Category Archives: World Humanitarian SUmmit

UN agency saves 600 stranded migrants in Sahara Desert, but 52 dead in Niger

Walking through desert. Photo: World Bank

27 June 2017 – The United Nations migration agency in Niger has saved more than 600 lives since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation that targets migrants stranded in Sahara Desert, but 52 did not survive.

“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border,” said Giuseppe Loprete, Niger Chief of Mission for the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in press release issued today.

“Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route‎,” Loprete added.

A 22-year-old woman was the only female among the survivors of a rescue mission on 28 May. She left Nigeria in early April hoping for a better future in Europe. There were 50 migrants on the pick-up truck when it left Agadez for Libya, but only six are still alive today.

“We were in the desert for ten days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did,” she recalled.

During the next two days, 44 of the migrants died which persuaded the six left to start walking to look for help. “We had to drink our own pee to survive,” she said.

On 9 June, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation; among them were 30 women and children.

More recently, 24 migrants were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival. Among the 23 survivors are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d’Ivoire. It was not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger. They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north.

IOM has recorded 52 deaths since it launched a new project “Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region” (MIRAA) in April. The project will last for 12 months, and aims to ensure the protection of migrants in hard-to-reach areas while also strengthening the management of migration by the Government of Niger.

MIRAA is complementary to the larger initiative “Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism” (MRRM), which aims to bring together in one mechanism a wide range of services and assistance for migrants, including assisted voluntary return to their countries of origin and reintegration once they return.

UN Secretary General message on World Humanitarian Day, 19 August 2016

Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. UN Photo/Mark Garten (file)
A record 130 million people are dependent on humanitarian assistance to survive.  Grouped together, these people in need would comprise the tenth most populous nation on Earth. These figures are truly staggering, yet they tell only a fraction of the story.  Hidden behind the statistics are individuals, families and communities whose lives have been devastated.  People no different to you and me: children, women and men who face impossible choices every day.  They are parents who must choose between buying food or medicine for their children; children who must choose between school or working to support their families; families who must risk bombing at home or a perilous escape by sea.  

The solutions to the crises that have plunged these people into such desperate hardship are neither simple nor quick.  But there are things we can all do – today, and every day.  We can show compassion, we can raise our voices against injustice, and we can work for change.

World Humanitarian Day is an annual reminder of the need to act to alleviate the suffering.  It is also an occasion to honour the humanitarian workers and volunteers toiling on the frontlines of crises.  I pay tribute to these dedicated women and men who brave danger to help others at far greater risk. Today, I urge everyone to sign on to the United Nations “World You’d Rather” campaign.  As well as raising awareness and building empathy, the campaign has a concrete goal: to raise money for the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and to enrol the support of individuals everywhere as Messengers of Humanity.  We need everybody to demand that their societies and governments put humanity first.  

Earlier this year, 9,000 participants gathered in Istanbul for the first-ever World Humanitarian Summit.  World leaders committed to transform the lives of people living in conflict, disaster and acute vulnerability.  They rallied behind the Agenda for Humanity and its pledge to leave no one behind. This promise is also at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals.  With their focus on human rights, resilience and poverty eradication, these 17 global goals offer a 15-year plan to reduce needs and vulnerability and promote a world of peace, dignity and opportunity for all.  To succeed on this collective journey, we need everyone to play their part. Each one of us can make a difference.  On this World Humanitarian Day, let us unite in the name of humanity and show that we cannot and will not leave any one behind.  

Message du Secrétaire Général publié à l’occasion de la Journée Mondiale de l’Aide Humanitaire, 19 août 2016

Aujourd’hui, 130 millions de personnes ne doivent leur survie qu’à l’aide humanitaire – un nombre encore jamais atteint. Si elles étaient regroupées, ces personnes dans le besoin formeraient la dixième nation du monde en termes de population.  Pour autant qu’ils soient impressionnants, ces chiffres ne reflètent qu’un aspect de la réalité et derrière les statistiques se cachent des individus, des familles et des communautés dont les vies ont été détruites. Il s’agit de gens ordinaires : des enfants, des femmes et des hommes, obligés quotidiennement faire des choix impossibles. Ce sont des parents qui doivent choisir entre acheter de la nourriture ou des médicaments pour leurs enfants; des enfants qui doivent choisir entre aller à l’école ou travailler pour aider leurs familles; des familles qui doivent choisir entre rester chez elles et vivre sous les bombardements ou prendre le risque de s’échapper par la mer.

Les solutions aux crises qui ont plongé ces personnes dans des situations extrêmement difficiles ne sont ni simples, ni rapides. Mais nous pouvons tous agir – aujourd’hui, et chaque jour. Nous pouvons faire preuve de compassion, nous pouvons protester contre l’injustice, et nous pouvons nous employer à changer les choses. Chaque année, la Journée mondiale de l’aide humanitaire nous rappelle qu’il faut agir pour alléger les souffrances d’autrui. C’est également l’occasion de rendre hommage aux agents de l’aide humanitaire et aux bénévoles qui travaillent en première ligne. Je tiens à saluer ces femmes et ces hommes dévoués qui bravent le danger pour aider ceux qui encourent des dangers encore plus grands.
Aujourd’hui, j’engage chacun à s’inscrire sur le site de la campagne « The World You’d Rather » des Nations Unies. Elle ne se limite pas à sensibiliser le public ou à susciter l’empathie : elle vise également à collecter de l’argent pour le Fonds central pour les interventions d’urgence et à recevoir l’appui d’individus partout dans le monde, qui deviennent ainsi des Messagers de l’humanité. Il est nécessaire que chacun demande à sa société et à son gouvernement de mettre l’humanité au premier plan. Il y a quelques mois, 9 000 participants se sont retrouvés à Istanbul à l’occasion du tout premier Sommet mondial sur l’action humanitaire. Des dirigeants venus du monde entier ont pris l’engagement de transformer les vies des victimes de conflits, de catastrophes naturelles et plongées dans une grande vulnérabilité. Ils ont adopté le Programme d’action pour l’humanité et fait la promesse de ne laisser personne de côté.

Cette promesse est au cœur des objectifs de développement durable. Mettant l’accent sur les droits de l’homme, la résilience et l’élimination de la pauvreté, les 17 objectifs mondiaux constituent un plan sur 15 ans pour réduire les besoins et la vulnérabilité et favoriser l’avènement d’un monde de paix, de dignité et de possibilités pour tous. Pour que cette aventure collective soit un succès, chacun doit jouer son rôle. Chacun d’entre nous peut influer sur le cours des choses. En cette Journée mondiale de l’aide humanitaire, unissons-nous au nom de l’humanité et montrons que nous ne pouvons laisser, et ne laisserons, personne de côté.


Outreach Event on the Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit at ASMAC 18 May 2016

Photo1As prelude to the upcoming Istanbul World Humanitarian Summit of 23-24 May 2016, UNIC Yaounde on behalf of the UN System in Cameroon organized an Outreach Event at the Advanced School of Mass Communication (ASMAC) Yaounde on Wednesday 18 May 2016. This event which brought together stakeholders in the humanitarian domain in Cameroon such as UN Agencies; (OCHA, UNICEF, WFP, HCR), and donors (Japan, US, France) was chaired by Ms Najat Rochdi; Humanitarian Coordinator/Resident Coordinator.

Photo2Mrs Rochdi used global statistics on humanitarian crisis, to state the urgency of action by the international community and the raison d’être why UNSG Ban Ki-moon called this first ever Humanitarian Summit from 23-24 May 2016 at Istanbul. We must all be agents of change, and the WHS is the platform for everybody to take both individual and collective commitments to change. Students and media should commit through the social media (Facebook, Twitter, etc). We must all defend the human values, for there is no colour, no nationality, and no borders in suffering she added, with a call for these values to be translated in homes, families, schools, community and society.

USAThe Representatives of the US Embassy, Japan, and France all pledged their continued support support through the United Nations in assisting the needy and victims of terrorist attacks by Boko Haram in the Far North region of Cameroon, and elsewhere in the country.

Photo3Max Schott (OCHA) painted a picture of the humanitarian situation in the extreme North of Cameroon, giving practical details on the Istanbul Humanitarian Summit. Felicité Tchibindat (UNICEF) highlighted efforts to restore the innocence of children abused by terrorists organisations as suicide bombers, child soldiers through psychosocial support to the Cameroon government.

HCRKhassim Diagne (HCR) cited some conventions on the protection of rights of Refugees to re-echo the importance for countries to respect them. Elvira Pruscini shows how WFP reinforces the resilience of humanitarian assistance by making assistance structures more adaptable to needs, designing assistance programmes which address the drivers of crisis and conflicts as a way of doing away with the causes.

UNICEFThese actors in turn pledged their continued support and stance by the Cameroon government in assisting the needy and committed themselves to say “ca suffit” (enough is enough) to human sufferings. Press kits on the Summit were distributed to media and participants at the heavily covered event.

Photo51   Photo5

France  Japan

WHS: UN humanitarian summit to ‘shape a different future,’ Ban tells thousands at opening ceremony

Ban-opening2-web (1)

At the opening of the World Humanitarian Summit (WHS) in Istanbul today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon joined the President of Turkey, relief activists and international celebrities to urge the global community to shape a different future for the world. “We are all here because global humanitarian action is unprecedentedly strained,” Mr. Ban told thousands of participants attending the opening ceremony, which featured creative performances and inspiring words by renowned stars including Forest Whitaker, Ashley Judd and Daniel Craig. “I proposed this Summit four years ago out of concern for rising humanitarian needs and declining political will. Today, the urgency has only grown,” the Secretary-General stressed.

As part of a moving spectacle that emulated dust storms and earthquakes, and projected images of authentic footage inspired by personal human stories, Malian singer Inna Modja kicked off the historic Summit with a soulful poem.

The United Nations estimates that a record number of people – 130 million – currently need aid to survive. More people have been forced from their homes than at any time since the end of the Second World War.  “This is a 21st century United Nations gathering,” the Mr. Ban said describing the Summit, adding that its Agenda for Humanity, the document he recently issued to guide discussions and action, is based on three years of consultations with 23,000 people in more than 150 countries.

Over the next two days in the Turkish capital, WHS is bringing together stakeholders who have a vested interest in improving the global humanitarian system, including more than 65 Heads of State and Government as well as leaders from the public and private sectors. The UN chief underlined that the world is looking to them for commitments to five core responsibilities:

Prevent and end conflict
Respect rules of war
Leave no one behind
Working differently to end need
Invest in humanity
“We are here to shape a different future,” Mr. Ban concluded. “Today we declare: We are one humanity, with a shared responsibility.”

In his remarks to the opening ceremony, UN General Assembly president Mogens Lykketoft said that expectations high for Summit. “People around the world are demanding that we move beyond fine words; that we build on the generosity we already see; and live up to our core responsibilities,” he said. “Now is the time to end the conflicts at the root of the current crisis; to ensure adherence to international humanitarian law and accountability for violations; to make the humanitarian system more efficient and more effective; [and] to stand up for those we are leaving behind,” the Assembly president said, also underscoring the need to secure the extra $15 billion required to meet humanitarian needs – just one cent out of every $50 of today’s global economy.

Meanwhile, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan expressed hope that the Summit would lead to “auspicious outcomes” for hundreds of millions of people struggling to sustain their lives under great distress. “Pain knows no colour, race, language or religion,” Mr. Erdogan said, noting that it was with that in mind that Turkey carried out its aid and development projects in more than 140 countries around the world, hosting more than three million refugees from Syria and Iraq. “We will never close our doors or our borders to people,” he insisted. “We as leaders and responsible individuals of the international community can only succeed if we work under common principles and goals.” The President also stressed that Turkey would not stop pursuing “blood-shedding dictators” and will ensure that crimes against humanity do not go unpunished.

Prior to these remarks, survivors of humanitarian catastrophes—both human-made and natural—spoke to the audience in emotional addresses, recounting their ordeals and how they overcame them with the desire to now support others.

Victor Ochen, a former child solider from northern Uganda, spoke about growing up with violence everywhere around him. At the age of 13, he chose a different path, forming a peace club in his refugee camp to discourage children and young people from joining the armed forces. “Peace comes from within,” he said. “Be human and act human.”

Victoria Arnaiz-Lanting described her experience surviving Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in 2013, saying that it was a miracle she survived. She lost many friends and colleagues in the storm, dead bodies filled the streets, and trees and electric posts fell to the ground like match sticks. The typhoon also made thousands of people internally displaced, who, driven by hunger and grief, looted the supermarkets. And yet, she expressed how unbelievable it was to see how quickly people started to rebuild their lives. The Philippines Red Cross and victims themselves began treating the wounded and liaising with the Government and other humanitarian actors. “This is humanity in action,” she said, noting that disasters affected more than 200 million people a year and that preparedness must become a way of life. She encouraged every nation, large and small, to invest in local actors.

Speaking of the Syrian conflict, Adeeb Ateeq said war has inflicted much suffering on the people. Mines have blown apart men, women, and children, with many afraid to seek medical care for fear of encountering other unexploded ordnance. “I have decided to harness my experience of demining to end the loss of life,” he said, describing a volunteer team he has established to educated young people about the lethal nature of unexploded land mines.

Recalling his own experience of losing a leg after encountering an unexploded device, Mr. Ateeq explained how he had been bound to a wheelchair until being fitted with an artificial limb; this led him to try to help others. “My goal is to save the lives of innocent civilians,” he said, calling on all to provide assistance in that quest and in safeguarding humanity.

Videos can be watched here:

World Humanitarian Summit, Istanbul 23-24 May 2016

Share_Humanity3Humanitarian needs are rising with 125 million people affected by conflict and disaster. There are more people displaced today than ever since the Second World War: over 60 million. The human and economic cost of disasters caused by natural hazards is also escalating. The impacts of climate change become more profound, and disasters are expected to become more frequent and more severe. Never before has humanitarian action delivered so much for so many vulnerable people around the world. But unless we adopt more effective ways to address their suffering, we cannot aspire to a world of peace, security and sustainable development where no one is left behind.

 WHAT: The first-ever World Humanitarian Summit is a call to action to unite around our shared humanity. The aims of the Summit are: to reaffirm our shared commitment to humanity and the universality of humanitarian principles; generate greater global leadership and political will to end conflict, alleviate suffering and reduce risk; and agree on a set of concrete actions and commitments to able us to better prepare for and respond to crises. The United Nations Secretary-General will use this historic moment to call for placing humanity at the centre of global decision-making. He will highlight five core responsibilities that the whole international community must shoulder:

  1. Securing global leadership and political will to prevent and end conflicts;
  2. Respecting the norms that safeguard our humanity, including international humanitarian and human rights law;
  3. Leaving no one behind and reaching the furthest behind first, including by improving gender equality and empowering women and girls;
  4. Moving from delivering aid to ending need, by putting people at the centre and reinforcing local and national systems, and ending the humanitarian-development divide; and
  5. Investing in humanity by diversifying and optimizing humanitarian financing.