Interview with UNWomen Pacific: Placing Pacific Women at Forefront of Disaster Planning and Response

Photo: UN Women/Murray Lloyd

As the Pacific braces itself for another cyclone season, UN Women is leading efforts to ensure that women and girls are at the center of disaster preparedness, response and recovery work.

According to UN Women persisting gender inequalities often lead to additional vulnerabilities and different impacts for women and girls when disaster strikes.

UNIC Canberra spoke via Skype with Aleta Miller, UN Women’s representative at the
Fiji Multi-Country Office.

International Day of Happiness 2017 – Small Smurfs Big Goals

Smurfs like eating big Smurfberry pies and singing happy songs, but it’s only fun when everyone in Smurf Village has enough to eat and has no worries. So when the Smurfs heard that the United Nations has a big plan to protect all people and the planet, they had to be a part of it. With their boundless energy and positive attitude, the Smurfs are a great choice to help the United Nations celebrate this year’s International Day of Happiness on 20 March by promoting the Sustainable Development Goals. The Goals aim to protect people and our planet so we can all live the happiest lives possible.

Learn more and take action by visiting Smurfs special website: http://www.smallsmurfsbiggoals.com/ and more about Sustainable Development
http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/

 

Media Release: Preparations for The Ocean Conference get underway in New York, 15-16 February 2017

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 13 February 2017 – With concern mounting that the state of the
world’s ocean is rapidly deteriorating, United Nations Member States and civil society groups
will gather for a two-day preparatory meeting this week at UN Headquarters in New York to
begin planning for The Ocean Conference in June.

This week’s preparatory meeting will allow a broad range of stakeholders to prepare and build
momentum for The Ocean Conference, including through discussions on the
“Call for Action” – a global declaration that will set the course toward a more sustainable future for our oceans.  Full Media Advisory below.

Ocean Conference Prep Meeting Media Advisory 13Feb

Conference Page

Violence against women: UN human rights expert launches official visit to Australia


GENEVA / CANBERRA (9 February 2017) – United Nations Special Rapporteur Dubravka Šimonović will visit Australia from 13 to 27 February to assess the overall situation of violence against women, and gather first-hand information from a wide range of stakeholders, including women survivors of violence.

“Violence against women continues to be one of the most pervasive human rights violations globally, affecting every woman worldwide and Australia is no exception,” said the independent expert mandated by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the situation of violence against women, its causes and consequences in every country.

Statement by Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the passing of the so-called settlements “Regularisation bill”

The Secretary-General deeply regrets the adoption of the so called “Regularisation bill” on 6 February by the Knesset. This bill is in contravention of international law and will have far reaching legal consequences for Israel. It reportedly provides immunity to settlements and outposts in the occupied West Bank that were built on privately-owned Palestinian land.

The Secretary-General insists on the need to avoid any actions that would derail the two-state solution. All core issues should be resolved between the parties through direct negotiations on the basis of relevant Security Council resolutions and mutual agreements. The United Nations stands ready to support this process.

New York, 7 February 2017

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine state could amount to crimes against humanity – UN special adviser

The scale of violence against the Rohingya community in Myanmar’s Rakhine state documented in a recent United Nations human rights report is a level of dehumanization and cruelty that is “revolting and unacceptable,” the UN Special Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide said today, underlining the Government’s responsibility to ensure that populations are protected.

In a statement, Special Adviser Adama Dieng said the flash report issued last week by the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) gave further credibility to allegations that security forces were committing serious human rights violations against civilians in northern Rakhine state from the very beginning of the recent escalation of violence, which was precipitated by attacks on border posts in early October 2016 and the ensuing operations by those forces.

International Day of Commemoration in Memory of the Victims of the Holocaust

29 January 2017
Sydney Jewish Museum

UNIC Canberra joined the Sydney Jewish Museum and the Australian Association of Jewish Holocaust Survivors and descendants at a moving yet inspirational ceremony in memory of the victims of the Holocaust.  Australia has a strong connection to the Holocaust as it has more survivors per capita than any other country and many of them were in attendance to listen to a wide range of speakers spanning the generations.

The attendees were also able to appreciate the exhibit “The State of Deception: The Power of Nazi Propaganda” which was on display in the auditorium.

In his introduction, Professor Gus Lehrer, President of the Museum, stressed the importance of the preservation of memory and education and how we must not just recall the events, but also the experiences they caused.  Noting how the horrors of those days led to the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, he announced the Museum would be creating a new section which would deal with the issue of the Holocaust and Human Rights.

There followed a solemn lighting of candles by survivors present, followed by Olga Horak, OAM who eloquently gave her testimony, describing her experience in the camps as “the bottom of hell, where the only music was that of intolerable heartache and sorrow and … living was worse than dying”.

                        

Secretary-General’s Statement

On my way back from Ethiopia, the largest refugee-hosting country in Africa that for decades has been keeping its borders open to hundreds of thousands of refugees from its neighbours, many times in dramatic security situations, I want to state the following:

Countries have the right, even the obligation, to responsibly manage their borders
to avoid infiltration by members of terrorist organisations.

This cannot be based on any form of discrimination related to religion, ethnicity or nationality because:

  • that is against the fundamental principles and values on which our societies are based
  • that triggers widespread anxiety and anger that may facilitate the propaganda of the very terrorist organisations we all want to fight against;
  • blind measures, not based on solid intelligence, tend to be ineffective as they risk being bypassed by what are today sophisticated global terrorist movements.

I am also particularly concerned by the decisions that around the world have been undermining the integrity of the international refugee protection regime. Refugees fleeing conflict
and persecution are finding more and more borders closed and increasingly restricted access to the protection they need and are entitled to receive, according to international refugee law.

31 January 2017