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Malala designated youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace

  • 11 April 2017 |
  • Published in Youth

10 April 2017 – United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres today designated children’s rights activist and Nobel Laureate Malala Yousafzai as a UN Messenger of Peace with a special focus on girls’ education.

“You have been to the most difficult places […] visited several refugee camps. Your foundation has schools in Lebanon, in the Beka’a Valley,” said Mr. Guterres at a ceremony in the Trusteeship Council chamber at UN Headquarters, in New York.

“[You are a] symbol of perhaps the most important thing in the world, education for all,” he highlighted.

Ms. Yousafzai, who was shot in 2012 by the Taliban for attending classes, is the youngest-ever UN Messenger of Peace and the first one to be designated by Secretary-General Guterres since he assumed office in January this year.

Accepting the accolade, Ms. Yousafzai underscored the importance of education, especially education of girls, for advancing communities and societies.

“[Bringing change] starts with us and it should start now,” she said, adding: “If you want to see your future bright, you have to start working now [and] not wait for anyone else.”

UN Messengers of Peace are distinguished individuals, carefully selected from the fields of art, literature, science, entertainment, sports or other fields of public life, who have agreed to help focus worldwide attention on the work of the global Organization.

Backed by the highest honour bestowed by the Secretary-General on a global citizen, these prominent personalities volunteer their time, talent and passion to raise awareness of UN’s efforts to improve the lives of billions of people everywhere.

 

If you speak out, you can help people – UN Messenger of Peace Malala Following the official presentation, Secretary-General Guterres and Ms. Yousafzai conversed with youth representatives from around the world on the theme of girls’ education. Taking a question from a 10 4 17malalayoung speaker in the audience, Ms. Yousafzai said the most difficult time she faced had been from 2007 to 2009 in the Swat Valley, “because we were at a point of making a decision about whether to speak out or remain silent. And I realized that if you remain silent, you are still going to be terrorized. So speaking out, you can help people.” While recovering from the Taliban attack, she realized that “extremists tried everything to stop me [and the fact that they didn’t] is clear evidence that no one can stop me. I have second life for the purpose of [pressing for] education and I’ll continue working on [this issue].

 

Ms. Yousafazi went on to say that brothers and fathers must also support women and girls in the global effort to ensure education for all and, more importantly, to “be who they want to be.” Indeed, she said that her father always told people not to ask him what he did for Malala, ‘but ask what I didn’t do – I didn’t clip her wings.’

 

Summing up the conversation, Mr. Guterrers called Ms. Yousafzai’s life “a remarkable example of solidarity.” Yet, he said, Pakistan is also such an example. “We live in a world where so many borders are closed; so many doors are closed, but Pakistan has received seven million refugees with open borders, open doors and hearts – a symbol of generosity.”

 

He hoped this spirit could serve as an example that “it is not by closing doors that we will all be able to move forward.”
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United Nations in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

Monday 16 January 2016 - The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT) welcomed the resurgence of the debate on child marriage in Trinidad and Tobago and reaffirmed its support for all efforts to end this practice. the UN in T&T  said that it was looking forward to "Trinidad and Tobago’s adoption of a bill that would protect girls from child marriage and promote gender equality, for such action could enhance the well-being of its citizens and advance achievement of its sustainable development vision".

Child marriage – defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a formal or informal marital union engaged in by a person under age 18 – violates human rights and threatens the health and prospects of, in particular, young girls. In this way, it slows progress towards gender equality, and towards ending poverty – in all circumstances and at all levels; and it undermines all dimensions of sustainable development.   

It has been shown that child marriage undermines the rights of freedom of expression, protection from all forms of abuse, and protection from harmful traditional practices identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  It deprives the girl child of an education, exposes her to violence and abuse, and can lead to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth that are life threatening for both mother and baby – contravening State obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 These violations against children’s human rights and opportunities for personal development, also slow achievement of globally established Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as they relate to ending poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, attaining quality education and realising gender equality. Failure to achieve such goals can also directly undermine national development aspirations.  

 

 

 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

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United Nations System in Trinidad & Tobago

Press Release


Monday 16 January 2016

 

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago supports efforts to end Child Marriage

 

The United Nations System in Trinidad and Tobago (UNTT) welcomes the resurgence of the debate on child marriage and reaffirms its support for all efforts to end this practice.

 

Child marriage – defined by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) as a formal or informal marital union engaged in by a person under age 18 – violates human rights and threatens the health and prospects of, in particular, young girls. In this way, it slows progress towards gender equality, and towards ending poverty – in all circumstances and at all levels; and it undermines all dimensions of sustainable development.   

 

It has been shown that child marriage undermines the rights of freedom of expression, protection from all forms of abuse, and protection from harmful traditional practices identified in the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).  It deprives the girl child of an education, exposes her to violence and abuse, and can lead to complications related to pregnancy and childbirth that are life threatening for both mother and baby – contravening State obligations under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW).

 

These violations against children’s human rights and opportunities for personal development, also slow achievement of globally established Sustainable Development Goals, particularly as they relate to ending poverty, ensuring good health and well-being, attaining quality education and realising gender equality. Failure to achieve such goals can also directly undermine national development aspirations.  

 

The UNTT therefore looks forward to Trinidad and Tobago’s adoption of a bill that would protect girls from child marriage and promote gender equality, for such action could enhance the well-being of its citizens and advance achievement of its sustainable development vision. 

 

Contacts

Narissa Seegulam, UN Coordination Analyst, Office of the United Nations Resident Coordinator in Trinidad and Tobago: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 1-868-280-8632, 1-868-623-7056

 

Aurora Noguera-Ramkissoon, Liaison Officer, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Sub-regional Office for the Caribbean, Trinidad and Tobago Branch Office:

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., 1-868-623-7056


 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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Remarks at event marking the International Day to End Violence against Women and Girls:

The Secretary-General

Remarks at event marking the International Day to End Violence against Women and Girls:

“Orange the World: Raise Money to End Violence Against Women”
New York, 21 November 2016

 


It is a great pleasure to join you today.

Since this will be my last observance of this Day, Orange Day, as Secretary-General, I want to thank all of you for a decade of remarkable global activism towards ending violence against women and girls. I will try to participate in Korea and I will be with you in spirit, in the future. 

You have defended the vulnerable and fought impunity.  The United Nations and I, personally, have stood with you.  

This is truly a matter of life and death.  In some countries, as many as 70 per cent of women report having experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner.  In some countries, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 per cent of female murder victims.

The statistics almost defy belief.  What is even harder to understand is why: Why, why men prey on women and girls. Why societies shame the victims.  Why governments fail to punish deadly crimes.  Why the world denies itself the fruits of women’s full participation.

The world cannot afford to pay this price. Women and girls cannot afford it – and should not have to.   

I have tried to put the full UN machinery behind our efforts to rid the world of violence against women and girls, including through UN Women, the Unite campaign, the Network of Men Leaders, and my own constant advocacy.

At long last, we are seeing a growing global recognition that violence against women and girls is a human rights violation, public health pandemic and serious obstacle to sustainable development. 

Yet there is still much more we can and must do to turn this awareness into meaningful prevention and action.

These efforts are chronically under-funded.  I call on governments to show their commitment by dramatically increasing national spending in all relevant areas, including in support of women’s movements and civil society organizations.  I also encourage world leaders to contribute to UN Women and to the United Nations Trust Fund to End Violence against Women.  We look as well to the private sector, philanthropies and concerned citizens to do their part. 

I have seen much horror during the past ten years.  But I have also seen great heroism and resilience -- by women risking their lives in the fight for human rights, and by girls reclaiming their lives following unspeakable attacks.

Some of the most impactful and inspiring moments of my entire term as Secretary-General occurred in the context of our struggle for women’s empowerment.  I will never forget my conversations with girls and women at the HEAL Africa hospital in Goma, DRC.  And I will always remember my meetings with one of the world’s great advocates, Malala Yusafzai. 

I thank everyone who has joined to support this vital cause, including you here in this room.  

Today, we are seeing the world lit up in orange, symbolizing a bright future for women and girls. With investments and political will, we can keep these lights shining for good.

Thank you very much.

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"From the glass ceiling to carpets of shards"

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL

--

MESSAGE ON INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY

“FROM THE GLASS CEILING TO A CARPET OF SHARDS”

8 March 2016

 

As a boy growing up in post-war Korea ,  I remember asking about a tradition I observed: women going into labour would leave their shoes at the threshold and then look back in fear. “They are wondering if they will ever step into those shoes again,” my mother explained. 

More than a half-century later,  the memory continues to haunt me.  In poor parts of the world today, women still risk death in the process of giving life. Maternal mortality is one of many preventable perils. All too often, female babies are subjected to genital mutilation. Girls are attacked on their way to school.  Women’s bodies are used as battlefields in wars. Widows are shunned and impoverished. 

We can only address these problems by empowering women as agents of change.

For more than nine years, I have put this philosophy into practice at the United Nations.  We have shattered so many glass ceilings we created a carpet of shards.  Now we are sweeping away the assumptions and bias of the past so women can advance across new frontiers.

I appointed the first-ever female Force Commander of United Nations troops,  and pushed women’s representation at the upper levels of our Organization to historic highs.   Women are now leaders at the heart of peace and security – a realm that was once the exclusive province of men. When I arrived at the United Nations, there were no women leading our peace missions in the field. Now,  nearly a quarter of all UN missions are headed by women – far from enough but still a vast improvement. 

I have signed nearly 150 letters of appointment to women in positions as Assistant Secretary-General or Under-Secretary-General. Some came from top government offices with international renown, others have moved on to leadership positions in their home countries.  All helped me prove how often a woman is the best person for a job.

To ensure that this very real progress is lasting, we have built a new framework that holds the entire UN system accountable. Where once gender equality was seen as a laudable idea, now it is a firm policy. Before, gender sensitivity training was optional;  now it is mandatory for ever-greater numbers of UN staff.  In the past, only a handful of UN budgets tracked resources for gender equality and women’s empowerment; now this is standard for nearly one in three, and counting. 

Confucius taught that to put the world in order, we must begin in our own circles. Armed with proof of the value of women leaders at the United Nations,  I have spoken out for women’s empowerment everywhere. In speeches at parliaments, universities and street rallies, in private talks with world leaders,  in meetings with corporate executives and in tough conversations with powerful men ruling rigidly patriarchal societies,  I have insisted on women’s equality and urged measures to achieve it.

When I took office, there were nine parliaments in the world with no women. We helped to drive that number down to four.  I launched the UNiTE to End Violence against Women campaign in 2008; today, scores of leaders and ministers,  hundreds parliamentarians and millions of individuals have added their names to the action call.

I was the first man to sign our HeForShe campaign, and more than a million others have joined since.  I stood with activists calling for the abandonment of female genital mutilation and celebrated when the General Assembly adopted its first-ever resolution supporting that goal.  I am echoing the calls of many who know women can drive success in achieving our bold 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and advancing the Paris Agreement on climate change.

On this International Women’s Day, I remain outraged by the denial of rights to women and girls – but I take heart from the people everywhere who act on the secure knowledge that women’s empowerment leads to society’s advancement.  Let us devote solid funding, courageous advocacy and unbending political will to achieving gender equality around the world.  

There is no greater investment in our common future.

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