In focus

08 Jul 2016 UNHCR: Highest levels of displacement on record

UNHCR: Highest levels of displacement on record

According to UNHCR, in 2015 we are  witnessing the highest levels of displacement on record. An unprecedented 65.3 million people around the world have been forced from home. Among them are nearly 21.3 million refugees, over half of whom are under the age of 18.

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05 Jun 2016 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 5 June 2016

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY 5 June 2016

This year’s observance of World Environment Day shines a much-needed spotlight on the illegal trade in wildlife.  There is grave cause for alarm.  Elephants are being slaughtered for their ivory, rhinos for their horns, and pangolins for their scales.  From sea turtles to tigers to rosewood, thousands of species of wild animals and plants are being driven ever closer to extinction.  The businesses and individuals involved are motivated solely by short-term gain at the expense of long-term benefit to communities and habitats.  In many instances, they act in collusion with transnational organized crime networks and groups actively involved in destabilizing nations.


 

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16 May 2016 International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) - 17 May 2016

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) - 17 May 2016

International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHOT) was created in 2004 to draw the attention of policymakers, opinion leaders, social movements, the public and the media to the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people internationally.

In under a decade, May 17 has established itself the single most important date for LGBTI communities to mobilise on a worldwide scale.

The Day represents an annual landmark to draw the attention of decision makers, the media, the public, opinion leaders and local authorities to the alarming situation faced by lesbian, gay, bisexuals, transgender and intersex people and all those who do not conform to majority sexual and gender norms.

May 17 is now celebrated in more than 130 countries, including 37 where same-sex acts are illegal, with 1600 events reported from 1280 organizations in 2014. These mobilisations unite millions of people in support of the recognition of human rights for all, irrespective of sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.

The International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia is not one centralised campaign; rather it is a moment that everyone can take advantage of to take action.

 

 

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03 May 2016 THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL MESSAGE ON WORLD PRESS FREEDOM DAY

Human rights, democratic societies and sustainable development depend on the free flow of information.  And the right to information depends on press freedom.  Each year, we observe World Press Freedom Day to emphasize these fundamental principles, to protect the independence of the media and to honour media workers who risk and have lost their lives in the exercise of their profession.

This year, World Press Freedom Day coincides with three important milestones.  It is the 250th anniversary of the world’s first freedom of information law, covering both modern-day Sweden and Finland, and it is the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Windhoek Declaration of press freedom principles.  Finally, 2016 is also the first year of implementing the Sustainable Development Goals.

Press freedom and the free flow of information are necessary not only to inform citizens about the Goals, but to enable them to hold their leaders accountable for fulfilling the pledges they have made.  The media – including, and increasingly, new online media -- serve as our eyes and ears.  We all benefit from the information they provide.

 

 

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02 Apr 2016 Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The Secretary-General is deeply disturbed by the recent reports of large-scale ceasefire violations along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. He is particularly concerned by the reported use of heavy weapons and by the large numbers of casualties, including among the civilian population. 

The Secretary-General urges all relevant parties to put an immediate end to the fighting, fully respect the ceasefire agreement and take urgent steps to de-escalate the situation.

 

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22 Mar 2016 Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the terrorist attacks in Belgium

Statement attributable to the Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the terrorist attacks in Belgium

The Secretary-General strongly condemns the terrorist bombings today in Brussels. He extends his heartfelt condolences to the victims and their families, and expresses his solidarity with the people and Government of Belgium.

The despicable attacks today struck at the heart of Belgium and the centre of the European Union. The Secretary-General hopes those responsible will be swiftly brought to justice. He is confident that Belgium's and Europe’s commitment to human rights, democracy and peaceful coexistence will continue to be the true and lasting response to the hatred and violence of which they became a victim today.

 

 

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16 Mar 2016 Social Protection is Key to Tackle Asia-Pacific’s Inequality Trap by Shamshad Akhtar

Social Protection is Key to Tackle Asia-Pacific’s Inequality Trap by Shamshad Akhtar

 

Rising inequality threatens to derail, from the start, successful implementation of the new 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the Asia-Pacific region. Stronger, more equitable social protection will be critical in overcoming these challenges.

New research by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) indicates that inequality, related to both outcomes and opportunities, is on the rise in the countries of Asia and the Pacific – and where it has not risen it has remained unacceptably high. This is having an adverse impact on sustainable development.

Growing disparities in income and wealth, as well as unequal opportunities, reinforce each other, creating an “inequality trap” that disproportionately affects women and the most vulnerable members of society, including the poor, youth, persons with disabilities, migrants and older persons.

This stands in sharp contrast to both the shared growth that defined the rise of the ‘Asian Tigers’ in the 1960s, and more recent trends in other parts of the developing world, in particular Latin America, where income inequality has been decreasing over in recent decades.

Over the past 20 years, the rich in Asia and the Pacific have grown richer, at the expense of the poor. Inequalities in regional opportunities also abound, with nearly 80 per cent of the population lacking access to affordable health care, and as many as 18 million children out of school. Access to these basic social services are considerably lower among low-income groups and rural communities.

 

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