Category Archives: UN Observance

Secretary-General’s remarks on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

[Watch the video on webtv.un.org]

I am very pleased to be with you to discuss this essential topic.
Violence against women and girls is a global pandemic. It is a moral affront to all women and girls and to us all, a mark of shame on all our societies, and a major obstacle to inclusive, equitable and sustainable development.
At its core, violence against women and girls in all its forms is the manifestation of a profound lack of respect – a failure by men to recognize the inherent equality and dignity of women.
It is an issue of fundamental human rights. The violence can take many forms – from domestic violence to trafficking, from sexual violence in conflict to child marriage, genital mutilation and femicide. It is an issue that harms the individual but also has far-reaching consequences for families and for society.
Violence experienced as a child is linked to vulnerability and violence later in life. Other consequences include long-term physical and mental health impacts and costs to individuals and society in services and lost employment days.
This is also a deeply political issue. Violence against women is tied to broader issues of power and control in our societies. We live in a male-dominated world. Women are made vulnerable to violence through the multiple ways in which we keep them unequal.
When family laws which govern inheritance, custody and divorce discriminate against women, or when societies narrow women’s access to financial resources and credit, they impede a woman’s ability to leave abusive situations.
When institutions fail to believe victims, allow impunity, or neglect to put in place policies of protection, they send a strong signal that condones and enables violence. In the past year we have seen growing attention to one manifestation of this violence.
Sexual harassment is experienced by almost all women at some point in their lives.
No space is immune.
It is rampant across institutions, private and public, including our very own. This is by no means a new issue, but the increasing public disclosure by women from all regions and all walks of life is bringing the magnitude of the problem to light. This effort to uncover society’s shame is also showing the galvanizing power of women’s movements to drive the action and awareness needed to eliminate harassment and violence everywhere.
This year, the global United Nations UNiTE campaign to end violence against women and girls is highlighting our support for survivors and advocates under the theme ‘Orange the World: #HearMeToo’.
With orange as the unifying colour of solidarity, the #HearMeToo hashtag is designed to send a clear message: violence against women and girls must end now, and we all have a role to play. We need to do more to support victims and hold perpetrators accountable.
But, beyond that, it is imperative that we – as societies — undertake the challenging work of transforming the structures and cultures that allow sexual harassment and other forms of gender-based violence to happen in the first place.
These include addressing the gender imbalances within our own institutions. This is why we have adopted a UN system-wide gender parity strategy. We have achieved parity in the senior management group and we are well on track to reach gender parity in senior leadership by 2021, and across the board by 2028.
The UN has also reaffirmed its zero-tolerance policy for sexual harassment and assault committed by staff and UN partners. We have recruited specialized investigators on sexual harassment, instituted fast-track procedures for addressing complaints and initiated a 24/7 helpline for victims.
I also remain committed to ending all forms of sexual exploitation and abuse by peacekeepers and UN staff in the field – one of the first initiatives I took when I assumed office.
Nearly 100 Member States that support UN operations on the ground have now signed voluntary compacts with us to tackle the issue, and I call on others to join them, fully assuming their responsibilities, in training, but also in ending impunity.
Further afield, we are continuing to invest in life-changing initiatives for millions of women and girls worldwide through the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. This Fund focuses on preventing violence, implementing laws and policies and improving access to vital services for survivors.
With more than 460 programmes in 139 countries and territories over the past two decades, the UN Trust Fund is making a difference. In particular, it is investing in women’s civil society organizations, one of the most important and effective investments we can make.
The UN is also working to deliver on a comprehensive, multi-stakeholder, innovative initiative to end all forms of violence against women and girls by 2030, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.

The 500-million-euro EU-UN Spotlight Initiative is an important step forward in this direction. As the largest-ever single investment in eradicating violence against women and girls worldwide, this initial contribution will address the rights and needs of women and girls across 25 countries and five regions.

It will empower survivors and advocates to share their stories and become agents of change in their homes, communities and countries. A significant portion of the Spotlight’s initial investment will also go to civil society actors, including those that are reaching people often neglected by traditional aid efforts.
But even though this initial investment is significant, it is small given the scale of the need.
It should be seen as seed funding for a global movement in which we must play a role.
It is that global movement that we celebrate today, as we look forward to the coming 16 days devoted to ending gender-based violence. Not until the half of our population represented by women and girls can live free of fear, violence and everyday insecurity, can we truly say we live in a fair and equal world.

Thank you very much.

16 days of activism 2018

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women’s Global Leadership in 1991.

Orange the World: #HearMeToo, end violence against women and girls

For far too long, impunity, silence and stigma have allowed violence against women to escalate to pandemic proportions—one in three women worldwide experience gender-based violence.

The time for change is here and now.

In recent years, the voices of survivors and activists, through campaigns such as #MeToo, #TimesUp, #Niunamenos, #NotOneMore, #BalanceTonPorc and others, have reached a crescendo that cannot be silenced any more. Advocates understand that while the names and contexts may differ across geographic locations, women and girls everywhere are experiencing extensive abuse and their stories need to be brought to light.

This is why the UNiTE Campaign’s global advocacy theme this year is: Orange the World: #HearMeToo

Under the theme Orange the World: #HearMeToo, the UNiTE partners are encouraged to host events with local, national, regional and global women’s movements, survivor advocates and women human rights defenders and create opportunities for dialogue between activists, policy-makers and the public. As in previous years, the colour orange will be a key theme unifying all activities, with buildings and landmarks lit and decorated in orange to bring global attention to the initiative.

Join us! Share your photos, messages and videos showing how you are participating in the campaign at facebook.com/SayNO.UNiTE and twitter.com/SayNO_UNiTE using #orangetheworld and #HearMeToo. For more information about Orange the World: #HearMeToo, see this year’s Concept Note.

Save the date for the UN official commemoration of the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women.

Campagne : Mobilisez-vous #EnBleuPourChaqueEnfant

A l’occasion de la Journée Internationale de l’Enfant le 20 novembre l’UNICEF a lancé une campagne sur les réseaux sociaux. L’UNICEF Cameroun  nous invite à signer la pétition en ligne en faveur des droits de l’enfant.

On the occasion of the World Children Day on November 20th, UNICEF launched a campaign on social networks. UNICEF Cameroon invites us to sign the online petition in favor of Child Rights .

Ci-dessous le lien / Please use the link below:

https://www.unicef.org/fr/journee-mondiale-enfance

Commemorating the International Day of Peace in Cameroon

The 2018 International day of peace was commemorated in Cameroon on 21 September, through an educational outreach event organized by UNIC Yaoundé, on the theme; “The Right to peace- The Universal Declaration of Human Rights at 70”with students of the Protestant University of Central Africa (PUCA) on SDG 16: promoting just, peaceful and inclusive societies.

 Reverend Professor Mbima Bouba, Rector of the Protestant University of Central Africa welcome the UN Resident Coordinator and participants to the commemoration.

Prof. Celestin Tagou; Dean of the Faculty of Social Science and International Relations briefly presented his faculty and the work being done to make peace studies deeply rooted in the Cameroonian curricula.

Mrs. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator harped on the role of youths to engage in peace and be promoters of peace everywhere they find themselves. Quoting UNSG Antonio Guterres, she stated that “there is no peace without security, and no development without peace”.

She further drew the attention of participants to these questions;

Ø  What will you do next time you receive a message of war on your phone, Facebook or WhatsApp?

Ø  What will you do if you find yourself in a debate or a peaceful discussion about who is right or wrong?

“You can speak out, you can use an opportunity to bring peace. We should be peace seekers and peace makers, never to abandon this journey” Mrs. Baiocchi added.

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the 2018 theme of the International day of peace, enlightening participants on the relevance of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights today as it was when it was adopted in 1948. UNSG video message was also projected.

Workshop with students on SDG 16: Promote Just, Peaceful and Inclusive Societies

The official ceremony was immediately followed by presentations on the components of SDG16: Peace, Justice and Effective Institutions;

Ø  Dr. William Arrey; Peace and Development (PUCA) on Peaceful Resolution of Crisis

Ø  Mrs. Dorothée Onguene; (UNCHRD) on “Right to Peace and Access to Justice for All

Ø  Mr. Zephirin Emini; (UNDP) on Building Effective Institutions

Respective presenters harped on the fact that a new paradigm to peace is needed, as it cannot always stand for the absence of war. If structural and cultural factors that cause violence are not controlled, then peace remains threatened. They advised that in seeking for peaceful resolutions, be in the families, communities or societies, dialogue and peaceful reconciliation remain the best options.

Mrs. Aya Bach facilitated the brainstorming session whereby students were divided into three working groups. After the deep reflections and exchanges in the sessions, students exposed their peace plans and took commitments for the peaceful resolution of Crisis and conflicts in their community.

Dr. William Arrey insisted that violence can never settle any dispute, thus the necessity to speak out and work for peace.

UNIC Yaoundé provided information kits comprised of; UNSG’s message on International Peace Day, UNGA resolutions 36/67 and 55/282 on International Year of Peace and International Day of Peace and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights to the over 115 persons in attendance.

2018 International Youth Day celebrations in Cameroon

The 2018 International Youth Day celebrated the contribution of #SafeSpaces4Youth to youth engagement and empowerment at the National Museum, with emphasis on citizen commitment of youths for peace and development. Ceremony brought together youth organizations, government, international partners.

Mrs Yvonne Matuturu, representing UNESCO called on civil society stakeholders, policymakers and entrepreneurs to imagine new forms of collaboration that are able to harness the vast potential of youth. she further stated that youths need a quality and conducive environment to  be able to express their citizenship

UN Resident Coordinator; Allegra Baiocchi emphasised the commitment of UN agencies to accompany the government in placing youths at the heart of development in Cameroon.

Minister Mounouna Foutsou of Youth Affairs and Civic Education called on youths to register with the national youth observatory to obtain the youth biometric card which will give them access to services for socioeconomic insertion. Suffice to add that youths represent more than 30% of the Cameroonian population.

United Nations hails Nelson Mandela in Cameroon

“Human dignity is an important aspect to focus on in our society today, irrespective of our status, race, class, religion …it is indeed the bases for Human Rights as Mandela teaches us”, was echoed by Professor Fru Forbuzshi Angwafo III; Director General of the Yaounde Gynaeco-Obstetric and Pediatric Hospital (HGOY) as he paid tribute to President Mandela. He made this statement as he welcomed participants at the UNIC Yaounde organized event to commemorate the 2018 Nelson Mandela International Day in Cameroon on the theme: “Take action and Inspire change” on Wednesday 18 July 2018.

The event kickstarted with a guided compassionate visit to some 67 patients of the hospital, to express Mandela’s love, compassion to human plight and worries. Participants shared words of encouragement, love with hugs and message of hope with patients.

Next was a conference talk on “Take action and Inspire change”, to exchange of information on Mandela’s legacy in reconciliation, unity, human rights, education, health and charity with the over 100 participants drawn from all works of life.

UNIC’s Jean Njita highlighted that Mandela day is a global call to action for citizens of the world to take up the challenge and follow in the footsteps of Mandela; a man who transformed his life, served his country and freed his people. “The question we should ask ourselves is what we are doing to make everyday a Mandela Day” he asked. He further urged participants to make each day a Mandela day, become Mandela day change makers by doing things that affect positive change everyday.

Mrs. Suzanne Awenti, Pedagogic Inspector for History and Citizenship at the Ministry of Secondary Education, thrusted that Mandela’s greatest driving force was his inspiration to take action and inspire change. To her, a great source of Madiba’s inspiration for change could be spelt out into four commandments drawn from biblical gospel of Mathew 22:37-40; Love God with all your heart and mind, love your neighbor as yourself, know thyself, know thy origination. She pined that to effect change as Nelson Mandela did, we must identify our area of strength, leadership action preferences, dream a new future, drive change, develop capacity, design strategy, desire for change.

Participants expressed their love and respect for Nelson Mandela through a series of passionate contributions. The video message of Nelson Mandela was projected, in which he called on the world to devote 67 minutes of time to helping other every Mandela Day.

UNSG Message: This was followed by the screening of the Video Message UN Secretary General on the 2018 Mandela day commemoration. Mr. Guterres urged the world to emulate the great servant leader Mandela

Invictus: Participants watched Nelson Mandala’s biopic “Invictus”; “INVICTUS“, a movie which portrays how Mandela used Sports (Rugby) to show strong leadership, and to reconcile South Africans around an ideal of success and Unite his people.

Guided visit to patients at the HGOPY:  https://youtu.be/4EuSc-39zWY

UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presents the Mandela International Day: https://youtu.be/VSMw1chHo_M

2018 World Refugee Day commemorated in Cameroon

The 2018 commemoration of the World Refugee Day in Cameroon took place at a time when the dire crisis in the Central African Republic continues to trigger massive forced displacement, increasing pressure on resources and living conditions in Eastern region of Cameroon. According to OCHA, CAR remains the country with the highest humanitarian needs per capita, with 50 per cent of the population having to rely on humanitarian assistance to survive, while 25 per cent is displaced either internally or in a neighbouring country.

Northern Nigeria’s conflict with Boko Haram spilled over to the Lake Chad Basin region, where Nigerian refugees are hosted since 2014, causing large scale forced displacement and an unprecedented humanitarian emergency in Cameroon, Chad and Niger.

The event in Yaounde took place in 2 phases:

  1. Official ceremony

A Commemorative event for the 2018 World Refugee Day organized by the UNHCR in collaboration with the Ministry of External Relations, (MINREX) took place at the Refugees Community Centre in Yaounde on Wednesday 20 June 2018.

The President of the “Collectif de Yaounde” expressed her gratitude to the Cameroon government for the legendary hospitality and support given to Refugees, while UNHCR was also appreciated for the strong and sustained assistance they continue to give them.

The Secretary at the Permanent Technique Secretariat for Refugees representing the Minister of External Relations, outlined measures taken by Government to tackle refugees’ request, emphasizing that Refugees are actors of development, and promised more assistance to refugees. Suffice to add that Cameroon is the 13th refugee receiving country in the world and 7th in Africa

Mrs. Roseline Okoro, UNHCR; deputy Resident Representative read the message of the UN High Commissioner for Refugee at the ceremony, in which increased solidarity to Refugees was promised.

These speeches were interspersed by folkloric dances exhibited by the different Refugee communities such as Rwanda, Chad, etc.

 

  1. Panel discussion on the: “Rights and duties of Refugees in Cameroun”

Panelists included students from the Institute of International Relations of Cameroon-IRIC, Secretary of the permanent Technique Secretariat for Refugees at MINREX and UNHCR.

Remy; student of IRIC explained the genesis and the context on the World Refugee Day, relating it to the 1959 Geneva conference.

Miss Ngah Gaëlle, equally of IRIC stressed the Right of Refugees in Cameroon, as spelt out in the Geneva Convention. She thus stated that refugees in Cameroon have all the rights, as human beings, to include; housing, traffic, social assistance, freedom of religion, etc.M. Keppi Eric harped on the duties of Refugees in Cameroon, reminding them that all refugees in Cameroon must obey the laws of the country as highlighted in article 12 of the 2005 law governing the rights and duties of refugees in Cameroon.

UNIC Yaoundé prepared information kits comprised of the UNSG message, UNGA A/RES/55/76 12 February 2001 which proclaimed 20 June as World Refugee Day, background documents on the genesis of the day and various distinctive definitions on terms such as refugees, Asylum seekers, internally displaced persons, Stateless Persons, and returnees. This was distributed to the over 150 participants at the event.

World Environment Day, 5 June 2018

“On World Environment Day, the message is simple: reject single-use plastic. Refuse what you can’t re-use. Together, we can chart a path to a cleaner, greener world.” — Secretary-General, António Guterres
https://s3.amazonaws.com/downloads2.unmultimedia.org/public/video/ondemand/2165260_MSG%20SG%20WORLD%20ENVIRONMENT%20DAY%2021%20MAY%2018%20EN.mov

Humans are both creatures and moulders of their environment, which gives them physical sustenance and affords them the opportunity for intellectual, moral, social and spiritual growth. In the long and tortuous evolution of the human race on this planet a stage has been reached when, through the rapid acceleration of science and technology, humans have acquired the power to transform their environment in countless ways and on an unprecedented scale.

The United Nations, aware that the protection and improvement of the human environment is a major issue, which affects the well-being of peoples and economic development throughout the world, designated 5 June as World Environment Day. The celebration of this day provides us with an opportunity to broaden the basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment. Since it began in 1974, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated in more than 100 countries.

“Beat Plastic Pollution”

Each World Environment Day is organized around a theme that focuses attention on a particularly pressing environmental concern. The theme for 2018, “Beat Plastic Pollution,” is a call to action for all of us to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time. The theme invites us all to consider how we can make changes in our everyday lives to reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural places, our wildlife – and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over-reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences.

 

Message du Secrétaire général: Journée internationale des Casques bleus de l’ONU, 29 mai 2018 (Scroll down for English)

Le 29 mai 1948, le Conseil de sécurité de l’Organisation des Nations Unies autorisait la première opération de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies : l’Organisme des Nations Unies chargé de la surveillance de la trêve au Moyen-Orient.

En ce soixante-dixième anniversaire, nous exprimons notre reconnaissance au plus d’un million de femmes et d’hommes qui ont servi sous la bannière des Nations Unies et sauvé ainsi d’innombrables vies.

Nous rendons hommage aux plus de 3 700 Casques bleus qui ont fait le sacrifice ultime.

Nous saluons enfin les 14 missions qui, aujourd’hui, œuvrent 24 heures sur 24 à protéger les populations et à faire avancer la cause de la paix.

Cette année, je célébrerai la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies au Mali afin de témoigner ma solidarité à ceux de nos collègues qui font face à de lourdes pertes et à une instabilité extrême.

Tout en saluant l’héritage laissé par ceux qui, dans le monde entier, ont placé leur vie sous le signe du service et du sacrifice, je tiens à dire combien je suis déterminé à prendre des mesures en faveur du maintien de la paix, des mesures qui visent à rendre nos opérations plus sûres et plus efficaces dans les conditions difficiles qui prévalent aujourd’hui.

Nous sommes également déterminés à renforcer le rôle que nos forces ont à jouer dans la promotion des droits de l’homme et la lutte contre l’exploitation et les atteintes sexuelles.

Les opérations de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies constituent un investissement efficace en faveur de la paix, de la sécurité et de la prospérité mondiales.

Ensemble, engageons-nous à faire tout notre possible pour que cette mission soit couronnée de succès.

Je vous remercie.

Secretary-General’s Message for 2018 International Day of UN Peacekeepers

On May 29th, 1948, the United Nations Security Council authorized the first United Nations peacekeeping operation – the UN Truce Supervision Organization in the Middle East.

On this 70th anniversary, we express our gratitude to the more than one million men and women who have served under the UN flag, saving countless lives.

We honour the more than 3,700 blue helmets who paid the ultimate price.

And we pay tribute to the fourteen missions working around the clock today to protect people and advance the cause of peace.

This year, I will spend International Day of United Nations Peacekeepers in Mali to express my solidarity with colleagues facing high casualties and enormous volatility.

As we recognize a legacy of service and sacrifice around the world, I am also committed to taking action for peacekeeping — action to make our operations safer and more effective in today’s challenging environments.

We also are committed to reinforcing the important role our forces must play in promoting human rights and addressing sexual exploitation and abuse.

United Nations peacekeeping is a proven investment in global peace, security and prosperity.

Together, let us pledge to do all we can to enable that mission to succeed.

Thank you.