A selection of UN TV programmes, webcasts and video clips on issues in the news

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

World Health Day 2015, April 7

 年世界卫生日‬, ‪4月7日.‬  ‪
Día Mundial de la Salud‬ , ‪‎7 de Abril‬.
World Health Day‬, 7 April‬.
 ‪‎Всемирный день здоровья‬, ‪‎7 апрел‬. ‪
 ‪Journée mondiale de la Santé‬,‪ 7 avril‬.
 يوم الصحة العالمي، 7 أبريل

 Journée mondiale de la Santé 2015 - la sécurité sanitaire des aliments.
 Всемирный день здоровья 2015 года: Безопасность пищевых продуктов.
 يوم الصحة العالمي 2015: السلامة الغذائية

From farm to plate, make food safe

United Nations Secretary-General message for the World Health Day, 7 April 2015 

“From farm to plate: make food safe”

Food contaminated with bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemicals is responsible for more than 200 diseases, ranging from diarrhoea to cancers. Potential new threats to food safety are emerging all the time. Changes to the way food is produced, distributed and consumed, the emergence of resistant bacteria, and increases in travel and trade make it difficult to manage pathogens and contaminants once they are in our food supply.
Unsafe food is a largely under-reported and often overlooked global problem. With the food supply chain stretch ing around the world, the need to strengthen food safety systems within and
among countries is becoming more critical.
That is why, on World Health Day, the World Health Organization (WHO) is calling on countries and all actors to improve food safety from farm to plate and everywhere in between.
The production of safe food is important for economies–it fosters trade and tourism and supports food security and sustainable development.Food safety is also important for education–sick children miss school, and it is at school that the next generation of consumers can learn basic food safety practices.
WHO and the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) work together to set international standards for safe food. They assess the safety of new food technologies, and help countries to prevent, detect and respond to outbreaks of food-borne disease.
These agencies also help countries build their own capacity to predict and manage food-borne disease risks.All people involved in the production, distribution, and preparation of food must play their part to make food safe.
Governments must communicate the importance of food safety to their citizens. The health, agriculture, trade, and environment sectors need to work together.
On World Health Day, let us all ask: how safe is our food?
We all have a role to play in keeping food safe–from farm to plate

Ban Ki Moon

How Safe is Your Food?

Statements : 

On 7 April 2015, the World Health Organization joins the rest of the international community to commemorate World Health Day. This year’s theme is “How safe is your food? From farm to plate, make food safe”.

This theme highlights the urgent need for government organizations, food businesses and consumers to put measures in place that will improve food safety from the point of production to consumption.

Unsafe food is linked to the deaths of an estimated 2 million people annually and the African Region is without exception. Infants, young children, pregnant women, the elderly and those with an underlying illness are particularly vulnerable. For example, in 2014, there were more than 100, 000 cases of cholera in 22 countries resulting in over 1700 deaths. So far this year, cholera outbreaks in 13 countries have led to over 200 deaths out of more than 13,000 cases. Food contaminated by harmful bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances can lead to a wide range of health problems. This is responsible for more than 200 diseases, including typhoid fever, diarrhea and cancers, among others.

Food can become contaminated at any point of production and distribution, and food producers play a critical role in preventing this. Equally a large proportion of incidents of foodborne disease are caused by foods improperly prepared or mishandled at home, in restaurants, or markets. There is an urgent need for all food handlers and consumers to understand the importance of adopting basic hygienic practices when buying, selling and preparing food to protect their health and that of the wider community.

In Africa, women who primarily prepare food at home are also key participants in small and medium sized enterprises, as owners, managers and workers in food businesses such as cafes, restaurants, small manufacturers, and street vendors. Improving the safety of food and securing the effective management of businesses operated by women is a key concern in public health for the economic, social status and overall standing of women in their communities.

There is also a growing concern over the increase of resistant microorganisms entering the food chain.  Food safety serves as a good platform to bring stakeholders together to address antimicrobial resistance. In combating antimicrobial resistance, prudent use of antimicrobials in agriculture, aquaculture, and animal husbandry is critical, as is the case in human medicine. Production of safe food facilitates access to wider markets and improves overseas earnings.

As we commemorate World Health Day, I call upon African governments to prioritise food safety, align policies in agriculture, trade, health, education, social protection and mobilize adequate financial resources to make food safe for all. Setting food guidelines in line with codex standards, operating regional alert mechanisms and early warning systems as well as building and maintaining adequate food systems and infrastructures will contribute enormously towards improving food safety.

Everyone has a role to play in making food safe and I urge food handlers and consumers to be familiar with common food hazards and handle and prepare food safely.

WHO will continue to collaborate with the Food and Agriculture Organization, the World Organization for Animal Health, and other partners to ensure food is safe “from farm to plate” in African Region.

Thank you.

Other Statements : 

"Major foodborne illnesses and causes" WHD 2015 Campaign Toolkit - World Health Organization (WHO)
Foodborne illnesses are usually infectious or toxic in nature and caused by bacteria, viruses, parasites or chemical substances entering the body through contaminated food or water.

How is food quality evaluated?

Traditionally, qualities of foods are evaluated by our sensory organs – our eyes, nose or mouth or, more recently, by the use of instruments. Sensory evaluation is commonly practiced by food regulatory authorities which consists of judging the quality of food by a panel of judges. The evaluation deals with measuring, evaluating, analyzing and interpreting the qualities of food as they are perceived by the senses of sight, taste, touch and hearing.

Advancing Plan for Food Safety - Strategic Plan Food Safety (2013-2022)
Advancing Plan for Food Safety - Strategic Plan Food Safety (2013-2022).

Strategic direction 1: Provide the science base for measures along the entire foodchain to decrease foodborne health risks
Strategic direction 2: Improve international and national cross-sectoral collaboration, enhance communication and advocacy
Strategic direction 3: Provide leadership and assist in the development and strengthening of risk-based, integrated national systems for food safety

Forum : World Health DAY - 7 April
Safe Food = Healthy Lives.
 Events : 

Food Safety: from farm to plate make food safe
7 Apr 2015 - Special event on the occasion of World Health Day 2015 (7 April) on the theme “Food safety: from farm to plate, make food safe”co-organized by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)

Dr. Jacob Kumaresan (WHO) on Food Safety: from farm to plate, make food safe - Press Conference
7 Apr 2015 - Dr. Jacob Kumaresan, Executive Director World Health Organization (WHO) Office in New York, on “Food Safety: from farm to plate, make food safe”, the theme for this year’s World Health Day

International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda 2015, April 7th.

Journée internationale de réflexion sur le génocide au Rwanda, Avril 7.
International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda, 7 April.
Día Internacional de Reflexión sobre el Genocidio en Ruanda, 07 de abril.
 反思盧旺達大屠殺國際日, 4月7日.
Международный день памяти о геноциде в Руанде, 7 апреля.
 اليوم العالمي للتفكر في الإبادة الجماعية في رواندا، 7 أبريل

The International Day of Reflection on the Genocide in Rwanda offers an opportunity to honour the memory of the more than 800,000 people – overwhelmingly Tutsi, and also moderate Hutu, Twa and others – who were systematically killed across Rwanda in less than three months just over two decades ago. It is also an occasion to recognize the pain and the courage of those who survived.
Our annual sombre observance is all the more meaningful this year as we mark the 70th anniversary of the founding of the United Nations. We must use this occasion to look back on the past – and to squarely confront the challenges of the present, renewing our collective resolve to prevent such atrocities from happening again.
Many countries now face grave security threats. People are being subjected to the brutality of violent conflicts and the indignities of poverty. Discrimination persists in societies torn apart by war, as well as in democracies that largely enjoy peace. Hatred may manifest as institutionalized racism, ethnic strife, or episodes of intolerance or exclusion. In other instances, discrimination reflects the official, national version of history that denies the identity of some segments of the population.
I deplore the conflicts and atrocity crimes in many parts of the world that continue to divide communities, killing and displacing people, undermining economies and destroying cultural heritage.
Our first duty is always to prevent these situations and to protect vulnerable human beings in distress. My Human Rights Up Front initiative seeks to prevent serious human rights violations by acting on early warning signs before they become more serious. My Special Advisers on the Prevention of Genocide and on the Responsibility to Protect work to advance national and international efforts to protect populations from atrocity crimes. We aim to ensure swift and decisive action to save lives and stop abuses.
On this Day, I appeal to the international community to do more than just speak about atrocity crimes and then fail to take timely action to prevent them. I call on all to summon the courage to act before situations deteriorate based on our collective moral responsibility. This is critical for the maintenance of international peace and security.
As I said at last year’s commemoration in Kigali, we must exercise “Umuganda” – coming together in common purpose – to avert what can be prevented and counter the cruelty taking place before our eyes.

Ban Ki-moon
Forum : Timeline of the Genocide in Rwanda UN Outreach Programme on the Rwanda Genocide.

Events : Memorial Ceremony, 7 April 2015, 6:00 p.m. UN Headquarters, New York
21st Commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide
Memorial Ceremony
7 April 2015, 6:00pm – 7:00pm (United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 4)
Organized by the UN Department of Public Information, in cooperation with the Permanent Mission of the Republic of Rwanda to the United Nations


Annual Commemoration of the Rwanda Genocide
7 Apr 2015 - Special event on the occasion of the twenty-first commemoration of the Rwanda genocide (7 April)
co-organized by the Permanent Mission of Rwanda and the Department of Public Information

Press Releases :

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace 2015, April 6


Theme 2015 :  " United action towards sustainable development for all through sport"

The International Day of Sport for Development and Peace highlights the role sport can play in achieving sustainable progress and change.
Sport has the power to help develop the potential of individuals, communities and nations. It encourages personal growth, is a major force in eliminating gender barriers and can build bridges across lines that might otherwise divide.
Sport nurtures society by creating a culture in which fundamental values such as equality, the acceptance of rules, mutual respect and fairness are appreciated.
It helps the more vulnerable groups in society, especially young people and persons with disabilities, to enjoy their human rights, including safe opportunities to engage in physical education programmes and sporting activities. This contributes to their inclusion in society and increases their motivation to attend school.
The sporting industry, for its part, has a significant role to play in promoting environmental awareness and sustainable practices. 
I commend athletes across the world for supporting the United Nations in our efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals.  There have been many remarkable gains, but there remains much to do.
As we prepare a new development agenda for the period beyond the year 2015, including a set of Sustainable Development Goals, I will continue to look to sportsmen and women to be advocates for building a better world for all.
On this International Day, let us pledge to strengthen the role that sport plays in communities around the world. We need to have everyone on the team: governments, international organizations, NGOs and many others.
Let us use sport to help create a healthier, happier and more prosperous world for all.
Ban Ki-moon

Forum : Day of Sport for Development and Peace - April 6

Resources :


United Nations Radio:
International Paralympic Committee:

Press Releases : 

  • The World Anti-doping Agency  in consultation with signatories and governments, shall establish a monitoring program regarding substances which are not on the Prohibited List, but which WADA wishes to monitor in order to detect patterns of misuse in sport.
    WADA shall publish, in advance of any testing, the substances that will be monitored. Laboratories will report the instances of reported use or detected presence of these substances to WADA periodically on an aggregate basis by sport and whether the samples were collected in-competition or out–of-competition. Such reports shall not contain additional information regarding specific samples.

    WADA shall make available to International Federations and National Anti-Doping Organizations, on at least an annual basis, aggregate statistical information by sport regarding the additional substances. WADA shall implement measures to ensure that strict anonymity of individual Athletes is maintained with respect to such reports. The reported use or detected presence of a monitored substance shall not constitute an anti-doping rule violation.
    Play True

International Day of Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action 2015, April 4

Thème 2015 : "Bien plus que des mines"
2015 Theme: “More than Mines
 Tema 2015 : «Más que minas»
Тема Дня 2015 года «Не только мины»
موضوع عام 2015: أكثر من مجرد الألغام

Today we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.  In the past decade, much progress has been made towards eradicating the threat of anti-personnel landmines, with 162 States now Parties to the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
The United Nations is playing a vital role in freeing the world from the threat of mines and explosive remnants of war, meeting the needs of victims and survivors and ensuring their human rights.  Last year alone, the United Nations destroyed more than 400,000 landmines and explosive remnants of war and more than 2,000 tons of obsolete ammunition.  It cleared and verified more than 1,500 kilometres of roadways, provided mine risk education to millions of people and trained thousands of military and police officers to handle and safely dispose of explosive hazards.
I commend all who contributed to this success.  However, women, girls, boys and men continue to fall victim to landmines laid decades ago in places such as Afghanistan and Cambodia, and I am alarmed that these indiscriminate weapons are still being used in conflicts today.  
Furthermore, civilians and communities are exposed to an increasingly wide range of explosive hazards, from mines to cluster munitions, unsafe and unsecured weapons and ammunition, and improvised explosive devices.  I am extremely concerned by the extensive use of improvised explosive devices by armed groups in Iraq, which poses a major threat to civilians.  In Syria, the widespread use of “barrel bombs” and other explosive weapons in populated areas has caused great devastation and human suffering, leaving a legacy of explosive remnants of war that will remain a threat until their removal.
The theme for this year’s Day -- “More than Mines” -- reflects the reality faced by civilians, humanitarians, peacekeepers and development agencies in war-zones and countries recovering from conflict.  When explosive hazards block the way, food is not delivered; refugees and internally displaced people cannot safely return home; children cannot go to school; development and peacebuilding efforts are hindered; peacekeeping operations cannot deploy safely.
On this International Day, I urge Member States to stay committed to the cause of mine action through financial contributions and political support, which is particularly crucial this year as the General Assembly debates assistance in mine action.  The proposed resolution will provide an opportunity to recognize that mine action is indeed “More than Mines” and to recommit ourselves to working with affected states to reduce the menace of mines and explosive hazards.
Ban Ki-moon


Resources : 

World Autism Awareness Day 2015, April 2nd

2015 Theme: Employment: The Autism Advantage.
Tema de 2015: «El empleo: la ventaja del autismo»
Thème 2015 : « Emploi : les avantages de l’autisme »
2015年主题: 职业:自闭症优势.
Тема Дня 2015 года «Профессиональная занятость: преимущества людей с аутизмом»
موضوع عام 2015: ميزات التوحد لمجال العمل

I am hugely encouraged by the growing public awareness of autism spectrum disorders and the increase of public services to many of those affected. World Autism Awareness Day not only fosters greater understanding, it empowers parents into seeking early intervention therapies and calls for the full integration of persons with autism into society. It also invites policy-makers to encourage schools to open their doors to students with autism. With adequate support, they can -- and should -- be educated in the heart of their communities. Now is the time for even greater access and work opportunities for persons with autism.
This year, I am pleased to launch an employment “Call to Action”, inviting businesses to make concrete commitments to employ people on the autism spectrum. We encourage public offices, corporations, and small businesses to have a closer look at the way they perceive people with autism, to take the time to learn about the condition and to create life-changing opportunities.
People with autism have enormous potential. Most have remarkable visual, artistic or academic skills. Thanks to the use of assistive technologies, non-verbal persons with autism can communicate and share their hidden capabilities. Recognizing the talents of persons on the autism spectrum, rather than focusing on their weaknesses, is essential to creating a society that is truly inclusive.
Yet even where autism awareness is most advanced, more than 80 per cent of adults with autism are unemployed. That is why it is so important for employers to understand their unique and often exceptional skills, and to enable work environments where they can excel.
This important mission can only be achieved with appropriate vocational training and adequate support alongside a recruitment process that can allow people to successfully integrate into workforces around the world.
The United Nations General Assembly has called for greater access and opportunities for persons with autism. In declaring 2 April as World Autism Awareness Day, the Assembly also called for training for public administrators, service providers, care-givers, families and non-professionals to support the integration of persons with autism into society, so that they can realize their full potential.
On World Autism Awareness Day, let us join forces to create the best possible conditions for those with autism, so that they can make their own contribution to a future that is fair and sustainable for all.

Ban Ki-moon

Events in 2015 : “Employment: The Autism Advantage”

Thursday, 2 April 2015, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., United Nations Headquarters, Conference Room 4
The launch of a Call to Action inviting business to make concrete commitments to employ persons with autism took place at an event entitled “Employment: The Autism Advantage” in observance of World Autism Awareness Day on Thursday, 2 April 2015.
Speakers included Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Governor Jack Markell of Delaware, and business executives from Ernst & Young, Freddie Mac, Hewlett-Packard, Microsoft, SAP and more. Bill Blakemore, award winning correspondent with ABC News, moderated.
The 2015 observance of World Autism Awareness Day was organized by the United Nations Department of Public Information and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs, in cooperation with The Specialist People Foundation, with the support of the United Nations Global Compact. The event was co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, the Republic of Korea, Peru, Poland and Sri Lanka to the United Nations.
The event focused on measures required to support growth in employment opportunities for people on the autism spectrum. The intention was to demonstrate that people with autism can be valued employees for employers who understand their unique and often exceptional skills, as well as what it takes to create work environments where people with autism can excel.

See webcast of the event

Panel discussion on "Employment: The Autism Advantage"
co-organized by the Permanent Missions of Bangladesh, Bulgaria, Denmark, Israel, Peru, Poland, the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka, the Department of Public Information (DPI) and the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA), Global Compact and the Specialist People Foundation.

See Secretary-General's opening remarks

Ban Ki-moon on World Autism Awareness Day 2015 event.
2 Apr 2015 - Remarks by H.E. Mr. Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General at the 2015 World Autism Awareness Day Event.

10:00 a.m. Welcome and Opening
  • Cristina Gallach, Under-Secretary-General for Communications and Public Information, United Nations
  • Ban Ki-Moon, Secretary-General of the United Nations
  • H.E. Mr. Einar Gunnarsson, Vice President of the General Assembly
  • Keynote: “A Better Bottom Line“ – Jack Markell, Governor of Delaware
  • Moderator, Sessions 1 and 2 - Bill Blakemore, award-winning news correspondent
10:30 a.m. Session 1: Setting the Scene
  • Thorkil Sonne, Founder, Specialist People Foundation
  • Prof. Arlene S. Kanter, Syracuse University
  • Merry Barua, Director, Action For Autism and National Centre for Autism, India
  • Ronnie Goldberg, Senior Counsel, U.S. Council for International Business; U.S. employer representative on the International Labor Organization’s Governing Body
  • Prof. Rob Austin, Copenhagen Business School
  • Zsuzsanna Szilvasy, President, Autism Europe
Presentations from the floor
  • Mitch Levy, GM, ICT and Cyber Security, Department of Human Services, Australia, and Michael Fieldhouse, Account Executive, Hewlett-Packard
11:15 a.m. Session 2: Autism at Work
  • Emily Brooks, graduate student
  • John Hartman, artist, employee at Metro Kosher Deli
  • Randy Richardson, Assistant Paralegal, Mayerson & Associates
  • John Haley, CEO and Chairman, Towers Watson
  • Tanja Rueckert, EVP and COO, Products and Innovation Development, SAP
  • Mary Ellen Smith, Corporate Vice President, Operations, Microsoft
Presentations from the floor
  • Robert Lux, Executive VP and CIO, Freddie Mac
  • Jeremy Badman, COO, Oliver Wyman
  • Ernie Dianastasis, Managing Director, CAI
  • Rajesh Anandan, Co-founder, ULTRA Testing; SVP UNICEF Venutres, UNICEF-USA
  • Lori Golden, Abilities Strategy Leader, Ernst & Young
  • Rosa Oyama Ganiko, Dir. of Projects and Research, Centro Ann Sullivan de Perú
  • Patrick Viesti, employee, SAP
  • Thomas D'Eri, Co-Founder, Rising Tide Car Wash
  • Sean Cruse, Research and Communications, United Nations Global Compact
12:50 p.m. Wrap-up
  • Thomas Gass, ASG, DESA, United Nations
"Science, Collaboration & Answers for the Global Autism Community"
Panel discussion from 3:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. in the ECOSOC Chamber organized by the Permanent Mission of the State of Qatar, The Permanent Mission of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh
and Autism Speaks and co-sponsored by The Permanent Missions of India and Nigeria and the Republic of Korea
Followed by a reception at 6:00 p.m. in the East Lounge hosted by the Permanent Missions of Qatar and Bangladesh to the United Nations
Download the invitation PDF document
Download the concept note PDF document
Opening Session
Opening Remarks By:
1) H.E. Ambassador Abulkalam Abdul Momen: Permanent Representative of Bangladesh to the United Nations.
2) H.E. Ambassador Alya Ahmed S. Al-Thani: Permanent Representative of the State of Qatar to the United Nations.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek.
  • Mrs. Ban Soon-Taek Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative of India.
  • Permanent Representative of India Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Permanent Representative/ Deputy Permanent Representative of Nigeria, (TBC).
  • Permanent Representative/ DPR of Nigeria Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce the Deputy Permanent Representative of the Republic of Korea.
  • DPR of the Republic of Korea Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will introduce Mr. & Mrs. Wright.
  • Mrs. Wright Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of Bangladesh to the United Nations will introduce Ms. Amina Mohammed.
  • Mrs. Amina Mohammed Remarks.
  • H.E. Ambassador of the State of Qatar to the United Nations will conclude the Opening Session and introduce Ms. Rebecca Jarvis: Chief Business & Economics Correspondent, ABC News- (Moderator).
Panel Discussion: Ms. Rebecca Jarvis introduces panelists and begins Q&A with:
  • Ms. Saima Wazed Hossain: Chairperson of the National Advisory Committee on Autism of Bangladesh.
  • H.E. Mrs. Amal Al Mannai (TBD): CEO of Qatar Foundation for Social Action.
  • Dr. Andy Shih remarks: Senior Vice President of Scientific Affairs, Autism Speaks. Introduces whip-around. Whip-around (countries to include Dubai, Mexico, Albania and Morocco).
  • Mr. Mohammed Badr Al Sada: Executive Director of AlShafallah Center (Qatar).
  • Mrs. Dévora Kestel: Unit Chief, Mental Health and Substance Use Pan American Health Organization, PAHO/WHO.
  • H.E. Sheikha Hessa bin Khalifa Al Thani (TBD): Former Special Rapporteur of the United Nations for persons with disabilities
  • Dr. Steve Scherer: (Hospital for Sick Children, MSSNG)
  • Ms. Helen Tager Flusberg: (Former President, INSAR).
  • Ms. Rebecca Jarvis thanks audience and concludes session

Post-Event Reception : Reception Programme:

Musical Presentation By Ms. Talina Toscano.
Art Exhibition by AlShafallah Centre (QATAR).
Please RSVP to

Blue in honor of Autism Speaks and World Autism Awareness
For the sixth year, New York’s most iconic landmark, the Empire State Building, will participate in Autism Speaks’ Light It Up Blue campaign. The Empire State Building has become an official symbol of Light It Up Blue and a source of inspiration for the global autism community.
On April 2, 2015 the tower will shine a bright blue light to commemorate World Autism Awareness Day.
Wherever you live, you can join in by lighting your work or home blue.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members. March 25

International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, 25 March.

Those who have given their lives in the service of the United Nations

United Nations Secretary-General’s Message for the International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members 2015.

The disturbing and widespread violence and turmoil of the past year also took a toll on United Nations and associated personnel.  As of 15 March 2015, 33 UN and associated personnel were detained by State authorities in 15 countries.  One staff member is missing and two contractors remain in the custody of abductors.
On this International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members, and as demand for United Nations engagement intensifies,  I call on relevant Member States to respect the status, privileges and immunities of the United Nations and to immediately release all UN staff members and associated personnel who are being unlawfully detained .
In addition, I appeal to those non-State actors that are holding staff members to immediately release them.  I also call on relevant national authorities to do everything in their power to prevent the taking of UN personnel as hostages and to facilitate the release of those being held.
The safety of United Nations and associated personnel should be a collective priority for all concerned.  Yet abductions of United Nations personnel are increasingly carried out by unscrupulous actors seeking to extract ransom, make a political point, or impede the Organization’s operations.
In the first two months of 2015, abductions of UN personnel occurred in Gardez, in Afghanistan and Bangui, in the Central African Republic.  Two contractors working for the Joint United Nations-African Union Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) were kidnapped in Zalingei at gunpoint and remain in custody.
I am especially concerned about the situations in South Sudan and Syria.  A World Food Programme staff member was seized last October at Malakal airport in South Sudan.  Several others have been similarly detained there last year.  In Syria, numerous staff of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), in particular, have been detained and arrested or are missing.
On this International Day, let us amplify our demands for justice and strengthen our resolve to protect United Nations staff and peacekeepers, as well as our colleagues in the non-governmental community and the media.

Ban Ki-moon

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2015, March 25

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade, 25 March.

United Nations Secretary-General Message for the for International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade 2015.

Over the course of more than four centuries, some 15 million Africans were taken from their homes across Africa and transported by force to the Americas.  The number of people purchased by slave traders was even higher.  Those slaves who survived were bought and sold, stripped of all dignity, denied all human rights.  Even their children could be taken from them and sold for the profit of their “owners”.  The Transatlantic slave trade remains a monstrous crime and a stain on human history.
This year’s Day of Remembrance pays particular tribute to the many women who suffered and died during the slave trade.  They experienced appalling violence, including sexual and reproductive enslavement, forced prostitution, repeated sexual assault, as well as forced childbearing and the sale of their own children.
Yet women slaves played a key role in maintaining the dignity of their communities.  Too often their leadership and brave resistance have been underestimated or forgotten.
Tragically, slavery has still not ended.  Slavery stubbornly persists in many parts of the world, in the form of forced labour, trafficking, sexual exploitation or captivity in slavery-like conditions.  These despicable practices could not exist without deep-seated racism.  It is absolutely vital that the dangers inherent in racism are made crystal clear to all.  The Department of Public Information’s Remember Slavery Programme educates about the Transatlantic slave trade and how intolerance can easily shift from an attitude into acts of hatred and violence.
To mark this International Day, I will unveil a permanent memorial at United Nations Headquarters in New York to honour the victims of slavery and the Transatlantic slave trade.  Built on the Visitors Plaza, the “Ark of Return” will bring home to people from around the world the terrible legacy of the slave trade.  It will help us heal as we remember the past and honour the victims. 
On this important Day of Remembrance, I call for a renewal of our commitment to end modern slavery, so our children will live in a world free of racism and prejudice with equal opportunity and rights for all.

Ban Ki Moon

Permanent Memorial to Honour the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade at the United Nations

Events : United Nations General Assembly Commemorative Meeting
Wednesday, 25 March 2015, 3:00 pm, General Assembly Hall, United Nations, New York
Followed by a performance

Meetings Coverage

NGO Briefing: “Women and Slavery: its impact on women’s rights today’
Thursday, 26 March, 2015, 11:00 am-1:00 pm, United Nations, Economic and Social Council Chamber, New York 
Student Global Video Conference
Friday, 27 March 2015, 9:30 am, United Nations, Conference Room 2, New York
Other New York Events
For the most updated information on events please visit our Remember Slavery Facebook Page or see the 2015 Remember Slavery programme.PDF document

Commemorations at Unesco
Various Days offer the International Community the occasion to meet on the issue of slave trade and slavery. They provide the necessary opportunity for a memory duty on this sad page of our history, in order to honour all the victims of four centuries of human tragedy, but also those who opposed and triumphed over this “crime against humanity”.
These commemorative days serve to deepen the reflexion on the contemporary consequences of this tragedy and its implications in our society today, namely racism and racial discrimination, intolerance, but also all the modern forms of slavery, of exploitation and of human bondage.

Exhibit : Women and Slavery: Telling Their Stories

An exhibition to mark the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade opened in the United Nations Visitors’ Lobby in New York on Thursday, 12 March at 6 p.m. and remain on display until 9 April.

The exhibition features the stories of enslaved women who endured the harsh conditions of forced labour and sexual exploitation, yet found the courage to fight for freedom.  These women also succeeded in transmitting their African culture and heritage to their descendants, despite the many abuses that they had to bear. In addition, it shines a light on free women who fought for abolition of the slavery system.
This exhibition is produced by the Remember Slavery Programme in partnership with the Memorial to the Abolition of Slavery in Nantes, France, which published an extensive account of women and slavery in its exhibition Dix Femmes Puissantes.

Statements delivered on the occasion of the opening of the exhibit on 12 March 2015