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UN led consultations highlight the benefits of migrants

  • 24 July 2017 |

 Although the net benefits of migration far outweigh its costs, the public perception is often the opposite, a senior United Nations official pointed out today, as the latest round of consultations on a global compact for migration began in New York.

“Such public perceptions and attitudes negatively influence sound migration policy choices. This must be reversed so that policy is evidence-based and not perception-driven”

Louise Arbour
UN Special Representative for International Migration


The UN Special Representative for International Migration  said that policies responding to false perceptions reinforce the apparent validity of these erroneous stereotypes and make recourse to proper policies that much harder.

The consultation is the fourth in a series of six thematic consultations that will take place this year and feed into the drafting of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), expected to be adopted by UN Member States in 2018.

An outgrowth of the New York Declaration, adopted at a 2016 UN Summit on refugees and migrants, the Compact will be the first intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the UN, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a comprehensive manner.

The current consultation, conducted by representatives of Member States, UN agencies, civil society, migrants and diaspora, examines the challenges and opportunities in leveraging the economic and social contributions of migrants to countries of origin and destination.

Ms. Arbour pointed out that in 2016 migrants sent $429 billion to their countries of origin – one of their most tangible contributions to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in developing countries.

read the full story at - http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=57243#.WXZtAWLyuM8

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Haiti has chance to solidify stability before UN mission’s drawdown, Security Council told

  • 18 July 2017 |

18 July 2017 – With three months left before the current United Nations peacekeeping mission in Haiti transitions to a smaller one, a UN envoy stressed today that the Caribbean country faces the “window of opportunity” to solidify stability, following recent elections.

“Haiti has remained on the path of stabilization and democratic consolidation,” the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Sandra Honoré, told the UN Security Council today.

“Looking ahead, for the country to make full use of the window of opportunity that emerged following the electoral process, additional measures will be needed to consolidate the security and stabilization gains of the past few years, create greater social and political cohesion and truly reinforce State institutions so that they can meet the needs of the Haitian people,” the Special Representative added.

Ms. Honoré noted that political space has opened up for the new Government to start addressing the many challenges facing the country, using this unique opportunity to tackle the root causes of instability, poverty, exclusion and impunity.

“Since then, initial steps aimed at overcoming longstanding problems in the areas of governance, rule of law and socio-economic development have been taken,” she said.

Those steps include a flagship development programme, the “caravan of change” in five of Haiti’s 10 departments, and the launch of legislative review to improve the investment climate, reinforce governance structures and restore State institutions.

However, it is “troubling” that the third branch of power – the judiciary – has not been brought to full functioning, she said, urging that key positions must be filled without further delay.

[testimonial author="Sandra Honore" Title="Special Representative of the Secretary-General and Head of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH)" avatar="../images/2017/honoreicon.png" icon="icon"] “Ultimately, Haiti’s security, political, social and development agenda can only be shaped by the national authorities and the Haitian people themselves;" [/testimonial]

The senior UN official also repeated her calls to modernize the penal system: “Without a properly functioning justice system, the Haitian National Police cannot effectively deliver security for all Haitian citizens and the domestic and international investments in the national police force will not develop to their full potential.”


She underscored the vital importance of inclusive national dialogue to forge a common vision for progress and articulate an institutional reform agenda.

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UN Security Council sees hope for reform after Haiti visit.

  • 03 July 2017 |

30 June 2017 – Haiti has a window of opportunity to implement reforms necessary to bring the Caribbean country onto a path of stability and development, the United Nations Security Council President said today.

Recounting the Council’s recent visit to Haiti, Ambassador Sacha Sergio Llorentty Soliz of Bolivia, which holds the presidency for the month of June, pointed to opportunities to cement positive change in the country.

“Haiti is at political crossroads. The window of opportunity is open to promote the reforms the country needs to respond to challenges,” he said. These include strengthening the rule of law, reforming the security sector, providing basic services, and creating jobs.

Mr. Llorentty led the Security Council mission to Haiti from 22 to 24 June, to get a first-hand look at how the UN could best contribute to stability and development in the country.

[ read the full story ]


Quick look at MINUSTAH

 HaitiFactsheet

  Learn more about the UN and its Work in Haiti

Media

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UN rights chief expresses concern over Venezuela ban on Attorney General from leaving the country

  • 30 June 2017 |

30 June 2017 – Amid the ongoing violence in Venezuela, the United Nations human rights office today expressed concern about a decision by the Supreme Court to null the appointment of the Attorney General, freeze her assets and ban her from leaving the country.

“We are concerned that the Supreme Court’s decisions appear to seek to strip her Office of its mandate and responsibilities as enshrined in the Venezuelan Constitution, and undermine the Office’s independence,” 

Rupert Colville
spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

The Venezuelan Supreme Court on 28 June decided to begin removal proceedings against Attorney General Luisa Ortega, freeze her assets and ban her from leaving the country. It also transferred some of the Attorney General’s, until now, exclusive functions to the Ombudsperson.

UN Guidelines on the Role of Prosecutors stipulate that governments should ensure that prosecutors can do their jobs without intimidation, harassment or improper interference, among other things.

[read the full story] | [en español ]


VEmap 

 Learn more about Venezuela and Human Rights

 Derechos humanos y Venezuela

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UN rights chief decries ‘unacceptable attack’ on Al Jazeera and other media

  • 30 June 2017 |

30 June 2017 – The United Nations human rights chief today expressed strong concern about international demands that Qatar close down the Al Jazeera network and other affiliated media outlets as “extraordinary, unprecedented and clearly unreasonable.”

[testimonial author="Rupert Colville" title="spokesperson for High Commissioner for Human Rights" avatar="../images/2017/colvilleRupert.png"  icon="icon" ]

whether or not you watch it, like it, or agree with its editorial standpoints, Al Jazeera’s Arabic and English channels are legitimate, and have many millions of viewers.

[/testimonial]

Rupert Colville added that “the demand that they be summarily closed down is, in our view, an unacceptable attack on the right to freedom of expression and opinion.”

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt cut diplomatic ties with Qatar in early June. The countries last week gave Qatar 10 days to comply with a list of demands to end the diplomatic showdown, including the shutdown of Al Jazeera.

[ read the full story ]

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UN in Colombia strongly condemns bombing

  • 20 June 2017 |
United Nations entities based in Colombia have strongly condemned Saturday's terrorist attack at a shopping centre in the capital, Bogota, and underscored that they “remain determined” to support the country and its peace process.

“The UN in Colombia regrets and repudiates this act of violence and reiterates that terrorism in all its forms and manifestations constitutes a threat to peace and security,” read a statement (in Spanish) issued by the UN Country Team over the weekend.

[testimonial author="UN System in Colombia"  title="United Nations" avatar="../images/2017/onu-logo-2SM.jp"  icon="icon" ]

We remain determined to continue to support Colombians and their government in their efforts to build sustainable and lasting peace in the country”

[/testimonial]

At least three people (one French citizen and two Colombians) were killed and another nine wounded in the terrorist attack that struck the Andino shopping centre, located in Bogota's Chapinero district.

The blast occurred at around 5 pm local time (GMT -5:00) on a busy Saturday, with many people shopping for Father's Day, the next day.
In the UNCT statement, the agencies also expressed their condolences to the families of the victims as well as to the people and Government of Colombia and of France and wished for a speedy recovery of those injured.

(originally posted on UN News Centre)

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Fathers play a critical role in childhood learning

  • 16 June 2017 |
16 June 2017 – A majority of children aged between three- and four-years-old in 74 countries, or about 40 million, have fathers who do not play or engage in early learning activities with them, according to a new study released today by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

“What these numbers show us is that father's are struggling to play an active role in their children's early years,” said Laurence Chandy, UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy, in a statement on the study, released as some 80 countries around the world are set to celebrate Father's Day this coming Sunday.

“We must break down the barriers that prevent fathers from providing their babies and young children a conducive environment for them to thrive, including love, play, protection and nutritious food,”

Laurence Chandy
UNICEF Director of Data, Research and Policy

The UNICEF analysis examined whether children aged three and four engaged in any play and early learning activities with their fathers, such as having their father read to the children, tell them stories or sing with them; taking them outside, playing with them; and naming, counting or drawing with them.

[ read the full story ]

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USA withdrawal from Paris Agreement is a major disappointment - UN

  • 02 June 2017 |

1 June 2017 – The Spokesman for the United Nations Secretary-General today said the decision by the United States to withdraw from the Paris Agreement on climate change is a major disappointment for global efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and promote global security.

 Stéphane Dujarric told the media at the UN Headquarters in New York, shortly after US President Donald Trump announced his country's withdrawal from the Agreement.


“The Paris Agreement was adopted by all the world's nations in 2015 because they recognize the immense harm that climate change is already causing and the enormous opportunity that climate action presentsIt offers a meaningful yet flexible framework for action by all countries.” 

Stéphane Dujarric
Spokesperson for the Un Secretary-General


He further added that Secretary-General António Guterres remains confident that cities, States and businesses within the US – along with other countries – will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity.

“It is crucial that the United States remains a leader on environmental issues,” he noted.

Mr. Dujarric also said that the Secretary-General looked forward to engaging with the US Government and all actors in the country and around the world to build the sustainable future on which the future generations depend.

[ read the full story ]

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Miroslav Lajcák (Slovakia) elected as the 72nd President of the General Assembly

  • 31 May 2017 |
31 May 2017 – The United Nations General Assembly today elected by acclamation Foreign Minister Miroslav Lajèák of Slovakia as President of its upcoming 72nd session.

Following his election at UN Headquarters in New York, Mr. Lajèák outlined as the six priorities for his tenure: people; peace and prevention; migration; the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate action; and human rights, which would guide his work as an overarching principle.
“I do believe we can do more to bring the UN closer to the world's citizen and make a real difference in their lives,” he began. With a focus on quality, he pledged “not to launch any initiative that would result in additional burden, particularly for smaller States. I would rather create a streamlined agenda organized in clusters.”

“Indeed, it is a common goal to create a stronger United Nations able to meet the multitude of expectations placed upon it,” he underscored. “To that end, I will facilitate a constructive, informed and open interaction among Member States and with the Secretary-General.”

Mr. Lajèák called for greater trust between the UN and its Members, stressing that he would do “his utmost to support progress on the United Nations reform agenda, which is vital to improve the efficiency and role of the General Assembly, as well as reform the Security Council into a twenty-first-century body.”

“I've always believed strongly in multilateralism, with the United Nations at the very centre of it, and I want to use my mandate, when I take over from the current president, to strengthen the role of the United Nations. We live in difficult times, and therefore I believe we need the UN more than ever, and we need a strong and efficient United Nations,”

Miroslav Lajèák
Foreign Minister-Slovakia

  • more

    In his remarks to the General Assembly, Secretary-General António Guterres offered his warm congratulations, saying: “Foreign Minister Lajèák has always demonstrated an impressive command of all aspects of UN action and a strong commitment to the principles that govern our work.”

    The UN chief highlighted Mr. Lajèák's strong commitment to the implementation of Agenda 2030 and the Paris Agreement on Climate change, adding that his “enthusiastic leadership in relation to the Oceans Conference represent a legacy that will never be forgotten in the United Nations.”

    Mr. Guterres also lauded current President, Peter Thomson, saying: “You have guided this Assembly outstandingly well during the transition from one Secretary-General to the next – and you have fully supported my efforts to sharpen our focus on prevention, achieve reform, and better serve the peoples of the world.”

    For his part, General Assembly President Thomson offered congratulations, highlighting that his successor brings “a dedicated work ethic, an unwavering commitment to multilateralism, and a wealth of experience to the role,” skills, he added “that will serve him, and the United Nations, well over the coming session.”

    Mr. Thomson commented that he had been struck by Mr. Lajèák's “commitment to forging a United Nations fit for the 21st Century, an Organization that serves the people, one that is based on ethics and transparency, and one that promotes human rights and the rule of law.”

    Finally, he expressed his confidence “that under Minister Lajèák's leadership, the United Nations will be strongly positioned to advance our global efforts to sustain peace; promote human rights; and stay the course on implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.”

    Having served as a three-term Minister of Foreign and European Affairs of Slovakia, along with the UN and European Union in a number of senior conflict prevention, resolution, and mediation role, Mr. Lajèák will assume the Presidency on 12 September.

    Made up of all the 193 Member States of the UN, the General Assembly provides a forum for multilateral discussion of the full spectrum of international issues covered by the UN Charter. It meets in regular session intensively from September to December each year, and thereafter as required.

  • past Caribbean Presidents

    (Antigua and Barbuda)John W. Ashe of Antigua and Barbuda was elected President of the General Assembly’s sixty-eighth session on 14 June 2013 while serving in the dual capacity as his country’s Permanent Representative to both the United Nations and the World Trade Organization, positions he held since 2004. He died on 22 June 2016.

     (Saint Lucia) Mr. Julian Robert Hunte, President of the fifty-eighth session of the United Nations General Assembly, was Minister for External Affairs, International Trade and Civil Aviation of Saint Lucia, a Senator and Member of Parliament, a Justice of the Peace and a business executive

    (Guyana) Samuel Rudolph Insanally, was elected as President of the forty-eighth regular session of the General Assembly. He served as Permanent Representative of Guyana to the United Nations 1987 - 1993. He had an extensive diplomatic career, spanning 27 years, during which time he has contributed to the increased participation of his country in various regional and international forums.

    learn more about past presidents

 

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UN envoy urges policies that reject ‘us vs. them’ migration tactics

  • 09 May 2017 |

8 May 2017 – A lack of trust leads to increased intolerance and xenophobia, the United Nations envoy on international migration told UN Member States told, calling on Governments to review and put in place effective migration policies that reject an “us vs. them” mentality between national and migrants.

“Migrants are not a burden. Even less so are they a threat. Properly managed, migration stands to benefit all,” Louise Arbour, the Special Representative for International Migration said in Geneva, kicking off the process to the first-ever global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, due to be adopted in 2018.

She urged Governments to ratify and implement all international and regional human right instruments and related conventions, so that their countries’ migration policies would be grounded in human right norms and standards.

“Success will rest in large part on your sustained engagement, in word and deed, to changing the optic by which we view migration, from a phenomenon currently feared by too many, to one that better reflects its overwhelmingly positive impact on society,” Ms. Arbour said.

The UN envoy was addressing the first informal session on the human rights of migrants, looking at their social inclusion and cohesion in societies, and the necessity to counter discrimination including racism, xenophobia and intolerance against migrants.

The two-day session opened today under the co-facilitation of Switzerland and Mexico. It is the first of six thematic discussions to be held between now and November, as consultations for the intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018, of which Ms. Arbour is the Secretary-General.Leading up to the conference, the UN launched the Together initiative last year to change negative perception and attitudes towards refugees and migrants, and to strengthen the social contract between host countries and communities, and refugees and migrants. The initiative bolsters the work of the 2016 UN Summit to Address Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants and its outcome, the landmark New York Declaration.

In today’s session, Ms. Arbour noted that deep-seated attitudes of prejudice and xenophobia, which many of the world’s 245 million migrants often confront, is particularly felt by so-called “irregular migrants” who enter, stay or work in a country without the necessary authorization.

While such migrants may have constituted administrative offences, “they are not crimes per se against persons, property or national security. And while states retain the sovereign prerogative to order their removal, the very presence of such migrants under their jurisdiction places certain obligations on national authorities.”

These obligations include protections, which despite political commitments, are not implemented, and include access to services.

“Putting in place ‘firewalls’ between immigration enforcement and public services is an effective way to facilitate access to justice, housing, health care, education, social protection and social and labour services for migrants,” Ms. Arbour said.

She continued that the erroneous perception of an increased influx of irregular migration, combined with a lack of trust in state capacities to deal with such influxes has led to increased intolerance and rejection of migrants – particularly in communities that face poverty or discrimination themselves.


Louise Arbour - UN Special Representative for International Migration

Louise Arbour

UN Special Representative for International Migration


“Distrust grows between host communities and irregular migrants when an effective migration policy is not in place, devolving into an ‘us vs. them’ mentality between nationals and migrants,” 



Irregular migration by some people feeds xenophobic and racist attitudes against all migrants, creating a “downward spiral of hatred that risks becoming insurmountable.”

In contrast, facilitating access to legal avenues for migration and access to work would reduce the need for many to migrate through irregular channels, the UN envoy noted.

“Policies related to migrants must include the participation of all actors with a stake in the outcome,” she said, “including local governments, trade unions, employers’ organizations, national human rights bodies, private sector, recruitment agencies, security and justice service providers, civil society and youth organizations and migrants.”

The second information thematic discussion will be held next month in New York. It will address drivers of migration, such as climate change and human-made crises.

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