UN Chief Welcomes Prisoner Exchange Between Russian and Ukraine

In a statement issued by his spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, Mr. Guterres commended “all those who brought this to fruition, including President Volodymyr Zelensky and President Vladimir Putin”.

“He hopes that this important humanitarian act could serve as a positive step towards strengthening confidence among all, enabling regular and constructive dialogue at all levels with a view to paving the way to an eventual settlement of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine”, the statement continued.

The Secretary-General also urged all relevant parties to “take further measures in this spirit, to ensure continued momentum in the ongoing peace efforts by the Normandy Four, the Trilateral Contact Group, the OSCE and other actors, including by ensuring a durable ceasefire, easing humanitarian conditions along the contact line, and enabling progress in the implementation of the Minsk Agreements”.

Honoring the Women Who Continue to Provide Life-Saving Support – World Humanitarian Day

The sound of bagpipes echoed in the chapel at the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture as guests gathered to commemorate humanitarian workers killed and injured in the line of duty, while honoring those who continue to work tirelessly to provide life-saving support to people most in need.

The event commenced with the UN Secretary General’s message read by Louise Aubin, UNHCR representative and Acting Director of UNIC followed by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) message delivered by the Head of ICRC Leonard Blazeby. The representative from Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Clare Walsh acknowledged the work of millions of women humanitarians who have and still are changing lives across the globe.

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Comment by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet on Indonesia (Papua and West Papua)

Geneva, 4 September 2019

“I have been disturbed by escalating violence in the past two weeks in the Indonesian provinces of Papua and West Papua, and especially the deaths of some protestors and security forces personnel. This is part of a trend we have observed since December 2018, and we have been discussing our concerns with the Indonesian authorities. There should be no place for such violence in a democratic and diverse Indonesia, and I encourage the authorities to engage in dialogue with the people of Papua and West Papua on their aspirations and concerns, as well as to restore internet services and refrain from any excessive use of force. Blanket internet shutdowns are likely to contravene freedom of expression and limiting communications may exacerbate tensions”.

“I welcome the appeals made by President Widodo and other high-level figures against racism and discrimination – a long-standing, serious issue in Papua and West Papua provinces – and their calls for dialogue and calm. I note that some arrests have been made and some members of security forces have been suspended in relation to the original violent attacks on Papuan students in Surabaya and Malang, but I am concerned about reports that nationalist militias and groups are also actively involved in the violence. Local human rights defenders, students and journalists have been facing intimidation and threats and should be protected”.

ENDS

Statement Attributable to the Spokesperson for the Secretary-General

The Secretary-General is deeply saddened by the terrible devastation caused by
Hurricane Dorian, which is still impacting the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The Secretary-General expresses solidarity with the people and the Government of
the Commonwealth of The Bahamas.

The United Nations will continue supporting the Government-led ongoing rescue and
relief efforts.

Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

New York, 2 September 2019

It is Time to End Trafficking of Men, Women and Children Across the Globe

On Monday the 5th of August 2019, the United Nations Information Centre Canberra, together with partners – International Organisation of Migration (IOM); Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT); and the Australian Centre for Christianity and Culture (ACC&C) – welcomed guests of the diplomatic community at the ACC&C multi-faith chapel to acknowledge World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. 

Attendees appreciated insightful and informative video presentations and a panel discussion between representatives from both IOM and DFAT, covering such issues as Human trafficking and the extractive industry; Technical Assistance in Palau and Countering Human Trafficking: Policy and Practice 

In his opening remarks for the event, Pär Liljert, IOM Australia Chief of Mission and Coordinator for the Pacific, left the audience with the words of their Director General António Vitorino: 

it is not a day to reflect on what we feel about migrants who are victims of trafficking. Rather it is a warning that yet another year has passed in which we can remind ourselves that no matter how much good we can do, we still haven’t done enough. It is time to end the trafficking of men, women and children across the globe”. 

Honor The Work Of Women In Crises Throughout The World

2019 World Humanitarian Day: #WomenHumanitarians
On World Humanitarian Day 2019 we honour the work of women in crises throughout the world. We focus on the unsung heroes, who have long been working on the front lines in their own communities in some of the most difficult terrains, from the war-wounded in Afghanistan, to the food insecure in the Sahel, to those who have lost their homes and livelihoods in places such as Central African Republic, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. And we salute the efforts of women aid workers from across the world, who rally to people in need.

Women make up a large number of those who risk their own lives to save others. They are often the first to respond and the last to leave. These women deserve to be celebrated. They are needed today as much as ever to strengthen the global humanitarian response. And world leaders as well as non-state actors must ensure that they – and all humanitarians – are guaranteed the protection afforded to them under international law.

Women humanitarians dedicate their lives to helping people affected by crises.

Spokesman for the Secretary-General on the ending of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty

The Secretary-General expresses his deep regret at the ending of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty. He has consistently called on both the United States and the Russian Federation to resolve their differences through the consultation mechanisms provided for in the Treaty and regrets they have been unable to do so. He notes that, in the current deteriorating international security environment, previously-agreed arms control and disarmament agreements are increasingly under threat.

Since its entry-into-force on 1 June 1988, the INF Treaty contributed tangibly to the maintenance of peace and stability internationally and especially in Europe. It played an important role in reducing risk, building confidence and helping to bring the Cold War to an end.

The Secretary-General emphasizes the need to avoid destabilizing developments and to urgently seek agreement on a new common path for international arms control. He calls on the Russian Federation and the United States to extend New START and to undertake negotiations on further arms control measures.

Stephane Dujarric, Spokesman for the Secretary-General

New York, 2 August 2019