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Former UN Women Director to be the new High Commissioner for Human Rights

Ms. Bachelet was most recently President of Chile between 2014 and 2018, having served previously from 2006 to 2010, the year in which she was appointed the first Executive Director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN‑Women).  Ms. Bachelet also held ministerial portfolios in the Government of Chile, serving as Minister for Defence (2002‑2004) and Minister for Health (2000‑2002),

Please see below the official transcript from the SG 

REMARKS AT PRESS ENCOUNTER ON APPOINTMENT OF MICHELLE BACHELET AS UNITED NATIONS

HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS

New York, 10 August 2018

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I am delighted that the General Assembly has confirmed the appointment of Ms. Michelle Bachelet as the new United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

Ms. Bachelet has been as formidable a figure in her native Chile as she has at the United Nations.

At home, she has known the heights and the depths – as the first woman to serve as the country’s President, but also as a survivor of brutality by the authorities targeting her and her family many decades ago.

She was also a pioneer here at the United Nations – the first leader of UN Women, giving that new entity a dynamic and inspiring start.

Now, she takes on a role for which she is perfectly suited. In this year in which we mark the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human rights, I could not think of a better choice.

She has lived under the darkness of dictatorship.

As a physician, she knows the trials of people thirsting for health and yearning to enjoy other vital economic and social rights.

And she knows the responsibilities of both national and global leadership.

She takes office at a time of grave consequence for human rights.

Hatred and inequality are on the rise.

Respect for international humanitarian and human rights law is on the decline.

Space for civil society is shrinking.

Press freedoms are under pressure.  

To navigate these currents, we need a strong advocate for all human rights – civil, political, economic, social and cultural.

We need a person who can ensure the integrity of the indispensable human rights mechanisms of the United Nations.

I want to express my deep gratitude to my good colleague and friend Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein for his leadership, passion, courage and skill in serving as High Commissioner for the past four years. I wish him well as he takes time with his beloved family, and in all his future endeavours. 

Michelle Bachelet brings unique experience to the United Nations and to all of us, and is strongly committed to keeping human rights at the forefront of the work of the United Nations. She has my full confidence and support, and I ask all Member States and our partners to extend to her their support.

I look forward to working together to promote and encourage respect for human rights for “we the peoples”, everyone and everywhere.

Thank you very much.

World needs generation of self-empowered ‘superheroes’, UN youth forum told

  • 09 August 2018 |
  • Published in Youth
The United Nations needs to spend more time talking directly to young people across the world, beyond simply talking about their concerns, said the President of the General Assembly on Wednesday, opening a major Youth Dialogue event at UN Headquarters in New York.

“They still feel they are excluded, from the decisions that are affecting their lives,” said Miroslav Lajčák,  adding that “we want this to be an event when we take a step back, and we listen to young people, talking to each other.”

Quite often, he said,  “they have a feeling that when they speak, no one is listening”.

He added that the themes he was keen to hear their views on were education, jobs, and the complex issue of how young people could be dissuaded from taking a path towards violent extremism. “We talk about it, but we still don’t really get it – don’t really grasp it,” he said.

Other speakers included an athelete from the Pacific island nation of Tonga, who won world reknown, when he marched shirtless into the opening ceremony of the Rio Olympic Games in 2016, carrying his country’s flag.

“The world does not need violence, does not need bombs, the world needs today’s youth to become superheroes,” said Pita Taufatofua.

At the UN, wearing a shirt, he said his brother advised him to “keep your shirt on and leave the oil at home”.

The second piece of advice from his brother was, “tell your truth, leave the youth with something they can take into the future,” Mr. Taufatofua said.

 

 

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Nagasaki is ‘a global inspiration’ for peace, UN chief says marking 73rd anniversary of atomic bombing

The survivors of the atomic bombings, known in Japanese as the hibakusha, have become global “leaders for peace and disarmament”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at Thursday’s Nagasaki Peace Memorial Ceremony in Japan, commemorating the 73rd anniversary of that devastating day.

“Nagasaki is not just an international city with a long and fascinating history. It is a global inspiration for all those who seek to create a safer and more secure world,” Mr. Guterres said.

“I am humbled”, he told those assembled, “to be here with you to commemorate the women, men and children killed by the nuclear attack on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945,” he said conveying his “deepest respect and condolences to everyone here today, and to all the victims and survivors of the atomic bombs”.

Calling the city “a beacon of hope and strength, and a monument to the resilience of its people,” the UN chief underscored that while the atomic bomb killed and injured tens of thousands, it “could not crush your spirit”.

“From the other side of the apocalypse, the hibakusha have raised their voices on behalf of the entire human family. We must listen,” he asserted. “There can be no more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis, and so no more hibakusha.”

Mr. Guterres noted that 73 years on, fear of nuclear war still prevails, as States are spending vast sums to modernize their nuclear weapon arsenals.

“More than $1.7 trillion was spent in 2017 on arms and armies — the highest level since the end of the cold war and around 80 times the amount needed for global humanitarian aid,” the Secretary-General pointed out.

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THE SECRETARY-GENERAL’S REMARKS AT THE PEACE MEMORIAL CEREMONY 

Nagasaki, Japan, 9 August 2018 [AS DELIVERED]

Nagasaki no minasama, konnichi wa. [Hello, everyone.]

Minasama-ni ome-ni kakarete, kouei desu. [It is an honour to meet you.]

I am humbled, as Secretary-General of the United Nations, to be here with you to commemorate the women, men and children killed by the nuclear attack on Nagasaki on 9 August 1945.

I convey my deepest respect and condolences to everyone here today, and to all the victims and survivors of the atomic bombs. It is a great personal pleasure to be here in Nagasaki.

My country, Portugal, has deep political, cultural and religious ties with this city, going back nearly five centuries.

But Nagasaki is not just an international city with a long and fascinating history. It is a global inspiration for all those who seek to create a safer and more secure world.

This city, your city, is a beacon of hope and strength, and a monument to the resilience of its people. The atomic bomb that killed and injured tens of thousands of people in the immediate aftermath of the blast, and in the years and decades that followed, could not crush your spirit.

The survivors of Nagasaki and Hiroshima, the Hibakusha, have become leaders for peace and disarmament here in Japan and around the world. They are defined not by the cities that were destroyed, but by the peace that the world needs and they seek to build.

From the other side of the apocalypse, the Hibakusha have raised their voices on behalf of the entire human family. We must listen.

There can be no more Hiroshimas, no more Nagasakis, and so no more Hibakusha.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, and dear children, Sadly, 73 years on, fears of nuclear war are still with us. Millions of people, including here in Japan, live in a shadow cast by the dread of unthinkable carnage. States in possession of nuclear weapons are spending vast sums to modernize their arsenals.

More than $1.7 trillion dollars was spent in 2017 on arms and armies – the highest level since the end of the Cold War and around 80 times the amount needed for global humanitarian aid. Meanwhile, disarmament processes have slowed and even come to a halt. Many states demonstrated their frustration by adopting the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons last year. Let us also recognize the persistent peril of other deadly weapons.

Chemical and biological weapons of mass destruction, and those being developed for cyberwarfare, pose a grave threat. And conflicts fought with conventional weapons are lasting longer and are becoming more deadly for civilians. There is an urgent need for disarmament of all kinds, but especially nuclear disarmament. This is the backdrop of the global disarmament initiative that I launched in May.

Disarmament is a driving force for maintaining international peace and security. It is a tool for ensuring national security. It helps to uphold the principles of humanity, promote sustainable development and protect civilians.

My agenda for disarmament is based on concrete measures that will lower the risk of nuclear annihilation, prevent conflict of all kinds, and reduce the suffering that the proliferation and use of arms causes to civilians.

The agenda makes clear that nuclear weapons undermine global, national and human security. The total elimination of nuclear weapons remains the highest disarmament priority of the United Nations.

Here in Nagasaki, I call on all countries to commit to nuclear disarmament and to start making visible progress as a matter of urgency.

Nuclear-weapon States have a special responsibility to lead. Let Nagasaki and Hiroshima remind us to put peace first every day; to work on conflict prevention and resolution, reconciliation and dialogue, and to tackle the roots of conflict and violence.

Peace is not an abstract concept and it does not come about by chance.

Peace is tangible, and it can be built by hard work, solidarity, compassion and respect. Out of the horror of the atomic bomb, we can reach a deeper understanding of our irreducible bonds of responsibility to each other.

Let us all commit to making Nagasaki the last place on earth to suffer nuclear devastation.

I will work with you to that end.

Thank you.

Arigato gozaimasu

UN Security Council condemns attack on the UN Interim force in Lebanon

Security Council Press Statement

The attack against UNIFIL

 

The members of the Security Council condemned in the strongest terms the attack against the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) on 4 August near the town of Majdal Zun, Southern Lebanon. Peacekeepers were threatened with illegal weapons, vehicles were set on fire and UNIFIL’s own weapons and equipment were seized.  The members of the Security Council underlined the need for the conduct of a credible investigation to determine the exact circumstances of this attack.

The members of the Security Council reiterated their full support for UNIFIL, condemned any attempt to prevent UNIFIL from carrying out its mandate in full in accordance with Security Council resolution 1701 (2006), and recalled the necessity for all parties to ensure that UNIFIL personnel are secure and their freedom of movement is fully respected and unimpeded.

The members of the Security Council commended the role of UNIFIL in maintaining calm along the Blue Line and its cooperation with the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) with the aim of extending the control of the Government of Lebanon over all Lebanese territory.

The members of the Security Council recalled the statements of the International Support Group on 8 December 2017 and of the Security Council on 19 December 2017 and 27 March 2018, commending the role of the LAF and of all state security institutions in protecting the country, its borders and its population, and recalling that the LAF are the only legitimate armed forces of Lebanon, as enshrined in the Lebanese Constitution and Taif Agreement.

The members of the Security Council recalled relevant provisions of Security Council resolutions 1559 (2004), 1680 (2006), 1701 (2006) and 2373 (2017), including provisions that there be no weapons or authority in Lebanon other than those of the Lebanese state, no foreign forces in Lebanon without the consent of its government, and no sale or supply of arms-related materiel to Lebanon except as authorised by its government. The members of the Security Council encouraged the Secretary General to continue providing prompt and detailed reporting on restrictions to UNIFIL’s freedom of movement.

The members of the Security Council reaffirmed their commitment to the stability, security, sovereignty and political independence of Lebanon, in accordance with relevant Security Council resolutions.

9 August 2018

 


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Haiti: UN agricultural development fund supports hurricane-affected farmers with $11 million

With many rural areas in Haiti still recovering from the devastation caused by Hurricane Matthew in 2016, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) announced on Thursday that it is investing $10.8 million help restore agricultural productivity in some the worst affected areas of the island nation.

The funds will be distributed through the Agricultural and Agroforestry Technological Innovation Programme, known by its French acronym PITAG, extending its reach to eight additional municipalities in Haiti’s South Department, and spreading sustainable agricultural practices and technologies.

"Haiti's rural population suffers from a vicious circle of low agricultural productivity, high environmental degradation and poor nutrition,” said Lars Anwandter, who leads IFAD's programme in Haiti.

Weak agricultural practices in Haiti have been compounded by a series of natural disasters. The most recent, Hurricane Matthew, which struck the south-western part of the tiny island nation on 4 October 2016, left 2.1 million people severely affected, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

As of February 2018, some 622,100 are reportedly still in need of food security assistance.

While the situation in Haiti has improved since the hurricane hit, deep-seated vulnerabilities persist. Over the past few decades, Haiti has seen its soils, water reservoirs and woods severely degraded. World Bank data shows that 59 per cent of the total population lives below the poverty line and the figure rises to 75 per cent in rural areas.

Today, Haiti produces only 45 per cent of the food that Haitians need.

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