The Secretary-General

Remarks at Organizational Meeting of the Special Committee on Decolonization
New York

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

It is an honor, in my capacity as President pro tempore, to open the 2017 session of the Special Committee. As this is the first time I address this body, let me express from the outset my sincere commitment to the decolonization agenda, one of the defining mandates of the United Nations.

Allow me a very emotional, personal comment. I am Portuguese. I was born and I lived my youth during the Salazar dictatorship. The Salazar dictatorship oppressed my country, and simultaneously oppressed the countries and the peoples – our sister peoples – in Africa and in Asia with a completely absurd colonial policy that Salazar intended to make last forever, forcing a bloody and terrible war to the peoples of Angola and Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau. That has created a strong bond between the Portuguese democrats and many of my friends and comrades at the time have been arrested, have been tortured or living in exile, and the liberation movements in Angola, in Mozambique and in Guinea-Bissau and Cape Verde.

Secretary-General’s Statement on the Death of Ambassador Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin

I have just returned to New York and have learned with shock and sadness of the news of the sudden passing of Ambassador Vitaly Ivanovich Churkin, who was an outstanding diplomat.

Ambassador Churkin served the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation with distinction through some of the most challenging and momentous periods of recent history.

In 2006, he was appointed as the Permanent Representative of the Russian Federation to the United Nations.  For more than a decade, Ambassador Churkin was a forceful presence on the Security Council.

Ambassador Churkin was a uniquely skilled diplomat, a powerful orator with great wit, and a man of many talents and interests. 

Although we served together for a short time, I greatly appreciated the opportunity to work with him and will deeply miss his insights, skills and friendship.  I pay tribute to his contributions to the United Nations and offer my deepest condolences to his family and loved ones, and to the Government and people of the Russian Federation.

New York, 20 February 2017

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.