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UN resolution paves way for mass use of driverless cars

A resolution to ensure the safe use of automated vehicles was passed at the UN Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) Global Forum on Road Traffic Safety in Geneva, on Wednesday.

In a statement, the UNECE said that automated vehicles have the potential to create safer, more efficient and environmentally friendly transport, which could reshape entire sectors of the economy and improve the lives of millions of people, notably those unable to drive or with limited access to mobility.

However, there are still many questions relating to areas such as road safety standards, traffic rules, insurance regimes, cybersecurity and data protection, which must still be addressed before the mass introduction of driverless cars to the market.

The resolution offers recommendations to ensure the safe interaction between automated vehicles, and road users, and stress the key role that people need to play, whether as responsible drivers, occupants or on the road in general.

[ read the full story on UN News ]

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Jamaican and Egyptian to receive 2018 UNESCO prize for girl's and women education

A Jamaican project to help school-aged mothers return to the classroom and another in Egypt which provides educational opportunities for marginalised girls will receive the 2018 UNESCO Prize for Girls' and Women's education.

UNESCO and the Ministry of Education of the People's Republic of China will award USD 50,000 each to the Women's Centre from Jamaica and the Misr El-Kheir Foundation from Egypt, during a ceremony at the UNESCO's headquarters on 10 October (International Gay of the Girl Child)

The Women's Centre of Jamaica is rewarded for its project that targets girls who drop out of school because of early pregnancy, providing these school-aged mothers with academic and practical training, health services, nursing and more. Young mothers are encouraged to re-enter school to complete their basic education and some to advance to tertiary level. The project which has impacted on state policies in Jamaica, has been replicated in other countries, supporting girls and women in the acquisition of knowledge and skills for a fulfilling life, helping them transition to employment.

[ read the full story on UNESCO ]

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Human rights ‘success stories’ shared at the UN to serve as example, and inspire others

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) is 70 this year and since then, it’s helped improve the rights of vulnerable women, children and men worldwide. The “Good Human Rights Stories” initiative was launched by 14 countries and the European Union to highlight the strengthening of rights, and inspire nations worldwide to follow suit. 

At a high-level event held in that spirit on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, in New York, on Thursday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres, drove home that point: “We should never forget the profound progress that has been made over the decades – and, indeed, that is happening as we speak.”

“Progress in one corner of the world plants a seed of hope in another,” he stated, referencing his own personal story. “I grew up under the Salazar dictatorship in Portugal and did not know democracy until I was twenty-four years old…But it was the human rights struggles and stories of others around the world that inspired and moved us to believe in change at home.”

Michelle Bachelet, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, who also delivered opening remarks cited recent human rights advancements across the world including in India, the Horn of Africa, South Africa, Georgia, Liberia, Tunisia and Chile.

“In many countries, things are moving in the right direction, sometimes not quickly enough, sometimes it’s not perfect, but nevertheless, they are moving and the broader impact is clear,” she said. 

The event went on to showcase several initiatives and progress made to strengthen human rights in various countries, including the promotion of diversity in Indonesia, the role played by civil society in Korea, new legislation for gender equality in Tunisia, and prison reform in Georgia, to name a few. 

On Wednesday, the UN held another high-level event marking the 70th anniversary of the UDHR, to highlight how making the text a reality, can be a powerful tool for nations across the world to prevent conflict and poverty.

 

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Scourge of genocide remains a ‘threat and a reality’ today: UN human rights chief

Genocide remains a “threat and a reality” in the 21st century, UN rights chief Michelle Bachelet said on Thursday, in an appeal to States to do more to act on the “warning signs” that often precede grave violations of international law.

At an event at the Human Rights Council in Geneva to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the Genocide Convention, Ms. Bachelet highlighted the findings of a UN probe into “the military-led campaign of murder, rape and assault” against Myanmar’s Rohingya people, as well as brutal acts committed against the Iraqi Yazidi community by ISIL.

“This leaves us in no doubt that the genocide convention matters as much today as it did on 9 December 1948. The day it became the very first human rights treaty to be adopted by the UN General Assembly - followed the next day by the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

... Michelle Bachlet

Insisting that it was time to “take stock” of recent violations in Myanmar and Iraq, Ms. Bachelet also welcomed last week’s decision by the International Criminal Court (ICC) that it had jurisdiction to rule over the alleged mass deportation of some 750,000 Rohingya, from Rakhine state.

The ICC decision did not specifically address the crime of genocide “but it offers real hope” that those responsible will be brought to justice, she noted, while underlining the importance and “preventative impact” of the work of the Human Rights Council and the UN Human Rights Office, OHCHR.

“Accountability matters,” the UN official continued. “Prevention and punishment – the explicitly stated twin aims of the genocide convention – can never be seen in isolation from each other. Punishment is key to prevention. Impunity is an enabler of genocide; accountability is its nemesis.”

To date, 149 States have ratified or acceded to the Genocide Convention, whose full name is the Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide.

It was signed in the aftermath of World War Two and the Holocaust, when Member States of the young organization drew up an international treaty to prohibit the crime of genocide, which required signatory governments to take all necessary steps to prevent or stop it.

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Defending people - An interview with the UN rights cheif - Zeid

In his last major interview with UN News, the outgoing UN human rights chief tells us that the “real pressure on this job comes from the victims and those who suffer and expect a great deal from us.”

If you don't sometimes speak out, if you don't threaten to speak out, you don't grab their attention. And I would rather err on the speaking out part than staying silent

 Zeid Ra’ad al Hussein
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Full interview:

UN HIGH COMMISSIONER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS ZEID RA’AD AL HUSSEIN LOOKS BACK ON HIS TERM

The real pressure on this job comes from the victims and those who suffer and expect a great deal from us. And that’s the pressure that I think matters most and is most consequential on us in terms of the need to do the right thing.

Our job is to defend the individual victims, vulnerable communities, marginalized communities. Oppression is making a comeback. Repression is fashionable again. I don't believe anyone holding this position, even if they felt differently, ultimately can conduct business in a manner that departs too radically from the way that I've done it and my predecessors have done it. My belief is if you try to depart, you're going to hear it, and it will be extremely unpleasant for you because you're going to hear it from the very people who are suffering. 

ON HIS LEGACY

People who mattered to me are in the civil society, victims groups, human rights defenders. And if they say Zeid has, done a good job, I'd be very content with that.

If they say Zeid could have done better, I'll have to learn to live with it and accept it.

ON THE FIGHT AGAINST INJUSTICE

I met with four young girls. They had been sentenced to 30 years in prison for - and they claim these were obstetric emergencies, these were miscarriages - the State claimed that these were terminations of pregnancy. And when I sat with them, and I had with me a full team, my office was there; I think within the space of about ten minutes we were all weeping, we were in tears because their suffering was so extreme.

I saw the President after that and I said, “Why is it that all these girls are poor?” I think in many, many parts of the world, this is the point that really strikes home: that time and again, the poor suffer all the consequences.

ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SPEAKING OUT

I first worked with the UN in 1994, 1995 in the former Yugoslavia, and I saw what catastrophes silence can bring. And I think from that point on, I was determined not to be silent when the evidence before us was presented.

ON THE CHALLENGES OF THE UNITED NATIONS

It’s very difficult to tolerate abuse of the UN when I keep thinking of the heroic things that people do in the field, whether they be humanitarian actors or humanitarian personnel, my human rights people, the people who are monitoring or observing. And I take my hat off to them. I mean, they are the UN that I will cherish and remember.

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UNAIDS warns that progress is slowing and time is running out to reach the 2020 HIV targets

New HIV infections are rising in around 50 countries, AIDS-related deaths are not falling fast enough and flat resources are threatening success. Half of all new HIV infections are among key populations and their partners, who are still not getting the services they need



PARIS/GENEVA, 18 July 2018—UNAIDS is issuing countries with a stark wake-up call. In a new report, launched today in Paris, France, at an event co-hosted with Coalition PLUS, UNAIDS warns that the global response to HIV is at a precarious point. At the halfway point to the 2020 targets, the report, Miles to go—closing gaps, breaking barriers, righting injustices, warns that the pace of progress is not matching global ambition. It calls for immediate action to put the world on course to reach critical 2020 targets.

“We are sounding the alarm,” said Michel Sidibé, Executive Director of UNAIDS. “Entire regions are falling behind, the huge gains we made for children are not being sustained, women are still most affected, resources are still not matching political commitments and key populations continue to be ignored. All these elements are halting progress and urgently need to be addressed head-on.”

HIV prevention crisis

Global new HIV infections have declined by just 18% in the past seven years, from 2.2 million in 2010 to 1.8 million in 2017. Although this is nearly half the number of new infections compared to the peak in 1996 (3.4 million), the decline is not quick enough to reach the target of fewer than 500 000 by 2020.
The reduction in new HIV infections has been strongest in the region most affected by HIV, eastern and southern Africa, where new HIV infections have been reduced by 30% since 2010. However, new HIV infections are rising in around 50 countries. In eastern Europe and central Asia the annual number of new HIV infections has doubled, and new HIV infections have increased by more than a quarter in the Middle East and North Africa over the past 20 years.

Treatment scale-up should not be taken for granted

Due to the impact of antiretroviral therapy roll-out, the number of AIDS-related deaths is the lowest this century (940 000), having dropped below 1 million for the first time in 2016. Yet, the current pace of decline is not fast enough to reach the 2020 target of fewer than 500 000 AIDS-related deaths.
In just one year, an additional 2.3 million people were newly accessing treatment. This is the largest annual increase to date, bringing the total number of people on treatment to 21.7 million. Almost 60% of the 36.9 million people living with HIV were on treatment in 2017, an important achievement, but to reach the 30 million target there needs to be an annual increase of 2.8 million people, and there are indications that the rate of scale-up is slowing down.

West and central Africa lagging behind

Just 26% of children and 41% of adults living with HIV had access to treatment in western and central Africa in 2017, compared to 59% of children and 66% of adults in eastern and southern Africa. Since 2010, AIDS-related deaths have fallen by 24% in western and central Africa, compared to a 42% decline in eastern and southern Africa.

Nigeria has more than half (51%) of the HIV burden in the region and there has been little progress in reducing new HIV infections in recent years. New HIV infections declined by only 5% (9000) in seven years (from 179 000 to 170 000) and only one in three people living with HIV is on treatment (33%), although HIV treatment coverage has increased from just 24% two years ago.

Progress for children has slowed

The report shows that the gains made for children are not being sustained. New HIV infections among children have declined by only 8% in the past two years, only half (52%) of all children living with HIV are getting treatment and 110 000 children died of AIDS-related illnesses in 2017. Although 80% of pregnant women living with HIV had access to antiretroviral medicines to prevent transmission of HIV to their child in 2017, an unacceptable 180 000 children acquired HIV during birth or breastfeeding—far away from the target of fewer than 40 000 by the end of 2018.

“One child becoming infected with HIV or one child dying of AIDS is one too many,” said Mr Sidibé. “Ending the AIDS epidemic is not a foregone conclusion and the world needs to heed this wake-up call and kick-start an acceleration plan to reach the targets.”

Key populations account for almost half of all new HIV infections worldwide

The report also shows that key populations are not being considered enough in HIV programming. Key populations and their sexual partners account for 47% of new HIV infections worldwide and 97% of new HIV infections in eastern Europe and central Asia, where one third of new HIV infections are among people who inject drugs.

“The right to health for all is non-negotiable,” said Mr Sidibé. “Sex workers, gay men and other men who have sex with men, prisoners, migrants, refugees and transgender people are more affected by HIV but are still being left out from HIV programmes. More investments are needed in reaching these key populations.”
Half of all sex workers in Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, South Africa and Zimbabwe are living with HIV. The risk of acquiring HIV is 13 times higher for female sex workers, 27 times higher among men who have sex with men, 23 times higher among people who inject drugs and 12 times higher for transgender women.

 “Communities are echoing UNAIDS’ call,” said Vincent Pelletier, positive leader and Executive Director of Coalition PLUS. “We need universal access to adapted prevention services, and protection from discrimination. We call upon world leaders to match commitments with funding, in both donor and implementing countries.”

Stigma and discrimination persists

Discrimination by health-care workers, law enforcement, teachers, employers, parents, religious leaders and community members is preventing young people, people living with HIV and key populations from accessing HIV prevention, treatment and other sexual and reproductive health services.

Across 19 countries, one in five people living with HIV responding to surveys reported being denied health care and one in five people living with HIV avoided visiting a health facility for fear of stigma or discrimination related to their HIV status. In five of 13 countries with available data, more than 40% of people said they think that children living with HIV should not be able to attend school with children who are HIV-negative.

New agenda needed to stop violence against women

In 2017, around 58% of all new HIV infections among adults more than 15 years old were among women and 6600 young women between the ages of 15 and 24 years became infected with HIV every week. Increased vulnerability to HIV has been linked to violence. More than one in three women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence, often at the hands of their intimate partners.

“Inequality, a lack of empowerment and violence against women are human rights violations and are continuing to fuel new HIV infections,” said Mr Sidibé. “We must not let up in our efforts to address and root out harassment, abuse and violence, whether at home, in the community or in the workplace.”

90–90–90 can and must be achieved

There has been progress towards the 90–90–90 targets. Three quarters (75%) of all people living with HIV now know their HIV status; of the people who know their status, 79% were accessing treatment in 2017, and of the people accessing treatment, 81% had supressed viral loads.

Six countries, Botswana, Cambodia, Denmark, Eswatini, Namibia and the Netherlands, have already reached the 90–90–90 targets and seven more countries are on track. The largest gap is in the first 90; in western and central Africa, for example, only 48% of people living with HIV know their status.

A big year for the response to tuberculosis

There have been gains in treating and diagnosing HIV among people with tuberculosis (TB)—around nine out of 10 people with TB who are diagnosed with HIV are on treatment. However, TB is still the biggest killer of people living with HIV and three out of five people starting HIV treatment are not screened, tested or treated for TB. The United Nations High-Level Meeting on Tuberculosis in September 2018 is an opportunity to bolster momentum around reaching the TB/HIV targets.

The cost of inaction

Around US$ 20.6 billion was available for the AIDS response in 2017—a rise of 8% since 2016 and 80% of the 2020 target set by the United Nations General Assembly. However, there were no significant new commitments and as a result the one-year rise in resources is unlikely to continue. Achieving the 2020 targets will only be possible if investments from both donor and domestic sources increase.
 
Ways forward

From townships in southern Africa to remote villages in the Amazon to mega-cities in Asia, the dozens of innovations contained within the pages of the report show that collaboration between health systems and individual communities can successfully reduce stigma and discrimination and deliver services to the vast majority of the people who need them the most.

These innovative approaches continue to drive the solutions needed to achieve the 2020 targets. When combination HIV prevention—including condoms and voluntary medical male circumcision—is pursued at scale, population-level declines in new HIV infections are achieved. Oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is having an impact, particularly among key populations. Offering HIV testing and counselling to family members and the sexual partners of people diagnosed with HIV has significantly improved testing access.

Eastern and southern Africa has seen significant domestic and international investments coupled with strong political commitment and community engagement and is showing significant progress in achieving the 2020 targets.

“For every challenge there is a solution,” said Mr Sidibé. “It is the responsibility of political leaders, national governments and the international community to make sufficient financial investments and establish the legal and policy environments needed to bring the work of innovators to the global scale. Doing so will create the momentum needed to reach the targets by 2020.”

 

In 2017 , an estimated

 

  • 36.9 million [31.1 million–43.9 million] people globally were living with HIV
  • 21.7 million [19.1 million–22.6 million] people were accessing treatment
  • 1.8 million [1.4 million–2.4 million] people became newly infected with HIV
  • 940 000 [670 000–1.3 million] people died from AIDS-related illnesses

 

CONTACT

UNAIDS Geneva
Sophie Barton-Knott
tel. +41 22 791 1697
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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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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Governments should place more emphasis on drug treatment and rehabilitation, says UN-backed narcotics control board

The study, published on Thursday, reveals that only one in six people globally who needs treatment has access to these services.

Further, even where treatment is available, the quality often is poor or not in line with international standards.

“Our report shows that treatment of drug dependence is highly cost-effective and, most importantly, treatment of drug dependence should be seen as part of the ‘right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health,’ and as such, an element of the right to health,” INCB president Viroj Sumyai said in a message included in the report.

The INCB is an independent quasi-judicial body which monitors implementation of three United Nations international drug control conventions.

In addition to pressing for more government action in the areas of treatment, rehabilitation and reintegration, it is calling for attention to be paid to “special populations” such as women, migrants and refugees.

The report also highlights the need for the global community to support Afghanistan, where illicit opium production and opium poppy cultivation hit a record high last year.

The Afghanistan Opium Survey 2017, produced by the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the country’s Ministry of Counter Narcotics, shows opium production reached 9,000 metric tonnes: a nearly 90 per cent increase over 2016 figures.

[ full story on UN News Centre ]

Learn more about the UN and drug-use prevention, treatment and care

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Human Trafficking and the UN

  • Child peers through fence- victim of trafficking

    Article 3, paragraph (a) of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons defines Trafficking in Persons as the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of persons, by means of the threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, of abduction, of fraud, of deception, of the abuse of power or of a position of vulnerability or of the giving or receiving of payments or benefits to achieve the consent of a person having control over another person, for the purpose of exploitation.

    Exploitation shall include, at a minimum, the exploitation of the prostitution of others or other forms of sexual exploitation, forced labour or services, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude or the removal of organs.

     


     htms logo title small en

    This Portal includes 3 databases; The Case Law database, the Legislation database, and the Bibliographic database.Through the Case Law database, UNODC hopes to raise awareness and assist countries in the ratification and implementation of the Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, supplementing the United Nations against Transnational Organized Crime. The public website provides access to continuously updated and expanding resources and aims to favour the exchange of information and to support law enforcement, government officials, and practitioners who are working on behalf of human trafficking victims.


     Member States on the Record

    memberonrecord

     

     

  •  Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air

    Adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25, entered into force on 28 January 2004. It deals with the growing problem of organized criminal groups who smuggle migrants, often at high risk to the migrants and at great profit for the offenders. A major achievement of the Protocol was that, for the first time in a global international instrument, a definition of smuggling of migrants was developed and agreed upon.


    Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons Especially Women and Children

    Adopted by General Assembly resolution 55/25. It entered into force on 25 December 2003. It is the first global legally binding instrument with an agreed definition on trafficking in persons. The intention behind this definition is to facilitate convergence in national approaches with regard to the establishment of domestic criminal offences that would support efficient international cooperation in investigating and prosecuting trafficking in persons cases. An additional objective of the Protocol is to protect and assist the victims of trafficking in persons with full respect for their human rights.


    A/RES/68/192 Improving the coordination of efforts against trafficking in persons

     UN General Assembly Adopted without vote, 70th plenary meeting : Issued in GAOR, 68th sess., Suppl. no. 49


    United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime

    The Convention was adopted by resolution A/RES/55/25 of 15 November 2000 at the fifty-fifth session of the General Assembly of the United Nations.  In accordance with its article 36, the Convention will be open for signature by all States and by regional economic integration organizations, provided that at least one Member State of such organization has signed the Convention, from 12 to 15 December 2000 at the Palazzi di Giustizia in Palermo, Italy, and thereafter at United Nations Headquarters in New York until 12 December 2002.

    Status of Ratifications

  • 14: Jan 18

    Training Flight attendants to recognise trafficking victims

    The UN Human Rights Office and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) develop set of guidelines to train cabin crewmembers on how to identify safely and report suspected cases of human trafficking.

    • Read this story

      “Something in the back of my mind told me that something was not right,” Shelia Fedrick, a flight attendant working for Alaska Airlines, told reporters. “The girl looked like she had been through hell.”

      A young woman sitting inside the dim lit cabin of an airplane. © Sofia Sforza/CCO 1.0Fedrick was working on a flight from Seattle to San Francisco, United States, when she noticed on board a well-dressed older man travelling with a teenage girl that she said looked “dishevelled and out of sorts.”

      Fedrick tried to speak to the pair but the girl remained silent and the man became defensive. It was at that moment that the flight attendant decided to leave a note for the girl in the restroom and instructed her discreetly to go to the restroom.

      “She wrote on the note that she needed help,” said Fedrick who immediately informed the pilot. Police officers were waiting at the plane’s terminal in San Francisco on arrival and were able to confirm that the young girl was a victim of human trafficking.

      Fedrick, who has been a flight attendant for over ten years, said the incident reminded her of her training; although she felt that she could have seen other victims without being fully aware that they were being trafficked.

      “If you see something, say something,” Fedrick told reporters.

      Human trafficking is considered the third most lucrative illegal activity on the planet, after the illegal sale of arms and drugs, and its clandestine nature makes it difficult to quantify with precision.
       
      Men, women and children are recruited, transferred, harboured or received, through the use of force or deception, to be exploited into prostitution rings, forced labour, domestic servitude or the removal of their organs.

      In 2017, the International Labour Organization (ILO) estimated that some 40.3 million people worldwide were subjected to forced labour and modern slavery. Further, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in its 2016 Global Report revealed that the majority of trafficking victims, 51%, were women.

      International efforts to address trafficking can be traced back to at least a century and a fundamental shift is taking place in how the international community thinks about human trafficking. For instance, the US Department of Homeland Security indicates that during the fiscal year 2017, its Immigration and Customs Enforcement branch rescued or identified 518 victims.

      In 2010, the UN General Assembly adopted a Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons, calling on States to adopt national action plans to end trafficking. Specialized UN agencies also have their role to play: the UN Human Rights Office has been working with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to develop guidelines for airlines operators to train cabin crews in identifying and reporting trafficked individuals.

      “Cabin crewmembers are in a unique situation where they can observe passengers over a certain period of time allowing them to use their observation skills to identify a potential victim of trafficking,” the document reads. “If cabin crewmembers suspect a case of trafficking in persons on board, a proper assessment of the situation is necessary before any response can be initiated.”

      The Guidelines document gives examples of indicators for cabin crews on how to identify potential victims. These include situations where a passenger is not in control of their documentation or has false identity documents; is not aware of their final destination; may not be allowed to speak for themselves directly; or has no freedom on the aircraft to separate themselves from those accompanying them.

      If they believe they have identified a victim, cabin crew are advised to then follow specific reporting procedures whether the aircraft is in the air or on the ground, being always mindful to not jeopardize the victim’s and other travellers’ safety.

     

    30: Jul '14

    Human Traffikcing is a global billion dollar business.

    From the young women who have been enslaved as prostitutes or abused as unpaid domestic workers to the men who have been trapped in everlasting servitude, victims of trafficking have frequently been made vulnerable by structural discrimination and inequalities, said the UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay on the occasion of the first-ever World Day against Trafficking in Persons.

    • Read this story

      Describing the trade and exploitation of human beings through trafficking as one of the gravest and most comprehensive violations of human dignity, UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay marked the first-ever World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, by urging all governments to act: “Every government has a responsibility to fight it, both directly—through investigations and prosecutions – and in the deeper sense of serious and sustained efforts at prevention.”

      From the young women who have been enslaved as prostitutes or abused as unpaid domestic workers to the men who have been trapped in everlasting servitude, victims of trafficking have frequently been made vulnerable by structural discrimination and inequalities, Pillay said at a special event held in Geneva to observe the Day.

      According to the International Labour Organization (ILO), about 21 million men, women and children today are coerced into various forms of forced labour, generating as much as US$ 150 billion in illegal profits per year.

      “The scale and diverse nature of the problem calls for comprehensive solutions” ,Kari Tapiola, the ILO Special Advisor to the Director General, said in his address. Those who benefit from exploitation must be punished, Tapiola said, and equally there must be strong preventative measures and improved support and compensation for victims.

      During the event, Mike Dottridge, the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the UN Voluntary Fund for Contemporary Forms of Slavery, said that the international community has invested more than 1.2 billion US dollars to combat human trafficking.

      “However, over the past decade there have been countless horrendous cases of trafficked adults and children going unassisted or receiving far too little help to enable them to exit the vicious cycle of exploitation,” he said.

      Since its establishment in 1991, the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery, managed by the UN Human Rights Office, has awarded several million US dollars in project grants. More than 400 organizations world-wide have used the funds to provide humanitarian, legal, psychological and social assistance to victims of modern slavery. Well over half the grants go to survivors of trafficking.

      July 30, the World Day against Trafficking in Persons is the day on which the UN Global Plan of Action against Trafficking in Persons was adopted in 2010, the first-ever universal document directed at combatting human trafficking. 

     

    26: Jul '12

    Human rights based perspective is urged in prosecuting crimes of trafficking in persons

    States must respect and protect the rights of trafficking victims in their criminal justice responses to trafficking in persons. [/date]

    • Read this story

      “Human rights of trafficked persons are often not the primary consideration in the pursuit of effective criminal justice responses to trafficking,” Joy Ngozi Ezeilo, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, especially women and children said, presenting her report to the Human Rights Council.

      Coast guards detain the vessel Kalsit carrying immigrants north of Crotone © EPA PHOTO ANSA/FRANCO CUFARI/BWShe urged States to prosecute trafficking and related acts using a human rights-based perspective. In order to effectively combat and prevent trafficking in persons, it is essential to criminalize the conduct of trafficking and related acts through “clear, enforceable and comprehensive” legislation, while ensuring effective protection of the victim.

      She noted that efforts to identify trafficked persons as victims who deserve protection are often complicated by the fact that victims may be “imperfect”; they may have committed crimes or have criminal records.

      Joy Ngozi Ezeilo urged that they should not be prosecuted for offences relating to their status as victims of trafficking victims, for it destroys trust and re-traumatizes the victims. 

      Victims who have criminal records may also face difficulties in recovery and reintegration.

      Timely and efficient identification of victims is central to the criminalization of trafficking, as it strengthens the ability of law enforcement officials to prosecute traffickers effectively and is fundamental in terms of being able to provide victims with the necessary support.

      She further acknowledged the work of victim support agencies working on the ground as they are the first to come into contact with trafficked persons and thereby serve a key function.

      The Special Rapporteur stated that support services to trafficked persons must be designed and delivered in a manner that is compatible with a human rights-based approach. An approach that requires an analysis of the ways in which human rights violations arose throughout the trafficking cycle as well as States’ obligations under international human rights law.

      The approach further seeks to both identify and redress the discriminatory practices and unjust distributions of power that underlie trafficking, maintain impunity for traffickers and deny justice to victims of trafficking. A human rights-based approach also identifies victims as rights holders and their entitlements.
      Some States have linked the provision of assistance and protection to cooperation with national criminal justice agencies, the Special Rapporteur strongly believes that “support and protection should not be made conditional on the victim’s capacity or willingness to cooperate in legal proceedings”.

      She is also concerned by practices where victims are mandatorily detained in shelters. In particular, she considers the routine detention of women and children in shelter facilities “discriminatory and unlawful”.

      The Special Rapporteur offered a number of recommendations, including criminalization of trafficking and related acts in accordance with international law and standards; non-criminalization of trafficked persons for status-related offences; building the capacity of front-line officials to identify trafficking victims accurately; and encouraging greater coordinated collaboration between criminal justice and victim support agencies.

      Finally, warning that “certain laws and policies may have unintended negative consequences for victims of trafficking”, the Special Rapporteur recommended that States should “include appropriate safeguards in the criminal justice responses that protect victims, witnesses and suspects, and integrate gender and age-based perspectives into investigations and prosecution”.

    Video - UN Secretary-General Addressed the Security Council

     

    Remarks by Mira Sorvino, Goodwill Ambassador for Global Fight against Human Trafficking, at the High-level meeting of the General Assembly on the appraisal of the United Nations Global Plan of Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

     

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    The UNODC Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking provides grassroots humanitarian, legal, and financial aid to victims of trafficking through governmental, inter-governmental, and civil society organizations.

    The key aim is to give people from all walks of life - including governments, the private sector, international organizations, NGOs, and individuals the opportunity to work together to provide solutions to assist victims of human trafficking.

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‘We are all at risk’ when humanity’s values are abandoned; UN honours memory of Holocaust victims

Calling on the world to “stand together against the normalization of hate, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has stressed in his message for the International Day dedicated to honouring Holocaust victims that everyone has a responsibility to quickly and decisively resist racism and violence.

Mr. Guterres recalled that the International Day, marked annually on 27 January, was created to honour the memory of six million Jewish men, women and children that perished in the Holocaust and countless others lost their lives as cruelty convulsed the world.Yet, decades since the Second World War, there is still the persistence of anti Semitism and an increase in other forms of prejudice.Citing Neo-Nazis and white supremacy groups as among the main purveyors of extreme hatred, the UN chief said that too often, vile views are moving from the margins to the mainstream of societies and politics.

“Whenever and wherever humanity’s values are abandoned, we are all at risk,” stressed the Secretary-General.

[ read the full story at UN News ]

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