Category Archives: UN System-Wide Press Releases

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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Human rights “under unprecedented pressure” world-wide: Zeid calls on people to stand up for rights of others

GENEVA (8 December 2016) – “Unprecedented pressure on international human rights standards risks unravelling the unique set of protections set in place after the end of World War II,” according to UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein.

Speaking in the run-up to Human Rights Day on 10 December, Zeid also stressed it was within the power of every individual to play a role in pushing back against such pressures, and that many are already doing so.

“2016 has been a disastrous year for human rights across the globe, and if the growing erosion of the carefully constructed system of human rights and rule of law continues to gather momentum, ultimately everyone will suffer,” Zeid said.

“Many of us are fearful about the way the world is heading,” he said. “Extremist movements subject people to horrific violence. Conflicts and deprivation are forcing families from their homes. Climate change darkens our horizons. Discrimination, yawning economic disparities and the ruthless desire to gain or maintain power at any cost are the principal drivers of current political and human rights crises. Humane values are under attack – and so many people feel overwhelmed, unsure what to do or where to turn.”

“Many leaders are failing to grapple effectively and honestly with these complex social and economic issues,” Zeid said. “So people are turning in desperation to the siren voices exploiting fears, sowing disinformation and division, and making alluring promises they cannot fulfil.”

“But we have learned, through the bitter lessons of history, that humanity will only survive, and thrive, if we seek solutions together. Human rights were intended to be, and still are, the antidote to all of this: everyone has rights – economic and social rights, as well as civil and political rights and the right to development –  and it is time to stand up for those rights, not just for yourself but for everyone else.”

The UN human rights chief urged people everywhere to defend a system that was designed precisely with the aim of making the world a better place for everyone.

“A world where people focus only on the needs of their narrow social, national or religious group, and ignore or attack the equal needs of others, is a world which can very quickly descend into misery and chaos,” Zeid said.

“Human rights are the basis of effective policy, in societies where people know they can trust government and rely on the law. Tearing up the laws and institutions that were so painstakingly built up over the last half of the 20th century – designed to protect all individuals, as well as promote stability and economic well-being – is shortsighted and dangerous. These are not trifles to be tossed aside for personal or political gain,” he added.

“Syria is the starkest example of failure across the board. A conflict that was totally avoidable, had President Assad chosen to listen to the voices of those protesting peacefully and legitimately against human rights violations. Then, instead of working together to stop the fighting and restore order, individual States stoked the conflict, supported the murderers, provided arms, encouraged extremists – in short, collectively, threw international humanitarian law and human rights law out of the window.”

“The results? The strengthening of Da’esh and other extreme groups, who then stimulated another war and massive abuses — very probably including genocide — in Iraq. The repeated use of chemical weapons. A vast movement of Syrian refugees, which overran the capacity and goodwill of neighbouring countries, and spilled into Europe – where the suddenness and scale of the influx provoked fears which blended with existing economic strains and anti-foreigner sentiment and led to political upheaval.”

“In some parts of Europe, and in the United States, anti-foreigner rhetoric full of unbridled vitriol and hatred, is proliferating to a frightening degree, and is increasingly unchallenged. The rhetoric of fascism is no longer confined to a secret underworld of fascists, meeting in ill-lit clubs or on the ‘Deep Net.’ It is becoming part of normal daily discourse.”

“And that is just one set of problems facing one part of the planet,” Zeid said. “In South Sudan, Myanmar and potentially Burundi, ethnic or religious tensions and violence risk billowing out of control. In Yemen, the rules of war with regard to the protection of civilians have routinely been flouted, and the humanitarian crisis is so great children are starving. In the Philippines, drug users and dealers are routinely being killed in the streets, with the not-so-tacit encouragement of the authorities. Other countries are bringing back the death penalty. Elsewhere civil society organizations are being bullied and banned, human rights and political activists and investigative journalists who try to speak truth to power, or stand up for human rights, are being jailed, or killed. And what are we doing about it?”

“It is time to change course.”

Zeid announced that on Human Rights Day, the UN Human Rights Office will launch a campaign entitled “Stand up for someone’s rights today.”

“At a time of enormous turmoil and rapid change, the values which uphold peace across the world are too important to be left to international institutions and governments alone. It is within the power of every woman, man and child to stand up for respect and tolerance and push back the violence and hatred which threaten our world.”

“In the coming years, the protections provided by international and national human rights laws and systems will be of the utmost importance, not just for those who have yet to fully enjoy them, but also for those who currently take them for granted,” the UN human rights chief said. “Ultimately, human rights are for everyone, and everyone will be affected if we do not fight to preserve them. They took decades of tireless effort by countless committed individuals to establish, but – as we have seen all too clearly in recent months — they are fragile. If we do not defend them, we will lose them.”

“We don’t have to stand by while the haters drive wedges of hostility between communities – we can build bridges. As well as understanding our own rights, we can make a real difference by supporting others. In the street, in school, at work, in public transport; in the voting booth, on social media, at home and on the sports field. Wherever there is discrimination, we can step forward to help safeguard someone’s right to live free from fear and abuse. We can all lobby for better leadership, better laws and greater respect for human dignity.”

“The time for this is now. ‘We the peoples’ can take a stand for rights. Local actions can add up to a global movement to save the rights that a global movement, composed of countless committed individuals and some inspired leaders, created in the first place. [Ends]

http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=21002&LangID=E

UN Human Rights office invites law students to int’l moot court competition; deadline 12 June 2017

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The Centre for Human Rights at the University of Pretoria, South Africa, in collaboration with the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and other partners, is organizing the 9th Nelson Mandela World Human Rights Moot Court Competition at the Palais des Nations in Geneva from 18 to 21 July 2017.

The competition, which is held in English, is open to undergraduate and masters law students from universities around the world. Students are invited to argue a hypothetical human rights case before a panel of top international lawyers.

The competition is expected to bring together up to 75 participants from as many as 25 universities representing the five UN regional groups.

The deadline for registration is 12 June 2017.

The rules of procedure, the hypothetical case, and registration details are available at www.chr.up.ac.za/worldmoot. The attached poster and invitation by the University of Pretoria also provide more details.

As a new feature, the 2017 edition of the competition will include a one-day event designed to expose students to the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights as well as the Human Rights Council. This will involve personal interaction with senior staff members of both institutions who are involved in key activities and processes.

The World Human Rights Moot Court Competition has been presented every year for the last eight 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.

The executors of the estate of Nelson Mandela in 2014 agreed to have the competition renamed after him, and the competition will be promoted in the context of Nelson Mandela International Day (18 July).

For further information, please contact the coordinator at the University of Pretoria, Mr. Eduardo Kapapelo (eduardo.kapapelo@up.ac.za).

Media Advisory_23 September 2016: UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to review the Philippines

Media Advisory 

23 September 2016

UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights to review the Philippines

GENEVA (23 September 2016) – The UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights is due to review the Philippines on Wednesday 28 and Thursday 29 September. The Philippines is one of the 164 States* that have ratified the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and so is required to undergo regular review by the Committee.

The Committee, which is composed of 18 independent human rights experts, will discuss a range of issues relating to the Philippines’ implementation of the ICESCR with a Philippine delegation. The Committee’s meetings with the delegation are public and will take place on 28 September from 15:00 to 18:00 (21:00 to 24:00 in Manila) and on 29 September from 10:00 to 13:00 (16:00 to 19:00) in Room XVI at Palais des Nations in Geneva. The meetings are public and will be webcast at http://webtv.un.org/.

The Philippines has submitted a report to the Committee which is available here:   http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/treatybodyexternal/SessionDetails1.aspx?SessionID=1060&Lang=en

Any information submitted by civil society organisations can be accessed through the same link.

The Committee will issue its findings on the Philippines and the other States being reviewed – Costa Rica, Cyprus, Poland, Tunisia, Lebanon, Dominican Republic – on 10 October and publish them at the above link.

ENDS

For more information, please contact: Liz Throssell + 41 22 917 9466 / +41 79 752 0488 ethrossell@ohchr.org

Read the advisory online: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=20557&LangID=E

Media accreditation for the Palais des Nations:   http://unog.ch/80256EDD006B9C2E/(httpPages)/70991F6887C73B2280256EE700379C58?OpenDocument

Background: Members of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights are independent human rights experts drawn from around the world, who serve in their personal capacity and not as representatives of States parties. The Committee’s concluding observations are an independent assessment of States’ compliance with their human rights obligations under the treaty. More information:  http://www.ohchr.org/en/hrbodies/cescr/pages/cescrindex.aspx

*Check which countries have ratified the two Covenants and the other main international human rights treaties: http://indicators.ohchr.org/

Philippines: Promoting institutional coordination to achieve the 2030 Agenda

 

This article is part of the publication, “The Sustainable Development Goals are Coming to Life: Stories of Country Implementation and UN Support.”

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National ownership

The Philippine government has embraced the need for the country to mainstream the SDGs into its next national six-year development plan (2017–2022) and the 25-year development programme called ‘Ambisyon Natin (Our Ambition) 2040’. It has led technical workshops to inform the core national-level indicators for effective monitoring of progress against the SDGs.

Institutional coordination and coherence

The National Economic and Development Authority (NEDA) proposed the creation of the Committee on SDGs to spearhead the national implementation of the SDGs and promote rapid, inclusive and sustained economic growth. The Committee will comprise the heads of various national government agencies, with the Secretary of Socioeconomic Planning as the Chair. In addition, the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA) Board has recently approved a resolution enjoining all government agencies to provide the necessary data support to monitor the SDGs.

The Philippines Statistical Development Plan 2011–2017 now includes a separate chapter for the compilation and improvement of national SDG indicators.

At the sub-national level, the Mindanao NEDA Sub-national Offices have passed a resolution requesting the establishment of an operational and integrated mechanism for the localization of the SDGs within the NEDA. The mechanism will define the development actions and commitments required at the regional/local level to contribute to attaining the SDG targets. The resolution also called for the NEDA Central Office to ensure a highly participatory and consultative process by involving the regions in SDG- related activities through the existing Regional Development Councils.

Raising public awareness

Several CSOs have organized theme- and sector-focused forums and workshops to discuss how the SDG framework could be used to identify issues and interventions for specific sectors and themes. The private sector and business groups have also started advocacy initiatives to increase understanding and the engagement of relevant actors in inclusive business and the broader SDG agenda.

In parallel, the UN continues to support the government in raising public awareness on the SDGs by developing advocacy and information materials, including an SDG presentation template, an SDG ‘commitment’ wall, SDG selfie boards to support the #GlobalGoals campaign, and an SDG booklet.

These communication materials were used in many public awareness-raising events such as the UN’s 70th anniversary celebrations, children’s and youth events, private-sector events and academic forums.

Inclusive participation

Social Watch Philippines, a civil society network composed of more than 100 CSOs and individuals, is formulating a Spotlight Report with UN support, which will complement the government’s Voluntary National Review for the 2016 HLPF. It will be drawn from a series of consultations that will analyse poverty and inequality, the inclusiveness of growth and its environmental implications, and structural and systemic issues, including multi-stakeholderism and partnership. The results are also expected to feed into the government’s national visioning and planning exercise. Business groups are also planning a portal to capture the private sector’s contributions to SDG targets.

Monitoring and reporting

In October 2015, NEDA, in coordination with the PSA and with UNDP support, conducted the First Technical Workshop on SDGs Indicators. This event was attended by 269 participants from various national government agencies, CSOs, academic institutions and the UNCT. Then in May 2016 the Second Technical Workshop on SDGs Indicators was convened with over 300 participants to inform the report by the Philippines to the Voluntary National Review for the HLPF in July. At these workshops, the initial list of SDG indicators was examined within the context of the country’s development objectives, and relevant indicators that were not included in the list were identified. The participants also assessed whether data on the SDG indicators were available from existing data sources, and prioritized those that should be part of the country’s core indicators. Building on such basic mapping activities, 231 global indicators were examined and prioritized in accordance with the national context, while 23 additional national indicators were presented for SDGs 2 (zero hunger), 3 (good health and well-being) and 5 (gender equality). The Department of Labor and Employment also initiated technical workshops with support from the ILO in May 2016 to identify and update indicators for SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth) and other goals covering elements of decent work. This led to a mapping of indicators in the Philippines covering decent work.

Read the entire report

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UN launches 1st report on the Sustainable Development Goals

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The first Sustainable Development Goals Report will be launched by the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday, 19 July at 3.00 pm during the opening of the High-level Segment of ECOSOC in New York. The event will be webcast live at webtv.un.org.

While the Goals were only launched  seven months ago—too short a period for a proper assessment of progress—the Sustainable Development Goals Report 2016, using available data, looks at the successes, as well as the gaps in addressing global challenges, and provides a clear picture of what the international community needs to do to achieve the Goals and ensure that no one is left behind.

A press briefing on the report will take place on Wednesday, 20th July at 11.00 am at UN Headquarters in New York and may be followed via webtv.un.org.

The Sustainable Development Goals Report, prepared by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs with inputs from a large number of international and regional organizations, is an annual assessment of global and regional progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. Unanimously agreed on by world leaders at United Nations Headquarters in September 2015, the Goals represent a bold and ambitious global plan to end poverty, address inequalities and tackle climate change over the next 15 years. [Ends]

Record number of signatures expected for climate change agreement on 22 April

New York, 11 April — A record number of countries are expected to sign the historic climate agreement adopted last December in Paris at a signing ceremony hosted by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on 22 April.

More than 130 countries have confirmed that they will sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April, the first day that the agreement will be open for signature. This would surpass the previous record of 119 signatures for an opening day signing for an international agreement, set by the Law of the Sea in Montego Bay in 1982. In addition, more countries have informally indicated that they will sign the agreement, with the numbers increasing rapidly each week.

Over 60 Heads of State and Government will attend the ceremony, including French President François Hollande, demonstrating the continued high level of engagement by world leaders to accept and implement the Paris Agreement.

The signing ceremony will mark the first step toward ensuring that the Paris Agreement enters into force as early as possible. The agreement will enter into force 30 days after at least 55 countries, accounting for 55 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions, deposit their instruments of ratification or acceptance with the Secretary-General.

A number of countries have also indicated that they will deposit their instruments of ratification immediately after signing the agreement on 22 April.

The 22 April signing ceremony will also bring together leaders from civil society and the private sector to discuss efforts to boost financing for climate action and sustainable development, and to increase actions that would achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting average global temperature rise to well below 2 degrees Celsius.

“Paris was historic,” the Secretary-General said. “But it’s only the beginning. We must urgently accelerate our efforts to tackle climate change. I encourage all countries to sign the Paris Agreement on 22 April so we can turn aspirations into action. ”

Information on the 22 April Signing Ceremony can be found at www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/climatechange

For further information, please contact Dan Shepard, tel 1 212 963-9495; email: shepard@un.org