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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


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.


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    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




  •  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.




  • Join the Blue Heart Campaign


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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.

    Visit the Voluntary Trust Fund for Victims of Human Trafficking here.


‘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 ]


'Long walk to freedom' unfinished for women, girls – Deputy Secretary-General says in Mandela lecture

UN News Service, 25 November 2017 – Reflecting on the legacy of Nelson Mandela, United Nations Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed called for investment in women and girls, decrying gender inequality as perhaps the most pervasive disparity around the world.

“Sadly, the long walk to freedom for women and adolescent girls globally remains unfinished,” Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed told the 15th Nelson Mandela annual lecture in Cape Town, South Africa, referring to the title of Mr. Mandela's autobiography.Speaking on 25 November, which is marked annually as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against women, the Deputy Secretary-General issued a call to action for the international community “to invest in the missing 50 per cent of our human asset base, the potential of our women and unleash their power for good.”

“Sadly, the long walk to freedom for women and adolescent girls globally remains unfinished,”  .. UN Deputy Secretary-General

“Just as the world came together to support the end of subjugation on the basis of race in this great country, we need today to birth a new movement that calls for true equality, everywhere,” she urged.Ms. Mohammed noted that violence against women in homes and war zones is “a global pandemic”. Additionally, fewer than one-third of senior management positions in the private sector are held by women, and less than 25 per cent of all parliamentarians are women.She said the new narrative must address the current context and constituency of young people left behind.

[ read the full story at UN News Centre

"What is 16 Days of Activism?" 

OrangeWorldLogo2017 Square Print

From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of 

Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. The international campaign originated from the first Women's Global Leadership Institute coordinated by the Center for Women's Global Leadership in 1991.

This year, the UNiTE Campaign will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence under the overarching theme, “Leave No One Behind: End Violence against Women and Girls”— reflecting the core principle of the transformative 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.




Free from Polio: World Polio Day

“We need to focus on leaving no child unvaccinated, no matter how difficult it is to reach them,” says, World Health organization (WHO) polio coordinator Mohammed Mohammedi, for twenty years. World Polio Day, 24 October, is an opportunity to recognize the work of committed WHO staff members like Mohammedi.

Polio is a virus that can cause incurable paralysis.
In 1988, polio paralysed 10 children for life every 15 minutes, in nearly every country in the world. Today, there are only 3 countries that are still fighting polio, Afghanistan, Nigeria and Pakistan.

WHO staff play an important role in polio eradication from local to global levels. For example, WHO Surveillance Officers in Somalia have trained a network of more than 500 parents, students, and community leaders to identify every case of acute flaccid paralysis to stop infection immediately.

Through these efforts, more than 16 million people are walking today who would otherwise have been paralysed for life. More than 400 million children are vaccinated every year.

However, there is more to be done. There are more children who should be vaccinated.


Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife & People

Did you know our future depends on migratory animals?

Migratory animals provide vital services that satisfy people’s everyday needs – as a source of food and medicine, as pollinators and seed dispersers, and as a means of pest control. They can also fire our imagination with their majestic presence and beauty and inspire us with their intrepid journeys across deserts and oceans. 

In the Caribbean, sea turtles are probably one of the most well-known migratory animals. However, they are endangered because humans have killed so many endangering entire species, and damaged their marine environment. When people throw the plastic bags into the sea, turtles mistake these for food, eat them, and die. Also, turtles are very sensitive to light. Baby turtles are attracted by artificial lights, and crawl inland. These hatchlings never find the sea and they often die in the morning sun. Such threats can continue to undermine these migratory animals.

The Convention on the Conservation of Migratory Species of Wild Animals emphasises the need to conserve migratory species and to protect them from endangerment.  When the Conference of Parties to the Convention (UN Global Wildlife Conference – CMSCOP12) meets in the Philippines from 23 to 28 October 2017, participants will assess progress made on these issues.  They will also reflect on the intrinsic link between international efforts to conserve the world’s wildlife and the environment, and global ambitions to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The slogan for the Conference, “Their Future is Our Future – Sustainable Development for Wildlife and People”, highlights SDGs to end poverty and hunger, improve health and education, combat climate change, and protect oceans, forests, humans, and animals.  This theme reminds us that global efforts to reach the SDGs must benefit both people and wildlife.

Home Safe Home: Reducing Exposure, Reducing Displacement

In September 2017, hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated Barbuda, St. Maarten, Dominica, Puerto Rico, and other parts of the north-eastern Caribbean. It left people without electricity and water, destroyed homes and health clinics, and isolated communities on these islands. Recovery and rebuilding will require the technical guidance of UN and other disaster management experts, and collaboration among support organisations.

Disasters like these and others across the globe, cause death, injury, ill-health, loss of livelihood, displacement, and lack of access to basic services. Especially vulnerable are children, people living with disabilities, and older persons. To promote risk-awareness among all people and mitigate the impact of disasters, the United Nations, governments, civil society organisations and other emergency support groups, educate on best practices at all levels -  international, regional and national.

Their work is critical to reduce exposure, protect communities and lower the numbers of people displaced by disasters. This year’s International Day for Disaster Reduction (13 October) focuses on these best practices, and related actions and policies that can save homes and livelihoods.


World Mental Health Day

World Mental Health Day focuses on "Mental health in the workplace"

During our adult lives, a large proportion of our time is spent at work. A negative working environment may lead to physical and mental health problems like depression and anxiety disorders.

They are common mental disorders that have an impact on our ability to work, and to work productively. Globally, more than 300 million people suffer from depression, making it a leading cause of disability. More than 260 million are living with anxiety disorders. According to the World Health Organization, these two disorders cost the global economy US$1 trillion a year in lost productivity. Workplaces that promote mental health and support people with mental disorders are more likely to reduce absenteeism, increase productivity and benefit from associated economic gains.

Also, supportive and confidential communication with management can help people with mental disorders continue to or return to work. Access to evidence-based treatments has been shown to be beneficial for depression and other mental disorders. Because of the stigma associated with mental disorders, employers need to ensure that individuals feel supported and able to ask for support in continuing with or returning to work.

World Mental Health Day is observed on 10 October every year, with the overall objective of raising awareness of mental health issues and mobilizing efforts in support of better mental health.

I can happen to anyone, including yourself, so #LetsTalk

Read more about Mental Health Day

Please stop the executions: The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.

Please stop the executions.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.

The death penalty does little to serve victims or deter crime.

And even with meticulous respect for fair trials, there will always be a risk of miscarriage of justice.

This is an unacceptably high price.

The world is now moving in the right direction.

Ever more countries are abolishing the death penalty and establishing moratoria on its use. Some 170 States have either abolished it or stopped using it.

But at the same time, we are concerned by the trend of reversing long-standing moratoria on the death penalty, in cases related to terrorism.
Excerpts from the remarks by the UN Secretary-General at the Panel "Transparency and the death penalty" on World Day Against the Death Penalty

Read the full statement below:

Remarks at Panel on “Transparency and the death penalty”
New York, 10 October 2017

[as delivered]

I thank the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Member States who have co-sponsored this important event.

We are here to explore a very urgent and troubling human rights issue: the continued use of the death penalty, and the secrecy that surrounds it.

This is my first public statement as Secretary-General on the death penalty.

I want to make a plea to all States that continue this barbaric practice:

Please stop the executions.

The death penalty has no place in the 21st century.

I am proud to say that my country, Portugal, abolished capital punishment 150 years ago – one of the first countries to do so. As a matter of fact, I was told in school that we were the first country, but I don’t want to create any incident with any other country that claims … but this is indeed something I am very proud of.

The reasons were those that we call on today:

The death penalty does little to serve victims or deter crime.

And even with meticulous respect for fair trials, there will always be a risk of miscarriage of justice.

This is an unacceptably high price.

The world is now moving in the right direction.

Ever more countries are abolishing the death penalty and establishing moratoria on its use. Some 170 States have either abolished it or stopped using it.

Just last month, two African States – The Gambia and Madagascar – took major steps towards irreversible abolition of the death penalty. I welcome these developments and congratulate both governments for their principled stance.  

In 2016, executions worldwide were down 37 per cent from 2015.

Today just four countries are responsible for 87 per cent of all recorded executions.

But at the same time, we are concerned by the trend of reversing long-standing moratoria on the death penalty, in cases related to terrorism.

And those countries that do continue executions also have international obligations. In many cases, they are failing to meet them.

Transparency is a prerequisite to assess whether the death penalty is being carried out in compliance with international human rights standards.

It also honours the right of all people to know whether their family members are alive or dead, and the location of their remains.

But some governments conceal executions and enforce an elaborate system of secrecy to hide who is on death row, and why.

Others classify information on the death penalty as a state secret, making its release an act of treason.

Some limit the information that can be shared with defence lawyers, limiting their ability to appeal for clemency.

Still others grant anonymity to companies that provide the drugs used in executions, to shield them from negative publicity.

This lack of transparency shows a lack of respect for the human rights of those sentenced to death and to their families.

It also damages the administration of justice more generally.

Full and accurate data is vital to policy-makers, civil society and the general public. It is fundamental to the debate around the death penalty and its impact.

Secrecy around executions undermines that debate, and obstructs efforts to safeguard the right to life.

Today, on the World Day Against the Death Penalty, I reaffirm my opposition to the death penalty in all circumstances.

I invite all those states that have abolished the death penalty to support our call on the leaders of those that retain it, to establish an official moratorium, with a view to abolition as soon as possible.

I wish you a successful and thought-provoking discussion, and I thank you very much.


Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers:World Teachers' Day

Quality teachers are key to sustainable global development, and their training, recruitment, retention, status and working conditions are among the top priorities for the United Nations Educational,Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO). Indeed, to achieve the Sustainable Development Goal 4 target of universal primary education by 2030, the demand for teachers is expected to rise to 25.8 million.

However, worldwide, there is a shortage of well trained teachers, and UNESCO is leading another Goal 4 target that calls for a substantial increase in qualified teachers. World Teachers’ Day, commemorated annually since 1994, focuses on such efforts to improve the status of teachers. This year's theme is “Teaching in Freedom, Empowering Teachers”.

The 2017 edition of World Teachers’ Day will also celebrate the 20th anniversary of the 1997 UNESCO Recommendation concerning the Status of Higher-Education Teaching Personnel. It will focus on institutional autonomy and academic freedom to highlight this year’s theme.

Read more about World Teachers’Day.


Read more about UNESCO




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