Category Archives: UN System-Wide Press Releases

Last interview with UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein

The four-year mandate of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, ends on 31 August 2018.

His last major interview with UN News went live today, 15 August (New York time).

The script of the interview is herein attached: 10 Aug 18 Zeid SCRIPT_FINAL

Below are the links to the UN News story, video (English) and podcast (English, 15 min.)
News link:
https://news.un.org/en/story/2018/08/1017052

Video link:

https://youtu.be/0-btEj2J2bM

Podcast link:
https://news.un.org/en/audio/2018/08/1017022

UN Human Rights Office to hold 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria are inviting students from around the world to participate in the 10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition, which will be held at the Palais des Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, on 15 – 20 July 2018.

The competition, which is held in English and French this year, is open to undergraduate and masters students from universities around the world. It will bring together up to 150 participants from as many as 30 universities representing Africa, Asia and the Middle East, Eastern Europe, South America and the Caribbean, Western Europe and other regions.

Below is a formal invitation to students to the moot court competition.

Nelson Mandela WHRMCC 2018 Invitation letter EN

The deadline for registration is 16 April 2018.

More information and registration are available at www.chr.up.ac.za/worldmoot.

Students who wish to participate in the Competition submit written legal arguments for the opposing sides in a fictional dispute (attached below) involving some of the burning human rights issues of the day.

10th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition Hypothetical Case Version 20 December 2017

The teams with the highest scores from each of the five regions are then invited to participate in the final, oral rounds in the Human Rights Council Chamber in the Palais des Nations. The case is heard by a panel of eminent international jurists, including judges from international tribunals.

The teams that are selected to participate in the final rounds in Geneva are expected to cover their own traveling costs as well as accommodation and meals, although limited financial assistance is available.

The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been presented every year for the last nine years, and has become a leading human rights educational event. It is unique in bringing together some of the brightest law students from universities around the globe to debate contemporary human rights issues on the basis of a common UN human rights system, influenced by national and regional perspectives and experiences.

2018 marks not only the tenth year of the Competition, it is also an opportunity to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the 100th birthday of Nelson Mandela.

If you have questions, please contact Martina Donlon (donlon@un.org) in DPI’s Palestine, Decolonization and Human Rights Section.

Press Release: Managing migration is one of the most urgent and profound tests of​ ​international cooperation in our time

New York, 11 January 2018–​“Migration is an expanding global reality” United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres maintains in his report released today. “The time for debating the need for cooperation in this field is past”, and “managing it is one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation of our time.”

“Making Migration Work for All,” the report released to the UN General Assembly on 11 January 2018, is the Secretary-General’s contribution to the process of developing a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular. The report offers the Secretary-General’s vision for constructive international cooperation, examining how to better manage migration, for the benefit of all – the migrants themselves, their host communities and their societies of origin.

The report may be downloaded at: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/sites/default/files/sg_report_en.pdf

The Secretary-General emphasizes that “migration is an engine of economic growth, innovation and sustainable development”. The reports highlights that there is a clear body of evidence that, despite real challenges, migration is beneficial both for migrants and host communities, in economic and social terms.

The Global Compact will provide Member States the opportunity to maximize those benefits and better address migration challenges.

The report points to an estimated 258 million international migrants, or 3.4% of the world’s population, with levels expected to increase.

While the majority of migrants move between countries in a safe, orderly and regular manner, a significant minority of migrants face life-threatening conditions. The report notes that around 6 million migrants are trapped in forced labour, and that recent large-scale movements of migrants and refugees, in regions including the Sahel and South-east Asia, have created major humanitarian crises. The report calls for the Global Compact to include a special strategy to address this.

The report underscores the economic benefits of migration. Migrants spend 85% of their earnings in their host communities and send the remaining 15% to their countries of origin.

In 2017 alone, migrants sent home approximately $600 billion in remittances, which is three times all official development assistance. Women, who make up 48% of all migrants, send home a higher percentage of their earnings than men, yet they face more restrictive labour policies and employment customs than men, thus restricting their economic income and social contribution. Member States are urged “to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls” as a central element of the Global Compact.

The Secretary-General encourages governments to work together to establish a productive and humane global migration system which would enhance, rather than detract from sovereignty. If governments open more legal pathways for migration, based on realistic analyses of labour market needs, there is likely to be fewer border crossings, fewer migrants working outside the law and fewer abuses of irregular migrants.

The Secretary-General maintains that a new approach to migration is necessary. “It is now time to draw together all parts of the UN system, including International Organization for Migration (IOM), to support Member State efforts to address migration.” The Secretary-General commits to work within the UN system to identify new ways to help Member States manage migration better based on the Global Compact.

Further information:
UN Member States will soon undertake the final negotiations on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. The Global Compact will then be finalized in 2018.

More information on the Global Compact: http://refugeesmigrants.un.org/migration-compact

Please contact:
Nora Sturm, sturm@un.org+1 212 963 9338
Office of the UN Special Representative for International Migration (UNHQ, New York)
Jon Greenway, greenway@un.org+ 1 212 963 2124
Donna Cusumano, cusumanod@un.org+1 212 963-1148
Strategic Communications, UN Department of Public Information (UNHQ, New York)

 

Press Release: UN General Assembly approves creation of new UN Counter-Terrorism Office

15 June​, New York​ – The General Assembly today approved the establishment of a new United Nations office to help Member States implement the Organization’s global counter-terrorism strategy.

Adopting a consensus resolution, the 193-nation body also welcomed Secretary-General António Guterres’ initiative to transfer relevant functions out of the UN Department of Political Affairs (DPA) and into the new United Nations Office of Counter-Terrorism.

As a result, the Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force Office (CTITF) and the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT), currently in DPA, will be transferred to the new office, together with their existing staff and all associated regular and extra-budgetary resources. The new Office would he headed up by an Under-Secretary-General.

In his report on this issue to the Assembly, the Secretary-General proposed that the new Under-Secretary-General would Chair the Task Force and Executive Director of the UN Counter-Terrorism Centre.

According to the report, the Office would have five main functions:

  • ​P​rovide leadership on the General Assembly counter-terrorism mandates entrusted to me from across the United Nations system;
  • ​E​nhance coordination and coherence across the 38 Counter-Terrorism Implementation Task Force entities to ensure the balanced implementation of the four pillars of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy;
  • ​S​trengthen the delivery of United Nations counter-terrorism capacity-building assistance to Member States;
  • ​I​mprove visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations counter-terrorism efforts; and
  • ​E​nsure that due priority is given to counterterrorism across the United Nations system and that the important work on preventing violent extremism is firmly rooted in the Strategy.

“The Secretary-General considers counter-terrorism and prevention of violent extremism to be one of the highest priorities of the United Nations to address a growing threat to international peace and security,” said his Spokesman Stéphane Dujarric in a statement issued just after the Assembly’s action.

“He therefore hopes that this reform of the UN Counter-Terrorism architecture will contribute to the UN’s broader efforts to promote conflict prevention, sustainable peace and development,” the Spokesman said.

For his part, General Assembly President Peter Thomson said “this resolution will enhance the United Nations’ capability to assist Member States in implementing the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy across its four pillars by ensuring greater coordination and coherence across the UN system, and by improving visibility, advocacy and resource mobilization for United Nations’ counter-terrorism efforts.”

[Ends]​

At Ocean Conference, UN agencies commit to cutting harmful fishing subsidies

6 June, New York City – As the international community focuses this week on preserving the health of global oceans and seas, the United Nations agencies on agriculture, environment and trade are committing to the sustainable trade of fisheries.

The agencies – the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) – are due to announce the commitment today at The Ocean Conference, which opened yesterday at UN Headquarters in New York and wraps up on Friday, 9 June.

“Trade and trade-policies can facilitate the transition to sustainable ocean-based economies by increasing resource efficiency, improving the environment, enhancing inclusiveness and creating new green business opportunities,” according to the voluntary commitment.

One of outcomes of the commitment is the removal or reduction of harmful fisheries subsidies which are estimated to be as high as $35 billion.

The issue is “complicated and thorny,” according to the UN agencies. “For the majority of fisheries subsidies, there is a strong correlation with overcapacity and overfishing.”

The commitment likely involves requesting countries to provide information on what subsidies they provide and prohibiting those that contribute to overfishing, as well as potentially giving differential treatment to developing countries.

The Ocean Conference, which runs through Friday, focuses on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Governments in 2015. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.

The commitment on fisheries is one of some 850 commitments made at the Conference so far. The voluntary commitments are meant to be taken individually or in partnership by Governments, the UN system, non-governmental organizations, the private sector, and others, to support SDG14.

In addition to marking voluntary commitments, participants this week are also due to adopt, by consensus, a “Call to Action” to protect the world’s oceans and seas.

For day-to-day updates on the Ocean Conference, please follow this link: https://oceanconference.un.org/

UN Ocean Conference opens with calls for united action to reverse human damage

5 June – Opening a “game-changing” international conference on the health of the world’s oceans and seas, top United Nations officials today urged coordinated global action to protect the planet.

Speaking in the UN General Assembly Hall, Secretary-General António Guterres cautioned Governments that unless they overcome short-term territorial and resource interests, the state of the oceans will continue to deteriorate.

“Improving the health of our oceans is a test for multilateralism, and we cannot afford to fail,” the Secretary-General said addressing his first major UN conference since taking on his post.

“We must jointly address the problems of governance that have held us back,” he said, calling for a new strategic vision of how to govern the oceans and marine resources.

One of the main challenges, he said, is to end “the artificial dichotomy” between jobs and healthy oceans: “The conservation and sustainable use of marine resources are two sides of the same coin.”

He called for strong political leadership and new partnerships, based on the existing legal framework, and concrete steps, such as expanding marine protected areas and reducing plastic waste pollution.

Among other specific actions, Mr. Guterres urged Governments to allocate the promised funding for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Paris Agreement on climate change and the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, as well as

improving data collection and sharing their best experiences.

These works are supported by the UN, he added, which among its work, is building partnerships with Governments, the private sector, civil society and others, and working with international financial institutions to allocate resources.

Also addressing the thousands of participants – including heads of State and Government, civil society representatives, business people, as well as actors, and ocean and marine life advocates – was the President of the General Assembly, Peter Thomson.

“The time has come for us to correct our wrongful ways,” said Mr. Thomson, who hails from the island of Fiji, which is co-hosting the event alongside Sweden.

He spoke out against “inexcusable” actions, such as dumping the equivalent of one large garbage truck of plastic into the oceans every minute of every day, driving fish stocks to the points of collapse, and destroying marine life through acidification and deoxygenation.

“We are here on behalf of humanity to restore sustainability, balance and respect to our relationship with our primal mother, the source of life, the Ocean,” he noted.

Also speaking at the opening was Wu Hongbo, the Secretary-General of The Ocean Conference, who pointed out that without oceans and seas, where would be no life on the planet.

Mr. Wu, who is also the Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, noted that everyone must work together – not in silos – to achieve the goals of the Conference.

The Ocean Conference, which runs through Friday, focuses on the targets outlined in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by Governments in 2015. In particular among the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Goal 14 highlights the need to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources to benefit present and future generations.

The main areas of work at The Ocean Conference will be a political call to action, a segment on partnership dialogues and voluntary commitments. Hundreds of commitments were already registered by the time the conference opened earlier today.

Updates on the Ocean conference may be found at: https://oceanconference.un.org/

 

UPR Working Group releases report on the Philippines

(Manila, 11 May 2017) The report of the Universal Periodic Review Working Group (UPR WG) on the Philippines has just been distributed to states.

However, please note that the report is still scheduled to be adopted by the UPR WG today, 11 May 2017, at at 16.30 in Geneva, or 22.30 in Manila. Nevertheless, since the report has been distributed to states, there is no embargo on this report.

In brief, the Philippines received a total of 257 recommendations from the 95 participating states.   Simply to note, 220 is the average number of recommendations received thus far from states during this session; so the 257 is not extraordinary (e.g., India and Brazil received 250 and 246, respectively).

The dominant issues cited in the Philippines recommendations relate to extrajudicial killings and the campaign against illegal drugs (as reported widely in media), the death penalty and human trafficking.

Here is the Report: A_HRC_WG.6_27_L.10_Philippines

Press Release_10 March 2017: UN announces new approach to ‘stamp out’ sexual exploitation and abuse

9 March 2017, New York–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 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”.

Here is the S-G’s report:

SG’s Report on Special measures for protection from SEA – a new approach -English

You may view the S-G’s video message here

UNIC Manila Media Advisory_28 February 2017: UN opens nominations for Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG)

WHAT: Call for Nominations for Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG)

WHEN: Deadline 15 April 2017

DETAILS: http://bit.ly/2lhdp5m

The Secretariat of the United Nations (UN) is requesting nominations for the generic position of Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Deputy Special Representative of the Secretary-General (DSRSG) Political and/or for the Rule of Law in United Nations field missions/peace operations.

Special Representatives of the Secretary-General and their deputies serving in field missions are appointed by the Secretary-General. These high level leadership posts are graded at the level of Under-Secretary-General (USG) or Assistant Secretary-General (ASG).

In order to ensure a wide pool of candidates for these high level positions, the UN is opening a call for nominations to identify the most talented men and women to lead our UN field missions. This call supplements the Secretary-General’s own search and consultations.

Nominations must include a CV and vision statement and be submitted via the online platform https://leadershipcall.unmissions.org/ no later than 15 April 2017.

For more information, contact: leadership@un.org

Press Release_7 February 2017: Philippine journalists invited to apply for 2017 fellowship program

United Nations, New York.  The Dag Hammarskjöld Fund for Journalists is now accepting applications from professional journalists from developing countries for its 2017 fellowship program. The application deadline is March 20, 2017.

The fellowships are available to radio, television, print and web journalists, age 25 to 35, from developing countries who are interested in coming to New York to report on international affairs during the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly.  The fellowships will begin in early September and extend to late November and will include the cost of travel and accommodations in New York, as well as a per diem allowance.

The fellowship program is open to journalists who are native to one of the developing countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America/the Caribbean and are currently working for media organizations. Applicants must demonstrate an interest in and commitment to international affairs and to conveying a better understanding of the United Nations to their readers and audiences.  They must also have approval from their media organizations to spend up to three months in New York to report from the United Nations.

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