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Wednesday, 31 August 2011

OCHA in 2011 "Responding in a Changing World "


OCHA plays a key role in operational coordination in crisis situations. This includes assessing situations and needs; agreeing common priorities; developing common strategies to address issues such as negotiating access, mobilizing funding and other resources; clarifying consistent public messaging; and monitoring progress. OCHA also administers the cluster coordination system for the Humanitarian Coordinator, including meetings, data and information management, and reporting.

By ensuring that the right structures, partnerships and leaders are supported, OCHA and its humanitarian partners can better prepare for and more effectively coordinate humanitarian situations.
 




OCHA serves as the secretariat for critical inter-agency coordination mechanisms such as the Inter-Agency Standing Committee, rapid-response tools, such as the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination system, and the International Search and Rescue Advisory Group. OCHA also promotes efficient interaction between civilian and military actors in humanitarian operations, bridges gaps in environmental emergency management, and maps global emergency relief stockpiles on behalf of the whole humanitarian community.
 

Monday, 29 August 2011

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.


First UN International Day of the Disappeared, Tuesday 30 August 2011
(Statement by the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or involuntary Disappearances to mark the first UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances - 30 August 2011)


GENEVA (30 August 2011) - "They are not alone in their struggle. Today, the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances marks the first UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances; a special day to spotlight this heinous crime, and to remind victims, including the families and associations of victims of those who disappeared, that they are not alone.

'He was arrested in 1997 and there has been no news since...' (Testimony of the mother of a disappeared person)

Unfortunately, enforced disappearances continue to be used by some States as a tool to deal with situations of conflict or internal unrest. We have also witnessed the use of the so-called 'short term disappearances,' where victims are placed in secret detention or unknown locations, outside the protection of the law, before being released weeks or months later, sometimes after having been tortured and without having been brought in front of a judge or other civil authority.


This very worrisome practice, whether it is used to counter terrorism, to fight organized crime or suppress legitimate civil strife demanding democracy, freedom of expression or religion, should be considered as an enforced disappearance and as such adequately investigated, prosecuted and punished.

'I have searched for him... I have searched for him for a long time all over the country...'

No one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance, and to end such a practice, States should continue promoting and giving full effect to the UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance, especially the definition of enforced disappearance as a separate and autonomous criminal offence in national legislation.

The inclusion of enforced disappearance as an autonomous offence, separate from similar acts like kidnappings, has proved to be effective in preventing and eradicating enforced disappearances. The Working Group stands willing to assist States who seek to include enforce disappearance in their criminal codes, according to international human rights standards.
'I was convinced I was going to find him, that it was a mistake, that they couldn't keep him, that they were going to set him free...'

Over the last thirty years, the families of disappeared persons have brought to the attention of the international community the extent of this odious crime. Largely due to their efforts, the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance entered into force on 23 December 2010.The willingness of a number of States to take on the commitment that 'no one shall be subjected to enforced disappearance' must also be stressed.

The Convention includes for the first time in a treaty the right of any person not to be subjected to enforced disappearance. It also recognizes the right of all the persons affected by enforced disappearance to know the truth about the circumstances of this crime, the progress and results of the investigation and the fate of the disappeared person.

Following the entry into force of the Convention, the Committee on Enforced Disappearances has been established. Like for many other thematic human rights issues such as torture, racial discrimination, discrimination against women, rights of the child, and a series of civil, cultural, economic, political, social rights, the Committee and the Working Group will coexist side by side, cooperating in the fight to prevent and eradicate enforced disappearances wherever they occur around the world.
'I used to make up reasons why he was arrested; like maybe it was because he did not register for military service, maybe this, maybe that...'

2012 marks the 20th anniversary of the adoption by the UN General Assembly of the Declaration on the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance. To commemorate it, we encourage all States and civil society to translate the Declaration into all languages and dialects, with no distinction, since all serve the purpose to assist in its global dissemination and the ultimate goal of preventing enforced disappearances.

On the UN International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, which has been observed for many years in many countries, we pay tribute to the many victims, relatives of victims, human rights defenders, non-governmental organizations, lawyers and other individuals and groups who work untiringly and unstintingly, often in difficult circumstances, to denounce cases of enforced disappearance, discover the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared, and eradicate this terrible practice.

'So every minute I was expecting him to open the door and come home, but he never did come home...'
They are not alone."

 
*************
The Working Group was established by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1980 to assist families in determining the fate or whereabouts of disappeared relatives. It endeavours to establish a channel of communication between the families and the Governments concerned, to ensure that individual cases are investigated, with the objective of clarifying the whereabouts of persons who, having disappeared, are placed outside the protection of the law. In view of the Working Group's humanitarian mandate, clarification occurs when the fate or whereabouts of the disappeared person is clearly established. It continues to address cases of disappearances until they are resolved.

The Working Group is comprised of five independent experts from all regions of the world. The Chair-Rapporteur is Mr. Jeremy Sarkin (South Africa), the Vice-Chair is Mr. Olivier de Frouville (France), and the other Expert-Members are Mr. Ariel Dulitzky (Argentina), Ms. Jasminka Dzumhur (Bosnia and Herzegovina),and Mr. Osman El-Hajjé (Lebanon).

For more information

The Working Group, please visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Disappearances/Pages/DisappearancesIndex.aspx
UN Declaration on the Protection of All Persons From Enforced Disappearance: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/disappearance.htm

International Day of the Disappeared - August 30, 2011


Recognizing the global magnitude of the crime as reconfirmed by the annual reports of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances
30 August 2011 - Today, the International Coalition Against Enforced Disappearances (ICAED) joins the families of the disappeared and the whole international community in giving tribute to the world’s thousands of disappeared people.  “ For them and because of them and their suffering families, our Coalition exists to knock at doors of all States urging them to sign, ratify and implement the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (The Convention), ” stated Mary Aileen D. Bacalso, Focal Person of the ICAED and Secretary-General of the Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances.

The forty member-organizations of the ICAED from around the globe are conducting various creative ways of paying homage to the disappeared. In so doing, they reiterate their calls to their respective governments to finally accede to the anti-enforced disappearance Convention and recognize the competence of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances.  It is the body of independent experts that monitors the implementation of the anti-disappearance treaty by States Parties.  The ICAED believes that the Convention is a very powerful tool to put to a stop the crime of enforced disappearances and to combat impunity.

To date, 88 States are signatories and 29 are States Parties with only 12 that recognize the competence of the Committee on Enforced Disappearances.  Bacalso further noted that:  “ The number of States Parties to the Convention pales in comparison with the global extent of the crime, thus, intensification of campaign and lobbying to garner wide support to the Convention is imperative.  Hence, for States to be true to the universality, indivisibility and indepence of human rights, they must speed up the process of signing and ratifying this important treaty that provides the right to truth and the right not to be subjected to enforced disappearances.” South Africa has stil not signed the Convention on Enforced Dissappearances despite repeated committments to do so.

As the international community commemorates the International Day of the Disappeared, the ICAED vows to intensify its efforts at the national, regional and international levels to concretize its mandate of campaigning for as as many States ratifications as possible and ensure universal implementation of the Convention.

This year is the first United Nations (UN) official commemoration of the International Day of the Disappeared.  In 2010, the UN called on its system and other international and regional organizations as well as civil society to observe the Day starting 2011. Recognizing the global magnitude of the crime as reconfirmed by the annual reports of the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances, the UN joins the families of the disappeared who have been commemorating this day for already almost three decades.

International Day of the Disappeared on August 30

A Global Conversation with the UN Secretary-General Live on Social Media Networks Tuesday, 13 September 2011, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (New York time)

A Global Conversation with the UN Secretary-General
Live on Social Media Networks

Tuesday, 13 September 2011, 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. (New York time)
Secretary-General on Facebook.

Who:

Ban Ki-moon, United Nations
Secretary-General, and YOU.

What:

As world leaders prepare to gather in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly, please join us in a global conversation with the UN Secretary-General, streamed live on Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, Livestream and UN Webcast. Our Moderator will put your questions to Mr. Ban.
Join in to ask the UN Secretary-General any questions you have about the United Nations and its work, such as:  What more can we do to stop wars from breaking out? What can one individual do in the fight against climate change? What’s it like to be Secretary-General of the UN?




It’s your chance to get answers straight from the top, on the international issues you care about.

Where:

How:

Tell us that you are “Attending” the event by visiting the Facebook event page.
Post your questions on Twitter using #asktheSG in English, French, Arabic, Chinese, Russian, Spanish, Portuguese or Swahili, before or during the live event. Questions in Chinese can also be posted on Weibo.
Watch the event live on Facebook, Weibo, Livestream or UN Webcast.




Watch live streaming video from unitednations at livestream.com



CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth, reflects on the significance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests

CTBTO - Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty Organization



This day is a reminder to us all that a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons is urgent, necessary and achievable. Here, CTBTO Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth, reflects on the significance of the International Day Against Nuclear Tests and how the test ban treaty will help shape mankind's future.




The Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty (CTBT) bans nuclear explosions by everyone, everywhere: on the Earth's surface, in the atmosphere, underwater and underground. It makes it extremely difficult for countries to develop nuclear bombs for the first time, or for countries that already have them, to make more powerful bombs. It also prevents the huge damage caused by radioactivity from nuclear explosions to humans, animals and plants.

One hundred and eighty-two countries have signed the Treaty, of which 154 have also ratified it. Of the 44 countries that have to ratify the Treaty for entry into force, 35 have already done so. The remaining nine are: China, Egypt, India, Indonesia, Iran, Israel, North Korea, Pakistan and the United States. On 3 May 2010, Indonesia stated it had initiated the CTBT ratification process.

Since the Treaty is not yet in force, the organization is called the Preparatory Commission for the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Organization (CTBTO). It was founded in 1996, has over 260 staff from over 70 countries, and is based in Vienna. It is headed by the Executive Secretary, Tibor Tóth from Hungary.

The CTBTO's main tasks are the promotion of the Treaty and the build-up of the verification regime so that it is operational when the Treaty enters into force.

The CTBTO is building a verification regime to monitor the planet for compliance with the Treaty. When complete, 337 facilities worldwide will monitor underground, the oceans and the atmosphere for any sign of a nuclear explosion. To date, 80 percent of the monitoring facilities send data to the CTBTO's headquarters in Vienna, Austria, where the data are processed and analyzed and then transmitted to the 182 Member States.

On-site inspections to collect information on the ground in the case of a suspected nuclear explosion complement the verification regime.

Sunday, 28 August 2011

International Day against Nuclear Tests - August 29

Secretary-General's Message for 2011



This year’s observance of the International Day against Nuclear Tests marks the twentieth anniversary of the closure of the nuclear weapons test site at Semipalatinsk, Kazakhstan.  Over the course of the Cold War, hundreds of nuclear weapon tests left behind a devastating legacy for local citizens and their natural environment.  Having visited the scene of this dark chapter in human history, I wish to emphasize my support for the Government and people of Kazakhstan as they continue to cope with the aftermath.  I commend efforts to ensure that something positive may result from highlighting the horrific effects of these tests.
We urgently need new progress in achieving a world free of both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons.  Current voluntary moratoriums on nuclear weapon tests are valuable, yet they are no substitute for a global ban.  This is why it is urgent that the Comprehensive Nuclear-Test-Ban Treaty enters into force as early as possible.  It is a major element of the international disarmament and non-proliferation regime, and it deserves the active support of all States.
The vital importance of the Treaty’s entry into force was reaffirmed at the 2010 Review Conference of the Treaty on the Non-proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and included in the agreed action plan.  The Treaty's verification regime has proven to be a valuable instrument for international cooperation.  I am fully confident of its future ability to provide an independent, reliable and cost-effective means of verifying -- and therefore deterring --any violation of the Treaty's provisions.

For these reasons, I urge all States that have not yet signed or ratified the Treaty to do so as a matter of priority.  Achieving that goal would further reinforce the growing movement for a nuclear-weapon free world.  Every day, more and more people are viewing both nuclear tests and nuclear weapons as dangerous relics of the Cold War, long overdue for permanent retirement.  On this International Day against Nuclear Tests, I call on all States to take a bold step towards a safer and saner world for all.
Ban Ki-moon

Message from Ms Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO, on the occasion of International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition - 23 August 2011

Message from
Ms Irina Bokova,
Director-General of UNESCO,
on the occasion of International Day for the
Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition
23 August 2011


The transatlantic slave trade is one of the most extreme violations of human rights
in history. The duration, extent and magnitude of this dehumanizing enterprise have
led to its universal condemnation. The International Day for the Remembrance of
the Slave Trade and its Abolition is an opportunity to reflect once again on this
tragedy and to pay tribute to those who struggled for its abolition in the light of the
universal recognition of human rights.

The commemoration carries special importance this year. 2011 marks the 10th
anniversary of the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination,
Xenophobia and Related Intolerance that was held in Durban, where the slave
trade was acknowledged as a crime against humanity.

2011, is also International Year for People of African Descent. This is a chance to
examine the effects of the slave trade, whose ignominious practice has in part
shaped the face of modern society, across all regions of the world. This history can
also nourish our thinking about our multicultural and multiethnic societies today.
The history of the slave trade provides unique insight also to nearly four centuries of
linkages and exchanges among peoples and cultures. Each of us must be
empowered to learn about this past and to reclaim it, as a necessary step in
building new common ground. Managing cultural diversity and fighting prejudice
and racial discrimination raise high stakes in globalizing world. Ten years after the
adoption of the UNESCO Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity, our collective
responsibility is greater than ever before.


UNESCO plays a leading role in fostering understanding and recognition of this
history. Since the establishment of the Slave Route project in 1994, UNESCO has
worked to break the silence on the slave trade and slavery. UNESCO helps States
in supporting research, in enriching their own national history and in facilitating the
sharing of memories.

On this day of remembrance, UNESCO will launch the international competition on
the permanent memorial to the victims of slavery and the transatlantic slave trade
that will be built at United Nations Headquarters in New York. UNESCO is proud to
participate in this initiative launched by the Secretary-General of the United Nations.
The memorial will symbolise universal recognition of the tragedy as one that befell
not only Africans and people of African descent but humanity as a whole.
On this day, call on all UNESCO partners -- national authorities, international
agencies, civil society, artists and historians -- to carry this message forward and to
join us at the official site of the competition United Nations slavery memorial

Irina Bokova




Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition 23 August 2011

Friday, 12 August 2011

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL -- MESSAGE ON WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY 19 August 2011

THE SECRETARY-GENERAL
--
MESSAGE ON WORLD HUMANITARIAN DAY
19 August 2011

There is never a year without humanitarian crises.  And wherever there are people in need, there are people who help them – men and women coming together to ease suffering and bring hope.  From Japan to Sudan, from Pakistan to the Horn of Africa, aid workers help people who have lost their homes, loved ones and sources of income.

These humanitarians often brave great danger, far from home.  They work long hours, in the most difficult conditions.  Their efforts save lives in conflict and natural disaster.  They also draw the world closer together by reminding us that we are one family, sharing the same dreams for a peaceful planet, where all people can live in safety, and with dignity.

On World Humanitarian Day, we honour these aid workers and thank them for their dedication.  And we pay tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice – in Afghanistan, Haiti and beyond.  Too many have died, or suffered their own loss, in the course of duty.  We pledge to do all we can to ensure the world’s humanitarians are kept safe to do their essential work.

This is also a day to examine our own lives and consider what more we can do to help -- to reach out to people enduring conflict, disaster and hardship.  Let those we honour today inspire us to start our own journey to make the world a better place and bring our human family more closely together.



World Humanitarian Day Key Messages (PDF): English Download

World Humanitarian Day Posters (PDF):

Arabic (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
Chinese (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
Creole (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
English (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
French (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
Russian (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)
Spanish (A4 size 1.8Mb | A0 size low res 2.8Mb | A0 size high res 25Mb)

More posters to come.
World Humanitarian Day Logos (JPG):
Arabic (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
Chinese (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
Creole (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
English (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
French (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
Russian (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)
Spanish (white background: small - large | black background: small - large)

Thursday, 11 August 2011

International Day of the World's Indigenous People - 9 August

Kalimantan's Craft: Harmony of Culture and Nature

International Day of the World's Indigenous People
9 August


This Craft Kalimantan film highlights indigenous weaving
traditions used in the production of high quality art products. The products are the work of artisan groups, made up of 90 per cent women, who live in and around the forests in Kalimantan, Indonesia. These groups continue to struggle in defence of their culture and tradition through the art of weaving crafts.

Produced by: Ghekko Studio

For more information: http://www.un.org/en/events/indigenousday/


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

IYD 2011 - Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

Message from Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO

On this International Youth Day 2011, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of young women and men across the world to the fight for human dignity and fundamental freedoms.
The “youth quakes” that have struck across the Arab world have shown the ability of young people to drive change. The struggle for democratic participation has shaken regimes seemingly impervious to pressure. These movements have shown the power of aspirations for human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Young people are one billion strong in the world. They carry a billion hopes for a better future and a billion ideas to change the world. They embody also one billion lives to nurture and support. Young women and men are growing up at the sharp end of change. The capabilities of every young person must be developed, so that their energy works for innovation, for civic participation, for resolving global challenges. Young people are already changing the world and reinventing culture. They must have the skills and tools to do so in ways that strengthen the ties between cultures and that protect human rights and fundamental freedoms.
In times of change and uncertainty, we must rely on all sources of dynamism to face rising global challenges. Every young woman and man must be given the chance to take part in the decision-making that shapes our societies and that will define their futures.
UNESCO works to leverage education, the sciences, culture, communication and information to empower young people as active stakeholders in the world’s society. Quality education is the starting point for their full and positive engagement. We must provide young people with everything they need to share their ideas and act on them -- to fight unemployment and poverty, to overcome gender inequality and all forms of discrimination, to tackle diseases and marginalization.
This International Youth Day marks the end of the International Year of Youth: Dialogue and Mutual Understanding. On this occasion, I call on all Governments, youth organizations and the international community to reflect on the historic changes underway this year and to consider the next steps we must take together.
This is the goal of the 7th UNESCO Youth Forum, which will be held in Paris from 17 to 20 October 2011. Under the theme of youth driving change, the Youth Forum will provide a platform for young people from all Member states and societies across the world to share experiences, to express views and to forge new ideas together.
Young women and men across the world are already shaping the contours of the present. We must do everything to encourage their development and to protect their dignity and rights. Everyone’s future depends on it.

International Youth Day - August 12

International Youth Day
 
The United Nations has long recognized that the imagination, ideals and energies of young women and men are vital for the continuing development of the societies in which they live. In 1985 the UN General Assembly observed the International Youth Year:
: Participation, Development and Peace. It drew international attention to the important role young people play in the world, and, in particular, their potential contribution to development and the goals of the United Nations Charter.

Every year after that, the International Youth Day has been celebrated to:
1. Enhance awareness of the global situation of youth and increase recognition of the rights and aspirations of youth
2. Promote national youth policies, national youth coordinating mechanisms and national youth programs of action as integral parts of social and economic development, in cooperation with both governmental and non-governmental organizations
3. Strengthen the participation of youth in decision-making processes at all levels in order to increase their impact on national development and international cooperation.

For more information, visit http://www.hrea.org

The Youth of the World
International Youth Day is a day to stand out and be counted as passionate and energetic youth that are creating a better world for all. It’s an opportunity to remind key decision-makers and influential persons of the key role young global citizens play in affecting global change. International Youth Day is a day for the youth of the world to approach and rally support from governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and other young people to strengthen your ability to tackle poverty together. IYD is a day to take practical action to further encourage the empowerment of youth in their communities.

Some of the issues that the youth of today faces and needs to address are:
• Education
• Employment
• Hunger and Poverty
• Health
• Environment
• Alcohol, Tobacco and Drug use

All these and more are a constant growing concern for the youth of the world and is what NGOs the world over are trying to improve on.

For more information, visit http://www.acdi-cida.gc.ca

Taking Part
Celebrating International Youth Day is an opportunity to tackle issues and bring into light the problems our youth faces in today’s world. The world over students and NGOs plan some sort of activity which focuses on various aspects of this crisis which in turn leads to better decision. Some of the ways in which you can celebrate International Youth Day are:

• Team up! It is a great opportunity to rally support and get key actors involved - Governments, non-governmental organizations, academic institutions, businesses, and young people - to focus on what has been done to further the cause
• Organize! Hold forums, public discussions and information campaigns in support of young people focusing on youth issues and how they can be addressed.
• Celebrate! Plan and organize performances everywhere to showcase - and celebrate – the fact that youth contribute to the societies in which they live. Convene exchanges and dialogues focusing on the rich and varied skills, interests and aspirations of young people.
• Take action! A major focus of the Day is practical action to further encourage the empowerment and participation of youth in the processes and decisions that affect their lives.
• Media! The media especially has an important role to play in support of the observance of the Day to promote public awareness of youth issues and to run programs that reflect on them.

For more information, visit http://www.un.org

International Youth Day in Pakistan
In a third world country where avenues are available less and less, and inadequate facilities do not nurture or groom the youth of today, many adverse effects on the society are visible. The main concern about the youth population is their inclination towards activities which do not help in building their character. Since the youth has been deprived of opportunities and lack awareness, they tend to shift away from their aims and objectives. In Pakistan however International Youth Day is celebrated but on a rather mute note.
Youth day is an opportunity for governments and others to draw attention toward youth issues worldwide. Concerts, workshops, cultural events and meetings involving national and local government officials and youth organizations would take place around the world.

Other activities include seminars promoting the world's youth, as well as various sporting events, parades and mobile exhibitions that showcase young people's achievements. IYD is aimed to recognize efforts of the world's youth in enhancing global society and promote ways to engage them in becoming more actively involved in making positive contributions to their communities. The UN defines the worlds' youth as the age group between 15 and 24 years old, making up one-sixth of the human population.

The idea for International Youth Day was proposed in 1991 by young people who were gathered in Vienna, Austria, for the first session of the UN's World Youth Forum. The forum recommended that an International Youth Day be declared, especially for fundraising and promotional purposes, to support the United Nations Youth Fund in partnership with youth organizations.

The other activities to be carried out on this special day include tree plantation and an exhibition to recognize youth participation in sustainable development of the country.

For more information, visit http://www.nation.com.pk for more news  

Situation in Pakistan
It is a great tragedy that the vast amounts of youth energies have never been put to proper use. They have not been given any participation in any sphere of life. They have never made partners in the development of the country. Young people are experiencing isolation, vulnerability, powerlessness and idleness.

Their disadvantages derive them from lack of access to interrelated dimensions, such as:
• Economic (assets leading to income generation).
• Social (access to information, social capital, free-time activities, cultural expression, educational opportunities, care and mentoring in youth friendly venues).
• Participation in decision making (empowerment, governance).

On this basis, it appears that youth inclusion policies would be more effective if these different dimensions are combined, rather than having fragmented sectoral interventions. Institutional neglect and cultural biases constitute major barriers that prevent youth access to the above-indicated assets.
The youth of Pakistan are caught in a multitude of problems like unemployment, poverty, remorselessness, social taboos, drugs, guns and politics. It is unfortunate that the youth are trapped in a culture marked by guns, violence and drugs. All this has resulted in an unstable economy, a shattered confidence of foreign investors, lawlessness and a break-up of the social fabric.

The costs of neglecting youth can be measured in terms of increasing incidences of crimes, terrorist activities and depletion of human and social capital. There is a loss of economic growth possibilities, which will only increase as this large cohort ages and is without experience in the work force.

For more information, visit http://www.pnys.com

Lack of engagement and lack of connection makes it less likely that young people will contribute and become self-sufficient adults. This is threatening our progress. Therefore in order to ensure a good future in Pakistan, it is absolutely vital that the role of the youth population be enhanced and they should be given more opportunities which will help them to grow as great individuals who support the country rather than hinder its growth.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

International Day of Friendship - 30 July

Secretary-General’s Message for 2011

The idea of friendship permeates the work and ideals of the United Nations. The Charter proclaims that one of the purposes of the Organization is “to develop friendly relations among nations”. These same words appear in the preamble to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. UNESCO’s Constitution speaks of the need for peace based not just on the “political and economic arrangements of governments”, but on the “intellectual and moral solidarity of mankind”. And the UN Alliance of Civilizations initiative aims to improve cooperation and understanding among nations and peoples across cultures and religions, including to counter the forces that fuel extremism.

Friendship; harmony; tolerance; mutual respect and mutual concern: these concepts are part of the Organization’s very fibre. They inform our activities, from peacekeeping and defending human rights to our collective efforts to achieve the Millennium Development Goals. And they are now the focus of the International Day of Friendship, a new observance established by the General Assembly in a resolution that highlights the potential of friendship to “build bridges” and “inspire peace efforts”.

Individual friendships bring us face to face with diversity and different points of view. They bring us joy and support, notwithstanding the tests that can encumber even the best of relationships. The same pillars that support sturdy personal friendships – trust, respect, mutually beneficial decision-making – also have an important place in the community of nations.

United States President Woodrow Wilson once said, “Friendship is the only cement that will ever hold the world together.” On this first International Day of Friendship, let us pledge to work together to strengthen that cement and build a peaceful, more prosperous world so old friendships can flourish and new ones can be made.

International Day of Friendship - 30 July

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