THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON THE INTERNATIONAL DAY OF FRIENDSHIP

New York, 30th July 2015

The International Day of Friendship was initiated by an individual who had a simple but profound vision: that the forces of animosity and hatred in our world are no match for the power of the human spirit.

I had the opportunity, earlier this year in Paraguay, to commend that pioneer, Dr. Ramón Bracho, for his conviction that just as friendship builds bridges between people, it can also inspire peace in our world.

This is of paramount importance as we confront the discrimination, malice and cruelty that drive conflicts and atrocities afflicting millions of people today. We must counter these destructive trends with a renewed commitment to finding our common humanity and fostering shared progress.

On this International Day of Friendship, let us strengthen bonds among individuals and generate greater respect and understanding in our world.

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL — MESSAGE ON WORLD DAY AGAINST TRAFFICKING IN PERSONS

New York, 30th July 2015
Around the world, criminals are selling people for profit. Vulnerable women and girls form the majority of human trafficking victims, including those driven into degrading sexual exploitation.

Trafficked persons are often tricked into servitude with the false promise of a well-paid job. Migrants crossing deadly seas and burning deserts to escape conflict, poverty and persecution are also at risk of being trafficked. Individuals can find themselves alone in a foreign land where they have been stripped of their passports, forced into debt and exploited for labour. Children and young people can find their lives stolen, their education blocked and their dreams dashed. It is an assault on their most basic human rights and fundamental freedoms. Continue reading

Security Council Press Statement on attacks in Mogadishu

New York July 27, Members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the suicide attack against the Jazeera Palace Hotel in Mogadishu, Somalia, on 26 July, which has caused numerous deaths, including one member of security staff from the Chinese Embassy, and injuries, and for which Al Shabaab has claimed responsibility. They expressed their deep sympathy and sincere condolences to the families of the victims of this heinous act and wished a speedy recovery to those injured. The members of the Security Council offered their condolences to the people and Governments of the Republic of Somalia and the People’s Republic of China.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes one of the most serious threats to peace and security and that any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable regardless of their motivations, whenever and by whomsoever committed.
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UNITED NATIONS NELSON ROLIHLAHLA MANDELA PRIZE AWARD CEREMONY

Delivered by Ms. Susana Malcorra, Chef de Cabinet

New York, 24 July 2015 I am delighted to extend my warmest congratulations to Dr. Helena Ndume of Namibia and His Excellency President Jorge Fernando Branco Sampaio of Portugal as the inaugural laureates of the United Nations Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela Prize. Both of them are recognized for their commitment to social justice and their actions to empower suffering people. I thank these Laureates for helping to advance the mission of the United Nations, and wish them the greatest possible success in their future endeavours.

I also pay tribute to the many individuals, including, and especially, His Excellency Sam Kutesa, President of the General Assembly, who engaged in intensified efforts to mark this year’s Nelson Mandela International Day in such a meaningful way.

I am pleased to welcome a number of distinguished guests, including many who contributed to the global struggle to end apartheid. Your testimony and advocacy helped to realize the vision of a non-racial and democratic South Africa.

Nelson Mandela inspired the world, inspired all of us. Although he suffered terrible atrocities, “Madiba” never sank to the level of his oppressors; instead, he rose to the moment in history. His courageous example gave hope to people in South Africa, across the continent and beyond.

President Mandela lived a remarkable long life and left behind an extraordinary legacy of reconciliation, political transition and social transformation.

In 1990, just months after he was released from prison, Nelson Mandela addressed the United Nations Special Committee against Apartheid. His speech was a ringing call to action. He spoke out against the attitude that “to do nothing must be accepted as the very essence of civilized opposition to tyranny.”

His denunciation of those who would passively accept racism, injustice and other abuses remains just as important today. The United Nations no longer has apartheid on its agenda but we continue to confront racial and other forms of discrimination that drive abuses and violence in all countries.

On this Day, let us pay tribute to Nelson Mandela by actively fighting for human rights, development and peace in our communities and our world.

And let me finish by quoting Mandela in one very short line that represents his vision “as long as poverty, injustice and gross inequality persist in our world, none of us can truly rest”.

THE UN SECRETARY-GENERAL REMARKS AT SECURITY COUNCIL OPEN DEBATE ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT

New York, 18 June 2015
I thank the Foreign Minister of Malaysia, His Excellency Dato’ Sri Anifah Aman, for arranging this critical debate on children and armed conflict.

Last year was one of the worst in recent memory for children in countries affected by conflict.

My report before you outlines the enormous challenges we face in upholding the fundamental rights of tens of millions of children.

We have seen crises multiply and intensify, making protection more and more difficult.

Grave violations against children have been an affront to our common humanity in the Central African Republic, Iraq, Nigeria, South Sudan and the Syrian Arab Republic.

I am also deeply alarmed at the suffering of so many children as a result of Israeli military operations in Gaza last year.

I urge Israel to take concrete and immediate steps, including by reviewing existing policies and practices, to protect and prevent the killing and maiming of children, and to respect the special protections afforded to schools and hospitals.

Around the world, many thousands of children have experienced acts that no child should suffer.

They have been killed, maimed, forcibly recruited, tortured and sexually abused.

Their schools have been destroyed.

And in a worrying trend, abductions have increased rapidly.

Groups such as the Lord’s Resistance Army have kidnapped children for many years.

But the scale and nature of this grave violation is changing.

Abduction is now being used as a tactic to terrorize or target particular ethnic groups or religious communities, and children have been a particular focus.

The large number of abductions by Da’esh and Boko Haram have shocked us repeatedly in recent months.

But we should also recognize that this practice is prevalent in many other situations covered by the report and is perpetrated by a great range of other non-state armed groups.

I am pleased that at the last open debate on children and armed conflict in March, there was broad support from Member States to address this challenge and increase the tools available to deal with it.

Next month we will mark the 10 year anniversary of the Council’s resolution 1612, which established the Monitoring and Reporting Mechanism on the recruitment and use of child soldiers.

My Special Representative and her predecessors have made great strides in protecting children from recruitment.

The “Children, Not Soldiers” campaign is based on many years of work to change attitudes.

This year has witnessed further progress.

We are moving ever closer toward a world in which no child wears a Government uniform and engages in combat.

I encourage those concerned governments here today to redouble their efforts to implement the goals of the campaign and to work with my Special Representative.

However, there is still much to do in addressing the challenge of ending grave violations against children by non-state armed groups.

The report before you highlights some progress made in this regard.

For example, the release of 1,757 children from the Cobra Faction is a bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture in South Sudan.

My Special Representative will continue to work with such groups to ensure we are doing our utmost to protect children in these most difficult environments.

Grave violations against children are also of great concern both in countries of origin and in countries that children flee to.

Children may cross the border to flee conflict, but that does not mean that they are safe from its effects – they require urgent and sustained protection interventions.

This year, I regret that the contents of the annual report have been the subject of more controversy and discussions than usual, to the extent of threatening its integrity.

The mechanism has withstood this scrutiny and the content of my report should speak for itself.

It presents strong overview of egregious violations suffered by children in conflict in 2014.

This increases global awareness, highlights the need for accountability, and calls for action.

It is a stark reminder that protection of children in armed conflict must be our common priority.

A healthy debate where Member States put forward their views and provide information is appropriate.

But national interests should not cloud the objective at stake, which is protecting children.

This is a moral imperative and a legal obligation.

Those who engage in military action that results in numerous grave violations against children will, regardless of intent, find themselves under scrutiny.

Member States should pursue all avenues to protect children affected by armed conflict.

One important way is by ending impunity for the violations outlined in this report.

I also wish to reassure that I am committed to ensuring that the United Nations itself does more and better to prevent any abuse of children in the context of conflict.

Recent allegations concerning abuse in the Central African Republic make this all the more essential.

I urge Member States and, in particular, all the parties to conflict identified in this report to work with my Special Representative to prevent future grave violations against children.

Children have the right to be protected in their schools, in their homes, in their communities.

Let us keep the rights of children at the centre of our efforts to build a future of dignity for all.

Thank you.

UN SECRETARY-GENERAL REMARKS AT PRESS ENCOUNTER FOLLOWING SECURITY COUNCIL MEETING ON CHILDREN AND ARMED CONFLICT

New York, 18 June 2015

Good morning, Ladies and Gentlemen

It is a pleasure to see you following my visit to Germany to participate in the G-7 summit, and five Central Asian countries, and Geneva on the Yemen situation.

I wanted to say, first of all, that I very much welcome the papal encyclical released today by His Holiness Pope Francis. I issued an official statement this morning, but I just wanted to add my own voice in support of the papal encyclical.

I met, as you may remember, with Pope Francis in April in the Vatican. We discussed the need for all humankind to come together to address climate change, one of the principal challenges facing the human community.

Pope Francis and I agree that climate change is a moral issue that requires collective urgent actions. It is an issue of social justice, human rights and fundamental ethics.

People everywhere share a responsibility to care for and protect our common home, our one and only planet Earth.

We must do far more to help the poorest and most vulnerable members of society, who are suffering most from climate impacts yet had least to do with causing the problem.

We must also show solidarity with generations that will follow ours, and bequeath to them a sustainable world.

I thank, deeply, Pope Francis for taking such a strong stand on the need for urgent global action. His moral voice is part of a growing chorus of people from all faiths and all sectors of society speaking out for climate action.

I urge all governments to place the global common good above national interests and to adopt an ambitious, universal climate agreement in Paris this year.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I just spoke to the Security Council about children and armed conflict. As my latest report makes clear, last year was one of unprecedented challenges for children in conflict zones around the world. It is crucially important that we protect the world’s children. As the report shows, that is a goal that we are failing to meet.

I am aware of the controversy surrounding the report. I want to express once again my full support for my Special Representative, Ms. Leila Zerrougui, and the excellent work that she and her team have done.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I hope you will understand my situation, that I have another urgent meeting where I have to participate now, so I will turn the floor over to my Special Representative, to handle any [questions].

THE DEPUTY SECRETARY-GENERAL’S REMARKS AT HIGH-LEVEL GENERAL ASSEMBLY THEMATIC DEBATE IN SUPPORT OF THE PROCESS TOWARDS THE 2016 SPECIAL SESSION OF THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY ON THE WORLD DRUG PROBLEM

New York, 7 May 2015
I thank the President of the General Assembly for convening this timely thematic debate in preparation for the 2016 General Assembly Special Session on the world drug problem (UNGASS 2016).

Today’s meeting is an important opportunity to take stock on the road forward to UNGASS 2016. When we meet in April next year, we must be ready to challenge ourselves, try to consolidate our approaches and integrate a range of perspectives on drug issues. Most important is to listen to each other and engage in an open and comprehensive conversation.

Let us acknowledge that there are different facets and perspectives on the road and the challenges ahead of us. These facets and perspectives are as complex as they are significant.

First, we must acknowledge that the drugs trade, in many cases, poses a threat to peace and security at the national, regional and international levels.

At a national level, the criminal networks which thrive on the drug trade are threats to strong, stable societies. Organised crime undermines institutions, feeds corruption and obstructs democratic governance.

Illicit drugs are also a major source of funding for non-state armed groups. This despicable trade fuels violence and instability – threatening hard-won progress on peace, development, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

At the international level, the ever stronger links between transnational organized crime, terrorism and extremist violence constitute a very serious new threat.

From West Africa to Central Asia, we see how international drug trafficking jeopardises peacebuilding efforts and bolsters terrorist groups. That is why tackling drugs and crime is included in the mandates of UN peace operations in countries such as Guinea-Bissau and Afghanistan.

While we tackle the security implications, let us remember that the drug problem also encompasses countless individual struggles and human tragedies.

The first three words of the UN Charter, “we the peoples”, remind us that we are first and foremost here to serve the peoples of this world, so that they all may live a life in peace and dignity.

People who use drugs face special barriers, burdens and traumas. These include health hazards and psychological strains. They include discrimination and stigmatization. They include the negative effects of serving lengthy prisons sentences for minor drug offences.

People involved in drug production often include vulnerable groups in isolated and conflict-affected areas. Such groups often face exploitation by crime syndicates and traffickers and see limited opportunities for an alternative livelihood.

Preventing drug use, treating drug dependence, providing health care and social protection as well as supporting alternative livelihoods are essential aspects of a balanced drug control approach – one that will allow us to fulfil our responsibility to serve all members of society.

When we refer to intractable conflicts with mounting civilian casualties, we often say the parties must realise “there is no military solution.” I believe there is an equivalent lesson for our work to contain the damaging impact of the drugs trade. The “war on drugs” is in fact a painstaking, laborious, often thankless and seemingly unending Sisyphean struggle.

The evidence is clear: around the world, we see that countries which integrate public health into drug control work achieve greater health effects and social benefits, while at the same time improving rule of law and security.

Our priority must be to promote health-based responses which offer care for drug users.

We must ensure access to essential controlled substances for legitimate medical purposes.

We must adopt policies to prevent the spread of hepatitis, HIV, tuberculosis and other diseases.

And, very importantly, we should pay special attention to the protection of young people.

Specific measures are needed to prevent drug use among children and young people without criminalising them. We must also develop policies that recognise the impact on children of drug use by parents and care-givers.

At the international level, The United Nations advocates a careful balancing of elements of an international policy on drugs.

Through increased focus on public health, prevention, treatment and care – as well as on economic, social and cultural effects and strategies – we can build a multi-sector, approach founded on partnership and cooperation.

Such an approach should promote a close relationship between the institutional bodies of the drug control system and the scientific community. It should also drive work that is evidenced-based, drawing on robust analysis and research.

In 2009, Member States adopted the Political Declaration and Plan of Action on international cooperation towards an integrated and balanced strategy to counter the world drug problem. As we approach the ten-year review of the Political Declaration, UNGASS 2016 is a critical milestone and an opportunity to set the course ahead.

Next year, we must seize the opportunity for open, comprehensive and in-depth discussions. We must draw on perspectives from the full range of stakeholders, including civil society and young people. And we must set the course for national and international policies that respect human rights and strengthen the cohesion of societies.

The Commission on Narcotic Drugs (CND) has a crucial role to lead this preparatory process in an inclusive, open-minded and effective manner. I urge Member States and all other stakeholders to continue to engage broadly in this process.

Today’s high-level event will deepen and inform these important discussions. I wish you every success in your very important work.

I thank you.

WHO ISSUES RAPID HEALTH ASSESSMENT ON IMPACT OF NEPAL EARTHQUAKE

KATHMANDU, Nepal, 01 May 2015
A rapid assessment of health-care facilities by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Ministry of Health and Population in the earthquake-stricken areas has found that hospitals in 4 of the worst-affected districts are completely destroyed or too badly damaged to function. Five other major hospitals, providing important health care in the districts, were found to be functioning but urgently in need of further medical supplies.

Preliminary findings from the assessment, found that while there was a shortage of supplies, sufficient health personnel were available to treat patients arriving in the functioning hospitals.

“WHO staff have been working round the clock to gather this snapshot of the damage inflicted on Nepal’s hospitals and clinics by the earthquake,” according to WHO’s Country Representative for Nepal, Dr Lin Aung. “This information will be a vital tool in guiding the short- to medium-term response by national and international healthcare providers, determining where to move health teams and supplies in the country.”

Teams visited 21 hospitals in 12 of the districts most severely-impacted by the 25 April earthquake to gather information and found that a total of 17 hospitals were still operational.

Many hospitals told the assessment teams that they were experiencing a shortage of supplies, including essential medicines, surgery kits, IV fluids, antibiotics and suturing materials, while tents and mattresses were also required. WHO has already provided essential medicines and supplies to treat 120 000 people for three months, as well as trauma and surgical kits. Additional supplies, including urgently needed medical tents, are scheduled to arrive in Kathmandu this weekend.

WHO is coordinating the deployment of foreign medical teams and humanitarian organizations to priority districts based on the needs of affected populations and the capacities of partner organizations.

Field hospitals are being set up on the site of the 4 non-functioning district hospitals, identified as Ramachhap, Trisuli , Chautara, and Rasuwa. The 5 hospitals found to be functional but needing urgent support include Gorkha District Hospital, Patan Academy of Health Sciences, Dhading District Hospital, Hetauda District Hospital and Alka hospital in Lalitpur. They will be receiving additional supplies of essential medicines and equipment starting today.

“The fact that hospitals do not need additional staff, and that thousands of patients are receiving treatment, shows that the preparedness measures taken by Nepal for emergencies are making a difference,” says Dr Roderico Ofrin, head of WHO’s emergency response. “But we must continue replenishing medical supplies, ensuring patients are treated, and that those who require rehabilitation receive it.”

Dr Ofrin adds: “We must remain vigilant in our efforts to prevent and control communicable disease outbreaks, like diarrhoea, while striving for the resumption of care for pregnant women, and treatment of conditions like TB, HIV, diabetes, cancers, lung and heart diseases. Ensuring women and children receive the healthcare they need is a priority.”

While the rapid assessment provides a snapshot of pressing needs in the aftermath of the quake, additional and ongoing assessments will provide a better picture with which the government and health sector can tailor the delivery of medical relief.

According to official figures received on 1 May, 6200 deaths have been recorded while approximately 14 000 people are injured.

Media contacts:
(In Nepal)
Paul Garwood
Nepal mobile: +977 9801123116
Geneva mob:+41.79.603.7294
email: garwoodp@who.int

(In Geneva)
Tarik Jašarević,
mob: +41 79 367 62 14
email: jasarevict@who.int

Christy Feig
Mob: +41 79 251 7055
Email: feigc@who.int

Source: World Health Organization

388 MORE REFUGEE FAMILIES RECEIVE SUPPORT FOR REPAIRS TO HOMES WITH SEVERE DAMAGE

01 May 2015
US$ 1.37 million in funding from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) through KfW Development Bank and the Japanese Government, available as first instalment for supporting home repairs of severe damages, will reach 388 refugee families across the Gaza Strip next week. They will access the payments through local banks.

Emergency shelter – including support for home repairs, reconstruction and interim shelter solutions – is a top priority for UNRWA. The Agency remains committed to supporting affected families yet requires new funding to resume the shelter cash assistance programme.

Source:United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA)