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ILO Director-General calls for an end to discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, saying it is “a factor leading to violence and harassment in the world of work."

The ILO joins the international community to mark this International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. Standing together under the banner of Alliances for Solidarity , we highlight the importance of human rights for all, irrespective of actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. 

Discrimination against lesbian, gay, bi, trans and intersex (LGBTI) people doesn’t just hurt them; it hurts families, companies and entire countries. The ILO’s Constitution affirms that all human beings “have the right to pursue both their material well-being and their spiritual development in conditions of freedom and dignity, of economic security and equal opportunity”. Each of us has a part to play in ensuring that this aspiration becomes a reality for all workers, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and sex characteristics.

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Women journalists in Afghanistan, defiant in the face of violence

The cold-blooded murder took place just days before World Press Freedom Day marked annually on May 3rd.

Outside the Afghan capital, the dangers of reporting the news, particularly as a woman, have never been so apparent.

Sediqa Sherzai is the news director of Radio-TV Roshani, a media organization In Kunduz in the north of Afghanistan. Her female reporters are under constant threat not only from insurgents but also from men who do not want women to work in the media.

“When insurgents seized Kunduz in 2015, they came immediately for our station because they didn’t like our content focused on women’s rights,” she said. “Even though most of our reporters fled in advance of their arrival. They looted our equipment and destroyed what they could not take.”

Elections

Despite the challenges of working as a woman in the media in a conservative and conflict-affected country, Sediqa Sherzai is committed to ensuring that the voices of Afghan women area heard ahead of the country’s elections slated for October this year.

In the volatile province of Kunduz where some territory is beyond government control, women say they fear to speak to the media and talk about human rights, much less advocate openly for democracy and change. Even Sediqa Sherzai and her staff of women shy away from photographs, cautiously protecting their identities.

Elections are considered essential to solidify fragile the social and human rights advances made during the last 17 years. The struggle for full women’s suffrage in Afghanistan, reminiscent of similar fights in centuries past in other nations, has gained broader international support in the last two decades.

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[ read the full story on UN News ]

 

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Message on World Press Freedom Day

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

3 May 2018

A free press is essential for peace, justice and human rights for all.

It is crucial to building transparent and democratic societies and keeping those in power accountable.

It is vital for sustainable development.

Journalists and media workers shine a light on local and global challenges and tell the stories that need to be told.

Their service to the public is invaluable.

Laws that protect independent journalism, freedom of expression and the right to information need to be adopted, implemented and enforced.

Crimes against journalists must be prosecuted.

On World Press Freedom Day 2018, I call on governments to strengthen press freedom, and to protect journalists.

Promoting a free press is standing up for our right to truth.

Thank you.

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UNHCR regret at deportations of Venezuelans from Trinidad and Tobago

as released by UNHCR :

UNHCR logo

23 April 2018   | 

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, deeply regrets the deportation this past weekend by Trinidad and Tobago of 82 Venezuelan nationals. The 82 include registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status, making their return to Venezuela a breach of international refugee law.

“The forced return of this group is of great concern,” said Volker Türk, UNHCR’s Assistant High Commissioner for Protection. “We are in contact with the authorities and are seeking clarification on the legal process which has led to the deportations of this group, to ensure that Trinidad and Tobago continues to abide by its international obligations.”

The group, which had been held in detention in Trinidad and Tobago, was deported from the country on Saturday despite UNHCR’s request for access to the individuals concerned and written interventions.

UNHCR calls on Trinidad and Tobago to continue to abide by its international obligations as signatories to the 1951 Refugee Convention and other applicable international instruments that are incorporated into its official Refugee Policy, in particular the principle of non-return, known as non-refoulement, and Article 31 of the Convention which requests signatories “not to impose penalties, on account of their illegal entry or presence” to people who are in need of international protection.

UNHCR will continue working closely with the Government of Trinidad and Tobago to complement its efforts aimed at developing, strengthening and implementing its asylum policy, as well as to support host communities, while offering guidance and assistance to people in need of international protection.

Contacts:

  • In Washington DC, Chris Boian, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 202 243 7634
  • In New York, Kathryn Mahoney, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +1 347 443 7646
  • In Mexico, Francesca Fontanini, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +52 1 (55) 9197 2690
  • In Geneva, Aikaterini Kitidi, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., +41 79 580 8334
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United Nations concerned by Trinidad and Tobago return of Venezuelans

Port of Spain, 22 April 2018 - The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago is concerned after authorities in Trinidad and Tobago announced they had facilitated the return to Venezuela of scores of Venezuelan citizens, including asylum seekers, who had been in detention.

"The United Nations is concerned for the welfare of these people and is in contact with the appropriate authorities in Port of Spain to ensure that any person in need of protection will get it without fail," said the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Richard Blewitt, today.

Mr. Blewitt’s comments came after the Ministry of National Security announced that 82 Venezuelan citizens who had been held in detention in Trinidad and Tobago, had been turned over to the Venezuelan Embassy for repatriation to Venezuela.

The group, comprising 53 men and 29 women, included several individuals who had been registered as asylum seekers in Trinidad and Tobago as well as others who had initiated asylum requests or had signaled an intention to do so.

They were flown out of Trinidad and Tobago on Saturday aboard a Venezuelan Government aircraft. The Ministry statement said all returns were voluntary although this could not be verified independently by United Nations observers.

Venezuelans have been leaving their country in growing numbers, many in need of international protection and seeking temporary refuge in countries of the Americas region, including in some Caribbean small island States like Trinidad and Tobago.

The United Nations and its local partners have encouraged the prompt adoption of national legislation on refugee issues, and work together to support the Government of Trinidad and Tobago in its efforts to develop an efficient and secure asylum system.

Contact

Ruben Barbado, Protection Officer, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR): E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phone: 1-868-623-7056 ext. 26

 

 


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UN migration agency rolls out regional response to ongoing Venezuelans exodus

As the exodus has considerably increased over the last two years, an estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans were abroad in 2017, up from 700,000 in 2015, with 1.3 million in the Americas, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

“The plan is tailored to specific national contexts across 17 countries including eight South American countries, six Caribbean countries, two Central American countries and Mexico,” explained Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

The exodus is not letting up. For instance, more than 800 Venezuelans are estimated to be entering Brazil each day, bringing the total arrivals to more than 52,000 since the beginning of 2017, according to the host Government.

IOM’s regional plan seeks to strengthen the response to the needs and priorities expressed by concerned governments and focuses on such activities as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America, encourages host countries to consider adopting measures, such as regularizing the stay of Venezuelans, and called for the international community to contribute to the regional plan, which requires $32.3 million to implement.

[ this story was originally posted on UN News ]

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student read iconNearly 800 Venezuelans arriving in Brazil each day, many seeking asylum, UN refugee agency says

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MUN 2018 - Port of Spain addresses Human Trafficking

  • 23 March 2018 |
  • Published in Youth

Model United Nations 2018 was hosted by the Rotary Club of Central Port of Spain, Trinidad.  110 students from 50 schools in Barbados, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago participated in six weeks of training activities that led up to the simulation of the General Assembly Plenary on 17 and 18 March 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Port of Spain Trinidad. The Topic that was addressed was the situation of refugees related to armed conflict. The is year the UN also celebrates the 70th anniversary of the UDHR. The  President of the General Assembly of the MUN rang home the importance of the UDHR and its connection to refugee rights in his message to the Assembly. 

 This year marks the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was born out of and endorsed by the United Nations. It is unanimously accepted and was fashioned to guarantee fundamental human rights for every single person, regardless. 

 During this assembly’s deliberations, I urge you to talk about what comes next, to agree that every human life has to matter, regardless of borders, religious or political standing. Let us come to consensus, let us demonstrate to our people that we the peoples of this United Nations are determined to leave this abhorrent trade in human beings in the past forever!

 

Because of armed confilict in multiple regions across the world, particularly the Middle East and East Africa, there have been increases in the flow of people seeking asylum. The impact of armed conflict on women and girls is particularly grave and includes sexual exploitation and violence. The social and economic challenges of providing assistance to victims of human trafficking and refugees are complex and often the UN is looked on to take the lead in coordinating relief and negoiating the process for an international response. The Rotary Club and its sponsors felt compelled to involve the young people in this global dialogue which raises many questions and issues like racism, xenophobia and gender equality; more importantly there is hope that the dialogue will encourage youth to become more interested in standing up for human rights for peopole everywhere.

#STANDUP4HUMANRIGHTS


 PHOTOS:

MUN T&T delegates 2018 at the Hilton Hotel in Port of Spain

 

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 Delegates peforming at the night of culture - MUN 2018 Trinidad

MUN STUDENTSSINGING

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As Venezuelans flee throughout Latin America, UNHCR issues new protection guidance

In light of the continuing outflow of Venezuelans to neighbouring countries and beyond, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, has released new guidance for governments to address the situation of persons in need of international protection and humanitarian assistance.

As a result of the complex political and socio-economic developments in Venezuela, a country that has traditionally been host to thousands of refugees, the number of people compelled to leave their homes continues to increase. The movements are taking place for a variety of reasons, including insecurity and violence, lack of food, medicine or access to essential social services as well as loss of income. While not all Venezuelans leaving are prompted to do so for refugee-related reasons, it is becoming increasingly clear that, while all may not be refugees, a significant number are in need of international protection.

There has been a 2,000% increase in the number of Venezuelan nationals seeking asylum worldwide since 2014, principally in the Americas during the last year. Although over 94,000 Venezuelans have been able to access refugee procedures in other countries in 2017, many more of those in need of protection opt for other legal stay arrangements, that may be faster to obtain and provide the right to work, access to health and education.

[ read the full story on OHCHR ]

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Message on International Women's Day 2018

We are at a pivotal moment for women’s rights. The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before. From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds.

Achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.

The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit. There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations. Gender equality is enshrined in countless laws, and harmful practices like female genital mutilation and child marriage have been outlawed in many countries.  

But serious obstacles remain if we are to address the historic power imbalances that underpin discrimination and exploitation.

More than a billion women around the world lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence. The global gender pay gap is 23 per cent, rising to 40 per cent in rural areas, and the unpaid work done by many women goes unrecognized. Women’s representation in national parliaments stands, on average, at less than one quarter, and in boardrooms it is even lower. Without concerted action, millions more girls will be subjected to genital mutilation over the next decade.

Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissed. We now know that sexual harassment and abuse have been thriving in workplaces, public spaces and private homes, in countries that pride themselves on their record of gender equality.

The United Nations should set an example for the world.

I recognize that this has not always been the case. Since the start of my tenure last year, I have set change in motion at UN headquarters, in our peacekeeping missions and in all our offices worldwide.

We have now reached gender parity for the first time in my senior management team, and I am determined to achieve this throughout the organization. I am totally committed to zero tolerance of sexual harassment and have set out plans to improve reporting and accountability. We are working closely with countries around the world to prevent and address sexual exploitation and abuse by staff in peacekeeping missions, and to support victims.

We at the United Nations stand with women around the world as they fight to overcome the injustices they face – whether they are rural women dealing with wage discrimination, urban women organizing for change, women refugees at risk of exploitation and abuse, or women who experience intersecting forms of discrimination: widows, indigenous women, women with disabilities and women who do not conform to gender norms.

Women’s empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals means progress for all women, everywhere. The Spotlight initiative launched jointly with the European Union will focus resources on eliminating violence against women and girls, a prerequisite for equality and empowerment. 

Let me be clear: this is not a favour to women. Gender equality is a human rights issue, but it is also in all our interests: men and boys, women and girls. Gender inequality and discrimination against women harms us all.

There is ample evidence that investing in women is the most effective way to lift communities, companies, and even countries. Women’s participation makes peace agreements stronger, societies more resilient and economies more vigorous. Where women face discrimination, we often find practices and beliefs that are detrimental to all. Paternity leave, laws against domestic violence and equal pay legislation benefit everyone.

At this crucial moment for women’s rights, it is time for men to stand with women, listen to them and learn from them. Transparency and accountability are essential if women are to reach their full potential and lift all of us, in our communities, societies and economies.

I am proud to be part of this movement, and I hope it continues to resonate within the United Nations and around the world.

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International Women’s Day: The ‘time is now’ to transform global push for women’s rights into action – UN

“The historical and structural inequalities that have allowed oppression and discrimination to flourish are being exposed like never before,” Secretary-General António Guterres said in his message on the Day, marked annually on 8 March and this year

From Latin America to Europe to Asia, on social media, on film sets, on the factory floor and in the streets, women are calling for lasting change and zero tolerance for sexual assault, harassment, and discrimination of all kinds, said the UN chief, declaring that achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls “is the unfinished business of our time, and the greatest human rights challenge in our world.”

“The activism and advocacy of generations of women has borne fruit,” he continued. “There are more girls in school than ever before; more women are doing paid work and in senior roles in the private sector, academia, politics and in international organizations, including the United Nations.”  

However, some remaining serious obstacles include that more than a billion women lack legal protection against domestic sexual violence; over the next decade millions more girls will undergo genital mutilation; and women’s representation in parliaments stands at less than one quarter – and even lower in boardrooms.

“Where laws exist, they are often ignored, and women who pursue legal redress are doubted, denigrated and dismissmantled,” he lamented.

[ read the full story on UN News Centre ]


 

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Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

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