Category Archives: UN Observance

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.

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: https://youtu.be/Rwm7gqycFmA). 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.

 Lesson:

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.

 

L’ONU rend hommage à deux Casques bleus gabonais décédés au service de la paix –

Photo published for L'efficacité des opérations de maintien de la paix requiert des moyens adéquats et un soutien...24 mai 2017:  Le Siège de l’ONU célèbrera la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies le 24 mai prochain.  Le Secrétaire général, M. António Guterres, déposera une couronne pour honorer tous les soldats de la paix tombés et présidera une cérémonie au cours de laquelle la Médaille Dag Hammarskjöld sera attribuée à titre posthume à 117 militaires, policiers et civils qui ont perdu la vie en servant dans des opérations de maintien de la paix en 2016.

Deux militaires gabonais figurent parmi les 117 Casques bleus auxquels sera décernée, à titre posthume, la médaille Dag Hammarskjöld, Caporal Ghislain M. Nziengui et Caporal Chef Jauris Nzombi Yopa, qui ont tout deux servi  dans la Mission multidimensionnelle intégrée des Nations Unies pour la stabilisation en République centrafricaine (MINUSCA).

Dans un message vidéo pour marquer cette journée, le Secrétaire général souligne: « Chaque jour, les Casques bleus contribuent à apporter la paix et la stabilité aux sociétés déchirées par la guerre dans le monde entier.  Lors de la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies, nous rendons hommage aux plus de 3 500 soldats de la paix qui ont donné leur vie au service de la paix depuis 1948 ».

Il ajoute: « Leur sacrifice ne fait que renforcer notre engagement à faire en sorte que les forces de maintien de la paix des Nations Unies continuent de protéger les civils en danger, en promouvant les droits de l’homme et l’état de droit, en éliminant les mines terrestres, en faisant progresser les négociations et en assurant un avenir meilleur dans les lieux où ils sont déployés.  Maintenant, plus que jamais, il est essentiel que nous continuions à investir dans la paix dans le monde entier ».

Le Secrétaire général adjoint aux opérations de maintien de la paix, M. Jean-Pierre Lacroix, affirme: « Nous continuons à poursuivre les efforts de réforme afin de rendre le maintien de la paix des Nations Unies plus efficace.  C’est la meilleure façon d’honorer les souvenirs et les sacrifices de nos soldats de la paix tombés. »

Selon le Secrétaire général adjoint à l’appui aux missions, M. Atul Khare, « ces efforts, conjugués à la mise en œuvre de la réforme du Secrétaire général de notre architecture de paix et de sécurité, nous permettent de déployer des forces de maintien de la paix en uniforme et en civil dans des environnements difficiles à travers le monde de manière efficace ».

Aujourd’hui, plus de 96 000 membres en uniforme en provenance de 124 pays contributeurs de troupes et de police servent sous le drapeau bleu, aux côtés de plus de 15 000 agents civils internationaux et nationaux et près de 1 600 Volontaires des Nations Unies.

La Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies a été créée par l’Assemblée générale en 2002 pour honorer la mémoire des Casques bleus de l’ONU qui ont perdu la vie au service de la cause de la paix et pour rendre hommage à tous ceux, hommes et femmes, qui ont servi et continuent de servir dans les opérations de maintien de la paix pour leur professionnalisme, leur dévouement et leur courage.

La Journée est officiellement célébrée le 29 mai, toutefois des activités de commémoration auront lieu au Siège de l’ONU à New York le 24 mai.  L’Assemblée générale a désigné le 29 mai comme la Journée internationale des Casques bleus des Nations Unies parce que c’est ce jour-là qu’en 1948 l’Organisme des Nations Unies chargé de la surveillance de la trêve (ONUST), la première mission internationale de maintien de la paix, a commencé ses opérations en Palestine.

Pour de plus amples informations, prière de contacter M. Douglas Coffman, du Département de l’information, au tél.: +1 212 963-4481, ou par courriel: coffmand@un.org; ou M. Aditya Mehta, du Département des opérations de maintien de la paix, au tél.: +1 917 367-5378, ou par courrier électronique: mehta2@un.org; ou visitez le site Internet de la Journée des Casques bleus au www.un.org/en/events/peacekeepersday ou le site Internet des Nations Unies sur le maintien de la paix au: http://www.un.org/fr/peacekeeping/operations/pkday.shtml.

Youth leaders skilled on “Peace and Development” in Yaounde

Cameroon is currently being rocked by waves of attacks from the Boko Haram terrorist insurgency in her northern region, while the English speaking North West and South West Regions are witnessing social upheavals since November 2016, complaining about marginalization and assimilation by the Francophone majority. Youths have been mute and absent in the peace building process of these conflicts. This, in total ignorance of UNSC Resolution 2250 on Youth, Peace and Security, adopted on 9 December 2015, which acknowledges the urgent need to engage young peacebuilders in promoting peace and countering extremism.

Against this backdrop, UNIC Yaounde organized a one-day training workshop for youth leaders on “Youth, Peace and Development”, in partnership with “Promise Africa” and the “Organization of African Youth for Peace (OAYP)” on Thursday April 13, 2017. The objective was to build the skills of youths on the fundamentals of peace consolidation, conflict prevention and crisis management, and engage them in the peacebuilding process.

UNIC’s Jean Njita emphasized the correlation between peace and Development, emphasizing Kant’s perpetual peace to Galtung’s negative and positive peace, presenting the history of Development through Rostow’s “stages of economic growth”, the 1992 Rio Earth summit, to the MDGs and SDGs. Focus was on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions, for “there can be no sustainable development without peace and no genuine peace without sustainable development.

The high rate of youth unemployment in Cameroon (about 6.7% in 2013, according to ILO), was identified as the reason for the high involvement of youths in conflicts, and political authorities were called upon to exercise good governance, for poor employability will eventuality lead to more conflicts. UNSCR 2250 was highlighted as a major instrument to mobilize youths in peace and Development activities as young peacebuilders, for it brings recognition and legitimacy for youth’s efforts in building peace. While Education, public awareness, youths training are pre-requisites for a durable peace building, genuine mediation can be a catalyst in reconciling and healing post conflicts societies. One participant called on youths to “bury their egoism, be tolerant, and accept different viewpoints for peace to thrive in their hearts…for today’s youths are too proud”

Participants acknowledged that youths have a role to play in conflict resolution, and should thus get involved. They were encouraged to use social media to transmit messages of love and reconciliation, to rebuild broken homes, and their society. Just as war is waged, Cameroonian youths should also ‘wage peace’ by making peace a full time activity. NGOs and associations advocating for Peace were urged to network for better coordination and greater impact of activities on the field. At the end, testimonials were handed to all participants.

Educational Talk on 2017 Slavery Remembrance at La Gaieté International School, Yaounde

UNIC Yaounde organized an Educational Talk with students of La Gaieté International School Complex, with over 175 students on 24 March 2017, on the occasion of the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on the theme Remember Slavery: Recognising the Legacy and Contributions of People of African Descent. The objective of the event was to increase awareness and to educate students on the legacy and contributions of people of African descent and the consequences of their actions on the societies in which they found themselves during the Transatlantic Slave Trade, as well as about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

UNIC’s Jean Njita presented the genesis and context of the 2017 commemoration, stating the historical background on the transatlantic slave trade and slavery. This was followed by the projection of UNESCO’s documentary “Routes de l’Esclave” (Slave Routes), an exchange with students to size up their understanding. Prizes of T-shirts, branded pens were handed to students who gave correct answers, sparking off many exchanges from students.

Jean Njita, highlighted (in French and English) the raison d’être of the observance, spelling out UN Resolution 62/122 of 17 December 2007 declaring 25 March as Slavery Remembrance. He further presented the theme of the 2017 commemoration, saluted the courage of these men and women, who through their many valuable skills in rhythms, musical traditions, and arts contributed significantly to the development of societies and cultures around the world. Africans deported to the West carried along their culture and tradition, expanding on the rich musical repertoire of these communities, he stressed.

Mr. Njita presented the Human Rights violations, emphasizing the inhumane treatment meted on slaves by traders and masters. Citing articles 1, 3 &4 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he stressed that “All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.”, “Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person”, “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…”, and called on the students to denounce any act of racism, discrimination and violence, so as to leave no one behind.

Participants then watched the film; Queen Nanny: Legendary chieftainess” and were thrilled by Queen Nanny’ story, as she reportedly led her people courageously to victory over the mighty British army. During the question and answer session, prizes were offered to students who gave correct answers to questions asked on the film “Queen Nanny”.

The over 175 participants were led by Jean Njita to a guided tour of a poster exhibition on “Remembering Slavery: Recognition, Justice and Development”, composed of sets of 13 of posters highlighting the tenth anniversary of the Remember Slavery Programme, the work of the Decade, contributions of the African diaspora and the legacy of the transatlantic slave trade in English and French. The symbols and message on each poster was explained to the students, to draw their attention to the atrocities of slave trade, slavery and encourage them to denounce any act tantamount to Human Rights violation, racism and discrimination in all its forms.

 

UNITED NATIONS, UNICEF AND SMURFS TEAM UP TO CELEBRATE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF HAPPINESS

Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign inspires support for Sustainable Development Goals

New York, March 18 – Voice actors from the upcoming animated movie Smurfs: The Lost Village today joined officials from the United Nations, UNICEF and United Nations Foundation at the world body’s headquarters in New York to celebrate International Day of Happiness with a campaign promoting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The “Small Smurfs Big Goals” campaign is designed to encourage young people everywhere to learn about and support the 17 Sustainable Development Goals adopted by world leaders in 2015 to help make the world more peaceful, equitable and healthy.

As part of the celebrations, Team Smurfs recognized three young advocates — Karan Jerath (20), Sarina Divan (17), and Noor Samee (17)for their actions to promote the Goals.

Jerath, a UN Young Leader for the Sustainable Development Goals, invented a containment device that could prevent offshore oil spills and ensure the protection of marine life. Divan expanded a UN Foundation girl empowerment initiative at her high school and beyond, and Samee is a UNICEF blogger and advocate on social justice issues and raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals.

The movie’s U.S. stars — Demi Lovato, Joe Manganiello and Mandy Patinkin — presented the three young students with a symbolic key to the Smurfs Village in recognition of their work.

“This inspirational campaign highlights the fact that each and every one of us, no matter how young or old, small or big, can make our world a better and happier place,” said Cristina Gallach, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information. “We are grateful to creative partners like Sony Pictures Animation and Team Smurfs for their spirit of collaboration in helping the UN reach diverse audiences.”

The Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign culminates on the International Day of Happiness on 20 March, which emphasizes the importance of personal happiness and well-being. The idea is closely linked to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, which include decent work for all, access to nutritious food, quality education and health services, and freedom from discrimination.

 “Today we have seen how the Small Smurfs Big Goals campaign is giving children and young people a platform to speak out about issues they are passionate about. As we celebrate International Day of Happiness, we hope many more young people are empowered to take action on the Sustainable Development Goals and help achieve a world free from poverty, inequality and injustice,” said Caryl M. Stern, UNICEF US Fund President and CEO.

The actors and UN officials  addressed some 1,500 students  attending an international Model UN conference in the iconic General Assembly Hall of the United Nations, where they encouraged all participants and the public to join “Team Smurfs”.

The campaign invites the general public to visit SmallSmurfsBigGoals.com to find out how to contribute to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, and share information, ideas and images on social media.