Peace and Security of the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), and Mr. Lee Blumenthal, head of the Jewish community in the Philippines.

The exhibit, called “The Butterfly Project,” highlighted the stories of five Jewish children who lived and died during the Holocaust, including Anne Frank. The exhibit gets its name from an initiative of the same name that was started in 1996 by the Holocaust Museum in Houston. Students around the world were invited to express their empathy and hope through the creation of a butterfly. The Butterfly Project aims to teach social responsibility, respect for diversity and the importance of human rights.

The exhibit opening was followed by the ceremonial lighting of six candles, in memory of the six million Jews who were murdered during World War II.

The International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust is observed by the UN on January 27 of every year. January 27 is also the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp.

The “Holocaust Remembrance” day was created by UN General Assembly resolution 60/7, which was adopted on 1 November 2005. The same resolution created the Holocaust and the United Nations Outreach Programme, which seeks to remind the world of the lessons to be learned from the Holocaust in order to help to prevent future acts of genocide.

You may view photos of the event at: http://bit.ly/2E66eeR