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

The Need to Achieve the Sustainable Development Goals in Papua New Guinea

How are people’s lives linked to the Sustainable Development Goals? This film tells the stories of three families in the Coastal, Highlands and Central regions of Papua New Guinea. It documents the challenges they face in their daily lives, how they are over coming these and their aspirations for the future.

Film created by UN Office PNG

Myanmar: UN rights expert condemns killing of prominent Muslim lawyer

30 January 2017 – A United Nations human rights expert today strongly condemned the brutal murder of a respected Muslim lawyer and constitutional law expert in Myanmar, who was also the legal adviser to the ruling National League for Democracy (NLD).

“I am shocked to the core by the senseless killing of a highly respected and knowledgeable individual, whom I have met during all of my visits to the country, including most recently just over a week ago,” the Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Myanmar, Yanghee Lee, said.

UN agency ‘alarmed’ by uncertainty facing refugees in the process of being resettled in US


Filippo Grandi, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. (file) Photo: UNHCR/S. Hopper

30 January 2017 – The head of the United Nations refugee agency today said he is “deeply worried” by the uncertainty facing thousands of refugees around the world who are in the process of being resettled to the United States after the country suspended its refugee programme last week.

According to a news release from the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), more than 800 refugees were set to make America their new home this week alone, but instead find themselves barred from travelling to the US.

Joint IOM-UNHCR Statement on President Trump’s Refugee Order

28 January 2017 | Français | عربي

GENEVA – The needs of refugees and migrants worldwide have never been greater, and the U.S. resettlement program is one of the most important in the world.

The longstanding U.S. policy of welcoming refugees has created a win-win situation: it has saved the lives of some of the most vulnerable people in the world who have in turn enriched and strengthened their new societies. The contribution of refugees and migrants to their new homes worldwide has been overwhelmingly positive.

Resettlement places provided by every country are vital. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, hope that the U.S. will continue its strong leadership role and long tradition of protecting those who are fleeing conflict and persecution.

UNHCR and IOM remain committed to working with the U.S. Administration towards the goal we share to ensure safe and secure resettlement and immigration programmes.

We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race.

We will continue to engage actively and constructively with the U.S. Government, as we have done for decades, to protect those who need it most, and to offer our support on asylum and migration matters.

Media contacts:
In Washington, Chris Boian, boian@unhcr.org, +1 202 489 6884
In Geneva, Vannina Maestracci, maestrac@unhcr.org​, +41 79 108 3532

Importance Of Inclusive and Sustainable Development In Sustaining Peace

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has highlighted the importance of recognising the links between sustainable development and sustaining peace, as the world strives to tackle rising inequality and protracted conflicts. Mr. Guterres was speaking during a high-level dialogue on building sustainable peace for all, held on Tuesday at the UN Headquarters in New York. Read more on http://bit.ly/2jP6S2R

Together, Respect, Safety and Dignity for All Campaign

Diana Rahman, OAM Chair, Canberra Multicultural Community Forum and President of Australian Muslim Voice speaks to UNIC Canberra about being the daughter of migrant parents their influence and her hopes for a tolerant society.  This interview is part of a series that UNIC is undertaking as part of the UN Global ‘Together, Respect, Safety and Dignity For All’ campaign.

For more information on the campaign: together.un.org/

United Nations Congratulates National Government and the ABG for establishing the Bougainville Referendum Commission

Photo: The historic signing ceremony for the establishment of the new Bougainville Referendum Commission, at the Prime Minister’s Office, Manasupe House Waigani, Port Moresby.

Port Moresby, 24 January 2017 – The historic signing ceremony for the establishment of the new Bougainville Referendum Commission (BRC) was held on 24th of January 2017 at the Prime Minister’s Office, Manasupe House Waigani, Port Moresby.

Under the Bougainville Peace Agreement (BPA) signed between the Government of PNG and Leaders of Bougainville in 2001, the peace partners agreed to have a referendum on the political future of Bougainville by 2020. This signing paves the way for the independent institution to plan, prepare and execute the electoral event. At the ceremony, the milestone documents signed were the Agreement and the Administration Arrangement for the establishment of the BRC.