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First Humanitarian Summit 24 to 25 May

24 - May 2016  - The fist ever World Humanitarian Summit is a call to action to unite around our shared humanity.

 The aims of the Summit are:

  • To reaffirm our shared commitment to humanity and the universality of humanitarian principles; 
  •  Generate greater global leadership and political will toend conflict, alleviate suffering and reduce risk;
  •  Agree on a set of concrete actions and commitments to able us to better prepare for and respondto crises


The United Nations Secretary-General will use this historic moment to call for placing humanity at the centre of global decision-making. He will highlight five core responsibilities that the whole international community must shoulder

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Child marriage is discriminatory and a violation of human rights

Across the globe each year, as many as 14.2 million girls marry before becoming adults; in developing countries, one in every three girls is married before reaching the age of 18 (UNFPA); and, according to a UNICEF 2014 study, 18 per cent of girls aged 15 to 19 - almost one in five – were married or in an informal union in the Latin America and Caribbean Region. Here in Trinidad and Tobago, between 2005 and 2009 there were 747 brides and 15 bridegrooms under the age of 18 (Central Statistical Office (CSO), 2013).

Child marriage is a violation of human rights and threatens the health, future development and lives of young girls. Of the 16 million girls that give birth annually, 90 per cent are child-brides. The leading cause of death for girls aged 15-19 in developing countries are complications from pregnancy and childbirth. Infants are also 60 per cent more likely to die in their first year if their mother is under the age of 18. Early and child marriage discriminates against the girl child through the specific risks it poses to her health and well-being, as well as to her education and economic opportunities, and to her social status. “A girl who is married as a child is one whose potential will not be fulfilled,” says the Executive Director of the UNFPA, Dr. Babatunde Osotimehin.


Our development depends on a future without stigma and discrimination

17 May 2016  - Statement by the United Nations Theme  Group on HIC, AIDS and Human Rights, Trinidad and Tobago:

World over, many people continue to endure stigma and discrimination from dominant groups because they are different. We continue to witness in modern times the decimation of peoples and their culture based on religion and ethnicity. So too, our lack of understanding and intolerance for differences based on sexual orientation and gender identity, continue to result in hardships for those affected and their families. If we are willing, scientificevidence based on studies of these matters could assist us to better understand these issues.  Too often, young people who are Lesbian, Gay, Bi-sexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) face rejection by their families and communities who do not understand and disapprove of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Frequently they are bullied by classmates and teachers, resulting in some students dropping out of school. Sometimes they may even be refused school admission or expelled on the basis of their actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity and are, therefore, denied their education.

The stigma and discrimination that children and young adults face can have a detrimental impact on their self-esteem,  and are associated with higher rates of depression and suicide than their peers, according to Human Rights experts. In some countries, young LGBTI persons are subjected to harmful ‘therapies’ intended to ‘modify’ their orientation or identity. Such therapies are unethical, unscientific and ineffective and tantamount to torture.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights lists thirty entitlements for everyone, everywhere. As UN Secretary-General Ban Ki moon said:  “We cannot tolerate picking and choosing rights in a modern society a society where diversity is celebrated;  a society where everyone,  no matter where they live or whom they love, is able to live in peace and security; a society where everyone can contribute to the health and well-being of their community”. 


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