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

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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10th ILO Caribbean Minister of Labour Meeting adopts its Conclusions

Kingston (ILO News) - Following two days of deliberation on realizing decent work under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Ministers of Labour and other high-level representatives of the Ministries and Departments of Labour of the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, adopted their Conclusions  for action on key themes for the Caribbean growth, development and labour rights challenges:

  1. Elevating Decent Work to the national and regional policy level and the role of social partnership;
  2. Non-standard forms of employment;
  3. Harmonization of labour laws;
  4. Regional Initiative: Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour;
  5. Skilled Workforce for Sustainable Growth and Development;
  6. Improving productivity and competitiveness: the role of the labour management relations and transitioning to formality;
  7. Labour cooperation in the region.

“The objectives have been realized. You have defined a clear set of priorities and we as ILO depart with a much clearer understanding of the challenges, how to address them and what your expectations are” ...

  ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder

 

 

 

ILO Director-General,congratulated  the delegations stating that he was encouraged by the assets constituents brought to the process and the “strength of the determination of Governments, Employers and Workers to come together to deal with the challenges. This is not a given in many parts of the world.” He was committed to make sure the distinctive nature of the Caribbean constituency forms part of the ILO global community. He expressed sincere appreciation to the host country Jamaica and all participants.

 

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Abuses by non-State actors no justification for rights violations by Governments – UN rights chief

1 May 2017 – Raising alarm over use of rhetoric by States that they can “solve problems” and find ways around lawful safeguards, the United Nations rights chief today urged vigilance to protect and promote human rights of everyone.
“The use of, or the creation of, some form of political fog to create confusion at times, even amounting to the depth charging of truth or parts of it, so that a government can pursue a particular line [is,] I think something […] to watch very carefully,” said UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein at a press briefing in Geneva.

“Violations by non-State actors of human rights norms, of international law, do not, and should not serve as grounds for violations thereby by Government actors,” he underscored.

In his remarks, he expressed particular concern over the renewed state of emergency in Turkey and the human rights situation in the country.
According to reports, up to 150,000 civil servants have been suspended. Furthermore, there are reports that last week about 10,000 police officers were also suspended and some one thousand among them detained.
“With such a large number, it is highly unlikely that the suspensions and detentions will have met due process standards,” added Mr. Zeid.
“Yes, the terror attacks need to be tackled, but not at the expense of human rights, and I am very concerned about the renewed state of emergency which was undertaken in mid-April and the climate of fear in the country,” he underscored.

In the same vein, he also drew attention to the dangers confronting human rights defenders, journalists and civil society members in their lines of work.

The High Commissioner for Human Rights also spoke out against the impact of human rights violations on the lives of people and the resulting increased suffering.

“Human rights violations have also resulted in famines in Yemen and South Sudan and human rights deficits have exacerbated the impact of droughts in other places like Kenya, Somalia and northern Nigeria,” he said.

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World Press Freedom Day

 World Press Freedom Day was proclaimed by the UN General Assembly in 1993 following a Recommendation adopted at the twenty-sixth session of UNESCO's General Conference in 1991. This in turn was a response to a call by African journalists who in 1991 produced the landmark Windhoek Declaration on media pluralism and independence.

image005It serves as an occasion to inform citizens of violations of press freedom - a reminder that in dozens of countries around the world, publications are censored, fined, suspended and closed down, while journalists, editors and publishers are harassed, attacked, detained and even murdered.

At a time described by some as critical for journalism, World Press Freedom Day 2017 will focus on why it is vital to strengthen free and quality journalism to enable the media to effectively contribute to the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 16(link is external). Specifically, the interrelationships between freedom of expression, justice for all and the rule of law, peace, and inclusiveness will be explored.

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UNIC and Scarborough Library host an exhibit on Human Rights Day

  • 14 December 2015 |
  • Published in Tobago

11 December 2015 - UNIC Port of Spain and the Scarborough Public Library came together to host an exhinit on Human Rights and the Sustainable Dvelopment Goals in observance of the International Human Rights Day. The exhibit feaured UN official documents on the the history of human rights at the Orgnaisation and a list of key human rights documents like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) as well as other Fact Sheets that explained some of the fundamental articles from the UDHR in detail.

The UNIC also used this event to showcase the recently launched Sustainable Development Goals agenda 2030 programme, which evolved out of the Millennium development goals targets that came to their deadline this year. 

 

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UN calls for women's full participation in labour force

8 March 2017 – As the rights of women and girls around the world are being reduced and restricted, the United Nations today marked International Women's Day with calls for empowering and educating women and girls to reach gender equality in the work place.

In messages for the Day and events around the world, senior UN officials reflected on the significant impact of women's participation and contribution to the global economy, and international goal of reaching 50-50 equality in employment around the world by 2030.

Secretary-General António Guterres noted that leadership positions are predominantly held by men, and “outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism” are widening the economic gender gap.

“Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women's rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices,” the Secretary-General said.

He underscored that denying women and girls their rights “is not only wrong in itself; it has serious social and economic impacts that hold us all back.”

Closing the gender gap, for example, would add $12 trillion to global gross domestic production (GDP) by 2025.

In her message, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women Executive Director, decried the lack of opportunities for women and girls, saying “too many women and girls spend too many hours on household responsibilities.”

She called for construing a different world of work for women: “As they grow up, girls must be exposed to a broad range of careers, and encouraged to make choices that lead beyond the traditional service and care options to jobs in industry, art, public service, modern agriculture and science,”

This change needs to start at home and in the first days of school, and include adjustments in parenting, curricula, educational settings and cultural stereotypes propagated in entertainment and advertising.

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said women and girls must be ready to be part of a digital revolution and study science, technology and math if they are to compete successfully for high-paying new jobs.

In her message, the head of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCOsaid equality lies in destroying stereotypes. It “lies in ridding the media and collective imagination of prejudice by highlighting the women scientists, artists and politicians who are moving humanity forward in all fields,” Irina Bokova said.

She called on governments to invest in education and training, and allowing women to exercise their own choices when it comes to their bodies and their lives – just as men do.

“Everywhere, women and men are determined to change things, to denounce discrimination and demand genuine equality, and we must support and accompany them,” said Ms. Bokova.


Learn more about the UN and Women 

 

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Message on International Women's Day 2017

The Secretary-General

Written message on International Women’s Day

New York, 8 March 2017

Women’s rights are human rights. But in these troubled times, as our world becomes more unpredictable and chaotic, the rights of women and girls are being reduced, restricted and reversed.

Empowering women and girls is the only way to protect their rights and make sure they can realize their full potential.

Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.

Women’s legal rights, which have never been equal to men’s on any continent, are being eroded further. Women’s rights over their own bodies are questioned and undermined.  Women are routinely targeted for intimidation and harassment in cyberspace and in real life. In the worst cases, extremists and terrorists build their ideologies around the subjugation of women and girls and single them out for sexual and gender-based violence, forced marriage and virtual enslavement.

Despite some improvements, leadership positions across the board are still held by men, and the economic gender gap is widening, thanks to outdated attitudes and entrenched male chauvinism. We must change this, by empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.

Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.   

Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

When women participate fully in the labour force, it creates opportunities and generates growth. Closing the gender gap in employment could add $12 trillion to global GDP by 2025. Increasing the proportion of women in public institutions makes them more representative, increases innovation, improves decision-making and benefits whole societies.

Gender equality is central to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the global plan agreed by leaders of all countries to meet the challenges we face. Sustainable Development Goal 5 calls specifically for gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls, and this is central to the achievement of all the 17 SDGs. 

I am committed to increasing women’s participation in our peace and security work. Women negotiators increase the chances of sustainable peace, and women peacekeepers decrease the chances of sexual exploitation and abuse.

Within the UN, I am establishing a clear road map with benchmarks to achieve gender parity across the system, so that our Organization truly represents the people we serve.  Previous targets have not been met. Now we must move from ambition to action.

On International Women’s Day, let us all pledge to do everything we can to overcome entrenched prejudice, support engagement and activism, and promote gender equality and women’s empowerment. 

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10th ILO Caribbean Minister of Labour Meeting adopts its Conclusions

Kingston (ILO News) - Following two days of deliberation on realizing decent work under the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda, the Ministers of Labour and other high-level representatives of the Ministries and Departments of Labour of the English- and Dutch-speaking Caribbean, adopted their Conclusions  for action on key themes for the Caribbean growth, development and labour rights challenges:

  1. Elevating Decent Work to the national and regional policy level and the role of social partnership;
  2. Non-standard forms of employment;
  3. Harmonization of labour laws;
  4. Regional Initiative: Latin America and the Caribbean Free of Child Labour;
  5. Skilled Workforce for Sustainable Growth and Development;
  6. Improving productivity and competitiveness: the role of the labour management relations and transitioning to formality;
  7. Labour cooperation in the region.

“The objectives have been realized. You have defined a clear set of priorities and we as ILO depart with a much clearer understanding of the challenges, how to address them and what your expectations are” ...

  ILO Director-General, Mr Guy Ryder

 

 

 

ILO Director-General,congratulated  the delegations stating that he was encouraged by the assets constituents brought to the process and the “strength of the determination of Governments, Employers and Workers to come together to deal with the challenges. This is not a given in many parts of the world.” He was committed to make sure the distinctive nature of the Caribbean constituency forms part of the ILO global community. He expressed sincere appreciation to the host country Jamaica and all participants.

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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

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United Nations System in Trinidad & Tobago

Press Release


Monday 16 January 2016

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Contacts

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

 

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

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


 Learn more about  the UN and Child Marriage  extdoc

 

 

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Contact

Email: unic.portofspain@unic.org 

Telephone: 1(868) 623 8438 or 623 4813

Fax: 1 (868) 623 4332 

Address: 

2nd Floor Bretton Hall, 16 Victoria Avenue, 

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

 

 

 

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