Author Archives: cigisurrao

Russia agrees ‘in principle’ to UN and Red Cross involvement in evacuations from Mariupol

Russia has agreed “in principle” to UN involvement in the evacuation of citizens from the last remaining holdout in the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, following a meeting between Secretary-General António Guterres and President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on Tuesday.

The UN chief, who was in the Russian capital for talks on the war in Ukraine, also met with the country’s Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov.

During his “tête-a-tête meeting” with President Putin, Mr. Guterres reiterated the UN’s position on Ukraine, according to a readout issued by his Spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric.

They also discussed proposals for humanitarian assistance and evacuation of civilians from conflict zones, namely in relation to the situation in the besieged port city of Mariupol, where thousands of civilians and Ukrainian troops remain holed up in the Azovstal steel mill.

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First Person: Torres Strait Islanders fight the loss of their ancestral home

Yessie Mosby is one of the so-called Torres Strait Eight, a group from the Pacific Islands which lodged a complaint with the UN Human Rights Council, that Australia is not doing enough to protect their people from climate change, in the first ever case of its kind. Mr. Mosby explained to UN News why they decided to take this unprecedented step.

The Torres Strait Islands, an autonomous part of Australia, are particularly vulnerable to the effects of the climate crisis, and extreme weather, including storms, rising sea levels and erosion, are a major threat to the indigenous people, who have inhabited the islands for some 70,000 years.

With the case ongoing, Mr. Molby and his fellow activists have been recognized as human rights leaders for their efforts to draw attention to the plight of their community. More

Extractive projects cause irreparable harm to indigenous cultures, languages, lives, speakers tell Permanent Forum

The explosive growth of extractive operations around the world often plays out on indigenous people’s lands without their consent, causing irreparable harm to their livelihoods, cultures, languages and lives, speakers told the Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues on Monday, as it opened its 2022 session amid calls to respect their free, prior and informed consent on the existential decisions uprooting their communities.

Gathered in the UN General Assembly Hall for the first time in three years, indigenous representatives were welcomed in a traditional ceremony led by Katsenhaienton Lazare of the Bear Clan, Mohawk of the Haudenosaunee, who acknowledged nature in its great diversity – the winds, thunders, lightening, sun and other life forces – which give purpose and protection to humankind, and summoned generations of traditional ancestors who still have much to offer today’s societies.

The invocation dovetailed with the theme of the Forum’s twenty-first session – ‘Indigenous peoples, business, autonomy and the human rights principles of due diligence including free, prior and informed consent’ – and start of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages, 2022-2032More

Re-Connections: In Kinship With Nature

The new exhibit, Re-Connections: In Kinship with Nature, organized by ecoartspace and endorsed by the UNDP Global Environment Facility (GEF) Small Grants Program and UNEP, explores themes of environmental activism through artistic expression.

Featuring artists from around the world, it addresses various concerns our planet faces due to climate change, and inspires visitors to take action and reverse the trend. More

Guterres urges youth: Keep pushing, mobilizing, ‘bringing your ideas to the table’

Despite war, COVID-19 and the climate crisis, all of which compound the other challenges facing young people today, the UN chief lauded youth for raising their voices and mobilizing for a better future.

“Young people are…leading the way in the fight against climate change, standing up for racial justice and gender equality…holding leaders to account…[and] are at the forefront of our efforts to secure a more inclusive, peaceful, and prosperous future for all,” Secretary-General António Guterres said on the second of a two-day forum on youth.

Under the theme Youth 2030: Achieving the SDGs, he delivered a recorded video message to the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC)’s annual Youth Forum encouraging young people to “keep pushing; to keep mobilizing; and to keep bringing your ideas to the table”.

“We have no time to lose”

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UN highlights human cost of transatlantic slave trade

The United Nations on Tuesday remembered the horrors of the transatlantic slave trade and its continued impact on the modern world, by honouring the tradition of resistance to slavery and unity against racism, through personal stories of courage.

In a commemorative event in the General Assembly Hall that included remarks from Member States from around the world, top UN officials denounced racism and discrimination.

In his opening remarks, the President of the General Assembly, Abdulla Shahid, called for greater commitments to social justice, and the celebration of all communities, irrespective of caste, creed or skin colour. More

Note to Correspondents: Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani

Today we were able to safely bring food rations, medical supplies and household items to Kharkiv for thousands of people, provided by the World Food Programme (WFP), World Health Organization (WHO), UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). Thank to our national partner the Ukrainian Red Cross, these supplies will be delivered to the most vulnerable communities in hard-hit Kharkiv, as well as hard-to-reach areas like Izium, Balakliia and Chuhuiv.

We rely on the humanitarian notification system with Ukraine and the Russian Federation, facilitated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), to ensure our safe access. Continue reading

Ukraine invasion: Guterres appeals for ‘immediate humanitarian ceasefire’

The UN Secretary-General appealed for an immediate humanitarian ceasefire in Ukraine on Monday, so that “serious political negotiations” can advance towards a peace agreement, based on the principles of the United Nations Charter.

“A cessation of hostilities will allow essential humanitarian aid to be delivered and enable civilians to move around safely. It will save lives, prevent suffering, and protect civilians”, said António Guterres, speaking to reporters outside the Security Council in New York, as Russia’s assault and bombardment of Ukrainian towns and cities continues.

I hope a ceasefire will also help to address the global consequences of this war, which risk compounding the deep hunger crisis in many developing countries that already lack fiscal space to invest in their recovery from the pandemic, and now face soaring food and energy costs”, he added. More

UN’s Bachelet hails ‘millions of voices’ tackling racial discrimination

More than two decades after the signing of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (PoA) – the UN’s blueprint to tackle racism and other forms of discrimination –UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Monday, hailed the “millions of voices around the globe” who’ve made it their mission to eradicate the scourge, while also noting that more work needs to be done.

In paying tribute to those who “relentlessly – and courageously – fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance,” she outlined to the Human Rights Council that progress was being made.

Powerful global movements against racism are shifting the status quo”, the UN right chief said, pointing to the “worldwide protests against racism and racial discrimination” prompted by the murder of George Floyd in 2020, as a “testimony to the power of people and solidarity.” More