Category Archives: UN Observance

The Secretary – General’s message on Africa Day

In March this year, Africa’s leaders launched the African Continental Free Trade Area.  Representing one of the largest markets in the world, with 1.2 billion consumers, the Free Trade Area can boost regional integration, drive economic growth, generate jobs for young Africans, alleviate poverty and lead to more stable and peaceful societies.

This is just the latest example of achievement under the umbrella of the African Union – formerly the Organisation of African Unity – which marks its 55th anniversary this year.  Across Africa, entrepreneurship is up, access to education has increased and child mortality has declined.  More women are serving in parliaments, and economic growth in several countries is greater than in other parts of the world.

Africa is increasingly driving its own future.  The guiding vision for Africa’s development is the African Union’s Agenda 2063.  Fully complementary to the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, Agenda 2063 provides a foundation for resilience and social and economic progress for the entire continent.  The United Nations is fully committed to supporting Africa’s efforts.  To that end, the two organizations have in the past year signed frameworks on peace and security and on the coherent implementation of Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda.

Peace and sustainable development are two sides of the same coin – one cannot be achieved without the other.  To promote peace, the United Nations will continue to support prevention.  We must collectively strengthen our ability to detect and defuse crises before they escalate and sharpen our tools for addressing their causes.  The United Nations will also work to support the African Union’s commitment to “Silence the Guns” by 2020 and promote the indispensable role of women and youth in conflict prevention and peace building.

On this Africa Day, I urge all nations to support a peaceful, prosperous Africa.  What is good for Africa is good for the world.

Colloquium on the 2018 World Press Freedom Day in Cameroon

“..the emergence of online media is advantageous but constitutes a danger when ethical norms are neglected…with the internet, anyone can become a journalist because it is open to all, with little or no control” was echoed by Mr. Ngankak Kizito, Director of Private Media Development at the Ministry of Communication (MINCOM), representing his Minister at the 2018 World Press Freedom Day commemorated in Cameroon through a colloquium organized by UNESCO, UNIC Yaounde and the Advanced school of Mass Communication (ASMAC) Yaounde. Event which held on “Keeping Power in Check: Media, Justice And The Rule Law” took place at ASMAC on 3 May 2018.

During the opening ceremony, Mr. Mputu Hilaire read the message of the Director General of UNESCO, followed by a video projection of the UNSG’s message by UNIC. In the message, Mr. Guterres called on “…governments to strengthen press freedom, and to protect journalist”.

 

The crux of the observance was the panel talk with the over 200 Journalism students and media professionals on the following sub-themes:

  • ·Press freedom, access to information and elections·
  • A judicial system in favor of free and assured journalism;·
  • Freedom of expression online: improve self-regulation.

UNIC’s NIO Jean Njita emphasized that the commemoration fell within the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, mostly Goal 16:  whereby “people everywhere need to be free of fear from all forms of violence and feel safe as they go about their lives whatever their ethnicity, faith or sexual orientation”. Mr Njita further stated that the 2018 WPFD will offer a renewed opportunity to address critical issues affecting online press freedom and further promote SDG16 (target16.10) on public access to information and protection of fundamental freedoms.

The Director of the Advanced School of Mass Communication (ASMAC) Yaounde; Professor Laurent-Charles Boyomo Assala harped that journalist are first to understand and follow the ethical deontology of the profession and that for press freedom to be effective, a clear sociological distinction must be made between a person of the press (professional) and the individual. To him, press freedom applies only to those with a professional qualification as journalist and not the individual. Professor Boyomo thus called on journalists to be conscious of their ethical limits, as defined by the law, when reporting, for information must be treated within the social norms of the profession without distorting facts.

Professor Claude-Bernard Assira, Senior Lecturer at the Catholic University of Central Africa disclosed that; a journalist is anyone who, based on his intellectual abilities, trained or untrained can collect and treat information destined for social communication, according to article 46 of the 1990 freedom law in Cameroon. To him, this law gives room for just anyone to get into the profession, as he further state that there is no press freedom in Cameroon, pointing out some cases of journalist who were wrongly prosecuted. He alarmed at the fact that “the judiciary system in Cameroon has been politicized, government authorities who in most cases are the complainant, use their positions in power to influence judges to pass judgment in their favor”. He thus called for an amendment of the laws, with new code of ethics elaborated and adopted for the journalism profession, as he once more reiterated the need for genuine freedom and security of journalist, as well as calling for a responsible journalism to avoid judicial issues.

Dr Baba Wame; a Cyber Journalist and lecturer in ASMAC reiterated that the internet has little or no control over contents published by individuals. He added that online information is mostly produced by the authors themselves which may not necessarily be credible. Dr Baba Wame said the unreliable and unsecured publication of social media content led to 3 historical events in the month of April 2018 amongst which was the summon of Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerburg by the American Senate for his failure to protect users’ data. He thus added that only a proper application of internet self-regulatory measures can give credibility and security to social media content and users, this by setting up of online ethical codes by social media communities.

During the question and answer session, questions asked with satisfactory answers from panelists included:

  •  It is possible for a journalist to faithfully carry out his professional duties given our political and economic context?
  •  Can we talk of press freedom in a profession where anyone can get into without training?
  •  Will the issue of auto regulation not hinder press freedom online?

High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace, 24 – 25 April 2018

The President of the 72nd Session of the United Nations General Assembly, H.E. Mr. Miroslav Lajčák identified peacebuilding and sustaining peace as a key priority. Therefore he will convene a High-Level Meeting on Peacebuilding and Sustaining Peace on 24 and 25 April 2018 to assess efforts undertaken and opportunities to strengthen the United Nations’ work on peacebuilding and sustaining peace.

2018 Remember Slavery Commemorated in Yaounde

The 2018 International Day in Memory of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade was commemorated in Cameroon on 26 March through an event organized by UNIC Yaounde, UNESCO and the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy on“Remember Slavery: Triumphs and Struggles for Freedom and Equality”, at the National Museum in Yaounde. Key highlights of the event included;

  1. Panel Discussion

This talk harped on the genesis, context, struggles for freedom/equality and human right violations during slavery era. The main objective was to exchange information on Slavery and UN’s actions and conventions to completely eradicate discrimination, prejudice and racism today with mostly History students from Secondary schools and Universities in Yaounde, the NGO; ‘Pan-African Youth network for a Culture of Peace’ working on Bimbia Slavery cultural heritage site and Human Rights.

Mr. Christian NDOMBI; Cultural Affairs Officer at UNESCO pointed that the history of slavery and Transatlantic slave trade is that of silence, by the perpetrators of the act and the victims, due to shame. He added that UNESCO launched the “slave route” Project in 1980 to break the silence, with in-depth studies undertaken on the practice of slavery, to let the world know the ills of the transatlantic slave trade in a bid to wipe out modern forms of slavery. Mr Ndombi further emphasized that youths are targeted to let them know and remember what transpired during the slave trade not for revenge but for quality education so as to prevent a recurrence of such heinous and inhumane acts.

UNICs Jean NJITA said the United Nations is committed to help young people learn from the history of slavery and transatlantic slave trade in order to help fight racism and prejudice, for countless stories of enslaved children, women and men (such as the recent story of black migrants sold as slaves in Libya) still remains untold. “On this Day, the United Nations urges us to reflect on the inhumane and humane capacity that lies within us” he added, further calling on all to take the commitments spelt out in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Charter of the United Nations as a guide for the present and the future so that a more just and equitable world can be bequeathed to future generations.

Mrs. Dorothée Onguene; National Programme Officer at the UN Centre for Human Rights and Democracy presented a synopsis of the different UN Conventions such as the one on slavery adopted in 1926, the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights which stipulates that no one is to be enslaved or held in servitude. She reiterated that slavery has not completely disappeared, as it is still being practiced through force child labour; forced use of arms by children; sexual exploitation of girls and pornography; with girls being forced to work to settle parents’ debt, domestic slavery. Mrs Onguene stressed that the UN has appointed a special rapporteur on slavery, to report regularly on issues related to slavery and bring help to victims.

Professor Raymond Asombang; Director of the National Museum lauded UN’s continued strives to completely eradicate Slavery. As a way to support this UN initiative, the national museum has also setup an exhibition stand on slavery and the transatlantic slave trade to showcase what really happened during the transatlantic slave trade, with light thrown on the phenomenon in Cameroon such as Bimbia, Bangou and Bapa slave markets.

During the question and answer session, questions asked with satisfactory answers from panelists included:

  • What is the real contribution of the UN towards eradicating aspects of slavery that still exist in Cameroon?
  • What were the sanctions taken by the UN in relation to what happened in Libya?
  • What has African states or Individuals done to eradicate this practice?
  • Does the commemoration of slavery and transatlantic slave trade not instead open up old wounds?

UNIC Yaounde provided information kits to the over 105 participants at the event containing: the UNSG’s message, brief presentation of slavery and slave trade, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, notebooks, storyline of the movie, etc… UNIC equally mobilized journalist to cover the event such as Ariane TV, Cameron Radio and Television, The Post Newspaper, Cameroon Tribune, Canal2 Television, Camer.be.

2. Poster Exhibition on the «A Legacy of Black Achievers»

Participants were led on a guided tour of the 25 posters exhibited at the entrance of the National museum in both English and French on the theme “A Legacy of Black Achievers”. UNIC’s Jean Njita presented a summary of the exhibition before delving into a poster by poster presentation, highlighting the achievements of each of the 23 notable personalities, and called on participants to emulate these models by working hard and excelling in their education, for they could achieve these things, then they also can.

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.

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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.”
Background
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.

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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.”

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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,                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8JmXuhFzZII&feature=youtu.be

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.