Category Archives: UN Observance

Panel Discussion on the 2018 International Women’s Day in Cameroon

UNIC Yaounde on behalf of the United Nations System in Cameroon organized a panel discussion on “Intensify the fight against discrimination on women: Strengthen partnership to speed up sustainable development” on Tuesday 6 February 2018 at the UNIC Conference Room. This talk had as main objective, the exchange of information with university students in development studies, and civil societies on concrete actions carried out by the UN system in Cameroon, towards empowering women and girls. 

Adama Moussa, Resident Representative of UNWOMEN emphasized the normative framework for the protection of women’s right, stating the four resolutions adopted by the UN to protect women such as: Violence against women, peace and security, Economic autonomy and political participation. Mr. Adama further harps on the fact that women representation should be specific, temporal and corrective in government positions and elections in order to attain UN’s gender parity policy. “The aim now is to have 30% of women integrated in each sector in Cameroon for operation gender 50/50 is a gradual process” he said. He insisted that the economic autonomy of women can be achieved only by promoting women to become economically and giving them equal opportunities and access to land and production.

Daniela Luciana, Head of Child Protection at UNICEF focusing on early marriages and other forms of traditional constraints on women, states that UNICEF mobilizes tools not only to work with the community on violence against women, but also to challenge norms and taboos against certain forms of violence practiced in the society. The more girls are educated, the less child marriage is experienced. Thus, UNICEF is working to improve girls’ education, so that they do not drop from school after primary education to get marry. She further added that according to the 2011 survey, statistics revealed that 50% of girls got married before the age of 18 in the Eastern and Adamawa regions, and 1 out of 3 at the national level and 80% of women and girls have been victims of sexual violence in which most cases happen at home and the perpetrators are always very close people that the victims know.

Abdoulaye Balde; Representative and Country Director of WFP, highlighted actions taken by WFP to economically empower the rural women; who are the backbone of food production, with skills to transform local produce into semi-finished or finished product.  Queuing with UNICEF’s policy of sending girls to school, Mr. Baldé added that WFP provides food to students in some areas of the northern part of Cameroon as an incentive for them to remain in school.

UNIC’s Jean Njita; who moderated the talks, called on participants to be ambassadors of change.  Quoting Memory Banda the 18-year-old Malawian, on child marriage, Mr. Njita stated that “Marriage is often the end for girls like me. But if our leaders invest in us and give us the chance to be educated, we will become women who create a better society for everyone.”

During the question and answer session, questions were asked such as:

  • With legal framework stated by UNWOMEN put in place in Cameroon, is there hope for women in Cameroon?
  • What actions have been taken by UNWomen against the rape cases by UN peacekeepers in the Central African Republic?
  • What is UNICEF doing to prevent early marriages?
  • Why are men the ones talking on women’s day etc.,

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits to the over 40 participants at the event containing: the UNSG’s message on IWD2018, brief history of the IWD, Africa Renewal on keeping girls in school, notebooks, etc… UNIC equally mobilized journalist who covered the panel discussions organized at UNIC conference room. Media organs represented included; Ariane TV, CRTV, Equinoxe Television, Cameroon Tribune, Vision4 Television, Le Messager etc…

UN Secretary-General Message on International Women’s Day (Scroll down for French Version)

New York, 8 March 2018

We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before. From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds.

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world. The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.

But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation. More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognized. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade.

Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality.

The United Nations should set an example for the world. I recognize that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide.

We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the organization. I am totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and have set out plans to improve reporting and accountability. We are working closely with countries around the world to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims.

We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face – whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination: widows, indigenous women, women with disabilities and women who do not conform to gender norms.

Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals means progress for all women, everywhere. The Spotlight initiative launched jointly with the European Union will focus resources on eliminating violence against women and girls, a prerequisite for equality and empowerment. Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.

There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Paternity leave, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone. At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.

I am proud to be part of this movement, and I hope it continues to resonate within the United Nations and around the world.


Nous vivons actuellement un moment décisif pour les droits des femmes. Les inégalités historiques et structurelles qui ont fait le lit de l’oppression et des discriminations n’ont jamais été dénoncées si unanimement. De l’Amérique latine à l’Europe en passant par l’Asie, sur les réseaux sociaux, les plateaux de cinéma, dans les usines et dans la rue, les femmes appellent à un changement durable et réclament la tolérance zéro à l’égard des agressions, de la discrimination et du harcèlement sexuels sous toutes leurs formes.

L’égalité des sexes et l’autonomisation des femmes et des filles sont les véritables gageures de notre époque et le plus grand défi que le monde ait à relever en matière de droits fondamentaux. Le militantisme et la persévérance de générations de femmes ont porté leurs fruits. Le nombre de filles scolarisées, de femmes ayant un emploi rémunéré et de femmes occupant des postes à haute responsabilité dans le secteur privé, les milieux universitaires, la sphère politique et les organisations internationales, y compris l’ONU, n’a jamais été aussi élevé. L’égalité des sexes est inscrite dans d’innombrables textes de loi, et les pratiques traditionnelles néfastes comme les mutilations génitales féminines et le mariage des enfants sont maintenant illégales dans de nombreux pays. Il nous reste toutefois de nombreux obstacles à franchir pour remédier aux inégalités ancestrales qui sont le creuset des discriminations et de l’exploitation.

À l’heure actuelle, dans le monde, plus d’un milliard de femmes ne sont pas protégées par la loi si elles venaient à subir des violences sexuelles dans leur foyer. L’écart de rémunération entre hommes et femmes est de 23 % à l’échelle mondiale. Il peut aller jusqu’à 40 % dans les zones rurales, et le travail non rémunéré que font de nombreuses femmes n’est pas reconnu. Les femmes occupent en moyenne moins d’un quart des sièges dans les parlements nationaux, et sont encore moins nombreuses dans les conseils d’administration. Si nous n’agissons pas ensemble, des millions de filles subiront des mutilations génitales dans les dix années à venir.

Là où des lois existent, elles sont souvent ignorées, et les femmes qui portent plainte sont discréditées, dénigrées et méprisées. Nous le savons désormais : le harcèlement et les atteintes sexuels sont monnaie courante sur les lieux de travail, dans l’espace public et dans les foyers, et ce, dans des pays qui se félicitent de leur bilan en matière d’égalité des sexes. L’Organisation des Nations Unies doit être un exemple pour le monde entier. Je reconnais que cela n’a pas toujours été le cas. Depuis que j’ai pris mes fonctions, l’an dernier, j’ai à cœur d’introduire le changement au Siège de l’Organisation des Nations Unies, dans nos missions de maintien de la paix et dans nos bureaux partout dans le monde.

Pour la première fois dans l’histoire de l’ONU, nous avons atteint la parité dans mon équipe dirigeante, et je suis résolu à faire appliquer cette parité à tous les niveaux de l’Organisation. Je soutiens sans réserve la politique de tolérance zéro à l’égard du harcèlement sexuel et j’ai lancé des initiatives visant à améliorer la procédure de signalement des cas et l’application du principe de responsabilité dans ce domaine. Nous travaillons en étroite collaboration avec les pays du monde entier pour prévenir et combattre l’exploitation et les atteintes sexuelles commises par des membres du personnel des missions de maintien de la paix et pour venir en aide aux victimes.

L’Organisation des Nations Unies soutient les femmes du monde entier dans leur combat contre les injustices qu’elles subissent, qu’il s’agisse de femmes du monde rural victimes de discrimination salariale, de citadines qui se mobilisent pour faire changer les choses, de femmes réfugiées exposées à l’exploitation et aux violences, ou de femmes qui doivent faire face à des formes conjuguées de discrimination : je pense ici aux veuves, aux femmes autochtones, aux femmes handicapées et à celles qui ne se conforment pas aux normes de genre.

L’autonomisation des femmes est au cœur du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030. Tout progrès dans la réalisation des objectifs de développement durable est un progrès pour toutes les femmes, partout dans le monde. L’Initiative Spotlight, lancée en partenariat avec l’Union européenne, vise à allouer des ressources à l’élimination de la violence à l’égard des femmes et des filles, condition sine qua none de l’égalité des sexes et de l’autonomisation des femmes.

Je veux être très clair : il ne s’agit pas de privilégier les femmes ou de leur faire une faveur. L’égalité des sexes est non seulement une question de respect des droits fondamentaux, mais un progrès pour nous tous, femmes et hommes, filles et garçons. Les inégalités et la discrimination dont sont victimes les femmes nous sont néfastes à tous. Il est prouvé depuis longtemps qu’investir dans les femmes est le moyen le plus efficace de dynamiser les communautés, les entreprises et même les pays. La participation des femmes rend les accords de paix plus solides, les sociétés plus résilientes, la croissance économique plus vigoureuse. À l’inverse, là où les femmes sont victimes de discrimination, c’est souvent à cause de pratiques et de croyances qui nous nuisent à tous. Le congé de paternité, les lois contre la violence familiale et celles qui promeuvent l’égalité salariale sont un progrès pour l’humanité toute entière.

En ce moment décisif pour les droits des femmes, il est grand temps que les hommes se battent à leurs côtés, les écoutent et apprennent d’elles. Si l’on veut que les femmes puissent réaliser pleinement leur potentiel et tirer nos communautés, nos sociétés et nos économies vers le haut, il nous faut impérativement appliquer deux principes : celui de la transparence et celui de la responsabilité.

Je suis fier de participer à ce mouvement, et j’espère que le vent du changement continuera de souffler dans notre Organisation, et partout dans le monde.

International Mother Language Day – 21 February

Languages, with their complex implications for identity, communication, social integration, education and development, are of strategic importance for people and planet. Yet, due to globalization processes, they are increasingly under threat, or disappearing altogether. When languages fade, so does the world’s rich tapestry of cultural diversity. Opportunities, traditions, memory, unique modes of thinking and expression — valuable resources for ensuring a better future — are also lost.
More than 50 per cent of the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world are likely to die out within a few generations, and 96 per cent of these languages are spoken by a mere 4 per cent of the world’s population. Only a few hundred languages have genuinely been given pride of place in education systems and the public domain, and less than a hundred are used in the digital world.
International Mother Language Day has been observed every year since February 2000 to promote linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism.
Languages are the most powerful instruments of preserving and developing our tangible and intangible heritage. All moves to promote the dissemination of mother tongues will serve not only to encourage linguistic diversity and multilingual education but also to develop fuller awareness of linguistic and cultural traditions throughout the world and to inspire solidarity based on understanding, tolerance and dialogue.

2018 Theme: Linguistic diversity and multilingualism count for sustainable development

To foster sustainable development, learners must have access to education in their mother tongue and in other languages. It is through the mastery of the first language or mother tongue that the basic skills of reading, writing and numeracy are acquired. Local languages, especially minority and indigenous, transmit cultures, values and traditional knowledge, thus play an important role in promoting sustainable futures.
International Mother Language Day also supports target 6 of Goal 4 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): “Ensure that all youth and a substantial proportion of adults, both men and women, achieve literacy and numeracy.”
International Mother Language Day was proclaimed by the General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in November 1999 (30C/62). The date, 21 February, was selected to coincide with the Language Movement Day in Bangladesh, one of the co-sponsors of the resolution. The UN General Assembly welcomed the proclamation of the day in its resolution A/RES/56/262 of 2002.
On 16 May 2007 the United Nations General Assembly in its resolution A/RES/61/266 called upon Member States “to promote the preservation and protection of all languages used by peoples of the world”. By the same resolution, the General Assembly proclaimed 2008 as the International Year of Languages, to promote unity in diversity and international understanding, through multilingualism and multiculturalism and named the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization to serve as the lead agency for the Year.
This initiative not only increased awareness of language issues, but also mobilized partners and resources for supporting the implementation of strategies and policies in favour of language diversity and multilingualism in all parts of the world
The International Year of Languages came at a time when linguistic diversity was increasingly threatened. Language is fundamental to communication of all kinds, and it is communication that makes change and development possible in human society. Using — or not using — certain languages today can open a door, or close it, for large segments of society in many parts of the world.
Today there is growing awareness that languages play a vital role in development, in ensuring cultural diversity and intercultural dialogue, but also in strengthening co-operation and attaining quality education for all, in building inclusive knowledge societies and preserving cultural heritage, and in mobilizing political will for applying the benefits of science and technology to sustainable development.

Message du Secrétaire général de l’ONU à l’occasion de la Journée internationale de la tolérance zéro à l’égard des mutilations génitales féminines

Les mutilations génitales féminines sont une violation grave des droits fondamentaux des femmes et des filles.
Plus de 200 millions de femmes et de filles sont victimes de mutilations génitales féminines dans 30 pays répartis sur trois continents.

En l’absence d’une action concertée et rapide, ce chiffre pourrait augmenter de 68 millions d’ici à 2030.

La volonté politique a permis de remporter des succès dans plusieurs pays, mais ces progrès ne suffisent pas devant le rythme de la croissance démographique. Nous devons agir maintenant, de crainte que le nombre de cas ne continue d’augmenter.

Le développement durable ne pourra pas être atteint sans le plein respect des droits fondamentaux des femmes et des filles. L’objectif de développement durable no 5, axé sur l’égalité des sexes, appelle à l’élimination des mutilations génitales féminines d’ici à 2030.

En collaboration avec l’Union européenne, l’ONU a lancé l’initiative Spotlight, un projet pluriannuel mondial, dont le but est d’établir des partenariats solides et de coordonner l’élimination de toutes les formes de violence à l’égard des femmes et des filles, notamment des mutilations génitales féminines.

La dignité, la santé et le bien-être de millions de filles sont en jeu ; il n’y a pas de temps à perdre. Ensemble, nous pouvons et devons mettre fin à cette pratique néfaste.


Message for the International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

6 February 2018

Female genital mutilation is a gross violation of the human rights of women and girls.

Over 200 million women and girls alive today have experienced female genital mutilation in 30 countries across three continents.

Without concerted, accelerated action, a further 68 million girls could be subjected to this harmful practice by 2030.

With strong political engagement, we are seeing success in several countries. But this progress is not enough to keep up with population growth. Unless we act now, the number of cases will continue to rise.

Sustainable development cannot be achieved without full respect for the human rights of women and girls. Sustainable Development Goal 5, with a focus on gender equality, calls for the elimination of female genital mutilation by 2030.

Together with the European Union, the United Nations has launched the Spotlight Initiative, a global, multi-year undertaking that aims to create strong partnerships and align efforts to end all forms of violence against women and girls, including female genital mutilation.

With the dignity, health and well-being of millions of girls at stake, there is no time to waste. Together, we can and must end this harmful practice.

Joint Statement : A race against trends

Statement by UNFPA Executive Director, Dr. Natalia Kanem, and UNICEF Executive Director, Henrietta H. Fore on International Day of Zero Tolerance for Female Genital Mutilation

NEW YORK, 6 February 2018 – “Female genital mutilation is many things: A violent act that causes infection, disease, childbirth complications, and even death. A cruel practice that inflicts lasting emotional harm and preys on the most vulnerable, least powerful members of society – girls between infancy and age 15. A violation of human rights that both reflects and perpetuates the low status of girls and women in too many places. A drag on the well-being of communities and economies.

“Yet it is also something that can be stopped.

“Around the world, momentum to eliminate female genital mutilation is building. Political will, community engagement, and targeted investment are changing practices and changing lives.

“In countries where UNFPA and UNICEF work jointly to end female genital mutilation, girls are one third less likely to undergo this harmful practice today than they were in 1997. More than 25 million people in some 18,000 communities across 15 countries have publicly disavowed the practice since 2008. Globally, its prevalence has declined by nearly a quarter since around 2000.

“This is good for girls and young women themselves; it is also good for their families and communities. Girls who are not subjected to the practice tend to grow up to be healthier and have healthier children. They are often better educated, earn higher incomes and are more empowered to make decisions about their own lives. Communities and countries that confront the harmful practice and commit to changing it reap commensurate benefits.

“This is the good news. Yet population trends in some of the world’s poorest countries where female genital mutilation persists threaten to roll back our progress.

“By 2030, more than a third of all births worldwide will be in the 30 countries where female genital mutilation is practiced. Without accelerated progress to protect the growing number of girls at risk of this harmful practice in these countries, millions of girls could be cut by 2030.

“It is unconscionable that these girls should be added to the 200 million women and girls in the world today who have already endured female genital mutilation. Who already bear the scars, or suffer related complications, or relive harsh memories of pain and betrayal. Nobody – not the girls, their families or communities – benefits economically or socially in unequal societies where such violence against girls is accepted.

“We know how to change this. We have seen that rates of female genital mutilation can drop rapidly in places where the issue is taken on wholeheartedly – by governments, by communities, by families. Where social norms are confronted, village by village. Where medical professionals come together to oppose the practice and refuse to perform it. Where laws are enacted to make it a crime – and where those laws are enforced. Where wider access to health, education, and legal services ensure sustainable change. Where girls and women are protected and empowered to make their voices heard.

“The Sustainable Development Goals recognize that female genital mutilation undermines progress towards a more equal, just, and prosperous world. They set an ambitious target of eliminating all such harmful practices against girls and women by 2030.

“Given the rising number of girls at risk, this is a race against trends. But with increased investment and redoubled political commitment, with greater community engagement and more empowered women and girls, it is a race that can be won. And because it can, it must.

“It is high time to eliminate female genital mutilation from the face of the earth forever. It is a task for all of us, and for our common future.”


Holocaust Remembrance Day Commemorated in Yaounde, Cameroon

“I lived to see my father wake up sometimes screaming in the night out of trauma from atrocities and torture of the holocaust”.   H.E Ran Gidor; Ambassador of Israel to Cameroon and the Central African Republic,        

The 2018 Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in Cameroon on 26 January through an educational outreach event organized by UNIC Yaounde, on the theme: “Holocaust Remembrance and Education: Our Shared Responsibility”, with students of Lycee Bilingue de Nkol-Eton and English High School, Yaounde.

  1. Panel discussion on the theme

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita emphasized that youths are a privileged segment ,because they are the most exposed to discriminatory ideas on the internet and the social media. “Increasing students’ awareness of the power of technology and the use that can be made of it is another way of addressing contemporary problems of human rights violations… given the profound changes in technology in recent years…

His Excellency Ran Gidor; Ambassador of Israel to Cameroon and the Central African Republic, reiterated everyone’s commitment in advocating for peace, as he narrated the story of his father who experienced the war at the age of 10 and who till date still have scars of the Holocaust. He pointed out that genocide generally stems from hate, differentiation and racism either against religion, race, culture, looks, social status, and further encouraged youths to denounce such vices and called for tolerance.  He emphasized “I lived to see my father wake up sometimes screaming in the night out of trauma from atrocities and torture of the holocaust

2. Film screening the « Children of the Holocaust »,

Participants watched the UNSG’s video message for the 2018 observance, followed by the screening of the movie titled: “Children of the Holocaust”, a 51-minute British film which combines animation and interviews with the elderly survivors who recount their childhood experiences of Nazi atrocities, their escape from occupied mainland Europe to Britain and the impact that this had on their lives.

3. Poster Exhibition on the «Butterfly project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust»

There was also the exhibition of set of 14 posters (in English and French) on the “Butterfly project: Remembering the Children of the Holocaust”. The exhibition outlines the impact of the Holocaust on children, and showcases an educational initiative called The Butterfly Project, to teach this history to young people, encourage them to remember the 1.5 million children who perished and to stand up against hatred and prejudice.

Commemorating International Migrants Day in Cameroon

Statistics from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) indicate that 1700 Cameroon migrants are concerned by the merchandising of black Africans in the Maghreb countries. Moreover, despite the growing hostility, illegality and insecurity encountered by migrants, global statistics reveal that 258 million migrants roam the world in search of better living conditions. This was disclosed during the official ceremony co-organised to mark the 2017 International Migrants Day on 18 December 2017, at MINREX by the UN System on the theme; “Cross-border migration: Stakes and challenges for Cameroon”. In attendance was Mrs. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon.

Mr. Boubacar Seybou; Head of Mission of IOM Cameroon harped on the role of the international community to show solidarity as he emphasised that “Migrants are victims of human trafficking, separated from their families and maltreated. You are a migrant, I am a migrant, we are migrants, together let us take action for migrants wherever and whoever they are, making it a beneficial opportunity for migrants and the countries that welcome them so that they may live well even beyond their borders”.

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the storyline and projected the documentary “Wallah Je te jure”, a 24 mins film produced by the IOM. This tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy, Senegal’s rural villages, Niger’s bus stations and “ghettos” full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses will be backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, “Wallah”. But there are those who tired from the journey, turn back home.

Wallah – je te jure (short 23 min English)

Wallah – je te jure (short 23 min French)

Mr. Abou Omar; Director of cooperation with the Islamic world at Ministry of External Relations reiterated government’s commitment in creating a conduisive economic, social and cultural relationships with other countries for a better protection of their citizens who migrate, he cited an example; the Franco-Cameroon convention for social security.

Conference Debate on “Cross-border migration: Stakes and challenges for Cameroon”

Moderated by Mr Yves Tsala of the NGO “Solutions aux migrations clandestine (SMIC)”, the panel discussion had as panelists;

  1. Boubacar Seybou of IOM who focused on “Migration management”,
  2. Mrs Njikam Sanatou (MINREX) dwelt on “Refugess and migration issues”,
  3. Mr Landry Hubert Mbozo’o (National Social Insurance Fund) stressed on “Migration and Social Security”.

The three panelists disclosed that migration in itself was not a bad thing, but illegal migration is. They advised any individual embarking on a journey to obtain the legal documents and avoid the risks and dangers involved in illegal migration. They also insisted on the assistance of the government and its partners such as IOM, to returnees from this dangerous adventure across the Sahara desert (some were present in the hall).

Discussions continued with rich exchanges between panelists and participants, with questions such as;

  • What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant?
  • Does the IOM organize conferences to sensitize migrants on migration and the economic situations of countries they wish to migrate to?
  • How does the government protect her citizens in the other countries? Is there a system which keeps her updated with exact number of migrants in the world?

Dr. Boubacar Seybou insisted that, migrants must not take boats to migrate, it is necessary to migrate in a legal way and this way should not be reserved only to elites but to everyone.

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits comprised of; UNSG’s message on the migrants day (French and English), the storyline of the movie “Wallah je te jure”, and the Africa Renewal edition of December 2016 – March 2017 with a special on “Migrants risk all for better lives”. This kit with specific statistics for Africa was distributed to all participants.


United Nations Celebrate Mandela’s Life and Legacy in Yaounde

At a moment when Cameroon is going through difficult security issues and social unrest, when the English speaking regions are manifesting their grievances of marginalization by the Central Government in Yaounde since November 2016, Mandela’s example of leadership was preached as a model of compromise, negotiation and reconciliation for an all-inclusive society. This message of hope was echoed during an outreach event organized by UNIC Yaounde at the National Centre for the Rehabilitation of Persons with Disabilities, at the Etoug-Ebe neighborhood in Yaounde. This Centre admits persons with different degrees of disabilities, most of them cases of emergency. This event comprised:

  • Guided visit to patients of the Centre
  • Panel discussion on The Mandela day themes
  • Screening the movie; “INVICTUS”

Guided visit to patients of the Centre


To demonstrate Mandela’s love and service to humanity, UN staff and invitees, in 67 minutes paid a guided visit to 67 patients and persons with disabilities admitted in respective wards (Pavillon) of the Centre. During this visit, the patients received words of comfort, hugs and symbolic gifts from the Mandela change-makers. These gifts were composed of detergents, cubes of soap and toothpastes.

Panel discussion on the Mandela day themes

Mrs Grace Formuluh; Director General of the National Centre welcomed participants, lauded the UN for choosing the institution to celebrate Mandela’s legacy, as their daily actions reflect the Mandela philosophy of selfless service to humanity. She narrated the several material challenges of the Centre she heads, and appealed for more support from people of goodwill.

This was immediately followed by a panel discussion moderated by Jean Njita.

Mrs Bih Suzanne Awenti, National Pedagogic Inspector of History and Citizenship Education at the Ministry of Secondary Education (MINESEC), who dwelt on the global theme of “Take action and Inspire change”.  She narrated Mandela’s iography, situating his lifestyle as that of a selfless man who sacrificed all forms of comfort for the wellbeing of his fellow South Africans. She traced Mandela’s life from birth through his actions within the African National Congress party (ANC), life in prison, and rise to power as President of South Africa. She emphasized that Mandela’s stewardship as President was that of reconciliation, and the building of an inclusive, free, just, and prosperous rainbow South Africa for all; Afrikaners, Africans, etc. This was manifested through the Truth and Reconciliation Commission put in place by Mandela to heal the wounds of the apartheid era in South Africa, she added.

Dr Victor Manyim, Director of International Leadership University (ILU) centred his presentation on the 2017 theme: “action against poverty”. After a scholarly definition of poverty, he stated that poverty is understood in this context as a situation where “one who lacks income and cannot provide for his/her material needs”. He further added that poverty is increasing because root causes which are cultural and spiritual have so far not been sufficiently addressed. The University don in distinguishing between material and spiritual poverty, stated that spiritual wealth is the act of being rich (dignity) even though being materially poor, while spiritual poverty is the act of being poor (humble), even when one is materially rich. He called on the society to adopt an inclusive attitude, to reflect Mandela’s legacy in our daily life. For “it is only when the materially rich show humility and cater for the needs of the materially but dignified poor that we can bridge the gap and effectively fight poverty in our society

These exchanges were interspersed by sketches played by secondary school students, in which the achievements of Mandela were re-echoed. (see link: There was also a display of some sustainable items produced by students of Mario Secondary School to fight against poverty.

 Screening the movie; “INVICTUS”

During the same event, participants watched the movie; “INVICTUS“, which portrays how, Mandela used Sports (Rugby) to show strong leadership, and reconcile South Africans around an ideal of success, and brought about national Unity.

Sensitization workshop for Journalists on the electoral code on the occasion of World Press Freedom Day 2017

UNIC Yaounde in partnership with the United Nations Centre for Human Rights and Democracy in Central Africa and UNESCO organized a series of activities at the Hotel Inn Resort in the coastal city of Limbe, South West Region of Cameroon to mark World Press Freedom Day 20017 in Cameroon from the 3 to 5 May 2017. The crux of the observance was the sensitization workshop for over 35 media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code and their role in promoting informed participation in electoral processes, ahead of elections in 2018 in Cameroon.

  •  Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know,
  • Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom
  • Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

 Day 1: Wednesday, 03 May 2017

Round table conference on: 2017 WPFD theme, Freedom of Information, the right to know

Moderated by Tarhyang Tabe, Publisher of “The Advocate” Newspaper, the round table began with the reading of the UN messages on the occasion of the 2017 WPF Day. UNIC’s Jean Njita read the message of the UN Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, who called for an end to all crackdowns against journalists – because a free press advances peace and justice for all.” UNESCO’ Cletus Ojong (Communications) read the message of Mrs Irina Bokova (UNESCO’s Director General), while the Director of UN Centre for Human Rights Mr Ahowanou Agbessi read the message of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights. This set the pace for the round table.

UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the 2017 WPFD theme; “Critical Minds for Critical Times: Media’s role in advancing peaceful, just and inclusive societies”, highlighting the fact that living in such a critical time for journalists and press freedom, critical times require critical minds to better know what we read, listen and watch. Mr Njita emphasized media’s contribution to good governance and development as recognized in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development; which outlines the importance of public access to information and fundamental freedoms under SDG 16; Promote peaceful and inclusive societies for sustainable development, provide access to justice for all and build effective, accountable and inclusive institutions at all levels. Citing the 2016 UN Report on the Safety of Journalists and the Danger of Impunity, he stressed that the current state of safety of journalists worldwide is discouraging, as over the course of the last decade 827 journalists and media workers have been killed.

Mr. Franklin Fonyuy Kiven, Communications Officer at the UN Human Rights Centre talking on “Freedom of Information, the right to know”, stated that Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights identifies freedom of expression as a fundamental right. He further quotes The World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) Declaration of Principles adopted in 2003, which affirms that “everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; that this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers. Communication is a fundamental social process, a basic human need and the foundation of all social organisation”.

Panel Discussion on “How to overcome challenges to media freedom

Panelists included CTRV’s Comfort Musa, UNIC’s Jean Njita, Adolf Mongo Dipoko (seasoned journalist), Kwi Bangsi and Tarhyang Tabe (The Advocate Newspaper), with debates moderated by Franklin Fonyuy. These panelists identified Inadequate funding, Access to Information; Charlatanism; Poor payment of staff, weak Professional associations, etc…as some of several challenges crippling the media landscape in Cameroon.

The media law no.90/052 of December 19, 1990 on Mass Communication in its Section 46(1) states: “A person shall be deemed to be a journalist where, on the basis of his intellectual faculties, his training and talents, he is recognized as being fit to carry out research and process information intended for mass communication.” This Cameroonian definition of a journalist has paved the way for quacks to infest the profession, casting lots of doubts on ‘who is who’ in the profession. Some of them don’t know the ABC of journalism, and often commit all kinds of professional errors. Though the law on Freedom on Mass Communication gives Journalists the right to access information, Cameroon journalists have lots of difficulties to get sensitive information giving room for speculations and falsehood in some reports. The proliferation of Professional Associations further weakens the sector, with the lack of a credible interlocutor for all journalists.

At the end, and as a way forward to overcoming the challenges, participants and panelists recommended the urgent need for a clear entry requirement for all journalists as in other professional bodies; merger of association for journalists, strengthened and oriented towards professional needs, training on new media, media security, thematic reporting; (peace, cultural, documentaries, etc) , as well as taking advantage of electronic information dissemination through blogs, online publication, whatsapp, facebook etc…

Day II: Thursday 04 May 2017

Sensitization workshop for media professionals in Cameroon on the electoral code

In 2018, Cameroon is expected to hold major elections; municipal, parliamentary, senatorial, and presidential, making it an important electoral year in the history of the country. The Elections Management Body; ELECAM has intensified efforts towards raising awareness of Cameroonians on their civic responsibility, particularly the need to enroll in the electoral registers, and also participate actively in the voting process. That notwithstanding, there is need for more targeted measures to ensure that these efforts produce an impact on the ground.

It is against this backdrop that UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and UN Centre for Human Rights embarked on this sensitization workshop to strengthen the knowledge of media professionals on the electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in Cameroon in a bid to enable them play an informed role in educating and sensitizing rights holders on their participation in electoral processes. Participants were introduced to the Cameroon Electoral code mostly an overview of the general provisions and provisions specific to the Elections Management Body. They were divided into commissions to work on specific sub-themes, which ended up with restitution and sharing of facts with others.

These subthemes included;

  1. General provisions related to the Elections Management Body
  2. Provisions relating to the election of President of the Republic and Vacancy
  3. Election of members of Parliament
  4. Election of municipal councilors

At the end of the work in commissions, participants enthusiastically shared /restituted their understanding of some sticky issues related to electoral code, to the happiness of all.


It is of vital importance for media practitioners to get acquainted with the Cameroon electoral code and other texts, policies and regulations governing the electoral process in preparation to the 2018 upcoming presidential elections in Cameroon. Taking into consideration the fact that the fundamental role of journalists, as one of the key players in the election is to promote transparency, inclusive and peaceful elections, journalists are therefore called to do proper findings of information backed with fact before any publication, be it audiovisual or script writing. In so doing, the media will regain its credibility in the country and will be treated with care and respect.

Fallen peacekeeper from Cameroon to be honoured at ceremony at UN Headquarters –

Photo published for L'efficacité des opérations de maintien de la paix requiert des moyens adéquats et un soutien...22 May 2017:  The United Nation Headquarters will observe the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers on Wednesday, 24 May.  Secretary-General Antonio Guterres will lay a wreath to honour all fallen peacekeepers and will preside over a ceremony at which the Dag Hammarskjöld Medal will be awarded posthumously to 117 military, police and civilian personnel who lost their lives while serving in peacekeeping operations during 2016.

One fallen peacekeeper from Cameroon is among the 117 who will posthumously receive the Dag Hammarskjöld medal – Maitre Gustave Mbot who lost his life while serving with the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA).

In a video message to mark the Day, the Secretary-General said:  “Every day, peacekeepers help bring peace and stability to war-torn societies around the world.  On the International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers, we pay tribute to the more than 3,500 peacekeepers who have given their lives in the service of peace since 1948.”

He further said: “Their sacrifice only strengthens our commitment to ensuring that United Nations peacekeepers continue protecting civilians in harm’s way, promoting human rights and the rule of law, removing landmines, advancing negotiations and securing a better future in the places they are deployed.  Now, more than ever, it is essential that we continue investing in peace around the world.”

Jean-Pierre Lacroix, Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations, said: “We pay our greatest respects to the committed and courageous peacekeepers who are no longer with us today. I offer my deepest and most sincere condolences to the families of those we honour and to the bereaved. It’s critical that we continue to invest in peace and make every effort to carry forward their noble work, and that we continue to pursue reform efforts to make United Nations peacekeeping more efficient and effective. That is the best way we can honour the memories and sacrifices of our fallen peacekeepers.”

“United Nations peacekeeping is an investment in global peace, security, and prosperity and remains the most reliable and used tool by the international community to help countries torn by conflict create conditions for lasting peace. We are continuing to work hard to ensure that UN peacekeeping is fit for purpose, performance-driven and cost-efficient. These efforts coupled with the implementation of the Secretary-General’s reform of our peace and security architecture enables us to deploy uniformed and civilian peacekeepers in difficult and challenging environments around the world in an efficient and an effective manner,” said Under-Secretary-General for Field Support, Atul Khare.

Today, more than 96,000 uniformed personnel from 124 troop-and-police-contributing countries serve under the blue flag, alongside more than 15,000 international and national civilian staff and nearly 1,600 United Nations Volunteers.

The International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers was established by the General Assembly in 2002, to pay tribute to all men and women serving in peacekeeping, and to honour the memory of those who have lost their lives in the cause of peace.  The Assembly designated 29 May as the Day because it was the date in 1948 when the United Nations Truce Supervision Organization (UNTSO), the world body’s first peacekeeping mission, began operations in Palestine.

While the Day will be marked in New York on the 24th, UN Peacekeeping operations and UN offices around the world will commemorate the Day on or around the 29th.