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22 Dec

The United Nations working closely with Trinidad and Tobago in addressing refugee challenges in Trinidad and Tobago and the wider Caribbean.

UN - TRINIDAD and TOBAGO (22 Dec. 2017)

"Trinidad and Tobago's position as a leader in the Caribbean has been demonstrated through its commitment to creating a system of refugee protection" states United Nations Resident Coordinator for Trinidad and Tobago, Richard Blewitt. The United Nations recognises Trinidad and Tobago's commitment in its creation of the Refugee Policy in 2014, which is the first step towards the development of a national asylum system.

The Refugee Policy sets out a three-phased process to develop a national asylum system which, in its implementation, would acknowledge and support the basic human rights of asylum-seekers and recognised refugees as indicated in the Refugee Convention (United Nations Convention relating to the Status of Refugees).

Although the Government, with the support of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), is progressing in the implementation of the Policy, the access to basic services needed to support a life with dignity remains a challenge for many asylum-seekers in Trinidad and Tobago. The UN recognises the frustration at the limited range of solutions available to refugee and asylum-seekers that has been expressed in the demonstration outside the United Nations House during the past several months. Accordingly, legislation must also be introduced that would codify the rights of refugees and asylum-seekers, establish their legal status, and clarify the options available to them.

The implementation of the asylum-system and its supporting legislation will provide opportunities for refugees to integrate and contribute productively to the society in Trinidad and Tobago through the provision of legal documentation and access to work, education, and health services. Until the necessary legislation is passed, the UNHCR will continue to work with its partners and the Government to develop interim solutions for refugees and asylum-seekers here in Trinidad and Tobago.

"The Caribbean is not immune to the refugee crisis occurring in the rest of the world," says UNHCR Protection Officer, Ruben Barbado, "and we value the actions taken by States such as Trinidad and Tobago to honour the commitments of the Refugee Convention."  Such commitments  serve to protect the rights of asylum seekers and refugees so they can rebuild their lives and contribute to creating a stronger, more inclusive society for all. 

 

Press release issued by the United Nations in Trinidad and Tobago on 22 December 2017

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20 Dec

UN Special Rapporteur calls for fresh steps to tackle violence against women in the Bahamas

GENEVA (20 December 2017) – The Bahamas should enshrine the principle of gender equality in its constitution as part of a series of measures to clamp down on discrimination and violence against women, a UN human rights expert has urged after an official mission to the country.

Sex-based discrimination against women is not prohibited in all fields and the principle of equality between women and men is not enshrined in the legislation, which, in turn, results in a weak legal framework for the protection of women and girls against gender-based violence, noted Dubravka Šimonović, the Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, after her visit from 11-15 December 2017.

She urged the Government to adopt a comprehensive law on violence against women and domestic violence and to close other legal gaps, for example by outlawing marital rape and by tackling a discrepancy between the age of sexual consent and the age at which women can receive contraceptive and other health services without parental consent.

She said that there was no recognition of linkage between violence against women and the broader context of sex-based discrimination against women.“Violence against women is deeply rooted in persisting gender stereotypes and patriarchy, and sex-based discrimination against women,” the Special Rapporteur said in a statement at the end of her mission.

 

“In my view, violence against women is hidden, denied and, even more worryingly, accepted as normal.”

Dubravka Šimonović
UN Special Rapporteur for Ending Violence against women

“The Bahamas has come a long way, but there is still a long way to go to eliminate violence against women and girls, its causes and consequences, that are entrenched in a broader framework of different forms of discrimination against women.”More education on gender equality and gender-based violence, awareness, the setting up of an observatory on data collection, and analysis were needed to help fully reveal the extent of violence against women and tackle gender-based violence, along with more shelters, especially in the Family Islands, a 24/7 hotlines and free legal aid for victims, the expert said.

[ read the full story at OHCHR ]

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15 Dec

UN forum sees ‘moderate’ recovery for Latin American and Caribbean economies in 2018

New economic projections for Latin America and the Caribbean show moderate recovery in 2018 and growth the following year – with favoured expansions in consumption and domestic investment, the United Nations reported Thursday.

The Executive Secretary of the UN Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), Alicia Bárcena, unveiled on Thursday the Preliminary Overview of the Economies of Latin America and the Caribbean 2017, which analyses the economies’ performance and updates its latest growth projections.“Although there is reduced fiscal space in the region, we need to promote active public policies to sustain the expansion cycle,” stated Ms. Bárcena, adding that they include strengthening regulation, productive development, tax collection and intraregional trade.

After notching 1.3 per cent growth on average in 2017, the report maintains that regional economies would recover moderately in 2018, and grow 2.2 per cent the following year – noting that the regional economic projections are evolving in a more favourable international context than over the last few years.

[ read the full story on UN News


Infographic.

eclac projections18

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09 Dec

Human Rights Day: UN to launch campaign for 70th anniversary of Universal Declaration

The United Nations will on Sunday kick off in Paris, France, a year-long campaign to honor the foundational human rights document, which next year marks its 70th anniversary.

Since the proclamation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948, “human rightshave been one of the three pillars of the United Nations, along with peace and development,” said Secretary-General António Guterres in his message for Human Rights Day, annually observed on 10 December.

Mr. Guterres noted that while human rights abuses did not end when the Universal Declaration was adopted, the instrument has helped countless people to gain greater freedom and security, and has also helped to prevent violations, obtain justice for wrongs, and strengthen national and international human rights laws and safeguards.

“Despite these advances, the fundamental principles of the Universal Declaration are being tested in all regions,” he said, citing rising hostility towards human rights and those who defend them by people who want to profit from exploitation and division.

“We see hatred, intolerance, atrocities and other crimes. These actions imperil us all,”

Antonio Guterres
United Nations Secretary-General

The year-long campaign will start at Palais de Chaillot in Paris on Sunday, with an event also to be held on Monday at UN Headquarters in New York. UN Information Centres around the world will also launch commemorative activities.

[ read the full story on UN News Centre ]

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05 Dec

Careless disposal of antibiotics could produce ‘ferocious superbugs,’ UN environment experts warn

Growing antimicrobial resistance linked to the discharge of drugs and some chemicals into the environment is one of the most worrying health threats today, according to new research from the United Nations that highlights emerging challenges and solutions in environment.

“The warning here is truly frightening: we could be spurring the development of ferocious superbugs through ignorance and carelessness,” said Erik Solheim, chief of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), on Tuesday.

“The warning here is truly frightening: we could be spurring the development of ferocious superbugs; through ignorance and carelessness,”

Erik Solheim
Chief of UN Environment

He added that studies have already linked the misuse of antibiotics in humans and agriculture over the last several decades to increasing resistance, but the role of the environment and pollution has received little attention. As such, the Frontiers Report, launched on the second day of the UN Environment Assembly (UNEA), which is running through 6 December at UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, looks at the environmental dimension of antimicrobial resistance in nanomaterials; marine protected areas; sand and dust storms; off-grid solar solutions; and environmental displacement – finding the role of the environment in the emergence and spread of resistance to antimicrobials particularly concerning.

“This needs priority action right now, or else we run the risk of allowing resistance to occur through the back door, with potentially terrifying consequences,” stressed Mr. Solheim.

Read the full story at UN News Centre

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